W/E 30th March

The big unveiling this weekend. Dean traveled up to help split the cases on the RGA and RGS motors – well he did the splitting, why mess it up yourself when you know someone who knows what they’re doing?

Mechanic (Dean) at work

Mechanic (Dean) at work

Both engines have 120,000 miles on them but have never been opened since leaving the factory.

The RGA last ran in 2008 on the eve of the Laverda Club de France rally when it was declared broken with suspected failed mains due to the amount of noise coming out of it. At the same time the clutch had also started slipping to the point that it barely drove the bike. We therefore expected shot mains so were surprised that the crank looks good – well sort of. The mains look okay but there is severe wear on the alternator end where the sprag clutch bearing runs.

Worn sprag clutch bearing surface (crankshaft)

Worn sprag clutch bearing surface (crankshaft)

Here the shaft is worn from 30mm down to 29.79 and when taking off the sprag the ring gear had broken off its retaining tab which had ended up inside the alternator rotor. I can only think that this small sliver of metal getting caught between the stator and rotor was the cause of the noise – hmmm so did the motor need to come all the way down? Yes and no is the honest answer but looking at the wear the sprag ring gear would have kept on breaking.

'Clipped dog' on the fifth gear - is it worth replacing?

‘Clipped dog’ on the fifth gear – is it worth replacing?

The only other notable wear on the RGA was the gearbox where the fifth gear dog has been ‘clipped’. There was no selection issues when it was last on the road so I don’t know whether to replace this or not – thoughts welcome.

Finally the engine always leaked from the left hand side of the cylinder head and sure enough dis-assembly revealed a pinched head gasket ‘o’ ring which I guess was pinched when the motor was built in Breganze.

Guess this needs replacing...

Guess this needs replacing…

Next up was the RGS engine. Folk may remember this engine broke coming back from France after it had consumed all its oil. When the motor was opened it stank of burnt oil but I was surprised at how localised the damage is. The primary side piston is broken and has left residue on the cylinder wall and bits in the combuston chamber but that’s it!

Ally residue on the bore

Ally residue on the bore

The gearbox, cams and even the crank seem okay! Isn’t that amazing?

So in summary the engines with both 120,000 + miles on the bores are in not bad shape and thoughts can now turn to the possibility of a triple for the summer!

Koso prototype fitting - failed

Koso prototype fitting – failed

Sunday I fiddled about with the Atlas fitting a digital dash – not finished yet and for the time being I’ve taken it all off and will rely on a satnav if the Police come looking about…I like the look of the Koso far less cluttered and will probably be much more reliable than the rubbish speedo fitted!

A nice pair

A nice pair

So a good weekend in the shed and now maybe the blog can start talking about reassembly.

 

Nick 🙂

 

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W/E 23rd March

Thought it was going to be an unproductive weekend but managed to achieve all I had to do on the Laverda’s after all – the Honda is still waiting for a replacement shock to be fitted which I guess is a sign that all is well in the Atlas household 🙂

The Atlas got it’s first oil change since returning to action – it’s done around 1,600 miles and is proving reliable. I drained the oil Friday evening and went to fill it back up on Saturday only to push the bike away from the sidestand and over it went! Damn the garage is just too full and mistakes keep getting made. Still lucky no damage other than a bent oil strainer which I think has a camchain guide on its top – nothing a hammer couldn’t put right! Fresh oil and it started fine – I could see two retaining screws in the Sachse ignition moving with the vibration – quickly sorted and another step towards completing the road hardening exercise.

Engine ran without oil but the cams appear to be okay...

Engine ran without oil but the cams appear to be okay…

So attention turned to the 120 triple motors. I wanted to get the alternator and primary sides off and also lift the cam box to look inside – especially to see what lurked in the RGS motor which I’d run dry! So attention turned to the RGS first mainly because it was on the bench. Nothing horrible revealed itself – the starter sprag has a broken retaining screw and the rollers and springs look in a bad way but otherwise it’s fine…even the dry cams appear okay.

RGA motor swinging in the wind...

RGA motor swinging in the wind…

The RGA was dragged out with the help of the hoist and similarly looks okay. This engine was taken out of service because of a big noise in the engine which was diagnosed as main bearings. I didn’t get that far and the only problem I could see was again with the sprag side of things. On the RGA to small metal plate that retains the sprag gear wheel had broken off and ended up in the alternator – surely that can’t account for the noise when it was last run? The other thing I noticed was how loose the sprag gear wheel was on the crankshaft. I haven’t measured it but my guess is the crank is worn at this point.

Alternator off, almost there

Alternator off, almost there

So both motors are at the point where all that is left is to remove the head, barrels and split the cases to really understand what’s been going on. Next weekend Dean is coming up to give me a hand – should be good.

Nick 🙂

W/E 16th March

The Atlas completed it’s first full week of commuting service (it’s now done approx. 1200 miles since returning to the road) – it’s running well with the oil leak from the primary side the only thing needing attention – this’ll get sorted next week when I change the oil and then I’ll install a new primary side gasket.

Not much to report this week – family stuff combined with sun and the need to get a Honda VFR shock painted ready for installation kept me mainly away from the Laverda’s…but I did start to hatch a plan for the new speedo on the Atlas 🙂

As previously reported I bought a Koso digital speedo that also contains indicator lights, neutral and  high beam + a rev counter and if you like a temperature and fuel gauge. Anyways before I start to mess things about I thought about how to mount the unit and realised I needed to fashion a dashboard. I thought about metal but plan instead to use black polycarbonate. I thought about a black numberplate but have been put onto a signmaker where I ought to be able to buy a strip. My thinking is that I can fashion the dashboard easier using this material and might even incorporate an ammeter to warn of imminent electrical problems (why did these cease being fitted)! I’m also toying with the idea of using the original rev counter as the Koso is calibrated up to 14,000 so the Laverda’s normal operating range of up to 7,000 won’t light up many bars.

