Sunday, January 21, 2018

Final Assembly - Bits & Bobs PT II

The mechanical work to the Interceptor's drive train has been finished. The carbs were primed and it was started for a short time to make sure everything was ready for its final tuning in the spring. I cannot run it for any length of time in my shop as it is attached to the house and fumes work their way into the living space. Here is the sorting out of the final bits.
Tuning the carbs....setting sync in this pic using .187 drill bits. 
Following John Healy's Amal carb tuning guide. Thanks John!

 I am grateful to find an air filter which was an option in '69  but it did need a bit of repair. In this pic I have filled voids in the glass with black epoxy and worked the mounting holes to fit the carbs. Assembly on the carbs was a bit of a job and makes me appreciate the velocity stacks. 

Voids filled, edges painted and ready for assembly. 

The fuel taps were taken apart, cleaned in my ultrasonic cleaner, and the flippers were re-chromed. They came out looking like new. Let's see if  the new o-rings hold fuel in. 

Time to make fuel lines but first I need a crimping tool. The Interceptor fuel lines were a bit larger than my BSA lines requiring a new tool. A fun project. 

Finished and ready to go. 

Putting my new crimping tool to the test.....

The lines came from Hitchocks with crimped fittings on the tap connections but screw clamps elsewhere. I added crimped ends all around. 

After searching for original handlebars for three years a pair came up on eBay and I decided I would pay whatever crazy money necessary for them....and I did. That was only the start as they needed to be refinished. Chroming a set of handle bars with a cross bar takes a lot of labor and cost about double my crazy eBay purchase price. It also took several trips to the chrome plater and several months to match results with my expectations. That being said I am happy with the final finish. Although the "Made in England" reproductions were very nice they were two inches narrower than stock and the cross bar was way to big. Why spend all of the time and money on a restoration to miss on such a prominent part?  I will feel better about this in a couple of years when I forget how much it cost. I still have heartburn over the price of Lucas reflectors and have not yet popped for them as they are less obvious parts.

My eBay find. An original set of MKII bars.....a bit rusty but not pitted. 

Back from the chrome overpriced eBay find OEM bars.

Reproduction (bottom) and re-chromed original bars. Although the reproduction bars are very good and the bend is the same, there are obvious differences that would jump out at an Interceptor owner.

Heating up the foot-peg rubbers in my lovely redheaded assistant's oven so they will fit over the pegs. She really should read this blog to find out what I am up to while she is away. Let's not even bring up the dishwasher and my aluminum engine parts.....

Precision measurement of fork oil.  
We had to many mixing cups in the kitchen anyway....

The exhaust system went on after the foot-pegs. Pipes are original and coated internally with high temp header paint while the mufflers were rusted beyond repair and replaced. 

The seat and rear fender assembly fit and lights working. An original Lucas lens was purchased and polished to look as new. The OEM grab rail will be installed after the RE is finished as it appears difficult to work with. 

The upper front fender bolts were missing as someone had taken the brace off for another project. The ones I have seen on original machines have dome heads which I could not find. I put flat ones on but after looking at them for several months I decided to make the correct ones. One less thing to distract from originality. One more trip to the Cadmium plater. One more cost over run. Anyway, I think it's going to be a blast to ride and a novelty item at the regional shows. Let's do it right.

New screws with heads being machined to dimensions of the originals. 
Off to plating they go... 

Final checking of all bits - tighten, align, and confirm I did everything right before starting in the spring and final tuning. The air cleaner and grab rail will be added later. 

On to the next.....Now that I have finished Phil Irving's "Motorcycle Engineering" it's on to another of his classics. I am sure "Tuning for Speed" will be great too. 

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Starting it Up

Now its time to be excited and a little bit nervous. Although there is a lot of finish work to do on the Interceptor it can be started to verify the engine work was done correctly. All of the work of the past three years is about to be tested. Do I have the camshafts timed right? Do the Cross rings seal? Did I setup the points right? Did I put the cases together in a manner that holds oil? I sure hope so and its time to find out. Let's put in the oil and figure out how to get it pumping to all of the right places before starting it up.

A progressive lubrication system for its day; dual pressure, wet sump, and an oil cooler (not shown), although it was fed by a plunger oil pump design. It seems to work well. 

I elected to fill the Albion with Valvoline full synthetic 75W-90 weight oil which has worked well in my other British bikes and is close to the 50W motor oil recommended in the manual. The Albion held oil which was a relief.

The point of leaks I expected the most were in the gear box. None yet although the real test will come when it's on the road. I'm filling the oil filter cavity in this pic. 

The Interceptor's lubrication system is different than any I have worked with in the past. Dual oil feeds and pressure relief valves, an oil filter, and a cooler. I filled the engine with 20W-50 Valvoline conventional motorcycle oil. Oil was poured in the valve oil returns to let it drain down on the cams and I filled the sump until it was at the dipstick high mark. I also used a syringe to pump oil through the oil cooler feed line until it came out of the return line. It took a surprising amount of oil and made a mess in the process. Finally I filled up the oil filter pocket. Next I kicked the engine over until oil came out the filter bleeder hole. I loosened a rocker feed bolt but never got oil out of it although I kicked way past my physical endurance. I even put the bike into 4th gear and spun the wheel a while. Still no results.
Syringes were used for oil system priming. I cut the end of one to fit over the oil cooler intake fitting. Although it made a bit of a mess I was able to get oil out of the return line. 

