Thursday, 10 December 2015

Solex again

Time to start finishing stuff off. I have some new carburetter parts from David Jones from Sleaford, who specializes in the repair of the Solex carburetters fitted to the SQ4.

It's the bi-starter control and the air bell:

All in pieces

Assembled. This is the bi-starter in the off position - that knob is a little long I think.

I have an insulator that I will be fitting as well.

It's a 3 mm thick insulator and it is manufactured from Silicon Resin Bonded Fabric. It is impervious to Ethanol and it is 50% more heat resistant than a standard Tufnol insulator and 100% stronger than phenolic. In an ideal world this would reduce the heat going into the carburetter body and reduce the high-temperature misfire.

In the real world it causes the float bowl to foul the distributor cap and is completely useless. But I did discover that when you inevitably drop the carburetter flange washers and they fall behind the dynamo, you can see them sitting under the dynamo from the rear, if you look across the top of the gearbox. I'm sure if I drop enough down there they will start coming out.

Just like the 2p falls at the amusement arcade.

A post from Mark Walsh of the AOMCC shows me that if an insulator won't fit on my machine, there is something wrong: there is a lot of space on Mark's machine, which already has an insulator:

Mark Walsh's SQ4
Here's the Solex back in place:

You can see I have changed the brass tag that is used to mount the throttle return spring. It now has several spring positions so that I can vary the torque the spring exerts on the throttle spindle - I want the throttle to spring shut, but I want a light action. The second spring position is good for that!

Here's a close up of an earlier version:

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Front Brake again

As you all know I've been having trouble with my front brake on and off since my SQ4 went back on the road late last year. This year it has had a lot of attention, and is a lot more effective than it was.

Yet it still 'groans' particularly when reversing but also moving forward, which is probably down to the cable being a little tight and the shoes still bedding it in.

However, I wanted to check with members of the AOMCC forum if anybodies brake plates bend outward (in the direction of the arrow) by a few mm when the brake is applied. this is quite easy to see in the garage. I'm guessing that's not normal.

Something is maybe not as square as it should be. Maybe the brake shoes are able to move out of true, or the hub is slightly conical? Maybe there is some play that should not be available?

The brake shoe linings may have worn lopsided and when force applied the brake plate springs a bit. They are not actually that strong, and normally don't have to resist much force along the line of the axle axis. The shoes may have worn unevenly. The springs may be distorting the way they sit, or the plate may be too close to the wheel hub. Something wrong with the bearing installation.

So I stripped it down again. What I didn't expect was two cracked shoes...

Given that these shoes have a marginally smaller diameter than the drum, and have an adjuster at one end that allows the shoe to be brought into contact with the drum, it's easy to see how this would happen.

The story goes like this. If you do the adjuster up relatively tight, the slightest movement of the shoe brings the friction material into contact with the drum. If there is a gap between shoe and drum at the cam end of the shoe, but none at the other end operation of the cam will attempt to bring the cam end of the shoe into contact with the drum, bending the shoe about the contact point at the adjuster end; the resulting bending moment causes a tensile load on the inner diameter of the shoe, leading to brittle fracture due to the hardness in the casting.

While this brake design is used in every car drum brake I have ever seen, it is invariably with fabricated steel shoes which will be considerably tougher than this cast aluminium.

Splendid club the AOMCC. Not more than a few hours after posting the story of my plight on the forum, Paul Jameson had put these in the post!

Many thanks Paul.I also have this from Draganfly, in exchange for my previous, silver painted version:

So the next step is to fettle it all to fit and get her back on the road.

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Huntmaster - Missing parts appear

The Huntmaster was always going to be a long term project, partly out of time but also for want of space. It's lurking about in the garage and from time to time something pops up on eBay, or something else triggers the realisation that a part is missing.

