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Hello All - I am mounting a brand new pair of exhaust pipes to my 1967 BSA Lightning. I cannot get the exhaust mounting tabs to line up - I've attached some pictures. When I fully seat the pipe, the pictures show the geometry of the tabs on the frame vs. the tabs on the bike - it's off enough that no amount of wiggling will allow a bolt to get in there. I figure the best way to get these to work is to cut the mounting tabs on the pipe, and weld a supplementary tab in the right mounting spot. Any other suggestions would be welcome.[Linked Image]

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Not having a welder, I'd be inclined to adjust the pipes where they go into the head, either cut them off or don't insert them all the way ... whatever is required.

Last edited by LarryLebel; 06/20/21 2:57 pm.
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i would cut off the tabs , mount the pipes and silencers, then remark the pipes where the tabs should be , then have them welded back on, In that area it will be barely noticeable.I do not advise leaving the pipes half entered in the head, its hard enough to get that joint to seal with full engagement.


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Thanks so much! I have a mig and a tig setup, so I can reweld myself, and that's what I thought I would have to do, but wanted to get a second and third opinion.

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Thanks! I have a mig and tig, so I can do this myself, looks like I will grind the tabs off and reweld.

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I see the tabs are "butt-welded" to the tubing.
This isn't the way the British usually did it. The factories usually made the tabs with a curved portion that was sweat-braised to the tube.

So, I must assume that these are "aftermarket" non-fitting junk.

Who did you buy them from? We need to be warned to stay away from that source.

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make an offset tab . ( no weld needed on rhe finished pipes )
Take a small rectangular flat piece of metal
weld/braze a threaded stud on the top of one end (at 90° )
weld a threaded stud on the bottom of the other end . ( at 180° From first stud )
the Centerlines of the studs are the offset of the misaligned holes
paint to match frame
use some pretty stainless acorn nuts to cinch it all together

Last edited by quinten; 06/20/21 10:49 pm.
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Originally Posted by Irish Swede
I see the tabs are "butt-welded" to the tubing.
This isn't the way the British usually did it. The factories usually made the tabs with a curved portion that was sweat-braised to the tube.

So, I must assume that these are "aftermarket" non-fitting junk.

Who did you buy them from? We need to be warned to stay away from that source.
On my '68 Spitfire, NOS pipes (well...they used to be), the tabs are butt welded, no curve.


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Just make an offset bracket, you'll save your new chrome.

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I’m going to high jack this thread sorry (it’s relevant). Previous owner hacked off the header pipe tabs from my A50 frame, so I have very little support for the press fit header pipes. I figure 1970 - 72 a50 a65 frames were pretty much the same so I just bought a beautiful set of 1971-1972 a65 lightning headers with the flanges that mount on the upper motor mount and a crossover pipe. When fitting them, I find they end up exactly on top of the foot peg mount. Are 1970 a50 frames that different from 1971-72 lightning a65? I know they’re OIF and all but they seem similar.

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Last edited by Danam; 06/23/21 3:48 am.
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Yes, the front frame tabs on an oif are about 1/4” thick at most. The lugs on the pre oif are about 30+mm (1 5/32) that’s a rough guess without measuring mine.

So it will put the pipes further away and put them where you have them.

You could cut the brackets about 1.5” from the pipe, then overlap the brackets. When everything lines up (with silencer mounted), drill and bolt them together (like the triumph oif headers) it will also mean you do not have to remove the front engine mounting bolt when you want to take the headers off.


Now let’s all have a beer beerchug

68’ A65 Lightning “clubman”
71’ A65 823 Thunderbolt (now rebuilt)
67’ D10 sportsman (undergoing restoration)
68’ D14 trials (undergoing transformation)

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Originally Posted by Danam
I’m going to high jack this thread sorry (it’s relevant). Previous owner hacked off the header pipe tabs from my A50 frame, so I have very little support for the press fit header pipes. I figure 1970 - 72 a50 a65 frames were pretty much the same so I just bought a beautiful set of 1971-1972 a65 lightning headers with the flanges that mount on the upper motor mount and a crossover pipe. When fitting them, I find they end up exactly on top of the foot peg mount. Are 1970 a50 frames that different from 1971-72 lightning a65? I know they’re OIF and all but they seem similar.
The first image looks like the pipe is going downward into the head. Maybe optical illusion in the image. But, if the pipe is mounted downward there, leveling the pipe at the head would raise the rear tip even more in reference to the peg mount.


