Howdy Gents, It seems like it's time to join the pre unit party! I want to tell you a little about my experience of restoring my very first bike. It was a fun, interesting project, hugely educational and ultimately highly rewarding, but with fits of extreme exasperation and frustration experienced on a more than irregular basis. My work isn't on the same level as HT or Beljum, but I'm happy with the way things turned out in the end. I purchased my 1954 Triumph T100 3.5 years ago as a completely disassembled basket case. I'd been looking for a vintage Triumph for a while, and this bike seemed like a likely candidate for restoration, as most of the difficult to find parts appeared to be there, and I wanted to get it as close to stock as possible. This was my first restoration, but of course I ignored the warnings about purchasing basket cases and snapped it up. Immediately upon completing the deal, buyers remorse set in, and I began to wonder what the heck I had gotten myself into? Only time, lots of money and a ton of effort would tell!
First thing was to figure out what I actually had in the 8 or so boxes of stuff. I ordered the parts book CD and began to sift through the pile. Here's what I found: - nicely patinaed (read very rusty) front and rear frame section, with numbers matching the engine cases. - correct 1954 only swinging arm. - complete and completely rusty front fork assembly. - all the proper sheet metal including the very tough to find nacelle (sorry Beljum). Most of it was in quite reasonable condition, other than the obligatory extra holes drilled into the tool box. The fuel tank was in great shape, with just the typical very minor surface rust inside, no stripped threads, and no real dings or dents. - A NOS chronometric speedo. - A NOS Lucas K2F magneto. - A reasonable looking generator. - A complete and correct front wheel assembly, with a very corroded rim, still laced. The front drum again is a one year only item, sometimes called a piecrust drum due to the wavy perimeter where the spokes lace in. - An incomplete QD rear wheel assembly, nicely corroded. - A very rough looking old AMAL 276 carb. - A complete and assembled gearbox. - A relatively complete engine, fully disassembled and in need of rebuild.
Things that I was obviously missing: - seat - exhaust - stands - fuel tank mounts - almost every fastener required to bolt the thing together. - the experience and knowledge to put it back on the road!
Dan, Wow, that was a dream find! NOS Chronometric and mag? Saved yourself a grand right there, easy. If they work. They might need attention to work properly. The condensors in the mags go bad over time, not use, and the grease in the speedos goes to concrete over time. Hey, Beljum knows how to take those things apart and fix em. Otherwise Mark Bohman frequently mentioned on these forums does a spectacular job on them. Try to save and use the 276 carb as they are cool as heck and made of better materials than the later Amals. I've always lusted after a '54 T110. Recognition features: No sidecar lug on seatpost downtube. Small cup and cone upper steering head bearings. Pie crust front brake drum. 276 carb. One year rear grab rail.(you have the later one) with an "s" bend just before the fender mount. Pity there was one for sale on eBay a couple of weeks ago. There are other points, too. Great find. Good luck. You came to the right place since there is forming a band of brothers here all about these cool bikes. Bill
Bikes 1974 Commando 1985 Honda Nighthawk 650 1957 Thunderbird/T110 "Flying Tiger" Antique Fans: Loads of Emersons (Two six wingers) plus gyros and orbiters.
Bill, thanks for the info. A few more special one year items for the 54 are a dzus fastener on the tool box lid, and the prop stand mount quite far ahead on the bottom frame rail. I'm on the lookout for the proper 54 grab rail if you ever see another one available.
So, back to the story. I decided that the best way to figure out what I was missing was to try and mock the bike up. With this in mind I went through the parts book and over many, many months, ordered all the missing frame fasteners, everything to rebuild the forks (new stanchions, bushings, seals, bolts), new rear shocks, a seat, wheel bearings, handlebars, on and on and on... While this stuff was coming, I had the frame, swinging arm, fork crowns, and assorted brackets and pieces powder coated. I frequently consulted my pre unit Triumph guru friend Ken Brown from Victoria, BC for advice, and lurked regularly here on Britbike, sometimes surfacing to ask the odd question when I was really stumped. Here's what the mockup looked like:
The sheetmetal you see here is in the condition I received it. The tank and fenders had a poor paint job on it and the oil tank and tool box were just in grey primer. The Nacelle had been blasted clean and was in quite good shape, other than the typical hack job in the handle bar openings and a hole drilled in the side of it.
There was a fair bit of fettling involved when fitting the pieces. The nacelle took alot of work to get set up properly so that the mounting holes all lined up and everything was sitting square. Doing this before painting was a critical step.
The biggest problem I had during this process was trying to fit the front fender. It was a repro fender, that came with the bike. It seemed to be reasonably well constructed, but it just would not line up correctly. Its difficult to see in the picture, but it appeared that the dimples in the fender sidewall which are for fork tube clearance, were too far back on the fender. this caused the tip of the fender to be too close to the front wheel. After lots of fretting, fiddling and phone calls to Ken, I contacted Bob Buchanon at RMB Motorcycle Restoration in Ontario. Bob supplied me with a new repro fender which fit just fine. He gets his stuff from Ace Classics, who supply quality repro parts. I'd definitely recommend Bob for sheet metal, if you can afford the pricing on this stuff. Ouch! Here's the old repro fender:
Here's the new repro fender:
Here's another one which also shows the gap between the nacelle halves. This is the best I could get it to fit, but it looks alright.
Well that's it for now, I'll pick up the thread in a day or two.
