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BSA newbie here. REALLY happy to have found the Britbike community. Thanks for having me as a member! My first post:

Could not resist making an offer on an advertised Craigslist 68 basket case 650 Lightning. The seller, an obvious bike nut with a row of Ducatis and BMWs in his garage sold it to me for $550 with an anecdote that it was sitting in the basket for years and he got it from uncle with no time to mess with. He said there was no title and no serial number on the frame which almost killed the deal for me, and no idea how complete it is. No seat obviously. I thought the dual port head might be worth enough to save me and took it all home with a signed bill of sale. Also has a new front fork and nice Dunlops.

Turns out the engine is a 71, has an OIF with serial #83 2109 stamped on the bottom of the weldment fitting at the kickstand and GR 5 on the top. Also stamped on the frame on the weldment fitting directly opposite the kickstand is the same #83 2109 with GR 23 on the bottom. The tank is also from a third bike, I think.

Will post some pics when I figure out how to drag and drop or upload, no?

Anyhow, any thoughts on the OIF stamping would be highly appreciated.

Probably should put some personal notes in my membership folder. I'm x-Norton Atlas from 40 years ago; drove it across the USA. x- 65 Panhead, so I know how to chase oil leaks. Still have a 93 FXDL and a R1200RT. Last motor I built was a Porsche 911 which is still in the stable. Drive BMW and Mercedes cars, all wrenched by me.

Will buy forum staff a pint or three! Cheers!!!

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Welcome to the forum. Unless you are a premium member you must use an outside service to host pictures. You can then post them here using the external URL.

I can't speak to the OIF VIN but I don't think the numbers you've found are it. I believe the numbers should be up near the steering head. Maybe this helps: http://classicenglishbikes.com/tech_file/bsa.html

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Welcome! You did find the right place for queries related to a find as you describe. Lots of info and interested Folks here, Photos always help as you mentioned. If you look through the FAQ board at the top of the list, you can get some idea how it works.
At the bottom of a new post, find and click the Use Full Editor, the window should open with the choice to load from your photo library. If you are using iPad, PNGs will not load in my experience.
Sounds like you have already fixed on the Oil in Frame ID. Good luck!

Here’s one post in the FAQ on that subject. Be sure to only look at recent dated posts, as the Photo topic has been revised over time:
https://www.britbike.com/forums/ubbthreads.php/topics/784154/number-of-photos-per-post#Post784154

Last edited by KC in S.B.; 08/23/21 1:54 pm.

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I have a 68 Lightning and a 71 "lightning" but with Thunderbolt head, soft tuned cam long stroke crank and bigger bore.

Both are fantastic bikes in their own way so you haven't lost out. I like the 68 for the cafe racer style (I fitted all the clubman spec parts to it) great fun for that. The OIF is a far better touring bike, especially if your carrying a pillion, much more room on that seat than the humped seat. Both years handle well, though the 71 OIF has the edge and more like a modern bike. Also if your building one from scratch the OIF is easier to assemble, fewer bits to fit and many parts modular (like the side panels). Also a lot of parts like those that form everything but the engine are identical to the Triumph T120/TR6 of the same years, so you can use that as an avenue for spares. You could also fit a Triumph T140 front end if you want better braking without having to do much more than fit the thing and plumb in the hydraulic system.


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Thanks for the replies and the link to the serial numbers. Seems I may have a frame with no serial number. I will take another look.

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Originally Posted by Bustednukel
Turns out the engine is a 71, has an OIF with serial #83 2109 stamped on the bottom of the weldment fitting at the kickstand and GR 5 on the top. Also stamped on the frame on the weldment fitting directly opposite the kickstand is the same #83 2109 with GR 23 on the bottom.
The engine number should be stamped on the drive (left) side of the engine cases, at the bottom of the cylinder. If the engine is indeed a '71 the number will be alphanumeric, two letters followed by the numbers.
The number you have posted sounds like a casting number for a specific part.


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examples of frame and engine stamps

68 lightning ( the B after the L is for 68 )
[Linked Image from i.ebayimg.com]
68 Firebird ( again the B is for 68 )
[Linked Image from i.ebayimg.com]
matching 68 Firebird frame ( on front left engine mount lug )
[Linked Image from i.ebayimg.com]
example of a 71 ( raised number pad .. G is month E is year )
[Linked Image from i.ebayimg.com]

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Dry Frame number may also be stamped up on the head stock. Left side, at the fork support, on the sheet metal wrapped around the head stock. Fwd of tank.


