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Hello all
I'm new here and just brought home my first Brit bike. According to the serial number this is a July 1970 B44SS. It's mostly there but I can still go back and search the hangar from whence it came. I'm pretty sure I got the right set of wheels with it. It has TLS front brake and the quick disconnect rear. But it has an extra collar on the rear axle that I can't quite understand. It's attached to the stub axle that passes through the brake backing plate and the stub axle has internal threads behind that collar. Can someone help me understand how this rear hub works? I'm going to share out the photos from my flickr site so bear with me if I screw it up!

Thanks, and glad to make all your acquaintances - Jim
[Linked Image from live.staticflickr.com]
[Linked Image from live.staticflickr.com] That's my garage, the TR6 is mine...

Last edited by Jim Harris; 06/29/22 4:54 pm.

1970 BSA Shooting Star In-work
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Could you be talking about the spacer that goes behind the speedo drive to keep you from crushing it?

Gordon


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Thanks Gordon

OK, could the speedo drive be on the RH side of the hub? The collar I'm looking at (in the second photo) is on the LH side, inside the cavity where the toothed drive engages between the brake hub and the wheel hub. It currently blocks the two parts from engaging. Does that make sense?

Jim


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All the inards from my disassembled b44 vs 69 hub

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

2 thrust washers 2 bearings inner axle sleeve (stuck on bearing)
Outer axle sleeve, bearing retainer
The bottom 3 are all together, the outer big dust cover on the tacho drive sandwiches that lower rubber into the hub, I guess for vibration

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]
[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]
The order I took them apart:

I just happen to be cleaning those parts in the hopes my wheel bearings show up

Last edited by DAMadd; 06/29/22 6:21 pm.

65 TR6R 68A65T 69 B44VS. 74 T150V 19 Chieftain
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Originally Posted by Jim Harris
Thanks Gordon

OK, could the speedo drive be on the RH side of the hub? The collar I'm looking at (in the second photo) is on the LH side, inside the cavity where the toothed drive engages between the brake hub and the wheel hub. It currently blocks the two parts from engaging. Does that make sense?

Jim


Yep……take it out and try putting the two splined pieces together. That’s the Quick Disconnect Hub. ( aka QD hub)

I really hate doing this on my phone……I can’t see very well on it. I hate it as much as not being able to help with something I’ve done dozens of times.

Gordon

Last edited by Gordon Gray; 06/29/22 6:30 pm.

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Also at least mine are both left hand thread. The spline side retainer and the tacho drive/retainer.


65 TR6R 68A65T 69 B44VS. 74 T150V 19 Chieftain
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OK, I get it!

That exploded drawing helped. Item 35 has the collar I was trying to describe and it must have been confusing 'cause it's all one piece. Anyway, I had to push that piece further into the brake hub and it was frozen. I don't muscle things till I understand them better. A little WD40 and it started to slip into place. All fits right now.

Thanks guys.


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NOW I see. That is what I call the stub axle. I think BSA called it the fixed spindle. It holds the brake side in place when you remove the wheel. The removable axle screws into it.

The piece I was talking about resembles a spool.

No one was born knowing this stuff and we’re all in this brotherhood ( even though I found out just this week the really cool people don’t like to be referred to as brother?) together.

You’ve come to the right place. Plenty of knowledgeable people here willing to help.

Gordon

Last edited by Gordon Gray; 06/29/22 8:01 pm.

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Mostly I just ask questions, I rarely get to answer but literally had the book open and was sorting thru the rear axle stuff


65 TR6R 68A65T 69 B44VS. 74 T150V 19 Chieftain
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Welcome to the forum, Jim.
Gordon is "the man" for BSA/Triumph unit singles, so you're in good hands. Peter Quick, who runs BSA Unit Singles, is also a forum member.

One of the first things to do is to get hold of the parts and workshop manuals. These are available on DVD (see the top of the left sidebar), as real paper versions from a number of the site's sponsors, and some are available for free download from various places.

In my biased opinion, the late B44 is the best of the BSA unit singles.

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nice triumph!

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Originally Posted by Bob E
nice triumph!

No joke……my dream car, even in the correct color.

Shane’s were kind words but I’m far from being “the man” for BSA unit singles.

I do love them and have since I saw my first one around 1969. A 1965 BSA Enduro Star……it’s been a long love affair since then.

But the more I “think” I learn the more I realize…… just how little I know about them. Then there’s that CRS I suffer from that is getting worse.

