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Topics - Calum

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Singles / B31 smoking
« on: 15 September, 2021, 19:23:24 »
Hi all

I have been very much enjoying my first summer of BSA ownership. 1953 B31. The gearbox rebuild proved very successful, and the mag rebuild has all but cured my hot running and starting issues. I've just returned from a 420 mile round trip to Suffolk this weekend and the bike never missed a beat. However one problem which seems to be slowly getting worse is the smoking...

It doesn't smoke from cold. It doesn't smoke when under load, nor when on the overrun. But when the engine is hot and I come to a stop at traffic lights or a roundabout it begins to emit a lot of smoke out of the exhaust! It doesn't always do this however, and I haven't worked out of there is a pattern to when it does and doesn't. As I pull away the smoke very soon clears.

My initial thoughts are the top end flooding with oil, and/or the return side of the pump not being able to pump the oil back quick enough after fast running. Oil consumption is generally quite good, so I don't think the rings or the valve guides are too bad; I also think this would cause a constant haze when moving along, but I am open to any suggestions at all!

Singles / QD rear hub bearings
« on: 09 May, 2021, 18:57:54 »
Hi all

Whilst I've been taking the gearbox out of the B31 I also stripped the rear plunger units (they've currently got no shrouds fitted and I wanted to check them for condition anyway). Good news is the bushes and columns are good woth only a very small amount of play detectable on the left hand one when dry.

Anyway whilst I had the rear wheel out I noticed the bearings feel quite stiff, and slightly 'notchy' but there is no play there at all. The bearings are sealed units, and look fairly recent (probably cheap ones). In my experience this feeling is usually as a result of too much interference on the bearing fit or a housing that is slightly out of round. I can check all that when I've got it apart but... I can't seem to get them out. Both bearings sit directly on the wheel spindle, not on a tube as shwon in the service sheets I have. Between the bearings is a spacer tube and as this is the same (or very similar) ID to the bearings I cannot get behind either bearing to drive them out. I assume they both butt up against shoulders in the hub itself. Does this sound right? If so how do I remove them? I have got bearing race extractors at work that I could probably employ if I removed the rubber seals...

From memory the bearings are RLS7 but don't quote me on that.

Singles / B31 'snatching' in gear
« on: 18 April, 2021, 22:08:01 »
Hi all

I've been out today on the B31, bit of a poor start as the nipple pulled off the clutch cable as I pulled out of the filling station! Left the girlfriend with and ice cream and the bike and rode her Ariel home to solder it back on!
Back on the move again I began to notice my B31 'snatching' in third gear (it has done it on previous rides, so not a new phenomenon!). If I keep the gearchange pedal held whilst releasing the clutch this lessens the likelihood of it happening (good practice anyway?) but doesn't rule it out altogether. It's a plunger model, so has an M series box (I think??) with screw filler/clutch rod cover.
Sometimes letting the clutch out I feel a 'kick' as it pulls into mesh, but it kicks/snatches a bit too sometimes, mainly on the overrun.

My suspicion is the cam that moves the dog clutch for third gear is worn on the 'peak' so not letting the dogs engage fully, and the snatching feeling is the resultant dropping out and back in mesh. Should I be able to see if this is indeed the problem through the cover plate at the rear of the gearbox? Looks a bit tight for clear vision so judicious use of a mirror or endoscope might be needed...

Any pointers gratefully received!


The Star and Garter / Timmelsjoch Motorcycle Museum
« on: 18 January, 2021, 19:29:36 »
I have just heard that this museum has burnt down, doesn't look like anything has survived :'(
I visited back in 2016, purely by chance after chatting to a German guy with a Matchless. We were in our Rover P4. I don't think the museum had been open too long, perhaps less than a year. Amazing collection of bikes, a shame indeed.

Which BSA do you ride? / B31 Plunger
« on: 23 November, 2020, 20:49:51 »
Here it is, my first bike! Took me far too long and due to covid I didn't get round to doing my license until far too late in the year. Any nice days at this time of year I seem to be at work(!)
Hopefully I'll be able to start using it a bit more soon.

I've already painted the headlight surround and mudguards, and touched up some other areas (the former bits were red and I didn't really like the look!). Plenty of bits I want to do, but runs nicely and has had lots of bits done already.

It's a 1953 example (1954 model year I think) but is wearing an earlier tank as far as I can tell. Previous owner liked the high pipes hence why it is fitted with one. I must say I like them too and it does sound well but the traditionalist in me keeps thinking I'll reinstate a standard pipe and toolbox (both of which came with the bike).

Singles / B31 new owner - trouble starting
« on: 18 October, 2020, 19:14:40 »
Now I know what you're all thinking... another newbie who doesn't know how to start his bike, but please hear me out!

I've recently acquired a 1953 B31, which is complete and running and I have seen it so. I have also started it myself a few times, but it was pretty difficult and now cannot seem to get a spark at all.

Bike has been sat for a few months under a cover outside before I bought it, petrol in the tank was a bit stale but still fired up okay on viewing (took him a few goes mind, to be expected I suppose) and I have ran it a few times since then too. I have since filled the tank up with fresh petrol (though admittedly did not drain out the old stuff that was still in there, around a third of a tank perhaps).

I struggled to start it the other day, but once it was running and warm enough I could start it again no problem.

Ignition timing might be a bit out - move the advance/retard lever towards retard and it cuts out at idle (taught wire advance). There was a lot of slack in this at first so I've eliminated the backlash in the cable. Currently waiting on delivery of a timing disc and TDC tool to double check the timing (in the meantime I'll also buy or make a mag sprocket puller as I'm bound to need one eventually).

So after failing to start it today I checked through everything I could think of. Plenty of fuel getting in. Removed the plug, cleaned it up and gapped it to the book figure of 0.018" (gap was much larger). Plug looks very recent, Champion N83C I think it was (L10S equivalent is an N86C I think?) Checked the magneto points which were a bit close. Cleaned them with a bit of emery and opened them up to 0.012" (as per the service sheets).

I then tried kicking it over with the plug held against the engine. I probably got a spark once every 10 kicks or so... but not consistently either - sometimes 3 or 4 in a row and then nothing at all. I removed and checked the brushes on the pickup and on the earth brush too. Seems to be plenty of life in them both so I cleaned with electrical cleaner and refitted.

The carb is new and probably wants fine tuning (which I am fine about), the fuel might be a bit stale and the timing might be out but of course none of these would have an effect on the fact I cannot seem to get a decent spark kicking it over.

All I can think is it must be the mag (MO1), is it worth just taking the plunge and having it reconditioned? If so, recommendations for a firm to do a decent job most welcome. I'm not adverse to having it overhauled as I don't want to have problems with it in future and would like complete faith in it to be honest.

Any tips gratefully received!

The Star and Garter / New member
« on: 14 October, 2020, 10:58:56 »
Hi all

Following my recent wanted ad, I am now the proud owner of a 1953 B31 plunger. I hope to get my club application sent off this week. Complete newbie to bikes, but thankfully no stranger to old British metals - I run a small range of British classic cars (no modern vehicle owned!) and my day job as a machinist/fitter restoring steam locos.

Taken me far too long to take the plunge (excuse the pun) and get one, but here I am. I'll get some pics up of the bike shortly, some of you may have seen it before - it was owned by, I think, a member of the Cheshire branch, Bill Hignett. Plenty on it to keep me busy!

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