Monday, 24 June 2013

Another one done

At last, the enfield is MOT'd!

Naturally, it fought me all the way. Putting the engine in got pretty traumatic, you have to do it one specific way to avoid it all fouling round the centre stand/bottom plate. The frame flexes a bit with no engine too, so the holes took some persuading to line up.

I had one stroke of luck however-I found a nice solid bench on the scrap heap at work. I had to saw the legs down to fit in a hapless colleagues estate car, which bought it to the perfect height for shoving bikes on. Getting them on is a bit hairy, using a long plank and an assistant, but it was £250 cheaper than a proper bike lift.

You can see I got the primary drive, gearbox etc refitted by that point. It also sprouted front indicators, as I used various delays to find those rotten little jobs that delay an MOT.
The next puzzler was the head. New valves and guides meant it needed the seats recutting, and the seating faces for the head nuts looked like this:

The upper holes are for the cam tunnel bolts, which some clot has utterly destroyed. The early crusaders didn't have them, so I'm hoping this one will manage without too. The lower two holes are for the main head bolts, after hacking out some bits of old washer.

This work meant going to the workshop of Dave Hodgkinson, a well known name in local car and bike circles. Dave mostly does rebores, having done many thousand since the 60's. One of the loveliest and most interesting people I've met, and with a very nice honda 50...I look forward to having more work for him.
Anyway, after recutting the seats, milling those ugly holes flat and me grinding in the valves whilst sat in bed watching films, I had this:

Which, with some new valves, springs and collars, became this:

Next job was to check Valve clearances. The old piston showed signs of valve collision, so I wanted to be sure it wouldn't happen again. Before putting the piston rings on, I assembled the top end with plasticene as shown in the valve pockets:

With the head and the valvegear assembled, turning over the engine squashes the plasticene between valve and piston. Take the head off, carefully slice the plasticene with a knife and you can see the minimum clearance. Thankfully, it was well clear.
The rings were an utter pain in the arse. When I tried checking the gap in the bore before fitting, I found an overlap. The replacement set had the same problem, so in the end Hitchcocks sent me some genuine hepolite rings at Indian made cost. Much better!
Throw it together, splash of oil, kick until I realise the spark is timed 360 degrees out, and eventually...

It runs!

The last jobs were footrests, genny cover and tank/seat. In a pleasant turn of events Nigel (the owner) came over as I was finishing these off, so lent a hand. We had a few rides each up my yard, before it was MOT'd the next day.

And here it is! It's not quite over yet, the registration is in progress and it will need testing/setting up/running in. But its at least in one piece.
You might be expecting me to say "And the moral is, don't take on unknown projects for other people!", but I'm not. Despite the constant setbacks, cock ups, delays and unpleasant discoveries, it has been very rewarding to put it all right. The lovely old classic has emerged from the grotty old deathtrap, I've learnt a huge amount about a bike I couldn't really afford...well worth while.

Next up, my turn to spend money on my poor old 400/4...