Thursday, July 31, 2014


.... I grabbed a gear and slammed the brakes. You could smell the rubber coming in the window all blue.  was doing about 50 when it leapt over a stone wall right into my lights; Tan and grey, the Deer was the only sight within 20ft.  It looked as if it was out a serengetti scene bounding across the yellow beams of my headlights.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Velo Scrambler progress

After a brief phone call with Ed G, I got enough energy to dig back into the scrambler project. That, and the Norton project has come to a short holding pattern.  the last few things to get into on the scrambler are the broken screws on the oil pump, check the main bearings condition and open the gear box for inspection.  with all of theses the engine needed to be pulled.  I needed to gather thoughts as far as approaching the oil lines which snake around and behind the frame. As simple as two oil lines and a vent tube are; they were well convoluted.

Once the oil lines were well documented, I could get onto removing the primary drive case and clutch unit.

Here is a detail of the output/input of the transmission including the 'frying pan' throw out minus the bearing that rides within the gate. I rather like the design, its very simple and works well when all the bits are in good nick.

  Here lies all the mystery of the Velocette clutch;  the top section with the four large holes threads onto the input shaft the the transmission and the large threaded ring on the bottom will thread into the clutch/chain wheel unit at the cover plate.  the top unit should be nipped up tight against the springs and the bottom is where the clutch unit is adjusted.   The threaded ring rides on three pins. these pins slide through the chain wheel body and rest on the throw out bearing in the 'frying pan'. The threaded ring is threaded into the cover plate until it touches the pins. If it is threaded in further while on the pins, the cover plate is moved away from the friction material causing slipping as there is no way to force metal into metal.

When adjusting up a Velo clutch, disconnect the cable and thread the ring at the clutch in until you feel a slight slip on compression while operation of the starter lever and only just slip. At that point you can re connect the clutch cable; there should be an adjuster inline of the cable housing, wind this adjuster to make sure you have extra slack to start the whole adjustment of the cable housing before connecting the cable

Connect the cable to the hand lever, then using the inline adjuster, remove any extra slack in the cable housing. The more time spent feeling the proper adjustment of no free play without over doing it,the better. Make sure to move the cable about and double check that you've remove any slackness that was added while the cable was disconnected. Do not wind the adjuster so tight that you need wrenches.

Now the final adjustment is carried out at the clutch;  the threaded ring is wound out and as this is done you should feel free play coming back to the hand lever (with light pressure) remember the three pins, as the ring is wound out they now gain room to move. The adjustment is complete when there is about 1/8 inch gap of free play at the lever. The whole reason for this 'process' is that Veloce had gone to great lenghts toward making such a thin clutch operate in such a small space;  the adjustment is right on the edge of motion for a slipping action. It is a refined engineered device with almost pinpoint accuracy.

  I had to take a few attempts at removing the oil pump.  Lots of heat is needed, its quite an interference fit.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The time is near

Daylight is getting longer, the birds are getting louder, things are starting to gain momentum. A few more cold snaps, a storm or two and then it will happen. That first solid 45 degree day in full sunshine will beam down and call those that are prepared out.

What does prepared mean? Ready to bolt out of the house after being snowed in for a few months of hibernation? Or ready to take the winter project out for its first firing? Chance favors the prepared mind.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

More snow. more time for motorcycles

Kept on procrastinating this past week even though there was time to play with the machines. Each time I'd get into the workshop there would be some other small detail that needed to be address first.  Papers needed sorting, a rack need to be setup and hold parts and just about anything that could get in and break the focus - did.    
The head got sent out to Ed G. for  evaluation on the guides and seats. The mag followed suit for a re-gauss. The mag bearings cleaned up very well, so that was a good thing.  But a better examination of the forks found that the upper triple clamp has a half inch crack directly in the middle.  Not sure whether I can find a set of good triples or come up with a different front end.  Prior to my pulling it apart the previous owner said it was fitted with a Ceriani front end. Could be the Ceriani was a replacement due to the crack....   The triples had been chrome plated in the past, maybe hydrogen embrittlement? who knows.. 
With a little more dancing that was expected due to a non- standard chain case bolt fouling the frame  upon removal, the Chain case open easy enough.  The gasket was quite dry and the felt o-ring that rides over the clutch unit was missing.  All the engine bolts except the upper rear most one have been removed.  After the oil tank lines are documented for routing the tank will come off and the engine can then come out.  Gotta get my act together if its to be ready for this spring.

