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#711106 - 10/10/17 3:50 pm New owner of 71 Thunderbolt with question  
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 7
VANDOLSON Offline
BritBike Forum member
VANDOLSON  Offline
BritBike Forum member

Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 7
Windsor, Virginia, USA
Hi!
Been riding since 1970. Owned to Triumphs back in the 70's. A 1965 TR6 and a 1959 T120. After that rode Harleys until
a year ago (arthritis, back surgery, etc) when I had to give up riding long distances. Wanted a British project bike to
restore. Found a 1971 Thunderbolt locally. Bike was running and I rode it. Engine really strong and shifted well. So
paid $3000 for it. I knew it had a lot of work to restore, but...the guy was restoring a 1968 BSA basket case and needed
$3000, so...I understand that...bike really worth $2500 max....but...I have restored bikes in the past so...gave him what
he wanted.

The bike: Tank was original but repainted Sterling Moss (green) and white. Very nice tank. Forks were in good shape
except the upper yoke was destroyed by someone trying to remove the fork lock. Engine is fine. Frame is okay (rusted
a lot). Everything else has to be replaced or re-furbished. If it was painted, it was rusted and chipped. If it was chrome
it was rusted and pitted (wheels and fenders). If it had a bolt, it was rusted and most were seized. So far have spent
around $5000 on parts (fenders, new repop seat, entire wheels and tires, speedo replaced with a refurbished Smiths,
headlight shell, warning lights, cloth harness, every nut and bolt and screw, top yoke, new fork lock, new ignition
switch (correct NOS with internal lock with keys), and so on and so on).

I know the bike will not be worth what I am putting into it, but...it is a hobby and keeps me in the motorcycle world
that I have been in since I was 15 when I got my motorcycle permit. Can't live without a motorcycle! Has been my
life.

Anyway....to my question:

1. As I said, all the bolts on the bike were rusted and most seized. Took me over 2 hours to get the swing arm bolt
out!! Had grease the bearings, then spray it with a penetrating spray and wait (multiple times). Finally got it
pounded out....now my problem...the "Engine Fixing Bolt" (bolt through the bottom of the frame through the
bottom of the engine) is seized...got one nut off, the other close to rounding it before I stopped. Have used
liberal penetrating spray (Blaster is the name of it). I tried pounding it through but am concerned about
wrecking the cases the bolt goes through. ANY SUGGESTIONS? I took off the front and back engine mounts
and tried lifting the engine to take stress off the bolt...nope. I put the front and back engine mounts on
and tried pounding the bolt out...nope...at a loss at this point. Any tricks?

Thanks!

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#711110 - 10/10/17 4:01 pm Re: New owner of 71 Thunderbolt with question [Re: VANDOLSON]  
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 12,020
Lannis Online content
Life member
Lannis  Online Content

Life member

Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 12,020
Central Virginia
If you could get the swingarm pivot out (which is something that most of us cannot do without torches and hydraulic presses!) you'll figure out the engine mounting bolt. That bottom one is always the worst because it's the one most slathered with road dirt and corrosion.

Since the bolt goes through the engine cases and the frame bosses, and since the frame bosses "protect" the cases from twisting and breaking under pressure, I think you'd be safe in (A) trying to get some sort of anti-corrosion 'stuff' in there, like a 50/50 mix of ATF and acetone and (B) patiently "pounding", using some mechanical sympathy but being firm about it, until the corroded-in-place bolt moves. If the steel bolt is in fact "welded" to the aluminum cases so that it won't come out this way, you're looking at a machine-shop repair anyway, so it's worth a try. (Says me who has no skin in that game!) I'd also try a heat gun liberally played on the cases until they're too hot to touch where the bolt goes through, and then whack it .....

