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Lighting no start
#811309 06/03/20 1:40 pm
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I so hate to need to make this thread.
I certainly don't know it all but I've been around long enough to know the basics and then some.
Engine has new standard size pistons and rings. Lapped the valves, head appeared in good shape.
Tappets at .008" and .010"
Using this style coil, same one in my running Triumph.
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
Spark looks good, big.
Points ignition. Timed with advance locked to 34 BTDC (tricky since I found out too late the flywheel was put on wrong so no timing slot available)
Swapped out Monoblocs (Did try them) for a pair of Concentrics since I'm more familiar with them. Pilot jet clear.
Cold (obviously) compression is 90 both sides. I know that is low but my Triumph is the same and runs fine. Maybe its the gauge-maybe not.
Tried new NGK plugs and new Champion N3.
Starter fluid or gas sprayed in carbs and still not even a pop.

Obviously doing something wrong. Deja vu for the Triumph which I struggled with for longer than I care to say.
Turned out I had a bad Boyer box. Put in points and Vroom!

Any ideas or direction most appreciated.


1966 BSA Lightning
(2) 1967 Triumph "Choppa"s
1974 Indian ME125
1960 Harley Servi-Car
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Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #811317 06/03/20 2:30 pm
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is it sparking on the induction stroke maybe?, check points are opening when both valves are closed for the respective cylinder.


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: Lighting no start
Nick H #811320 06/03/20 2:57 pm
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Thanks Gavin, no, it's not that. Just now took off the rocker cover to look things over.

Float level is good by the way. Any higher it would flood.

Last edited by Nick H; 06/03/20 3:02 pm.

1966 BSA Lightning
(2) 1967 Triumph "Choppa"s
1974 Indian ME125
1960 Harley Servi-Car
Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #811344 06/03/20 6:14 pm
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Rags in the inlet tract? Ive done that before.


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: Lighting no start
Nick H #811355 06/03/20 6:58 pm
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Electrical short, acting like a kill switch? How's the ZD?

How are you checking spark? Are you moving anything around other than the plug and wire? Are you checking both sides?

Do you see 12v at both coil poles? Good ground on the shared pole?

Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #811359 06/03/20 7:46 pm
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Are you using the same timing hole on the trigger plate as you are on your triumph? If so this will be the problem, regardless of you having the crank correct when you did it, the spark will be at the wrong point. you want to align the dot with the one that’s anti clock wise aka left hand side of the stator coil.

Otherwise check the Boyer rotor has good magnetism with a screwdriver or spanner (non magnetic) on both of the magnets. I had one which was bad from new. It sparked with the plugs out of the head but not when fitted. Don’t get why. Anyway LP Williams who I bought it off sent me another one straight away - great service!


Now let’s all have a beer beerchug

68’ A65 Lightning “clubman”
71’ A65 823 Thunderbolt (undergoing restoration)
67’ D10 sportsman (undergoing restoration)
68’ D14 trials (undergoing transformation)

Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #811370 06/03/20 8:45 pm
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Quote
Timed with advance locked to 34 BTDC (tricky since I found out too late the flywheel was put on wrong so no timing slot available)

I don't get this, how can the flywheel be mounted wrong, is it on back to front? If you cant use the flywheel timing slot how did you time the ignition, degree disc maybe?

From reading your post it sounds like you are using points in which case I believe the AAU has to be bolted into the fully advanced position with the crank also locked into the fully advanced position. Maybe a mismatch somewhere.

Might be worth checking the cam timing as well in case something is amiss.


1968 A65 Firebird
1967 B44 Shooting Star
1972 Norton Commando
Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #811373 06/03/20 9:01 pm
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[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

this coil is wired to 2 sets of points ?
how is it wired ?

Re: Lighting no start
MarcB #811386 06/03/20 10:51 pm
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Originally Posted by gavin eisler
Rags in the inlet tract? Ive done that before.
Never heard of this. Please explain.
Originally Posted by MarcB
Electrical short, acting like a kill switch? How's the ZD?

How are you checking spark? Are you moving anything around other than the plug and wire? Are you checking both sides?

Do you see 12v at both coil poles? Good ground on the shared pole?
Sorry, forgot to mention I'm using a Podtronics. Wiring is very simple at this point. No headlight/taillight yet.
Checking the spark on both plugs laying on the head.
Points ignition - not Boyer this time.
The center post on the coil is positive from battery and outer negative posts each to a point. (negative ground wiring)
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
This is facing front of engine. Timing slot on wrong side!
I measured the piston height with a dial gauge when engine was apart and marked rotor/stator at 34 degrees BTDC
Locked AAU advanced with washer on bolt.

Cam timing set by aligning marks on gears. I don't know much about varying these settings and reasons for it.
Valves seem to be opening and closing roughly when they should.

Thanks for all the replies!

Last edited by Nick H; 06/03/20 10:56 pm.

1966 BSA Lightning
(2) 1967 Triumph "Choppa"s
1974 Indian ME125
1960 Harley Servi-Car
Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #811389 06/03/20 11:35 pm
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Hi,
Are the condensers in good shape?
If the wires to the points were reversed then the timing would be on the wrong stroke
There was a old post on this type of coil that may help?
http://www.britbike.com/forums/ubbthreads.php/topics/768139/1

John

Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #811391 06/03/20 11:47 pm
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Not so long ago I had an "issue" after a rebuild when the bike would only run on one cylinder, on investigation I found a rag still blocking the inlet port, whoops!
Measuring piston height to guestimate firing angle is not as accurate as using a degree wheel zeroed at TDC using a fixed stop to calibrate. Still it should be close enough to make it run. Are you sure the correct points are firing the correct plugs when the correct cylinder is on comp.?


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
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Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #811395 06/04/20 12:17 am
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If you've got spark and fuel the way you've described, the only thing left is compression. A compression test won't tell you if you're firing with the valves wide open. An easy test could be to swap the neg wires at the coil.

You should be getting a pop or sputter or something.

Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #811399 06/04/20 2:18 am
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When I first got my A50 I didn't realize the cam pinion rotates in the opposite direction of the crank so I had the points 34' after TDC. wouldn't start.

Last edited by Danam; 06/04/20 2:57 am.
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Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #811416 06/04/20 4:12 am
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Well you have something very wrong
So if it were in my shed, the timing disc would come out ( if I could find it ) and get stuck to the rotor nut with a magnet because you are just checking things.
TDC located using a piston stop then a bull dog clip on a fin or a pair of long nose vise grips etc to hang a pointer off.
Then the engine would go through several rotations while I noted the valve opening & closing degrees, and points opening & closing degrees
When the numbers have been measured draw a strait line on some graph paper if you have it.
Make the X axis 7.2" long then every 1/10" = 10 degrees of crankshaft rotation.
Next plot each valve opening and closing plus points opening & closing for each cylinder as individual lines.
When finished you will have 6 partial horizontal lines Left inlet , left exhaust, left points and the same for the right.
Mark TDC & BDC vertically.
If the points or valves are out of time it will now jump up off the page & bite you on the nose.

IF not take a photo & post it here and those who have already made all of the silly mistakes before you will see a repetition of their Boo Boo & set your strait.
Just remember to add 360 deg for things thathappen onthe 2nd rotation.

Last edited by BSA_WM20; 06/04/20 4:16 am.

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Trevor
Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #811435 06/04/20 1:20 pm
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Have you tried smaller gap on spark plugs? I just had a problem with my Atlas. Was doing service on 3 of my bikes and set all plugs to .025" and on the Atlas had a nice spark outside the engine but not even a pop when installed. This bike runs a mag and I checked everything and was almost ready to remove mag when I thought of plug gap. Bit of research found gap should be around.018". Adjusted gap and it fired and ran first kick. Not saying this is your problem, but know for sure it was mine.

Good luck, Bill


Bill
1974 Norton Commando
1966 Lightning
1965 Lightning Rocket
1966 Norton Atlas
1967 Norton Atlas
1948 Panhead
Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #811453 06/04/20 3:12 pm
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Still no go. Thanks for the replies.
I'm definitely firing my sparks on the correct cylinders.
Double, triple checking everything. Put on a degree wheel to confirm valve opening and closing points.
Not with any real accuracy though. Couldn't figure out how to put my dial gauge on.
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com][Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
Sprayed some carb cleaner through the air screw holes and the air entry holes on the back of the carb to see it spray
out the two little holes and confirm my primary idle circuit is clear and working.
Condensers? I'll try a smaller plug gap. Currently at .02"

Last edited by Nick H; 06/04/20 3:15 pm.

1966 BSA Lightning
(2) 1967 Triumph "Choppa"s
1974 Indian ME125
1960 Harley Servi-Car
Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #811455 06/04/20 3:25 pm
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You dont need a dial gauge, you do need to open the valve clearances up to 0.015", as soon as all the clearance is taken up ( judge with a cigarette paper between valve tip and adjuster), that is the opening point, you dont need all 4 reading, so long as the inlet or exhaust is opening within 5 degrees or so of the book number then you are good to go. The reason for the 15 thou clearance is because the cams have slow opening ramps to keep some of the clatter down.


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: Lighting no start
Nick H #811458 06/04/20 3:57 pm
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Ah, Thank you! Never heard of that trick!


1966 BSA Lightning
(2) 1967 Triumph "Choppa"s
1974 Indian ME125
1960 Harley Servi-Car
Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #811459 06/04/20 4:17 pm
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Some random thoughts which may or may not help:-
- is the carb balance pipe fitted?
- are the carbs at least loosly tuned, e.g. throttle cables slack, slides bottoming, pilot mixture 1-1/2 turns out and idle stops turned in slightly?
- any air leaks around the inlet manifolds?
- what do the plugs smell/look like after starting attempts? I would hope that you can at least smell petrol and they arent black/shiny
- is the fuel fresh?
- what about battery charge status, do you have at least 12v and a good earth connection especially to the engine?
- what type of points plate is fitted 4CA or 6CA and what about the AAU springs, is there any slack?
- have you double-checked the cam timing, sometimes there is more than one timing mark on the pinions.

Last edited by gunner; 06/04/20 4:20 pm.

1968 A65 Firebird
1967 B44 Shooting Star
1972 Norton Commando
Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #811461 06/04/20 4:21 pm
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I had a nightmare like this years ago after a rebuild. I found out that the smooth valve cover was stopping one of the valves from fully closing, due to the aftermarket tappet/replacement valves hitting the inside of the cover. Not immediately apparent, but after starting sans cover, a little work with a grinding wheel and all was well.


Gavin
You can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear.
Re: Lighting no start
gunner #811571 06/05/20 5:08 pm
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Originally Posted by gunner
Some random thoughts which may or may not help:-
- is the carb balance pipe fitted?
Put a blocked off piece of hose on for the balance pipe. Don't exactly remember why but that's what I do.
- are the carbs at least loosly tuned, e.g. throttle cables slack, slides bottoming, pilot mixture 1-1/2 turns out and idle stops turned in slightly?
All yes.
- any air leaks around the inlet manifolds?
Hard to tell when not running. I was using the fat o-rings but they really didn't fit in the groove on the carb, more on top of it.
Today I switched to gaskets.
- what do the plugs smell/look like after starting attempts? I would hope that you can at least smell petrol and they arent black/shiny
They look new. Not wet with gas. Everything smells like gas around the bike.
- is the fuel fresh?
Yesiree
- what about battery charge status, do you have at least 12v and a good earth connection especially to the engine?
13 volts and I believe the earth is good.
- what type of points plate is fitted 4CA or 6CA and what about the AAU springs, is there any slack?
6CA. Should there be slack? I'll look.
- have you double-checked the cam timing, sometimes there is more than one timing mark on the pinions.
I'll be doing this more closely using Gavins method.
Also going to try advancing/retarding the spark at bit.
I tightened up my plug gap on the tight side of .02". Since then I'm at least getting a bit of a "whoom" on kick.


1966 BSA Lightning
(2) 1967 Triumph "Choppa"s
1974 Indian ME125
1960 Harley Servi-Car
Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #811578 06/05/20 5:57 pm
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Since then I'm at least getting a bit of a "whoom" on kick.

Sounds like progress, I'm sure the bike will be started soon.


1968 A65 Firebird
1967 B44 Shooting Star
1972 Norton Commando
Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #811579 06/05/20 6:00 pm
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If the plugs are not wet, look V closely at the pilot mix delivery holes in the floor of the carb venturi, theres one in front of the slide front lip and one behind it, make sure these are clear. If you spray whatever your go to WD 40 stuff is in through the carb inlet pilot air hole, the one on the bottom lip that isnt plugged you should see stuff coming through the two wee holes ( it will also spray into the float bowl, hold your finger over that hole).
You squished O ring doesnt sound right


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: Lighting no start
Nick H #811591 06/05/20 7:47 pm
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Thanks. Checked carb. See post #811453.


1966 BSA Lightning
(2) 1967 Triumph "Choppa"s
1974 Indian ME125
1960 Harley Servi-Car
Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #811619 06/05/20 11:49 pm
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That 15 thou thing, that not Gavins method, RTFM.


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
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Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #811623 06/06/20 12:15 am
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Ok, the method Gavin told me about. Sheesh!


1966 BSA Lightning
(2) 1967 Triumph "Choppa"s
1974 Indian ME125
1960 Harley Servi-Car
Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #811860 06/08/20 1:30 pm
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Well my cam timing looks good.

What I'm not confident about are my ignition timing marks on my rotor/stator.
If I set the timing advanced to 34 degrees BTDC, when I check it without advance it seems to spark right at TDC.
With an 11 degree AAU, shouldn't it be sparking at 12 degrees BTDC without advance?
This is what I mean about my questionable timing marks.
Recall that I don't have the luxury of a flywheel notch.

Why is it we go to the trouble to set timing advanced anyway?

By the way, I'm at least getting some pops now.

Thanks for the help thus far. I'm a bit dense sometimes.

Last edited by Nick H; 06/08/20 1:39 pm.

1966 BSA Lightning
(2) 1967 Triumph "Choppa"s
1974 Indian ME125
1960 Harley Servi-Car
Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #811863 06/08/20 2:29 pm
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Originally Posted by Nick H
Why is it we go to the trouble to set timing advanced anyway?

Timing at idle isn't as critical as fully advanced at high RPM. If your timing is off the mark at idle, you might have trouble getting the bike to start. If it's off the mark at full throttle, you might burn a hole in the piston. So it's best to assume setting full advanced timing will get the starting timing in line. If it doesn't, there are certain ways to increase the amount of advance offered by the AAU.

Do you care more about best performance at idle in the driveway, or passing trucks on the highway at 4000 RPM? wink

Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #811867 06/08/20 3:27 pm
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With an 11 degree AAU, shouldn't it be sparking at 12 degrees BTDC without advance?


I think that's right, an 11 degree AAU will result in 22 degrees of advance, so that should be 12 degrees BTDC, but this is a rough approximation which is why timing is usually set at the fully advanced position.


Another inaccurate way to check is using a rod down the spark plug with a marking for where the fully advanced position is. I don't know what this measurement is on an A65 but you need to find TDC then turn the engine backwards so the piston falls past the marking and then forward until the mark is seen. As mentioned this is not very accurate and I don't know what the measurement is (maybe 0.31" ?) but it may give you a rough idea of whether your timing is in the ballpark or not.

Last edited by gunner; 06/08/20 3:31 pm.

1968 A65 Firebird
1967 B44 Shooting Star
1972 Norton Commando
Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #811881 06/08/20 5:14 pm
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Why is it we go to the trouble to set timing advanced anyway

the full Advance timing is more critical to not putting a hole in the top of a piston
when the bike is running under load .

the idle advance position only needs to start the bike and provide smooth idle .
... with points set at full advance @ 34°
it's assumed that idle advance will be found mechanically when the AAU is unlocked .

you can try it the other way , set the aau timing "slack" at 12° ... this was one of the
old school methods ... before timing lights were common and home shops .

the Springs in your aau maybe to weak to hold 12° ... even at Kickstart RPM ?

Re: Lighting no start
quinten #811882 06/08/20 5:14 pm
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.
34 degrees is .304 inches BTDC......

or with the old school down hole method .
... 5/16" ... 7.7 mm

slack aau timing at 12° ... down hole is
0.0394 ... 3/64" .... 1mm

once the piston top is located or crankshaft degree is established
any factory mark from rotor to cover pointer should line up .
( if there is no rotor to cover pointer ... make your own )


maybe the aau springs are weak and the aau is advancing , even at kick over rpms ?
or
have you tried switching the plug wire leads ?

Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #811885 06/08/20 5:30 pm
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Well, that's two suggestions my AAU springs may be weak.
How would I check that? I have another to compare to.
Still curious why it seems to retard all the way to TDC when set advanced at 34. Or nearly - certainly not 12 degrees.
That gives me two different settings depending on whether I set advanced or slack.

Double checked the piston height. Dial bolted to exhaust.

Attached Files tdc.jpg
Last edited by Nick H; 06/08/20 5:31 pm.

