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Thanks, Gary. I only want to remove the breaker plate to lube the AAU bob weight pivots and inspect it. I am using page A10 of the shop manual for reference here. The manual talks about the dry lube on the spindle shaft but I don't think they foresaw this same maintenance after 52 years! But if the mechanism is free to rotate, maybe that's good enough?


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I'm not familiar with the dry lube. Mine has a small piece of felt that rubs on the surface of the shaft and lobe. I put one drop of 3-IN-One oil on it. Originally, the felt pad looked like it had some type of grease impregnating it. It was almost waxy feeling, probably from age. One thing I was warned about on the AAU is that the springs get weak with age. I purchased a new set of springs for the AAU I installed. Installation of the springs was very easy before the AAU was installed. I'm not sure if that can be easily done with the AAU already installed.


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Thanks Gary
I'm going to link a picture from BSA Unit Singles to illustrate
[Linked Image from bsaunitsingles.com]
The contact breaker cam is shown in the picture around the center spindle, on which it rotates to advance the timing. That's where the dry lube would be, between the cam and the spindle. I've attached the text from page A10 of the manual where the AAU lubrication is discussed. I'm not sure how it will get displayed on this post because I'm new at this!
Anyway, I want to lubricate the AAU pivot points but I wondered whether, over 50+ years, whether the dry lube breaks down? Maybe the answer is that if the cam is frozen you just replace the AAU?

Workshop manuel AAU service.JPG

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I wonder if the dry lubricant is something like graphite? The NOS AAU I received from BSA Unit Singles was very oily, including the area between the spindle and the cam. I didn't apply any lubricant to this area since it already had an oil film on it. My old AAU was worn out, but also had a pin broken off. I'm not sure how that could have happened as it happened before I purchased the bike.


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Originally Posted by Gary Caines
I wonder if the dry lubricant is something like graphite? The NOS AAU I received from BSA Unit Singles was very oily, including the area between the spindle and the cam. I didn't apply any lubricant to this area since it already had an oil film on it. My old AAU was worn out, but also had a pin broken off. I'm not sure how that could have happened as it happened before I purchased the bike.

If it was the 4ca cam, these only had one peg in the first place, they were also 11 degree units as opposed to 12 degree for the 6ca.

Interesting about the dry lubrication though. I've come across several of these where they have seized solid. I normally strip them apart, clean, polish then re-assemble with fresh grease. I don't usually oil anything else apart from the wick.


Originally Posted by Jim Harris
Anyway, I want to lubricate the AAU pivot points but I wondered whether, over 50+ years, whether the dry lube breaks down? Maybe the answer is that if the cam is frozen you just replace the AAU?

Wouldn't have been a bad way for Lucas to push the sale of more parts... By the time it needed servicing they could have promoted the Lucas RITA.


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I would take the AAU out, marking its position, so you can put it back in the same place. I would the take it apart and thoroughly clean it with brake cleaner or carb cleaner, and then put it back together with fresh lube.

Ed from NJ

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Jim,
Welcome!!
I am always amazed at the knowledge on the forum. I have a 1966 Victor Enduro and a 1967 Victor Roadster/Shooting Star. Both bikes started as piles of parts and are patiently waiting completion. The wait may be longer than anticipated as I am now also assembling a 1954 BSA B33 in trials trim.
There are a surprising number of people in the Pacific Northwest who enjoy unit singles.
Keep asking questions--you have found the place for answers!
Tom

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It all depends on what you want to do with the bike, but intrinsically I agree with edunham where he says "I would take the AAU out", it is in his subsequent statements where our opinions digress.
Once removed I would recommend finding a remote, preferably mountainous area, and throw the damn thing as hard as I could over my shoulder (so there would be little chance in ever finding it again).
It is a lightly built, spring operated, 50+ year old item, it WILL be shagged. The chances of it working PROPERLY (if it ever truly did) are slim. Personally I replaced mine with electronic units and have never regretted it, but maybe you are of the disposition where the need for constant fiddling is a plus, and you will want to replace with like........ to me the extra $20 was worth it.

