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away with the wit
#790789 11/21/19 5:53 pm
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I'm way down in the rebuild now and just curious to what extent I can possibly convert from Whitworth to SAE or metric. Are the thread count equivalent at all to either SAE/metric or is just the hex size that is different?

Is there a conversion kit out there?


1970 Triumph tiger owner
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Re: away with the wit
splash #790790 11/21/19 6:15 pm
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Just look at some and make your own mind up.


Amateur Loctite enthusiast.
Re: away with the wit
splash #790794 11/21/19 6:57 pm
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Whitworth/CEI threads are different enough so that you can't turn their own weapons against the English. Or so they though in WWI when they fought with the Germans.
So, good luck with that idea.
However, the fasteners you are concerned with are mostly within and surrounding the engine since your bike was standardized to SAE by 1970. Some of the proprietary items, like carbs and instruments, remained with British fasteners until the end.
It's a real pain, but those of us who work on these bikes have three complete sets of wrenches and sockets in Withworth/BS, SAE, and metric. I've managed to work on these without specific BA tools all these years, mostly by modifying existing metric or SAE tools.
I have, also, a complete set of CEI taps, but no dies. If a bolt needs chasing, I replace it.
You need a set of Whitworth/British Standard open end wrenches, a set of offset box end wrenches, and a set of sockets for the same. I assume you already have the other stuff.
Then you won't be tempted to start a complete conversion to SAE which I think would be difficult in the extreme.
Cheers,
Bill


Bikes
1974 Commando
1985 Honda Nighthawk 650
1957 Thunderbird/T110 "Black Tiger"
Antique Fans: Loads of Emersons (Two six wingers) plus gyros and orbiters.
Re: away with the wit
splash #790795 11/21/19 7:06 pm
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Originally Posted by splash
I'm way down in the rebuild now and just curious to what extent I can possibly convert from Whitworth to SAE or metric.


The majority of fasteners on a 1970 model should already be 'Unified' thread (UNF, UNC, etc,) what you are thinking of as being "SAE".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unified_Thread_Standard
https://www.ring-plug-thread-gages.com/ti-N-vs-UN.htm

Other non-Unified fasteners are more likely to be BSF, BSC/CEI, BA, etc. rather than actual 'Whitworth' ('BSW') thread.
https://britishfasteners.com/threads/index.html

Originally Posted by splash
Are the thread count equivalent at all to either SAE


Whitworth/BSW and UNC (Unified Coarse) have similar TPI, but the thread forms are not the same as Whitworth is 55 degree and UNC is 60 degree., however, the coarse fasteners should already be UNC and not 'Whitworth'.

Originally Posted by splash
/metric


No.


Originally Posted by splash
or is just the hex size that is different?


No.

Originally Posted by splash
Is there a conversion kit out there?


Conversion kit, for what? The whole bike?

As previously mentioned a large proportion of fasteners should already be Unified (UNF, UNC).

Re: away with the wit
splash #790798 11/21/19 7:37 pm
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You must be thoroughly confused by now. I've been working on these old bikes for 50 years and I still get the names wrong. I think Stuart did a complete expose' on the different thread forms and across the flats sizes here once and that was about the best description I've ever seen. Commit it to memory? I don't have enough room in my head.

The three tool sets I recommended will allow you to work on the bike and remove and tighten every fastener that doesn't require a special tool. I think you already know which ones those are.

Keep at it and don't hesitate to come here for help. I can't express enough how much expertise there is here on this forum.
Cheers,
Bill


Bikes
1974 Commando
1985 Honda Nighthawk 650
1957 Thunderbird/T110 "Black Tiger"
Antique Fans: Loads of Emersons (Two six wingers) plus gyros and orbiters.
Re: away with the wit
splash #790799 11/21/19 7:44 pm
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Can we not have a sticky thread on this? It seems to be the second-most popular question behind the various permutations of 'newly-fitted fussy EI/low-output battery' ones.

Here's a good resource for the various thread-per-inch counts for a range of threads: http://mdmetric.com/thddata.htm

I remember setting out the BSW/BSF spanner sizes a couplr of weeks back on someone else's thread.

Nick


"1967 TR6R"
Re: away with the wit
splash #790816 11/21/19 9:14 pm
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Just put any old bolt in there that you want. Tighten 'till a half-turn past STRIPPED and you'll have it!

