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MarcB #806915 04/27/20 3:46 pm
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Originally Posted by MarcB
Lastly, I'm surprised no one mentioned the oil that appears to have been added to the rings prior to the ring compressors going on.


Are you advocating no oil?

These two videos are listed on Grumpy's Garage which is usually a decent source of information on engine assembly.


Starts around 2:30

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=507&v=QloJ3kjsAyY&feature=emb_logo

Starts around 2:40

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qs7b_oqgqh8&feature=emb_logo

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Originally Posted by marinatlas
Me too.......like in Norton with the JCC pistons , they are prone to fail , not for me I put real seager clips.......!

The grooves on those BSA pistons will be round-bottomed, so not suitable for Seager circlips.

Better wire circlips with no tails are available.


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Originally Posted by Cyborg
Originally Posted by MarcB
Lastly, I'm surprised no one mentioned the oil that appears to have been added to the rings prior to the ring compressors going on.


Are you advocating no oil?

I’ll advocate no oil on the rings.


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So will I


71 Devimead, John Hill, John Holmes A65 750
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Boy, lots of thoughts here guys, thanks!

You're right about the front middle rocker cover mount. Sharp eyes there. The thread looks to have gone entirely. Not sure what I'll do about that yet.

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I’ve found several that didn’t have any thread at the top of that mount, the rocker box cover doesn’t touch the mount at this
Point and in reality it’s probably a waste of time it being there, tightening the bolt/nut too tight will distort the box, not tight enough and it will leak past it. A stud in this hole is what is needed, most likely it will thread down all the way to the bottom. If it won’t.... fit a helicoil.


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68’ A65 Lightning “clubman”
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My 1968 Firebird uses an engine steady which mounts directly to the cylinder centre front hole, the other end secures to the frame somewhere near the Zenor.

Will have to check whether it's secured via a stud in the cylinder head or maybe a through bolt?


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1967 B44 Shooting Star
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Check the threaded rods, I hesitate to call them studs, that are fitted for rocker cover Fasteners with a thread pitch gauge, , once you know the tpi, you can decide what do do, if its 26 tpi ( common for 1/4 cycle or BSF) or, 20 tpi ( UNC or Whitworth), or 28 tpi ( UNF),.
Most of the bottom of the motor is 1970, , theres no saying what exact year the head is.
Its possible that in 1970 it had UNC threads, more likely its earlier and has 26 tpi, or possible some ruff type forced whatever was to hand into play.
The original set up was a stud with a plain shoulder, IIRC the end buried in the head is 1/4 BSF / 26 tpi. Once you know what it is , get a helicoil kit and fix any that look poorly.
If you go for new studs , you will also need the wee domed nuts for the two centre Fasteners,, these should be fitted with fiber washers or dowty seals or Al washers otherwise oil will leak .


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just to mention, in case a newby comes along with an old one:

http://gabma.us/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/cranking_old.pdf

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Regarding the use of oil when fitting pistons and first running there are a couple of factors to consider which arent fully discussed in the videos:-
- BSA;s and other bikes of the era used single piece cast iron oil control rings, these rings are quite difficult to bed in and require a coarse cylinder hone somewhere between 150-180. Ideally, they require little if any oil lubrication whilst assembling.
- the first startup should be done with the bike fully prepared for immediate rinding. Once on the open road the bike should be run fairly hard and ideally ridden up a few steep hills in second gear a few times. This activity causes high cylinder pressure and helps the rings bed in against the coarse cylinder hone.
- the oil will soon find it way around rings and protect the cylinder following the use of a near-dry assembly technique
- if done correctly. the results of this run-in technique are well-bedded rings, good compression and no smoke.
- I recommend a basic mineral oil intended for motorcycles or classic cars, something like Silkoline Silkolibe 20w50.

The above is my experience on BSA B44;s & A65;s all running cast iron single piece oil control rings which come with EMGO or JCC pistons.

If you are running pistons with three-piece oil control rings (e.g. Hastings, Total Seal etc.) then the story is a bit different and follow their instructions.

Last edited by gunner; 04/27/20 11:52 pm.

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Thanks again for all the suggestions guys, it's really helpful.

I received the new thrust washers for the gearbox today so I assembled that and reinstalled it

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

The gearbox would change gears relatively easily in the rebuilt box, it just needed a little help by turning the gears and it went snickety-snick through all positions

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

To assemble it in the engine I had to wiggle the sprocket to get the top gear to engage on the shaft ok, and it pushed onto the studs, with maybe 2mm distance left to be taken up by the nuts

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

The gearbox rotates smoothly when I turn the output sprocket, and the layshaft endfloat is just barely perceptible. I can feel it move very slightly on a push/pull, right on the limits of what I can detect by hand. I don't have a dial gauge to check it with.

