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Originally Posted by Magnetoman
1928±5 years seems to be a sweet spot in motorcycles. Earlier ones aren't really suitable for riding on modern roads, and later ones are basically as fully developed as Britbikes of the 1970s.
I agree for both bikes and cars.

My 1938 (1939 model) Triumph is not that much different to a 1970's Triumph.

My 1920 Harley is really primitive as its basically a 1915 design.

The 20's seemed to be a really interesting period in automotive design and development.

I would really love a late 20's British V-Twin but alas the one I hanker after the most is beyond my means (as are all of its peers).

John

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Originally Posted by George Kaplan
I would really love a late 20's British V-Twin but alas the one I hanker after the most is beyond my means (as are all of its peers).
Leaving aside Broughs, even BSA and Matchless twins were priced too high for my taste. Before the Ariel revealed itself I had tracked down a c1928 500 cc V-twin James in Australia. I don't remember why that fell through (too expensive? unwilling seller? or what), but I thought it would have been a very interesting machine to have for the Cannonball. Prior to the Depression James was a serious motorcycle manufacturer, but it survived the Depression and subsequent years by dropping all but inexpensive machines from their range.

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Originally Posted by Magnetoman
1928±5 years seems to be a sweet spot in motorcycles. Earlier ones aren't really suitable for riding on modern roads, and later ones are basically as fully developed as Britbikes of the 1970s. As you say, in 1928 engineers were still figuring out what to do, although they already had figured out enough to make the machines useful and interesting.
That was a large part of the reason for the VMCC's cutoff dates for Veteran and Vintage, wasn't it? The dates have to be arbitrary, but around 1930 was the widespread transition to saddle tanks and recirculating oiling; drum brakes seemed to be a couple of years earlier.

Somebody who is more involved with V&V (Villiers?) can probably explain the Veteran cutoff. Countershaft gearboxes and clutches?

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The deed is done; the Vincent has replaced the Ariel in the work area, despite the Ariel still not having had a shakedown run. However, although I hope it won't have to go back up on the lift, my new arrangement of the garage makes that possible.

We're in the summer monsoon rainy season, with a big storm this morning. However, there was a predicted three-hour break around noon, during which I implemented my carefully thought-out reorganization plan. Although the monsoon storm had dropped the temperature to the low 80s, the humidity made for a very sweaty two hour's of work.

I moved bikes into the carport (in case the weather prediction was wrong), cleaned up oil slicks that were revealed, moved the Ariel and Kendon lift out of the work area and the Vincent on its own rolling stand in, and repositioned the Kendon lift where I still will have access to both sides of it if I move one bike out of the garage. With the new arrangement I have the Ariel positioned to allow for quick access to it for a ride when the weather permits, and I have the Matchless parked on the Kendon lift so I can work on it whenever I tire of the Vincent.

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That poor old BSA Rocket Scrambler will feel very neglected.

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Originally Posted by Magnetoman
The deed is done; the Vincent has replaced the Ariel in the work area,....
Maybe a Vincent crumb or two for us every now and then, good Guv'ner? It would keep us happier over here on BritBike. Only a simple drag and drop for a saavvy guy like you. Oh but never mind.... Just resist that thought.
Originally Posted by Magnetoman
.......and I have the Matchless parked on the Kendon lift so I can work on it whenever I tire of the Vincent.
Originally Posted by Shane in Oz
That poor old BSA Rocket Scrambler will feel very neglected.
Well lets see, of the five MM projects I can think of right now, two languish under the stove, another, the Matchbox, sounds like it might be on a back burner somewhere along with the Ariel, and the Vinnie is up on stage. What's the chances MM will bore of it and get back to his BSA's? This may not be much of an inducement, but that's what got me to pay attention to his threads in the first place.

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Originally Posted by Stuart Kirk
Maybe a Vincent crumb or two for us every now and then, good Guv'ner?
As someone once said, 'a place for everything, and everything in its place'. The full quote ends with: 'and that place is the VOC Forum'.

