Saturday, 16 March 2013

'Puzzled' of Norwich writes on the subject of Brake Rods...

Out here in the hinterlands of East Anglia, the winter has been hard & long & devoid of much motorcycling weather, so we have had to content ourselves with small jobs we can do inside, or snatch brief interludes of inner (shed) calm amidst the fun & excitement of family life.

Brian Challinor mailed with a question about the straightness of my brake rod, which had to wait for such an interlude. My brake rod is as straight as the day it was drawn through the die, since it is brand new and has never been fitted.

However, since that interlude came today, I have had it fitted to the bike. Here are several shots showing it in place:




As you see, it doesn't fit - due to the aforementioned 'straightness'

Here's a shot from a 1989 copy of 'The Classic Motorcycle' of a supposedly 1952 Square Four - I say 'supposedly' because there are a few elements that are more 1950 than 1952. Here's the brake rod:


Careful study will show you that it is bent as the proverbial 9 bob note.

Here's another one, a 1951 bike sold at Andy Tiernan's a few years ago:


Again, bent. The case rests m'lud.

So, another day. another interlude... I have taken that most useful of tools, the wire coat hanger, and bent it to form a dummy brake rod, for the purpose of determining the routing the real thing should take and the bends that would be necessary to accommodate that routing. Having satisfied myself, I bent the real thing. Here it is:

Side view, see how long it is, and the poor (low) position of the brake lever?

Here is a top view, which gives an idea of the two bends:


And here is a view of the brake rod and it's proximity to the brake plate and Anstey stirrup:


Looks like the brake arm might be the wrong way around, and the rod needs to be shorter. I'll leave that until I have relined the shoes and positioned the pedal properly - once it's cut shorter, it can't be lengthened again!

Here's a view from Brenton Roy's original '51 Square, suggesting that my installation is along the right lines:

IMAG0781.JPG
Proving yet again that the AOMCC forum is a wonderful resource for us! I'm thinking that my brake arm is a little more bent than Brenton's:

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Yet another Iron Curtain relic...

My dear son Thomas has a habit of bringing home examples of the finest Eastern Bloc motorcycle engineering available for under a tenner, mostly from eBay.

This was the first one:

It's a Minsk 125 marketed in the '70's under the Neval banner, and is one of those  myriads of  DKW RT125 copies of which my Bantam is a fine example.

He painted it, serviced it and we spent months fiddling around with a peculiar electrical system with no battery that was never going to drive those indicators without flashing all the other lights at the same time. It went OK though. 

He sold it for a profit, financing the purchase of whatever students drink these days.

It was followed by an MZ TS125, courtesy of eBay, it was the Luxus model (the one with the real hair?) with the rev counter. This was a bit more adventurous  as when it arrived it had no wheels, tank or seat. He collected from somewhere in Hertfordshire, on the way to my Dad's funeral. He turned up behind the hearse with this MZ stuffed into the back of our Morris 1000, which was never the same again. And no, it wasn't an estate, or a van, or a pick up - just a regular two-door saloon.

Here it is:


He did a great job with it, collecting all the missing parts, repainting & rebuilding. This is how it ended up:

Strangely enough, it looks just like any other TS125 doesn't it! It ran pretty well once we got it going, which in itself was an adventure because some numbnuts had fitted a home made base gasket without cutting the transfer ports in the gasket. Puzzling - the carburettor had fuel in it, the jets were all clear, but the plug was dry...

He now has this one as well, which like all true enthusiasts he has in his dining room - along with cats & rabbits. His girlfriend, bless her, is just as enthusiastic! It quite brings a tear to my eye, reminds me of the 250 Matchless that used to occupy our living room:

So this is the latest addition, another eBay find. We bought this one together - I paid, he went & collected it - as a kind of joint project & a 'congratulations' for getting a promotion at work:


This is how the advert was worded:

