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. 

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. 
(Since posting this I have learned not all SII's have this clip)

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: