Monthly Archives: February 2022

An AHA! moment

Well I’ve been busy on the LE again and think I may have found the ignition problem.

I needed to know what depth I had between the top of the ignition unit’s top plate and the bore in the end of the crankshaft, this meant taking out the fixing bolt and when doing this I steadied the shaft from turning by holding the unit, as soon as I had eased the centre bolt a little I felt the bob-weights move under my fingers when they had been solid before.

On trying the unit I found the bob-weights would now open out readily. I re-tightened the centre bolt and found they were locked up so that while the engine had been running it had been locked on full retard, no wonder performance had seemed lacking!. It looks like the last person working on the engine electrics had over-tightened the retaining bolt and jammed the unit.

Hopefully the unit has not been damaged by this but we’ll have to see.

I’ve since tried her up the back lane and she seems a bit livelier, but I’ve found that I omitted the seal between the carburetter and the inlet manifold when I put things back together last time. On having a look at the seal it appears to have been cut from a piece of old inner tube, it’s certainly been either knife or scissor cut so I’ll need to get a new one up.

I’ve just totted up what bits I now need, it may be small stuff but it totals out at about 21 quid so It’s worth sending down for them.

It’s amazing how it’s a number of small things are giving the problems now! I had thought that all that was wrong with her was the corroded water pipes! But I suppose that’s what happens when you take on a rebuild.

A New Addition

I decided to go the drill blank route to make the ATD extractor so ordered up a 3.5mm drill blank and a 1 inch long 5/16 BSF bolt along with a couple of nuts.

I now needed to determine the requisite lengths for the extractor parts, I did have suggested dimensions from an internet posting but I’ve learned to always check these before use.

To get the dimensions I need to remove the front cover from the engine. Under this cover is an inner cover carrying the two ignition coils and the points. Behind this cover is the generator and flywheel, the ATD mounting onto the nose of the flywheel with a bolt going through the ATD plate into the hollow nose of the flywheel.

I immediately ran into a problem!. The LE is a small machine and is built low to the ground, to access the front end of the motor you need to not only get down on your knees but have to grovel and I am no longer as young as I used to be.

This pushed me into deciding to do something I have thought about for a few years now, but with the other bikes I had managed by getting a wheeled stool, I decided it was time to get bike lift!.

A problem I have with this is space, a lift will have to be kept between two bikes with another on it, I’ll need to wheel it out to work on a bike but then put it away when finished for the day as I have to get the combo in as well, (insurance demands that it is garaged any time it is left unattended!).

So it was a case of get a notebook and pen ready and fire up Google!.

I’d already decided to go the whole hog and get a table type lift rather than a simple frame jack, (these are not really suitable for use on a BMW anyway) so it was a case of see what was available.

Having recovered from the shock of seeing the prices being asked for the powered types (and realising that my little compressor was not man enough to power them!) I decided it would need to be one with a hydraulic jack.

This brought the prices down to the “reasonable to pricey” range.

Next was size, turns out that some are shorter than a bike so it has to sit on the front wheel and a jack under the frame or a centre stand, an under frame jack is not suitable for a BMW so one of these would mean putting the bike on its centre stand then dragging forward to the front of the table again before lashing it down to keep the rear wheel aloft. The idea is to make it easier so beggar that type.

Anyway I settled on one from CJ Autos that would fit into the available space, was a reasonable price and available; It’s in the garage now, fits nicely into the space available, the LE is up on it now and I’ll be able to make a start on producing the extractor tool tomorrow.


It’s now tomorrow and I’ve been out in the garage most of the afternoon, the morning was largely spent walking the dogs.

First thing was to get the combo out and get some space to work in. I moved the table out into the space to find it has the “shopping trolley” problem in not wanting to roll straight, a nuisance when it weighs over 100kg but liveable with when you know about it.

Next thing was to run the LE up onto it and secure it, the front wheel clamp works but is awkward to wind in when one hand is supporting the bike, I’ll have to look into this when putting one of the bigger bikes up on it!, a bike support mount might be a better idea

Anyway I added a couple of the trailer straps to steady the bike before I tried to lift it, then it was fit the pump pedal and try it out.

Nae bother! Up she went and I popped the locking bar into place.

I had to remove the front cover from the LE engine unit next and straightaway I found a snag.

Clearance between the front mudguard and the front of the engine is limited and I found that while I could remove the bolts securing the cover there was not enough clearance to remove the cover. Normally you’d put the front wheel over to one side and then there’s plenty room but the wheel clamp prevents the wheel twisting.

Fortunately the stand on an LE does not lift the bike off its wheels so I could safely roll her back far enough to get the wheel to turn far enough for clearance but could not have done it with a BMW, one lesson learned!.

With the cover off and the table raised there was no need to grovel to see what I was doing. The first thing was to have a look at the ATD and I found it locked in the full retard position, no wonder the old lady would not run properly!

As soon as I eased the pressure on the centre bolt the bobweights came free, all that seems to have been wrong is that the ATD had been overtightened on the taper so we’ll give it a try now before trying to disassemble any further.

While I had her up on the table I found that one of the rubber coolant pipes was leaking. The extra height let me see that the hose-clip on it was not on square and so the pipe was not snug onto the stub on the water jacket. Due to tight clearances it was a right flaff to get the clip on square, but that’s why it was on squint in the first place.

Fortunately it was the return pipe so I’ve only lost the header volume of the coolant, but I’ll have to top up the radiator before I can run her. Snag of a watercooled machine in winter, I’ll need to get some more anti-freeze and de-i water to top up with.

Then it was just drop the table and offload the bike. The table then pushed back to where it is stowed easily enough but I don’t fancy trying to move it with a bike on it, too bl–dy heavy.

As it is it sits between two bikes and the LE is run up onto it, the extra height means the LE’s handlebars and controls clear those of the other two and the combo fits in nicely behind it.

The snag I found with clearance at the front will only affect a bike where you need access to the front of the motor but it brought home the advantage of having a full length table rather than the cheaper option where the rear wheel is left over open air once you remove the ramp and of having sufficient width, I had seen one lift that was basicly a length of 6inch channel!. The one I’ve gone for has a 550mm wide table and would fit between two bikes in my shed but most I saw were in fact wider (and pricier!).