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So, in preparation for playing in the woods and running Moto Giro events, I've got a 1961 C15 Scrambler. Two-owner, fairly complete, rolls, has some compression, brakes engage, shift through gears, all the switches and levers move. Needs a a complete going-through, of course. I'll have the appropriate manuals and parts lists for this year, and will search thoroughly through past posts on this and other sites before asking any potentially dumb questions.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

Just straddling it and going "Vroom Vroom", it feels like it has plenty of room for me, so that part will work.

I'll be looking at photos to see what the "battery box" area should look like - it looks a bit "homemade" as it is. The numbers match on the frame and the engine at "C15S3692". The original title has a notarized date of 5/20/61 for when it was first titled for the road in Pennsylvania, so I'm going with it's a 1961 unless someone changes my mind by showing that 1962 BSAs were sold in the USA in May of 1961..

I don't know if the alternator or charging system works. I had thought I read that the Scramblers of this era had an Energy Transfer system and no battery, but this one has a "distributor", although what it could possibly be "distributing" to I don't know, since there's only one place to send a spark.

I'll be doing a compression and leak-down test before I take the top end apart, and assessing whether the bottom end needs to be replaced. There's quite a bit of "patina" on the wheels, so I'll be looking to see whether to wire-brush them and go on, or whether a nice set of period-correct aluminum rims would be good. I can see that the rear tire is too big, so I'll look up the modern equivalent of the old sizes, and find some 50/50 road/trail pattern tires.

I'm going to order a 500-pound hanging scale and work on getting this thing down as light as I can. Not for speed, since the best way to do that would be to get some of the lard from off the top of the seat, but for ease of handling and picking up off the ground.

I'll have to count teeth on the sprockets and figure out how to gear it - it has a manhole-cover-sized rear sprocket which looks like good fun on a trials bike, or a fire-road bike at 35 MPH, but I need it to go 50 - 55 MPH without throwing the rod to get me over the back roads from home to the state and national forests and game lands.

Looking at some of the wiring, I'll either buy a wiring harness for it, or make my own, it looks simple enough.

I don't want to take this apart and scatter it all over the shop ... I'll probably start at the front and the back and R&R the wheels, forks, brakes, Shocks, wheel bearings, etc a bit at a time, and finish up with the motor so as to have a minimum apart at a time ....

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Lannis......the "3692" shows it to be 62 like Steve already said. 61 would have been "2692" ( I think?)

You've got a pretty interesting bike there. Going to take more close up details but IME there aren't a lot of these over here in the States.

It could be even rarer if it happens to be one of the Scrambler Specials.

That tank is a hard find.

Yea.......this is going to be fun.

Gordon

Last edited by Gordon Gray; 04/09/22 5:31 pm.

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[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

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Originally Posted by Gordon Gray
[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

Gordon

Oh no, and here I was just going to go with the "patina'ed" look, and you had to show me this!!! shocked shocked

All I can hear now is "ka - CHING!!" in my head, as I contemplate a speedometer, new kicker, a stock-looking seat, a new taillight, a proper front fender (although I may use the one I have), and possibly a chainguard which the BSA brochure shows, but the restored-bike picture does not and it looks OK.

Since I'll be riding it in the National Forest, I'll need to have a proper silencer on it, not the straight pipe in the brochure, and figure out an air-cleaner for the Monobloc ....

The fun begins soon .... Got to get the Firebird Scrambler off the lift ASAP!

Lannis


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Lannis.......IMO it might be worth trying to get a copy of the dispatch records.

I "think" you have a fairly rare (for the US market) bike. Well........I just don't see as many of these as later unit singles. I have a soft spot for that look since my very first motorcycle was a 1965 B40ES (w/an odd frame????)

All those bits you mentioned should be obtainable. The proper ones are probably sitting on someone's swap table.......in the UK ( but you do have connections!!!)

Does the foot peg on the kicker side fold?

The photo of the "restored" bike is just someone's interpretation.....but it sure looks nice.

That rear sprocket looks like my 60s. Best choice for climbing trees!!! laughing

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.......your bike already looks beautiful to these eyes.

Gordon

Last edited by Gordon Gray; 04/09/22 6:53 pm.

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I owned a C15S. The original kickstart bends under the footrest and back up. The rest doesn’t need to fold out of the way.

Last edited by triton thrasher; 04/09/22 6:36 pm.

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Originally Posted by triton thrasher
I owned a C15S. The original kickstart bends under the footrest and back up. The rest doesn’t need to fold out of the way.


[Linked Image]

Yep......Gordon


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I have some previous experience with one of these in a field, wonderful bike, it had ET ignition , liked a bump start, IIRC the bottom end has better bearings than the stock ceefers, scrambles cam, bumpy piston and big ish carb. A modern front end would shed a lot of weight, this model got the "heavy weight " forks. Get Rupert Ratios books they will be invaluable. Nice find.


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Originally Posted by Gordon Gray
Lannis.......IMO it might be worth trying to get a copy of the dispatch records.

I "think" you have a fairly rare (for the US market) bike.

All those bits you mentioned should be obtainable. The proper ones are probably sitting on someone's swap table.......in the UK ( but you do have connections!!!)

Does the foot peg on the kicker side fold?

The photo of the "restored" bike is just someone's interpretation.....but it sure looks nice.

That rear sprocket looks like my 60s. Best choice for climbing trees!!! laughing

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.......your bike already looks beautiful to these eyes.

Gordon

It'll be interesting coming up with "the most likely" model of this bike. According to the BSAOC site, the "C15 Scrambler" numbers only go up to 3551 for 1962. So (according to them), this 3692 must be a 1962 "C15 Scrambler Special" model, because anything in 1962 from 3552 to 10001 was a "Scrambler Special".

I'm willing to believe that the "5/20/1961" date on the title is a typo. HOWEVER, title dates are usually well AFTER the model date, as bikes may have sat at the factory or on a dealer floor for years before they actually got titled. You don't see a title that is BEFORE the model year, any more than if I bought a Ford F-150 right now titled as a 2022, it would actually be a Ford 2023 Model Season truck.

I AM surprised to see matching frame and engine numbers. They didn't start out the C15 year with matching numbers ... but I don't know about the "Scrambler Special" models if that's what it is. BSA might have done anything in the way of restarting a sequence somewhere.

Luckily, my mind is not clouded with a desire that the bike be a "matching number" model for concours purposes, nor do I need Rare Bike status. I really need to know what to call it when I order parts, or when someone says "I may have one of those parts if it's a Special, they're different than the regular Scrambler."

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Lannis wrote...."Luckily, my mind is not clouded with a desire that the bike be a "matching number" model for concours purposes, nor do I need Rare Bike status. I really need to know what to call it when I order parts, or when someone says "I may have one of those parts if it's a Special, they're different than the regular Scrambler."

Rupert's "Lesser Known Models"

I understand you're not focused on numbers BUT........if in fact the frame and engine numbers do match that's a huge difference between that and your 1970 A65 having matching numbers. I have to stick with my "fairly rare" statement. (might have to bump that up to chicken lips) Something you should at least pass on to any future owners.....it would be a shame to just ignore it and somehow they get separated. ( that's the Unit Single fan coming out of me...I can't help it)

Gordon

Last edited by Gordon Gray; 04/09/22 7:13 pm.

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This thread is going to bring back memories, some good, others not quite so warm and fuzzy. My first "real" bike was a 1961 C15S, frame #C15S3417, engine #C15S2540. It's amazing that I still remember those numbers. It was actually a pretty good bike and withstood most of the serious abuse I sent its way and when it didn't, it was simple enough that I could dive right in to the deep repairs when needed.
Bacon's singles book lists the 1961

Engine: C15S 2112 through C15S 3100 (1962 beginning production number minus 1)

Frame: C15S 2701 through C15S 3600 (1962 beginning production number minus 1)

So your 3692 frame number does appear to be 1962 number.
I think matching numbers would have been a coincidence in these years.

Rupert Ratio's Unit Single book will be a big help to you.

I currently have a 1965 side points C16FSR that I rode the crap out of for years. It's basically stock but with lightened and balanced flywheels and a 69mm Triumph T100 twin piston in it. This piston trick is super handy if you have a rusty or worn cylinder that would clean up at .080" over. I've even heard of using a 71mm T120 piston in these iron cylinders. Apparently they are thick enough though I haven't tried it myself.

So anyway, thanks for starting this thread. Best of luck with the old thing.

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Originally Posted by Stuart Kirk
Bacon's singles book lists the 1961

Engine: C15S 2112 through C15S 3100 (1962 beginning production number minus 1)

Frame: C15S 2701 through C15S 3600 (1962 beginning production number minus 1)

So your 3692 frame number does appear to be 1962 number.

Yep, I think all the sources indicate that a serial number (starting with C15S) which begins with "3" is a 1962 model.

The question now is, since 3692 is more than 3100, 3551, or 3600 which is the upper limit number for the C15 Scrambler ... is this bike a "Scrambler Special" as the BSAOC data seems to indicate ... ?

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No guarantee that it's running its first distributor
but the distributor will have a month and year date stamp

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Originally Posted by quinten
No guarantee that it's running its first distributor
but the distributor will have a month and year date stamp

I've been hoping that I can find the "month and year of manufacture" based on the engine number, but no luck so far.

I'll get out my flashlight and magnifying glass and have a look at the distributor.

Is it just called a distributor because it looks sort of like a real distributor? You'd think it would just be a "points housing" like the ones down on the end of the camshaft under the outer timing cover.