"Conversion kit" reminds me of the horse-farmer that came into the local auto parts shop with a brake hose that had the wrong threads for his vehicle, asking if these was some sort of "bodge' that would "fix it."

The counter clerk asked him how willing he was to risk his life, and the lives of others, on bad brakes, just to save a few dollars!

Re: away with the wit
Irish Swede #790824 11/21/19 9:51 pm
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Originally Posted by Irish Swede
Just put any old bolt in there that you want. Tighten 'till a half-turn past STRIPPED and you'll have it!

"Conversion kit" reminds me of the horse-farmer that came into the local auto parts shop with a brake hose that had the wrong threads for his vehicle, asking if these was some sort of "bodge' that would "fix it."

The counter clerk asked him how willing he was to risk his life, and the lives of others, on bad brakes, just to save a few dollars!


It's not about saving a few dollars. It's much to do with the convenience it is to work on the bike which is very poor. The fasteners are so rare if you happen to break down on the side of the road you need to go home (or travel with them) to get special tools just to put air in the tire. This is my biggest complaint about wrenching on this bike. Another is that the one time special tool used isn't cheap and the not so cheap but cheap breaks when you use it. I bought the "cheap" $15 clutch hub puller for a one time use and the threads stripped on the first turn. I ended up using a 2 jaw puller somehow and an impact drive. I guess you can say I'm finding other means to get the job done without ordering a bunch of BS. I would just like to update the bike to today and I don't care about the fasteners being original or not. It seems even though I have a 70 most of the fasteners which need to be torqued are Whits.

I'm surprised no one has started a company to convert at the least the hex size nuts and bolts on these. I'd rather order nuts and bolts of odd thread count and pitch then buying and traveling with a damn special tool box. How often does a fastener break or is stripped? ...and there you have it! It could save everyone of us the damn headache. Now, when we break down on the side of the road we can use a borrowed standard tool from the house we may be in front of rather than stripping another odd ball nut or bolt which we will now need to order again because the odd ball tool wasn't available at the time of desperation. IDK, this seems pretty stupid to me. Hopefully I just inspired someone at a machine shop.

I imagine the gods are looking down laughing at the fact, "they are producing and selling odd tools to each other rather than making the parts to fit the common tool. That's dumb"

Last edited by splash; 11/21/19 10:14 pm.

1970 Triumph tiger owner
Re: away with the wit
splash #790826 11/21/19 10:15 pm
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Your in luck , there are no Whitworth threads on your bike, BSF and Cycle yes. What bike , make model and year?


71 Devimead, John Hill, John Holmes A65 750
56 Norbsa 68 Longstroke A65
Cagiva Raptor 650
MZ TS 250
The poster formerly known as Pod
Re: away with the wit
gavin eisler #790827 11/21/19 10:22 pm
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Originally Posted by gavin eisler
Your in luck , there are no Whitworth threads on your bike, BSF and Cycle yes. What bike , make model and year?


Triumph Tiger 1970....Oh, there are whitworth on here. Big oil plug on bottom to change oil is whit believe it or not! many more important ones too. I had to use impact drive to get it off otherwise if turned too slow it strips. Thread count or thread pitch is not the wrench turners issues, hex size is.

Last edited by splash; 11/21/19 10:37 pm.

1970 Triumph tiger owner
Re: away with the wit
splash #790837 11/21/19 11:18 pm
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Originally Posted by splash
Originally Posted by gavin eisler
Your in luck , there are no Whitworth threads on your bike, BSF and Cycle yes. What bike , make model and year?


Triumph Tiger 1970....Oh, there are whitworth on here.


What you are referring to are Whitworth size hexagons.


Originally Posted by splash
Big oil plug on bottom to change oil is whit believe it or not!


What size did you use?

A 13/16" AF spanner/socket should've fitted the 1969-on crankcase drain plug (part number E9336/70-9336).


Last edited by L.A.B.; 11/21/19 11:19 pm.
Re: away with the wit
splash #790839 11/21/19 11:22 pm
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i believe the 26 tpi threads on the valve adjusters stayed whitworth until the very end, didn't they?

or were those cycle?

and the gland nuts on my 1972 fuel lines are 19/32.


every day you do not take a chance is a day of your life that you will never get back.
Re: away with the wit
kevin #790840 11/21/19 11:26 pm
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Originally Posted by kevin roberts
i believe the 26 tpi threads on the valve adjusters stayed whitworth until the very end, didn't they?

or were those cycle?


