W/E 23rd February

Success!

After a week of fiddling with the details of the Atlas it runs. Having got the engine in I had to hook up all the bits and pieces. Luckily I had a week off work so rather lazily set about the tasks. The main challenge was to install new exhaust manifold studs into the head as these had been removed.

I got new studs from Slater Laverda and first ran an M6 then the correct size M7 tap in to clean up the threads. Pleased I did this because the fresh studs went home a lot cleaner and I wasn’t on the edge of a busted thread or stud which would’ve required the removal of the cylinder head.

Initially the bike was reluctant to start and I thought it was going to involve resetting the ignition timing or back to the carb…but a little bit of cranking and it fired up – on two! After warming through it has a solid tickover – from cold I find it needs choke (I installed the coat hanger bodge as I prefer it over a cable) initially but it fires easily. All this two cylinder fun was briefly halted when once again it went onto one – investigation showed however that I hadn’t screwed the pilot jet screw home properly and there it was sitting on top of the crankcases! Everything restored and back on two.

What a difference on the road – the engine is so quiet mechanically. It’s never going to be a powerful bike but it makes decent enough progress.

So that’s taken some of the pressure off – one decent sized Laverda for the 2014 season. To push the advantage home I also got my registration papers off to the VMCC. This starts the process of registering my second (and complete) Atlas for the UK. It’s looking like 2014 is most likely going to be a 100% twin year though maybe not as now I can focus on getting at least one of the triples ready for the road.

Nick 🙂

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W/E 16th February

Almost but not quite

Almost but not quite

Well almost there with installing the new engine. Problem really is that I don’t need the bike for work next week so I’ve been a bit lazy with it all.

Atlas cams

Atlas cams

The problem I’d been left with last week was a stubborn allen bolt holding the cam cover. The Duck Oil came through and a new bit for my impact driver had the issue resolved. A look under the cam cover showed everything in order and so we were good to go.

Donor engine #1331

Donor engine #1331

Before loading the engine in the frame I removed the clutch actuating spindle designed for a cable clutch and put in the pushrod from my engine along with the tin plate to the front of the sprocket. The hydraulic cylinder requires a cutaway tin plate.

Different length clutch pushrod (hydraulic item is longer)

Different length clutch pushrod (hydraulic item is longer)

While I was in the sprocket area I put on the sprocket from the old engine. The main shaft has no wear but I noticed the 530 sprocket is about a millimetre too thin and the sprocket rocks on the shaft. I will look for a spacer to pack this out as the rocking eventually enlarges the locking washer groove.

Mrs A and crane

Mrs A and crane

The engine crane came in very handy and with help from Mrs A the unit was installed. It was then a matter of refitting the oil coolers, oil filter, carb. I also had to find the settings for the Sachse ignition – kindly supplied via the Laverdaforum.

So not much left – have to sort out the exhaust as it is seized together and I will have difficulty refitting if I can’t part the front pipe from the collector. On the subject of the exhaust I also have to remove the studs out the front of the head. Finally now I have the settings it ought to be simple to time it and then hit the ‘go’ button…

Nick 🙂

W/E 9th February

Something's missing...

Something’s missing…

First week back using the Atlas for work but predictably all was not well. The bike seemed mainly to be running on one cylinder and despite fiddling with the carb it wouldn’t chime in on two. Infact adjusting the pilot screw on the left hand carb made no difference at all. I wondered if it was because the carb I was using hadn’t been cleaned prior to sitting in a box for a few years! I decided to take off the carb and found that the left hand side was black as was the case when I came back from the Scottish Rally. I’d put this down to the split inlet rubber but now think it was the inlet valve burning out. I can’t be sure but looking down the inlet track I can see the inlet valves are wet and black. This doesn’t surprise me because before leaving for Scotland I could hear this loud ‘clack’ from the left hand side so in one sense it’s good to finally think I have diagnosed the problem. Of course I won’t know for sure until the head is off and that may not happen for a long time…because I have the spare engine.