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Originally Posted by Lannis
Is it just called a distributor because it looks sort of like a real distributor?
Lannis


Yes.


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The dating info on this site states.

1962 C15 Scrambles, Engine numbers start at 3101 with frame numbers starting at 3558. (C15S prefix)

1962 C15 Scrambles Special, Engine numbers start at 3101 with frame numbers starting at 10001. (C15S prefix)


Approx 60,000 C15s were produced from 1959 to 1964? They weren't supposed to have matching frame and engine numbers.......could have been the luck of the draw......or a purposed numbering? Either way if they match......it's interesting.

Someone could have pulled the frame out of line and waited for the engine to catch up? It sounds like they were stamped at different times during production?

You gota love BSA......Gordon

Last edited by Gordon Gray; 04/09/22 10:02 pm.

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Originally Posted by quinten
No guarantee that it's running its first distributor
but the distributor will have a month and year date stamp

Sez "6/60" on the distributor body...?


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Originally Posted by Lannis
Originally Posted by quinten
No guarantee that it's running its first distributor
but the distributor will have a month and year date stamp

Sez "6/60" on the distributor body...?


Answers everything..... laughing

Gordon


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Originally Posted by Lannis
Is it just called a distributor because it looks sort of like a real distributor? You'd think it would just be a "points housing" like the ones down on the end of the camshaft under the outer timing cover.
Well, it is a distributor, but it only distributes to a single location.


It's good to see that you chose the BSA unit single approach in the end.
The Rupert Ratio books are definitely worth having. He ran a few sessions at Moreton in Marsh.

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Originally Posted by Shane in Oz
Originally Posted by Lannis
Is it just called a distributor because it looks sort of like a real distributor? You'd think it would just be a "points housing" like the ones down on the end of the camshaft under the outer timing cover.
Well, it is a distributor, but it only distributes to a single location.


It's good to see that you chose the BSA unit single approach in the end.
The Rupert Ratio books are definitely worth having. He ran a few sessions at Moreton in Marsh.

Where do you get these books for a reasonable price? They're like $100 each at the places I usually shop .... ?

Lannis


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Originally Posted by Lannis
Originally Posted by Shane in Oz
Originally Posted by Lannis
Is it just called a distributor because it looks sort of like a real distributor? You'd think it would just be a "points housing" like the ones down on the end of the camshaft under the outer timing cover.
Well, it is a distributor, but it only distributes to a single location.


It's good to see that you chose the BSA unit single approach in the end.
The Rupert Ratio books are definitely worth having. He ran a few sessions at Moreton in Marsh.

Where do you get these books for a reasonable price? They're like $100 each at the places I usually shop .... ?

Lannis

BSA UNIT SINGLES..............linked on this site. (for me it's a banner at the bottom of the page) "Archives for download" for downloadable manuals and such........ "BOOKS" for all the Ruperts books!!!!!

You'll find those links under "Resources" on the right side of UNIT SINGLES' home page.

IMO Rupert's "The Engine" is a must. "Everything Else Except the Engine" covers all the different bike parts. "Lesser Known Models" will have a short chapter on your scrambler. You should be able to get all three for around $100.

After looking closely Peter doesn't have much information on your bike at all. No specific Workshop or Parts manual.......just an owners manual. The parts manual he has for the C15 covers several models.

Gordon

PS........email Peter Quick if your looking for something you can't find listed on his site. He's gained a LOT of knowledge/connections since he first open up for business........and he's easy to talk with. thumbsup thumbsup thumbsup

PSS.......he has the correct air filter for your bike listed, used.....and a beautiful new seat......ka - CHING$$$$$

Last edited by Gordon Gray; 04/10/22 1:55 pm.

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Cover of Rupert's "Lesser Known Models"

[Linked Image]

and here's what it says about the bike pictured.

[Linked Image]


Gordon

Last edited by Gordon Gray; 04/10/22 4:17 pm.

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Originally Posted by Gordon Gray
Cover of Rupert's "Lesser Known Models"

[Linked Image]

and here's what it says about the bike pictured.

[Linked Image]


Gordon

Gordon - Thanks for the continuing research.

It certainly sounds funny that my bike has a "frame number" matching the engine number. Here's a photo of the frame number C15S.3692 just below the headstock on the near side. Experienced folks may be able to tell whether this is a factory stamping, or someone was satisfying an overly officious Motor Vehicles jobsworth by making the number match ... ?

Frame no pix.jpg

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Lannis, hope I'm not over doing it? I do tend to get carried away. Can you tell I like these bikes?

I've never owned a swan neck frame so I have nothing to compare it to but that frame number looks good to me. I also agree with you that is probably the factory paint.

SO.........maybe IF someone "re-numbered" something it might have been the engine?

Do you know how much it costs for dating info now a days.......or if they even do that anymore?

Looks like I had a complete C15S engine, 3333. Alex got it along with some other bits??? I remember him being here but that's about it. CRS. Most of my other C15 engine stuff is for road models.

It would be an oddity if your numbers left the factory together. If it were mine, I'd have to know....if there was a way.

I've got a couple of frames that I'm pretty sure are restamped or mis stamped. The numbers look good (to me) but don't match some of the stuff on the frame......like a VS number with SS center stand lugs.

I have a new project at work that starts tomorrow....maybe that'll slow me down a bit clap

BAD thing about having time on my hands and browsing through used and new motorcycle bits on Peter's site looking for stuff for your bike.........I ended up spending $200 to add to my horde. help

Gordon

Last edited by Gordon Gray; 04/10/22 6:43 pm.

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Originally Posted by Gordon Gray
Do you know how much it costs for dating info now a days.......or if they even do that anymore?
Both the UK BSA Club and the VMCC have a machine dating service. The VMCC will do 2 bikes/year free for members, otherwise 10 or 15 quid. I think the BSA Club is similar, but don't know if affiliated BSA clubs count.

They were all rather stretched over the last couple of years, but seem to be getting back to normal.

It's certainly worth checking up on rare and unusual machines, and I reckon this one counts.

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Gordon - You can never overdo passing on information, opinions, suggestions, and/or parts, I'll take all the talking you can do.

I don't think anyone's been playing shell games with the engine numbers... They and the surface they're stamped on look clean and original, nothing dodgy or over stamped or ground-away looking about it.

Besides, it would likely have happened the last time the title was transferred in 1983,when you could buy a truckload of these bikes for the favor of hauling them away.... wouldn't have been worth the time to meddle with it.

One thing I'll do is measure the cam lift once I have the barrel off, that'll be a good data point.

Lannis


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Originally Posted by Lannis
......when you could buy a truckload of these bikes for the favor of hauling them away.........
Ain't that the truth, and it's exactly how in the early nineties I got my 1965 model. It was a rusty, beaten on chopper!! Struts, peanut tank, slugged front end and cobra seat. It was truly pathetic.

Last edited by Stuart Kirk; 04/10/22 8:59 pm. Reason: More info
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Lannis wrote....."I don't think anyone's been playing shell games with the engine numbers... They and the surface they're stamped on look clean and original, nothing dodgy or over stamped or ground-away looking about it."

I've had a few replacement cases/engines in my hands......no numbers at all. The shop (or you?) punched them when they were through swapping out the cases for one reason or the other. I could see a situation where the cases were swapped and someone stamped the wrong numbers back on it??? Maybe by the time that happened, numbers were matched?

BUT........I don't WANT that to be the case. cool I would rather find out they left the factory with matching numbers........for some good reason?

Proud to be one of the Unit Singles guys........Gordon in NC "It's only a Victor"


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Originally Posted by Shane in Oz
Originally Posted by Gordon Gray
Do you know how much it costs for dating info now a days.......or if they even do that anymore?
Both the UK BSA Club and the VMCC have a machine dating service. The VMCC will do 2 bikes/year free for members, otherwise 10 or 15 quid. I think the BSA Club is similar, but don't know if affiliated BSA clubs count.

They were all rather stretched over the last couple of years, but seem to be getting back to normal.

It's certainly worth checking up on rare and unusual machines, and I reckon this one counts.

I'll take a shot at that once I've learned a little more about it. As I strip it down and expose things and measure things, it's probable that someone will say "THAT PART there means that it's a (Trials, Scrambler, Special etc) for sure...those were welded on at the factory that way" or something ....

Lannis


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Lannis, IMO getting that info from the club is going to be the only way you’ll know for “sure” (if there is such a thing?) about the numbers.

I’ve disassembled a couple of engines (distributor C15) but that’s it. Never put one back together.

Just enough differences between the C15 and the C25 to be confusing.


Good luck and see ya at Windy’s for the TSMR. When you come up with a “want/need” list just let me know and I’ll see what I can share.

Gordon

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Just a little side note here. I've got a set of C15 cases with an odd number. It looks original but what is it? My books don't shed any light but maybe one of you guys know. Here's a photo.
[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

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Originally Posted by Stuart Kirk
Just a little side note here. I've got a set of C15 cases with an odd number. It looks original but what is it? My books don't shed any light but maybe one of you guys know. Here's a photo.
[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

Just teasing us unit single guys heh???????? cool

1964 C15 Star America w/ the number 1 engine number for the model.

Gordon

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Originally Posted by Gordon Gray
Lannis, IMO getting that info from the club is going to be the only way you’ll know for “sure” (if there is such a thing?) about the numbers.

I’ve disassembled a couple of engines (distributor C15) but that’s it. Never put one back together.

Just enough differences between the C15 and the C25 to be confusing.


