My A65 kick lever is loose and will shift back and forth an inch or two as if the cotter pin is not holding it. I ordered a second pin from "BSA nut" on eBay because I heard the BSA ones were special but it looks basically the same and doesn't work any better.
Yes, I have the nut facing forward.
I even put the pin in "upside down" as a test - and it doesn't tighten. Has anyone seen this? Would a shim help?
1966 BSA Lightning (2) 1967 Triumph "Choppa"s 1974 Indian ME125
A couple of things to check are whether the flat/cutout on the quadrant is actually flat, often they get worn on the edges so the cotter doesn't fit well, also check whether the kickstart is a loose fit on the quadrant, if it is loose then the cotter pin will have a hard time keeping the two together.
1968 A65 Firebird 1967 B44 Shooting Star 1972 Norton Commando
Another thing to check is you have the right kickstart lever for the quadrant. The 71 on quadrants/levers had the cotterpin further out from centre than the pre oif type. The oif quadrants are also longer.
Is it possible that you have an pre oif style quadrant with an oif levee? (If it’s the other way round the quadrant won’t fit at all)
I've always assumed that cotter pin engineering has been defined since very early days (taper, chord), though applications may require different toughness of pins (bicycle crank, motorcycle kickstart, many other sprocket/gear applications).
As Gunner said, if the K/S shaft groove has suffered by losing its flatness/sharpness (particularly at the rear end of the groove) it will increase the rate of wear on the cotter pin. All the kick-starting torque is on that area.
If the groove is good, the pin is of decent material and fitted/tightened correctly (should be knocked in as the wedge they are), and a controlled kickstart action employed, the pin/shaft will never come loose. But if by one or more of the above being deficient, a slight looseness develops between the kick lever and the spindle, then all the wear begins, and it will eventually wear the groove in the shaft such that it needs replacing.
I'm not in complete aggreement with the principle of placing the cotter pin with the nut forward. The maximum area of the cotter pin is at the nut end. I prefer to put the cotter in from the front, so that maximum area is on the rear of the shaft groove, where all of the force is exerted. Placing it the "conventional" way puts the smallest contact area of the pin at the high stress point. (ps I speak from a Triumph experience, I don't know if BSA k/s levers perhaps don't allow such a reversal)
Reversing the cotter pin as I describe will result in the k/s lever leaning back a little further than it was originally (something about 10-15 deg or so) so no big deal in most situations.
The Triumph cotter pin has more machined off than the BSA one until the OIF, order a BSA one and you risk getting a Triumph one and then its loose. I have a couple of ones with no flat at all for getting it just right where I have a mix or parts but the only nearly sure way of getting a BSA cotter is to order from someone who only supplies BSA parts such as Peter at BSA Unit Singles. But first check for rounded corners etc.
If you have had the lever off, you have seen the groove in the shaft. Yes, the pins come in various manufactured condition like all repo parts, not the best. If the groove is deformed such that the surface is not flat, it’s a lost cause fighting the issue. The lever holes can also get deformed and contribute to the slop. Your options are: just use it as good as you can make it work / replace the kick quadrant / lever with a better oneS, not easy to find one with good teeth AND a flat groove, or perfect pin hole! I saw a guy with the lever welded to the shaft! Fixed his real good!
Down to 1 BSA, 2 Triumphs, 1 '56 Chevy 1 '65 XLCH, Hernia Gift, on the way to Japan!
while i think of it what i also did was put a few turns of thread on the large end of the pin so that when i had fitted it really tightly i didnt have to hit that small thread on the other end to get it back out ......i just put a nut on the large thread (that i had added) and pulled it off its taper like that ......ok not exactly parts book fix but i thought it was a good idea and it worked.
"There's the way it ought to be and there's the way it is" (Sgt Barnes)
What's not appreciate sometimes, is that cotter pins are a kind of wedge, and when tightened, they pull the kickstart shaft and quadrant tightly together to form a solid one piece component. As already mentioned, wear in the quadrant slot and kickstart hole can cause problems. Using shims to take up slack are one way of alleviating the problem and I have also heard of people using some form of loctite on the quadrant and kicker after tightening the cotter. What's certain is that all parts should be oil and grease free so that the parts cant slip apart too easily.
