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Re: Badly made parts! [Re: DickDastardly] #382850
07/06/11 10:38 pm
07/06/11 10:38 pm
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 10,154
Boston, Massachusetts
J
John Healy Offline
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Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 10,154
Boston, Massachusetts
Quote:
It has been rumored ( for 40 yerars that I was in the trade anyhow) That UK suppliers send rejects to "the colonys" knowing they wont get them back due to huge post costs.


It is the reason I believe I have a successful business on the other side of the pond...


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Re: Badly made parts! [Re: DickDastardly] #382866
07/07/11 12:38 am
07/07/11 12:38 am
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 10,154
Boston, Massachusetts
J
John Healy Offline
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Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 10,154
Boston, Massachusetts
No, allan not retired yet. At 72 I am only in the 12th year of a 20 year plan with extensions in the works. Although I only work a half day these days - that's 8 am to 8 pm. We have a 7 pm UPS pickup and by the time we the truck loaded, get the computers shut down and back-ups run it is 8 pm. The only thing I have cut back on is the 4 or 5 trips to the UK each year. After 40 odd years of saying it's quality and hearing back no, John it's price I have no interesting in hearing the same old thing... go over for the odd funeral though. We are loosing a lot of the old timers.


Re: Badly made parts! [Re: DickDastardly] #382935
07/07/11 1:45 pm
07/07/11 1:45 pm
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 3,740
Sydney Australia
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BSA_WM20 Offline
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Joined: May 2004
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Sydney Australia
Quote:
Bought from a supplier who supplied the same as everyone else

Or am I being mean and tight-fisted because I don't travel to Australia to buy my parts?


Well I actually did go to the UK to buy BSA parts ( well to be truthful I was there already ) and got a very cold reception from Lewis & sons, followed by sarcasism followed by straight out bull. Lightning spares OTOH were really nice, confirmed what I already thought I knew but could not supply the long stroke push rods for my ZA 10. Oddly enough Trev "try me I'm Trev" a breaker did have the required rods second hand and a few other bits he told me I would need, and he was spot on.

If we can order parts from the UK, USA & Canada, I see no reason why UK residents can't order parts from Australia.
Yes we are civilized now, the kangaroos have finished installing the steel wire so we can use the modern telegarphic devices.
Back to the original thread, if I find a trustworthy supplier of quality parts I will use them regardless of where in the world they are. Be that Australia, the UK or Outer Nowhereistan .

Sorry if I have been a bit over the top but if you copped as much crap as I do from tight fisted owners getting really abusive because I can not direct them to the absolutely cheapest supply of BSA parts in the universe, you might get a bit testy too.

Got any idea of how many times I have gotten up in the tiny small hours of the morning ridden down to the GPO in the freezing cold, cued up to use the overseas telephone lines to ring all around the world looking for parts ?

As John noted, there was a time when even to find a common part you could spend more trying to find one than the part actually cost. The my generation started to retire and "buy back their youth" with old Pommie iron and there was a resurgence of mostly good quality parts and good quality dealers most of whom have either died, retired or changed to a job where they are more appreciated like tax collecting.
There is only 1 reason why there is so much rubbish around, because people buy it then decide as it was cheap, it is not worth complaining about so they go to the next cheapest source and so on until they finally get a useable product.


Bike Beesa
Trevor
Re: Badly made parts! [Re: DickDastardly] #383044
07/07/11 11:03 pm
07/07/11 11:03 pm
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 5,014
Gnashville
DavidP Offline

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Gnashville
I hear that!
I bought my SRM OPRV from British Spares in New Zealand. Less expensive than direct from SRM.
I still keep up with exchange rates. If the dollar keeps going down, we're screwed.


Stepping on others doesn't make you stand tall.

71 A65L "Zelda"
92 BMW K100rs "Gustav"
72 T120V cafe project "Mr. Jim"
Re: Badly made parts! [Re: ] #383105
07/08/11 10:24 am
07/08/11 10:24 am
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 262
Houston, TX
H
HarveyH Offline
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Houston, TX
As a newbie to restoring an old BSA, I find this thread very informative. (Perhaps it's a misery-loves-company thing!) Would it be possible to develop a list of the good and bad suppliers? Or would this violate BritBike's forum policy of non-inflammatory posts?

Harvey


1970 A65L (Yep, it's one of the "Y" bikes)
1942 HD45
1942 Boeing N2S-3
1930 Ford A
Re: Badly made parts! [Re: HarveyH] #383111
07/08/11 11:29 am
07/08/11 11:29 am
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 12,832
Central Virginia
Lannis Online content

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Lannis  Online Content

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Posts: 12,832
Central Virginia
Originally Posted By: HarveyH
As a newbie to restoring an old BSA, I find this thread very informative. (Perhaps it's a misery-loves-company thing!) Would it be possible to develop a list of the good and bad suppliers? Or would this violate BritBike's forum policy of non-inflammatory posts?