Looking at the engine one idle evening I took the points cover off the end of the magneto only to find they were missing! These K2F points assemblies see to make a lot of money on eBay, so I had to wait a while before I could get one at a reasonable price. Here it is along with the fixing screw:

And here it is back at home in the magneto

And here's another one, this time from Adrie deGraff from Holland. Its the front section of the rear chaincase:

It needs a bit of welding, but this is what it should look like:

And this is the other side:

And what it should look like:

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Happy Anniversary!

Well, its four years to the day since Amelia came to stay.

Here she is on the day she arrived:

And here's a recent picture:

Tool Bench

Another day, another bench... This time, for some power tools - a bandsaw and a pillar drill, and maybe a bench grinder. Oh, and a big ol' vice... and... and...

4" x 2" battens (roof joists, out of a skip) secured with 6 off 8 mm frame fixes...

Top added - two pieces of thick beech-edged MDF (salvaged from my dad's garage), screwed to the battens. Legs also added, 3" x 2" pine, salvaged from an old door. Nothing actually paid for yet!

For future reference, the new tool bench is 1500 mm x 500 mm.

The ladies waited outside.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Badges again

Today the new badges are dry, so we can put them on. Here they are against the old ones:

And now one on the machine:


Looks great doesn't it. Thanks for giving us a lovely bike Mr. Page!

New Badges

Amelia's original badges and the chrome flashes which live behind them have looked very tired since she arrived nearly four years ago, and I was lucky enough to find a better condition set, genuine Ariel parts still with the patina of age, but less of it... Here they are:

The paint is all missing, so we will need to do a little job on that. First clean them up with some Farecla G10 rubbing compound, then mask them up:

Now, trim the masking back:

Paint with some etch primer:

and some top coat:

remove the mask while the paint is still wet:

And leave it to dry.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Dusky Jaunt

Well, a little jaunt around North Norfolk yesterday evening left me thinking about my lights, as the nights are drawing ever inward.

The Lucas C35SD dynamo, in standard condition and running 6V into a modern V-Reg regulator rectifier charges the batteries at anything over idling. However, put the main beam on and you have to get to about 40 mph to get it to balance, and this is only running a 35W/35W BPF headlamp as it would have been in 1951, with a 5/21W stop tail - all old-fashioned tungsten bulbs.

In addition to this it has the 3W BA9 pilot light and the 2.4W BA9 light in the speedo.

I think some upgrades are in order. Here's my list:
  • 35W/35W QH BPF headlamp - B635BPFQH is the one I have in mind, from Paul Goff
  • LED tail lamp - I'll use the LD6RST 
  • LED pilot lamp - Paul's LDBA9DWneg is the one here, drawing 1.5W, or LDT10DWH6V depending on which is brighter
  • LED speedo lamp - again LDBA9DWneg is the one
as a minimum. And then maybe, because this is getting expensive, I will add:
  • LED indicators
  • LED indicator relay
I'm toying with the idea of replacing the cheapo repro Lucas 529 rear light, which I fitted as it is much larger and more visible than the original Lucas 480, with a better one from Paul Goff.

I have to make sure that the bike is (if I recall correctly) wired negative earth (which it is - I went and looked at the battery) - the regulator certainly is - because LEDs are polarity sensitive. I'll maybe look into the bright daytime running lights Paul sells as well, since I have two positions for pilot lights.

I also discovered, by the way, that you can ground the side stand on cornering!

Thursday, 15 October 2015

The Square Four in Racing

I can't quite believe that I have never come across Kees' site before, but I'm looking forward to reading about the various racing Square Fours that have been built. Here's the link:

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Black bin bags

I just fitted a tyre to my MZ TS250, without tyre irons, using only a bin bag like this:

I did use my feet, since a modern 350-16 tyre is a lot stiffer than the tyre he is fitting but it is brilliant. I’m never going back to the old way.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Norfolk Coast Bimble

A nice little run (after filling up with Super unleaded for the first time) to Overstrand this morning in milky sunlight found this rather splendid Commando special at a local garage:

I've been looking for a local MOT station to get the MZ TS250/1 on the road for the winter, and this is just the spot, with a very friendly and knowledgeable tester who owned also the Commando - which to me is recommendation in itself. All I have to do now is fit the tyres to the MZ and we'll be ready for it to become the hack!