I’ve found over the years that you really didn’t need to know everything but it sure helps to know people who know what you don’t.

kommando has to rank it the top 5 unit singles “men” pretty much all around.

Steve Erickson…..knows ( and more importantly remembers…..) more details….and there’s a LOT of them than any one person I know or have heard about.

Ed V…..has to be on the list….engine related you’d be hard pressed to find better.

Don Roe….BUT….if not better Don ranks right up there with Ed V. He came over to my place and picked up a box of loose parts, that would make up a complete engine. Nothing together at all. Calls me up in the afternoon the next day so I can hear it run.

There’s several folks that fit in here…….we’ve lost a few along the way

About the only list I belong on is “ He who runs on the most”

We can learn from everybody

Gordon

Last edited by Gordon Gray; 06/30/22 1:16 pm.

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Originally Posted by Jim Harris
Hello all
I'm new here....
[Linked Image from live.staticflickr.com]
That's my garage, the TR6 is mine...
Originally Posted by Bob E
nice triumph!
Hi Jim and welcome to the group. I had a '71 TR6 that was my daily driver for almost a decade. Put over 100K miles on it but I blamed it for my back trouble and sold it..
But I've also had several unit single BSA's too, C15's to B50's. I've lost count but it is at least 10, probably more.
I'm sure you will enjoy your bike once it is up and running and there are plenty of seasoned folk here to help you get there.
Welcome aboard.
Stuart.

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Thanks kindly for all the introductions! It's good to meet you all.

I've had this 69 TR6 for something like 7 years now. I bought it as a basket case but in very good condition, just all in well inventoried boxes. The PO had taken it apart in 1991 and never got back to putting it together, but had a pretty good stash of replacement parts bought from Victoria British for example. After I had it running and sorted out I took it back to find the PO (the car was bought new in our same town). I met his son and grand son but unfortunately the PO himself had passed away. The grandson in particular looked longingly at the TR, having only ever seen it in pieces, and remembered his grandfather.

It's a good hobby, keeping these fine machines alive. I'm really glad to join your community finally. I raced motocross and road raced bikes in my younger years but sold my bikes when we started to have a family. Not sorry I did that but it's good to have a bike I always wanted.

Jim


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I always love the background to many of these bike photos listed. Just as interesting as the bikes. Well done on being a caring custodian of a lovely TR series car.

Ray

Last edited by BrizzoBrit; 06/30/22 2:22 am.

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The various manuals and parts lists are available for free download from Peter Quick's BSA Unit Singles, link at bottom of page, Also an invaluable source of virtually every part.
The Rupert Ratio books Vol 1 & 2 are the definitive works on all knowledge, history and strip down and re build ..... has any one ever found an error or omission??

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Originally Posted by Dave Martin
..... has any one ever found an error or omission??

A few of the specifications at the end of volume 1 are incorrect (at least the 1967 oil capacities for gearbox and primary drive, and the number of teeth on WD B40 gearbox and rear sprockets). I've seen some other (very few) incorrect but not very important data in other places too. Overall, the Ratio books are the most reliable and useful I've seen. Getting my basket case bike back in good running order without these books would have been a unnecessary challenge.


BSA WM20 (1941), BSA A10 (1958), BSA WD B40 (1968), Husqvarna CR 250 (1981), Triumph Tiger 800 XC (2014)
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Originally Posted by Pelle
Originally Posted by Dave Martin
..... has any one ever found an error or omission??

A few of the specifications at the end of volume 1 are incorrect (at least the 1967 oil capacities for gearbox and primary drive, and the number of teeth on WD B40 gearbox and rear sprockets). I've seen some other (very few) incorrect but not very important data in other places too. Overall, the Ratio books are the most reliable and useful I've seen. Getting my basket case bike back in good running order without these books would have been a unnecessary challenge.

ALL the Rupert’s books are worth the money IMO. But like Pelle says…..you NEED to compare ALL the written info you can find because ALL of the manuals get something…….I don’t want to call it “wrong”…..but you will see different info. I don’t know anybody who could go through all the written info and pin point ALL the mistakes/differences……at least not yet.

I “think” some of the differences could come from manuals being for different countries???? I use Peter Quick’s on line manuals the most but I compare. Workshop, Owners manual, Parts manual AND Rupert’s……and then decide what info I want to use.

We’re lucky to have what we have to work with.

Welcome to the wonderful world of BSA ownership.

