That don’t look good!
On Wednesday the Atlas went onto one cylinder. I discovered the cause to be an ignition pickup that had come loose – two minutes to tighten everything back up but maybe by then the damage had been done…
I discovered the messy plug after I’d spent a happy hour or so re-fitting the Sachse ignition and decided to check the plugs. Guess this is a casualty of the ignition pickup that had come loose – must’ve put the timing all over the place and led to this. Of course this mess can only come from the piston…Having put everything back together with new ‘old’ plugs I found the bike remains a reluctant starter. Perhaps a new set of plugs will cheer things up?
I’d gone through all the wiring to connect up the Sachse box and started it whilst ‘untidy’. It’s a simple task to wire up the Sachse, especially as the timing had been ‘pre-set’ before as the ignition spinner comes off and the timing cannot wander once set. I spent a bit of time pondering where to put the ignition box – it previously sat on the rear mudguard but this exposed it to the elements so I wanted a place under cover.
The final resting place made use of the gap left once you remove the original ignition boxes – I hadn’t spotted this before as it was only when I’d used the same space for the Mk 1 ignition I ran that I’d taken off locator plates which reveal this cosy snug. I’ve wrapped the Sachse in bubble wrap and water proofed the whole thing with cable ties and an additional plastic parts bag. The only concern I have is the heat from the engine…when and if it starts. We’ll see.
It hasn’t all been misery however. Saturday I took Mrs A and my daughter (on her Yamaha) to the Bristol AutoItalia day. The Atlas ran poorly at low revs but seemingly okay when underway. The rain did come on the way home but it was okay. As I followed Catherine navigating the puddles I thought how it was all part of her motorcycling education – sometimes it rains but if that’s going to stop you then maybe you’re more suited to a car?
Numbers were down on last year because the weather forecast was poor. However the day passed off without rain.
My favourite – Lamborghini GT
The poor numbers extended to the exhibits which were a bit ‘samey’. It must be quite a let down to see your red Ferrari in a line of red Ferrari’s! What is the big dog on the block is just another Ferrari at events like this. I was musing how much cooler it would be to rock up in a Lancia GT with Carrozz Touring coachwork than some dull rocket with wide tyres and spoiler. Like the cars the bikes were mainly a sea of Ducati’s – a few Morini’s and a sprinkling of Guzzi. Hardly any Laverda but also hardly anything alternative from the 50’s or plain odd from the 70’s. Pity. Anyways always good to talk to the guys from ILOC + met Ferdinand and we spent a happy couple of hours talking bollocks!
Ferdinand, Mrs A and Catherine
Away from Atlas #1 the journey to get Atlas #2 road registered seems to go on and on…I now have to wait for the DVLA to send me a damned V55/5 – you can’t pick it up in the Post Office (like the good old days) or even download it. Nope put in your request via the computer and wait for up to 10 days and only then can you kick start the process which may or may not involve a DVLA inspection. Jeez!
Two of a kind
She passed – just! Swopped a few things over from Atlas #1 and dropped it off on Thursday morning and caught the train to work 😦 Failed on stop lights that didn’t come on immediately, indicators that indicated too fast and a bit of brake fluid round the rear calipher.
Tightened up the banjo to the calipher, bled the back brake to get it working okay but not perfect (it’ll need some road miles to achieve this) and put some contact cleaner on the front micro switch which sorted that.
We’ve all had a bike with an awful Wagner USA flasher unit..
The big find was the indicators. Atlas #2 came with one of those horrid flasher units which I think are designed for mini – indicators and I agree they flash too fast. Anyways I’d negotiated that if I removed the indicators and taped over the switch gear it would be judged without. However I got thinking and dug out the correct unit for an RGS. Now this comes with three as opposed to two connections so I guessed which two to use and bingo – it indicated at the right rate 🙂
Sailed through on Friday but my ride suggested that the handlebars are crooked and I know that the nearside rear wheel bearing is a bit rough…so okay for now but a pile of work waiting around the corner. Atlas #2 is now waiting for the registration to come through – can’t believe how close I am to having a Laverda backup bike!
