Sunday, November 19, 2017

Final Assembly - Bits & Bobs Pt I

Now the heavy lifting is done and I am heading down the home stretch. It's time for the last bits to be installed and to make sure everything is setup properly. This is also the place to talk about stuff that didn't fit anywhere else or to cover issues I ran into after my initial post on the subject. The clutch is a good example of this. I inspected all of the parts, assembled it, and when I pulled the cable several springs bound up. The plate was not totally flat. That wasn't supposed to happen but I am sure most Interceptor owners would not be surprised. It is a bit of an odd clutch for a BSA guy. It is hanging out on that long gearbox shaft whipping in the wind and you can't adjust all of the springs?

The primary cover was galled where a clutch bolt had given its life. This is probably why one of them was renewed and the spring plate was bent.  

The spring plate had been inspected but I must not have measured in the correct places. It was re-bent to get all of the spring spacing correct and to provide even run out. I did not like the feel of the clutch and went back to Don Morely's "Gearbox Rebuild Part 5 Clutch" and replicated the push rod from his article. This improved the feel dramatically and should increase the life of the push rod. The old rod was worn from bending as he points out in his article and a new hardened one was purchased.

New and old push rods for comparison. The new hardened rod was cut, the pieces were ground to length, and the ends were polished and heat treated - per Don. 

Paint is a place I have continually fought a battle with. I like sprayed urethane for its authentic look but it is not as durable as powder coating. Touching up dings and blending them in has been a learning experience for me. I almost hate to recount this story but here we go. I dropped a wrench on my swing arm which left a sizable scratch. No problem just touch it up. I sprayed some enamel on it thinking I would come back later, sand it off and polish it out. To my horror it bubbled and made a mild scratch a large job. I have not had that happen before. Bummer.

A wrench dropped on my pretty paint and a touch up job gone horribly wrong......

Three coats of brushed on acrylic enamel cured and sanded to 1500 grit.  

Next I purchased acrylic enamel and brushed on several coats. After it dried for a couple of weeks I sanded it smooth with 1500 grit paper and polished it out with 3M perfect It #3. This worked well and I think I have a new process. I am leaning very hard toward powder coating the frame and bits, with the exception of flat pieces, on my next job due to ts durability. I powder coated the skid plate and it looks great although I am not crazy about the wavy look on flat areas.

Sanded, buffed and waxed. Not bad. Those who don't read this blog will never know. 

The clutch, tachometer and speedometer cables were the proper length as purchase and left as is. The throttle and brake cables were significantly longer than necessary and needed to be shortened to look and function properly. While it was apart I removed the original brake cable fitting and sent it out to chrome. It was installed on the new cable to provide the correct knurls.

The cables are an area that may be overlooked sometimes but I like to make sure they are all the correct length. This looks good and also make things function better, especially the front brake. If this cable is to long it will cause the front brake to pulse as it flexes. All new cables were ordered for the Interceptor and most were good as is. The throttle cables and short choke cables worked as is but the front brake and lever end choke cable were too long. On to the shortening process.

The new Choke cable was 4 inches too long. Time for an intervention....

A new brass ferule ready to move  into place with a key clip I purchased at a record store in the 70's. I always wondered what to use that thing for.....

Cable tinned and brass ferrule moved into place. 

It all fits as it's supposed to. Time to put it all together. 

Cables shortened and installed. 

After looking at these bits for two years and thinking they were good as is I had a change of heart and sent them to the chrome plater. A good decision as they look great. 

A new Interceptor at the Long Beach motorcycle show. I have to admit I kind of like it. 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Engine Rebuild Part VII - Top End Assembly

Once the engine was in the frame it was time to start its final assembly. The cylinders were bored and honed by EV Engineering in Howard City Michigan and Ed did a great job.  Now it was on to fitting the rings. The end gap was checked in the cylinders and half were good while half required filing to make end gap meet workshop manual specs. Once calibrated to the bore the rings were fit to the pistons and the pistons were mounted to the connecting rods.

Measuring ring end gap.

Filing a ring to increase end gap. They were close but two needed slight adjustment. 

Pistons mounted, ready for ring compressors (so I thought) and cylinders.

Fitting the cylinders to the pistons is a straightforward procedure on my BSAs. I have a set of motorcycle ring compressors that work very well for this task. When I tried to use these on the Interceptor I found they did not compress small enough for the RE. No problem, they're not that far off so just make shims, right? Wrong. With the shims they would not fit between the cylinder bolts and I don't know how I would get them out if they did work. The bottom of the cylinders have a nice taper so I gave the old screw driver method a go and it worked well. I proceeded gingerly as I did not want to break a ring as this looks like it would be easy to do.  

My various methods to place the cylinders on the pistons without breaking the rings. Standard MC compressors, shims to make them fit the RE, a reversed zip tie, and my trusty screwdriver. Guess which one worked.....

