Problems With Watercooling (1)!

A problem I was aware of when I took on the LE was that there was a water leak.

When I investigated further I found that the problem was not simply a badly made connection but that of a corrosion damaged water inlet pipe on one of the barrels, after all the bike is around 60 years old now.

There are four of these stubs, an inlet and an outlet on each barrel.

Fortunately these are not cast as part of the barrel but are simply a short length of tube, made as a press fit into the main barrel casting.

Having found one bad stub I checked the other three and found that “If doing one better do them all”.

While it is quite possible for you to replace these yourself there is an LEVelo club member who offers this as a service at a very reasonable price, in fact when I ‘phoned him for more information he quoted me a price for doing both that I thought was for fixing just one barrel!

This means its not worth going to the trouble of making the tooling necessary for the job and turning up the new stubs.

It does mean however that I’ll have the bike standing in the garage with the engine open for a while, not the best of ideas. The easy way round this is to make up a pair of blanking plates to cover the crankcase mouths and keep any muck out. Not only that but they can support the pistons in place while the barrels are being refitted rather than me having to support the piston with one hand, the barrel with the other and using a third hand to compress the piston rings into place in the barrel as I slide it into place.

To get the material for these plates I went down to Maxwells DIY in Birtley, had a rake in their offcuts box and came away with a nice piece of 4mm plywood.

Once I got back home I dug into the bits and pieces that had come with the bike and found a cylinder base gasket.

This was laid onto the plywood, drawn round and the holes marked out. I then set to and sawed the required two plates out of the plywood.

The hold down bolts for the cylinders are ¼ inch diameter so I drilled the holes in the plates out to 8mm, near enough 5/16 inch.

I then marked the centre of the bore and drilled a 12mm hole there and opened that up to the top edge so that I had a slot running from the top edge to the bore centre, this was to take the connecting rod, idea being that with both plates in position, by turning the engine I could bring both pistons down to lock the plates in position against the crankcase and seal the cases shut while the barrels were away being fixed.

That was the easy bit done, next comes the grovelling to the machine gods.