Good luck and see ya at Windy’s for the TSMR. When you come up with a “want/need” list just let me know and I’ll see what I can share.

Gordon

Gordon - Thanks ... it may be a while for some things, since I really need to finish up the Firebird Scrambler and get it off of the bench so this one can go up. I'll start with things "on top" of the bike, like handlebars, tank, seat, and fender, things that don't break down into a hundred parts that will get lost in a shop with 5 disassembled motorcycles in it ... !

The seat certainly isn't stock, it's a two-person seat that sits up too high in the front. If I can find a proper single seat that mounts level, or even just a pan, then I can probably get a nice lady I know to do the foam and cover ....

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Peter Quick has a seat........he had them made up.

I think it'll take a little sorting but he says it'll work. Not cheap but .....not nearly as expensive as our Russel seats. smile

He also has a thread on here about making a pan out of another model (TR25W ????) But a man must pick his battles.

Gordon


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Originally Posted by Gordon Gray
Just teasing us unit single guys heh????????

1964 C15 Star America w/ the number 1 engine number for the model.
No, I'm not teasing, honest. What puzzled me was Bacon's BSA singles Restoration guide listed a '64 as 'C15DB-101' but these cases are stamped C15BD 101, ie: the letters are reversed. So either Bacon got it wrong or the guy stamping the engine screwed up. It is interesting that it is the first USA Star for the '64 model year. It's in the books for all to see, screw up and all!!

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Stuart, you should start a thread on this, don't want to steal from this thread, but your cases may warrant some exploration. Interesting...

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Originally Posted by Stuart Kirk
Originally Posted by Gordon Gray
Just teasing us unit single guys heh????????

1964 C15 Star America w/ the number 1 engine number for the model.
No, I'm not teasing, honest. What puzzled me was Bacon's BSA singles Restoration guide listed a '64 as 'C15DB-101' but these cases are stamped C15BD 101, ie: the letters are reversed. So either Bacon got it wrong or the guy stamping the engine screwed up. It is interesting that it is the first USA Star for the '64 model year. It's in the books for all to see, screw up and all!!

I'm didn't even notice the mistake.... blush. All my written info goes along with Bacon.......DB. Guy stamping the engine got it wrong?

Were the cases used?

It is interesting........wonder what the dispatch records say about that one.

Gordon


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Learning all sorts of little things about mine .....

'62 Scrambler had the pipe going to the outside of the frame, necessitating the loopy kickstarter ... '63 had the pipe going inside the frame like a Victor. I'm either going to source a '63 pipe or buy a pipe shield for my '62 one ... I'm not having a red-hot exhaust pipe 1/2" from my leg!

The '62 Scrambler DID in fact have a 4.00 x 18 tire on the rear ... I said it looked too big, and the picture of the Mecum-auction one you showed me had a 3.00 x 18, but I'll keep the right size on it. My one has a 19" wheel on the front, but it looks like the specs call for a 3.00 x 20. My front rim is a little warped from an impact, not unrideable but I wont leave it like that. I'll lace up whatever rim is The Hot Ticket for the well dressed dirt racer of 1962, since apparently people were using both kinds.

I'll probably use Dunlop Trials Universals on it, unless there's a period dirt tire that people would have switched to. I use TT100 tires on my Norton for that very reason, even though the hot-shoes use Avons or something else.

"Period Correct" is my motto, not "Concours Matching"!

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20-inch rims are hard to get, and tires to fit even more difficult.

If it was my bike, I'd go for the 19-inch rim.

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Originally Posted by Lannis
My one has a 19" wheel on the front, but it looks like the specs call for a 3.00 x 20. My front rim is a little warped from an impact, not unrideable but I wont leave it like that. I'll lace up whatever rim is The Hot Ticket for the well dressed dirt racer of 1962, since apparently people were using both kinds.
20" tyres are like hens' teeth. I wound up acquiring a 21" front wheel for my B50MX after a long and fruitless search for a 20" tyre.
19" was probably used in 1962, but won't work half as well off-road as a 21".

Originally Posted by Lannis
I'll probably use Dunlop Trials Universals on it, unless there's a period dirt tire that people would have switched to.
The old Dunlop Uselessversals were aptly named. They were universally the wrong tyre for both road and off-road. K70s are similarly ill-suited, but easier to get hold of. Perhaps a suitable pair of Metzeler, Michelin or Pirelli dual-purpose tyres is available, and would still appear period-correct.
Actually, after a cursory search, Dunlop D603s or D605s may look the part and work.

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Great find Lannis! I think I had the seat that belongs on that bike but it went when all my other BSA stuff went. I forgot how to post pics to this site so I'll email a pic to you.

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A few comments;

The Corker 20" front tire is a very shallow block tread(if still available). Basically a street tire. Useless off road

The probability of a frame that was numbered at a different time than the motor and that the two were assembled together and matched..... Well I'm not a mathematician but the odds are pretty improbable. There are actually factory dispatch records that say which engine and frame combination a bike left the factory with. The earlier big ends and conrod were easier to blow up than the later ones! Which is why they were improved. It is way more likely that a blank set of cases was stamped to match the frame at a later time. This was easy for a dealer to do. Way way higher on the probability scale of things. But not as fun to think about.

The C15 Lannis pictured is not a Scrambles Special. Wrong forks, wrong hub, wrong gas tank. It would be an awful lot of work to convert it from a desirable model to a standard C15S form.

The default wheel combination on a 1960 to 62 C15S was WM2 x 19 rear and a WM1 x 20 front. The rims have been changed. Lots has happened to these survivors over the last 60 years. There are compelling reasons to run a WM3 x 18 rear and a WM1 x 21 front wheel. Tires being those reasons.

It should be a fun project especially if you have the hotter scrambles cam in it and use a higher compression piston (like 10:1) then it will actually be able to accelerate up hills. Of course the top end will have to be fresh.

I do have just about everything in stock for these bikes.


Peter

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Peter Quick wrote....."It is way more likely that a blank set of cases was stamped to match the frame at a later time. This was easy for a dealer to do. Way way higher on the probability scale of things. But not as fun to think about."

Dispatch records should clear up that mystery but I have to agree with you.......chances are it's a re-stamp and by the time it was done.....numbers matched. It would have been a mistake because they should have had the broken cases w/numbers right in front of them?

Peter......I want to THANK YOU for all the help you given me over the years. Lots of dealers ignore the unit singles and having you around is a true blessing.

YLC......Gordon

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The engine is stamped correctly (ignoring the BD vs DB fault be it a Bacon or BSA operator issue)

The 64 stamping details are

C15 STAR AMERICA Engine C15DB 101 Frame C15 42211

Now the C15 42211 is the same number for a few of the C15 64 variant's and is the standard C15 swan neck road frame which was used on all those variant's

eg

C15 STAR C15D 101 C15 42211
C15 SS80 SPORTS STAR 80 C15SS 3633 C15 42211
C15 POLICE C15DP 101 C15 42211

Now if the C15 Star America actually needed a frame variation just for itself it would not have used the standard C15 frame but another

Here is what happened to the C15 Trials Pastoral for 64, new frame variant so its frame starts at C15E 101, engine is C15T carry over from 63 so carries over on the numbers.

C15 TRAILS PASTORAL C15T 2116 C15E 101

So if the C15 Star America had a unique frame then what are the odds the first frame was also C15DB 101, pretty high I would have thought.

Rupert Ratio is silent on the Star America in Vol 2, can't find Vol 3 to see if he covers it.

Factory Despatch records would be definitive.

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Steve mentioned we needed a separate thread for the Star America engine. But knowing Lannis he's not going to fuss over it. We'll get back on track once he starts on it.

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Originally Posted by Gordon Gray
Steve mentioned we needed a separate thread for the Star America engine. But knowing Lannis he's not going to fuss over it. We'll get back on track once he starts on it.

Gordon

I'm the last guy to ever complain about "Thread Drift", since I've always thought that "One idea leads to another" is a strength of these forums, not a bug.

But sometimes, separating subjects with separate threads helps avoid having to read through a lot of posts that don't apply to your subject. Rule 1 of forums, though, is that you don't get a deed and a title to threads you start!

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Originally Posted by Gordon Gray
Lannis.......IMO it might be worth trying to get a copy of the dispatch records.

Gordon

So this is my next step, as you and Shane suggested. The information on the BSAOC web site is very much UK-registration and Member oriented (I was a BSAOC Member once but now an OVBSAOC member), so I've sent a query via the BSAOC "Contact Form" ... I have Steve Foden's mailing address, but no idea what to send or how to send money and how much (I read the 2014 thread on the subject but suspect that it is out-of-date by now).

So we'll see what I get back from that.

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Got an instant response back from Phil Bull of the BSAOC.

They do have a process for Machine Dating which costs money, but that cost is to provide a Certificate to the Ministry of Transport in the UK so that an unregistered, antique machine can be certified for a UK registration in the proper category.

For simply getting the records of how and when an original machine came from the factory, Phil just asks for pictures of the machine and pictures of the engine and frame numbers, so I have sent those and he is doing that now; there's no cost associated with that. I'm a former BSAOC member and a current OVBSAOC member so maybe that helps.

I have to apologize to everyone who was doing engine and frame number research for me for a boo-boo on my part that may have cost some unnecessary time. The Pennsylvania title showed "VIN/ENGINE NUMBER" as C15S.3692 which I took for correct. Actually, that is the Frame Number. The Engine Number is C15S.3121. That at LEAST is consistent with the way these bikes were numbered, and now it's a 1962 C15 Scrambler (not Special).

