Monday, 28 January 2013


Apologies if there doesn't appear to be much going on, but I have been away travelling again. Last week was spent mainly in Stavanger (-7 degrees C) and Oslo (-18 degrees C) and I have only just thawed out.

When I am away working, I tend to order stuff to get busy with when I get back. This was a similar trip. I have been talking to Bernard Ashpole in Bishops Stortford about doing a few jobs on the engine. I'm going there tomorrow and hopefully the following jobs will be done:
  • soda blasting the crankcases, barrel and the original head (so I can sell it)
  • welding up the damaged fin on the barrel
  • replacing the timing side main bearings, line boring them and replacing the camshaft bush
  • tidying up the camshaft journal
I ordered the dipswitch, horn button, and the indicator switch from the VMCC - these are now stashed away. I also ordered the oil filter, which I have to make a bracket for. I'll zinc plate that when I'm done.

I've also ordered a few more parts from Acme, this time the exhaust brackets & bolts and the 5 nuts for the QD rear wheel, and the front brake cable adjuster.

I have a full set of stainless engine bolts from them, and the timing cover, primary cover, and coupling gear cover screws. All very nice, as usual, and a pleasure to deal with.

When I ordered the camshaft bush from Drags, Lee noticed that I had a battery box (the dummy Lucas GU11E) on back order - so this has now been delivered. Here it is in the tray I made earlier. 

And lastly, I have been looking at the wiring. Moved by a discussion on cable ties on the AOMCC forum (how many rivets in a BR Standard Class5?),  I started to look closely at the wiring harness.

This discussion was so interesting that I have moved it to it's own post, here

Friday, 18 January 2013

Cast Number Plate

In response to a post on the AOMCC forum, here are some pictures of my front number plate:

 Front end view
 Rear end view

Rear end, side view

Front end, side view

Hope that helps James!

Monday, 14 January 2013

There is life in the old blog!

Well, what is new since the weekend? Well...
  • it's snowing
  • the Bantam has been out around the garden
  • Limoncello makes great Martinis
On the bike front, we are still cleaning & inspecting the engine. I've attacked a 14 mm hex socket (not a bi-hex) with a file and have made it fit the connecting rod nuts. The rods are now off and undergoing cleaning. Number 2 is nicely polished.

There are various nicks. This one is typical, but it is minor compared to the abrasion the Ariel fitters cause when they removed the flash around the forging dies:

Hopefully I will show you factory abrasion in another entry - I had cleaned it off Rod No. 2 before I thought to photograph it.

There is a nice little scratch in the cap:

The big end shells are all shot; the journals are a little undersize but are perfectly serviceabe.

All the dings polish out OK. At some point we will do a dye penetrant inspection on these just to be sure there are no cracks.

I have new AOMCC rods in the budget - I am just not yet sure whether I really need to spend the money. The state of the big ends and the mains, which despite white metal flaking were still in tolerance, suggest to me that this engine has had an easy life, though I realise this conflicts with the fact that the bores are 0.020" overbored.

Of course no amount of inspection can tell me what state the material is in - only it's service life could tell me if these rods have been fatigued enough such that they will fail in the next few years. It's a 35 bhp engine - judging by the way I ride the Bantam about Norfolk am I really likely to stress this engine? If I fit the Morgo pump will it see any shortage of lubrication? Shortage of lubrication will trash any big end, old or new - so we are down to loading & rpm...

The crankshafts have now all been cleaned out. Number 3 sludge trap was full past the big end oilway, though there is no damage to the journal or the big end so I think the engine has been lucky.

I've loosely reassembled it all in preparation for taking the bottom end for line boring. Here are the crankshafts back in place:

Here are the cases cleaned up and back together. I am debating what to do with the polishing of these.

And as an aside from the engine, I have been:
  • sketching up a wiring diagram with Microsoft Powerpoint. Currently it has six fuses, no earths (because I haven't put them in yet) and no indicators.
  • I have ordered the engine bearings from Drags
  • I have ordered a replica Lucas 529 rear lamp
  • I've ordered the engine/gearbox mounting set, the coupling gear cover studs and the primary drive screw set from Acme
But now it's back to work. I'm hoping to have a trip to London in a couple of weeks to take the engine down to Ashpoles; that depends on the bearing arriving from Drags.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Time for a list.

I'm getting confused, there seems to be a lot of stuff going on, lots of bits laying about, lots of work faces.
Whenever life gets like this, I like to make a list to get my head around where I am.