Harvey


My opinion (for what that's worth) is that it's OK for an individual to post, telling of a bad experience they may have had with a dealer, just as it's encouraged to tell of a good experience they've had.

I think it would transgress the unwritten law if Britbike started maintaining a list or small database of "Good" and "Bad" dealers.

The individual experiences need to be each taken on their own merit. I used to manage a bicycle shop in Atlanta, GA back in the '70s, and believe me, some customers were arrant arseholes that wouldn't be satisfied no matter what you did for them, and would talk about the shop like a dog ....

Lannis


I stopped believing for a little while this morning. Journey is really going to be upset.
Re: Badly made parts! [Re: DickDastardly] #383253
07/09/11 12:14 am
07/09/11 12:14 am
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 3,740
Sydney Australia
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BSA_WM20 Offline
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Sydney Australia
Quote:
As a newbie to restoring an old BSA, I find this thread very informative. (Perhaps it's a misery-loves-company thing!) Would it be possible to develop a list of the good and bad suppliers? Or would this violate BritBike's forum policy of non-inflammatory posts?

In theory that would be a good idea however it is always possible to catch some one on a bad day and of course the bad transactions was never the fault of the buyer was it ( haven't you got anything cheaper mate ? ).
So positive lists are always a better idea than a negative one as we all enjoying bagging and seldom remember the 2000 times than we got exactly what we wanted because that was not a problem for us but the once we got the wrong bit, it sticks out in our mind as it caused us some sort of trauma.


Bike Beesa
Trevor
Re: Badly made parts! [Re: BSA_WM20] #383338
07/09/11 1:30 pm
07/09/11 1:30 pm
Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 87
East Sussex, UK
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handyman Offline
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Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 87
East Sussex, UK
Yes, Trevor has got it right. We seldom, if ever say if something was good, but you can guarantee, if we get bad service, all our friends, neighbours, man-in-the-street and his dog get to hear about it.

From the gist of this thread, nothing has changed. After years of playing about with motorcycles, it has always been the case that spare parts, especially for British machines, have been a lottery whether they were right or not. This includes original manufacturers parts and pattern parts. Japanese parts have never suffered this and European less so.

I can remember buying genuine BSA parts, in genuine packaging from genuine dealers, only to find the stuff did not fit or was badly made.

This applied to many different makes, not just BSA, as many parts were sourced from small suppliers in the Midlands who were contracted to supply the big manufacturers. Quality control was arbitrary and many sub-standard parts got through. This is why NOS should be treated with caution, as they may well have been through numerous trade hands before a punter buys them and they might well have started out as rejects.

A friend of mine used to work for BSA in the assembly shop, where parts for a range of machines were picked from storage bins which would include a lot of sub-standard parts. I remember him telling me about building A7 engines with crankshafts that were already -20thou on the ends and -30thou on the mains. They were still useable parts, as far as BSA were concerned and as they were not seen, could be fitted to an engine, as they would still function.

One thing that is worth bearing in mind about older British machines, is that they were usually made to a price, so quality was not high on the list of priorities. Most British machines were primarily a source of transport for British blue-collar workers. As long as the machine worked or was repairable with plentiful, cheap parts, it fulfilled its function. More exotic machines like Broughs and Vincents were made for a different class of customer, so could command higher prices and better quality.

After the demise of the British motorcyle industry in the 70s, I well remember buying lots of stock from a well-known motorcyle parts dealer in East London, much of the stock being liquidation parts, much of it really no better than junk and at silly (cheap) prices.

Now, as I have spent many fruitless years looking for spares for some of the machines I have restored, primarily pre-WW2, I tend to err on the side of making a replica part because I know it will be correct, it will fit and the material will be to a better spec than the original part. An example: rocker box casting for BSA Q8 Empire Stars and B35, in good order, are impossible to find, as they were a crap design made of questionable alloy material, but given the advances in metallurgy, a better, more durable item can be cast to keep a few of my machines in roadworthy condition.

I try to cast in batches, so I can ammortise the cost. Given the time and effort this takes, small batch manufacturing, even with modern CNC machines, still requires a considerable investment, which has to be reflected in the finished price a part.

As Trevor and others have said, if you want good quality parts, you have to be prepared to pay for them and get away from the mindset that everything has to be cheap.