Sorry about that, Chief.

And I got my answer back already!!

This is a matched pair,frame/engine original pairing,shipped from BSA to
Hap Alzina,West Coast USA on 27.10.1961.Recorded as a C15 Scrambles USA spec.


SOOOO .... now the parts searching and gathering starts! Some of the items on my bike are obviously replacements from another year or model, but I'll sort that out as well as I can, maybe leave some of the improvements, or try to get the right ones if they aren't an obvious upgrade ....

Lannis

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Well you put that to rest.. clap...and thumbsup thumbsup thumbsup.......for them looking that up for you.

Gordon


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Lannis,
Whether the bike is restored original or made into an off-road rider, it makes no difference to me. That old bike has always been one of my favorites along with the Victor Special and the Goldstar. Motorcycling (to me) has always been about lightweight machines that could cruise the backroads or take a spin in the dirt. If I had seen that bike, it would have been hard to resist buying it even as I try to reduce the complexity in my life.
Keep us informed on the fate of this jewel.
Mr Mike

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Originally Posted by Mr Mike
Lannis,

Keep us informed on the fate of this jewel.
Mr Mike

Mike - I don't think there's any danger of not being informed...we're on the third page of the thread and just now got it identified!

Just wait till I start turning wrenches... !

Lannis


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Well, lots has been happening around here, but the dust is settling a bit and I'm coming off of some of my physical limitations, so I'm beginning to wave the fettling irons over my C15S Scrambler project.

I'm handling the cosmetics with vinegar, WD40, and steel wool. All of the chrome is speckled with rust down to the bare steel, but there's nothing structurally wrong with any of the metal, and if you stand 10 feet away it just looks a little dim after the acid-and-WD40 treatment, not horribly rusty.

So I'm concentrating on functionality. The cable vendor says that if I send my old cables in, they'll make up ones to match them. The front brake cable didn't have any adjustment screws at the lever or at the brake; there was just one of those aftermarket "clamp on " things where you loop the cable around it and tighten a bolt, so I'll have to sort that out. I have some spare new levers that I've gotten at swap meets over the years, so they'll work.

Someone in the past had taken the stock fender off (which bolts with two bolts on the fork legs on each side) and attached (brazed) a mount for a high fender at the bottom of the steering stem. It actually looks like it would work pretty well, so I'll clean that up and bolt a pair of mud flaps to it (the holes are already there). If I ever come across a stock fender I may bolt it back on, but I like the high clearance with this one.

Everything has come apart pretty easily, which shocked and pleased me for a 60-year-old dirt bike. The bearing retainers and clips for the front hub came out just fine, and the bearings themselves actually feel very good, no play or runout or rough spots. I may just hose them out with WD40, pack them full of grease, and go with them. The front fork top cap bolts came out fine, and the forks released from their tapers in the steering head with a few sharp whacks with a brass lump hammer. RF Whately's fork tools came in handy there from the tool set that I got last year when he retired ...

The forks tubes are straight, slide easily and have no play or runout, so the bushings are fine. I need to get a strap wrench to release the seal holders - they've got nothing to grab with any of the special tools. The forks are still full of oil, and there's only a little water in there, so I may run a Seal Doctor around the seals and let 'em go. They're not hard to get to later.

One thing I would like to see if any of the panel has in their parts boxes is a pair of Headlight Mounting Ears for a C15S. They're missing off of this, and the PO made up a headlight mount out of flat strap steel, which works but I'd rather have the ears while I've got the fork apart. Besides looking better, the ears also provide a spot for the fork gaiters to mount at the top - otherwise, they're just flapping open, or clamped to the spring, which doesn't seal anything. Any ideas for a source for these?

Thanks!

Lannis


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Seal holder could be the type that have the notches inside???? The tool is a round cylinder with a T handle and there are two small “tabs” on the cylinder opposite of the T handle.

I have lots of headlight mounts……but have no clue what front end you have.

Pretty much all my stuff is for the duplex frame…..not the gooseneck. I don’t know if they interchange?

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Originally Posted by Lannis
......... I need to get a strap wrench to release the seal holders - they've got nothing to grab with any of the special tools. The forks are still full of oil, and there's only a little water in there, so I may run a Seal Doctor around the seals and let 'em go. .......
Don't use a strap wrench. It is too easy to crush the thin part of the seal holder. I've done it myself.

Originally Posted by Gordon Gray
Seal holder could be the type that have the notches inside???? The tool is a round cylinder with a T handle and there are two small “tabs” on the cylinder opposite of the T handle......
This is true. Old BSA forks take a special tool. Best to make, borrow or buy one.

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[Linked Image]

Maybe this one....or something like it???

I'd have to do some research on fork ears.....Mine go back to 64-65??? But mostly 67-70.

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Originally Posted by Gordon Gray
[Linked Image]

Maybe this one....or something like it???

I'd have to do some research on fork ears.....Mine go back to 64-65??? But mostly 67-70.

FWIW
I have found that when using that tool it is very hard to keep sufficient downward pressure on it to prevent it jumping out of the slots damaging either the slots or the tool
However if you invert the whole shebang ( drain the oil first or it gets very messy ) , stand on the arms of the tool an use either the actual axel or a dummy bar through the axel hole it works a whole lot better


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Originally Posted by Stuart Kirk
Originally Posted by Lannis
......... I need to get a strap wrench to release the seal holders - they've got nothing to grab with any of the special tools. The forks are still full of oil, and there's only a little water in there, so I may run a Seal Doctor around the seals and let 'em go. .......
Don't use a strap wrench. It is too easy to crush the thin part of the seal holder. I've done it myself.

Excellent and perceptive observation, that. But I didn't read it until I got back from the store with a nice new strap wrench and crushed the thin part of the seal holder.

Now I've got a bit of handwork to do while I consider where to get the proper tool.....!

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I had this tool ( the one pictured) NOT fit a set of BSA unit single seal holders. It was a couple of decades back but the tool was new and purchased to do front end rebuilds. The tool wouldn’t fit (diameter too large to fit inside the holder). I don’t remember which holders it wouldn’t fit but I do remember completely destroying the holders getting them off.

Probably back when I was stripping down parts to put on the shelf?

Just saying to double check if you end up buying the tool sight unseen. Pretty disappointing to wait for a new correct tool and then find out it doesn’t fit.

That said……I’ve done other BSA unit single fork rebuilds using this tool….so I know it does fit some seal holders.

You’re going to need another tool to make the task easier…….I’ll take pics of that tonight. Don Roe had borrowed mine and just returned them…..good timing.

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I have never had much luck with a strap wrench.

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I could have sworn I typed a reply to this thread…..oh well

For the BSA tool to remove/install seal holders….I had fits getting mine to work well, finally took a triangular file and carefully cut a taper on each tang. It isn’t a lot, but when you twist the tool in either direction, the taper draws the tangs onto the slot. Big improvement.

Lannis - I have 2 set of new fork sleeves with ears. These are the style that are full length and don’t require gaiters that are gonna crack and fail. I am reasonably certain one set is for B40 Enduro/ early B44. The other set…I have no clue. Measure between the underside of the top triple clamp and top of lower triple clamp and I will see if either will fit. Probably measure OD of the seal holder as well. If either set will work, I can bring them to York and we can make a deal.


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That BSA Unit Single "Front End" rabbit hole has sucked me in a BUNCH of times. I read and compare......figure out what I need.

Then completely forget all the details.....in a week or so.

Lightweight, heavyweight, C15, B40, rod damper, shuttle.

Headlight brackets.......1959-1972 there were several......and some came in both short and long versions. (Rupert's Everything But....)

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Thanks, guys, for helping with this job, as I try to figure out how yet one more BSA model is put together, finding one more set of manuals, getting one more set of special tools, figuring out exactly what parts fit this model..

I got the seal holders off by methods which do me no real credit and with which methods I will not disappoint or disgust readers of this forum. However, they are in no worse shape than when I started, and they will still function if I can find no better ones. I AM going to replace the seals, but the bushings feel like they are in excellent nick so this is as far as fork leg disassembly will go.

I've taken a notion that I want to put gaitors back on it for that Scrambler look, so will measure tomorrow and get the relevant dimensions.

Tomorrow is take the steering head off;. I was hoping that the action would be smoother but it's very notchy, so new races are probably in order. I hope they just tap out with a long drift?

Bedtime!

Lannis


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Originally Posted by Lannis
......new races are probably in order. I hope they just tap out with a long drift? .....
Hopefully they do drift out because.....

Depending on how hard it was ridden, the races may just fall out, which means the housings are beaten out and new races won't be a tight fit.

There are several ways to deal with this.

Heat and blacksmith work to reshape frame around a steel plug slightly undersize of a new race.

Shims a la magneto insulcups.

JB weld.

Be very careful to not notice it ie: Just ignore it.

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Lannis……gaitors/gaiters are better now than they were a few years back.

Last set I got from Peter Quick have been crack/split free for 4 years now. Before that the new ones would split in less than a year.

I probably have a set of headlight ears you can use because I “ think” after looking at your photos closely I know what forks you have.

I’m just not familiar with Goose Neck bikes.

There is another fork tool……I homemade mine but a BFH might work? They’re the kind of tools you don’t need very often….like my empty set of cases with a window cut in them so you can view the tranny bits in place. Those type of tools are the ones I don’t mind loaning out. I mean, how often do you plan on taking that front end apart?

I’ve rebuilt “most” my bikes front ends and until I have time to start another project ( not planning that any time soon) those tools will just sit in the tool box unused.

