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#691207 - 04/10/17 11:36 pm 1928 Ariel Model C  
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Magnetoman Online content
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This forum has very low activity so starting this thread represents true optimism.

A 1928 500cc Ariel Model C is on its way to me to ride in the 2018 Cannonball which takes place in ~17 months. Although the bike is complete and "restored," all too often restorations are only skin deep so I will completely rebuild it myself. In preparing to do this I've assembled my own ~250-page "shop manual" by gathering and organizing technical information from a wide variety of sources (e.g. D. Barkshire's Black Ariels, G.S. Davison's The Book of the Ariel, the Owners' Guide, Burman manuals, the relevant posts on the Ariel owners' club forum, etc.).

With the above as brief background, and after having gone through all the information I could find, I am left with a number of questions. In no particular order, what is:

-- the balance factor?
-- the connecting rod length?
-- the free length and diameter of the valve springs?
-- the head diameter, stem diameter, and length of the inlet and exhaust valves?
-- the carburetor size (i.e. ID of the inlet tract)?
-- a modern spark plug for this bike?
-- the number of teeth on the rear sprocket?
-- a modern grease to use in the gearbox?
-- a modern equivalent for "Crimsangere" grease?
-- the diameter and number of steering head balls?

Of course, I'll be able to answer many of these questions for myself once the bike arrives and is in pieces. However, I plan to ride it for a while to learn its idiosyncrasies before disassembling it, and the 17 months will pass quickly, so I'd like to get as much of a head start on this as I can.

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#691222 - 04/11/17 2:17 am Re: Technical questions: 1928 Ariel Model C [Re: Magnetoman]  
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robcurrie Online content
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Hi MM,

I checked what the pre-war AJS & Matchless guys are using and it seems like either Penrite or Morris Lubricants semi-fluid grease is the right stuff for Burman gearboxes. Crimsangere appears to be similar, but developed for Sturmey Archer 'boxes. Recommendations are to add an "eggcup" of 50 wt oil to the grease.

These are listed on the Classic-oils.net website.

Rob C

#691226 - 04/11/17 3:48 am Re: Technical questions: 1928 Ariel Model C [Re: robcurrie]  
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Originally Posted by robcurrie
either Penrite or Morris Lubricants semi-fluid grease is the right stuff for Burman gearboxes.
Thanks very much for this information.

Penrite seems to be nearly unavailable in the U.S. but I've sent an email to the one place I can find who supplies it. If they do handle it I guess I should buy a lifetime's supply.

#691252 - 04/11/17 1:37 pm Re: Technical questions: 1928 Ariel Model C [Re: Magnetoman]  
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your lifetime or your ariel's?

your bike has a running start on you.


Into the distance a ribbon of black
Stretched to the point of no turning back
A flight of fancy on a windswept field
Standing alone my senses reeled
A fatal attraction is holding me fast how
How can I escape this irresistible grasp?
#691262 - 04/11/17 3:02 pm Re: Technical questions: 1928 Ariel Model C [Re: kevin roberts]  
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Originally Posted by kevin roberts
your lifetime or your ariel's?
There are actuarial tables for the former but not the latter so the best I can do is stock up on enough oil to see me through to my end. After that, the Ariel will have to find its own Penrite distributor.

#691281 - 04/11/17 5:37 pm Re: Technical questions: 1928 Ariel Model C [Re: Magnetoman]  
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The grease thickens. One might think the issue of "grease" is a simple one, but the more I look into it, the less I know. The contemporary grease recommendations for the Ariel were:

Gearbox:
Castrolease Light
Mobilubricant Extra Soft

For all other uses:
Crimsangere Light
Mobilubricant Soft
Castrolease Light

Unfortunately, there is essentially no information to be found for any of these on the web, let alone recommendations for modern equivalents. It appears Castrol L/EPO might be appropriate for the gearbox, but it doesn't appear to be sold in the U.S. Sometimes seemingly-simple problems take the longest to solve. Sigh...

#691292 - 04/11/17 6:47 pm Re: Technical questions: 1928 Ariel Model C [Re: Magnetoman]  
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Check Royal Enfield forum - older indian bikes are also using some kind of grease in their gearboxes.

#691300 - 04/11/17 7:47 pm Re: Technical questions: 1928 Ariel Model C [Re: Adam M.]  
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Originally Posted by Adam M.
Check Royal Enfield forum
Other bikes used Burman gearboxes as well, but I'm hoping for an "authoritative" recommendation for the best equivalent modern liquid grease. I've sent queries to Morris Lubricants and Castrol and am waiting to hear back from them, as well as from the Penrite distributor in the U.S.

