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#868515 01/08/22 10:58 pm
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I started tearing down my A65 because it was getting difficult to start, was fouling plugs, and compression was down to 90 psi on the right and 70 psi on the left. I don't know how well it shows in the photo, but there's a fair amount of oil between the head gasket and the cylinder barrel around the pushrod tunnel, which could explain the symptoms. Of course I'm going to measure everything up to see if it needs cylinder work, and at a minimum hone and install new rings, and see about getting the barrel mating surface machined flat, which I've never done before.

My question is, is it possible to effectively gauge the timing side bush clearance without pulling the engine and splitting the cases? If so, I may not have to pull the engine. The last rebuild was less than ten years ago, and I'm very meticulous about keeping clean oil in it, so I don't suspect a sludge trap build-up.

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]


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You can use a feeler gauge and go into the bush, it's not a great way
of measuring but if the gap at the top is greater than 2 or 3 thou the bush
needs replacing.
OR you can use a dti and measure the lift on the crank, it's a bit more
fiddly but a better way really.
Everyone here will scream bodger but those methods have always
worked for me. My own t'bolt has done 25k now with the original bush
and the oil light still goes out on the kicker hot or cold, so maybe i'm
doing something half right.
The faces on the barrel look ok to me but the bores are scored so i
would say that's where your oil is coming from.

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Ok Nick, thanks. dti = dial indicator, right? I don't have one of those, but I may be able to borrow or rent one. I'll try a 2 thou feeler gauge first. I will also do the "wobble test" on the rods, wedging something in next to the rod to prevent side-to-side play.

Yeah I didn't think it showed well in the photo, but the oil is actually pooled just fore of the pushrod tunnel. I hear you about the scoring; I'm not sure that would explain the loss of compression as well as a head gasket leak, but we'll see what's what when I measure the bores and pistons.


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I may be open to some flack, but did this on one I had:
Set up a Dial Indicator on the crank nut/pump drive gear. Pump was removed, and debating on whether to remove motor and split the case. Used a lever to lift the end of the crank and then lower it. All I can say is it convinced me to go deeper........ 2c


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No flack aimed at your method KC. That's what I would do. A feeler gauge has a problem dealing with the lesser worn part of the journal where the oil groove is. Plus it will tend to scratch up the surfaces. And, they come in relatively large steps. It would be difficult/ impossible to measure to the tenths.

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+1 on the suggestion to use a dial indicator. It will tell you everything you need to know. Just make sure to rotate the crank and measure at 3 or 4 positions for a true picture. Measure the axial play while you're at it.

SR

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Thinking back, and forgot to mention….. I was concerned about the possibility of my 40wt oil film masking the true clearance. I flushed the assembled unit with a solvent blast with the hope to clear it out. Probably didn’t need to do that ahead in my case! If I’d checked it before the Blast, it would have been clearly too much!


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Mark, I have a dial you can borrow. Can ship tomorrow. It has a nice grooved magnetic base that ought to be secure on the frame. Text me to confirm.

Thoughts:
1) If you use a dial indicator for such an application, IMHO only use it on the top side and raise the crank straight up. The force of gravity only clouds the picture for other directions. The oil film on the bearing will also add to the murkyness of this application.
2) What is the clearance spec on the bearing? I'm guessing at .0025 .
3) If the motorcycle has been well maintained, pulling the oil pressure relief and examining for crud might serve as an alternate to further examination. There is a low flow spot in the relief where the oil seeps past the piston. If it is immaculate, its likely the rest of the oil supply line is immaculate.
4) The lesser worn part of the bushing that Stuart mentioned would actually have no wear.
5) Nick's approach is a more suitable hack IMHO. A .0005 feeler as an initial probe would slip right in. Yes, you would hit the step where there is no wear at the oil groove, but the .0005 feeler go/nogo is done. Then you try the .001 feeler, and then the .0015. There will be a point where you will start to scratch related to the flatness of the feeler and the ovality of the bush, BUT you will feel it before you scratch. One way to avoid the scratch is narrow the width of the feeler (snips) and a better way would be to stick with .0005 feelers and stack them. The .0005 has tons of flex.
6) IMHO my current feeling as to the inadequacy of the A65 bushing is that it is incorrect. More likely young hot rods tear assing all over, and race bike guys needing reasons for the thrown rods. Plus backyard mechanics tinkering and gossiping like Mrs. Vorath, no oil change since 1961, hold 6000 r to pass that last car before you hit the wall and die. Once somebody said it was inadequate, then everybody piled in. Plain bearings are adequate for innumerable applications from Ferrari to supercharged air craft.