So the engine is more or less apart:
  • the crankcases are dismantled & roughly cleaned - the oil pick up pipe is still in, the bushes & bearings are still on. The dynamo strap is off and needs replating; the timing side bushes are still in tolerance but are flaking, so will have to be replaced. Either Bernard Ashpole or Colin Reed Apsley will do this for me. The roller bearings look good but will be replaced anyway. The camshaft bush is in tolerance but will be replaced; then there is the question of whether I polish the crankcases. I kind of like the contrast between the polished timing cover and the faded grey cases.
  • then there is the question of modifications - the Morgo gear pump, the camshaft spraybar, the valve stem seals, and the oil filter.
    • I'm thinking that the additional flow from the Morgo pump will let me flow more oil to the rocker box and down onto the camshaft, rendering the spraybar superfluous. The valve stem oil seals will help avoid that extra oil going down the valve guides. The pump will also keep the oil to those far-off journals flowing at sufficient pressure
    • The oil filter is a must to avoid the sludge traps filling up;
    • The oil cooler seems inappropriate since club wisdom suggest that the oil will not get warm enough anyway, and the cooler will not be used. The more onerous issue seems to be to get the engine heat into the oil in the first place.
  • the camshaft shows a small amount of wear on the peaks; the journal for the crankcase bush is wearing unevenly and is on the low side of acceptability. We'll probably get this reground and make a bush to suit.
  • the front crankshaft has been cleaned and a preliminary clean performed on the oil ways. The big ends refuse to be shifted - I am waiting for a thin wall socket to get them apart. The timing side journal is within tolerance and is in good shape. No.1 big end rocks a lot more than No.4; No.1 little end bush is out of position - it's protruding beyond the rod eye and the oil hole is misaligned.
  • the rear crankshaft is waiting attention; the timing side journal is within tolerance and is in good shape.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Getting to the bottom of it...

Well, last night we removed the engine again and split the cases. No great problem - oil mess on shed floor.

Not a very good pic I'm afraid. Interesting piece of debris:

It's metallic, the curved edges are as cast and the straightest edge is a fracture. We shall see no doubt.

So the cranks are out; I have started to clean up the front crank:
The timing side journal is good (dimensions shown in the Engine Tolerances page) and the rods look good too. You might recall that No. 1 small end bush is out of position and the oil hole does not line up.

The big ends feel OK, No.1 rocks considerably more than No.4. I will need to grind down my 1/4" BSW socket to allow it to fit the big end nuts - I have already mauled a tube spanner. The oil pressure relief valve had a large chunk of debris in it - rubber or carbon, I'm not sure which at the moment.

Next was the sludge traps. The plugs came out with the impact driver & I consider that a lucky break. Full of carbon though:

However, I poked a 5 mm twist drill into these and the carbon, approximately as hard as clay, was quite easy to remove.

It was obvious from the resistance, and the consistency of the goo coming out that the carbon extended down to the big end oil ways (cross drillings) and no further. At this point, the goo was very oily and no more solid came out.

When I removed the opposite plug, exactly the same sequence of events and when both were clean I was able to poke a bit of welding rod down the drillings, right through the crankshaft. 

It's not a straight hole - they are obviously drilled from either and and meet in the middle.

So, there is not much more I can do with that until I can remove the big ends. Then I can clean out the smaller big end drillings and properly clean the main bore through the middle.

I haven't really looked at the cases yet. When I removed the sump plate ('Very flat, Norfolk') there were flakes of white metal in the primordial ooze. These came from the timing side mains:
I was aware that these were shot from the movement on the nut. Now we have to find someone to replace and line-bore them!

More later.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Shiny Things...

Over the holidays, I've been continuing to use products from the to bring Amelia back to life.

I bought the 16 piece Budget Polishing Kit which contains three mops and three grades of polish:
 Budget Metal Polishing Kit 16 piece
The budget kit contains the essential three polishing steps. It removes light marks/scratches and takes you to a bright finish. There is one mop for each compound: A sisal mop for the grey Menzerna heavy cutting compound (the most coarse); a stitched cotton mop for the green Menzerna  medium compound; and an unstitched cotton mop for the blue Menzerna fine compound. This keeps the polishing simple & easy - you load the compound into the mop and you only use that mop with that compound. You work through the compounds one by one, completing each step before moving on to the next.

The products these guys offer are great value and the arrive very quickly.

Here is the coupling gear cover after going through all the steps:

I soon found that to deal with the aged alloy to my satisfaction I also needed the Abrasive Compound Kit, which contains three more mops and three grades of Abrasive, from 80 to 300 grit:
Abrasive Compound Kit 8 piece
This is the set up I use. The goggles, mask,gloves and an apron are essential, as this process is messy. That mop is loaded with 150 grit and the primary cover has been polished with it.

Here's a shot of the timing cover I did a while ago. It illustrates one of the problems with polishing - it is not as shiny as the coupling gear cover! You have to make an effort to get the parts to the same degree of polish, especially if they are going to be seen out together! Sounds a bit like me & my teenage daughter...

And a 'before' shot. This graphically illustrates why you need the abrasive - the polish will never shift that oxidation:

Here's the primary cover and the number plate:

So there you go. It's easy, if messy, but it saves a lot of money since it is quite time consuming - very satisfying though!