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All very interesting perspectives. Been busy doing other things today but I did remove the breaker plate and had a look at the AAU. Seems free to move and the springs are tight. So I just oiled the pivot points and put the breaker plate back in place. Ready to rumble under that cover.
But your comments, Dave Martin, lead me to another question. What electronic ignition also takes care of the advance? I mean, I know it can be done but I'm more familiar with systems where the electronics just trigger the spark and the advance is still centrifugal/mechanical. I'd like to learn more.
Thanks - Jim


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I think most of the EI systems control the advance. For sure the Boyer and Tri-Spark do as I have used both of them on twins but if they have one for the singles I imagine it is the same. There are quite a few systems now to chose from as compared to decades ago when the Boyers came out.

Gordo


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I think EIs are the same for twins and singles. On a single one spark is wasted.

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Originally Posted by Jim Harris
.....Been busy doing other things today but I did remove the breaker plate and had a look at the AAU. Seems free to move and the springs are tight. So I just oiled the pivot points and put the breaker plate back in place. ......
That's the best move at this point of getting it running enough to further evaluate it. No sense complicating things. You can add an EI at any time in the future.


Originally Posted by Jim Harris
...........What electronic ignition also takes care of the advance? ......I'm more familiar with systems where the electronics just trigger the spark and the advance is still centrifugal/mechanical......
Most automotive aftermarket electronic ignitions, like Pertronix, Mallory Luminition, Crane, Etc.... don't provide any advance just like you said. The British motorcycle ones do.

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My 1970 B44VS had a Pazon EI already installed when I bought it.

Most of the current EI systems use either a magnetic or optical trigger with the rotor/stator which replace the old AAU, and the advance handled by the "black box" under the seat.

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On both of my B44s I fitted the Wassel / Vape system, if you shop around you can get a kit that includes a coil as well at what I consider a reasonable price.
I have found them to be magnificently simple to fit, solidly robust and forgiving of stupidity up to including reversing the polarity.
They are cast in solid resin ...... seems a good idea to me.
The advance / retard seems to work just fine, both bikes start easily and neither bike has ever kicked back on me.

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OK, good info and nice to see there are such solutions. It's obvious I have a more car related background! I will proceed with the standard ignition since it seems to be in working order but will definitely be keeping EI in mind.
Thanks guys


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I agree, I don't see the gain for electronic ignition on a unit single.


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I have 3 unit singles. All were built up from basket cases. A 250, a 441, and a b50. All are on points with the stock AAUs. The 250 and the b50 have batteries. The 441 runs off a big capacitor. All start right up, idle and run nicely. I had starting problems with the b50 at one point, but it had nothing to do with the ignition. Most of the electronic ignitions require batteries in a good state of charge. Points do not. Setting points and timing on a single is not difficult, and if you put a few drops of oil on the points felt now and then, they rarely require adjustment. I fully understand folks who use their strobes and are horrified to see the timing mark jumping around. However, these are pretty primitive machines and they run just fine that way if a little care is taken setting them up initially. My two tips, beyond the obvious ones, for making your 441 start easily and run smoothly are: First, do not start it on the side stand. If you cannot start it off the stand (I have bad legs and cannot), get a center stand. Peter Quick sells them.). If the side stand doesn't break its lug, it will bend and the angle will be too much , flooding the pilot jet and making cold starting difficult. Second, shim the motor to frame mounts. It will go a long way to smoothing out the vibrations.

Ed from NJ

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Originally Posted by Dave Martin
......opinions digress. Once removed I would recommend finding a remote, preferably mountainous area, and throw the damn thing as hard as I could over my shoulder (so there would be little chance in ever finding it again).........
Warning....Digression ahead......warning......

Dave's being a little hard on the venerable Lucas AA unit. They certainly last far longer than a Smiths magnetic speedometer.

I have encountered my share of loose and wobbly pins, elongated limit slots and worn spindles, never mind the loose springs. Just braze up the pins and slots, file the slot to reset the advance range, shorten the springs a hair (or bend the tabs on the older ones) to help it retard enough for a stable idle and maybe, just maybe wrap a strip of .002" brass shim stock around the stem to tighten up a loose point cam.