The pushrod tunnels have aluminum rings around them which is not the way they left the factory. This is someone's attempt to eliminate oil leakage. It appears to have worked as the RE was relatively oil tight in this area and I left them in.  A rubber seal fits into a recess in the head and compresses them .04 in on these aluminum rings.  Non-hardening Aviation Permatex was used to seal things up. 

In this photo I am using an aluminum drift to re-install the "non-factory" sealing rings.

This is the first time I have encountered the Cross rings used in place of a head gasket. Cross rings are tapered rings that get pressed into a mating surface in the cylinder by the head. This setup replaces a conventional head gasket. I have read mixed reviews on them and was very careful torquing them down to keep things fitting properly. The torque value is rather low at 20 ft/lbs. I used two base gaskets to seal in oil and no compression plate which is an option used to lower the compression ratio. I have been using high-octane non-alcohol fuel which should make them unnecessary.

Cylinders mounted and Cross rings in place. 
Just add pushrods and bond to the sealing areas and it's ready for the head.

When I removed the heads there was no sealing compound found on the Cross rings although the manual directs its use. I reached out to my friends on the Yahoo Interceptor group and they recommended assembling the Cross rings with non-hardening Permatex, which I did.

Torquing the head to 20 ft/lb and making sure everything stays square by tightening in 25 in/lb  increments. 

The valves were adjusted using the new elephant foot adjusters. A good upgrade in my opinion although there is not much movement left for future valve adjustments. If I run out of room I will remove the heads and grind material off of the adjuster lock nuts. (I would have done so before installation if I thought this might be an issue)

The Interceptor's split cylinder design facilitates cooling but has the disadvantage of making a weaker engine assembly. Owners have devised methods to overcome the weakness which I have also included on my build. The head steady was strengthened with straps that tie the heads together. While not as strong as a one piece design it should improve the assembly and increase engine operating life.

The head reinforcement plates were made from 12 gauge steal and mount under the head steady. The head steady top mount hole's bottom end was lengthened to allow for the thickness of the plate while the top of the bracket cleared the frame as is.  

The top end installed and adjusted. Next it's on to cables and electrical.  

I'm currently reading Phil Irving's "Motorcycle Engineering". 
A great book for someone who enjoys learning the reason behind the design. 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Engine Rebuild Part VI - Timing and Primary

Mounting the engine went well although devising a method that wouldn't damage my nice paint job required some thought. The process took about 20 minutes after I had a plan. Once the engine was in place it was time to install its components. Most parts had already been cleaned up or replaced as necessary.  I elected to start with the timing side.

A bit rusty but overall in pretty good shape.

One of the things I like about antique motorcycles is that they are mostly mechanical. I enjoy learning about mechanical designs I have not run into before and the Interceptor has provided a number of them. For example it uses a unique layout for its timing side.  The camshafts are mounted high and rather far apart with an offset pin idler sprocket to adjust chain tension. Turning the pin adjusts the chain tension. A rather clever assembly. The camshafts can be removed without splitting the cases which enables relatively quick changes if needed.

After inspecting everything I placed my final parts order (I hope) to RE specialist Hitchocks Motorcycles in Jolly O'l England. Time to button up the engine! 

The camshaft lobes and bearings measured minimal wear but the idler sprocket bushing was well worn and replaced. The exhaust cam timing end oil seal journal was a bit corroded but polished up well in a lathe. The cam sprockets were pulled to inspect the bearings and to check for corrosion. Although there was a bit of discoloration no issues were found.

The cam sprockets were removed to inspect bearings. All looked good. 

The idler sprocket bushing was worn and a new one was ordered. 
A clever design using an offset pin for adjustment. 

Assembled , three sprocket timing marks aligned, and ready for the cover. 

The oil pump is also a rather clever setup although an odd affair for a BSA guy. I rather like it and hope it works well. I have read that it does. So how does it work? The crank drives a worm geared shaft that has an offset pin in its end. This in turn drives a plunger residing within a pump body which pumps in both directions. It seems like a lot of moving parts for what it does. I bought the Interceptor for many reasons and its unique character is one of them. This is a great example of that character. 

The oil pump parts set. Note the "home made" lower oil seal retainer which is documented in a previous post:

The oil pump plunger and body. An interesting design. 

The timing side with its cover....waiting for points and condensers. 

Although the timing side appeared like it had not been apart, it was obvious the primary had been worked on over the Interceptor's life. The clutch plates had been replaced, one of the clutch bolts was new and the chain tensioner adjusting pad had been lengthened to possibly accommodate a stretched chain.

The Primary side "as found".

The RE clutch has a drum with bonded sections in its bottom. The plates had been renewed at some point but these sections were not and were soft. I scraped the old ones out and bonded new ones in place with an epoxy called JB Weld. This stuff is touted to work miracles if you read the package and is actually quite good. The bonded plates all measured close to new and the steel plates were flat. I renewed the springs while I had it apart. The chain appeared stretched and the nylon pad on the tensioner was deeply grooved.

While assembling the clutch basked a bolt broke off quite easily. My lovely redheaded assistant purchased me a set of left hand spade drills many years ago which made quick work of removing the broken bolt. One of these bolts was new and probably replaced one broken by a previous mechanic.  All three were  renewed before final assembly. A good note to take for future rebuilds.