Looking out at the snow, sippin cofefe, in my pajamas still.

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Bill, thanks but let me check around locally first. According to the book, acceptable clearance on the main bush is .001-.003. Another advantage to the dial indicator method is that the crank pinion does not have to be removed, right? I agree about the adequacy of the main bush. They got a bad rap when people started beefing up these engines for racing and taking out the bush due to crank flex.

In regard to feeler gauges, yes, I had planned to use brass gauges to minimize scratching, and to pare down the width of the gauges.

More on the upper engine: The location of the stains on the pistons supports my theory that oil was getting in past the head gasket near the pushrod tunnel.
[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

However, the point may be moot, as the piston-to-bore clearances are out of spec:
[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]
Depending on the exact dimensions of new +.040 pistons, it looks like I may be able to round out the bores with honing and remain at +.040.


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i still think the bushing is a victim of some problem with the oil pumps.

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page B42 WSM,
" it will be necessary to regrind the bearing surfaces if the overall wear of the crank pins or right- side journal exceeds 0.002" or if the surfaces have been damaged by seizure."

In simple terms if you can see movement in the bush , its worn out, a DTI is a good idea, you can also use it axially to determine the end float by prying on the flywheel through the sump access plate.

the 0.0015" - 0.003" figure is for crank end float , not journal wear.

Pistons are made with ovality and taper. The key dimension for determining wear and clearance is fore and aft at the bottom of the skirt.

Heres what Roland Pike, BSA comp shop development engineer said about the timing side bush.

"It had a weak point in the timing side main - bearing. We carried out a lot of tests to improve the TSB, an all white metal bearing, copper-lead bearing and a needle roller bearing. This last was far and away the best but required a different oil feed to the crankshaft to lubricate the rod- bearings, but as the factory did not want to make a change we continued with the short life main bearing."

Last edited by gavin eisler; 01/10/22 6:53 pm. Reason: Added endfloat check and tidied up.

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What Roland Pike doesn't say is that all the most successful riders/tuners
did all their winning on standard bush motors. Touche'!!!!

98% of the a65 problems were due to dumb owners, not the engine.

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Sur ses gardes, D’artagnan !

Mark, thoughts on the oil stain below the rings:
1) Blue smoke at exhaust? No?
2) Similar stain on top of piston? No?
2) Oil squirter on rod? I noticed what looks like oil squirters on the lovely alloy rods for the "71 A65FS motor that I snagged from you. Little oil holes just above the big end that would squirt oil up laterally and timed to do so in the middle of each up stroke and downstroke, I think. Do you have squirters? Squirter related?.

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Originally Posted by gavin eisler
page B42 WSM,
" it will be necessary to regrind the bearing surfaces if the overall wear of the crank pins or right- side journal exceeds 0.002" or if the surfaces have been damaged by seizure."

In simple terms if you can see movement in the bush , its worn out, a DTI is a good idea, you can also use it axially to determine the end float by prying on the flywheel through the sump access plate.

the 0.0015" - 0.003" figure is for crank end float , not journal wear.

Right, the sentence you quoted is also in my Chilton BSA Repair Guide. Been too long since I reviewed it.

I have used a dial indicator in the past to measure end float, but at that time I rented it, so I don't own one. It occurred to me, before acquiring a DTI, I should first do the "wobble test" on the rods, because if the big ends are out of whack, the cases are coming apart anyway.

Originally Posted by gavin eisler
Pistons are made with ovality and taper. The key dimension for determining wear and clearance is fore and aft at the bottom of the skirt."

I will re-measure. With what part of the bore should the piston measurement be compared?

Originally Posted by gavin eisler
Heres what Roland Pike, BSA comp shop development engineer said about the timing side bush.