When I started making my own replica parts, they were for my own consumption, so cost is not an issue. However, over the years, I have been approached by a few motorcyclist, some who buy any surplus parts I may have for their machines without a quibble, but I also get the dreamers who cannot find the part they want and ask me if I can make one. When I tell them the true cost, give time to make patterns, get the castings done and machine the parts, some are quite staggered. I have even had bods say that they thought as I was a small operation, I would be cheaper than a dealer, given that they cannot get the parts anyway! Distinct lack of realism.

This mindset exists elsewhere, as for my sins, I restore those funny French cars that have hydraulic suspension systems. The same problem exists, they want a good job, until they are given a true cost.

The quote was by William Morris: "He who buys cheap, buys twice, and knows the cost of everything but the value of nothing."

Casting anybody?

Handyman

Last edited by handyman; 07/09/11 1:35 pm.
Re: Badly made parts! [Re: DickDastardly] #383433
07/09/11 10:42 pm
07/09/11 10:42 pm
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,537
Auckland NZ
Ignoramus Offline
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Auckland NZ
Handyman:
In order to fully appeciate what is involved in making a part to a high spec some background in a relevant trade is a big help.

A lot of guys who play around with old BSA's dont have that background so are reliant on the reputation of suppliers to see them right.

The problem is where suppliers knowingly send rubbish and I for one simply do not belive that they send some off this junk out inocently.....as i said before buying cheep junk that turns out to be junk is a whole diffrent ball game to paying top dollar and still getting scrap metal.


"There's the way it ought to be and there's the way it is" (Sgt Barnes)
Re: Badly made parts! [Re: DickDastardly] #383438
07/09/11 11:13 pm
07/09/11 11:13 pm
Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 87
East Sussex, UK
H
handyman Offline
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H
Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 87
East Sussex, UK
Hi Ignoramus, I understand what you are saying.

The biggest problem with making parts for older machines is you do not get scale of economy. As there is no real money in it, as the quantities are never large, larger quality based manufacturers are never attracted to making replacement parts. They can earn their money elsewhere.

So replacement parts are either made by a specialist, who will charge accordingly, to make his profit, as the low volumes of production have to bear a greater part of the overheads of his business, or the unscrupulous dealer will look to a low cost manufacturing country, where labour and materials are cheaper and the quality is negligeable to produce an inferior product at a low cost. By the time all the other factors are taken into account, the shady dealer will have off-loaded stock onto sellers who then get the blame if the goods are shoddy. The dealer has long gone onto the next money-making project, leaving both you, the punter and the dealer who sold the part to carry the can.

Unfortunately, the motorcycle industry has always been like that, especially in the UK, when lots of engineering firms were dependent on making parts for all our automotive industry, devoid of quality or investment. The UK motorcycle manufacturing industry died through lack of investment, both in money and resources, and being bleed dry by the Dockers.

You now have to view your older motorcycle as a one-off antique and look at spares for it in a similar vein, ie. they ain't going to be cheap.

As Trevor has already stated, if you want to run old bikes, with good quality parts that will last, you need to open up your wallet. Only deal with business that you can trust, that have a good reputation or come recommended. If they do not come up to scratch, complain! mad

Handyman

Last edited by handyman; 07/09/11 11:17 pm.
Re: Badly made parts! [Re: handyman] #383493
07/10/11 8:52 am
07/10/11 8:52 am
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 3,740
Sydney Australia
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BSA_WM20 Offline
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Sydney Australia
Quote:
The UK motorcycle manufacturing industry died through lack of investment, both in money and resources, and being bleed dry by the Dockers.

Getting a bit off topic here but what killed BSA was all too clever accountants on the board sending the company down the "maximum dividend by minimum tax" path. BSA could have funded the next seasons production using retained profits but they intentionally avoided tax by paying out 100% of the previous seasons profits as dividends then borrowing 100% of the money needed for next years production. As such if in any 1 year there is no profit then next year you are trying to pay off 2 years debt and the most powerful force in economics "compound interest" very quickly amplifies the debt to an unrecoverable level.

The final nail was another all too clever financial person who orchestrated the short sell.
Left to it's own, with some restructuring, BSA could have eventually climbed out of the mire as the non motorcycling assets of BSA were not only making a profit but also cutting deep swathe through the motorcycle division's massive debt.
Lumping all of the not profitable motorcycle divisions together while selling off the cash cows was a deliberate effort to kill off BSA and in my opinion the definative asset strip.
As BSA had been actively avoiding paying the UK government tax on it's massive profits it is not suprising that the same government was not enthusastic about saving BSA.
Just about all of the non motorcycle divisions of BSA continue to operate today although some got gobbled up during the Thatcher years of forced amalgamations .
So while the Dockers did not do the group much in the way of good , they were in no way responsible for the group's demise.