1966 BSA Lightning
(2) 1967 Triumph "Choppa"s
1974 Indian ME125
1960 Harley Servi-Car
Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #811892 06/08/20 6:08 pm
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I don't think there is an easy way to check AAU springs and it may be that the springs are from a different bike, hence the problem. I imagine that if you are finding its retarding all the way to TDC then either the springs or AAU/Points are knackered, worth swapping out for a different set but personally I would just fit an EI unit which would solve a lot of problems.


1968 A65 Firebird
1967 B44 Shooting Star
1972 Norton Commando
Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #811893 06/08/20 6:21 pm
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I think you make a good "point".
I do have another set and actually I have a Boyer MKIV on the shelf. The later analog version that is supposed to be better for low battery.
Why am I messing around with these points then?!
Maybe because I fussed around with a Boyer MKIII for a long time on my Triumph before finally finding out it was defective or damaged.
Put points in that bike and started first kick.
I suppose I should give it another chance.

Last edited by Nick H; 06/08/20 6:23 pm.

1966 BSA Lightning
(2) 1967 Triumph "Choppa"s
1974 Indian ME125
1960 Harley Servi-Car
Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #811898 06/08/20 7:08 pm
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Quote
Still curious why it seems to retard all the way to TDC when set advanced at 34. Or nearly - certainly not 12 degrees
Nothing wrong with messing around with points ... if the AAU is taken apart and inspected and lubed .

piston travel isn't linear , it becomes less as it approaches top dead center .
@ 12° it's within 1mm.
@ 10° its 0. 69 mm
@ 8° its 0.44mm

as any aau is used , the Advance stop gets hammered ... and the stop at the end of slot opens .
an 11° aau eventually becomes 12° and gives 24° Of retard from 34 °
if set at full advance ... the idle advance will be less than with a stock new AAU .
( but this doesn't explain why your bike doesn't start )
... if the backing plate Advanced stop shows wear ... its worn .

Last edited by quinten; 06/08/20 9:12 pm.
Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #811905 06/08/20 7:50 pm
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I maintain your setting the points at the wrong point.

If you’ve fitted the washer under the nut then the idea is that you use it to lock the AAU into the fully advanced position.

If your bike has the facility use the tool to lock your crank in the fully advanced position. If you can’t, then rotate the crank to the strobe timing mark. If you can have someone keep an eye on that mark, I’ve known it to rotate on its own weight and screw your timing up before now.

Screw the points plate so that the screws are centred within the slots. Have the AAU loose on its taper but screw still in place. Have the screw/bolt so that it is applying a bit of pressure or resistance to movement.

Remove the plugs, fit them back into the caps and rest securely on the head. Switch on ignition.

Use a flat blade screw driver and rotate the cam backwards (use the slot on the AAU and rotate it backward until the plugs spark.

Lock the bolt fully. Remove the crank locating tool.

If you haven’t already turn the engine until the high point on the cam (the scribed mark) lines up with the heel of the points. Set the points gap to 0.015”, then rotate the crank 360° and do the same for the other set of points.

Start the bike.

The timing will still be out by some extent. Do not at this point adjust the timing with the main points screws. Use the ones which are for isolated for each set of points.

Time both cylinders.

Set the points gap again. Check the strobe timing again and adjust with the larger screws holding the whole
Plate.

This is how I used to do mine and it was fine every time.


Now let’s all have a beer beerchug

68’ A65 Lightning “clubman”
71’ A65 823 Thunderbolt (undergoing restoration)
67’ D10 sportsman (undergoing restoration)
68’ D14 trials (undergoing transformation)

Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #811908 06/08/20 8:22 pm
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Thanks Allan, I've basically done all those things except that I don't have facility to lock the crank fully advanced
nor do I have strobe timing marks except for those I made myself.

When I convince myself the current points setup is never going to work, I'll take this AAU out and compare to my other one
and maybe just install the Boyer at that "point".

Last edited by Nick H; 06/08/20 8:26 pm.

1966 BSA Lightning
(2) 1967 Triumph "Choppa"s
1974 Indian ME125
1960 Harley Servi-Car
Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #811910 06/08/20 9:06 pm
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One of the many mistakes I have made, when first timing my A65, assumed the points cam rotates the same way as the crank, it doesnt. Just a thought.


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: Lighting no start
Allan G #811912 06/08/20 9:28 pm
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Originally Posted by Nick H
Thanks Allan, I've basically done all those things except that I don't have facility to lock the crank fully advanced
nor do I have strobe timing marks except for those I made myself.

When I convince myself the current points setup is never going to work, I'll take this AAU out and compare to my other one
and maybe just install the Boyer at that "point".

I did remember part way through writing about your fly wheel being the wrong way around. One of my cranks was the same so I feel your pain. If you can make a piston stop tool this would help a lot.

As you don’t have any marks on your rotor apart from your own, have you tried turning the rotor around? There should be some marks on the other side of it.

If your timing the AAU at full advance it could be totally clapped out and still function, wobble with the cam on the shaft will cause erratic timing and weak springs will just cause it to advance early. The first you’ll feel when you have the unit in your hands, the second you’ll see when you rev it up on the strobe light. Eurotrash Jambalaya in the states sell really good springs (they sell good springs in general but obviously were on about advance springs) they go full advance at 3000, with a tweak I tightened mine up to 3500, the bike ran well like that.

Find the spark timing in the same method as I mentioned?...


Originally Posted by Allan G
Screw the points plate so that the screws are centred within the slots. Have the AAU loose on its taper but screw still in place. Have the screw/bolt so that it is applying a bit of pressure or resistance to movement.

Remove the plugs, fit them back into the caps and rest securely on the head. Switch on ignition.

Use a flat blade screw driver and rotate the cam backwards (use the slot on the AAU and rotate it backward until the plugs spark.

Lock the bolt fully. Remove the crank locating tool.


If you haven’t, give it a try, it’s imperative that you turn the cam so it’s opening up the bob weights, not the other way around I tried with the light bulb method as shown in the workshop manual, not only did I find it more of a faff but for some reason it didn’t want to work for me. This method works every time from Bantam to A65, it even works on bikes which use Hall effect sensors on the timing and the window on the rotor is quite large.


One other thing to check is that you have a BSA Type AAU and not a triumph type or unit single type. With the triumph/unit single AAU unit as soon as it starts to open up it will retard the ignition. The 11° AAU strikes me as puzzling, AFAIK A65’s (certainly all the later ones with 6CA cams) were 12° not 11°.


Now let’s all have a beer beerchug

68’ A65 Lightning “clubman”
71’ A65 823 Thunderbolt (undergoing restoration)
67’ D10 sportsman (undergoing restoration)
68’ D14 trials (undergoing transformation)

Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #811956 06/09/20 5:02 am
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Originally Posted by Nick H
Well, that's two suggestions my AAU springs may be weak.
How would I check that? I have another to compare to.
Still curious why it seems to retard all the way to TDC when set advanced at 34. Or nearly - certainly not 12 degrees.
That gives me two different settings depending on whether I set advanced or slack.

Double checked the piston height. Dial bolted to exhaust.


The 1/2 timing pinion rotates at 1/2 engine speed so 12 degs on the points cam = 24 degs at the crank.
Allowing for backlash in gears and wear in the mechanical assembly you may see a few degrees difference at
the crank/piston height.
Spend a couple of hundred bucks on an electronic ignition and life will be simpler.
My2c

Re: Lighting no start
NickL #811979 06/09/20 11:46 am
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Originally Posted by NickL
[quote=Nick H]
Spend a couple of hundred bucks on an electronic ignition and life will be simpler.
Hmm, not necessarily. If the timing marks are non-existent then it's possible that nothing is lining up. Nothing will line up with EI either. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big proponent of EI but replacing points with EI shouldn't be "to make it work" but rather "to improve on the working process".

If replacing the points with EI helps in this case, then the original parts were wrong (either points or AAU) and a different set would have helped as well.

Re: Lighting no start
MarcB #811982 06/09/20 12:31 pm
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Originally Posted by MarcB
Originally Posted by NickL
[quote=Nick H]
Spend a couple of hundred bucks on an electronic ignition and life will be simpler.
Hmm, not necessarily. If the timing marks are non-existent then it's possible that nothing is lining up. Nothing will line up with EI either. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big proponent of EI but replacing points with EI shouldn't be "to make it work" but rather "to improve on the working process".

If replacing the points with EI helps in this case, then the original parts were wrong (either points or AAU) and a different set would have helped as well.
Thank you. Exactly why I am reluctant to go to the effort to install the Boyer I have on the shelf here.
Also have some Lucas springs #54417992 which I think are supposed to be stronger springs
I feel points are somewhat easier to diagnose and troubleshoot.
If there is a problem with my timing marks, which I don't think so as I've checked them all different ways, then the EI won't work either.
Maybe it's a carb or other problem.