Originally Posted by Stuart Kirk
What's the chances MM will bore of it and get back to his BSA's? This may not be much of an inducement, but that's what got me to pay attention to his threads in the first place.
Look, it's quite gratifying that people like my posts... well, not all people, there are a few who have quite strongly said that something I wrote was idiotic, or that I should peddle my nonsense elsewhere, or both. But, writing posts takes time, and the work doesn't pay extraordinarily well. As in, nothing. In contrast to books, where the one NYBSAGUY and I wrote paid quite nicely.

Despite the lack of cash, I enjoy posting about the motorcycle projects I'm working on. Counting the Spitfire and 'Alloy Clipper' I have six BSAs (you forgot about the M21 basket case, didn't you?), so even keeping the running ones running should result in future BSA posts on BritBike.

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I am a member of the VOC and am looking forward very much to following MMans BS rebuild.
However you don't have to join the VOC to read the threads and to post on the VOC forum.
HTH

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Originally Posted by Tridentman
However you don't have to join the VOC to read the threads and to post on the VOC forum.
That's not quite true. A lot of very interesting material on that site is open to the general public, but the 'Projects' forum is for VOC members only.

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Sorry-- I stand corrected.
In mitigation I am only a recent new member of the VOC.

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Originally Posted by Magnetoman
Originally Posted by Tridentman
However you don't have to join the VOC to read the threads and to post on the VOC forum.
That's not quite true. ...
So I suppose I'll just have to wait a year or so, join the VOC, and get caught up on the project. And it's only 21 quid if I wait until next July to join.

But does the VOC fully understand the pull you wield? Maybe you could negotiate for a cut of the the new member dues that result from your posts.

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Well…. the VOC may end up being a DMZ as far as the tool wars go…. I’ll have to figure out another way to rattle your cage and exhibit my juvenile behaviour. Wouldn’t want to have a negative impact on the decorum.

[Linked Image from live.staticflickr.com]CEB36B28-3574-4159-B88F-951BEE1F36CA by First Last, on Flickr

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Originally Posted by Tridentman
I am a member of the VOC and am looking forward very much to following MMans BS rebuild.
However you don't have to join the VOC to read the threads and to post on the VOC forum.
HTH
I don’t want to belong to any club that would accept me as one of its members.


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Originally Posted by Cyborg
the VOC may end up being a DMZ as far as the tool wars go….
Whether or not it upsets the moderator, no way is that going to happen. Tooling and special tools will be an essential component of that thread. Today's post, that I have yet to post, shows the Vincent special tools I've already made, and those likely will prove to be just the tip of an iceberg. Any attempt to squelch skirmishes in the Tool Wars™ will be met with stiff resistance.

After I had re-configured the garage yesterday I was in the house for the next couple of hours. When I went back to the garage I was thinking of something else as I opened the door, and for an instant was taken aback by being confronted by a scene that was different than it had been for the past four years.

I spent time sitting on a stool basically just staring at the Vincent trying to come to terms with this new reality, and thinking about how best to proceed. I was reminded, as if I needed reminding, of just how different a Vincent is from a "normal" motorcycle. Which certainly affects the approach to rebuilding one.

Originally Posted by Stuart Kirk
I suppose I'll just have to wait a year or so, join the VOC, and get caught up on the project.
Starting from the engine and proceeding clockwise, a Vincent consists of four "modules": engine, rear, top, and front. My work on it in the '90s already made good progress dealing with the top (upper frame member UFM and fuel tank) and front (Girdraulic forks), so "only" painting and reassembly of those remains to be done. Hey, that's two of the four modules essentially finished, so you better join quickly because my rebuild is already half-way done...

Originally Posted by Hugh Jörgen
I don’t want to belong to any club that would accept me as one of its members.
That's why most people join under a screen name, because if they used their real name they wouldn't be accepted.