Bike Beesa
Trevor
Re: Badly made parts! [Re: DickDastardly] #383523
07/10/11 1:07 pm
07/10/11 1:07 pm
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 10,154
Boston, Massachusetts
J
John Healy Offline
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Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 10,154
Boston, Massachusetts
And then there was Lionel Jofeh...


Re: Badly made parts! [Re: John Healy] #383747
07/11/11 9:34 am
07/11/11 9:34 am
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 3,740
Sydney Australia
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BSA_WM20 Offline
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Quote:
And then there was Lionel Jofeh...


There were a lot of less than competent men on the board but none of them was as destructive as the 100% debt scheme.
The company was big enough and had enough good loyal people lower down the ranks to compensate for the idiots up on high ( they survived the Turner years after all ) but there is nothing that they could have done with a negative cash flow.


Bike Beesa
Trevor
Re: Badly made parts! [Re: DickDastardly] #383770
07/11/11 11:40 am
07/11/11 11:40 am
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,454
scotland
triton thrasher Online content
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scotland
To be fair to creative tax avoiders, the government of the time had some mad ideas on tax.

95% on high earnings, for instance.


Amateur Loctite enthusiast.
Re: Badly made parts! [Re: triton thrasher] #383772
07/11/11 11:48 am
07/11/11 11:48 am
Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 87
East Sussex, UK
H
handyman Offline
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Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 87
East Sussex, UK
They also had some legalised thieves, like Lord and Lady Docker, who owned Daimler in the 1950s, of which BSA was a part. They were renowned for boasting how they were bleeding the companies under their ownership.

H

Re: Badly made parts! [Re: DickDastardly] #383831
07/11/11 5:14 pm
07/11/11 5:14 pm
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,454
scotland
triton thrasher Online content
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scotland
I had a cousin who was so modestly and tastefully well dressed, the neighbours called her Lady Docker.


Amateur Loctite enthusiast.
Re: Badly made parts! [Re: handyman] #384016
07/12/11 11:14 am
07/12/11 11:14 am
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 3,740
Sydney Australia
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BSA_WM20 Offline
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Sydney Australia
Quote:
They also had some legalised thieves, like Lord and Lady Docker, who owned Daimler in the 1950s, of which BSA was a part. They were renowned for boasting how they were bleeding the companies under their ownership.

Not quite right.
BSA bought Daimler in 1910 in a deal brokered by FRANK Docker, Bernie's dad.
Frank Docker was already a millionaire when he was deputy chairman of BSA and also a junior board member of Daimler Motors ( I think that he was a part owner of one of the coach builders that made Daimler bodies ).
Frank's place on the board of the BSA group ( including Daimler ) was taken over Bernie who was also a multimillionaire before he joined BSA.
Nora was twice divorced before she married Bernie and was also a multimillionaire in her own right due to some clever house keeping ( she kept all 5 of them ).
Now while they were very extravagant and clocked up vast bills to the BSA group, they were also responsible for nearly all of the sales of Daimler limousines after the British royal family abandoned Daimler.
After Sangster sold Triumph to BSA and subsequently toppled the Dockers, sales of all but the "cheapie" Daimlers stopped as it was found latter than nearly all of the Limo sales went to personnel ( high flying ) friends of the Dockers so in reality they were sort of spending their "sales commissions".
Daimler never recovered from this drastic reduction in sales volumes and under the even worse fate of ET eventually got hived off to Jag before it went belly up.

Don't believe all of what you read in the motorcycling press and don't build up your understanding of BSA's history purely from the motorcycle point of view . Read the history of Carbodies, Daimler , Churchill , Birtley , Motoplas, Jessops and a few more then you will get a picture much closer to reality.

No one person can be scape goated for the demise of BSA and they could have gone on making losses for years without going under had it not been for the 100% borrowed capital policy of the board.

And yes the British Government's post WWII tax policy did not help things but it was the short sighted tax avoidance that killed it off stone dead and remember that the only beneficiaries of the tax avoidance were the share holders and the board members held the majority of the shares so we are back to nothing more than the greed of the most wealthy.
BSA could have easily paid 1/3 dividend ( tax free ) then declared the remainder as profits ( taxed @ 75% ) and still had enough money to fund the following years production. The entire groups profit was staggering but the motorcycle historians conveniently isolate BSA motorcycles from the rest of the group to make it look like a heroic struggle against the odds.

Last edited by BSA_WM20; 07/12/11 11:16 am.