Alan: Here's my other BSA AAU, 11 degree. Maybe early 4CA part.
Curious. Doesn't have the hash mark to set points on the front.

.[Linked Image from i.imgur.com][Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Gas tank slipped off the shelf and got a dent. Not a perfect tank to begin with but I think I have to step away from this
bike for a couple days before I start throwing tools!

Last edited by Nick H; 06/09/20 1:11 pm.

1966 BSA Lightning
(2) 1967 Triumph "Choppa"s
1974 Indian ME125
1960 Harley Servi-Car
Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #812006 06/09/20 6:26 pm
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From researching some old posts it does look like yours is a 4CA AAU. these are best turning into spinning tops for kids to play with, their cam design caused a lot of engines to go bang (the dwell is something like 170 degrees, the downside was this caused some points bounce and sparking to occur. The 6CA is something like 86°) for a few years until BSA realised the issue and come mid 67 created the -Y bikes which apart from the oil system upgrade also had the cam upgrade to 6CA. The points plate was also updated from the type which had the condensers mounted at the points, to a provision under the seat. This allowed the points to be adjusted/timed individually rather than setting it somewhere in the middle or adjusting the points gap on individual points in attempt to try and time the cylinders accurately.


Older Britbike post if you scroll down to RF Whatleys comments and have a read. RF is still a member of this board and very knowledgable on what rolled out of the doors of Lucas.


Now let’s all have a beer beerchug

68’ A65 Lightning “clubman”
71’ A65 823 Thunderbolt (undergoing restoration)
67’ D10 sportsman (undergoing restoration)
68’ D14 trials (undergoing transformation)

Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #812014 06/09/20 7:29 pm
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Well that settles that! I'll be installing the Boyer. Hope it helps the starting too.
Thanks Allan for that esoteric bit of info! You may just have saved my engine.


1966 BSA Lightning
(2) 1967 Triumph "Choppa"s
1974 Indian ME125
1960 Harley Servi-Car
Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #812018 06/09/20 7:50 pm
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You are using NEW plugs, right?

The pod has nothing to do with this

Figure out how to run a jumper wire from battery to coil and eliminate all else

If you are using points as I think, are they CLEAN?

Any flim on the contact surface will screw things up.

Why are you messing with cam timing? Is this a new build or have you had the cam out?


Rich (last remaining member ThreeMustGetBeers)
"It's not always about going fast. Sometimes it's nice to slow down" (Wendy E.2016)

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Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #812026 06/09/20 8:17 pm
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Originally Posted by Nick H
Well that settles that! I'll be installing the Boyer. Hope it helps the starting too.
Thanks Allan for that esoteric bit of info! You may just have saved my engine.

The Boyer is less faff to set up and fit and forget (I’m a Pazon advocate myself but each to their own)

I was hoping to find that I could find an image showing the cam looking like a triumph type but sadly in one way not so. So I stumbled across the old thread, it did teach me something also so that’s good news there, I thought they were ALL 12° but it seems not only the 6CA type.

Fingers crossed with the Boyer install. If this doesn’t work it might then push us all to look down a different avenue.

Another one to try if your sure you have it set right but it won’t go, open the throttle fully and crank it over like that, I usually do it with a flooded engine but a troublesome one it tends to work with too (providing everything else is correct)


Now let’s all have a beer beerchug

68’ A65 Lightning “clubman”
71’ A65 823 Thunderbolt (undergoing restoration)
67’ D10 sportsman (undergoing restoration)
68’ D14 trials (undergoing transformation)

Re: Lighting no start
MarcB #812039 06/09/20 11:27 pm
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Originally Posted by MarcB
Originally Posted by NickL
[quote=Nick H]
Spend a couple of hundred bucks on an electronic ignition and life will be simpler.
Hmm, not necessarily. If the timing marks are non-existent then it's possible that nothing is lining up. Nothing will line up with EI either. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big proponent of EI but replacing points with EI shouldn't be "to make it work" but rather "to improve on the working process".

If replacing the points with EI helps in this case, then the original parts were wrong (either points or AAU) and a different set would have helped as well.


You can get it running with an EI by putting a screwdriver down the plug hole and marking it at somewhere around 8mm.
It's a bloody site easier than messing with the points cam, replacing springs, checking wear on advance assembly etc..
When i see a points plate/mech advance that isn't worn or clapped out on one of these old crates i'll advise to use it.

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Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #812097 06/10/20 1:53 pm
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Ooops, Wait! Looks like I had a 12 degree AAU in after all. Really must take notes in the future.
New plan is to put my strong springs on the AAU and give it another go. One strong spring, two?

Richrd: New points, new plugs. Yes, motor was apart.


1966 BSA Lightning
(2) 1967 Triumph "Choppa"s
1974 Indian ME125
1960 Harley Servi-Car
Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #812099 06/10/20 2:07 pm
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Always fit a matched pair of springs, so two.


Now let’s all have a beer beerchug

68’ A65 Lightning “clubman”
71’ A65 823 Thunderbolt (undergoing restoration)
67’ D10 sportsman (undergoing restoration)
68’ D14 trials (undergoing transformation)

Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #812109 06/10/20 4:54 pm
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Do yourself a favour, once you get it started either go 6CA or electronic and dump the 4CA AAU.

Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #812116 06/10/20 6:49 pm
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How worn are your idler bushes?
The idler bushes are quite small and even the slightest amount of wear will throw the timing out by a random amount


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Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #812117 06/10/20 8:29 pm
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The Springs don't have to be the same size ,
You actually get a more complex Advance curve by using different
size springs .
1. A weaker or primary spring , able to hold the advance at idle rpms
and then
2. a slacker secondary spring that only comes on ... after the the primary spring is partially stretched.

... but here , we dont know whats really going on , or if this is even an ignition problem .
so stronger Springs will help hold idle rpms .

which Direction is the points cam advancing ?

Someone earlier brought up the point that you might have a Triumph AAU .
i dont remember if the correct Direction was ever verified.
BSA runs points run on a counter shaft , so the aau spins opposite the engine Direction .
... the points cam advances into its own Direction ... counterclockwise .
.

Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #812127 06/10/20 10:46 pm
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Looking at the pic it appears to advance the right way.
If its a 4 CA make the toy that Allan suggests, then fit EI.


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: Lighting no start
Nick H #812134 06/10/20 11:43 pm
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I know it's confusing but I never had 4C point or AAU in.
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
And yes, it is a BSA CCW advancing AAU.

Andy Hingham: Idler bushes? That the idler gear runs on that the points are attached to?
All I can say is that all those bushes in the case looked real good. Lowish mileage engine I believe.

Last edited by Nick H; 06/10/20 11:52 pm.

1966 BSA Lightning
(2) 1967 Triumph "Choppa"s
1974 Indian ME125
1960 Harley Servi-Car
Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #812138 06/11/20 12:03 am
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Could be the lighting, I only see one points wire. Looks quite unmolested.

Last edited by gavin eisler; 06/11/20 12:06 am.

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56 Norbsa 68 Longstroke A65
Cagiva Raptor 650
MZ TS 250
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Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #812683 06/15/20 7:03 pm
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I believe I've discovered the issue.
Multiple checks of everything did another compression test with a bit of oil.
No change and a bit below 90 both cylinders.
Leakdown test with my cobbled tool.
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com][Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
Hissing all around head gasket far as I can tell. Went from 100psi to 65psi in one minute.
I used an annealed copper gasket with some spray copper seal but after torquing the head once I took it off
briefly (forget the reason) and remember thinking I should re-anneal - but didn't!
Also torqued the outside bolts by feel. Really should get a tool to put a torque wrench on those.
Slight leak out the left exhaust pipe also.
Let's hope this is my no-start issue!

Comments welcome.

Last edited by Nick H; 06/15/20 10:37 pm.

1966 BSA Lightning
(2) 1967 Triumph "Choppa"s
1974 Indian ME125
1960 Harley Servi-Car
Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #812825 06/16/20 8:05 pm
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Ok, so I annealed the had gasket carefully and sprayed with copper seal stuff.
Also lapped the exhaust valves.
Now my compression is no better. Leak down test revealed air leaking out all the valves to some degree.
Hard to tell if its leaking at the head gasket.
This is interesting as I tested the head by inverting and filling with kerosene. Held the level for quite a while
but did eventually go down.

So what do I need to do? Remember I'm still fairly new at this.
Have the valve seats done at - a motorcycle shop? Buy new valves too? Springs?
Why didn't my lapping of the exhaust valves work?

