Monthly Archives: October 2021

First Time Out

No excuse now, I’ve been out and taxed the LE! That means it’s now time for the acid test!.

So it’s on with the riding jacket and wheel the little lady out of the garage. Get my helmet and gloves out of the sidecar and we’re ready to go.

Fuel on, set the choke, turn her over a few times to prime the cylinders and then switch on and give her a kick.

On the LE, Velo described it as a “Footstarter” rather than a “kickstart” since it took so little effort to start the engine and it lived up to the name, a gentle prod and the engine is running.

Wait about half a minute to warm up and take off the choke and it’s into gear.

Bit of a crunch suggests the clutch needs adjusting but we’ll see to that later, ease the clutch in and we’re moving, easy pull away but feels a bit sluggish.

Into second gear and she pulls away nicely initially but soon runs out of puff.

I’m thinking “Last time I rode an LE it was smarter away than this, but hell, I’m used to the 800cc BMW.

Going up the hill out of the estate and it’s obvious something is not right so I turn right onto the main road, it’s down hill and I get into top gear, a quick check, ammeter showing a charge so the generator is working OK, oil-pressure up to 30psi so that’s OK bot there seems a lot of lost motion in the twistgrip.

Turn right back into the estate and back home.

First time out a run of less that a mile but a couple of problems have shown up.

Still she ran nicely, sounded sweet but badly down on expected performance.

LIFE!

I’ve been up to Halfords and got some antifreeze and found a little ploy. They are listing antifreeze concentrate at £4.49 per litre, distilled water to make it up is £2.00 per litre, that’s £6.49 for 2 litres of mix.
A 2 litre bottle of ready mix is £10.49, not a bad mark up!, but then you find there are no litre bottles of the concentrate in stock!!.

So, the other car shops round here having put up the shutters I had to get the readymix.

Anyway it was back to the bike and fill the radiator, leave for 5 minutes and check round for leaks.

Now the acid test! Petrol turned on, set the choke, put the key in and turn on the ignition, ammeter shows a discharge so battery is connected the right way round, turn the engine over a few times to get the fuel through to the cylinders and then give her a kick, try again and it feels like she’s trying to start, and again – nothing, try a few more times without result and notice the warning light is out and ammeter on zero – battery was flat!.

As I’d just charged the battery overnight it meant the battery was shagged so it was a case of turn off the fuel, take off the battery and put the bike away.

Once I was back in the house I went on net to Tayna Batteries, by now it was after 6.00pm but I put a new battery on order through their systems.

I received an acknowledgement the next morning with a tracking number for the order and I had the battery in my hands by lunchtime the next day!.

Out into the garage and fit the battery, fuel on, choke on, turn her over a couple of times, ignition on, kick and she’s running, open the gas a bit and nothing happens ????? then light dawns, I take the choke off and I’ve throttle response, as revs increase the ammeter moves from discharge to charge, lights and horn work, oil pressure showing in the 20 – 30psi range, so things seem right.

I’ll leave it till tomorrow for a trial run as I need to get her taxed first.

On With the Job

Parts arrived today, not bad, only a weeks turn round time, so it’s on with the job!.

The Velo special spanner made snugging up the barrel base nuts a doddle!, wish I’d had it when taking them off!, not only that but it doubles for removing the magneto mounting nuts on the big Velo!.

Once I had both barrels snugged down I had to reset the tappet clearances. This meant taking off the inspection covers to get at them. Valve clearances on these engines is 4thou on the inlet and 6thou exhaust at TDC. As one turn of the adjuster is 38thou you can set the inlet to about 2/3 of a flat open on the adjuster , nip it up, check it with a feeler gauge and if OK then lock it down. For the exhaust you set 1 flat open and then check, spanner access to the tappet lock nuts was poor so I dug out the obstruction spanners used for doing the Panther’s tappets. Have to try and get some better quality ones though, the Panther ones are simply cut from ¼ inch sheet and are a bit crude.

Next was refit the exhausts, bit fiddly but no problems.

I refitted the cylinder head studs, these had been removed to send the barrels away to have the water stubs replaced, and then put the heads back on, but while I had them off I took the opportunity to check the ignition timing — points opening at TDC on full retard –, while there is a marking on the flywheel for TDC, because the flywheel is not keyed onto the crankshaft the accuracy of this depends on the workmanship of the person who last refitted the flywheel. Since the ignition is really a flywheel magneto this setting is important, the fact that Veloce did not key the shaft suggests they did not fully trust the accuracy of manufacture of Miller, who supplied the system, as neither the flywheel or the ignition advance unit are keyed.

Onto the home straight now! Just refit the inlet manifold and carburetter put on the water hoses and all that’s left to do is refill the radiator. It’s now into October so that’ll have to wait until I can get some antifreeze.

Starting to get her back together

Since I do at least have a pair of cylinder base gaskets among the bits and pieces that came with the bike I can get started putting her back together.

First thing is to clean the crankcase faces where the barrels mount so it’s a case of getting in there with a cloth and some Panel Wipe to give a clean metal surface.

The barrels themselves need the same treatment and then the greased gasket put in place on the barrel. I know the obvious is to put them onto the studs on the crankcase but that would have the base cover plates lying on top of the greased gasket and the plate acts as a support for the piston while fitting the barrel.

The bores were wiped clean and then given a wipe of oil, slipped over the pistons and slid home onto the case studs.

Access to the nuts on these studs is awkward, Velo supplied a special spanner for the job, which I don’t have of course so it’ll need to go onto the parts order so until that comes I’ll just spin the nuts on finger tight and await delivery.