Gordon

Last edited by Gordon Gray; 06/30/22 2:02 pm.

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Don't forget the reflections on the human condition in the Ratio books. His observations on the use of the kitchen facilities for essential maintenance and the impact on marital harmony should not be taken lightly. The "cooking" of the drive chain in the old style "lube" and the resultant all pervading stench comes to mind.

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Yes, now that I see the spare parts list, with those wonderful exploded views, I can really make a list of what I need. First, by going back and continue to search through the seller's stuff. Peter Quick's site seems to be a good resource but I gotta ask - what is meant by "Unit"?

BTW, I'm glad to have a side burner on my BBQ grill!

Last edited by Jim Harris; 06/30/22 4:25 pm.

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The transmission is incorporated to the engine case, not separate. The older machines have a separate gearbox "pre-unit"

Yeah, I like info I have the ratio books, the factory service and the Haynes. Sometimes just a picture from a different angle helps you sort it

Last edited by DAMadd; 06/30/22 4:33 pm.

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If you are referring to "Unit engine" it means the gearbox is cast as part of the engine. GoldStars were separate construction with a frame holding the gearbox and engine together.

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OK, now that makes perfect sense.

Got a parts list now and I'm headed back to the hangar to see if I can find anything more.


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Happy 4th of July!

While I'm waiting for parts to arrive I am attending to all the lubrication issues for a bike as severely dried out as this one. A thing I saw in the shop manual for the AAU referred to a dry lubrication permanently applied to the cam spindle. I've searched the forum to find any discussion about this but have found very little. So I'm wondering what all of you would say about this. Should I leave this alone? I haven't messed with anything under the timing cover yet.


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Don't remove the AAU unless you really need to. The AAU is not keyed in place to assure correct position. It can be a real pain getting it re-positioned correctly. If you do need to remove it, the Rupert Ratio book has some very good instructions. You don't need a special tool for the job. My 69 441 VS had a thoroughly worn out and partially broken, AAU. Fortunately, Peter Quick at BSA Unit Singles had an NOS AAU that worked perfectly. After fighting with it, I finally took it to Beno Rodi and he timed it for me. I love my 441 VS.


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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.


Now let’s all have a beer beerchug

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

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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.


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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.

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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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The two camps regarding electronic ignition (EI) each have their points (haha), but the EI brigade often makes it sound that EI is an absolute necessity, when clearly it isn't. Going back to the OP here, installing EI is not necessary to get the bike running, unless there is something sufficiently wrong with the standard ignition system that would make it uneconomical to fix it. On that issue, I would not automatically replace the existing points. Usually they can be cleaned up just fine and the quality is better than the new stuff.

Ed from NJ

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Originally Posted by edunham
..... Going back to the OP here, installing EI is not necessary to get the bike running, ...........
Absolutely spot on. Adding EI at this stage is an extra complication and expense. Get it running, see what it needs and then add an EI if you just must.

It almost seems that some view it as a magic thing that will protect you from all British motorcycle troubles. Not true in my opinion.

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Dunno if there's really 2 camps on this... I think different bikes warrant different considerations.

I finally got talked into a Boyer some years ago on a 441 that truly wanted to hurt me... still have the bike, and since the Boyer, no kickbacks (on the now occasional times that I kick it). No regrets.

Keith Moore years ago told me EI was only needed for twins, no need on singles... ironically I have a TR5T (twin) that is the easiest starting bike I've ever owned, and it is still on points. See no reason to change it.

An individual with some mechanical aptitude may disagree...

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On unit singles I like EI's
Having ridden B 40's & a B 50 for a couple of decades , unless you replace both cam bushes the action of the followers on the cam lobes can make a cam running is a worn bush to bounce
Now because the points are further outboard of the bushes, any movement of the cam is amplified far enough to make the points open & close giving you phantom sparks and they will change their timing at different engine speeds
And the faster the engine revs the more the bounce
Not a problem with most EI's


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You hear a lot about points bounce on British bikes, at 8000 revs they are only spinning at 4000rpm. I still have points on the 400/4 and that red lines at 10,000. As the points are mounted off the crank the points are working at 10,000 rpm too.

Points themselves aren’t the problem, it’s the quality of the ones being used.