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Hi MM and All,
I have not owned a Vincent but a few have passed through my workshop for repair and recommission
I have found that at rear section of the Vincent UFM 's hold years of built up hard sludge and metallic debris that resists most
commonly used degreasers and petrol (gas)
I was at the premises of a well known Vincent engineer and parts maker in UK when this subject came up in conversation
Their solution was to cut a hole in the top of the UFM to access this area and then fit a "manhole cover" afterwards!!!
I told them of my less brutal solution which is to use dishwasher tablets and boiling water which soon broke up the solids which could then be easily washed out with your favourite degreasing solution.
If the Vin is in one piece I get it up on a bike bench and raise it to normal working height, Then I strap the front of the bike to the rafters and lower the bench so as the bike is sloped to the rear, this gets the outlet to the lowest point of the UFM so it can be completely drained

John

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The interanal baffles thwart any real ability to clean the back end of the oil tank through the oil filler neck. You might think you got it clean with your boiling water and dishwasher tablets, but if you then cut a "manhole" in the back of the frame you would not be pleased. I have done it two ways. Slit the side of the tank just under top radius as it ends on the side, and cut across the tank removing a square of metal the width of the tank. Cleaning the tank and then welding the piece back on. Done with a tig welder it should look like a professional job. I also made a threaded plug. Brazed the plug into the tank. Then made a plug to screw into it. This way you can check, or clean it, as required. The link below is of a bike in the shop we wleded in a removable plug. It sits under the back of th fuel tank and isn't visible.
Vincent oil tank with removable plug.

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MM has not disclosed (on this forum at any rate) what type of rebuild was decided upon following his extended stool sitting.
Strict? Freehand? Psychedelia?
Talk of manholes may be premature.

Any way to introduce an ultrasonic effect?

Last edited by Hugh Jörgen; 07/15/21 9:57 pm. Reason: Added question.

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My guess is that MM would prefer boring a hole in his skull. This is a B tank that shows the tube that goes over the oil feed filter screen. There is a similar obstruction around the neighbouring chain oil feed. Both of these are in the mist of the settling pond at the rear of the tank. Usually there is a layer of hard pan which consists of lobes, followers, and alloy idler teeth. It can be extremely difficult to remove it. Some swear by caustic soda… as in get it boiled out by a rad shop and some install the manhole. There are quite a few that are modified and there doesn’t appear to be any news about failures. Personally I don’t like the idea, but I wouldn’t rule it out. I did a BS tank recently without cutting it open. It spent a week or so in a parts washing tank with pressure directed at the settling pond. This was followed by several different rinses including MEK, oxalic acid and metal prep. It also involved feeding a bore scope (with a mirror) into the rear of the tank….. which was a painful operation and might not be 100% foolproof, but is sure looked clean in there.

This one was cut open to reattach the tube that had come adrift.

[Linked Image from live.staticflickr.com]5E89BE93-AE3B-46C3-8F32-301D57CD0E61 by First Last, on Flickr

Last edited by Cyborg; 07/15/21 10:27 pm.
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"Usually there is a layer of hard pan which consists of lobes, followers, and alloy idler teeth." and the occasional mouse nest - been there. Again, any attempt at reaching the back of the tank to get serious about cleaning it is hampered by the baffles that are midway in the tank. I wouldn't do an engine without making sure the back of the tank is clean.

When MM studies the problem he will surely reconsider any hesitation about properly cleaning the tank. Just how I expereinced the problem over the years.

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Originally Posted by John Healy
The link below is of a bike in the shop we welded in a removable plug Vincent oil tank with removable plug.
Is that going to wreck the paint? You know, welding in one of those plugs?
Originally Posted by Magnetoman
.......so you better join quickly because my rebuild is already half-way done....
Just a moment. I'm looking up the 80/20 rule right now. AIUI, our application means the last 20% of the job takes 80% of the time.

But this looks worse. 20 year old paint at least, a dirty inside, stalled out project. Maaybe I'll wait 2 years to join the VOC.

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No doubt that it will be spotless when he’s done, but I’ll wager you a cheeseburger & beer that he won’t be able to come to terms with cutting into it. He’d be waking in the middle of the night screaming for the remainder of his days.

Last edited by Cyborg; 07/15/21 11:41 pm.
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I see what you guys are trying to do. You're trying to lure me into posting more Vincent material here. I'm telling you, I'm too clever to fall for your tricks so you might as well give up now...