They were Cycle thread, and no, they didn't stay Cycle thread to the very end.

Re: away with the wit
splash #790843 11/21/19 11:31 pm
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You have my sympathy. My 70 TR6C is a thread standard conversion bike like yours with all three standards well represented. Bite the bullet and buy Whitworth sockets and combination open end wrenches. If you're lucky and careful with existing fasteners you won't need a Whitworth tap and die set, but they are available for a reasonable cost, as are the sockets and wrenches. You should find most fasteners to be SAE, but the factory was obviously using up its stock of parts and didn't care what kind of hybrid monster it shipped to the hapless customer. You may have noticed that the parts manual does not list fastener sizes. The assembly line must have been a zoo. In general, large bolts and capscrews will still be Whitworth, i.e. the head bolts. Treat them like crown jewels. Always use penetrating oil to pre-loosen a stuck one and never force anything you're not prepared to lose. There are several threads that are unicorns. The front brake hub bearing retainer is a 1-7/8 in. 28 TPI left hand thread. Treat this one like fine China and buy the special wrench for removal and installation. If you mangle the thread the entire brake hub is scrap, and there are no new brake hubs being made. You will end up lacing up a complete new wheel. Yes, I damaged mine.

Sadly, there is no way to totally convert the bike to a univesal thread standard with a sensible, small tool kit. These are not that kind of motorcycle any more. Just one of the reasons Triumph lost their market. The good news is that they are fun to work on if you have the kind of twisted, gearhead mind that vintage owners do. Once you have yours restored to whatever level you desire, you will have joined an exclusive club of experienced, slightly deranged hobbyists with many tales to tell that nobody cares about. It is ironic that James Whitworth was a great 18th century pioneer in the use of standardized thread patterns. The gentleman who powder coated my frame is an experienced FAA A&P mechanic who used to work on Britbikes for fun. He told me he had never seen such a customized, hand fitted, non-standard assembly as a Triumph motorcycle.

They are still fun! Magnificant anachronisms.

Last edited by TrophyGuy; 11/22/19 12:30 am.
Re: away with the wit
splash #790844 11/21/19 11:34 pm
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My 1969/70 t120 has no ww threads. Mostly Unf/Unc and some Bsf and Bsc/Cei.
A set of combination spanners in bsf/bsw is cheap enough. as are 3/8 drive sockets.
I agree the factory clutch puller is a crap idea and many aftermarket ones are worse.
There are plenty of suppliers of nuts and bolts in imperial sizes around. Even eBay............
Or you can spend many happy hours Helicoiling............................

Re: away with the wit
splash #790846 11/21/19 11:38 pm
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Hey, Splash, I have a spare set of British sized sockets. I'm just one island away...
Five most common sizes. Just pay postage and they're yours.
Cheers,
Bill

Last edited by HawaiianTiger; 11/21/19 11:38 pm.

Bikes
1974 Commando
1985 Honda Nighthawk 650
1957 Thunderbird/T110 "Black Tiger"
Antique Fans: Loads of Emersons (Two six wingers) plus gyros and orbiters.
Re: away with the wit
splash #790854 11/22/19 12:15 am
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Everyone strips the clutch hub puller ….if used as a puller. The fact is its not a puller at all, it is a tensioner. You apply tension to the hub, then hit the 'puller' bolt with a steel hammer. This shocks the hub, if it doesn't work the first time you check the 'puller's' tension and then hit it again.
The other stupid part about this tool is that there are some on the market that won't screw all the way into the hub, but go tight after a approx. 2 to 3 thread turns, fix the puller by doctoring the end or with a thread chaser/lathe, or buy one that does. The more threads you can get the puller to engage the better is will do its job.

As for strange bolt head sizes, there is a mix of Whitworth and UNC/UNF/BSF etc, but by knowing your bike you can make up a travel kit in a small leather tool bag that would do a top end rebuild [except for the torque wrench of cause]. As for special or workshop tools, every manufacturer under the sun has them and nobody carries them around. If you need them then you're in serious trouble and probably really need a ute or trailer. The new multi fit spanners and sockets - not recommended for the workshop - can be good for your travel kit.