You said a mouthful when you said "The engine is fine". To me, the only way I could make that statement is if I was in personal contact with an engine rebuilder of KNOWN competence (and this wouldn't include people who might be experts on Triumphs and Sportsters and small-block Chevys and therefore don't know how to clean a sludge trap, line-ream a crank bushing, or shim the crank end-play), who has given you every detail of what he did to this motor, and you believe him .... If I didn't have all that, the motor would be coming apart down to the crank ....

Good luck with it all! They make nice-riding bikes when you're done, and generally the only one on the block ....

Lannis


OK, I admit it, I'm addicted to brake fluid.

But I can stop any time I want.
#711112 - 10/10/17 4:50 pm Re: New owner of 71 Thunderbolt with question [Re: VANDOLSON]  
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 7
VANDOLSON Offline
BritBike Forum member
VANDOLSON  Offline
BritBike Forum member

Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 7
Windsor, Virginia, USA
Thanks! Heat is next. After that, going keep soaking
with penetrating spray for a few days and try again.

#711113 - 10/10/17 4:50 pm Re: New owner of 71 Thunderbolt with question [Re: VANDOLSON]  
Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 3,998
Tridentman Online content
BritBike Forum member
Tridentman  Online Content

BritBike Forum member

Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 3,998
New Jersey USA
First of all--welcome to the forum--and congratulations on staying with a bike!
Not a bad choice of bike and don't worry about paying "too much".
As you say it is a hobby and no bike has a "right" price decided by someone who has not bought it.
Only the buyer sets the "right" price for that bike in that place at that time.
Ref the engine mounting bolt---no short cuts IMHO.
Use plenty of PB Blaster, use a lot of heat as the crankcases are real heat sinks and use force.
Ref force--no gentle taps or even repeated hard thumps but rather a really good whack with a lump hammer to really shock the corrosion between the aluminum crankcases and the steel bolt--which is holding it in.
HTH and best of luck!

#711114 - 10/10/17 5:04 pm Re: New owner of 71 Thunderbolt with question [Re: VANDOLSON]  
Joined: Nov 2010
Posts: 2,752
kurt fischer Online content
#irideslow
kurt fischer  Online Content
#irideslow

Joined: Nov 2010
Posts: 2,752
Arlington, Massachusetts, USA
Another "welcome" to the forum. Paid too much? Spending too much? "haha" is all I can say, and don't worry about it. I'd be lucky to recoup half of what I've got in my bikes grin

I really like my '71 Lightning. To paraphrase what Lannis said, it's not a Triumph.


Kurt
1968-70-71 Triumph TR6R Bitsa - 1969 Triumph TR6R - 1971 BSA A65L - 1973 Triumph TR5T
2005 Ducati MTS 1000S DS - 2012 Ducati Hyper 796 - 2014 Kawasaki ZX1000
#711117 - 10/10/17 5:54 pm Re: New owner of 71 Thunderbolt with question [Re: VANDOLSON]  
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 7
VANDOLSON Offline
BritBike Forum member
VANDOLSON  Offline
BritBike Forum member

Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 7
Windsor, Virginia, USA
Whew! Got it out! Laid the bike on its primary side on a
carpet. Took my mapp gas torch and heated the bottom
engine cases and frame. About 5-min of heating. Was
able to drive it out. Lots of rust and bits came out
with it!!

Hope the case bonding is okay (no leaks).

The engine. Not a novice to bike engines and engine
rebuilding. Usually restore bikes back to all oem
condition with NOS parts. Last one was a Harley
1981 FXS Lowrider. Complete frame/engine build.
Sold to a motorcycle shop in Japan. Was in the
window of his shop in fact (got pictures) to draw
In customers. I did the whole restoration myself.
Not doing so with this BSA.

I guess I am saying that after riding the bike and
listening to it with my stephoscope I am real comfortable
with the engine as it is. I would not have bought it
If the engine in my opinion was bad or needed work.

Hopefully I am correct......I could eat my words in the
future...hah!?