Last edited by Nick H; 06/16/20 8:10 pm.

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1974 Indian ME125
1960 Harley Servi-Car
Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #812893 06/17/20 8:37 am
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Take the head & valve to a motorycle repair shop or a lawnmower repair shop
The kit used for A65's is the same as used for Briggs & Stratton ( plus 1/2 the other stationary engines ) .
Pick a shop that has lots of old machines for sale that they have repaired for resale.
If you have pulled the valves out of the head should be a 20 minute job at whatever they charge per hour.

You can do it yourself withthe Neway gear which is hard to make a mistake with and good enough for a normal street rider.
However the kit is not inexpensive so unless you are intending to this type of work regularly not an economic outlay .

valve lapping is not as easy as many would suggest and if the guides are not as good as they could be then getting an acceptable job is quite difficult.


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Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #812904 06/17/20 12:01 pm
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So obviously the valves are A problem, the question is are they THE problem?
I would have expected that at 90psi there was enough compression to get you something, might run as rough as a bears arse, but i would have thought it would at least make an effort.

Have been watching this thread for a while and cannot get the timing out of my head. Are you absolutely sure that you have timed it at 34 BTDC and not 34 ATDC? i.e. you got the direction of rotation right?
Please don't ask me why this thought will not go away, I was a lot younger then.

Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #812905 06/17/20 12:24 pm
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Originally Posted by Nick H
Ok, so I annealed the had gasket carefully and sprayed with copper seal stuff.
Also lapped the exhaust valves.
Now my compression is no better. Leak down test revealed air leaking out all the valves to some degree.
Hard to tell if its leaking at the head gasket.
This is interesting as I tested the head by inverting and filling with kerosene. Held the level for quite a while
but did eventually go down.

So what do I need to do? Remember I'm still fairly new at this.
Have the valve seats done at - a motorcycle shop? Buy new valves too? Springs?
Why didn't my lapping of the exhaust valves work?

Hissing around head? Mix a dish soap- water solution and wipe around to see if bubbling occurs. You will never find this problem if you don't follow exact procedures for each check. If you have precisely followed all steps, I would go back to the start. Do one thing at a time. i have read stories about proper annealing of gaskets and don't think many do it properly anyway. I do not even try, but I definitely use a torque wrench and tighten in proper sequence in steps. I also feel that the valves are good enough to run or at least give signs of life if all else is right. A lot of thing you have checked would keep from running at peak, but imo would not keep it from starting.

These old bikes can be frustrating at times. I feel your pain.


Bill
1974 Norton Commando
1966 Lightning
1965 Lightning Rocket
1966 Norton Atlas
1967 Norton Atlas
1948 Panhead
Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #812911 06/17/20 1:16 pm
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I didn't see here where you took Allen's suggestion to use a piston stop to find tdc for degree wheel. It's the only way to be accurate with timing and should not be overlooked considering the mountain of problems you're having. Also either didnt see or missed how you did your timing side gear alignment.


Bill
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1966 Lightning
1965 Lightning Rocket
1966 Norton Atlas
1967 Norton Atlas
1948 Panhead
Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #812925 06/17/20 4:09 pm
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Thanks for the replies.
I have double checked most things so many times it's ridiculous.
I am well aware of the anomaly of the BSA points rotating clockwise and the rotor traveling CC. Definitely BTDC.
Funny, I have a friend of many years named David Martin who is a mechanic (ten car garage at home full on 60's muscle cars- all mint all running)
who thinks it should start as is too. He has 2 Harley baggers but has seen a lot.

I spent a long time getting float heights correct. More on this later maybe but don't want to turn this into a float height thread.

I don't know what else it could be but the valves and compression. Was actually a bit under 90 psi and as I said, on leakdown was hissing obviously
out the carbs and exhaust. Dropped from 100 PSI to 65 PSI in a minute.

Beach, when apart I used dial gauge to find my timing point, if you remember I have no usable notch in the flywheel so this is what I had to do.
A few posts back I included a photo of my dial gauge through the plug hole as I was double checking that.

Valve timing was simply lining up marks on the gears. Fine points of adjusting valve timing beyond me but I did check the valves opening and
closing points with degree wheel on rotor side.

Machine shops are rare around here and can be pricey. One gave me an estimate of $400 to do the valves and mentioned he thought maybe
would need new guides. (I don't think so) Only an estimate but in my experience you don't often get a lower price when a vendor puts out
a number. Kind of expensive, yes?

Oh, also, I have a decent torque wrench and now have the 15mm crow foot to do the nuts.

Last edited by Nick H; 06/17/20 4:19 pm.

1966 BSA Lightning
(2) 1967 Triumph "Choppa"s
1974 Indian ME125
1960 Harley Servi-Car
Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #812926 06/17/20 4:33 pm
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That's a lot for a valve job, imo. Maybe your friend could suggest someone.


Bill
1974 Norton Commando
1966 Lightning
1965 Lightning Rocket
1966 Norton Atlas
1967 Norton Atlas
1948 Panhead
Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #812933 06/17/20 5:37 pm
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Has anyone asked the obvious question?
Are the leads on the correct plugs? if the AAU or points plate have been off the bike it could be timed on the wrong cylinder. Try swapping plug leads


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Re: Lighting no start
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"I don't know what else it could be but the valves and compression. Was actually a bit under 90 psi and as I said, on leakdown was hissing obviously
out the carbs and exhaust. Dropped from 100 PSI to 65 PSI in a minute."

This sounds like you've already identified a major problem, whether it is the only problem who knows. Assuming the head gasket is sealing, and the leakage is not coming from there and being confused with valve leakage, then:
-Whether or not the guides are knackered, some or all the valves are not sealing during the leakdown test.
This could be due to tight valve clearances, bent valves or poor valve/seat contact surfaces.
Do you find the hissing in all the ports, or just some?

Try opening the clearances (silly big) and repeating the leakdown test. If the hissing still comes from the in/ex ports (note which ones) then the valves must come out, no question.

Even with worn guides/stems it is easy to get good sealing of valve/seat surfaces in a static test like leakdown, so you will have to check the guides/stems as a separate matter.
If you find the guides need replacement, that maybe something for an engineer, depending on your confidence/ability.

But getting the valves out, checking them and basic reconditioning is well within most folks scope. No need to spend $400 at this stage, IMHO.
Enough for now.

Re: Lighting no start
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If the guides are worn it is better to get guide liners fitted. Less chance of developing a loose guide


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Greeves 200 "Blue Meanie"
Greeves 350
Greeves 360
Suzuki GSX1100 EFE "Sorcerers Apprentice"
GM500 sprint/LSR bike "Deofol"
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Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #812952 06/17/20 8:31 pm
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It sure isn't tappet lash clearance. Leakdown is done at TDC compression. Valves fully shut.

Plugs are sparking on correct cylinder. Ask me again and I'll tell you the same. smile

Here's something. Valves spring free lengths are way off.
I believe should be

Outer: 2 1/32"
Inner: 1 5/8"

Mine are

Outer: 1 3/4"
Inner: 1 1/2"


1966 BSA Lightning
(2) 1967 Triumph "Choppa"s
1974 Indian ME125
1960 Harley Servi-Car
Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #812955 06/17/20 9:03 pm
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Originally Posted by Nick H
It sure isn't tappet lash clearance. Leakdown is done at TDC compression. Valves fully shut.
Right, or are they??? That is what was being asked... are you certain they are fully closing?

Originally Posted by Nick H
Here's something. Valves spring free lengths are way off.
I believe should be
Take a look at my thread here and see if that's what you've got: http://www.britbike.com/forums/ubbthreads.php/topics/776512/a65-progressive-valve-springs

Re: Lighting no start
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Yes I am certain!!! Valve cover was off.

These outers do look progressive, don't they?
Does that make them OK?
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
Ordering new anyway.

Last edited by Nick H; 06/17/20 10:29 pm.

1966 BSA Lightning
(2) 1967 Triumph "Choppa"s
1974 Indian ME125
1960 Harley Servi-Car
Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #812966 06/17/20 10:55 pm
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Whether or not the springs are ok makes no difference to your leakdown observation.

Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #812979 06/18/20 12:58 am
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Alright. I thought possibly weak spring could prevent valves from closing tight.
So why should or shouldn't I care about the springs?


1966 BSA Lightning
(2) 1967 Triumph "Choppa"s
1974 Indian ME125
1960 Harley Servi-Car
Re: Lighting no start
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You should care about the springs as well as every other part of the motor, but the immediate issue seems to be with valve/seat sealing.

The springs may or may not be ideal, but are unlikely to have much relevance to your leakdown observations.