I’m in the camp where on a single cylinder they aren’t needed. Some EI will retard further than points do so that might make starting easier. Though I’ve never found a problem, least nothing that isn’t carb related. Points on a twin are more likely to go out of sync, so whilst it isn’t needed for. Twin to run better, it saves a lot of spannering time. Which is why I went for EI on my twins. Get me a decent set of points and I’d happily use them.


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Ever looked at a set of points with a 'scope at 3000rpm?
Specially with bushes that are slightly worn........

EI has been around for 50+years so it's classic enough for me.

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Originally Posted by edunham
The two camps regarding electronic ignition (EI) each have their points (haha), but the EI brigade often makes it sound that EI is an absolute necessity, when clearly it isn't. Going back to the OP here, installing EI is not necessary to get the bike running, unless there is something sufficiently wrong with the standard ignition system that would make it uneconomical to fix it. On that issue, I would not automatically replace the existing points. Usually they can be cleaned up just fine and the quality is better than the new stuff.

Ed from NJ
Yes, exactly. The point of my original question, back on page 1, was to understand the AAU spindle dry-lube - which I'd still like to understand. Discussing the merits of EI, including electronic advance curves, is fine and educational for me but I'm in the "get 'er runnin" camp here. Not going to do anything too proactive. The points look good, gap is good, did a "dollar bill" cleaning, absolutely will not disturb the timing until I have a good try to start it as it sits.

OK, now, carry on...


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Jim,
I would check the timing statically. It is easy enough to do. Just make sure that you have set the point gap first. Then, there is a plug in the front of the engine. Remove it and turn the crankshaft until the points are close to opening. Peer into the hole from the plug, there should be a hole in the crank in the vicinity. Move the crank back and forth as necessary until the hole in the crank lines up with the hole in the crankcase. Most folks stick a screwdriver in place to hold it in place. Ground the alligator clip on your continuity light on a cylinder fin and put the point end on the ground side of the points. The bulb should be off. Assuming it is, with your other hand, using a flat blade screwdriver in the notch of the points cam, rotate the points cam to the end of its travel, the continuity light should go off just as you reach the end of the points cam's travel. If not, adjust until it does. You can rotate the entire points plate, or use the eccentrics on the plate itself. Shouldn't take more than 20 minutes

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Originally Posted by BSA_WM20
.....unless you replace both cam bushes.......
This is a genuine weak spot with replacements for the outer bush the biggest problem. It is sintered bronze and often won't hold a secure press fit. They wear, come loose in the case, and have a negative effect on ignition reliability because the oil seal can't cope and the points get oily. IMO, sloppy cam bushings are a good reason to split the cases because for a good repair they should be line reamed. Also, often an oversize one has to be made because the housing in the case has worn.

So Jim, the way you check this is to set your piston at TDC compression stroke and then see how much you can wiggle side to side and up and down the end of the point cam and bolt. It will usually wiggle a little but if it wiggles a lot, you need to think about new bushings.

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Originally Posted by edunham
Jim,
I would check the timing statically. It is easy enough to do. Just make sure that you have set the point gap first. Then, there is a plug in the front of the engine. Remove it and turn the crankshaft until the points are close to opening. Peer into the hole from the plug, there should be a hole in the crank in the vicinity. Move the crank back and forth as necessary until the hole in the crank lines up with the hole in the crankcase. Most folks stick a screwdriver in place to hold it in place. Ground the alligator clip on your continuity light on a cylinder fin and put the point end on the ground side of the points. The bulb should be off. Assuming it is, with your other hand, using a flat blade screwdriver in the notch of the points cam, rotate the points cam to the end of its travel, the continuity light should go off just as you reach the end of the points cam's travel. If not, adjust until it does. You can rotate the entire points plate, or use the eccentrics on the plate itself. Shouldn't take more than 20 minutes

Absolutely, but don't bother with an old set of points, replace them first.
Then all you have to do is:- repeat once you have it firing, repeat after a couple of hundred miles, remember to oil the little felt thingy (but not too much or you will f**k the points), clean and adjust points every 22.73 miles (better than the old Villiers motors, they were every 21.73 miles) or "at intervals" according to the book, retime again every 1,000 miles (yeah, the book says every 2,000 but this was from the era where Philip Morris said tobacco was actually good for you). Replace points and condenser "regularly" whatever that means . Oil the AAU pivots "regularly", but again not too much or ......

or alternatively ..........................

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Originally Posted by Stuart Kirk
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!