1981 MZ TS250/1 Supa 5 restoration project or for spares.
Both tyres are useless and have punctures, the silencer has the usual case of MZ Rust Scabies, both tank panels have quite good chrome for an MZ but aren't perfect. The grey colour is primer and the general gunky condition is old Waxoyl put on years ago to try and help preserve it.
Engine kicks over freely and seems to have quite good compression, all gears seem to select - but it's not a runner and there's no Tax or MoT so please don't think you can ride it away. (It's happened!).
It has the correct front indicator lenses, sound speedo and tacho brackets and the rare-ish side stand plus a Rear lens and tool-box cover (no lock) come with it.
Originally bought by me (in this state) as a source of spares for my other Supa 5 back in 1994......and there it's sat ever since; and as my ride to work Supa 5 has long since gone this may as well follow it.
Interesting number plate? TEX 6**W
All in all a nice little project that just needs a little T.L.C........you could have it running by the weekend (lol)!
Just to re-iterate this is a non-running project, with no Tax or MoT so you will need a van or trailer to take it away (I'm unable to deliver). We are near Bury St. Edmunds in Suffolk.
Having said that, there is a possibility I could take to Beverley (near Hull) for collection from there on 23rd February - but it is only a possibility, so PLEASE contact me first before assuming it's going to happen!
Any queries, please email before bidding.


And here is another view:


Now that is it at home in my garage (another thing he has learnt - why put stuff in your own house when you could leave it at your Dad's?), I have to say it is a fine machine. The waxoyl the previous owner (I don't know his name) smeared all over it has made a great job of preserving the alloy and some of the chrome. It has apparently been standing in a garage for the past 20 years.

The rubber is shot to bits though. I was tempted to put some tyre sealant in the tyres just to move it around more easily, but on screwing the can onto the valve I found the valve completely detached from the tube!

So there it is. Waiting a bit of time, for #1 son to buy a battery and for me to take a trip to Leeds, where I understand Wyldes have some tyres at a good price...

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

A Good Thing

Aside from motorcycles (and we have yet another MZ in the family) we have a fabulous event to announce, helping to fill the hole left by the dear departed Ruby, our Cocker Spaniel.

This is Max. He is a 6 month old chocolate Sprocker (Springer Spaniel x Cocker Spaniel):

Isn't he great!

Hack & Slash

Spurred on by idleness, I have done a drastic thing to my original mudguard at the rear - I have sliced it almost in twain with a hacksaw.

The issue is that to get the L-stays into their studs at the top of the spring housings, I had to put a lot of pressure on the mudguard.

The reason is that I have, whilst reinforcing the mudguard, inadvertently straightened it out too much.

First I made one saw cut in each side, than I flexed the guard so that the L stays fitted into their lugs.

I found that my saw cuts had closed up completely. I then made a second cut, which partially closed up. Now I had no tension in the guard and I had a gap in which to re-weld.

Now all I have to do is weld it up again.

Brake Light Switch

The devil is in the detail, they say. Casting around for small jobs, I realised that I had nowhere to mount the brake light switch. I knew from studying the wiring diagrams that Ariel began fitting brake lights to Square Fours around 1953, so that early Mk 2s would have factory fitted switches.

A plea on the AOMCC forum yielded this picture, from Greg Snyder in Pennsylvania, USA:


Greg also posted this, of the bracket in situ on his bike:


So, with guidance like that it was easy to make a new one:


Here are some details. Sorry about the sawdust:





And some more views:







Gearbox - a stroke of luck

You may or may not have noiced, but Amelia's non-original gearbox end cover has a broken clutch cable abutment bracket:

You can just about see it here if you know what you are looking for. This is a picture of the gearbox as it came out of Grace's van.

I had planned to get Matchless Engineering to weld this up and then cut a new slot & hole, which I probably should have done, but then this came up on eBay:

An hour with some white spirit and a small brush cleaned it up nicely:

I will try and repair the old one and then sell it, when I have a minute!

Shiny things!

Well, several small jobs going on at the moment. I'm filling in while waiting for the engine to come back. I've been looking at cables, brake light switches, the gearbox, the mudguards and the wheels.

I guess that is quite a bit really.

I've finished polishing up the brake bake plate. This is now assembled with the help of some lithium grease - not suitable for high-temperature disc brakes, but perfectly adequate for sparing use on the moving parts of a drum brake. It has a new brake arm spring and adjuster, both courtesy of Draganfly.

The plate eventually came up nicely, after an hour or two on the abrasive wheels and the polishing mops:

You will see that I have left the brake anchor slot free of that nasty little aluminium closing plate, and I have sprayed the brake arm blake. There was no evidence of any plating on this original part, and i have seen them black painted in my reference pictures, so black it is.

This is now back on the bike, looking a bit better than it did a few months ago: