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by Mal Marsden - 06/16/22 7:00 pm
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I took my 69 441 Victor Special for a 55 miles freezing ride today and had a very nice ride through the Blue Ridge Mountains. Unfortunately, my speedometer quit registering, both MPH and odometer after about 45 miles. When I purchased the bike months ago, the speedometer didn't work. I removed the cable and the drive. The cable core was in two pieces and the drive was completely stripped out. I bought a new cable from Vintage British Cables and a new drive made in India. Since I didn't know if the speedometer was also bad, I installed the new cable in the speedometer and drove it with a drill and the speedometer appeared to work perfectly. I installed the new drive and hooked everything up. The speedometer worked fine during a short ride. A second ride a few days later and the speedometer quit working after a few miles. I again turned the cable core with a drill and the speedometer registered fine. With the bike on a stand, I placed a small piece of cable core in the drive and started the engine. The cable piece in the drive turned fine. I put everything back together and went for a short test ride and the speedometer functioned perfectly. Skip to today. After about 45 minutes of riding, the speedometer quit functioning again. After arriving home I repeated the tests outlined above and everything worked. The new cable looks perfect and each end is fully inserted into the drive and speedometer. Something is wrong, but I don't know what. At least the bike runs fantastic.


Current Bike: 1968 Triumph Bonneville T120R, 1969 BSA Victor Special, 1975 Norton 850 Commando John Player, M1030M1 U.S.M.C. Diesel
Previous British Bikes: 1968 BSA Lightning, 1969 BSA Lightning, 1969 BSA Firebird Scrambler, 1972 BSA B50 Gold Star, 1974 Triumph Trident
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Sounds like it could be any of the following issues:-
- are you sure the new speedo drive tangs are completely engaged with the corresponding slots in the rear wheel? Maybe you have missed a spacer or shim and the drive isnt fully engaged.
- check the speedo drive cable is fully screwed into the drive and the squared-off inner cable is engaged, it shouldn't be possible to turn the inner cable if its fully engaged.
- same goes for the speedo engagement into the speedo head, make sure the cable is fully screwed into the speedo head and cable head.
- sometimes the cable gets a kink which makes the end turn unevenly at the speedo end, so check for this.


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Sounds like the rear wheel driven gearbox is out of order. I’ve even had a new one spit it’s guts out of the rear cap in less than 2 months. The Emgo and LF Harris ones seem to be quite good though.

The cable could be rounding off the inside of the housing, or there could be poor engagement between the worm drive and the pinion.


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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The Indian gearbox drives are of dubious quality and also usually adapted from the Royal Enfield type with not every dimension correct for the application.

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[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

Alternative, if you want one that works all (most) of the time. It, of course, does not work where the GPs can't pick up the signal.

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

Tom

P.S. Can't post GPs with a capital S???

Last edited by koncretekid; 01/25/22 11:55 am.

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i'm old enough to remember when patriotism meant not trying to overthrow the government.
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lol

no

G P S

Last edited by kevin; 01/25/22 12:28 pm.

i'm old enough to remember when patriotism meant not trying to overthrow the government.
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I made a mistake in my earlier post. The drive didn't come from India, it is an Emgo made in Taiwan. It appears to be well made and I purchased it new. The drive is functioning perfectly and the cable is inserted fully into the drive.as well as the speedometer. I saw on another thread on this site (https://britbike.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=36881) that sometimes the cable core can be inserted too far into the speedometer head which can cause this type of problem. In that thread it was recommended to back off the nut on the speedometer head to retract the core slightly. I'm going to try that today and post the results. If that is what is causing the problem it should be easy enough to remove some material from the end of the core.

Last edited by Gary Caines; 01/25/22 10:55 pm.

Current Bike: 1968 Triumph Bonneville T120R, 1969 BSA Victor Special, 1975 Norton 850 Commando John Player, M1030M1 U.S.M.C. Diesel
Previous British Bikes: 1968 BSA Lightning, 1969 BSA Lightning, 1969 BSA Firebird Scrambler, 1972 BSA B50 Gold Star, 1974 Triumph Trident
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either that or fill the bottom of the hole in the drive with something to limit the travel. seems like I had that same problem a long time ago too. I also seem to remember drive cables that had a washer swaged on the end for that same reason

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Originally Posted by Mitch
either that or fill the bottom of the hole in the drive with something to limit the travel. seems like I had that same problem a long time ago too. I also seem to remember drive cables that had a washer swaged on the end for that same reason

My new cable from Vintage British Cables has that bit swaged on the end of the cable that goes into the speedometer. There is about 1/2 inch of cable past the end of the swaged bit. I put a wire up inside the speedometer to measure how much cable will go up into the speedometer and it went in about 3/4 of an inch. Based on this measurement, there is no way the cable is entering too far into the speedometer head.


Current Bike: 1968 Triumph Bonneville T120R, 1969 BSA Victor Special, 1975 Norton 850 Commando John Player, M1030M1 U.S.M.C. Diesel
Previous British Bikes: 1968 BSA Lightning, 1969 BSA Lightning, 1969 BSA Firebird Scrambler, 1972 BSA B50 Gold Star, 1974 Triumph Trident
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If you bought it from vintage cables, there is zero chance that they are the problem. Their cables make all the others look like a child has done them. They are brilliant!


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 Allan G
If you bought it from vintage cables, there is zero chance that they are the problem. Their cables make all the others look like a child has done them. They are brilliant!

I absolutely agree with the high quality from Vintage British Cables. I've purchased several other cables from them for other British bikes and have always been impressed with the high quality.


Current Bike: 1968 Triumph Bonneville T120R, 1969 BSA Victor Special, 1975 Norton 850 Commando John Player, M1030M1 U.S.M.C. Diesel
Previous British Bikes: 1968 BSA Lightning, 1969 BSA Lightning, 1969 BSA Firebird Scrambler, 1972 BSA B50 Gold Star, 1974 Triumph Trident
Previous Non-British Bikes: 1983 BMW R80RT
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did you buy the drive cable only, or did you get the outer housing too?

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Originally Posted by Mitch
did you buy the drive cable only, or did you get the outer housing too?
I purchased the entire assembly.


Current Bike: 1968 Triumph Bonneville T120R, 1969 BSA Victor Special, 1975 Norton 850 Commando John Player, M1030M1 U.S.M.C. Diesel
Previous British Bikes: 1968 BSA Lightning, 1969 BSA Lightning, 1969 BSA Firebird Scrambler, 1972 BSA B50 Gold Star, 1974 Triumph Trident
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I finally found out the problem with my speedometer. The vendor I purchased the new EMGO speedometer drive from shipped me the wrong drive. I checked and I ordered the correct drive for a 69 BSA 441 VS. The packaging on the EMGO drive I received had the BSA information, but the drive itself was for a Norton, unfortunately. I've been spinning the cable backwards - no wonder my speedometer didn't register. I previously disconnected the cable from the speedometer and watched the cable turn, not paying attention that it was turning in the wrong direction. I just assumed that since the paperwork and package labeling indicated that it was the correct drive that it was actually the correct drive. That and it installed fine. What really has me stumped is that occasionally, the speedometer with the incorrect drive would function correctly regarding speed. No so now. I'm assuming that the odometer must have turned backwards.
I'm hoping that this hasn't damaged the speedometer itself. I'm now waiting on a replacement drive.


Current Bike: 1968 Triumph Bonneville T120R, 1969 BSA Victor Special, 1975 Norton 850 Commando John Player, M1030M1 U.S.M.C. Diesel
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There seems to be a disconnect in the story. A speedo will not work even sporadically if the cable is going backwards. On 24 Jan 22 it worked fine on a short ride then quit with a new cable and drive.

When was the cable turning backwards?

Gordo


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The only Norton drive that could be an issue is one for an 850 MK3 where the drive was on the left side rather than the right side. Right side drives are virtually the same as the B44 as long as the speedo is 1000 revs per mile. Check by spinning the rear wheel and observing the speedo cable end where the direction should match the needle rotation ie clockwise where the needle moves clockwise with increasing speed.

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Originally Posted by Gary Caines
The vendor I purchased the new EMGO speedometer drive from shipped me the wrong drive. I checked and I ordered the correct drive for a 69 BSA 441 VS. The packaging on the EMGO drive I received had the BSA information, but the drive itself was for a Norton, unfortunately. I've been spinning the cable backwards - no wonder my speedometer didn't register.

Which "Norton"?
According to my Smiths list, the '69 441VS and (pre-850 Mk3) Norton Commando used the same BG 5330/171 15:12 (1.25:1) *reversing* drive gearbox so unless the speedo is the wrong type then it won't be driving the cable backwards and couldn't be if the speedo apparently worked briefly. Other "Norton" drives are more likely to be 2:1 ratio.

*(According to the Smiths list)

Last edited by L.A.B.; 02/12/22 12:01 pm.
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Now I'm really at a loss. Apparently, the new EMGO drive really is the correct drive but may have an internal problem. I didn't realize that pre-Mk3 Nortons used the same drive as the BSA. I have a 1975 Mk3 Norton, which has the drive on the left and I assumed that the drive I received that says Norton 06-0627, was the wrong direction drive. The EMGO drive turns a short piece of cable CW looking at the drive, which means it is correctly turning the cable CCW. I hooked my electric drill up to the cable again and spun it CCW and the speedometer registers fine. I put the cable back in the drive and the speedometer worked fine for about 1 mile and then quit again. I put the drill back on the cable and the speedometer registers fine. The cable is brand new from Vintage British Cables. Something must not be correct in the new EMGO drive. I've ordered a used Smiths drive from BSA Unit Singles and I'll see what happens.