When the bleeder screw was removed oil came out which is a good thing. No such luck with the rocker oil feed bolts. I also had a bit of a leak from one pressure relief valve.

Filling the engine sump and the primary case.....

It's early morning and I am ready to go. Better wait until folks wake up to give it a kick or I will not be very popular around here...... 

My shop is attached to my house and the fumes bleed into the living space so it's a bad place to run bikes. A snow filled back yard make it impractical to take anywhere to run....time to exercise patience.....With that being said I still need to know that I have things close enough for final tuning in the spring... it's time to put gas in the fuel lines, tickle the carbs and see if it will start. After about 3-4 kicks it fired up but ran rough. I shut it off and checked the rocker feed oil lines which now had oil in them which was good to see. Next I went back and rechecked the timing. It was retarded about 5 degrees which I corrected. I am not sure if something moved or more than likely I had it setup wrong to start with. I also may have flooded the engine by pushing to much fuel into the carbs with my syringes. Adjustments made and on to the second attempt. 
Once again I called on the syringes to prime the fuel system. I pushed fuel in until it came out the ticklers when they were pressed. 

With the timing readjusted and a bit less fuel pushed into the carbs the Interceptor started up on the 2nd kick and ran well. It seems to be oil tight and no unwanted mechanical noise can be heard. This will do until I can get it outside in the spring, properly warm it up, and fine tune the carbs and timing. It smoked a bit which can be expected until the rings seat and the assembly oil burns off of the cylinders. A compression check showed 125 lbs on each cylinder. Not a bad starting point I think.

One thing I was fearing was oil leaks. The only one I found was from the top end oil pressure relief valve.  I tightened it down a bit but it still leaked. I added Aviation Permatex to the sealing washer and we will give that a go. I know more opportunities for leaks will arise when I get it on the road but for now I am quite pleased with the results. It's time to finish up bits and bobs until I can get it on the road in the spring......its -6 Deg F here this morning...cold even for this part of the country.

Check out the Interceptor's start up video on my Facebook Page - link below.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Electrical Part II

So it's been a year getting to the assembly phase of my wiring project. Things were refurbished or replaced and put on a shelf until the rest of the build caught up. Now that most of the mechanical bits are installed electrical pieces can follow. Bits ready to go, shop manual open to the wiring diagram, pics called up on the PC and the old harness laid out as a guide. Here we go....

My intention with the Interceptor is to recapture the form in which it left the factory. While I have had great luck with Trispark ignitions and coils I am keeping the original Lucas system on the RE as I want to experience the bike with its original character. I have not setup points in a few years and am looking forward to working with them again. If I decide to go Trispark at a later date it's easy to swap the system out. So on to rebuilding Mr. Lucas......
Original components ready to be reconditioned.

A new harness was purchased from England and looks close to the original that came off the RE. Most original Lucas bits are being reused until they give me trouble. They will all be checked after the bike is started as this is the easiest way I know how to inspect them. The RE ran well before I disassembled it. New condensers were purchased while the original points look good and will be reused. The plug wires were a bit stained but cleaned up and should work fine as they are copper cored.

Original parts cleaned up, inspected and ready to go. 

The headlight washed out and connectors cleaned. 

A new UK made wiring harness and the quality is great. Insulation on the old one was brittle requiring a replacement. There are a few differences from the original but overall a pretty good match. 

The electrical panel being lined up with the battery box tray and tightened down. It was a bit wonky when I took it out. I straightened it before painting but it still required a bit of tweaking to fit. Par for the coarse so I have found. 

Sorting the new electrical panel connections. 

Hmm....a few extra wires and not all connectors match up to my electrical components. The old harness was labeled as bits were removed to help with installation. A good idea since electrical is not my strong point. 

Scraping the ground points bare and checking continuity engine to frame. The same treatment was given to the Zener diode mounts. All zeros on the multi-meter engine to frame.

The lights and horn work with a battery....on to the ignition system. 

The points unit getting ready for an update.

Cleaned up and ready to go with new condensers. 

I have not worked with points in a while and this was a chance to get reacquainted with them. I followed the factory workshop manual's instructions in conjunction with a multi-meter to get things setup. I will fine tune the timing with a strobe once the RE is running.

Sorting out the points. Fitting from scratch requires a bit of  re-learning. 

Timing marks lined up with RH cylinder on the compression stroke. The marks have been filled in with paint to make them more visible with a strobe light. 

Tools used to setup the points & advance unit. 

 A special fixing washer is used to hold the advance unit in full advance position while timing is statically set. It will be checked with a strobe light later.

Everything went together well and appears to function properly. The spark is good, the lights all work, and the horn makes a proper blast. On to the fuel system and final bits. 

Snow's here and the bikes are officially locked in for the winter. It will be a while until I can take the RE for a ride but I will have to start it once it's together. 

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.