Ideally use new components and then you will have a much better chance of success.
Last edited by gunner; 05/01/208:45 pm.
1968 A65 Firebird 1967 B44 Shooting Star 1972 Norton Commando
Oif quadrant look through the images, you’ll see the depth of the cut away is shallow, this is because the cotter pin doesn’t sit as deeply into the shaft (the cotter pin is the same between both oif and pre oif)
It doesn’t help that some of the OIF quadrants have the pre oif numbers cast, this is probably because the number is cast into the gear piece and welded together afterwards so you need to have a vendor that knows what they are looking at to sell you the right one, because of this I have several oif types. The correct one for my Lightning is second hand because that’s all I could find at the time, they have since started making new ones.
I did some measurements and comparisons between pre oif/oif quadrants and same With the levers. The cranked lever is the Pre Oif type.
Just a side note I did start using a cotter pin but it was a little Worn as it was an old one and upon tapping it out it disappeared somewhere in the garage. The diameter of the pin is 3/8” so I’ve shaved a 3/8” bolt, it’s enough to show A comparison.
The two quadrants. The OIF one is noticeably longer (this one is NOS)
Oif kicker with oif quadrant, the bolt pokes through a couple Of threads
Pre oif Kicker and oif quadrant. The bolt doesn’t even reach the end. I’ve tried this setup in the past, in reality you can’t shave the cotter pin enough as the threaded portion won’t pass through.
Pre oif kicker and pre oif quadrant, the pokes through more than the first picture so this confirms that there are different depths of cut between triumph and BSA style. The triumph would Need to be cut more to pass through further.
And lastly, this is your setup, an Oif kicker with a pre oif quadrant. The bolt passes straight though. I also did this with an unshaven bolt. Even with this you can rock the lever back and two.
I just recently as in the last few days, figured out I had mismatched parts. In my case, I had an OIF quadrant and was trying to fit a 1970 and earlier kicker. The quadrant was an NOS part that was sent to me for my 1970 A65F Firebird. Of course,when I fitted it, I had no clue there was a difference. And, as Allan stated, the gear is cast with the previous part number 68-3094. Just today, I swapped it out for the correct quadrant and other changes that needed to be performed. Now, everything is as it should be !!
Its worth noting that the cotter pin is a sacrificial part (I usually buy several of them and keep one in my spares although I loose almost as many as I buy), soon as they start getting worn they want changing.
For years I have used a tip I saw in the long defunct Motorcycle Mechanics magazine back in the early ‘60s, and it does seem to work well. You make the cotter pin from a piece of a 3/8" high tensile bolt. It pays to use one with a fine thread, like Cycle or UNF. You cut the bolt head off and file away a flat on the side of the threaded region to make a cotter pin-like profile to form the wedge that will jam against the cutaway on the kick starter shaft, though it's best if you arrange that the taper on the wedge does not continue linearly after enough clearance to pass the pin past the shaft cutaway has been made. That way, you can make a cotter pin where about 2/3 the diameter of the bolt is still present. That leaves enough section so it will accept the nut that draws in the bolt.
As a practical point, you may need a thick washer to fill any cutaway that is machined into the nut's seating on the k/s arm. A 3/8" nut will draw this type of cotter pin in really tight and I've never had a k/s fitted this way, work loose. Also, on my early A65, you have to tighten the nut so the face closest to the gearbox cover casting is parallel to it, or it can foul the casting.
If I recollect correctly, many years ago, some kickstart cotter pins had the rare 9/32" Cycle thread on them instead of the much more common 1/4".
I would have shown a photo of the fitted thingy but I can't get incorporating an inline photo to work for me - apologies.
The cotter pins are soft so they are sacrificial, if you do replace with a hardened pin then you need to ensure everything is like new and the pin never comes loose. If a hardened pin comes loose then it will eat into the much more expensive kick shaft.