That is the beauty. These things are sooooo repairable, you could keep one going forever if you needed to.

Can't do that with an EI!

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My points exactly!

Statements like "all you have to do is ...." "a few drops of oil now and then, ........" "little maintenance, ......." "just braze up the slots,........" "rarely need adjustment........" , just prove my point!
If you want to fiddle about then stick with AAU / points, many people do, personally I find there is more than plenty to fiddle with without having to mess with the ignition. (and of course points never wear out do they?)

The point of EI is that you NEVER have to do a damn thing to them, plus mine, like most, will work quite happily at 9 Volts!

BTW is it actually legal to run a bike on the road without a battery? ..... lights?

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Originally Posted by Dave Martin
.......The point of EI is that you NEVER have to do a damn thing to them,,,,,,,,,

Until one quits working. Then, you can't do a thing with it.

Most of the EI ignition failures I've been around (not mine) have been on desert rides out in the middle of nowhere. Luckily one rider usually has a tow rope. With points, there's at least a chance to get going again. (Which I have seen happen as well.)

As I've mentioned before, all my British bikes are on points, even the T150V. But if I ever went to EI, the Trident would be the first to get one.

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Originally Posted by Dave Martin
BTW is it actually legal to run a bike on the road without a battery? ..... lights?


In U.K. yes.


Amateur Loctite enthusiast.
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Originally Posted by Stuart Kirk
Originally Posted by Dave Martin
.......The point of EI is that you NEVER have to do a damn thing to them,,,,,,,,,

Until one quits working. Then, you can't do a thing with it.

Most of the EI ignition failures I've been around (not mine) have been on desert rides out in the middle of nowhere. Luckily one rider usually has a tow rope. With points, there's at least a chance to get going again. (Which I have seen happen as well.)

As I've mentioned before, all my British bikes are on points, even the T150V. But if I ever went to EI, the Trident would be the first to get one.
All of my British bikes are on points for dependability. Plus, ignition problems are relatively easy to fix when broken down in a remote area. I recently sold my 1973 Triumph TR6 car. It had Pertronix electronic ignition. The engine started running crappy and it turned out to be the Pertronix ignition. I later found out that if you leave the ignition key turned on without the engine running for more than a few minutes, it damages the Pertronix unit. I switched back to points and the car ran great. Plus, I kept a spare set of points and condenser in the glove box.

Last edited by Gary Caines; 07/08/22 10:58 pm.

Current Bike: 1968 Triumph Bonneville T120R, 1969 BSA Victor Special, 1975 Norton 850 Commando John Player, M1030M1 U.S.M.C. Diesel
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Sorry guys, it totally blows my freekin' mind when the argument goes "points are more reliable because they are easy to fix when they break down" Whaaa!!?
Surely one of the fundamental features of reliability is that it doesn't break down in the first place!!!

Whilst it might be true that EVERY manufacturer of motorcycles, competition and consumer, in the last 40+ years have got it wrong and indeed points ARE more reliable, I cannot help but feel that maybe, just maybe, MODERN, properly designed and manufactured (and preferably encapsulated) electronic ignition systems are actually better at getting a decent spark into the combustion chambers of our machines in a timely and reliable manner than bloody points!
True, there maybe other reasons for persisting with points, originality, the desire to fiddle, etc. but cummon, reliability and robustness are not among them.

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Gary, same thing happens (though not in a couple minutes?) with older non-electronic ignition cars, leave the ignition switch in "On" rather than "Acc" while you're listening to the radio, and points fry. No benefit there.

And now back to motorcycles...

(Jayzuss, there's some 50 year old arcania that should never have been dredged up... lesson learned from befuddled youth incorrectly installing car stereo to milk the most from Nantucket Sleighride)

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I agree with Dave personally i would always prefer EI over points, set and forget timing, no wearing parts and (this really depends where you live) all weather protection when my dad was dailying a B44ss in the mid 70's if it rained water got into the points cover and caused the bike to stop running and the points cover being removed and the points being dried.

But each to their own after all, if I had wanted a 100% reliable low maintainance bike i wouldn't have bought a 55 year old motorcycle and definetly not a 55 year old bike made in england.

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