Saturday, 16 May 2015

A little trip to Cromer

An evening ride to Cromer revealed a front brake that was much better, but which now had too much lever movement. Nipping up the adjuster two clicks improved the lever movement and there didn't seem to be any brake binding, which was excellent. There was still a juddering from the front, particularly on braking. Getting it home, I found that wheeling the bike backwards revealed that particular groan that only binding brakes make, so I've backed the adjuster off one click.

Back in the workshop, a quick check revealed loosened head bearings - wheeling the bike forwards and putting the brake on reveals a 'jolt' from the headstock which you can hear. To check them more physically, put the bike on the main stand and put your thumb here in the dim & dark recesses of the top yoke, across the gap between the dust cover and the headstock:

The Engineer's Thumb

With your other hand, grasp the front wheel and rock the bike backwards. This has the effect of pushing the steering column up through the headstock against the weight of the bike, and your thumb will be able to feel any movement. Don't vigorously rock it backwards & forwards - you don't want it rolling off the stand.

Mr. Waller suggests lifting the weight off the front wheel to perform this job, bit since I have no bike lift or any desire to damage my back I use the method described above.

So, having found some movement we need to sort out the problem. First slacken off the lock nut under the top yoke with your head race spanner, Clay at Acme Stainless has these, but you can also pick original ones up on eBay. Be very careful not to damage the paint on the tank - make sure the spanner fits well (so that the spanner doesn't slip) and that the tank is protected (for when the spanner slips):

Now, grasping the wheel again, roll the bike backwards against the main stand whilst attempting to tighten the lower of the two nuts. You will find that the nut is now loose and can be tightened down - you will want to perform this feat of coordination two or three times.

When you are happy that the bearings are snug, and you can feel no more movement, tighten down the top nut. Move the handlebars and satisfy yourself that they are not binding anywhere. 

If you use your steering damper, reset it and you are good to go.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Restore, Ride, Fettle, Ride, Fix at roadside, Ride, Fettle...

So of the course the latest little jaunt around the countryside heralded the same old problems with the front brake...

No obvious overheating this time, but only because I was watching for it and acutely aware of the vibration from the front forks. Resting my gloved hand softly on the lever, you can feel that sometimes it is tight and sometimes not. Sometimes there is a lot of play at the lever - I suspect it is not returning too well. Parked up, I backed off the cable a couple of turns and it felt much better.

So back in the workshop, the cable is obviously too long. It doesn't run down smoothly through the yokes, and it feels a bit dry:

We'll look at getting a new pair of shoe return springs, but for a start let's sort that cable out. No going back now:

This is how you fill up the nipple with solder. You want to avoid it running down the cable, and you need to be careful to avoid excessive heat.

More cable making information here.

Oh, and the speedo needle is sticking again:

But she still looks nice in period surroundings, albeit with a bit of PhotoShop!

One for the Bridge Club

I've recently spotted that the Bridge Club have some of my posts on their blog spot, which I am delighted to see. In line with their ethos, I have started taking pictures of bridges...

This is the bridge that carries Sandy Hill Lane over the NNR and into Station Road at the delightful Weybourne Station. Look at the soot all over the bridge! This comes from some of the fantastic locomotives shown on the NNR locos page.

This next one is the same line, different era. These are the two viaducts at East Runton, just after the duck ponds on the way to the village. The far viaduct carries the Bittern Line from Sheringham to Cromer, and was built by the Midland & Great Northern Joint Railway. During the M&GN days, a train could continue straight over the near viaduct straight on to Sheringham from the shared line that ran from Norwich into Cromer High. Both the route over this viaduct & Cromer High station itself are now just history (though the viaduct is still in place, and Roadkill Customs occupies part of the Cromer High Station yard). 

During the M&GN (and indeed the LNER and later British Railways) period, the trains would go from Norwich, through Wroxham and North Walsham before reaching the Runton Triangle, cross the now disused near viaduct before bearing West on to Sheringham or back to Norwich. When Cromer High was closed and all trains went to Cromer Beach (which is in the town centre - unlike Cromer High), the loco would be facing the wrong direction for the run on to Sheringham and would be turned on the Cromer Beach turntable. When the turntable was removed (when?), the loco would run-around the train at Cromer, and use the triangle to change direction. The loco would cross the (currently used) northerly viaduct in reverse & then travel forwards onto the southerly viaduct, finally reversing back onto the train at Cromer, ready to return to Norwich.

Of course, all this changed with the post-Beeching era and the modernisation of our railways. From the '60's, the driver would vacate one cab of his DMU & wander up to the other end to run "backwards" on into Sheringham.

Spot the Ariel

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Phased Rebuilds

Another example of why, if you are not too familiar with a machine, phased rebuilds are a good idea. This little clip, which retains the brake cable from flapping about, was fitted back to front and was merrily removing the paint from the fork shroud:

Glad that's not new paint on there!

Friday, 1 May 2015

False Alarm

Well, thankfully the dribble of oil, grease or other shiny substance appearing at the edge of my brake drum appears to be tiny, and dry.

Pulling the brake apart took me fifteen minutes, thanks to the front stand, a wonderful invention - not only because it lifts the wheel off the ground, but also because it stops the headstock swinging about.

So easy to use...
This is the leading shoe, a little high in the middle - maybe about 60-70% contact:

Leading shoe wear
And this is the trailing shoe, wearing as you would expect - a little more than 50% contact:

Trailing shoe wear
So, we have something like 60% contact overall. A little relief on the high spots should help tremendously, which I can do with some 60 grit paper and a file.

As for the grease, just a little dribble. We will clean that up tomorrow.

And there is a lucky eBay find on the way!

For those fortunate enough to be less geeky than me, this is an original Ariel brake fulcrum spanner. Very rare. Here it is in action: