BSA Owners' Club Forum

The BSA Workshop => Singles => Topic started by: Phil C on 05 July, 2021, 12:01:27

Title: How much work is realistic?
Post by: Phil C on 05 July, 2021, 12:01:27
Good morning everyone, When I eventually find a house to buy, I'll be looking to get its garage as I want it, which I can't really do at present as I'm in a rented place. Thinking about how I'd want the garage, I also got to pondering how much work it's feasible to do on a bike, eg my bike (1965 B40F), without any machine tools or expensive specialist equipment or assistants on hand, and with limited experience and limited knowledge, but having interest and enthusiasm, and of course access to this forum. The bike is running okay and seems to be in pretty good nick, but I've never had the head off or been into the bowels of the crankcase or inside the gearbox, or stripped the forks. I find jobs on the bike interesting, even though I've learnt that these machines are money pits and when doing one job you often find several others things that need attention (and money.) Should I firstly assume that passing the winter (or however long) carrying out a complete strip down and rebuild is out of the question for me in a normal domestic garage? What is realistic and what's not? Any thoughts would be much appreciated.   Phil
Title: Re: How much work is realistic?
Post by: DAVE BRADY on 05 July, 2021, 12:31:05
Hi Phil,

Apart from machining you can do anything that needs doing to a BSA in a domestic garage with a good tool kit and a few pullers etc.  These can be bought but experience and knowledge can only be gained by learning and doing.  A complete strip down and rebuild is within your grasp.

Dave.
Title: Re: How much work is realistic?
Post by: chaz on 05 July, 2021, 12:36:19
Phil
pm sent regarding B40
(and workshop)
charlie
Title: Re: How much work is realistic?
Post by: idie on 05 July, 2021, 13:48:02
I don't know how old you are, but if you have seen a few winters pass by I would recommend a bike lift before you start. You won't be knocking out your knees.
Title: Re: How much work is realistic?
Post by: DAVE BRADY on 05 July, 2021, 14:31:46
Hi,

I should also have mentioned a decent bench that can take a large vice so that you can grip things and bash them if needed and if you have space a small pillar drill is far better than a hand held one. 

Dave.
Title: Re: How much work is realistic?
Post by: Phil C on 05 July, 2021, 15:14:56
I have a bench and vice of sorts, and a selection of hand tools. Might look to get a small bench-mounted drill. Hydraulic bench for the bike is obviously expensive but might be worth it. Wondered if someone might suggest a small bench-mounted rack-and-pinion press, and  a grinder. Dave, you say "Apart from machining..." - hopefully there wouldn't be much requirement for a lathe or milling machine, as there's no way I'd have space for them (or be able to justify the cost.) Any further thoughts please anyone?  Phil
Title: Re: How much work is realistic?
Post by: chaz on 05 July, 2021, 15:21:08
Phil, have a look at the free ads locally or on facebook, if you have experience with a welder you could make your own rising bench with a car jack, there are designs on the web. if lucky someone may be giving up riding, I bought a Honda Pan European locally, and managed to wangle a workbench at half price.
Title: Re: How much work is realistic?
Post by: DAVE BRADY on 05 July, 2021, 16:07:21
Hi,

If you can weld a bit look for hospital surplus beds.  Electrically operated they can lift very heavy people.  I made one but it struggles with an A65.  A B40 would be no problem and the heavy duty lockable castors make it easy to push it around but not advisable when fully elevated.

Dave.
Title: Re: How much work is realistic?
Post by: BEESY on 05 July, 2021, 17:51:50
A bike lift is 100% worth it. Imagine how much easier looking for your oil leek would have been with the bike at waist height.

Even simple jobs are so much easier without the bending and stooping.

Your knees will love you forever.
Title: Re: How much work is realistic?
Post by: Pete Gill on 05 July, 2021, 22:51:25
Hi Phil
In my experience garages can be too cold in winter to work so look at insulation and heating.
I have a bike lift but rarely use it. I sit on a camping stool to do a lot of low down work instead of kneeling.
Pete
Title: Re: How much work is realistic?
Post by: Mike40M on 06 July, 2021, 07:25:31
A low stool (about 40cm high) saves your knees. Also very good when changing wheels on cars. Welded one decades ago. Just a couple of years ago got a bike lift  for a full renovation of a Manx. Still uses the stool working on bikes when the bike lift is occupied by another bike. Japanese twostroke race bikes have a tendency to stay for long periods on the lift. And Nortons.
The hydraulic press is rarely used. A quite big vice can handle most press work.
A small bench grinder is used almost every day. As the drill press.
Good lighting is a must. And of course a clean floor to find the nuts and other things you drop.
Old oven trays are useful under British bike engines.
Title: Re: How much work is realistic?
Post by: Phil C on 07 July, 2021, 11:16:27
One reason I'm tempted to try to strip the whole engine down (when I eventually find a house to buy with garage) is so that I can see for myself what condition it's in, and reassure myself that it's not about to have a major breakdown. Is that a good reason? Obviously, having little experience of engines, I would be taking photos and asking this forum what condition it's in, as I might well not know! I realise that I would come across problems which might make me ask myself why I didn't just leave well alone, and it might be me, not the engine, having a breakdown!
Other reasons include curiosity, interest, enjoyment, satisfaction.
All comments appreciated, as always.
Phil
Title: Re: How much work is realistic?
Post by: idie on 07 July, 2021, 12:28:48
Your last but one line would sum up what I would do.
Title: Re: How much work is realistic?
Post by: courtney on 07 July, 2021, 17:12:53
I'm in a similar position to you, Phil, though a house is a little further off for me at the moment.

I currently have to wait for good weather to do much on my C15. The engine made its way into my tiny studio flat (bedsit) to be rebuilt, which worked but was not ideal. Now that's done, I've got 4 bicycle frames and a complete bike in my room, along with wheels under the bed and a tub of bicycle parts on top of the wardrobe. My cylinder head from the C15 is currently off and in here too, along with the forks from my B25. It's either shameful or I'm living the dream.

I'd recommend a lift and a stool, a nice solid work bench and decent vice, somewhere to have your tools so you don't have to keep getting them out and packing them away each time, decent lighting and a few special tools. Having a little welder and bench grinder to make or modify tools and brackets would be good too, as would a drill press as has already been suggested.

If I had a workshop, I'd also look at getting a small compressor. Blowing through oilways, media blasting and certain other tools you can attach to it I think would be very helpful.
Title: Re: How much work is realistic?
Post by: DAVE BRADY on 07 July, 2021, 17:27:56
Hi,

And don't forget that the compressor is great for pumping up tyres and seating the beads when new ones are fitted.
Although not relevant to BSAs, without a compressor you will never get a tubeless tyre bead to seat and seal.

Dave.
Title: Re: How much work is realistic?
Post by: Mike40M on 07 July, 2021, 17:30:33
Measured my favourite stool. 1 foot high.
A complete engine strip down, cleaning, inspection, get new bits, maybe get cylinder boring oversize, get some parts needed and assemble should not be impossible for a novice to do in a normal winter. But if the machine seems to have no worrying sounds or malfunctions, just doing a head and cylinder overhaul would be enough first winter. Just decoking and grind valves can take some time when you've not done it before. With head off, you can get a quite good impression of cylinder wear and if bottom end is really bad.

When very young, I took apart a 750 Flathead Harley and hid it under my bed. Flat on fifth floor, no elevator.  Mom not pleased. Restored it piece by piece. Got help from an old mechanic with things I could not do myself. Carried all parts down and assembled it. Then Swedish winters was much longer then than they are now. Done it in one winter.
Title: Re: How much work is realistic?
Post by: Phil C on 07 July, 2021, 17:44:01
Maybe I'll do that to begin with, Mike40M, if it gives me an idea of whether everything below is okay.
The garage at the rented house I'm in at present is pretty packed even without a compressor, grinder, or bike lift. But when it's my garage I'll have more in the way of shelving etc and so better use of space. Then it will be a matter of prioritising, I guess.
Courtney, I take my hat off to you. True dedication to the cause.
Phil
Phil
Title: Re: How much work is realistic?
Post by: Rog1 on 07 July, 2021, 20:36:53
I've realised recently that my bike shed is inefficiently arranged; I've been spending too much time going from one end of the shed to the other to get some tool or other, then repeating the process because I now need something else. This eats up shed time, so I've been rearranging things so that tasks take less time. My point is, you are starting with a clean sheet so you can do this from the start.
Title: Re: How much work is realistic?
Post by: DAVE BRADY on 07 July, 2021, 21:10:37
Hi,

If you only have one bike it is fairly straight forward with the tools arranged for easy reach from being next to the bike.  For a number of years we were away almost every weekend in the Summer attending BSA events, other trips or just going for a ride.  The routine that developed was each bike would take a turn on the lift for basic maintenance and sometimes a bit of a clean.  Tools were kept on/near the bench so that, by standing between the bike lift and bench most things were in easy reach with oils and other sprays and grease etc. close by.  I suppose it is a bit like the 'triangle' set up for kitchens.

Dave.
Title: Re: How much work is realistic?
Post by: courtney on 07 July, 2021, 21:21:50
This forum and BritBike has been invaluable working on my bike, as I'm sure Phil has realised already. There's not a lot of old boys about anymore to ask for advice, or at least I don't know where to find them. Forums like this are a bit of a replacement for Mike's mechanic that helped him when he was young.

I'm 33 now, but replaced the gearbox and rebuilt my KX60 when I was 14. At that point, there was nothing to lose working on it, so I just did it with a secondhand gearbox and too much basket sealant! I remember starting it first kick in the shed where we lived and it smoking me out! I've worked on all my bikes since then. You can do a lot with a small space and limited tools, but the right tools for the job and some space and shelter make it a lot easier and more pleasant. We've all got to start somewhere though.

Phil, I appreciate you appreciating my dedication to the cause. Truth be told, I'm just a bloody hoarder!
Title: Re: How much work is realistic?
Post by: Mike Farmer on 08 July, 2021, 10:04:59
 :) :) :) :)

I Think that I have a set of plans for a work bench that I never used. Interested?????

About walking around the shed!!! I keep a lot of tools in a shopping trolley. Its not quite trained to follow me around but we are getting there. Is very handy tho its always at the wrong end of the bench.

Mike 8) 8) 8)
Title: Re: How much work is realistic?
Post by: Phil C on 08 July, 2021, 10:16:18
I have a bench, but thanks anyway Mike.  Phil
Title: Re: How much work is realistic?
Post by: MITCHELL on 08 July, 2021, 19:57:11
Hi phil, started my rebuild about a year ago, I'm in no hurry and busy at work to, that's my excuse but when I started I looked at platforms and decided to build my own once the machine is a rolling chassis it can be rolled up and  down a plank as required, cost about £30.00 a compressor is a must probably the best investment of all you can even use it to sweep the floor and the boss is over the moon when I clean the vacuum filter for her.  Dave.
Title: Re: How much work is realistic?
Post by: Phil C on 08 July, 2021, 20:20:44
Interesting.
Excuse my ignorance, but how do you hold a bike firm and steady on a bench like that? Or on a hydraulic lift for that matter. Never used one, so not familiar with how it's done.
Phil
Title: Re: How much work is realistic?
Post by: MITCHELL on 08 July, 2021, 22:15:27
Hi, it's just on the centre stand.
Title: Re: How much work is realistic?
Post by: Phil C on 08 July, 2021, 22:46:09
Getting my bike on its main stand is a hell of a job even at ground level. I get my wife to help me.  Phil
Title: Re: How much work is realistic?
Post by: chaz on 09 July, 2021, 06:45:06
just my point of view working on customers bikes, Ive got 4 ramps, 3 at the unit and one at home. 1 is compressed air operated, the other three are pump up which vary with the pump arms 2 have detachable arms that are long and Im forever shinning my legs on them,  the other is more enclosed.
the comprsessed air one is only pumped up on one end and does wobble slightly and locks in near the top in two positions.
the three red pump ups are the cantilever type that are more solid and can be stopped at 4 or 5 pre drilled hole positions. for the  red ramps, two have  panels that can be removed, for rear wheel removal, the third is shorter and has a longer ramp all 3 ramps can be removed.
the 2 longer ramps have front wheel clamps to hold in place.
as a safety precaution, I have drilled holes and bolted U clamps, from car exhausts which allows holding the bikes in place with tie down straps.

as a word of warning, technique to get on centre stand is important, AS, when you put your bike on the ramp, you are standing on around 4 inches of it, and somewhere around 4 inches off the ground so balance and heave ho can be an advantage. Ive a customers Triumph Trophy 955 to work on and thats a really wide and heavy b**ger to get on its centre stand.

Ive also got a pump up motocross stand a B40 is currently sat on and thats a lot higher, 12" high and pumps up around 30" high, also got paddock stands, no good for Brits, Abba stands , also no good for Brits, then a couple of lever type cheap mx stands .
basically, stands vary from £15 to £350 ( the air one was foc from my old landlord), go for the best you can afford, it really is worth it.
Title: Re: How much work is realistic?
Post by: Mike40M on 09 July, 2021, 08:00:42
I don't have any bike with centre stand. The oldest two have a rear stand. so no problem with them. The three race bikes have no stand at all. On them I use a motorcycle jack on the lift. Or paddock stands. Or simply use tie downs. I've too added more U clamps on the lift. The seven with side stand only, same as the race bikes or for small work just tie downs. Usually can get help changing bike on the lift. But the usual early spring maintenance to the ten running bikes is often done on the floor. The lift usually occupied by a time consuming project.
Title: Re: How much work is realistic?
Post by: Phil C on 09 July, 2021, 16:51:46
I assume that when people are talking about a bike lift they are meaning a full-size bench-type lift, not just a jack with a small platform that fits under engine? Actuall yes, must be, as they spoke about ramps. Looked at some online just now - expensive when new.  Phil
Title: Re: How much work is realistic?
Post by: Pete A10 on 09 July, 2021, 17:17:25
Cheapest table lift Iíve seen new is about £375 for one 1800mm long - otherwise new they are about £550 for a 2200 long one. Iíve been looking for a second hand one for a while but they tend to go on ebay for about £250/£300 but usually buyer collect so unless youíve got a van itís another £150 minimum to collect. Ive almost decided to buy a new one and get it delivered but like you say itís a big expense - if your going to fully strip I bike ( Iíve done two now) I thinks it worth as it makes access so much easier as at 66 with some serious health problems I find kneeling and crawling to get under the bike, or even working at engine engine on the centre stand hard work.
Title: Re: How much work is realistic?
Post by: chaz on 09 July, 2021, 18:51:14
1i know there was a trader who was at Shepton Mallett classic bike show and autojumble, twice  a year that sold his own full size ramps.
you had the option of kit or made up and painted or raw steel. these were cheaper than the made up ones.
Title: Re: How much work is realistic?
Post by: Phil C on 10 July, 2021, 08:41:19
Hi Phil,

Apart from machining you can do anything that needs doing to a BSA in a domestic garage with a good tool kit and a few pullers etc.  These can be bought but experience and knowledge can only be gained by learning and doing.  A complete strip down and rebuild is within your grasp.

Dave.

When you say "Apart from machining...", what machining would be likely to be needed?   I ask because obviously that would cost money.  Phil
Title: Re: How much work is realistic?
Post by: DAVE BRADY on 10 July, 2021, 09:00:08
Hi,

Anything that needs a machine to do like rebore, crank grinding, valve seat replacement.  So basically anything that you cannot do yourself with spanners.

Dave.