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Mark Z Online Sleepy OP
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...again. The usual, seeping up around the front head studs.

I'm not posting to question why it's leaking or what I need to do to fix it; I'm posting because I'm planning to take a 200-mile ride exactly one week from today, and I don't want to tear it down at this time, lest I screw something up or meet with some other setback. The bike is otherwise performing flawlessly.

My question is whether there's any danger in continuing to ride it at is. I've always jumped right on this problem in the past, but as I said, I don't want to jeopardize next week's ride, which will probably be my "last hurrah" for the season.


Mark Z

'65(lower)/'66(upper, wheels, front end, controls)/'67(seat, exhaust, fuel tank, headlamp)/'70(frame) A65 Bitsa.
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I can understand why you dont want to do a strp[down ........what i would do is

1 do a compression test
2 ok a bit of work but retorque the head bolts
3 go on your ride

mine has just a trace of seeping but hey 13k miles latter seems ok


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Mark Z Online Sleepy OP
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Originally Posted by Ignoramus
I can understand why you dont want to do a strp[down ........what i would do is

1 do a compression test
2 ok a bit of work but retorque the head bolts
3 go on your ride

mine has just a trace of seeping but hey 13k miles latter seems ok

Fair enough, thanks; I'll get on it tomorrow. (I know, it's already "tomorrow" there.)


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I've got one leaks a little at the left front. It has since I got it running about 15 years ago, I just live with it.

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Sometimes you need to accept these old bikes can "sweat" a bit , not really an actual leak that you need to concern yourself about. Just wipe it off now and again and if it otherwise runs OK then don't stress about it.

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Ola Offline
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I have several times had luck with just removing the actual nut and wasther, clean them and the surface with petrol, and refit with silicone sealer on the threads and both sides of the washer.

Regards


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Ola, done for being honest! as I have said before, there are two kinds of British Bike owners, those who's bikes leak oil and those who use silicone!
There is an interesting sub set of the second grouping, ..... those who lie about it.
I have never understood what is wrong with using silicone where appropriate, (i.e. just about everywhere) while it is OK to use the boiled down poop of the Lac beetle dissolved in alcohol. Really?

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Silicon has a habit of breaking into small particles which end up in oil galleries etc.
It is more the applicator than the product in many cases i know but silicon can cause problems.
There are better options these days than silicon for most jobs on these old crates.
Using a film of welseal or coppercoat on the head gasket can stop the tendency for A65's to
leak around the forward head galleries, some use a couple of o-rings in there. With a B40/44
i've only ever used welseal and not had a problem. Let it dry for a few hours before use and
it resembles the coating on more modern auto head gaskets.
Just my 2c.

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Mark Z Online Sleepy OP
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Well, as is always the case, it's a good thing I looked into it because a fair amount of oil is also coming from the center studs on the rocker cover. As you A65 veterans know, at the two center studs, there's about a 1/4-inch space between the cover and the head, and these studs are inside the perimeter of the gasket. I had put rubber grommets on the studs under the cover to take up the space, but they shrank, and they may have not been thick enough in the first place. This time, I measured by fitting the cover with varying numbers of washers on the studs, so I can get correctly-sized grommets in there. I will also put thin rubber washers under the flat washers on the outside.

Since I'm going to re-torque, I'll take the suggestion of removing, cleaning, and sealing the cylinder head nuts. NickL, I did use Coppercoat on the gasket, but not O-rings. When I re-do the gasket, I'll look into that O-ring thing.

I guess the silicone must be of the high-heat variety. I'll see if I have any of that on hand. If not, I'll pick some up tomorrow.

Oh, by the way, compression was 98 psi on one side and 102 on the other, cold. The last time the engine was put together, there was .005" piston clearance, so I'm not surprised if the numbers are a bit low. The left spark plug was a bit dark, so I think a bit of oil may be getting into the combustion chamber. But generally speaking, I'm of group number one; that is, I don't lose sleep over small leaks.


Mark Z

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No oil on the outside = no oil on the inside. laugh


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If your leak looks like the photo below, it could be coming from the cavity behind the spark plug. It's from where the hole has broken through the casting from one or both of the front two centre head bolts. I had this on mine for a long time before finding out what it was. It only appeared on the left hand side due to the bike being put on the side stand.
You can ride indefinitely with this leak, it's just a source of annoyance cleaning it up.

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]


1957 BSA A10 Spitfire
1971 BSA A65 Firebird
1971 BSA A70 Lightning
1975 Norton Commando
1961 Norton 99
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Mark Z Online Sleepy OP
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Servo, the oil is coming up around the front outer studs on both sides, so I think it's most likely coming from the oil drain holes. I'm not removing the head at this time, but when I do, I'll look for the flaw you described.


Mark Z

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If your head and barrel are flat and you have a decent head gasket... it won’t leak.

Mine used to leak, then I managed to buy a small hand full of NOS gaskets, they were 0.048” instead of 0.039” and those oil holes were smaller than the pattern gasket. There is someone in the States selling exact copies of the original gasket, on eBay last time I looked.