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Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #812983 06/18/20 1:22 am
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They are good enough to check the seating of valves. The valves should have gone back in same position.


Bill
1974 Norton Commando
1966 Lightning
1965 Lightning Rocket
1966 Norton Atlas
1967 Norton Atlas
1948 Panhead
Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #812986 06/18/20 1:59 am
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Well hopefully they will, but while they're out, now is the time for a little wiggling to see how floppy the valves are in the guides ( any more than about 10 thou head shake is worn) but more relevantly now is the time to examine the valve and seat surfaces.

If in any doubt it is time to try a little lapping with fine paste.

Then look at the surface of the valve, if it shows just one patch of grinding, the valve is bent.

If the valve is straight, continue with careful lapping to get a good contact surface, using the finest compound. Don't be tempted to use coarse to speed it up.
You should end up with something like a continuous smooth contact surface between valve/seat at least about 1/16+" wide.

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Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #813136 06/19/20 12:14 pm
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By the sound of it the motor is now in pieces, but when you were trying to start it were you just kicking it or did you try a bump start, preferably down hill where you can get a bit of speed up? I my experience starting like that can get over a load of starting tuning issues (timing, mixture etc.) then at least you will know that the bugger runs, and all you have to do is find out why it wont start!

Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #813145 06/19/20 1:19 pm
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last valve springs I bought from SRm were not the book length, they were Inner 39.87 mm Outer 41.75.
these are a common Triumph type, they work fine for A65s.
Book figs for BSA springs, inner 36.5 mm , outer 44.5..

I dont think this is why your bike wont run.
Even at 90 psi it should show a glimmer of life. Side valves will run on less.By all means fix all the head leaks.
Lapping valves , are you using continuous rotation, or oscillate lift repeat?


71 Devimead, John Hill, John Holmes A65 750
56 Norbsa 68 Longstroke A65
Cagiva Raptor 650
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Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #813151 06/19/20 2:16 pm
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I still think this is timing related,

If you can fit a washer so that it goes over the AAU inner but pressed against the cam to fix the cam in the fully advance position, take the plugs out, put it in 4th.

Remove the primary cover if you do not have the provision for a timing cover on the primary cover and find the 34 degree mark.

with the plugs out you can turn the engine over and see the spark, with the plugs rested on the head connected to the ht leads the plugs will spark regardless of how slowly the crank is being turned. this will be the most accurate way of checking that the timing is correct without being possible to run the engine....

You can do this even with the head off. Infact if you don't have any strobe timing marks, with the head off if you have a DTI and magnetic stand, you can pretty accurately get the measurement down the bore.

You can do this more accurately if you have a timing disc also. This is most important if you are establishing exactly where the 34 degree mark should be. You can be a few degrees either way with the other method but this would be accurate enough for the bike to start and run.


Now let’s all have a beer beerchug

68’ A65 Lightning “clubman”
71’ A65 823 Thunderbolt (undergoing restoration)
67’ D10 sportsman (undergoing restoration)
68’ D14 trials (undergoing transformation)

Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #813185 06/19/20 6:51 pm
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Thanks for the replies.'

I think my timing is good, Allan. I use the washer on the AAU to lock it and I set the points by watching 2 Ohm meters.
I found my 34 degree mark using the dial gauge and checked it with degree wheel.

I dropped the head at the pricey machine shop. Not needing new guides I would hope i will get a quote much under $400.
They are busy this time of year of course, so hoping to hear something next week.

When I lapped the valves, I used random motions in both directions.

I could push start it down our hill but I'd be stuck if it didn't start!

Last edited by Nick H; 06/19/20 6:52 pm.

1966 BSA Lightning
(2) 1967 Triumph "Choppa"s
1974 Indian ME125
1960 Harley Servi-Car
Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #813188 06/19/20 6:59 pm
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Any sign of marking on the valves and seats should be removed by re facing the valves and seats, the last ones I had done cost me £25 for a single cylinder side valve engine. If you try to lap marks out it puts ridges in the seat and will never seal


BSA B31 500 "Stargazer"
Greeves 200 "Blue Meanie"
Greeves 350
Greeves 360
Suzuki GSX1100 EFE "Sorcerers Apprentice"
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Jawa 500 "Llareggub"
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Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #813195 06/19/20 7:22 pm
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Thanks.
Whatever the no-start reason I need to address the low compression.
A while ago I made this leak down tester following directions I saw on line.
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
It's basically two pressures gauges, one with a valve, and a pin hole between them.
In use, the small gauge measures the pressure going in and I thought the large gauge was supposed to measure
what pressure remained, the difference being the loss.
I get no reading at all on the large gauge so I don't know what that means. 100% loss?
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
What I do see is fairly rapid drop in pressure over time.

Last edited by Nick H; 06/19/20 7:27 pm.

1966 BSA Lightning
(2) 1967 Triumph "Choppa"s
1974 Indian ME125
1960 Harley Servi-Car
Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #813201 06/19/20 8:18 pm
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Nick: How long do you expect a good engine to hold the compression? Even assuming perfect valves the rings will not hold the pressure for an extended length of time. The air slowly seeps out past the rings and through the ring gaps. For example my A65 is a good runner, normally starts on first kick but I can, with just my hand, slowly turn the engine over through the compression strokes. After all these are only 325cc cylinders so a little seepage will dramatically reduce the pressure reading.

Gordo


The roadside repairs make for the best post ride stories.
Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #813204 06/19/20 8:45 pm
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I don't know how you're doing the leak down test but the basic idea is as follows:-
- set the cylinder being tested to TDC using a rod/dial gauge down the plughole, both valves should be closed (obviously).
- lock the engine in place, this is important as any pressure introduced to the cylinder will turn the engine and may result in the opening of the valves, thereby causing pressure loss.
- connect the leak down tester to the spark plug hole of the cylinder being tested. Add pressure to the cylinder until it's about 100psi, then stop adding pressure. Immediately note how much pressure is in the cylinder being tested using the larger gauge, the pressure will leak out of the cylinder so it's essential to take any measurement in the first few seconds.
- ideally, this test should be done when the engine is warm when the rings will be much better at sealing, cold engines and those never run will not seal their rings too well.

Quote
I get no reading at all on the large gauge so I don't know what that means. 100% loss?

The engine must be at tdc and locked otherwise it's likely the piston will move and valves open.

Quote
What I do see is fairly rapid drop in pressure over time.

The timing should be done over the first few seconds, the pressure will drop over time.

Last edited by gunner; 06/19/20 8:47 pm.

1968 A65 Firebird
1967 B44 Shooting Star
1972 Norton Commando
Re: Lighting no start
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lots of good comments about mechanical side of things but none of these should stop it actually starting or at least attempting to start (other than the obvious timing) . that said friend of mine with a Goldie drove himself round the bend chasing his tail till he found melted alloy under one of the valves (he has cooked a piston and blew a hole in the top) ......but that was a single........like i said to him 'well the melted alloy has to have gone somewhere"

so lets take a look at some of the obscure stuff

pretty high up my check list would be stale fuel ( you said, i think bike had been off road for a bit) ....sorry if you have already filled it with new fuel, ......try disconcerting the tank and filling just the carb bowls with some new fuel ......if it still doent at least fire up i would be starting to look for electrical faults

like they say 80% of carburation problems are electrical


"There's the way it ought to be and there's the way it is" (Sgt Barnes)
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Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #813337 06/20/20 11:43 pm
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With the head at the machine shop, I decided to try to fit my spare head and see how the compression is.
I don't want to use this head because it has been severely skimmed, has exhaust stubs welded on, etc but it's valves look
pretty good and hold kerosene overnight.
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
But I've come to see that holding liquid and holding air are quite different things.

Well, no surprise really, the compression has not improved.
I don't suppose it matters that I did not install carbs, pipes or valve cover.
I can hear air hissing in the crankcase so I'm losing compression past my rings.

When I got this bike I was surprised that the cylinder measured no discernable wear.
Using my Starrett gauges at times it actually seemed to measure less than 75 mm, impossible of course.
So naturally I honed it and bought standard pistons and rings. JCC pistons and Hastings rings.

When installed though the ring gaps measured wide, about .016"-.018"
Decided to let this go after reading several posts with varying opinions.

I'm not confident about my measurements of bottom of skirt clearance but my notes say .003"-.007"
The piston is .012" wider perpendicular to the pin than with it so I didn't know where to measure.
Top of skirt I had measured .007"
I'm not that good with a feeler gauge anyway. And not a lot of experience with micrometers.
But I do trust my initial bore measurement as I checked it many times and my calibration.

So what is this all telling me?
Where is my compression?!