"It had a weak point in the timing side main - bearing. We carried out a lot of tests to improve the TSB, an all white metal bearing, copper-lead bearing and a needle roller bearing. This last was far and away the best but required a different oil feed to the crankshaft to lubricate the rod- bearings, but as the factory did not want to make a change we continued with the short life main bearing."

I guess it's what one considers a "short life". With my usage, it takes around ten years to log 10-12K miles, so I consider that an acceptable life span. I have however seen many Triumphs go 20-25K miles with no lower end work, so I see Mr. Pike's point.


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To determine piston wear , use the unworn part of the bore, compare to lower skirt dimension. A simpler method , put the piston in the bore upside down from the bottom, check fit with a feeler gauge
The brown stains look like ring blow by to me.

Last edited by gavin eisler; 01/11/22 10:50 am. Reason: feeler check

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+ 1 to above. But check your exhaust valves / guides clearance as well, could be another part of the problem.

Last edited by Adam M.; 01/11/22 2:07 pm.
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Simple check for bore wear , put a piston ring square in the bore at the point of max wear about an inch from the top, measure the ring gap with a feeler gaje. Do the same at the bottom in the unworn part. Compare the two. Ive seen worse ring blow by, as Adam says look at valves and guides for lost compression. Also check ring fit in piston grooves with feelers. out of curiosity has it got bronze guides ? if so my money is on worn exhaust guides. There were a lot of bad quality guides around a few decades ago.

Last edited by gavin eisler; 01/11/22 3:43 pm.

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Originally Posted by Bustednukel
Sur ses gardes, D’artagnan !

Mark, thoughts on the oil stain below the rings:
1) Blue smoke at exhaust? No?
2) Similar stain on top of piston? No?
2) Oil squirter on rod? I noticed what looks like oil squirters on the lovely alloy rods for the "71 A65FS motor that I snagged from you. Little oil holes just above the big end that would squirt oil up laterally and timed to do so in the middle of each up stroke and downstroke, I think. Do you have squirters? Squirter related?.

1) No smoke.
2) No stain on pistons except where shown in the photo. Note that the stains point toward the pushrod tunnel.
3) There is only a hole in the left side of the left conrod.


Originally Posted by gavin eisler
Simple check for bore wear , put a piston ring square in the bore at the point of max wear about an inch from the top, measure the ring gap with a feeler gaje. Do the same at the bottom in the unworn part. Compare the two. Ive seen worse ring blow by, as Adam says look at valves and guides for lost compression. Also check ring fit in piston grooves with feelers. out of curiosity has it got bronze guides ? if so my money is on worn exhaust guides. There were a lot of bad quality guides around a few decades ago.

Ok re: piston and bore measurements. Valves, guides, and springs were all new about 5K miles ago, but I'll check them out. Note, as I wrote above, there are no oil stains on the pistons except where shown in the photo, which both point to the narrow between the pushrod tunnel and the center head bolt. I would not expect to find stains from ring blow-by in the same location on both pistons.

Also, I neglected to mention that my troubles started a few hundred miles after a head gasket replacement. The previous head gasket was leaking oil up around the front head studs, but was not causing a running problem.


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i see the same stains on my pistons, they are on the inner sides, if the bores are a figure of eight from above, the stains occur where the 8 loops meet, this is the point of minimum cooling max distortion, where the bores distort due to temperature differential, thats my theory anyway, nothing to do with the push rod tunnel. If it was OK before you changed the head gasket, maybe its the head gasket?


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If the head gasket was blowing im sure you would see oil on the crown of the piston, and more importantly past the first compression ring. Instead it looks like oil has got past the oil control ring and been stopped by the second compression ring. Id say you had an oil control ring problem. Not using over sized rings on a smaller piston by chance?

The little bit of black that is on the crowns doesn't look that bad compared to ones I have seen where by oil has been getting in at the pushrod tunnel, it wouldn't take long to put a thick coating on there.