That's a strange comment, most EI's can be repaired quite easily.
I must have done about 30 Rita's over the years, as for Boyer and the encapsulated ones,
they are fiddly but normally it's the output device that packs up and can be replaced.
Funny but the chances of an EI failing in service are far less than say the points leg breaking
off the points, try repairing that on the side of the road...... The answer i suppose is 'carry a spare'
but then the same can be said for EI eh? The 'black box' is a similar price to an AAU unit.

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I wouldn't bother with new points if the old ones can be cleaned up. The nylon heel on the new ones wears quickly. The old ones last with a smidge of ignition grease on the points cam and an oiled wick. If your points do not have the wick, get one. I used to buy used original points for next to nothing at swap meets. Folks assumed that a tune up automatically meant changing them. Not so, the usually have plenty of life in them. I don't buy them anymore because I have plenty to spare. Good luck with your project.

Ed from NJ

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Originally Posted by Allan G
You hear a lot about points bounce on British bikes, at 8000 revs they are only spinning at 4000rpm. I still have points on the 400/4 and that red lines at 10,000. As the points are mounted off the crank the points are working at 10,000 rpm too.

Points themselves aren’t the problem, it’s the quality of the ones being used.


I’m in the camp where on a single cylinder they aren’t needed. Some EI will retard further than points do so that might make starting easier. Though I’ve never found a problem, least nothing that isn’t carb related. Points on a twin are more likely to go out of sync, so whilst it isn’t needed for. Twin to run better, it saves a lot of spannering time. Which is why I went for EI on my twins. Get me a decent set of points and I’d happily use them.

No Al.
It is not the points bouncing or fluttering as they do at high revs but the entire cam shaft flicks up when the load from the valve springs is released
And that little flick can be enough to cause the points to flic open so you get another spark
As the cam gear wears more & it is the outside one that causes the grief the cam sill move down as the valves start to open then up as they close so you get sparks all over the place .


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Originally Posted by BSA_WM20
Originally Posted by Allan G
You hear a lot about points bounce on British bikes, at 8000 revs they are only spinning at 4000rpm. I still have points on the 400/4 and that red lines at 10,000. As the points are mounted off the crank the points are working at 10,000 rpm too.

Points themselves aren’t the problem, it’s the quality of the ones being used.


I’m in the camp where on a single cylinder they aren’t needed. Some EI will retard further than points do so that might make starting easier. Though I’ve never found a problem, least nothing that isn’t carb related. Points on a twin are more likely to go out of sync, so whilst it isn’t needed for. Twin to run better, it saves a lot of spannering time. Which is why I went for EI on my twins. Get me a decent set of points and I’d happily use them.

No Al.
It is not the points bouncing or fluttering as they do at high revs but the entire cam shaft flicks up when the load from the valve springs is released
And that little flick can be enough to cause the points to flic open so you get another spark
As the cam gear wears more & it is the outside one that causes the grief the cam sill move down as the valves start to open then up as they close so you get sparks all over the place .

So the fault being with the bushes supporting the pinion and not the points.

A change of bushes on any bike (single or twin) would likely never need replacing again with the miles these bikes tend to see now.


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Originally Posted by edunham
Jim,
I would check the timing statically. It is easy enough to do. Just make sure that you have set the point gap first. Then, there is a plug in the front of the engine. Remove it and turn the crankshaft until the points are close to opening. Peer into the hole from the plug, there should be a hole in the crank in the vicinity. Move the crank back and forth as necessary until the hole in the crank lines up with the hole in the crankcase. Most folks stick a screwdriver in place to hold it in place. Ground the alligator clip on your continuity light on a cylinder fin and put the point end on the ground side of the points. The bulb should be off. Assuming it is, with your other hand, using a flat blade screwdriver in the notch of the points cam, rotate the points cam to the end of its travel, the continuity light should go off just as you reach the end of the points cam's travel. If not, adjust until it does. You can rotate the entire points plate, or use the eccentrics on the plate itself. Shouldn't take more than 20 minutes
Ed, you're right, I will check the static timing. The plug - is it the one on the upper RH side? I can't find anything in the owner's manual or workshop manual that identifies that plug. Does lining up the crank hole give me an index point for full advance or idle? The workshop manual procedure that uses the witness marks on the generator rotor to set the timing for full advance.