Ready for installation...almost

Ready for installation…almost

I’d hoped to be able to switch engines in a weekend but in the end this turned out to be too much. What finished the dream was my inability to get one of the cam cover allen bolts out – this’ll need a bit for my impact driver + figuring out how to remove the cable clutch actuation system. Progress was also slowed by the inability to get the right hand exhaust off – managed it eventually and I will have to spend time now separating the exhaust from the mid-section of the exhaust system.

Stainless link pipe

Stainless link pipe

On the subject of exhausts I took delivery of a connecting pipe from Star Parts in Holland. This connecting pipe is the key to putting on an aftermarket system – they only have one of these left – expensive at €120 including postage but a real pain in the arse if (when) the original system rusts through.

Still this aside I have cleaned the engine ready to go in and swopped over the inlet rubbers and oil feedback plumbing. I’ve also taken the time to clean the frame so that when the engine goes in it should look okay. I have time after Thursday so anticipate it being back in action and maybe better than ever pretty soon.

Three Nations Award

Three Nations Award

Finally the Three Nations Award arrived from the ACU. This Award is for completing the Welsh, National and Scottish rallies and kind of brings down the curtain on 2013 – good memories, check out the write up’s in the ‘Trips’ section.

Nick 🙂

W/E 2nd February

Let's get stripping!

Let’s get stripping!

Wheeled the RGS into a good position to work on it. I guessed it is going to be in this position for a while because the front engine mount looks well seized. Yep my guess turned out to be good and it is in their solid. I therefore took an alternative route which is the trick I pulled with the RGA and went to work on the small bolt and stud that attach the engine to the silentbloc. On the RGS the bolt heads are not in such good condition and the stud nuts aren’t moving. I foresee a couple of weeks with Duck Oil and a blow torch.

Time to walk away

Time to walk away

I got the forks off and decided to leave it there for now. The thing is left in an accessible position so over the next week I will just give it a daily squirt of Duck Oil and see how we get on.

12mm dowty washer

12mm dowty washer

My attention turned to the Atlas. The VFR popped the seal on the rear shock so will be out of service for a couple of weeks so if the Atlas will work that’d be helpful. Commuting to London in a car is no fun. When I woke on Saturday my heart felt a bit heavy because I didn’t believe fixing the Atlas to be road ready would be easy. Last weekend it ran but oil leaked out of the banjo junction to the nearside of the cylinder head. I fitted new 12mm dowty washers and it seems to be holding tight! I was really pleased with myself for not only ordering up the washers but getting the size right – the 12mm size is a nice tight fit – as the picture shows the old washer is very slack on the bolt.

I couldn’t quite sort out the banging in the exhaust but almost. The remote petrol reservoir so you work on the carbs with the tank off is really helpful – should’ve got one 30 years ago and saved a load of messing about. Anyways twiddled the pilot jets until I got it to the point where it affected the tickover and left it on the sweet spot (just after the engine picks up and just before it starts to die), adjusted the cable free play and tightened the inlet manifolds to get rid of any air leaks. It is now responsive and I hope riding in and out of London will maybe settle it all down i.e. the banging may go if it is caused by dirt in the carb’ where that has sat in a box for many moons.

I took it for a 10 mile test ride and it was fun! The little 600 twin rasps away and over 4,000 rpm it has a kick in the tail. The bike feels light and agile through the bends compared to the VFR and the upright, high riding position is a plus. Carburation is still out – if anything maybe a bit too rich as a spell just on the pilot jet made it bog down and awkward to start. The bike also smelt ‘hot’ which might just be all the oil still around the motor after the banjo sprung a leak.

So tomorrow (3rd Feb) will see the Atlas return to active duty so fingers crossed…

VMCC registration nonsense...

VMCC registration nonsense…

Turned my final attention to the new Atlas registration. Thought it would be easy but no. Try getting ‘rubbings’ of your engine and frame number it’s not as easy as you think…Still here is the Atlas with a copy of Murdoch’s finest to prove what I’m not sure…

Nick 🙂