Bike Beesa
Trevor
Re: Badly made parts! [Re: DickDastardly] #384083
07/12/11 3:45 pm
07/12/11 3:45 pm
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 10,154
Boston, Massachusetts
J
John Healy Offline
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John Healy  Offline
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J
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 10,154
Boston, Massachusetts
May I quote from the 1961 Triumph Sale Brochure:

"6T Thunderbird - Road Tourer - 40 cu.in. (650c.c.) - with rear enclosure.
General: Basic standard road model of Triumph's full powered 40 cu. in. (650c.c) OHV motorcycle. Telescopic hydraulic front fork and adjustable rear swing arm suspension provide fine road holding, safety and comfort with great reliability and quiet operation - all at the most economical price."

Their bold text all at the most economical price.

40 years of dealing with UK suppliers - "Sirs its quality, no John it's price... year after year after year!"



Re: Badly made parts! [Re: DickDastardly] #384166
07/12/11 11:37 pm
07/12/11 11:37 pm
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 10,154
Boston, Massachusetts
J
John Healy Offline
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J
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 10,154
Boston, Massachusetts
The U.S. press reported in the early seventies that BSA had spent over $800 on warranty claims for each A65 they sold in the U.S.. Who has time to worry about losses due to 100% financing with quality control like that. On top of this was the money for storage and financing expenses of all the the 1971-72 "Ogle Toaster Models" that didn't sell. Then there was the 2 million dollars Peter Thornton spent on expensive cars, private planes (both international and domestic), big salaries and winning the AMA National Championship. When Jofeh came to the U.S. to collect the money owed the factory he found empty coffers...

While there might have been some talented middle management qualified to run BSA, Jofeh kept them at bay and ignored their advice.


Re: Badly made parts! [Re: DickDastardly] #384389
07/14/11 6:58 am
07/14/11 6:58 am
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 98
Netherlands
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Jacco van D. Offline
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Posts: 98
Netherlands
I still don't understand why some parts-dealers don't use quality-control. Do they just buy parts from a supplier, put them in their shop and sell them without checking them?

One of my first problems approx. 25 years ago:
I bought a pair of Triumph headlamp ears in UK. Expensive, looked good, but paint was rubbish. I decided to powdercoated them before I would use them. After powdercoating I tried to mount them on the bike. Unfortunately too long, so I had to saw approx 5mm from the top.

Recent ones:
- Very nicely fork sliders. Not very expensive, but looked very nice. Shuttle valves wouldn't fit and sloppy bearing fit at bottom bush (about 0,1mm undersize!!).
- One of the engine stud sets that are available on eBay (for Triumph). One of the studs was 0,5" to short. Clearly a production fault. I complained at the seller. No reaction. After that at Wassell. Still no reaction.

Sometimes I am thinking of selling my British bikes. When I buy parts I expect to get parts that at least will fit. No matter if they are cheap or expensive.

I never ever had any problems with my Laverda SF and Aermacchi parts. Well these are expensive (mostly) but they will fit and I have the faith that the material is also good.


Triumph T100T 1969
Triumph TR6R 1972
Triumph T25T 1971
BSA B25 Fleetstar 1968
Laverda 750SF 1971
TWN Boss 1954
Re: Badly made parts! [Re: Jacco van D.] #384393
07/14/11 8:59 am
07/14/11 8:59 am
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 572
Surrey UK
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Mattsta Offline
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Surrey UK
@Jacco

I've just experienced (yet another example) of a reputable supplier not checking what he is being supplied by his manufacturers.

I recently ordered handed pickup holders for a K2F magneto. One was correctly moulded and fitted properly. The other one was not moulded correctly and I returned it. He supplied me another one FOC but it still doesn't fit properly. It seems all of the the ones made for the front mounting on the magneto are different from the rear ones. They've come out of the mould tool wrong and they are dimensionally different. The dimension between the mating face and the dimple for the pickup spring clip is also too small so there isn't enough preload in the pick up spring clip to hold the component on the magneto. The flatness tolerance on the bad moulding is so poor, the component doesn't sit parallel to the gasket or the mating face on the magneto body. I'm quite sure, if I fitted this component, I'd get about 1/2 mile down the road before it ends dangling uselessly on the end of the HT lead.

If I was a supplier, I'd at least check the function of the goods I sell to check whether they are fit for function before releasing them to the public

It's extremely annoying. I have wasted alot of time and money and return postage sending stuff backwards and forwards to and from suppliers who can't be relied upon to sell me goods that are fit for purpose.


1952 Triumph T100 in a BSA A7 Frame
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