Last edited by Nick H; 06/21/20 4:22 pm.

1966 BSA Lightning
(2) 1967 Triumph "Choppa"s
1974 Indian ME125
1960 Harley Servi-Car
Re: Lighting no start
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Local machine shop looked at head and quoted $400 for new guides and cut seats.
I provide parts. New valves, guides, springs I estimate $300.
Took a pass.

But did order new valves and springs.

My valve stems measure a few thous too small. I imagine the new valves will tighten up the guide situation.
Are newly cut seats required with new valves? Is lapping required?


1966 BSA Lightning
(2) 1967 Triumph "Choppa"s
1974 Indian ME125
1960 Harley Servi-Car
Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #813991 06/25/20 9:07 pm
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Sounds like you local machine shop is taking the p*ss, there is no way it should cost that much, shop around for some better deals.

The process of installing new guides goes something like this:-
- old guides are punched out of the head
- guide bore in the head is checked for size in-case oversize guides are needed
- head is heated in an oven, new guides are cooled in the freezer and the guides are then installed, hopefully using a guide tool to align them with the valve seat
- valve guides are then honed to match the valve stem diameter
- the valve seats are then cut ideally using 3 angle cut
- some modern machine shops using Serdi and other valve guide honing and seat cutting tooling claim that their accuracy is so good that no lapping is necessary, assuming the valves are in good condition

This type of renovation is standard business for many car engine re-conditioners so with only 2 valves instead of 16 or 32 I don't see how they can charge that much. Maybe you could try a motorcycle specialist such as E&V engineering who have huge experience with BSA's etc. see https://www.shopevengineering.com/

Last edited by gunner; 06/26/20 8:05 am.

1968 A65 Firebird
1967 B44 Shooting Star
1972 Norton Commando
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Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #814038 06/26/20 6:13 am
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As Gunner said, I’d sell the head on if I had to pay that much and take my chances with another.

Regarding valve stem. Different makes are different. I’ve had some which have been under size compared to original (probably my 8mm instead of 5/16)and some which are a a faction over. I’ve found the SRM ones are a fraction over and each set I fit need the guides reaming to size. This isn’t a problem, the valves cost about £2 more than no name ones and the guides have never had to be replaced. A decent machine shop will cut the seats for next to nothing, or spend some time and lap them in by hand, hopefully the valve seat recession isn’t too deep.


Now let’s all have a beer beerchug

68’ A65 Lightning “clubman”
71’ A65 823 Thunderbolt (undergoing restoration)
67’ D10 sportsman (undergoing restoration)
68’ D14 trials (undergoing transformation)

Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #814150 06/27/20 2:04 am
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i hope you get the darn thing started soon, it is beginning to bug me (so lord knows what it is doing to you!).
back to basics ... suck , squeeze, bang, blow.
At 90 psi there should be plenty of squeeze,
you seem happy with the bang bit (though I still doubt the timing!)
So that just leaves the suck and blow bits. Now I don't know much about twins, as I have said before, never saw the point of more than one cylinder, but on the unit singles it seriously matters which way round the cam followers are.
Got one the wrong way round on my B44 once and it simply would not start. Timing was good, compression reasonable, valves opened and closed at about the right time, but it would NOT run. I presumed that the valves were staying open at inappropriate times.

Re: Lighting no start
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Meanwhile, this abomination that I bought for the '70 engine and other parts I threw a weak battery on, gassed it up and it started up easy. Has clapped out old carbs, balance pipe was off, single coil, wired by a madman.
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com][Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
Gotta love the hardtail with the springs on the Harley fender. Soft ride for the car battery on the sissy bar.


1966 BSA Lightning
(2) 1967 Triumph "Choppa"s
1974 Indian ME125
1960 Harley Servi-Car
Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #814230 06/27/20 9:56 pm
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i would ride that around just to annoy people


every day you do not take a chance is a day of your life that you will never get back.
Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #814242 06/28/20 12:32 am
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Ha! I should. It's loud as hell!


1966 BSA Lightning
(2) 1967 Triumph "Choppa"s
1974 Indian ME125
1960 Harley Servi-Car
Re: Lighting no start
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WhaLah! She started!

Put in new valves and springs. Cold compression was still low. Put some oil down the plug holes which if you've ever done it, makes the bike hard to kick. Had to do the jump kick and Vroom! Lots of smoke of course. Ran it for a couple minutes and when I turned the key off, she kept running. Had to pull off the plug wires. I guess it was dieseling.

I think compression is the issue. I'll see how things go with the ignition strobed and the carb dialed in and a bit of break in.

Whew!!!!


1966 BSA Lightning
(2) 1967 Triumph "Choppa"s
1974 Indian ME125
1960 Harley Servi-Car
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Re: Lighting no start
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Well done smile


1968 A65 Firebird
1967 B44 Shooting Star
1972 Norton Commando
Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #814848 07/03/20 3:09 am
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True dieseling is when the engine keeps running with out the spark plugs firing. Pulling the plug wires shouldn't make a difference, though it might just be a coincidence that it quit at the same time. Generally if dieseling it's running very rough because ignition is at the wrong time. Timing, carbs, wrong or bad plugs, air leak, a hot spot in the combustion chamber are possible causes of dieseling. Maybe remote chance but is your ignition or kill switch working correctly. If you are using ei you could make sure it turns off the lead to the box.


1978 Bonneville T140E
1974 Trident
1970 BSA Thunderbolt
1971 Norton Commando
1972 Norton Commando
1973 Norton Commando
1974 Norton Commando
2018 Kawasaki Z900RS


Everything will be alright in the end. If its not alright, its not the end.
Re: Lighting no start
htown #814856 07/03/20 6:43 am
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Originally Posted by htown
True dieseling is when the engine keeps running with out the spark plugs firing. Pulling the plug wires shouldn't make a difference, though it might just be a coincidence that it quit at the same time. Generally if dieseling it's running very rough because ignition is at the wrong time. Timing, carbs, wrong or bad plugs, air leak, a hot spot in the combustion chamber are possible causes of dieseling. Maybe remote chance but is your ignition or kill switch working correctly. If you are using ei you could make sure it turns off the lead to the box.


Another one to add to that last comment is, where in the chain does the regulator connect into the loom, which side of the switch. It wants to be the same side of the switch as the battery... otherwise the bike will keep running.


Now let’s all have a beer beerchug

68’ A65 Lightning “clubman”
71’ A65 823 Thunderbolt (undergoing restoration)
67’ D10 sportsman (undergoing restoration)
68’ D14 trials (undergoing transformation)

Re: Lighting no start
Allan G #814877 07/03/20 2:06 pm
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Originally Posted by Allan G
Another one to add to that last comment is, where in the chain does the regulator connect into the loom, which side of the switch. It wants to be the same side of the switch as the battery... otherwise the bike will keep running.

So the key switch should shut off the regulator? That's the problem! Didn't really make sense that it would diesel. Allan G, you're batting 1000%.


1966 BSA Lightning
(2) 1967 Triumph "Choppa"s
1974 Indian ME125
1960 Harley Servi-Car
Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #814913 07/03/20 7:22 pm
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Yes, if I read you correctly.

A better explanation would be (ignore the red wires for now) battery to ammeter if fitted,

Ammeter on the other side is the Reg rec.

Then from the same side of the ammeter (should be a white with brown stripe if pre oif, oif doesn’t have ammeter and Reg Rec can go direct to battery) to the ignition switch.

Other side of the ignition switch then feeds: ignition, auxiliary. And lighting (although if you want lighting to be powered when the key isn’t in then you can connect this to the ammeter on the same side as Reg rec)

From memory anyway, but I don’t think it’s wrong or far out.


Now let’s all have a beer beerchug

68’ A65 Lightning “clubman”
71’ A65 823 Thunderbolt (undergoing restoration)
67’ D10 sportsman (undergoing restoration)
68’ D14 trials (undergoing transformation)

Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #814917 07/03/20 8:13 pm
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sure sounds like an intermittent electrical problem to me (those can be a real [***]) ............hot wire it to by pass the switch and see how you go then ...........i did suggest electrical problem like 20 posts ago but that didn't seem to attract any comments


"There's the way it ought to be and there's the way it is" (Sgt Barnes)
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Re: Lighting no start
Ignoramus #814924 07/03/20 9:08 pm
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Allen got it right .
here's a picture that may help .
Your head light switch may be different , but ...
[Linked Image from i206.photobucket.com]

stick join the black regulator output wire
to the brown /w white harness wire ... anywhere between ... the ignition switch and the fuse at battery ... so regulator is fused .
if there is an ammeter ... it needs to be wired as shown ... to show amps in or out of the battery .
( fuse size on image is wrong )... should be 20 amp.