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It is a relatively large bolt facing towards the front and upwards in the front. It is on the same side of the engine as the primary cover. The plug in the front on the timing cover side is held on by 2 screws. It is for the optional tachometer drive. It is not what you want. The hole in the crankshaft is at maximum advance. The hole is considered to be much more accurate than the lines on the alternator rotor (you have to get your lingo right!). Obviously, you can check the lines on the alternator rotor when the hole is in the right position. The lines on the rotor are for checking timing with a strobe (timing light). Personally, on a single, I find it quicker and easier to check it statically. In your case, you don't have the engine running yet, so you have to do it statically. By the way, there is a mistake in my description, the continuity light should be to the feed (spring) side of the points. Good luck!

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Yes, I understood what you were trying to say about the continuity. I found the plug and got the crank hole lined up. So if that is the maximum advance then I need to get the cam rotated against the advance bobweights and springs. Any suggestions on how to do that? Do I have to take the breaker plate out to turn the advance and lock it in place? I can't get much of a grip on the cam itself. Also, I took off the cover to the, ahem, alternator, and those marks are off by about 1/4" from where it lines up on the crank hole.

Jim


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Is the rotor pointer in the correct hole?


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Originally Posted by Jim Harris
...... I need to get the cam rotated against the advance bobweights and springs. Any suggestions on how to do that? .....
With engine at full advance position, use a pair of small needle nose, one side in the notch and the other against the low spot on the point cam to rotate it against spring pressure to full advance. Have your test light hooked up and powered and watch for it to turn on or off depending on how you have it wired. Say for example your test light is connected to the point spring and have the bike powered up with the key on, the light will illuminate upon point break. If at this point you can wiggle the point cam a bit and make the light go on and off, you are very close and good enough to start it up.


Originally Posted by Jim Harris
..... the.....alternator ......marks are off by about 1/4" from where it lines up on the crank hole......
First verify that you are at the correct spot. If the marks are still off, the rotor has probably loosened on its core. This makes strobe timing inaccurate and also sounds like a bad/expensive lower end noise. It could also be a wrong rotor.

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Originally Posted by Allan G
Originally Posted by BSA_WM20
Originally Posted by Allan G
You hear a lot about points bounce on British bikes, at 8000 revs they are only spinning at 4000rpm. I still have points on the 400/4 and that red lines at 10,000. As the points are mounted off the crank the points are working at 10,000 rpm too.

Points themselves aren’t the problem, it’s the quality of the ones being used.


I’m in the camp where on a single cylinder they aren’t needed. Some EI will retard further than points do so that might make starting easier. Though I’ve never found a problem, least nothing that isn’t carb related. Points on a twin are more likely to go out of sync, so whilst it isn’t needed for. Twin to run better, it saves a lot of spannering time. Which is why I went for EI on my twins. Get me a decent set of points and I’d happily use them.

No Al.
It is not the points bouncing or fluttering as they do at high revs but the entire cam shaft flicks up when the load from the valve springs is released
And that little flick can be enough to cause the points to flic open so you get another spark
As the cam gear wears more & it is the outside one that causes the grief the cam sill move down as the valves start to open then up as they close so you get sparks all over the place .

So the fault being with the bushes supporting the pinion and not the points.

A change of bushes on any bike (single or twin) would likely never need replacing again with the miles these bikes tend to see now.


The bushes, the gears, the AAU, the points, the springs, the capacitors etc ALL need maintenance to get
reasonable operation, although it will never be as good as electronically sensed/controlled ignition. That's
why they don't use them anymore!

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Originally Posted by Jim Harris
..... the.....alternator ......marks are off by about 1/4" from where it lines up on the crank hole......
Originally Posted by Stuart Kirk
First verify that you are at the correct spot. If the marks are still off, the rotor has probably loosened on its core. This makes strobe timing inaccurate and also sounds like a bad/expensive lower end noise. It could also be a wrong rotor.

Whether it is this or something else... I once had a partially sheared rotor key give me false timing readings and it cost me a set of Triumph 650 pistons on a fresh top end... Trust, but verify your timing. The crank and piston in compression stroke don't lie.

DJinCA

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On Unit singles with the plug in the driveside case (69 onwards) for checking the timing, the crank only has one hole and when lined up its at the fully advanced position so you only have to get the piston on the compression stoke. Its very accurate unlike the alternator rotor.

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OK, well it seems like I need to eliminate some unknowns. No problem but I am otherwise busy for the next few days. I will get back with answers.

But, one more question first. The hole in the crank flywheel that lines up with the port in the crank case - I don't see that mentioned in the workshop manual? In the spare parts list it is called the "timing aperture." Is there a reference that discusses this?