And tbh, I don't blame Triumph, Whitworth was a good standard, as was CEI before it, then the USA and other countries moved the goal posts until eventually there were more goal posts than games, Triumph valiantly attempted to keep up with each change, but it was a vain attempt. Today its all metric...and Triumph has moved to it, albeit with fresh $$$$ and a clean slate - something that the Meridan Triumph never really had.

Re: away with the wit
Irish Swede #790860 11/22/19 12:46 am
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Irish Swede back in 1963 I stopped at Tacoma motorcycle shop. Question was toque figure for 1958 Matchless g-12 head bolts. Answer was as tight as you8 can them without stripping!

Re: away with the wit
splash #790863 11/22/19 12:58 am
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"Splash," my Dad owned an automatic screw machine business in the 1950s, up to 1977.
Any specialty product including nuts, bolts and screws can be made by those machines.
He considered making bolts like this with USA heads and CEI and Whitworth threads, but there was little to no interest at that time, so he gave up on the idea (SIGH!)

Re: away with the wit
splash #790864 11/22/19 12:58 am
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"Splash," my Dad owned an automatic screw machine business in the 1950s, up to 1977.
Any specialty product including nuts, bolts and screws can be made by those machines.
He considered making bolts like this with USA heads and CEI and Whitworth threads, but there was little to no interest at that time, so he gave up on the idea (SIGH!)

Re: away with the wit
splash #790866 11/22/19 1:10 am
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Hi Splash, So... Now you know the idea of this is not practical. Regarding some of the pozidrive head screws, like tank badge & 3 screws on primary cover, breather pipe screws on rear fender are BA2. DO NOT confuse these with 10-32 thread! They are close enough to where they seem to fit. Don't do it. Order the correct screws from parts sellers. Also don't use Philips screw driver on Pozidrive screws. Get a set of pozidrive screw drivers or bits. Not readily available in most stores. May come in screw driver bit set. Easy to get on eBay. You have !s 1,2,3,4 on your bike. The #1 is on the front brake screen. Only parts sellers will have CEI or whitworth fasteners.

Just a fact of brit bike life. I recommend buying a thread gauge for SAE & Brit threads. I one from China dirt cheap eBay. Works good. Make sure the gauge is for the threads you want. Many are metric/whitworth, or metric/sae.

Here's an example of just whitworth.