... from the diagram you can see both the regulator output and the battery are on the same side of the ignition switch .
so switched at the same time .

with no ammeter
you could also join the black regulator output ... right to the battery negitive
... but now the regulator needs its own fuse .
if you don't want to add a second fuse
wire at the ammeter or where the ammeter is shown on wiring diagram

Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #815017 07/04/20 12:44 pm
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Thanks. Yes I did add a fuse for the regulator.
The wiring is simple and ad hoc done by me with little consideration for wire color.
Now making it street legal adds a lot of complications like brake light switches for front and back brake and turn signals (not legally required but I like to have them in todays traffic).


1966 BSA Lightning
(2) 1967 Triumph "Choppa"s
1974 Indian ME125
1960 Harley Servi-Car
Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #815056 07/04/20 5:36 pm
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Rode the Lightning around the yard today. Clutch is easy and shifts without any effort or noise.
Had to oil the pistons for compression to start it though. Gasket seal is good but apparently I have leaks past the pistons and rings.
Or the valves still or both. New valves fit the guides better and the head held kerosene overnight, something the old valves didn't do.
Leakdown test was only slightly improved though. I could hear leaking past valves and inside case both.

The bores are 2.95" everywhere with little variation so my standard pistons and rings should be correct.
Ring gaps were .016"-.018". Would it help if I installed +.020" rings and gapped tighter?

Pleased to know my carbs, timing, wiring etc are good though. Big thrill to finally hear it fire up.

Last edited by Nick H; 07/04/20 5:40 pm.

1966 BSA Lightning
(2) 1967 Triumph "Choppa"s
1974 Indian ME125
1960 Harley Servi-Car
Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #815069 07/04/20 7:33 pm
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Quote
Would it help if I installed +.020" rings and gapped tighter

Not in my opinion .
Larger rings will impart more friction throught all 4 strokes ... not just the power stroke .
ring drag is necessary to seal but it's also a waste of power .
spring load is supposed to be just enough
and
compression and power stroke get behind the rings and add to the rings spring-seal .

Someone else , the engine designers and ring- manufacturers have already done the hard thinking on this .
each oversized is designed to work in a bore-range .

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Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #815074 07/04/20 7:58 pm
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Ok, then I'm thinking i must need a rebore to +.020" and maybe the valve work as well to get compression where it should be.

This project has fought me all the way but I still love the bike and the A65.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]


1966 BSA Lightning
(2) 1967 Triumph "Choppa"s
1974 Indian ME125
1960 Harley Servi-Car
Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #815082 07/04/20 8:29 pm
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you can put larger rings in , you wouldn't be the first guy ,
but its not a magic solution .

once the bores get oversized ... they can really benefit from a Machinist
that can return the cylinders to a real geometric cylinder shape .
sometimes they didn't come from the factory cylindrical
... just within whatever tolerance was acceptable .

My old machinist , who is now retired , would show me
how are out of round my cylinders were ...
with the bores first pass as the base line . and they show/tell what he planned to do .

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Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #815086 07/04/20 8:48 pm
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Originally Posted by Nick H
Rode the Lightning around the yard today. Clutch is easy and shifts without any effort or noise.
Had to oil the pistons for compression to start it though. Gasket seal is good but apparently I have leaks past the pistons and rings.
Or the valves still or both. New valves fit the guides better and the head held kerosene overnight, something the old valves didn't do.
Leakdown test was only slightly improved though. I could hear leaking past valves and inside case both.

The bores are 2.95" everywhere with little variation so my standard pistons and rings should be correct.
Ring gaps were .016"-.018". Would it help if I installed +.020" rings and gapped tighter?

Pleased to know my carbs, timing, wiring etc are good though. Big thrill to finally hear it fire up.
It's hard to get a correct measurement on the cylinders unless a somewhat experienced machinist. If your clearance was correct for std pistons, you wouldn't be losing compression and have too large end gap on rings. Just for a ballpark I'd put pistons in and push to one side and measure clearance with feeler gauge. Myself, I leave that part to the shop I use and save myself the heartache. You know all about that by now. Surprising how much one can learn with a battle like this.


Bill
1974 Norton Commando
1966 Lightning
1965 Lightning Rocket
1966 Norton Atlas
1967 Norton Atlas
1948 Panhead
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Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #815091 07/04/20 9:18 pm
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Cool bike,
first thing I noticed , bell mouths with mesh screens,
these screens do very little to clean the air, but they really mess up air flow, get rid , fit air filters, it will go faster, or lose the screens all together and leave the kilt for later, small rocks be damned. Thats why your bores are worn. Do not fit oversize rings, Ive tried, it ran, nothing really bad happened but it used a lot of oil. Big ring gaps are OK , if it runs be happy.


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: Lighting no start
Nick H #815101 07/04/20 11:59 pm
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It runs and I'm happy but it seems to take an oil bath to get started.

I'm thinking send the whole shebang to Michigan. Sure to be cheaper and better than local.

Thanks for tip about bell mouths. But they look cool! They are stuffed with hardware store air filter material.
I do have stock filters.


1966 BSA Lightning
(2) 1967 Triumph "Choppa"s
1974 Indian ME125
1960 Harley Servi-Car
Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #815104 07/05/20 1:21 am
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Once the back mudguard snaps off it will be time for a rebore.


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: Lighting no start
gavin eisler #815144 07/05/20 1:25 pm
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Originally Posted by gavin eisler
Once the back mudguard snaps off it will be time for a rebore.
Alright Gavin you want to clarify that comment for me?
Are you saying rear mudguards are prone to snap off?
Time for rebore is now!


1966 BSA Lightning
(2) 1967 Triumph "Choppa"s
1974 Indian ME125
1960 Harley Servi-Car
Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #815148 07/05/20 3:16 pm
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If the rear mudguard loop is absent, the mudguard cracks at the seat loop mounts.
Stand behind the bike while someone revs the motor up and down, the rear lamp can be observed going in and out of resonance like a rattlesnake tail. I agree , time for a rebore.


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: Lighting no start
Nick H #815245 07/06/20 1:34 pm
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Thanks, didn't realize I was missing a part.

I have read some posts where people have had the same type of piston clearance (.007 or so at the top) and ring gap (.018-.020) as I do and claim the bike runs fine which is why I proceeded with the assembly.

Is there any possiblity that some break in running time will improve the compression issue?

Last edited by Nick H; 07/06/20 1:46 pm.

1966 BSA Lightning
(2) 1967 Triumph "Choppa"s
1974 Indian ME125
1960 Harley Servi-Car
Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #815268 07/06/20 6:27 pm
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There is an old time way to bed in rings, it involves adding some fine abrasive to the inlet, I forget the name of the US brand , in the UK its called scouring powder, used as a last resort.
Someone here did a write up on it , maybe not the BSA forum but some where here.
I have never tried it, and it does sound drastic, but the write up mentioned a surprising success.
One of the US members will know the correct brand name.
I presume the oil is dumped and refreshed immediately after to clear contaminants.

First maybe give it a few hundred miles , if its no better what have you got to lose?

look at some pics of your year model, the rear mudguard loop is a black tube with runs from the top shock mounts and pics up the rear guard at the tailight housing , your rear lamp is not stock, fear not the correct type is not rare and decent repops are out there, the original loop has a couple of additional tabs for the optional grab rail. its a pretty simple affair , a person with some steel and a welder could make a decent copy. or try eBay

If you want to stick with unfiltered air, a shorter bell with no mesh will work a lot better.


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: Lighting no start
Nick H #815272 07/06/20 7:07 pm
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One thing I’ve found with the shorter bell mouth is they are more susceptible to faltering when it rains, never had this issue with the long velocity stacks... only fun with tuning.


Now let’s all have a beer beerchug

68’ A65 Lightning “clubman”
71’ A65 823 Thunderbolt (undergoing restoration)
67’ D10 sportsman (undergoing restoration)
68’ D14 trials (undergoing transformation)

Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #815312 07/07/20 1:09 am
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The powder is called Bon Ami. I've read about using it for break in.
It's soap and feldspar and they promote it as being good for cleaning vintage car windshields.

But I'm grasping at straws here. Compression is way low. Going for the rebore.


1966 BSA Lightning
(2) 1967 Triumph "Choppa"s
1974 Indian ME125
1960 Harley Servi-Car
Re: Lighting no start
Nick H #815337 07/07/20 8:17 am
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Bon Ami was the go for Vintage bikes in the day when they were new
Back then deglazing the bore & scraping the head were items of routine maintenance.
I would be very weary of doing it to a more modern engine


Bike Beesa
Trevor
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