#691311 - 04/11/17 8:32 pm Re: Technical questions: 1928 Ariel Model C [Re: Magnetoman]  
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Originally Posted by Magnetoman
Originally Posted by Adam M.
Check Royal Enfield forum
<SNIP> but I'm hoping for an "authoritative" recommendation for the best equivalent modern liquid grease. I've sent queries to Morris Lubricants and Castrol and am waiting to hear back from them, as well as from the Penrite distributor in the U.S.

I know several Henderson riders had gearbox failures on the Cannonball. I never did learn whether it was caused by an inappropriate lubricant, but the pictures I saw of the repeat failures sure looked like it.

I'm thinking that one of them must have sorted out a suitable lubricant since then.

.. Gregg


Spyder Integrated Technologies
Lucas, BTH, & Miller Magneto & Dynamo Restoration
SMITHS Chronometric Restoration
magneto@spyder-it.com
#691326 - 04/11/17 11:18 pm Re: Technical questions: 1928 Ariel Model C [Re: gREgg-K]  
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Originally Posted by gREgg-K
I know several Henderson riders had gearbox failures on the Cannonball.
It would be easy to decide that any lubricant is way better than no lubricant and ignore this question. But, lubricants actually do matter, even in 90-year old gearboxes. For example, some additives attack bronze bushings and if a grease is too thick it will cavitate and result in inadequate lubrication. I hadn't heard of the Henderson problem but in light of issues like these it isn't surprising.



#691328 - 04/11/17 11:39 pm Re: Technical questions: 1928 Ariel Model C [Re: Magnetoman]  
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AFAIK older gearboxes used a high viscosity lube due to poor sealing, typically a mix 50:50 of axle grease and a heavy oil, this would sort of set up at rest and not leak too dramatically. Castrol changed lube names regularly, none of the oil specced for our plant in the 60s had the same names but had modern equivalents, maybe some old records are left at Castrol. Seagull outboard engines use a very heavy gear oil EP 140, , something like that mixed with the mineral grease of choice may be a good compromise if the exact stuff isnt available anymore. Modern seals mean that lubes that set up when it cools down are no longer required. It may be possible to fit sealed bearings to your Ariel gearbox if the sizes arent too weird, meaning you could possibly use real oil rather than runny grease.


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#691329 - 04/11/17 11:49 pm Re: Technical questions: 1928 Ariel Model C [Re: Magnetoman]  
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OZ
Not that my Matchless gets out much these days, but what I used in the four speed Sturmey Archer was Castrol LM grease ( now I think called Castrol All Purpose Grease) with the 50 weight engine oil I used ( Castrol CRB 50 ).

#691347 - 04/12/17 2:05 am Re: Technical questions: 1928 Ariel Model C [Re: Triless]  
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Originally Posted by Triless
what I used in the four speed Sturmey Archer
In 1928 Ariel used a Sturmey-Archer gearbox for one of their models and Burman for all the others. For the Sturmey-Archer the Owners' Guide recommends Speedwell Crimsangere while for the Burman it's to be Mobilubricant Extra Soft. So, different gearboxes, different greases.

#691361 - 04/12/17 4:03 am Re: Technical questions: 1928 Ariel Model C [Re: Magnetoman]  
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Yes, MM, Matchless recommended "Castrolease Light " for Sturmey Archer, and "Castrolease Medium " for Burman. I used what I could, and it seemed to work OK. When I finish mucking about with my Triumphs, I'll get stuck into the Matchless for some overdue attention, then I'll know how the SA stood up to my youthful depredations ! ( have'nt had the gearbox apart for years !)
It was recommended that " a small amount of oil ( half a teacup !? ) is of benefit with non fluid lubricated gearboxes ".

#691362 - 04/12/17 4:34 am Re: Technical questions: 1928 Ariel Model C [Re: Triless]  
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Originally Posted by Triless
then I'll know how the SA stood up to my youthful depredations ! ( have'nt had the gearbox apart for years !)
I don't know the usual mileage put on 90-year old bikes these days, but I want to avoid finding out after 2000 miles of day-after-day usage that I picked the wrong lubricant.

It's interesting that this thread started only yesterday and already it has more posts than any of the other 236 in the Ariel Forum

#691368 - 04/12/17 6:30 am Re: Technical questions: 1928 Ariel Model C [Re: Magnetoman]  
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Originally Posted by Magnetoman
It's interesting that this thread started only yesterday and already it has more posts than any of the other 236 in the Ariel Forum

It's an oil thread. They always do that.
Wait until you ask about fitting electronic ignition.

#691381 - 04/12/17 8:41 am Re: Technical questions: 1928 Ariel Model C [Re: Magnetoman]  
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MM, I'm not a world renown academic. I was only trying to help, using my experience as the criteria. I'll bet London to a brick, using modern grease, and the oil you use in your Ariel's engine, the bloody gearbox will be OK ! Got that ! Just going on what I know from previous posts, I think I've had a bit more time with a grease box than you ! OK ?
But I do know better , now, than to contribute my limited magneto experience !