On New Years Day the Norton was dropped off.   With it now in the shop I can give it a better going over.  A few small things here and there; missing timing cover bolt, battery is not very happy and the shifter needs to be address.  Mike S. will be coming by to give me a few pointers and I've called out to other Norton fellows as well.  More learning curves to go and get onto. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Take it apart, put it back together

Having a few days free due to the holidays can help get things out of the way and let the mind prepare for the spring season.  On the MSS the headlight stopped working on both the high and low beam at the end of the season.  The MSS winters on the pathway to the basement ice box and each journey brings forth the reminder to 'get on to it' for spring chores.  
After giving the kick starter a shove to change the piston set I got onto looking at the bulb. Both filaments were ok which got me to believe that there were gremlins in the wiring.  Though the headlight harness connections needed a tending to no gremlins were found. It seems as if the bulb had the short circuit within the base. 
A few searches on the interweb pulled up either bulbs of faraway lands or exorbitant prices; I'd converted the MSS to a 12volt Halogen but wanted to retail the original British Pre Foucs base.  Since the filaments tested fine, it seemed that all one had to do was de-solder the base and re-solder.  This all worked out just fine but a cool discovery was made...  I could use a inexpensive H4 bulb of the same wattage, remove it from its base and solder it into the old BPF base if need be.  A good thought if one was to be stuck on the side of nowhere and needed to re-create the wheel in 3 hours. 
later in the week I dug back into the scrambler.  The next chore to tackle was the rear axle.  I'd been soaking the outer bolt section for a few days.  With a socket tapped on and a large breaker bar, the axle shaft broke free and was able to be worked back and forth until it had smooth rotation.  The six nuts that held the hub onto the brake drum  were stuck. With a different approach; compressed air and an impact hammer made short work of them.

The magneto had to come out so give grips could be used on the lower head bolt socket.  It generally came apart easy to reveal more work will be needed.  Almost no polarity was felt in the body and the grounding brush was MIA.
On the head side of things, the valve guides are a tad sloppy.  This caused the more wear on the seats than I would have liked to find.  On the whole, the heads really need a full service but having a seat cutter on hand helped to having a go at it.  the exhaust was very much out of round and extremely pitted.  Now educated-  there really is no point it trying to cut back the seats with sloppy guides.
Not able to find a valve grinding machine locally and well knowing this needs fresh valves, I had a friend cut the valves on a lathe.  After using some bluing on the faces they seems not too far off.  A quick run with some fine lapping compound they were good enough to see if some compression was restored.
With the old head gasket as it was, everything was put back into place and ready to kick over.   The valves needed a minor adjustment and the compression gauge installed we were getting a bit or resistance and 60psi on the meter.  In fact, the resistance was as good as my other Velos. If was a bloke in England, knowing well on that the machine needed to be ready for work tomorrow, it would have been ready to go.  But the head needs better service and a more professional person to view the seats.
Ready for compression test

Removing valves again

The last thing for the day was to pull the barrel and piston. I'd been both looking forward and holding off on this job.  Not wanting to disturb the rings and allows foreign matter into the crankcase I'd been holding off removing the barrel. But there probably is no better time to visually inspect the piston and barrel. The plus would be to inspect the conrod feel and play.  So far everything looks and feels way better than the head.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

1967 Velocette Scrambler, heads off

       More snow for New England means more time to retreat into the workshop.  There's something about the falling snow that locks out the sound of the world and allows me to focus on what is important to my being. Yes, clearing the walkways and drive are important to my overall safety. But to experience what this engine feels like in the lightened late model scrambler frame, to hear it on the pipe... that is a motivator that moves my soul.
       When I walked away from the Velo last night I was still down to removing the last stud.  That stud was seized in the socket on the block.  What could have been an easy task turned into a challenge of heat, oil and vice grips. By morning one stud was out the other needed to wait until both the timing cover and magneto came off.   Then came the snow....
    With Snow comes school delays, closings and early releases. Today it would be an early release so Someone needed to be here for when the monkey came home. I'll take one for the team and hang around....  down to the workshop to wait.   
    After giving a couple cups of coffee and music to kick in I was settled into the process of removing the timing cover. I'd been curious to see what might be going on inside; there were two different push rods in this engine. One would be what is in the MSS engine, the other I suspect is from a thruxton style engine.  With the MSS you can adjust the rockers by installing a feller gauge between the conical cup on the push rod and the push rod it self.  With a thruxton push rod setup you need to remove the timing cover and use a feeler gauge at the cam and follower.
    The timing cover came off after removing the shift lever. On the whole everything looked pretty decent, no broken teeth on gears or dirty cases internally.  Everything looked ship shaped.  I'd made a gear puller for the magneto gear a few years back, with a quick pop of the timing gear came.   From there you need to use a modified wrench to loosen two of the three magneto housing bolts.  I'd made one for the MSS but need to make a few more for each tool kit. its quite like a crows foot style but my personal one is welded and ground down 11MM wrench.  
    With the magneto off the vise grips had plenty of clearance.  Heat, spray and beat; out came the stud and the head was off.  A victory as no head stud needed to be cut!  Its nice to have made it this far, with a quick inspection it looks as if the exhaust valve has a small nick in its face.  I sprayed some penetrant on the valve faces.  hmmm, the fluid level goes down quickly and flows out the exhaust port.  A good size puddle on the floor proves that there might be a leak in the head.  ok, that should explain the lack of compression.  The next task at hand will be to free up the rear axle, more heat and beat in the future.