DR! What a great find! I studied your photos and thought to myself, “I know all of these parts!”, and then along comes HT and points out all the nuances. I can imagine HT as a concours judge upsetting a lot of trailer bike owners.
I am assuming that you have completed the restoration and are going to post the well-documented project over time. If so, how about posting the fork restoration next? It appears that you have a very methodical approach and attention to detail (along with a heaping dose of the all important patience).
This was my first restoration, but of course I ignored the warnings about purchasing basket cases and snapped it up. Immediately upon completing the deal, buyers remorse set in, and I began to wonder what the heck I had gotten myself into? Only time, lots of money and a ton of effort would tell!
Good thing you did! You made the right decision; its all about learning, the journey and, of course, riding the snot out of it went completed! It beats the hell out of letting life pass by in front of a TV.
Yes, it took a fairly developed methodology to put this thing together, but I must admit, I really dropped the ball as far as photo documenting what I did. Like most of us, I have a lot going on in my life, (wife, 2 young children, 2 businesses to run, coaching and playing sports) so I often felt lucky just to spend 1/2 an hour with parts in my hand. Taking the time to snap photos seemed like a luxury I couldn't afford.
With that excuse in hand, there are a few comments I can make specifically about the fork restoration, but I have no pictures to support them.
I had two main problems to deal with regarding the lower fork legs. The first problem was that the lower drain holes were completely plugged with super hardened crud. I used a small drill bit to clean out the hole as far as possible from the outside, but the drain passage turns 90deg up into the fork leg chamber, so a portion of it is only accessible from the inside of the tube. Obviously, there is very little room to work in there, so i fit the drill bit firmly into the end of a piece of dowel, which allowed me to reach down inside and clean out the passage. A good presoak with liquid wrench, and a blast of air finished the job.
My other problem was what appeared to be a minor ding in the lower front on the right side fork lower. The ding actually extended all the way through to the inside of the tube, causing the lower bush to bind completely when the forks were fully compressed. The answer to this was to slip a tight fitting socket down inside the lower leg and firmly tap it past the pinch point to get things relatively round again. It wasn't a perfect fix, as there is still some slight binding at full compression. I would not have been happy with it if the dent was further up the leg, but I don't think the affected area sees much use during riding. I have yet to feel it anyways.
As far as the rest of the fork rebuild, it was pretty staight forward. I used all new bushes , seals and stanchion tubes. What wasn't new was thoroughly cleaned by soaking in parts cleaner and wire wheeling. I measured my springs, and they were within tolerance for length, so I reused them. I powder coated the triple trees, and installed new bearing cones, cups and balls. If you go this route with the bearings, make sure you apply grease liberally to the races and balls, so that little round things don't go bouncing across the shop floor during assembly, removal, reassembly...
One other comment I could make is a recommendation not to test the fit of a loose upper stanchion bush in the fork lower without it on the stanchion. They are a ***** to get out.
So, on with the story. Pre-paint mock up of the bike was absolutely critical in educating myself on how the bike went together, and what the best order of assembly was. It allowed me to handle the parts without being concerned about damaging the finish, and I was able to identify parts that needed to be set aside and repaired, fettled or replaced, prior to having all the paint and plating work done.
Once I was comfortable that I had all the parts I needed, fitting the way there were supposed to, and in the condition I needed them to be, I disassembled the bike. I did take a ton of photos of labeled individual fasteners, so that I could ID them when they came back from the platers. I also took photos of specific parts assemblies, such as the rear axle assembly, rear foot rests, etc. to aid in reassembly.
I then put together my packages destined for the platers. Here's some visuals of the fasteners and various parts cleaned up and ready for cad plating:
As far a chroming, luckily I did not have too much extra to do as I had already purchased new rims, exhaust, and handlebars. My tank rack was in great shape, as were my control levers. Here's a shot of the parts headed to the chromer:
Well, thats it for now, stay tuned for the next instalment.
Well, here we are at the engine build up. When i got the bike, the engine was completely diassembled. The cases, barrel and head were nicely cleaned, probably media blasted of some sort, but everything else was as it came out of the engine. I measured the barrel at standard, but there was a fairly deep score in one cylinder, so I began the search for new pistons. The alloy barrel on these bikes limit you to 0.020' overbore maximum. After much searching, I ended up with some 0.020" over, 8:1 pistons made by JP Piston in Australia. I sent the barrel, crank, rods and pistons out for machining. The barrel was bored and honed, the crank was reground, and the rod big ends were resized. Ken disassembled the crank and it was surprisingly clean inside. It was cleaned up, then delivered back to the machine shop where it was dynamically balanced to 60%. My camshafts were useable, but not in the best of shape, so we dug through my friend Ken's stash and found some new cams (stock E3275) that were in perfect shape. I ordered new guides, valves and springs for the head. Time for assembly!
First thing was to warm up the cases in Ken's oven. The crank bearings fit in just nicely in the warm cases.
We then fit rods to the crank.
The crank assembly and camshafts were fit into the drive side case, ensuring the breather was functioning properly.
The case halves were buttoned together.
We we slightly too hasty with the barrel fitting. Bonus points for anyone who can spot the error in this shot.
We missed it as well. You might be able to spot it better in this shot, after the head went on.
Yup, we forgot the tappets! So, off comes the barrel, fit tappets, then continue on.
Thanks for the fork info DR. I like the use of a socket to form the bore! Yeah, it takes a little time to photo and type everything out but I tend to do here and there which is why my posts seem fragmented sometimes.