Parts inspected, cleaned and new sections bonded into the clutch basket. 

Time for a new wear pad. 

Chiseling off the old rivets and installing a new wear surface on the tensioner shoe. 

Final drive assembled and the primary housing in place. 

Building up the clutch ....don't forget the retaining clip!
Although it is mentioned in the workshop manual I did not see it in the parts book. 

Primary components installed and ready for adjustment. Check out Don Morely's "Greabox Rebuild PT5 Clutch"  for tips on setting it up.

A recent read and a very good one. 
If you own an Interceptor you would enjoy Andrew Strait's "The Mighty Interceptor"  

Also.....The Hornet recently took 3rd in the Masters Class at the 35th Annual Battle of the Brits in Milford Michigan. It was another great show put on by the Metro Triumph Riders. Check the pics out on my Facebook page:

Monday, August 7, 2017

Engine Rebuild Part V - Engine Installation

Getting the power unit back in the frame was a milestone I was looking forward to achieving. The chassis was built up, the engine cases were together, and this was the next step in turning my parts pile back into a functioning motorcycle. I was a bit apprehensive about this step as I did not want to mess up my paint in the process.

Taking the engine out was pretty worries about scratching paint.

The RE engine and transmission is rather large and difficult to manage as an assembly. I wanted to minimize its weight and simplify the installation process.  I elected to leave off the primary, timing side, and top end to make it more manageable. It seemed like a common sense approach.

Setting up the engine to roll into place....attempt one...this alignment won't work....

Being a stressed member of the frame the Interceptor's engine could be loaded from the bottom or so I thought. This line of thinking ended quickly as I surveyed the parts in the way for this approach. I ended up putting it on a rolling RV jack with the trans end tilted up and positioned it between the mounts.  This seemed to be the best way to get a clear shot into the frame. The lower frame rails were spread slightly with a reversed wood clamp to facilitate entry of the rear transmission bracket. This meant the swing-arm had to be loosened and side stand had to come off to allow movement.

Opening up the frame slightly to facilitate installation of the rear mount. 

I chocked the front wheel in a "Pingle" mount, took off the side stand, slackened the swing-arm nuts and put in my clamp to open up the frame. Once the rear trans mount was installed the front bracket was put on to secure the engine. From there it was a matter of affixing all of the components. I was finally able to mount my new skid plate and oil cooler. Overall the approach worked well.

The engine front mounted and ready to fit all of the components. 

Engine installed...time to finish its assembly. 

Another sidetrack....replacing the steering arm on my F150. Ironically I drive an old truck so I can afford to work on old motorcycles. I am not overly excited about working on four wheeled vehicles these days.....   

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Engine Rebuild Part IV - Crankcase Assembly

The engine bits were rebuilt and ready for assembly. The cases were soda blasted, questionable threads had a die run in them, the crank was rebuilt, and new bits were ordered  from England. The cam bearings and lifters looked good so they were cleaned up and left as is.

The crankshaft ready for the drive side bearing to be installed. 

Once everything was cleaned and reconditioned the cases were heated in an oven and a new drive side bearing and timing side retainer were drifted in. The drive side case and bearing returned to the oven and were heated together to facilitate installation on the crankshaft. Per the manual I tightened the drive side roller bearing down using a spacer to hold its location when the cases were brought together. 

The drive side ball bearing in place.

 The crankshaft fit into the drive side bearing and a spacer holding things in location. 

The timing side roller bearing outer surface staked into place.

The engine case was propped up on blocks with the timing side up. The roller bearing was heated and installed with 1/8 shims between its bottom and the crank cheeks to maintain a 1/16 spacing from the journal outer end. This spacing is called out in the manual and was measured before the old bearing was removed.

Timing side roller bearing in place. 

An oil cooler and skid plate were options for '69  and I am putting them on my Interceptor. The oil cooler came with longer bolts to accommodate its brackets but not the width of the skid plate. I also missed on the rear engine mount as it requires a longer bolt for fitment of the skid plate. Back to the RE parts store for more bits. I find many parts added to a build need to be fit. The skid plate was no exception as its bolt holes were off by 1/4 inch. The rear brackets were bent to get things close and the holes were opened up. The front holes had to be elongated by 1/16 of an inch to put things right. It lost a lot of paint in the process and was refinished. Another lesson relearned. 

Checking to see if all the holes line up and finding they do not. Brackets bent, holes opened up a bit, items repainted and on we go.....  

"Honda Bond"  was applied to the drive side case and the assembly was bolted together. The hardware was tightened down and excess sealer was removed. The Honda Bond seals well and is grey in color which I like. 

Bolted together.......

The transmission installed and the whole unit prepared to go in the frame.

Now that the engine cases are together it can go back where it belongs. All of the pieces have been refurbished or replaced with a few exceptions. Top end assembly should be pretty the thinking goes. 

Out of the archives.....Dad was building Chevy's in '55.