Thanks - Jim


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Originally Posted by NickL
Originally Posted by Allan G
Originally Posted by BSA_WM20
Originally Posted by Allan G
………..

……….

So the fault being with the bushes supporting the pinion and not the points.

A change of bushes on any bike (single or twin) would likely never need replacing again with the miles these bikes tend to see now.


The bushes, the gears, the AAU, the points, the springs, the capacitors etc ALL need maintenance to get
reasonable operation, although it will never be as good as electronically sensed/controlled ignition. That's
why they don't use them anymore!

Sorry Nick, I was being “tongue in cheek”, all the maintenance is why I went to electronic ignition in the first place.

Last edited by Allan G; 07/14/22 7:50 pm.

Now let’s all have a beer beerchug

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

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Originally Posted by Jim Harris
OK, well it seems like I need to eliminate some unknowns. No problem but I am otherwise busy for the next few days. I will get back with answers.

But, one more question first. The hole in the crank flywheel that lines up with the port in the crank case - I don't see that mentioned in the workshop manual? In the spare parts list it is called the "timing aperture." Is there a reference that discusses this?

Thanks - Jim

You need the later manual

https://www.bsaunitsingles.com/Arch...70%20Workshop%20Manual%2000-4176%20x.pdf

PC is acting up so can't open this file and scroll but its in there somewhere. But regardless you remove the cover and with a 4mm allen key you slowly move the crank until the 4mm allen key finds the hole or use the mk1 eyeball, then adjust the crank finely to get the allen key perpendicular to the flywheel by eye. No special tool needed.

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OK, I'm back. Hope you all had a good weekend. My niece and her husband visited, nice family time. They were up here for the Early Ford V8 western states meet.

I've got the primary cover off and the degree wheel set up using a piston stop. I get 30-31 deg BTDC when the crank hole lines up as described by kommando. Rotor mark is off by about 1/4" off the pointer. I took off the alternator stator and rotor. The Woodruff key has a slight amount of shoring but not enough the catch my fingernail on. With the rotor back in place on the key and the shouldered nut in place but not snugged I can get a noticeable amount of rotational play in the rotor. So I will replace the Woodruff key. Should I do anything else here?


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Originally Posted by Jim Harris
......... With the rotor back in place on the key and the shouldered nut in place but not snugged I can get a noticeable amount of rotational play in the rotor. So I will replace the Woodruff key. Should I do anything else here?
Yes. Snug up the nut and check again for rotational play on the rotor because those rotors come loose on their hexagonal core. This makes an ugly noise, disrupts the accuracy of the timing mark and can even come apart and do damage. This will sound a little extreme but grab the rotor with a big pair of channel locks to look for play. Sometimes they'll bind a little.

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+1
Originally Posted by GrandPaul
If you've ever had what sounded like a rod/bearing knock and tore your engine apart only to find the bearings were all good, you must have overlooked the more likely (and MUCH easier) solution - replacing your failed alternator rotor. The body of the rotor on Lucas alternators have a tendency to loosen off their hubs.

I made my second youtube video ever, verifying what I know was the knocking problem on my '67 Bonneville-


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OK, great advice (a little pun there wink ). I clamped up the rotor just like the video and tried to turn it with channel locks, not budging, rock solid. I looked carefully down the keyway and don't see any problem there. So I'll put in the new Woodruff key and see if it seems more secure.

The rotor nut must have been off before because the tab was buggered. So maybe it's not the original rotor, even though it's stamped "7 70" which is the same as the date code on the engine "HD". Maybe it just came loose sometime before...

Looks like the 41-0673 Woodruff key is 0.1595 x 0.60 x 0.235. That's pretty close to a #6? Is there a suitable substitute or should I go with an OEM part number?

Last edited by Jim Harris; 07/21/22 6:34 pm.

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Originally Posted by Jim Harris
...........Looks like the 41-0673 Woodruff key is 0.1595 x 0.60 x 0.235. That's pretty close to a #6? Is there a suitable substitute or should I go with an OEM part number?
Glad to hear your rotor is tight.
You want the key to be a good tight fit in the crank slot and the rotor slot too. If the slots are a little worn the oem size will possibly be too loose and an over thick key becomes a good solution. This means taking a too thick key and grinding/filing/machining it to snugly fit the slots. This works best if the crank slot sides are still mostly parallel and haven't been worn severely tapered by the key rocking back and forth.

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