https://www.eBay.com/itm/Foldable-Screw-Pitch-Gauge-Gage-Whitworth-55-Degree-Thread-Blade-Measuring-CN/173868528650?epid=2168383017&_trkparms=ispr%3D1&hash=item287b5f340a:g:xUMAAOSwInJcrJ7u&enc=AQAEAAACUBPxNw%2BVj6nta7CKEs3N0qUWajY9YaDD2EKG3%2BscMYNtg6QjitDZhocfJDmfJ%2BMft0nKjszANdWQH8s%2FsRLX2%2FjdcvpWGoV%2F5gVRcBNC606uHWtTz7YYFikxwi71Rd4EgIn7ypjrruBqM98SstM2S5EovM%2FSkbH%2B8yka3xG%2BDiLK8H8tVJHY6%2BB3PuKCN64%2BNYd%2BK7YuAkvtOtQheUJ429rjpJP%2B2hZG2pGJ%2FWnkc1VG4h5f1o2pPRXeyeHP0o%2BI70s8IOVpZ0WWf0chni2SSRNh3i0YsMJVBDvhMSdtOXy57Z3ggUtuLD2VbOR2fIHwTvW9h5FYOtOame1ZvkNxdBAGm%2B7Psyax5vhc1YZiDVKW09B9N1sazbEE8KqC44cD0QEzMjxtO%2FUbkHvF0GNojKRM0kdHTbd0agsV9%2F%2B0vgn6KzEv9jaHutAFNMVObrg2Nrl6DCqiHUBXuhclMtELed7UPzY%2BLyJkHvU3fc9Fm%2FMnuLmGZB7J%2BkmiyMVgJpnikFjUHz%2FoFlRsBqv1hAvSdEYw%2FGRpD%2FyqEWWsWhKkXxv7D56J9uFhRQr2UAL9CtyrKKbZ%2Bilyy9dId5PZbTOVuq1WLHP6VPB1NvgAQAgu%2BH5W%2FTqmmUearDbEbZdwMYazJjYbKhR5z1IU1eIPkSP0XndkMboFPxU2gSWgi%2Be3bq49upBhA9vOjZOAPkgKJXFmPeaXn4jVSQxj5anVCIzv8JUYH71SmcuFYoYaSHxXCVBayXE5plmA9gIjNb%2Fd0g9eF7CCbzsbb9iJrvVjPULOuaM%3D&checksum=1738685286509027fefa117344a0b6c1c6325a0933f2&enc=AQAEAAACUBPxNw%2BVj6nta7CKEs3N0qUWajY9YaDD2EKG3%2BscMYNtg6QjitDZhocfJDmfJ%2BMft0nKjszANdWQH8s%2FsRLX2%2FjdcvpWGoV%2F5gVRcBNC606uHWtTz7YYFikxwi71Rd4EgIn7ypjrruBqM98SstM2S5EovM%2FSkbH%2B8yka3xG%2BDiLK8H8tVJHY6%2BB3PuKCN64%2BNYd%2BK7YuAkvtOtQheUJ429rjpJP%2B2hZG2pGJ%2FWnkc1VG4h5f1o2pPRXeyeHP0o%2BI70s8IOVpZ0WWf0chni2SSRNh3i0YsMJVBDvhMSdtOXy57Z3ggUtuLD2VbOR2fIHwTvW9h5FYOtOame1ZvkNxdBAGm%2B7Psyax5vhc1YZiDVKW09B9N1sazbEE8KqC44cD0QEzMjxtO%2FUbkHvF0GNojKRM0kdHTbd0agsV9%2F%2B0vgn6KzEv9jaHutAFNMVObrg2Nrl6DCqiHUBXuhclMtELed7UPzY%2BLyJkHvU3fc9Fm%2FMnuLmGZB7J%2BkmiyMVgJpnikFjUHz%2FoFlRsBqv1hAvSdEYw%2FGRpD%2FyqEWWsWhKkXxv7D56J9uFhRQr2UAL9CtyrKKbZ%2Bilyy9dId5PZbTOVuq1WLHP6VPB1NvgAQAgu%2BH5W%2FTqmmUearDbEbZdwMYazJjYbKhR5z1IU1eIPkSP0XndkMboFPxU2gSWgi%2Be3bq49upBhA9vOjZOAPkgKJXFmPeaXn4jVSQxj5anVCIzv8JUYH71SmcuFYoYaSHxXCVBayXE5plmA9gIjNb%2Fd0g9eF7CCbzsbb9iJrvVjPULOuaM%3D&checksum=1738685286509027fefa117344a0b6c1c6325a0933f2


1973 Tiger 750
Re: away with the wit
splash #790869 11/22/19 1:24 am
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Hope that says "get some spanners"!

Re: away with the wit
splash #790873 11/22/19 2:07 am
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I think it's Enigma machine code for :

Smoke me a kipper, I'll be back for breakfast whistle

Re: away with the wit
splash #790879 11/22/19 3:09 am
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Just to summarize or condense what's been said:

Yes, British hardware involves thread densities and thread forms (shape & angle of threads), as well as wrench sizes, that are different from SAE or metric.

Whitworth is a term primarily referring to wrench sizes. Thread densities and thread forms are denoted by CEI, BSF, BA, etc. or Unified, which is basically equivalent to SAE (although the thread form is a bit different).

Yes, you will find some CEI or BSF hardware on your 1970, some with Whitworth wrench sizes, primarily on the engine. As far as I know, no one supplies this hardware with SAE wrench sizes, at least not for the big stuff like your drain plug. I did one time source replacement rocker cover nuts for my A65 however, that were 1/4" X 26 tpi, but with 7/16" wrench size (instead of 1/4" BS, which is slightly larger). I figured this was intentional on the part of the manufacturer, to cater to us Yanks.

I have BS/Whitworth sockets, but they are all 12-point sockets. What I use and recommend for big stuff though, especially stuff like that drain plug, the head of which is also shallow, is SAE six-point sockets in 16th or even 32nd sizes. You have to do some hunting at comprehensive tool outlets to find 32nd sizes, but they're out there.


Mark Z

'65(lower)/'66(upper, wheels, front end, controls)/'67(seat, exhaust, fuel tank, headlamp)/'70(frame) A65 Bitsa.
Re: away with the wit
splash #790901 11/22/19 9:04 am
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You have in your hands a slice of history, best enjoyed by riding but also kept with its history intact when possible.. Buy the spanners.

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