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Thread Like Summary
Allan G, BSA_WM20, Bustednukel, gavin eisler, Gordon Gray, Jim Harris, NickL, Pelle, quinten, SamAdamson, Shane in Oz, Stuart Kirk
Total Likes: 61
Original Post (Thread Starter)
by Jim Harris
Jim Harris
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...
Liked Replies
by edunham
edunham
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
4 members like this
by Dave Martin
Dave Martin
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.
3 members like this
by Dave Martin
Dave Martin
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.
3 members like this
by Stuart Kirk
Stuart Kirk
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.
3 members like this
by Jim Harris
Jim Harris
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...
3 members like this
by DAMadd
DAMadd
Mostly I just ask questions, I rarely get to answer but literally had the book open and was sorting thru the rear axle stuff
2 members like this
by Dave Martin
Dave Martin
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??
2 members like this
by edunham
edunham
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
2 members like this
by Jim Harris
Jim Harris
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
2 members like this
by Dave Martin
Dave Martin
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.
2 members like this
by Stuart Kirk
Stuart Kirk
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.
2 members like this
by Stuart Kirk
Stuart Kirk
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.
2 members like this
by Jim Harris
Jim Harris
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.
1 member likes this
by DAMadd
DAMadd
Also at least mine are both left hand thread. The spline side retainer and the tacho drive/retainer.
1 member likes this
by DAMadd
DAMadd
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
1 member likes this
by Gordon Gray
Gordon Gray
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
1 member likes this
by Stuart Kirk
Stuart Kirk
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.
1 member likes this
by Bob E
Bob E
nice triumph!
1 member likes this
by Jim Harris
Jim Harris
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
1 member likes this
by BrizzoBrit
BrizzoBrit
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
1 member likes this
by Pelle
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.
1 member likes this
by Jim Harris
Jim Harris
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!
1 member likes this
by DAMadd
DAMadd
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
1 member likes this
by DMadigan
DMadigan
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.
1 member likes this
by Gary Caines
Gary Caines
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.
1 member likes this
by Allan G
Allan G
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.
1 member likes this
by Dave Martin
Dave Martin
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.
1 member likes this
by Shane in Oz
Shane in Oz
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.
1 member likes this
by Gordo in Comox
Gordo in Comox
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
1 member likes this
by LarryLebel
LarryLebel
I think EIs are the same for twins and singles. On a single one spark is wasted.
1 member likes this
by Allan G
Allan G
I agree, I don't see the gain for electronic ignition on a unit single.
1 member likes this
by Stuart Kirk
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!
1 member likes this
by Stuart Kirk
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.
1 member likes this
by triton thrasher
triton thrasher
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.
1 member likes this
by Gary Caines
Gary Caines
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.
1 member likes this
by edunham
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
1 member likes this
by Stuart Kirk
Stuart Kirk
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.
1 member likes this
by edunham
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
1 member likes this
by NickL
NickL
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.
1 member likes this
by edunham
edunham
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
1 member likes this
by Dave Martin
Dave Martin
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 ..........................
1 member likes this
by Allan G
Allan G
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.
1 member likes this
by quinten
quinten
+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-

1 member likes this
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