#691385 - 04/12/17 9:53 am Re: Technical questions: 1928 Ariel Model C [Re: Magnetoman]  
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Trying to help, I have a pitmans guide to Ariel motorcycles "The Book of the Ariel",, 1932 on. I have scanned some of the relevant lub pages. I hope this is of interest. Some of it may be useful.
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
Sadly it only covers the Burman box, not the earlier Sturmey archer.


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#691389 - 04/12/17 10:14 am Re: Technical questions: 1928 Ariel Model C [Re: gavin eisler]  
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Yes, Gavin, this gells with my Haycrafts ( Pitman ) " The Book of the AJS ", " The Book of the Matchless " and my "AJS, FW Neill "(Pearson) all of which cover to a degree, both SA and Burman gearboxes.
What else did we mere neophytes have to go on ?

#691391 - 04/12/17 10:22 am Re: Technical questions: 1928 Ariel Model C [Re: Triless]  
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The rear sprocket on my 1927 Model A is 47T. From memory, your bike is the same.

Richard

#691423 - 04/12/17 4:00 pm Re: Technical questions: 1928 Ariel Model C [Re: Richard Kal]  
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Originally Posted by Triless
I think I've had a bit more time with a grease box than you
I'm sorry if my response to your earlier post came across as dismissive. In no way did I intend it that way. I intended my response to be an explanation of why I might seem obsessed with a matter that appears it should be simple.

I found the following succinct explanation for why Burman used grease in the days before rotating shaft seals were up to speed, as well as why it can't be too thick. It was written by the late "Big Sid" Biberman of Vincent fame:

-----------
Burman Gearbox Oil: It can be a cause of rapid bushing, etc. wear if the grease is too thick and does not flow readily. The gears will tend to cut a track through it after which it does not flow into them continously. Also it will not enter tight bushing clearances. I suggest a small quantity of soft grease followed by sufficient 90 wt. gear oil to acheve the correct level. This way the soft grease gets carried into any leakage paths sealing them while the job of real lubrication is delt with by the gear oil. This works nicely in our Meteor and if not overfilled it rarely shows any seepage. Sid 6/18/07
----------

Originally Posted by gavin eisler
I have scanned some of the relevant lub pages. I hope this is of interest. Some of it may be useful.
Thanks very much for scanning and posting those pages. They bring the brands and grades of oils a step forward in modernity, helping the search for current replacements.

Meanwhile Morris Lubricants responded: "With regards to your enquiry for a Burman gearbox, our K400 EP Semi Fluid Grease would be our recommended alternative.". The relevant specs of that grease are an NLGI consistency rating of 00 and worked penetration value of 400-430. Thanks to a link from Shane in Oz these values make it a "semi-fluid" grease, one step softer than "very soft" grade 0 and only one step stiffer than the softest grade 000 which is also described as "semi-fluid."

Given that the specs and description matches well with the required properties it appears to be a good recommendation. But, that's the good news. The bad news is only Morris's range of 'classic oils' has a U.S. distributor. But, the good news is I emailed them anyway and they quickly responded that would be happy to add it to their next order from Morris at the end of May. I'm waiting to hear back how much 3 kg (~1 gal.) will cost me. That should be more than a lifetime supply even if the gearbox leaks like a sieve and I live to be 100.

Addendum: the price will be $51 + shipping, which is in line with the price/lb. of (thicker) lithium-based greases. I ordered it, so that makes one more line I can cross off my to-do list.

Originally Posted by Richard Kal
The rear sprocket on my 1927 Model A is 47T. From memory, your bike is the same.
Thank you very much. That's one more blank I can fill in on the 'general data' chart.

Last edited by Magnetoman; 04/12/17 4:08 pm. Reason: added price
#691735 - 04/14/17 10:46 pm Re: Technical questions: 1928 Ariel Model C [Re: Magnetoman]  
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Morris Lubricants are a great outfit, very helpful and produce a very good product. Their 'R' type oil is the best.
They have huge experience of vintage and classic oil blends as well as modern synthetic stuff.

(I'm not just saying this because they used to sponsor me either..........)



#691758 - 04/15/17 2:56 am Re: Technical questions: 1928 Ariel Model C [Re: Magnetoman]  
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Are you saying they might sponsor MM on the Canonball? bigt

Rob C

#692576 - 04/21/17 1:26 am Re: Technical questions: 1928 Ariel Model C [Re: Magnetoman]  
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You never know..........?????



#692908 - 04/24/17 4:18 pm Re: Technical questions: 1928 Ariel Model C [Re: Magnetoman]  
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I was going to recommend John Deere Corn Head grease because it seems to function the same as the mentioned Morris grease....Corn Head grease is about 4 bucks for a 16 ounce grease gun cartridge...However, Corn Head grease is specified for slower moving gears and don't know exactly how this compares to the very expensive Morris lube...


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