Amelia seems very happy, in her element on these single carriageway, twisty relatively quiet open roads; but pulling away from the garage, noisily to show off to an interested pedestrian left me limping along beside the pavement wishing I'd turned the fuel tap on...

Returning to a more mundane setting (Homebase Cromer) shows her domestic side as well, running errands. A small oil leak has appeared which coats the frame rails, oil filter and sump. the chain oiler is open but the chain is dry; I have closed it now. We'll have to do a bit of investigation.

At least the rocker shafts are no longer leaking!

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Loctite 577

Remember the weep at the end of the rocker shafts? I've applied Loctite 577 thread sealer here, which should fix that problem.

Once we fix that leak, we can look for others...

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Classic Bike Hire Norfolk

So, opinions please! There doesn't seem to be a classic bike hire outfit here in Norfolk, so what if I start one? We have some great biking country around here, big open skies, small country lanes - no motorways in Norfolk!

I'd maybe offer a few bikes:

  • Ariel Huntmaster
  • BSA A10
  • BSA Bantam
  • BSA B31
  • Royal Enfield Bullet

What else would you suggest? Charges would be something like 85-95 GBP per day, maybe 150-175 GBP for a weekend, including insurance.

So what do you think? Drop me a line on and let me know what you think.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Retrieving broken studs & screws

I've been meaning to take a few hours to write up the removal of a couple of broken screws.

These two examples are both parts of my Huntmaster - One is a fork clamp bolt, in which the screw retaining the headlamp casquette has become seized in the past and broken by someone; the other is a engine mount spacer, which in these bikes is provided with a small 2 BA lug to retain a pressed metal cover, which enhances the appearance of the engine mount and prevents it getting full of road dirt. Of course, in this exposed position these little screws seize solid. I managed to get one out, aided by some prehistoric oil leak, but the other was dry as a bone and broke as I worked it.

So the process for fixing this kind of problem is this:

Put the part solidly in the vice, and file the broken bolt flat; then centre punch the broken fastener right in the centre.

File the broken screw flat

Using a small drill, make a pilot hole right through the broken fastener. As you start it, make sure it's still on-centre

Pilot hole in the old 2 BA engine mount screw

Using a larger drill, open the hole out until you are approaching the minor diameter of the thread
Small pilot drill hole in the old screw

Continue drilling out the old screw
Try an Easy-Out in the hole, selecting the largest one possible that will bite in the hole. Turn it gently with a tap wrench. Don't force it - if you break it in the hole you are in real trouble.

Small Easy-Out
If you don't have any success with an easy-out (and I can't remember when one worked for me), go to the next drill. You will be able to see if you are approaching the major diameter of the thread - if you have already cut into the thread, stop.

Using a small punch or a chisel, tap out as much of the old fastener as you can - you can often shift a lot of it from the top of the hole, tapping toward the centre. Removing a couple of threads from the top of the hole is sufficient to go to the next step:

Finished drilling - only the old thread remains

Peeling the top threads away

Using a taper tap of the appropriate size, start the tap in the hole and attempt to recut the thread. Give it a few turns, and then disassemble everything and knock all the debris out of the bottom of the hole.
Starting the thread with the taper tap
Clean it out will so there is room for the second and plug taps.

All that remains of a 5/16" BSC screw
Move on to the second or intermediate tap and then the bottoming or plug tap, and complete the recutting of the hole. There will be a lot more debris in the hole and you will have to clean it all out again.

5/16" BSC Plug tap

Ariel Huntmaster engine mount repaired
Test it with a new fastener and you are done.

Ariel fork bolt repaired