My biggest concern in that the gearshift seems locked. I cannot now change gears by rotating the gears and pulling up or down on the gearshift camplate. I even used a rubber hammer to see if that would nudge it, but it seems locked in place as determined by hand touch. I have not tried anything heavier than gentle pulls and taps with the rubber hammer. Does that sound right, or is it bring it out and do it again time?

Last edited by Psychopasta; 04/28/20 1:13 am. Reason: Typo
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Are you spinning the gearbox sprocket as well?, back off the casette cover nuts a cuppla turns, see if that helps, it may just be a little stiff, if it locks up solid as the nuts are retightened something is not right.


71 Devimead, John Hill, John Holmes A65 750
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Thanks Gavin. I tried backing off the nuts as per your suggestion, and the gearchange is still solid. I think it's not right, and I need to take the box back out

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I pulled the box and I think the problem is the spring/plunger that fits in the gearchange detent. It seems to be able to stick solidly sometimes. I'll need to clean out the hole and polish my plunger, as they say.

Last edited by Psychopasta; 04/28/20 5:38 am. Reason: Typo
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Check the cam plate for any rough areas where it touches the plunger and polish out, the same applies to the selector grooves.

The selector forks are different but I think you have them fitted correctly, the layshaft fork is identified by the roller being in line with the fork, the main shaft fork has an offset roller.

Looks like you have the gears set in 4th gear, might be worth setting them neutral and seeing if that helps.

See below for how the gears are set in neutral.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]


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Round the end of the plunger off, they still work but it stops them carving a groove in the cam plate. Also take 2 turns off the spring.


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The OP has been told to take 2 turns off at least 3 times now, if he carries on there wont be any spring left.
Dirt in the oil ways, dirt in the plunger hole,dirt in the cam plate fan windows, snot looking good, how were the cases cleaned ,also corrosion damage to the selector fork guide rod ( I would have replaced that) ?.
All motor and gearbox internals should be squeaky clean before reassembly, rinsed at least twice in your favourite solvent, then lubed on assembly.

Last edited by gavin eisler; 04/28/20 9:59 am.

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Have a good look at the cam plate track that the plunger engages against, check it has no raised burrs that can catch the nose of the plunger.


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Yep, there's no doubt that I'm a noob at this stuff. I could pretend to not make mistakes of course, but where's the fun in that?

I did take two turns of the spring, BTW. I do take the advice I get here seriously. Thanks for all your help guys!

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Its a bit late now , but , David Drew , sells wonderful ball bearing ended cam plate plungers that are a Very good Thing, he sells on e bay. They are by no means essential.

Hopefully a good clean will sort it, assembling the cassette is fairly straightforward, hold shims in place with grease, put the cam plate in 2nd or the only way it will pass through, then wiggle till the selector fork spindle enter, but you know that . Put a drool of gear oil EP 90 over the slidy bits first.
I have never changed the needle rollers out in my gearbox, Timkens, good stuff, if you have they had better be fitted so they dont bind any shafts.


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I've found that shifting by hand takes a good hard push or pull on the camplate with a glove on, and this is WHILE nudging the rear wheel. A mallet does not impart the right sort of impetus.

I've never made modifications to either of my A65 gearboxes, a la rounding the plunger or shortening the spring, and I find the shifting acceptable, that is, as long as the final drive chain is properly adjusted and lubricated. That's not to say it couldn't be improved, it just never occurred to me to do that until I read this thread.

Is there oil in the gearbox?


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Mark, the rounding of the plunger isn’t to improve shifting, I was always ignorant to the turning 2 coils off etc as my box always was positive and crisp. Then one day it started jumping out of gear. When I took the box out I noticed the plunger had cut a groove into the cam plate.

I believe Triumph later on rounded their plungers, I did the same on mine, or rather took the sharp point off the end, put in another used cam plate and carried on. It’s been fine since.


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I believe DD uses a captured ball in the plunger. I modified one this way:
[Linked Image from live.staticflickr.com]
Roller on a hardened pin. Obviously on an A65 it is a little trickier to get the cam plate engaged in the slot than a triple but the plunger could be put in after the gears through the hole on the drive side.

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is there enough room to put it through the drive side once the cases are bolted together Dave?


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68’ A65 Lightning “clubman”
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If the overall length were about 1" it would fit. I was thinking of before the cases were bolted together.

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