Might also be worth running a pipe cleaner down those holes in case there’s anything blocking them.


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71’ A65 823 Thunderbolt (undergoing restoration)
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Mark ......using rubber grommets under the head of a bolt that needs to be torqued down is not a good idea......over time the rubber will kind of extrude (not really the word) and loose its set (torqued pressure) ........compression needs to be checked with the motor at working temperature not cold


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Try using small viton o-rings Mark, they work well on the two 1/4 studs under the rocker cover.
You may have to use 2 or 3 on the forward one . Alternatively, try dowty washers under the nuts.

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Fiber washers on the rocker cover studs does wonders for stopping the ooze at the 2 studs.

Copper coat on the head gasket and o-rings at the drain holes does wonders for the oozing studs.


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Mark Z Online Sleepy OP
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Originally Posted by Ignoramus
Mark ......using rubber grommets under the head of a bolt that needs to be torqued down is not a good idea......over time the rubber will kind of extrude (not really the word) and loose its set (torqued pressure)

I think you misunderstood; the grommets will go between the cover and the head. I may use thin rubber washers under the flat washers on the outside, or as RichB suggested, fiber.

Originally Posted by Ignoramus
.......compression needs to be checked with the motor at working temperature not cold

I know, but I had already started setting up for "the job" and I didn't want to run the bike.

Rich, I'm not removing the head at this time, just re-torqueing and plugging leaks. Like I said above, when I get around to removing the head, I'll revisit the O-ring idea (or go after those thicker NOS-copy gaskets with the smaller drain holes). I always anneal the gasket now, even a new one, and use Coppercoat.


Mark Z

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Hi David,

Not post related but I noticed you come from Crossville TN.

I spent some time working in Crossville many years ago and thoroughly enjoyed my time out there. Met some really nice people.

I was working, installing & commissioning machinery that was making Twinkies, at Flowers Bakery.

Used to enjoy eating at Ruby Tuesdays and spent evenings having a beer or two and shooting pool at Mr Eds. There was a big guy on the door called Steve who dressed in motorcycle gear.

Good to know there are plenty of BSA enthusiasts over the water.

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Originally Posted by Mark Z
Originally Posted by Ignoramus
Mark ......using rubber grommets under the head of a bolt that needs to be torqued down is not a good idea......over time the rubber will kind of extrude (not really the word) and loose its set (torqued pressure)

I think you misunderstood; the grommets will go between the cover and the head. I may use thin rubber washers under the flat washers on the outside, or as RichB suggested, fiber.

Originally Posted by Ignoramus
.......compression needs to be checked with the motor at working temperature not cold

I know, but I had already started setting up for "the job" and I didn't want to run the bike.

Rich, I'm not removing the head at this time, just re-torqueing and plugging leaks. Like I said above, when I get around to removing the head, I'll revisit the O-ring idea (or go after those thicker NOS-copy gaskets with the smaller drain holes). I always anneal the gasket now, even a new one, and use Coppercoat.


yes sorry i did misunderstand ..........but yes what |Rich says about the fiber washers ..........that is what i have done on mine


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Mark Z Online Sleepy OP
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Ok, I finished up the job today. Another thing I noticed is that the stainless steel washers I used under the cyl. head nuts were galled and dished. I used those because of my aversion to rust, but SS is not a good choice for this application. So I went to the hardware store and bought four grade 8 hardened washers. I also gobbed the studs with Permatex hi-heat RTV before applying the nuts.

With everything torqued up, I reinstalled the exhaust rocker assembly and set the valve clearances. The inlets were tight, which may have been from loosening and re-torqueing the head.

The rocker cover went on with grommets on the center studs under the cover as discussed above, then fiber washers and flat washers on the outside under the acorn nuts. I know I have the right size grommets this time because I had to tighten the nuts to get the cover to seat. I also smeared grease on the gasket, which is cemented to the cover.

Tomorrow the fuel tank goes back on and then we'll see what's what. The weather forecast is favorable for my upcoming ride on Saturday, which is a "Euro Bike Ride-in" in Lysander, NY, which is 96 miles from here.


Mark Z

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Ola Offline
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Right, those are flat, solid washers, at least 1/16" thick, and should not be substituted by "standard" ones.

Regards


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Originally Posted by Ola
Right, those are flat, solid washers, at least 1/16" thick, and should not be substituted by "standard" ones.

Regards

I’ve found this, thicker the better also.


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)

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Mark Z Online Sleepy OP
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Originally Posted by Allan G
Originally Posted by Ola
Right, those are flat, solid washers, at least 1/16" thick, and should not be substituted by "standard" ones.

Regards

I’ve found this, thicker the better also.

Right, I went through my entire washer collection looking for originals. I can't believe I couldn't find any. I figured the Grade 8's would be the next best thing.


Mark Z

'65(lower)/'66(upper, wheels, front end, controls)/'67(seat, exhaust, fuel tank, headlamp)/'70(frame) A65 Bitsa.

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