Current Bike: 1968 Triumph Bonneville T120R, 1969 BSA Victor Special, 1975 Norton 850 Commando John Player, M1030M1 U.S.M.C. Diesel
Previous British Bikes: 1968 BSA Lightning, 1969 BSA Lightning, 1969 BSA Firebird Scrambler, 1972 BSA B50 Gold Star, 1974 Triumph Trident
Previous Non-British Bikes: 1983 BMW R80RT
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I received the used Smiths drive from BSA Unit Singles and installed it this evening. The drive is an original Smiths and looks to be in very good condition.
Unfortunately, it is pouring down rain and I can't ride the bike to test the results. I should have left the bike on the motorcycle jack and started it but didn't. I did spin the rear wheel and the cable is turning the odometer, but it also sometimes worked with the EMGO drive. I'll try to ride the bike tomorrow to test it, but unfortunately the weather forecast is calling for more rain. If I get a break from the rain, I'll take it for a ride.


Current Bike: 1968 Triumph Bonneville T120R, 1969 BSA Victor Special, 1975 Norton 850 Commando John Player, M1030M1 U.S.M.C. Diesel
Previous British Bikes: 1968 BSA Lightning, 1969 BSA Lightning, 1969 BSA Firebird Scrambler, 1972 BSA B50 Gold Star, 1974 Triumph Trident
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Bad news. After installing the used Smiths drive, I took the bike for a short ride. The speedometer registered for a few hundred feet and then dropped to zero mph again. I rode back home and found that my new speedometer cable had broken. I couldn't believe it. There is nothing wrong with the drive. I put a short piece of cable into the speedometer head and it turned freely. I turned it approximately 20 times and it was completely free. I then spun it with a drill and the speedometer registered correctly. I removed the drill from the cable and was pulling the short piece of cable from the speedometer head and found it seized tight and wouldn't turn at all. I wiggled it around and it became free again. Obviously, the speedometer head is the culprit. I removed it and shipped it to Vintage British Cables for repair and I ordered a new cable from them.

Last edited by Gary Caines; 02/22/22 10:21 pm.

Current Bike: 1968 Triumph Bonneville T120R, 1969 BSA Victor Special, 1975 Norton 850 Commando John Player, M1030M1 U.S.M.C. Diesel
Previous British Bikes: 1968 BSA Lightning, 1969 BSA Lightning, 1969 BSA Firebird Scrambler, 1972 BSA B50 Gold Star, 1974 Triumph Trident
Previous Non-British Bikes: 1983 BMW R80RT
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Vintage Cable did an A65 Speedo/Tach pair for me and they were just beautiful looking and worked just fine.

Gordo


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I got my speedometer back from Vintage British Cables yesterday and installed it on my 69 BSA 441 Victor Special, along with a new cable from VBC as well. Now everything works great. My speedometer looks new. Turnaround time for VBC to repair my speedometer was only a few days. Excellent service!

Speedometer.jpg

Current Bike: 1968 Triumph Bonneville T120R, 1969 BSA Victor Special, 1975 Norton 850 Commando John Player, M1030M1 U.S.M.C. Diesel
Previous British Bikes: 1968 BSA Lightning, 1969 BSA Lightning, 1969 BSA Firebird Scrambler, 1972 BSA B50 Gold Star, 1974 Triumph Trident
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Nice ... but the wrong speedometer. B44s normally have 120 mph speedos with 1600 turns/mile unless you have changed the drive ratio from 2:1 to 15/12.

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Originally Posted by LarryLebel
Nice ... but the wrong speedometer. B44s normally have 120 mph speedos with 1600 turns/mile unless you have changed the drive ratio from 2:1 to 15/12.
I believe you are referring to older B44s. The 1969 came with a 150 mph speedometer and a 1.25 / 1 drive. This is the original speedometer. I believe the 1970 B44 also came with the 150 mph speedometer, but not positive. Kind of ridiculous having a 150 mph speedometer on that bike, but that is what it came with.


Current Bike: 1968 Triumph Bonneville T120R, 1969 BSA Victor Special, 1975 Norton 850 Commando John Player, M1030M1 U.S.M.C. Diesel
Previous British Bikes: 1968 BSA Lightning, 1969 BSA Lightning, 1969 BSA Firebird Scrambler, 1972 BSA B50 Gold Star, 1974 Triumph Trident
Previous Non-British Bikes: 1983 BMW R80RT
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