Sunday, 25 June 2017

VMCC Forum


I wanted to let you know that the new Vintage Motorcycle Club forum is up and running. Find it at:

This is a great way to make contact with other vintage motorcycle enthusiasts the world over.

Mention Amelia's Blog when you sign on!

Two Old Relics

I had a nice little trip out on the faithful Bantam this weekend, over to Cromer with the Ariel W/NG timing case. Read about it here.

The pill box is at Aylmerton, and dates from the First World War.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Sheringham Classic Car & Bike Show

It's Carnival time again, and one of the first events in the Carnival year is the Classic Car & Bike show, put on by Graham Deans at The Lobster pub. The event is part of Sheringham Carnival, and Carnival events are listed on the Experience Sheringham website. As always, there were some great cars and bikes in attendance, though not too many bikes this year - I must really publicise it a bit more! We always seem to be blessed with good weather, and this year was no exception.

This SL 175 Honda is a new visitor to the show. I've not seen one of these before - it dates from 1970-1972.

Vauxhall PA Cresta

Ex-Speedtwin Chop

Bikes outside the Lobster
My friend John Harris, of John Harris Photography, took this one:

My 1951 Square Four

One of several TVRs

Sunbeam Alpines

Morris 1000s

More TVRs

Unusual - Borgward Isabella

Monday, 22 May 2017

Rear Wheel Alignment

I noticed a few weeks ago that the SQ4 was trying to drive into the kerb, and required constant correction to keep it on track. There are some roads with steep camber around here which adds to the effect, but on some fast, flat A-roads it still happens, so I need to look at wheel alignment.

To do this, you need to set up a straight edge along the length of the bike to provide a datum for the wheels. Since I don't possess a laser and most of the timber I have is anything but straight, a piece of string is the best solution.

Tie a length of string to a spoke at the front of the front wheel and wrap is around the tire, running the string to the back.

Pull the string tight - you can wrap the string around the back of the rear wheel and tie it off on something convenient. It's very useful to have a bike with a rear stand here, because centre stands get in the way of your string.

You'll note the chopstick under the string at the front. This is there because I have a 3.50 - 19 tyre at the front and a 4.00 - 19 tyre at the rear - so the diameter difference is 0.5" and I have provided a 1/4" spacer (the chopstick) to compensate for this difference.

There is a 1/4" gap at the rear of the front tyre, due to the diameter difference to the rear tyre.

Unfortunately, I also have a gap between the string and the front half of the rear tyre. This is because the rear wheel is not aligned with the front wheel.

You can see this gap here:

Use the tool kit spanners to slacken the wheel spindle:

Use the chain adjusters to move the spindle forwards or backwards. Since my chain tension is correct, I don't want to move the nearside of the rear wheel - I will correct the alignment by pushing the offside forwards.

Now, the front and rear edges of the rear tyre touch the string. I'll check the front wheel has not moved and the string is straight:

Tighten up the wheel spindles and the lock nuts on the chain adjusters and you are done.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Ariel W/NG Oil pump

As part of the timing cover fix, the oil pump has to come off. The two screws are in good shape, and tight:

The pump looks good at first glance; It's certainly working happily so we will not be delving too far in. It's a 1942 pump:

There's no extra paper gasket however... And no evidence of the ball & spring in these holes:

This is how the lubrication system works around the oil pump ports:

Changing the Oil

As you all know, the W/NG has not been in my hands for long. As we know little of its past, we need to do a oil & filter change, 1940's style.

First off, we need to remove the sump plate to drain the crankcase and get some access to the sump strainer:

It's normally held in place with four 1/4" BSW hex screws, wired in place. No wire here! Removig the screws, I'm a little concerned that two come out with the proer 1/4" BSW spanner, and two come out with a 10 mm spanner.

I shouldn't have been concerned though, I have seen imperial fasteners with heads files to fit metric spanners before on ths bike, and these are no exception - all 1/4" BSW:

The strainer looks good too. We'll clean that before it goes back:

It looks like the scavenge pump is working, as there is nothing in the sump:

I'm going to leave the oil draining for a while and I want to make sure the whole system is drained, so I have disconnected the two oil lines at the timing chest:

This is how the lubrication system works:

Ariel Single Timing Cover Fix

I noticed a while back that the magneto platform flexes more than it should, and this became more apparent when I set the ignition timing recently. It's down to the fact that the bolt retaining the magneto platform to the timing cover is missing, and the reason it is missing is that the boss it screws into is also missing...

Removing the magneto chain cover revealed another problem - a missing screw, replaced with a countersunk brass screw of dubious provenance, and within the cover, a burst screw boss:

So we need a man who can TIG weld aluminium and who has experience repairing old castings...

Here's the timing case, removed and cleaned:

This is the damage to the magneto platform bolt hole:

It's gone to Roadkill Customs in Cromer to be fixed.