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Rupert Ratio single manual volume 3. Theres even a picture of yours on the front cover. Should be energy transfer as the trials bike.The distributer has a five degree advance. normal road bike 12 or 15 degrees. hope this helps

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Originally Posted by Gordon Gray
[Linked Image]........
Originally Posted by Gordon Gray
I had this tool ( the one pictured) NOT fit a set of BSA unit single seal holders. .........
Gordon, and anyone else that's interested, I think I just learned why that tool of yours might not always fit.

I'm piecing together a set of forks for an A10 basket case I never should have bought and just had a good look at my selection of various seal holders including a reproduction one. It turns out the ID of the spring end on the repop is quite a bit smaller and my home made tool from years ago won't fit in it. The other odd thing is the seal housing measures larger than an oem one even though it screws on the slider nicely.

SO that may be an answer but also, for anyone rebuilding these forks, you might be better off with original seal holders if at all possible. But then, we probably already knew that.

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[Linked Image]........[/quote]
Originally Posted by Gordon Gray
I had this tool ( the one pictured) NOT fit a set of BSA unit single seal holders. .........
Gordon, and anyone else that's interested, I think I just learned why that tool of yours might not always fit.

I'm piecing together a set of forks for an A10 basket case I never should have bought and just had a good look at my selection of various seal holders including a reproduction one. It turns out the ID of the spring end on the repop is quite a bit smaller and my home made tool from years ago won't fit in it. The other odd thing is the seal housing measures larger than an oem one even though it screws on the slider nicely.

SO that may be an answer but also, for anyone rebuilding these forks, you might be better off with original seal holders if at all possible. But then, we probably already knew that.
[/quote]

Thank you Stuart........I don't remember what exactly I was working on back then. I do remember waiting for that tool to arrive only to have it NOT fit into the seal holder I was working on. BUT.......that tool has done a half dozen other unit single front ends since then. At the time, I was thinking there must be "another" tool I didn't have but couldn't find it mentioned anywhere.

[Linked Image]

Here's my other front end tools......home made and kinda rough but they get the job done. Made from top nuts (threads) with the heads cut off.

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Originally Posted by Gordon Gray
......other front end tools......home made and kinda rough.....
Right on. I'm not sure how one would assemble a BSA front end with oem headlight ears if he didn't have those tools.

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Originally Posted by Stuart Kirk
Originally Posted by Gordon Gray
......other front end tools......home made and kinda rough.....
Right on. I'm not sure how one would assemble a BSA front end with oem headlight ears if he didn't have those tools.

Got 'em, they're the same tools I use on my '69 Firebird Scrambler.

I got the seal holders unscrewed off the sliders, now I'm trying to figure out two things:

1) I don't plan to replace the fork bushings, as everything is tight and straight, so I was hoping I would not have to disassemble the forks any further. However, on this bike, the fork tube has about a .060" increase in diameter from the area where the seals run to the top of the fork. Since the old seals were shot anyway, I went ahead and pulled them and the seal holder up over the top of the fork, but the increase in diameter made it a hard pull and I'm afraid that trying to push new seals on that way would ruin them.

On my Guzzis with similar issues, I wrapped the fork tube with a single layer of Saran Wrap clingfilm, oiled it, and the new seals went on with some convincing but without damage. Will that work on this fork, or must I disassemble the fork tube from the slider in order to put the seal on from the other direction?

2) Is a special tool necessary to remove the seal from the seal holder, and install the new one?

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Originally Posted by Lannis
......on this bike, the fork tube has about a .060" increase in diameter from the area where the seals run to the top of the fork. Since the old seals were shot anyway, I went ahead and pulled them and the seal holder up over the top of the fork, but the increase in diameter made it a hard pull and I'm afraid that trying to push new seals on that way would ruin them.........
I'd be worried about ruining the seal too. the upper surface of the tube is rough and could tear up the new seal. Probably better to disassemble the forks. If you do, mark the parts so they can be reassembled in the same orientation for smoother operation.


Originally Posted by Lannis
......2) Is a special tool necessary to remove the seal from the seal holder, and install the new one?....
Not really. For disassembly a wide blade screwdriver or a chisel with a flat end applied alternately in the notches works fine. It's a lot like knocking out a wheel bearing race but more delicate.

Installing however is much easier with an accurately sized driver and a press. The threads grab the edges of the seal if it cocks even the slightest bit so you have to guard against that.

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All right, Service Bulletin 426(A) "Competition Forks" is the right one.

Got the forks apart, not hard once you have the service bulletin and the above advice to go with it.

[Linked Image]

Internals are lovely, bushings tight, just needs new fork seals after all these years.

Now working on the front wheel.

Big nut off, brake plate/shoes out ... shoes and drum look good, just a little handwork and adjustment and they should be fine. Bearing retainer ring off (I actually have the right pin wrench) ...

[Linked Image]

Now the manual says "Drive out the R/H or brake side bearing by striking the L/H side of the spindle with a copper hammer."

[Linked Image]

This doesn't look very inviting, first of all because I tried everything to get this black dust cover off and it wouldn't move, and secondly, if I hit the end of the axle, it's going to put pressure on the inner race, and I don't typically drive bearings out by the inner race. Doesn't matter in this case, since I'm replacing them with new bearings, but .... should I go ahead and whale away on the axle?

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Originally Posted by Lannis
......but .... should I go ahead and whale away on the axle?......
Methinks I have a dim memory of my dear old mom once promising to "beat the whaley" out of me for something I may or may not have done. Not sure if this applies or why I even mention it.

But I suppose trying a judicious tap on each end with a HEAVY copper hammer would be a good start. It might move more easily in one direction than the other. Not much else you can do without a big press. Maybe heat up the brake drum side of the hub first?

And "Whaley away."

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The copper hammer judiciously applied was just the thing.

Definitely needs new bearings, maybe the vendors have new dust covers and seal holders too, although the old ones will work.

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Glad to hear you got the RH bearing out by beating the LH axle with a copper mallet or similar.

The left side bearing should come out after the removal of the retaining circlip and use of a suitable size drift from the RH side.

The cover plate on the LH side is usually sort of crimped over the edges of the hub, so you have to lever it off carefully.

I would swap the bearings for fully sealed types which are maintenance-free.

I had a C15SS way back in the late 1970s and learned a lot about these bikes, I now have a 1968 B44 Shooting Star and the design is essentially the same.


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Originally Posted by gunner
I would swap the bearings for fully sealed types which are maintenance-free.
That's definitely the best approach.

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Originally Posted by gunner
Glad to hear you got the RH bearing out by beating the LH axle with a copper mallet or similar.

The left side bearing should come out after the removal of the retaining circlip and use of a suitable size drift from the RH side.

.


I'm glad you said something about the circlip on the off-side. Mine didn't have one, so now I'll know to add one to my parts order so it'll be right. Easy to miss that little groove if you're not looking.....

Spent some time wiring a new LED panel into my shop to improve the lighting. Nothing more appealing than a warm, well-lit shop on a cold winter's day!

Whole front end's apart down to the loose ball bearings. Tomorrow, time with buckets of cleaner and WD40 to scrape down through 60 years worth of grease and see what I need. Gotta pick out some tires, have already had some good suggestions earlier in the thread. Not sure if I can true up the slightly warped rim ... if I can, I'll keep it and run it like that, if not, I'll probably lace up a 21" unless I get a flash of originality conscience ...

Lannis

Last edited by Lannis; 01/07/23 11:24 pm.

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Originally Posted by Lannis
So, in preparation for playing in the woods and running Moto Giro events......
Where do you find info on USA Moto Giro events? Some bored rainy day California googling turned up nothing current.

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Originally Posted by Stuart Kirk
Originally Posted by Lannis
So, in preparation for playing in the woods and running Moto Giro events......
Where do you find info on USA Moto Giro events? Some bored rainy day California googling turned up nothing current.

Stuart……that’s a tough one. There are folks on here that have a lot more experience with the GIROS than me but since you didn’t get answer yet I thought I’d try to help.

As far as I know there isn’t an actual web site but they have a presence on Facebook. It’s put on by one of the vintage racing groups. Find them on Facebook and you can find some contact information if you want to ask questions.

Seems like they limit attendance to around 100 riders but lately from what I can tell they haven’t been turning people away.

I think they used to hold some out West…..but I haven’t heard of any of those happening the last few years

I’ve been to 4……all held in absolutely beautiful parts of the country. I did those by myself and I won’t do that again. If there’s a group of BritBike folks I’ll gladly join them.


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Lannis,

Excited to see another BSA 250 possibly hitting the Moto-Giro circuit this year. Do you think you can have it together by the late August event in Virginia?

We will be shaking down our bikes in April or May in western Virginia (Independence/Sparta area) if you'd like to join. I have a 62' C15 that will hopefully be ready in time and a B25 backup.

Chad

9096138A-FDCB-4AB9-8D1F-51CB44234869.jpeg
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Originally Posted by ChadB
Lannis,

Excited to see another BSA 250 possibly hitting the Moto-Giro circuit this year. Do you think you can have it together by the late August event in Virginia?

We will be shaking down our bikes in April or May in western Virginia (Independence/Sparta area) if you'd like to join. I have a 62' C15 that will hopefully be ready in time and a B25 backup.

Chad

I'm workin' on it here, boss. Working on the front end (brakes, forks, wheel) this week, hope to move to the rear end (wheel, sprockets, chain, Shocks) in a couple weeks, then strip the tank, seat, etc off the top and work on the wiring, which is the simplest wiring I've seen yet. Not sure if the ignition or the charging system works yet.

