This week saw the first ‘VFR day’ of the year when the Atlas failed Friday morning. Despite the temperature of minus 5 degrees the cause turned out to be the normal Laverda issue of an incompetent owner…I’d reflected during the week on the sprag clutch repair and wondered if I had put in standard 10mm rollers or 10.3mm rollers – if I’d put in the latter then I ought to have used the original worn starter gear. Of course I’d matched the 10.3mm rollers with a new correct size starter gear and the two don’t go together…5 broken springs and 5 ‘mashed’ plungers meant there wasn’t enough puff in the starter mechanism to turn the engine sufficiently for it to start. I think it was Wednesday when as I pulled away there was an odd noise in the engine, which of course I ignored!
My most recent exploration of the Leo Zimmerman sprag clutch revealed a few more of its secrets. It is damned robust! Broken plungers made no impact on the casing, this is one tough piece of kit. I also found that there are threaded plugs behind the springs which are easily removed with an allen key and when this is done and the sheet metal ‘guard’ removed (this is held by screws whereas on the original it is ‘tack welded’ in place so not easy to dismantle and reassemble) cleaning and ensuring everything is working becomes a doddle.
I did as it turned out have enough spare plungers and springs to get the sprag up and running. I had thought I might need a few springs so in anticipation bought 6 ball point pens for £2.94 so I could borrow the springs. I had to look through a number of options before deciding the Bic Crystal Click offered a spring closest to the Laverda part!
I’m determined that as well as keeping the Atlas going I have to also do something each week to move the RGS back towards roadworthiness. It becomes hard when you have to attend to the daily hack as well breaking new ground but then that is the lot of needing a bike everyday.
I decided to carry on with the forks and also starting to clean off some of the road grime. I got the fork caps off quite easily and initial inspection seemed to suggest no problems. I had expected the fork spacers to have split over the fork springs leading to the sag I’d experienced but everything seemed to check out. The most noticeable thing was the smell of old oil as I opened up the forks! Anyway not finding any obvious issues I pressed on and dropped the forks out of their yokes for full dismantling next week.
There is lots of grime over the bike and I began going through it with paraffin and a toothbrush just to get some of the oil and road salt off. This superficial clean up will have to extend to something more substantial – certainly the carbs’ are going to have to come off and I think I’ll also have a look at the valve clearances. The wiring also looks a mess. The thing is though to keep a focus on the aim with the RGS which is not to make it immaculate but to get it back on the road to act as backup.
Finally the Atlas ended the day by firing up once the battery had been charged…let’s hope tomorrow is not a VFR day (especially as the Atlas has the muffs and heated jacket circuit).