Lannis, thank you so much for replying to my issue!
many thanks! Applying Heat was correct. It was going
to be my last option anyway. You saved me time and
cases by bringing it up.

BTW, I hate typing on my Iphone.....

Best Regards,

"Van"

#711129 - 10/10/17 8:07 pm Re: New owner of 71 Thunderbolt with question [Re: VANDOLSON]  
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 3,291
gavin eisler Online content
BritBike Forum member
gavin eisler  Online Content
BritBike Forum member

Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 3,291
argyll. scotland, uk
Congrats on the bolt removal. heres a coup[le of tips for the 71.
Its maybe too late , but the bottom mount has a steel spacers between the frame and motor, if there is anything left of it make a note of the thickness and what side it was on, its easily lost / forgotten, but it stops the frame springing and helps keep the vibes down.

if you are going to repaint the steel side covers , have a good look at the inside top edge, as stock they interfere with the coil brackets, causing beakage and vibration, the inner top edge can be scalloped about 5/16 " to prevent rubbing off the coil bracket. Best to test fit and adjust before painting.
It took triumph till 1973 to scallop them at the factory.

The air box lids centre mount is not easy to use as stock, the airbox inner can be fitted with a 5/16 UNF helicoil , makes bolting them back on a lot easier.
HTH

Last edited by gavin eisler; 10/10/17 8:08 pm.

71 Devimead A65 750
56 Norbsa 68 Longstroke A65
Cagiva Raptor 650
MZ TS 250
The poster formerly known as Pod
#711131 - 10/10/17 8:10 pm Re: New owner of 71 Thunderbolt with question [Re: VANDOLSON]  
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 7
VANDOLSON Offline
BritBike Forum member
VANDOLSON  Offline
BritBike Forum member

Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 7
Windsor, Virginia, USA
I hope I did not come off sounding pompous or a know it all or anything like that with my last reply...not
meant to.

I will say I did read all of the 611 posts on this BSA forum before I introduced myself. Learned some good
things! Years of BSA knowledge here and everyone seems great!!

Thanks everyone! Engine is out...learned in a few posts that you can remove the engine from the frame
by laying it on the primary side and lifting the frame off the engine....worked like a charm. I am going
to put the engine back in the frame that way. Good stuff here!

I continue to learn about BSAs...I never knew BSA owned Triumph...I thought Triumph owned BSA
in the 60's/70's. VERY interesting. What I like about my BSA is....none of the bikers today (unless
you are older) even know what a BSA is.

In the middle 70's I rode with 10 Triumph riders and 1 BSA rider. We hung out together as the Harley
guys didn't want to be seen with the "slimy limeys" as they called it. My 1965 TR6 blew away most of the
Sportsters back then though...hah!

I was never a fan of the OIF Triumphs when they came out. I thought the OIF 1971/1972 BSAs looked so
much better. I joined the Navy (late in life...I was 23 at the time....Nuclear powered fast attack submarines)
and made it a 20-year career. Once I got to my first submarine, I bought a 1975 Sportster and then owned
Harleys after that. However, I ALWAYS had a LOVE for the British motorcycles...dunno why...just thought
the engines were beautiful looking and just classic! Great to be back!

Thanks again to all, looking forward to learning more on this forum from the great people here.

Best,

"Van"

#711210 - 10/11/17 4:42 pm Re: New owner of 71 Thunderbolt with question [Re: VANDOLSON]  
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 3,474
DMadigan Offline
BritBike Forum member
DMadigan  Offline
BritBike Forum member

Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 3,474
ca, us
When taking the lower engine bolt out, leave the front bolt in, remove the rear bolts/plates and use a pry bar or wood wedges to lift the weight of the motor off the lower bolt.
You can fix the side cover bolt by adding a snap ring on the outer side of the bolt from the inner case. That will keep the bolt head from pushing in past the cast-in shoulders.
At least put an oil pressure gauge on it to test the hot pressure then you can go back to just the light.


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