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Hey Bustednukel, the serial number on the frame usually appears in the vicinity of the headstock on the oil in frames, possibly on the gusset, or the top or down tubes, even on the headstock itself. The 83 2109 number you see could be a production reference number, as the frame part number is 83-2802, as listed in the 1971 and 1972 parts books. BSA used casting numbers on various parts that were usually similar to the actual part numbers in the parts catalogues. As mentioned previously, the engine numbers are on the raised pad below the cylinder base on the drive-side crankcase. The 1971-72 A65 engines are easy to identify, as they had the Triumph-style clutch actuator, where the cable exited the outer timing cover vertically, as well as 3/8" UNF cylinder base studs. Aside from the A70 750cc engine, they are perhaps the most sought after A65 engines due to their refinements over the previous iterations. Good score!
-Dave


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a 68 and 71 engine looks about the same from 20 feet
a 68 and 71 frame are completely different and look it from 50 ft.

i dont thing the the frame numbers moved to the steering head till the OIF in 1971 .
[Linked Image from i.ebayimg.com]
image example shows a 72

if the numbers are missing , it's time to make up a story
like they probably "accidentally" got rubbed off .

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First determine if the frame is Oil in Frame (OIF) 1971-1972 or not.

OIF frames have the engine oil supply in the frame tube. No removable oil tank.

1970 and older frames have the engine oil in a removable oil tank on the right side of the frame under the seat. The oil tank is sort of triangular in shape with its filler spout on the top and two oil line tubes on the bottom.

This info will get you out of the starting blocks on frame ID.

Then, if the frame is 1970 or older we can help you ID it further.


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Engine is a 71 A65L. Frame is OIF. Will likely hot tank the frame. If there are any more numbers beside the ones on the weldment casting near the kickstand, 83 2109, they will easily be seen. Plus all layers of paint and the tads of rust down low will be gone. I was thinking dove grey paint, but since its probably a mismatch on the serial numbers, and the tank is not a 71 then maybe prime and shoot with gloss black. Tank seems to be from a Spitfire or Firebird. Any dream of a pure Lightning seem dashed. BUT...it will still putt nicely when done.

I pulled the oil pump laying in the basket heap of parts and disassembled. Looks acceptable after cleaning and soaking. The engine will be disassembled, inspected and restored to factory tolerance.

Any thoughts on repo speedo and tach? $400 for nice rebuilt Smiths might be a little high for me, but sure desire to have the Made in U.K. script. Seems easy to get the wrong ones, original or rebuilt. 3 to 1 speedo? Want a 150 MPH and a 10K tach, but intend to avoid the wrong stuff. Need a matching rev thingy on the wheel to match any speedo.

Want to go with an electronic ignition but have the dual points laying in the basket in case I don't. Would change the tach selection if electronic. Any thoughts on electronic ignition?

I have the rectifier from 40 years ago from my Norton Atlas days. At least I think I have it. Maybe the zener diode too. Will have to come up with something. The ancient spark coils are there in the basket.

Thanks to all for the responses!!!

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What is “hot tank the frame”?


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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Radiator shops have hot tanks with an alkaline solution, good at removing paint, grease and rust.

Last edited by kommando; 08/29/21 8:33 am. Reason: spelling
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Originally Posted by Allan G
What is “hot tank the frame”?

Something along the lines of a big tank of caustic hot water
or other cleaning solution , that can be agitated
while the whole part in dipped
[Linked Image from s19529.pcdn.co]

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Originally Posted by Bustednukel
Any thoughts on repo speedo and tach? $400 for nice rebuilt Smiths might be a little high for me, but sure desire to have the Made in U.K. script. Seems easy to get the wrong ones, original or rebuilt. 3 to 1 speedo? Want a 150 MPH and a 10K tach, but intend to avoid the wrong stuff. Need a matching rev thingy on the wheel to match any speedo.

Want to go with an electronic ignition but have the dual points laying in the basket in case I don't. Would change the tach selection if electronic. Any thoughts on electronic ignition?

I have the rectifier from 40 years ago from my Norton Atlas days. At least I think I have it. Maybe the zener diode too. Will have to come up with something. The ancient spark coils are there in the basket.

For the gauges, the cheap knockoffs seem good enough. Like you said, the only real difference is the font on the odometer (and the size, slightly). Personally I'd go with the cheap option, knowing it's likely to vibrate itself to pieces relatively soon anyways. Though, I have been tempted by the electronic versions if I could get past the prices: https://www.smiths-instruments.co.uk/motorcycles/classic

For electrics, I'm in the "upgrade where available" camp. I run the Wassell Vape EI and am happy with it so far (replaced the Boyer that failed after almost 25 trouble-free years). I also run a three-phase Sparx alternator with a solid state reg (now in place for 20 years). Get rid of points, rectifier, and zener. Maintenance- and trouble-free so far.