I’ve also ordered up some Hitachi connectors so that I may be able to keep standard wiring blocks…let’s see.

Nick 🙂

W/E 9th March

Almost a full week commuting in to London – four days (worked at home one day). With the Atlas I have progressed from fixing it to road hardening – over the next couple of thousand miles I should be able to keep tweaking and tightening until it reaches a state where despite its tatty appearance it will prove reliable.

One hiccup was that the lights didn’t work going home one evening so I turned back and got the dustbin lorry mechanics were I work to have a look. They’re back on but none of us really knows why…

Having done about 700 miles since getting back on the road I went round the bike checking nuts and bolts – just one loose so not bad. I suspect the rear disc is warped as spinning the back wheel shows a tight spot and still a patch of rust on the disc. I have another in the shed so I ought to get round to fixing this…

O ring oil seal behind the gear lever

O ring oil seal behind the gear lever

I also replaced the o ring seal behind the gearlever as the bike has a leak on the left hand side. I butted the old seal up against it to provide some pressure and fingers crossed I won’t return at the end of the day tomorrow and find spots of oil – most embarrassing for a Laverda pilot! Talking of oil – consumption appears pretty light but it did cross my mind that with the Laverda I will be back into the 3 week oil change cycle – hmmm that’s a pain!

The RGS engine free from the constraints of the frame!

The RGS engine free from the constraints of the frame!

I didn’t have much garage time this weekend (the above was an hour’s routine maintenance) but the hour I had was enough to haul the RGS motor out of the frame. The crane makes this procedure relatively easy – especially with Mrs A and my eldest daughter on hand to steady things as I jiggled the motor free of the frame.

So now I have two Laverda engines ready to dismantle and two sets of cycle parts to refurb’ – watch this space!

Nick 🙂

 

W/E 2nd March

Hmmm we’re now into the third month of 2014 – time is rolling along and progress is slow.

Selection of Laverda hoops

Selection of Laverda hoops

To get some action going I put the RGS, RGA and Jota wheels into the local KTM shop to have the old tyres removed. This is the first step of having them restored via shot blasting and painting. The young mechanic was not very complimentary about how difficult it was to get the tyres off! It cost £60 to have 8 tyres removed (and 6 tyres sent for disposal). That’s a lot of money but then again the time and skin saved made it worthwhile!

Back in harness

Back in harness

Final touches on the Atlas included installing the spare wheel with a good tyre. Did this and went to set off Tuesday morning only to find that the spare wheel is buckled! Ahh well a trip back to the KTM shop to have the tyres swopped over and we were good to go!

Used the Atlas for work on Thursday and Friday and then took my daughter for a spin through the Oxfordshire countryside on Saturday  – it was a joy to be back on the road with a Laverda. The Atlas is great fun, albeit a little slow. The rev hungry engine is quite intoxicating especially with a loudish silencer. Best of all however was the even tickover and general good habits of the engine. It is better than the original motor ever was. On the road I have been wrestling with an oil leak from the alternator cover – the bung that seals the engine where the alternator wires exit has gone hard with age. I ‘think’ I’ve cured the problem with blue hylomar. I don’t care if it looks a bit naff so long as the leak goes away.

Issues with the rear wheel continued however when on Sunday I decided to go round the bike having ridden it for a couple of days. Spinning the back wheel showed it to be binding and further investigation comparing the configuration on the new Atlas revealed I’d put the spacing washers in wrong…(two washers all on the drive side by the cush drive) Thing is I’ve been doing this for over a year! The wheel spins more freely now and I’m looking forward to the ride to work tomorrow and to see if we’ve a bit more oomph now the bike isn’t being held back!

Brass nuts on new stud

Brass nuts on new stud

Going over other parts of the Atlas meant I repaired the rear indicator that I broke on the Scottish Rally with a part from the Belgian spares hoard. I also re-tightened the exhaust flang nuts and replaced one with a brass original that came to light in the scrap bin – I recently bought 50 M7 brass nuts from a 2CV specialist but I’m using them as needs be and not wasting them.

I also took the first step to getting the Turismo road ready again. The bike hasn’t been touched since last June when it achieved the Special Gold Award in the National Rally. It returned from the rally with a cracked exhaust and a gearbox that wouldn’t quite connect 2nd gear so that it held under power(?).

Repaired exhaust

Repaired exhaust

The exhaust was welded up (the welder wasn’t pleased because there was not a lot of good metal left) but I looked a bit further to think through why it cracked. Looking at the system I think there are two causes; firstly the exhaust is only held at the head and via a canvass strap on the silencer. The canvass strap is supported by two pieces of metal to limit the amount it can sway from side-to-side. I’m going to investigate ways to make this more rigid…This brings me to the second probable cause which is the engine is rubber mounted and these mounts are in a shocking condition. They hold the motor but I am considering going to a rigid mount as featured on the earlier (single sided brakes) models.

RGS front engine mounting pin - is out!

RGS front engine mounting pin – is out!

Final piece of news is that the front engine mounting bolt came out of the RGS! Like the RGA this bolt was seized so I have been feeding it Duck Oil on and off. Anyways I thought I’d eventually end up pulling the engine and leave the front mounting in the frame but this was proving difficult because unlike the RGA the engine bolts were in bad shape and the nuts rounding off. In frustration I decided to give the front pin a tap with a hammer and it moved! So by next weekend we should have two triple engines on the bench…

Nick 🙂