Originally Posted by Mark Z
[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]


Now let’s all have a beer beerchug

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Originally Posted by Allan G
If the head gasket was blowing im sure you would see oil on the crown of the piston, and more importantly past the first compression ring. Instead it looks like oil has got past the oil control ring and been stopped by the second compression ring. Id say you had an oil control ring problem. Not using over sized rings on a smaller piston by chance?

The little bit of black that is on the crowns doesn't look that bad compared to ones I have seen where by oil has been getting in at the pushrod tunnel, it wouldn't take long to put a thick coating on there.

Yes, I'm seeing Gavin's point about "the point of minimum cooling max distortion", and its having nothing to do with the head gasket. I don't know if the stains were there or not before I changed the head gasket because I didn't pull the barrel then. I did however de-coke the piston crowns when I changed the head gasket; they had considerably more carbon build up before that. No raw oil though.

Not oversized rings, but during the last rebuild, when I changed to the '65 lower end (because I trashed the '66 lower end due to oil starvation), the mechanic said that the pistons and barrel were ok, but with .005-.006 clearance - I can't recall if it even got a new set of rings. I have to do some more measuring, but initial results are indicating as much as .010-.012 clearances now. The cylinder head WAS refurbished however with new valves, guides, and springs.

So I'm willing to accept now that the stains are due to oil getting past the rings. I will however have the cyl. barrel and head mating surfaces properly checked for flatness and corrected if necessary this time around.


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More WSm data, "piston clearance, bottom of skirt 0.0039- 0.0054""

Ring gaps , new, all rings 8- 13 thou."Fit new rings if gaps greatly exceed this figure",
Ring fit in groove 1-3 thou.
What the book says about bore wear, "measure 1/4 " down for point of max wear "( not 1 inch , my mistake ) " if wear exceeds 0.005" at upper thrust faces, then reboring is necessary"


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Originally Posted by gavin eisler
More WSm data, "piston clearance, bottom of skirt 0.0039- 0.0054""

Ring gaps , new, all rings 8- 13 thou."Fit new rings if gaps greatly exceed this figure",
Ring fit in groove 1-3 thou.
What the book says about bore wear, "measure 1/4 " down for point of max wear "( not 1 inch , my mistake ) " if wear exceeds 0.005" at upper thrust faces, then reboring is necessary"

Gavin, I did some more measuring today. To reiterate, "Standard bore" + .040" = 2.9921-2.993".

Both bores, 1/4" from the top, measure 2.993, both in the fore-aft and side-side directions.

The pistons, at the bottoms of the skirts, measure 2.988 (left) and 2.989 (right).

Putting the pistons upside-down into their respective bores, I can get a .003" feeler gauge in, but not a .005" gauge.

If my measurements are accurate, they're telling me that 1. The bores can remain at +.040, and 2. I may be able to reuse the pistons. I haven't yet measured the ring gaps, but it's looking like I may just need honing and a set of rings.

I also did the "wobble test" on the conrods. With a thick feeler gauge wedged between the rod and the web, side-to-side movement at the small end is 1/16", both rods. I've never done this test before, so I don't know if this much movement is acceptable.

I haven't yet laid my hands on a dial indicator to measure the main bush clearance. After removing the oil pump though, it feels like there's quite a bit of end play on the crank; I'd estimate as much as .010". This is a '65 lower with ball-bearing DS main, so again, I'm not sure how much end play is ok. Also, the entire primary drive has been removed. Are the crank sprocket, rotor, and securing nut supposed to be in place when checking end play?


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"Are the crank sprocket, rotor, and securing nut supposed to be in place when checking end play?"

Not sure about ball bearing motors, yes for sure with roller bearing motors. It wont take long to refit the Drive side stack and check.The bore data is good, I would be happy with that.


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With a ball race there will be no perceptible end float when the drive side is tightened up.

Rocking the rods around on the crank will not show big end wear. Up and down movement
is the way to tell but even then it's very crude. Sorry mate but the only way is to strip it.
If it was me, i'd check the bush, if that's ok i'd not worry about the big ends, they only
wear when there is no or dirty oil. If you can lift the crank by more than a couple of thou
on the bush, strip it down otherwise hone it and a set of decent rings and it'll be fine for
another 20k miles. Don't spend your life fretting about it.

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