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for sure, the 71-72 Lightning pipes are smaller than the A50. If anyone has header pipes with the lower mounting brackets, could you kindly post a photo from this angle near the kick stand. This is a tight spot, I'm not sure how close the pipe should be to reach that bracket without kickstand interference.

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oh, I guess the first photo in this thread shows it pretty clearly! never mind!

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Originally Posted by Danam
for sure, the 71-72 Lightning pipes are smaller than the A50.

Eh?

The oif and pre oif have the same bends etc etc. All apart from the mounting brackets.

When I did the mock up of my oif, I fitted my pre oif down pipes to check everything fitted as it should. The only interfering item was the oif side stand against the bracket on the exhaust, probably why they relocated the mounting point.

If you do as I suggested above (and providing those
Particular pipes were made properly - some just plain don’t fit even when they are for the correct bike year) then the pipes will fit without too much hassle.


Now let’s all have a beer beerchug

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71’ A65 823 Thunderbolt (now rebuilt)
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I wouldn’t worry too much about your side stand, part of that weld looks like it’s ready to break. (No offence… it just does)


Now let’s all have a beer beerchug

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71’ A65 823 Thunderbolt (now rebuilt)
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The previous genius hacked it off, i found someone to weld it on, but they did a terrible job

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Can you send the pipes back to the vendor? If it was made correct, shouldn't it fit?


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I ended up putting a bend in the flange. Not ideal but it will work now

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You have moved the pipes forward, less stub in the head, good luck trying to seal that.


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get out the silicone and beer can shims


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This thread is a bit old but yet as my search seemed to be relevant without any hijacks, maybe fellow members can relate, After rebuild/restore after 40 plus years in storage of a 1969 royal star with a 1967 650 engine, presently in the process of reinstalling the engine header pipes. These pipes have neither the balanced tubes or straps, just the tab which bolts to the lower frame tabs. There was as i recall some parts trading with a buddy that aquired the same model of bike and parts back then.

Anyways after all these years i find that the L/H header pipe mounting bracket has been pushed forward and has been indented into the header pipe radius about 1/8th of a inch with a cracked weld with the same, Most likely from a back slide one night back then with also good scrapes into the chrome exterior of the pipe.

When i set both pipes side by side the R/H is 1 1/2 longer then the L/H side, Hopeing this will not affect muffler mounting,

My Question is, 1, Which BSA 650.s only used twin header pipes without the balance pipes and also and the straps between the pipes.
# 2 which BSA,s only used 2 single twin headers pipes.

Any good suggestions for good proper replacements for type much appreciated

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It’s a year on year thing. The headers with the balance pipe came
In around 69/70 (purely for noise reduction)

66? 67/68 would have had the tie bar (so a stub under each header)

Years prior to that had no tie bar or balance pipe.


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Who made the pipes?

Bad repros, maybe?

Not uncommon for the repros to have mounts in the wrong places.

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I had the same problem fitting aftermarket header pipes to my A65 bitsa. They were simply not shaped right. I wound up using the original pipes from my '67 Lightning, which, although not as shiny, fit perfectly well. I believe I still have the brand-new aftermarket pipes in the garage somewhere.

I second the idea of moving the lugs on the pipes (or making adapters as suggested by quinten). If you do weld, I suggest TIG-ing with stainless steel filler rod.


Mark Z

'65(lower)/'66(upper, wheels, front end, controls)/'67(seat, exhaust, fuel tank, headlamp)/'70(frame) A65 Bitsa.
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