Originally Posted by chaterlea25
Their solution was to cut a hole in the top of the UFM to access this area and then fit a "manhole cover" afterwards!!!
Originally Posted by John Healy
I have done it two ways....
A manhole cover is one of the "reasonable upgrades" some Vincent owners feel "must" be implemented, none of which I plan to do as I return mine to as-original condition. I plagiarized the following from the draft I wrote six months ago of work done to date (mostly in the '90s), that I'm trickling out in daily posts to my VOC Vincent thread. It describes what I had done to clean the UFM many years ago.

------ draft for VOC-------
Part of preparing the UFM for painting was to thoroughly flush the inside. I did this by allowing solvents (acetone and MEK, for sure, and probably trichlorethylene, but I don't remember whether I used anything else) to soak in it for days at a time, followed by replacing with fresh solvent, followed by a different solvent, and repeating the process until the "dirty" solvent looked clean. I then used a peristaltic pump with Tygon tubing to circulate a diesel/Gunk degreasing solution through the tank at a rate of 0.7 L/hr. for several weeks. In total, the tank was subjected to strong solvents of various types for well over a month.

[Linked Image]

Inspection of the internal nooks and crannies of the sump with a borescope a few years ago shows my cleaning procedure was effective.

[Linked Image]

It takes a bit of experience to "read" borescope photographs, but the above one is at fairly high magnification and shows an area of smooth, clean steel.

This inspection was aided by two drawings in 'MPH' that provided a road map to the low spot where sludge was especially likely to accumulate.

[Linked Image]

What the drawings show as an oil feed hole is ½"-diameter, at least in my tank.

[Linked Image]

This provides a second access point for inspecting the tank using my borescope's smallest diameter probe, 4.5 mm.

[Linked Image]

The hole is much larger than 4.5 mm, but the reason for the small probe is it has only a short length of rigid tubing at the end (0.58" long), allowing it to be inserted, whereas the next larger 5.5 mm probe has a longer length of rigid tubing (1.3") so it can't make the required 90° turn.

I realize that today a "manhole cover" is regarded as a "reasonable modification," but I can't help but be reminded of the officer during the Vietnam War who was quoted as saying "It became necessary to destroy the town to save it." If I were to clean the UFM today I would do it the same way as I did in the '90s, and would not be the least bit tempted to cut a hole in it. But, that's just me.
----------- end draft -----------

The last sentence in what will be my last retrospective post to the VOC before beginning again with new material is:

Also, I wrote "my present intention" because I will deal with things as I come to them, and what I find at any given point certainly could influence how I will proceed. Paraphrasing Field Marshal von Moltke, 'no battle plan survives contact with the enemy'.

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I’ll probably regret asking, but….. what make/ model of borescope do you have. I’m in need of an upgrade. I had a really good one shoved down my throat recently…via my left nostril. Nice image and reasonably flexible (more or less) . Not sure I want to spend the money on a medical grade unit.

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Originally Posted by Magnetoman
......If I were to clean the UFM today I would do it the same way as I did in the '90s....
The nineties? That BSA rocket scrambler is doomed.

And this observation comes from someone who still has a project hanging around from when he was 14.

I'll get to it, honest........someday.

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Originally Posted by Cyborg
what make/ model of borescope do you have. I’m in need of an upgrade.
Mine is an Extech BR250 Video Borescope, but I've had it for more than five years so there's probably something better on the market now. It only produces 640×480 video and stills, so you won't get anything worth watching on your 60" HDTV. It has three available "cameras," i.e. fiber bundles with different focal lengths, and a 39" extender to double the lengths to 6.5 ft. That extra length isn't important for a motorcycle, but is useful when tracing wires behind plasterboard walls.

In one of your posts today you showed a UFM with the return fitting cut out. If one were going to cut into their UFM that seems like a much less intrusive way of cleaning out the sump than a manhole cover. When welded back into the UFM it would be as good as new. Why doesn't the "reasonable modification" brigade have that on their list of must-dos instead of a manhole cover?

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