The big unknown will be the motor. I know it turns over but haven't checked the compression or bottom end yet. If it needs work, I may be able to do it myself with help here, or maybe there's someone who can zoom through a rebuild on one of these motors tout suite ..... ?

Hope to get it done, really sounds like fun.

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Can someone with C15 riding experience comment on final gearing?

The Book says that a stock '62 C15 comes with (front-rear teeth) 17-45, but that the Scrambler should have 16-56 teeth. That seems to be awfully low gearing for a bike that will be used 50% street/50% trail. I don't want the thing screaming and threatening to chuck its pushrods at 50 MPH. (The Trials spec is even lower, 16-60, but that's a special case).

What's a good compromise for street and dirt? I realize that the little thing only has 16 or so horsepower, and don't want to lug it, but .....

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Originally Posted by Lannis
Can someone with C15 riding experience comment on final gearing?........What's a good compromise for street and dirt?
For years I rode a '65 C15S on our local BSA club dual sport rides. Some were mountain routes, others were Mojave desert rides. It was always the smallest bike but managed to keep up ok. I ran 17/53 gearing and it had a close ratio gearbox. It cruised easily at 45-50 on the pavement sections but I admit it was a carefully built engine with an .080" over piston because I kinda knew what I was up against. It would do 70 flat out on level ground. My standard joke was "it's geared for 80 at 8,000 rpm" which of course it had no hope of ever getting to.

My only real issue other than a general lack of power was low gear. Any real hill climbing was a no go because 1st was too tall. This would be less of an issue if your bike has a wide ratio box in it.

Oh, and I weighed around 215 suited up with backpack and tools. Hope this helps.

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Lannis,
I have a several rear sprockets for unit singles and maybe a drive sprocket. When I go to the shop today, I will see if I can find them. I am not sure of the mounting diameter and bolt holes. You are welcome to them if they turn out to be something you can use. I have changed a few over the years to get the gearing suitable for my riding but that was mostly road work and comfortable cruising around 55 mph.
Mr Mike

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Originally Posted by Mr Mike
Lannis,
I have a several rear sprockets for unit singles and maybe a drive sprocket. When I go to the shop today, I will see if I can find them. I am not sure of the mounting diameter and bolt holes. You are welcome to them if they turn out to be something you can use. I have changed a few over the years to get the gearing suitable for my riding but that was mostly road work and comfortable cruising around 55 mph.
Mr Mike

That'd be great. I need to see exactly what sprockets I have now ... the front one might be worn enough so that I have to replace it whether it's the right size or not, the rear one is rusty but salvagable. Haven't checked to see what the compatibility is ... apparently the C15 and the B40 have lots of crossover parts, don't know about C15 vs B25/44/50.

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The chain line is different between the cooking C15 and the B40, believe the competition C15's followed the B40, the difference is significant. I used a C15 comp wheel in a B44 frame using a B40 rear drum and bolt on sprocket with no issues. These were 428 chain and I used a DID X ring chain.

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Originally Posted by kommando
The chain line is different between the cooking C15 and the B40, believe the competition C15's followed the B40, the difference is significant. I used a C15 comp wheel in a B44 frame using a B40 rear drum and bolt on sprocket with no issues. These were 428 chain and I used a DID X ring chain.

Sounds like trouble!! My C15S has many features of the "competition" bikes, and some of the "non-competition" bikes, at least by comparison to the available parts diagrams.

Luckily, all the parts are there, and just as luckily, I'm only concerned about what parts will fit and function correctly together, not on original correctness. I suspect there may be some try-and-then-return-and-try-again action with the vendors and guys I'm buying from, but that's OK .....

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Chances are……Mr Mike’s sprockets are 520


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Originally Posted by kommando
The chain line is different between the cooking C15 and the B40,.......
I'm trying to understand this idea. The space where the final drive sprocket fits is quite limited and the sprocket location is basically determined by the side of the final drive bearing the sprocket is cinched up against. I don't see how that would change without making big architecture adjustments to the gearbox and crankcases. All this to say that the final drive sprocket position is what dictates the chain line and C15's and B40's, B44's and so on are the same in that regard..

Now, if we are talking about rear axle spacers to get the sprockets to line up, I'm right on the same page as you. I had to do just that years back when I adapted a QD rear wheel to my '61 C15S. It took a custom spacer or two which was a big deal for me back then but these days is just a minor issue. Same deal adapting a Husky rear wheel to my current C15FSR.

Originally Posted by Lannis
......Sounds like trouble!! .......
Probably not. You will maybe need to make spacers and possibly adjust the dish on the wheel to get everything to work depending on what wheel you decide on.

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Lannis,
My sprockets are all gone. When I sold my last B44, a couple of years ago, I loaded the guy up with all the B44 stuff I had and I guess that included those sprockets. At any rate they are all gone. I could only find some brake parts that escaped my house cleaning. My workshop won't hold as much stuff as yours and sooner or later something has to go to make room for something new. I think I had a 19t front and a 49t, 52t and 56t rear. Not sure if you could have made anything work.

I never knock those little 250's. I rode a B25 in college for a couple of years as a daily rider. At that time, I could not afford anything bigger. It served me pretty well. It was comfortable and capable of 55-60mph in traffic which was about the speed people ran on the old four lanes and boulevards. I had an old leather briefcase that I mounted like a saddlebag on the back to carry my books and lunch back and for to class. The nice thing about a bike is that I never needed a parking sticker, and I could park it with the bicycles right next to the buildings at UT, Knoxville. The car parking lots were sometimes a half mile or more from campus.....but it sure was not so nice when I got out of a night class and it was raining and cold and I had a 12-mile run to the little house we rented out in the country.

Those were the days,
Mr Mike

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Originally Posted by Stuart Kirk
Originally Posted by kommando
The chain line is different between the cooking C15 and the B40,.......
I'm trying to understand this idea. The space where the final drive sprocket fits is quite limited and the sprocket location is basically determined by the side of the final drive bearing the sprocket is cinched up against. I don't see how that would change without making big architecture adjustments to the gearbox and crankcases. All this to say that the final drive sprocket position is what dictates the chain line and C15's and B40's, B44's and so on are the same in that regard..

Now, if we are talking about rear axle spacers to get the sprockets to line up, I'm right on the same page as you. I had to do just that years back when I adapted a QD rear wheel to my '61 C15S. It took a custom spacer or two which was a big deal for me back then but these days is just a minor issue. Same deal adapting a Husky rear wheel to my current C15FSR.

Originally Posted by Lannis
......Sounds like trouble!! .......
Probably not. You will maybe need to make spacers and possibly adjust the dish on the wheel to get everything to work depending on what wheel you decide on.

The C15 frame is different from the B40, they wanted to fit a larger rear tyre to the B40 than the C15 plus larger diameter so rejigged the frame to move the engine over and changed the rear wheel with the integral drum chain teeth to move the teeth over by the same amount , axle length was longer also. Later on for more teeth count options for the comp bikes the made the chain wheel bolt on

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Originally Posted by kommando
The chain line is different between the cooking C15 and the B40,.......
Originally Posted by kommando
.........The C15 frame is different from the B40, they wanted to fit a larger rear tyre to the B40 than the C15........
I still don't get it. Please don't think I'm just being nitpicky. This could be important to how the OP's project goes.

C15T's had a 400x18 rear tire from 1959 onward (both the swan neck and the comp frames), the C15S from 1963 on did too and the very first Victors (that weren't GP's) used the C15 competition frame (with C15 number stamps even), full width C15 rear hub, 400x18 tire and 428 chain.

I just don't see how the chain line would need to be different for a B40 to allow a wider tire. The very first C15T's had a wide tire and everything that followed was based on the same architecture.

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I will leave it to Rupert Ratio, this confirms there are 2 chain lines, one for the cooking C15 and a wider line for C15 comp ie C15S and T including swan neck and B40.

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

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Originally Posted by kommando
I will leave it to Rupert Ratio.......
Thanks for posting the Rupert Ratio page, even though it has sent me right down a rabbit trail. You know how it can be when you think you're right but now you feel a need to prove it, or at least understand things better?

SO, now I'm looking over CBS's oldest C15 parts book which covers at least up to 1962.

Of all the parts that stack up to govern how long the rear axle is or how wide the rear hub assembly is, only two have different numbers, the axle and the hub. One number for the road model and another for competition bikes. The swing arm also has 2 different numbers.

The only difference I see that could be a reason for differing widths of the whole rear hub assembly is the sprockets. The road sprocket is 1 piece with the brake drum. The competition model sports a bolt on sprocket. Could it be that the extra 3/8" RR mentions is simply to make room for the more involved bolt heads, nuts, washers and bosses of the competition style sprocket and brake drum assembly?

Makes sense to me, so even though RR calls it a "wide chain line" setup maybe it's really just a "wide hub assembly" model?

Not sure this will help the OP in any way at all other than to remove some uncertainty but at least for me, that's always useful.

Here's the page. Oh, and notice that the speedo drive is easy to spot, right there on the rear axle.
[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

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Quote
You know how it can be when you think you're right but now you feel a need to prove it, or at least understand things better?

Have a look at the rear engine mount on your C15T, is the rear mount central to the downtube, its central on the C15 cooking model.

The BSA drawing says its moved over to the left on the C15T.

C15 road, mount is central

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

Drawing to confirm engine mount is central on road frame.

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

C15T drawing (matches the C15S and B40 drawings) with rear mount offset to left which moves the engine sprocket over by same amount.

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

So the wide chain line is from the engine being moved across to the left, the Swingarms are also wider with the left side axle plate being further out by the same amount, as per the earlier post where the rear sub frame is moved out on the left side to clear the wider chain line. The B40 combined drum/sprocket has the sprocket teeth offset further to the left than the C15 road.

RR again, which brings us full circle to my first post of 2 chain lines.

Quote
The chain line is different between the cooking C15 and the B40, believe the competition C15's followed the B40, the difference is significant.


[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

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Originally Posted by kommando
The BSA drawing says its moved over to the left on the C15T.......C15 road, mount is central

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

C15T drawing (matches the C15S and B40 drawings) with rear mount offset to left which moves the engine sprocket over by same amount.

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]....
Thank you. Thanks for taking the trouble to post these.

Those drawings showing that BSA actually moved the engine to the left 3/8" on the competition models are the best answer possible and cleared up the question in the back of my mind. All but one of my C15's have been competition models and I have often noticed how the engine was noticeably offset to the left but it never occurred to me that the road model would be different on something like that. Go BSA!!

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Been reading all this with great interest, and will understand it all better when I get tucked into the rear end of the bike. In keeping with my desire not to have disassembled motorcycle bits all over the shop, I'm going to get the front end back assembled before I remove the rear end.

Gordon, got the parts and the seal holder tool you sent; Thanks!. I picked the best two of the short-skirt headlight ears. The seal holders were all about 1/2" longer than the ones I had. Not exactly sure what the difference would have been, but I think I'll stick with the seal holders I have.

Assembling the forks this evening; went back and looked at the past 18 years of Britbike correspondence to see what the modern 21st century bike fixer uses at the bottom of the seal holders to provide a tighter seal rather than using "#5 twine". I feel like that's in the area of picking oakum out of the worn-out preventer backstay and packing it into the gap with hot tar, arrr matey bear a hand there. I don't have an O-ring of the right size, so I'm going with the PTFE tape, wrapped around flat one turn, then twisted into a "string", and tighten the holder down on that.

bsasingles.com sent me all the right seals and bearings and such, along with volumes 1 and 3 of Rupert Ratio .... should have gotten 2 also but the Scotch in me (well, north German, they can be just as tight) didn't have arms long enough to reach the bottom of my pocket, so next time.

Interesting problem to solve; the stud onto which the central holding nut for the fuel tank threads just spins when I turn the nut, and I can't see any way to hold it. I'm going to try an air wrench and just get it off with inertia, but the dozy PO used a Nylock nut so it probably won't just spin off. That's for tomorrow ....

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Lannis......I think the only difference in those short ears are the "indents" (for lack of a better term). But my guess is at least one of the short ones could be Victor Special? so 66-70?

My bikes start around 64 with the duplex C15C frames.......I really don't know anything about the earlier swan neck frames .....sorry.

I had no clue those holders would be longer?

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Originally Posted by Lannis
......Interesting problem to solve; the stud onto which the central holding nut for the fuel tank threads just spins when I turn the nut, and I can't see any way to hold it........
That stud notches into a slotted fitting on the top frame tube, and similar to a carriage bolt, the stud has flats under the head to engage that slot and keep it from turning.

Who knows if it still has an original stud or how beat up it is, but simply lifting up on the tank to try and better engage the flats while turning the nut may be all it needs. Another alternative? Try lifting just one side of the tank to side load the stud so there's enough friction on it to remove the nut.

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Originally Posted by Stuart Kirk
Originally Posted by Lannis
......Interesting problem to solve; the stud onto which the central holding nut for the fuel tank threads just spins when I turn the nut, and I can't see any way to hold it........
That stud notches into a slotted fitting on the top frame tube, and similar to a carriage bolt, the stud has flats under the head to engage that slot and keep it from turning.

Who knows if it still has an original stud or how beat up it is, but simply lifting up on the tank to try and better engage the flats while turning the nut may be all it needs. Another alternative? Try lifting just one side of the tank to side load the stud so there's enough friction on it to remove the nut.

Good idea, but I'll need to get some help, just me lifting the tank with one hand while holding the rattle gun with the other isn't enough. It's a solid tank although it needs refinishing, so I don't want to damage it getting it off .... I'll buy Fay dinner after church tomorrow, then let her know what the afternoon holds .... !!

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Originally Posted by Stuart Kirk
Originally Posted by Lannis
......Interesting problem to solve; the stud onto which the central holding nut for the fuel tank threads just spins when I turn the nut, and I can't see any way to hold it........
That stud notches into a slotted fitting on the top frame tube, and similar to a carriage bolt, the stud has flats under the head to engage that slot and keep it from turning.

Who knows if it still has an original stud or how beat up it is, but simply lifting up on the tank to try and better engage the flats while turning the nut may be all it needs.


That worked. It just had a hex-head bolt and a spacer under there, I can't make out how the PO got it on in the first place. My son pulled up hard on the tank while I put the rattler on it, and it was off in three seconds. The frame fitting is intact, so just need a new bolt and rubber bushing....

Lannis


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Originally Posted by Lannis
Originally Posted by Stuart Kirk
Originally Posted by Lannis
......Interesting problem to solve; the stud onto which the central holding nut for the fuel tank threads just spins when I turn the nut, and I can't see any way to hold it........
That stud notches into a slotted fitting on the top frame tube, and similar to a carriage bolt, the stud has flats under the head to engage that slot and keep it from turning.

Who knows if it still has an original stud or how beat up it is, but simply lifting up on the tank to try and better engage the flats while turning the nut may be all it needs.


That worked. It just had a hex-head bolt and a spacer under there, I can't make out how the PO got it on in the first place. My son pulled up hard on the tank while I put the rattler on it, and it was off in three seconds. The frame fitting is intact, so just need a new bolt and rubber bushing....

Lannis

There are a number of different length tank bolts, spacers and rubber bushings which can be a minefield, tanks differ too so pick the replacements carefully.

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kommando wrote….”There are a number of different length tank bolts, spacers and rubber bushings which can be a minefield, tanks differ too so pick the replacements carefully.”

Amen……it’s a simple set up. The “spacer” which IME seems to be missing on a lot of set ups….is the key. It places the rubber buffer where it needs to be and creates a stop for tightening the nut.

I’ve witnessed a lot of bodges which usually means something isn’t working like it should……a lot of time it’s just a carriage bolt slipped in there without a spacer.

The correct parts also help with install and removal…..kinda like the engineers who designed them had a clue.


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Something I need to get a head start on ... the carburetor. I have not examined the Monoblock that is on the bike yet.

I want an easy starting, reliably idling, good running bike. ASSUMING that the existing carb body and slide are not warped or worn out, what does the panel think is the best option?

1) Rebuild the existing carb with a complete kit including correct jetting? (Given my budget goals, this would be the financially preferred option.)

2) Buy a new Monobloc?

3) Buy whatever the modern trouble free upgrade carb for these bikes is?

I don't want to do it twice. What would you guys do?

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Monobloc's were better made than the Concentrics, so if you want to stay original then a rebuilt Monobloc with sleeved slide, new jets etc would be the way to go. Exception would be if the current Monobloc body has been warped in which case go new Monobloc.

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Originally Posted by Gordon Gray
kommando wrote….”There are a number of different length tank bolts, spacers and rubber bushings which can be a minefield, tanks differ too so pick the replacements carefully.”

Amen……it’s a simple set up. The “spacer” which IME seems to be missing on a lot of set ups….is the key. It places the rubber buffer where it needs to be and creates a stop for tightening the nut.

I’ve witnessed a lot of bodges which usually means something isn’t working like it should……a lot of time it’s just a carriage bolt slipped in there without a spacer.

The correct parts also help with install and removal…..kinda like the engineers who designed them had a clue.

So far, the items that I've gotten from bsasingles.com have all fit and all been for the right bike. I'll order the set-up for the tank mount for this bike (including the rubber bushing, correct bolt, correct spacer, and the three rubber support spacers) by part number and I'll bet they'll be OK.

Bad news, Gordon - I thought that the short headlight ears that you sent "on speculation" would fit, but when I went to fit them up, they are about one inch too long between the top and bottom clamps. I'm hoping that parts 40-5099 and 40-5101 will be the right ones, although I'm almost crying that NOS ones are $140 a pair. Since they not only mount the headlight BUT provide a mounting flange for the tops of the gaiters, you really can't do without them unless you want your forks filling up with water..

Now that I have to pay for new ears, I will try to rebuild the existing Monobloc rather than pay $375 for a new one. The existing carb is crusty and ugly, but the slide seems to be a good fit in the bore, so I'll get a rebuild kit and add a couple things like the gas inlet fitting to it. I really don't like the stock cork push-pull petcocks, so I'll upgrade to a "modern" lever tap.

I notice that there is only one gas outlet on the tank. It looks like the gas on the other side of the tank saddle is trapped there with no way out unless you tip the bike over. Is that really how you get "reserve" on this old-timer? All my other bikes either have two petcocks, one of which is used as the reserve, or a fuel line connecting the two tank sides, with one petcock with a "reserve" standpipe.

Wiring looks pretty darn simple, especially with the high-beam switch right on the headlight shell. I'll assemble my own harness for it, I think.

Onward and upward ... Rear end is next after I get the forks back on when the next order comes in. I'll eventually get to the motor, ignition, alternator, clutch, tranny, etc ....