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What MarcB said. I have the Smiths electronic tacho, spendy , but, very good, rock steady and accurate. If you add up the price of a cable . drive gearbox , and cheap instrument then the electronic one starts looking less spendy. Plus the stock tach cable is not a thing of beauty , I dont miss it.
ive used Boyer EI since 1979 with no regrets or failures,.


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Found smoking deals in India (not Indiana) on ebay for 150 MPH speedos with Made in England script. Found one tach from India with Made in UK script but it revs to 12k. When I get the engine back to factory spec I might rev to 5500 since it ought to blow just North of 6. But 12K, no way.

The Indian repo speedos that really look cool are the pre-unit Chronometric Smiths. The script is artful and fine with matching tach. Leaning that way. They look so cool and are so cheap.

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Originally Posted by Bustednukel
Found smoking deals in India (not Indiana) on ebay for 150 MPH speedos with Made in England script. Found one tach from India with Made in UK script but it revs to 12k. When I get the engine back to factory spec I might rev to 5500 since it ought to blow just North of 6. But 12K, no way.

The Indian repo speedos that really look cool are the pre-unit Chronometric Smiths. The script is artful and fine with matching tach. Leaning that way. They look so cool and are so cheap.

Just ensure that the cabling position is where it should be and the ratios are correct as original chronometrics wouldn’t fit in the A65
Binicals.


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

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Alan G, yes, ran right into the cable nut size being larger on a chronometric.
Also, the ratio....Looks like the ratio on the wheel bevel gear speed transmitter is 1.25 to 1 for 1971 and later, right? And the ratio for the speedo itself is...2:1, right? Just guessing cause I don't really know the speedo ratio for a 71 Lightning. The tach would have to be right too.

I reassembled my oil pump after cleaning and inspecting. Felt OK about not using a gasket or sealant assembling the worm drive section to the oil gear section. There was no gasket or sealant when disassembled and the workshop manual makes no mention of gasket or sealant. I was tempted to put a little dab of Hylomar on the end plate but could see it would likely squeeze into the gears. Of course there is a gasket when the pump is mounted to the case.

Spent about 2 hours cleaning the pistons and cylinders to verify if they can be reused. Not knowing which piston was in which bore added some thought. Turned out one piston eyeballs in spec, but the other has a drag on the very bottom of its skirt, No sense snap gaging the bore and miking with one piston dragging no mater which way you orient it in either bore. So, will need a machinist to bore to the next oversize.

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I don't know about PA, but in New York you can register a bike by the engine serial number. The inspectors don't care; in fact I don't think I've ever had an inspector look at the serial number.

You're fortunate if that engine has a cast iron oil pump. If it works, well, you know the saying... In fact I would not have even taken it apart, but as long as it still turns smoothly, you're ok. No, no gaskets between the pieces! That would result in excess clearance around the gears and reduce oil pressure.

Tachometer drive is 3:1 on all A65s.


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Quote
Looks like the ratio on the wheel bevel gear speed transmitter is 1.25 to 1 for 1971 and later, right? And the ratio for the speedo itself is...2:1, right?

Speedo's do not have ratios, only Tacho's do. What Smiths MPH magnetic speedos have is the number of revs per mile marked in the small numbers at the bottom of the dial, 1000 and 1600 are the 2 main variants, as the rear wheel normally turns 800 revs per mile then you need to match the rear wheel gearbox to the speedo revs per mile. 1000 needs a 1.25 ratio gearbox eg 800x1.25=1000, 1600 needs a 2:1 ratio gearbox eg 800x2=1600.

So look at the small numbers at the bottom of the dial and match this to the rear wheel gearbox ratio.

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We ever going to see this thing?


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All you guys are AWSOME!!!

Mark Z, I like your idea to just try rolling thru with engine serial number only; no frame serial number. Also, thanks for confirming no gasket on body sections of oil pump. Its an aluminum pump although the workshop manual says its cast iron. It was dead and dry in the basket with the mouse nest. Good to go now. Copy 3 to 1 drive on the tach. Will probably go with electronic ignition, but have the dual points stuff in the basket

Kommando, thanks for the guidance on the speedo. I was scratching my head looking at the front axle thinking no place for a speedo drive. Oh, its on the rear!!! Also, was wondering why the cable in the basket was like 6' long.

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Some '71s had the cast iron oil pump and some didn't; I guess they changed mid-season. So yours could be OE. The older pumps are zinc BTW.


Mark Z

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