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I was afraid of that Lannis. Completely different part numbers but you never know until you try.

Just don’t have anything around here for those early swan necks.

I’m curious though……does the seal holder tool fit the early holders or did I strike out completely?


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Originally Posted by Gordon Gray
I was afraid of that Lannis. Completely different part numbers but you never know until you try.

Just don’t have anything around here for those early swan necks.

I’m curious though……does the seal holder tool fit the early holders or did I strike out completely?

"Never know until you try" is correct; I couldn't tell if the ones you sent were the right size or not until I actually "offered them up" to the forks, then found that both the ears and seal holders were just a LITTLE bit too large for the C15S forks.

The seal holder tool, however, turned the fork seal installation from a bodge with a pipe wrench into a leak-free proper job. I used PTFE yellow thread sealer on the threads and gap, and predict no leaks. Thanks! I'll get it all back to you at TSMR, or send it if you need it sooner.

Into gas tanks, wiring, seat and rear end .... the spec calls for a "1/2" x .335"" rear chain. I assume that this is "520" chain in modern parlance? I know that O-ring chains won't fit an A65; will they fit (in case I decide to try it) on the C15?

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Could be 428 chain???? If you’re not in a big hurry I think I have some left over from my TL125 days??? But it’s been awhile since I looked at that stuff.

Thanks to Dennis Brown (RIP) I use X ring chain on all my unit singles.

That last unit single I purchased had 530 chain mounted on 520 sprockets…..a true testament to the versatility of a BSA.

I’m glad to hear the tool worked……so it wasn’t a completely wasted effort. I’m not planning on doing another front end this year….no worries.

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I don't have any 428 Lannis.....I strike out again

BUT......if you figure out a way to use 520.....I can turn you on to one of Dennis' X ring chains. The only downside is the side plates are "pressed on" so it helps to have the correct tools to get them on and off which there's a good chance you already have those??

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With my early rear hub from a B40 I used 428 chain, plenty of clearance so its X ring.

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The bike should be 428 if still stock? ( as much a question as a statement) That doesn’t mean that’s what it’s set up for. Easy enough to measure the sprockets.


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Originally Posted by Gordon Gray
The bike should be 428 if still stock? ( as much a question as a statement) That doesn’t mean that’s what it’s set up for. Easy enough to measure the sprockets.

So the sprockets are 23 teeth on the gearbox and 68 teeth on the rear wheel, and for 428 chain. This is a .338 ratio. Stock C15S gearing was 16t front and 56 tooth rear, or a .285 ratio. I'll reread the "recommended gearing" answers to my question earlier, but my current question is ... Since both sprockets are worn and need replacing (and so does the chain), is there any advantage to installing sprockets for 520 chain, and using a 520 instead of 428?

I mean, it's not like the bike is going to make massive horsepower and pull a 428 chain in two. A 428 would be lighter (and I want the bike as light as I can make it) and it's what it had stock. Would a 520 be an upgrade or just more beef the bike doesn't need .... ?

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Originally Posted by Lannis
Originally Posted by Gordon Gray
The bike should be 428 if still stock? ( as much a question as a statement) That doesn’t mean that’s what it’s set up for. Easy enough to measure the sprockets.

So the sprockets are 23 teeth on the gearbox and 68 teeth on the rear wheel, and for 428 chain. This is a .338 ratio. Stock C15S gearing was 16t front and 56 tooth rear, or a .285 ratio. I'll reread the "recommended gearing" answers to my question earlier, but my current question is ... Since both sprockets are worn and need replacing (and so does the chain), is there any advantage to installing sprockets for 520 chain, and using a 520 instead of 428?

I mean, it's not like the bike is going to make massive horsepower and pull a 428 chain in two. A 428 would be lighter (and I want the bike as light as I can make it) and it's what it had stock. Would a 520 be an upgrade or just more beef the bike doesn't need .... ?

Lannis

Be careful, look inside the primary first and check the crankshaft primary sprocket, there were 3 different teeth counts, 18.23 and 28 which will affect the overall gearing.

520 normal chain has no advantage over 428 X ring, well it will actually wear quicker and be heavier.

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Originally Posted by kommando
Originally Posted by Lannis
Originally Posted by Gordon Gray
The bike should be 428 if still stock? ( as much a question as a statement) That doesn’t mean that’s what it’s set up for. Easy enough to measure the sprockets.

So the sprockets are 23 teeth on the gearbox and 68 teeth on the rear wheel, and for 428 chain. This is a .338 ratio. Stock C15S gearing was 16t front and 56 tooth rear, or a .285 ratio. I'll reread the "recommended gearing" answers to my question earlier, but my current question is ... Since both sprockets are worn and need replacing (and so does the chain), is there any advantage to installing sprockets for 520 chain, and using a 520 instead of 428?

I mean, it's not like the bike is going to make massive horsepower and pull a 428 chain in two. A 428 would be lighter (and I want the bike as light as I can make it) and it's what it had stock. Would a 520 be an upgrade or just more beef the bike doesn't need .... ?

Lannis

Be careful, look inside the primary first and check the crankshaft primary sprocket, there were 3 different teeth counts, 18.23 and 28 which will affect the overall gearing.

520 normal chain has no advantage over 428 X ring, well it will actually wear quicker and be heavier.

Good point about the primary gearing, thanks. And I'll stick with the 428 chain, and try an xring. It's all got to come apart anyhow.

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Work continues. I received a pair of NOS ($!$!) headlight ears from bsasingles in a 50-year-old original sealed package, along with the correct fuel tank mounting bolt and spacers. It's all the right stuff.

Got Rupert Ratio volume 2, so I'm researching what I'll have to do to get a proper air filter, side cover, and battery mount.

I'm replacing the cork on the Ewarts petcock, my son is working the front hub tin cover smooth, I'm cleaning and oiling the "cosmetics" (tank, bars, fork clamps, oil seal holders, wheel rims), because so far I've spent $300 on parts and $100 on books, so anything that will functionally work for this working woods-and-road bike is being reused for the sake of the budget. All the bearings, cables, rubber, and seals are being replaced, along with chain and sprockets, and I haven't even peeped into the engine yet. I still have to true up the front wheel (it's a fiddly job) and install a front tire before I can finish the front end. I'm doing the bike one section at a time - front end first, back end second, motor next, then tinware and wiring. No completely disassembled project for me any more!

I'll probably be asking for folks to root around in their parts-I-haven't-used-in-25-years stashes as I come across unobtainium things I need .... just think of the pleasure in being a part of getting a 60-year-old BSA back on the road!!!

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Hey Lannis…..

Not sure how much of a stickler you are for original, but a Yamaha TTR90 battery box can be buried in a number of places on a unit single. It uses a YT4B battery which is tiny.

The battery boxes are cheap on fleaBay, batteries are under $30 on fleaBay as well….


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Originally Posted by Rich B
Hey Lannis…..

Not sure how much of a stickler you are for original, but a Yamaha TTR90 battery box can be buried in a number of places on a unit single. It uses a YT4B battery which is tiny.

The battery boxes are cheap on fleaBay, batteries are under $30 on fleaBay as well….

Thanks, good to know that that's one possible way to go. I don't know exactly what tinware I need yet ... there's a couple combinations of air cleaners and side-covers that might be "right", but I'm not going to be a stickler about originality at this point, since those things are easily upgraded later if I want.

Also, there's nothing but the ignition, headlight, taillight, and horn stressing the electrical system, so a very small 6v battery will do just fine for this.

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Originally Posted by Lannis
..........I don't know exactly what tinware I need yet .........
The LH side tool box is shaped like a mirror image of the oil tank and held on with 2 thumb nuts. There is a plate of sorts that it mounts up against. Here's a photo from my owner's manual. It is the road model but the competition models are basically the same.

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

The air filter is basically a joke for our drier dustier American conditions, at least the western US. And since it can be covered up with tinware, you can hide whatever you like in there.

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In the UK there are lots of bantam parts which on the tinware side look like C15 but do not fit. On my battery tray I modified a C15 tray to take a later B25 type rubber band battery strap so different sized batteries could be fitted.

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At the recent Talmag Trophy trials event, I managed to photo a nice BSA C15 trials bike, see below.

The bike appears to have the chrome rear Shocks you are after and also some other mods:-
- looks like the handle bar levers have been changed for modern equivalents and also the throttle.
- a hand made silencer has been used and fits snugly under the rear frame member.
- an alloy replacement oil tank has been used, dont know from where, maybe Sammy Miller parts, see http://www.sammymiller.info/
- Sammy Miller also sells air filters and side panels, so maybe worth a call.

C15-TRIALS.jpg
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Originally Posted by gunner
At the recent Talmag Trophy trials event, I managed to photo a nice BSA C15 trials bike, see below.

The bike appears to have the chrome rear Shocks you are after and also some other mods:-
- looks like the handle bar levers have been changed for modern equivalents and also the throttle.
- a hand made silencer has been used and fits snugly under the rear frame member.
- an alloy replacement oil tank has been used, dont know from where, maybe Sammy Miller parts, see http://www.sammymiller.info/
- Sammy miller also sells air filters and side panels, so maybe worth a call.

That C15T sure has a lot of pretty mods on it to lighten it up. Probably lost 30 pounds just in the wheels! Lots of custom work there to make what looks like a competitive vintage trials bike .....

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Originally Posted by Lannis
.......Probably lost 30 pounds just in the wheels!........
Pretty accurate guess. That's about exactly how much putting Husqvarna wheels on my C15 lightened it up. Very much worth doing.

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