The instructions for the Welsh National Rally came through during the week so now I have to focus on getting Atlas #1 ready…
First challenge is to get the front brake working. The standard disc feels warped and I gave this some thought and came to the conclusion that perhaps the disc has been messed up by sticking pistons in the calipher. Sure enough a strip down showed that the inside two pistons hadn’t moved. It also showed how the outer two pistons had been trying to push on the disc which had caused the calipher body to ‘kiss’ the wheel spokes! I dug out a fresh second-hand calipher but unexpectedly this leaked fluid out of the joint seam. I couldn’t tighten the joint and it seems to confirm my suspicion that the slightly odd calipher fitted to the Atlas is ‘tamper’ proofed. Went back to the old calipher and spent an hour with releasing fluid and seem to have freed it up. I have not fitted the big Yamaha disc because I want to see if the calipher is working before risking a fresh disc – let’s try and sort one problem at a time.
Second challenge was to get the rear brake working – grrrrrrrrrrrr! First step was to totally strip and clean the calipher.
Note the big(ish) hammer
Gloopy brake fluid
Splitting the calipher revealed some nasty stuff sitting behind the pistons – looks like water contamination. Anyhow everything cleaned up but then the challenge came when the master cylinder appeared knackered. I decided I must have a spare amongst all these used parts – the one of the spare Atlas is shot seemingly but I got life out of one off the RGA. Guess I’d replace it when that is eventually ready to roll – or at least I can worry about it later.
A very frustrating weekend which seemed to involve a lot of work just to stand still. I know I now have Atlas #2 almost available but Atlas #1 just seems to have cost me a day of my life to be no different!
She’s a runner!
I’d hoped to have Atlas #2 through its roadworthiness test but a broken brake light switch meant it had to be rolled over to next Thursday. No matter as it gave me more time to look the bike over more thoroughly which is no bad thing because once it’s on the road it’ll have to look after itself!
Atlas #2 burst in to life! Had it all wired up but no joy, plug showed no petrol so swopped over to the spare carb’ and bingo! Engine sounds good only minor problem is a tickover of up to 2,000 rpm – probably just needs running. It is a shame I had to take off the original carb’ and I will clean it up and check over the jets. It will be interesting to see if it’s got the bigger main jets. The interesting point of the carb’ was the choke. The extra spring makes a big difference in terms of the action and using the standard choke lever you can select different set openings. As with all my Atlas’s it starts with plenty of choke and no throttle.
Additional choke spring makes a difference
Getting the Atlas to run was not the main concern – this has been getting the back brake light to work. I got sent the wrong replacement switch so a root around in a box of secondhand RGS spares found me a unit that works. The unit being sent isn’t as per the original as these aren’t available so finding this old part meant I didn’t have to change the wiring to fit. I was surprised (and pleased) at how easily the back brake pumped up. I thought I might have to remove the calipher to get it sitting lower for bleeding.
Missing spade required replacement.
Atlas #1 hasn’t been totally ignored. I got a set of Yamaha FZR 750 discs off ebay and picked up a spacer plate to relocate the calipher.
Original disc next to FZR 750 replacement and mounting plate
I used the borrowed mounting plate to have a few knocked up. The difference between my plate and the original is I’m using 6mm thickness as opposed to the rather unusual 7mm supplied. I don’t think it will compromise the safety of the unit and it may stop the spokes hitting the calipher as they flex under load whilst cornering – apparently it shaves the back of the calipher. I hope to have this fitted during the week once I have had a chance to check out the calipher to make sure none of the pistons are seized (my theory as to why the existing disc got warped).
Not too much to do…
So the recommissioning work on the second Atlas began in earnest. As I went through the bike it was kind of like opening the door into a room that had been locked for many years. I got a sense of when the bike was alive and maybe some of the ambitions and ways of the previous owner. Lucky for me the previous owner was far more meticulous than me, the bike hasn’t deviated much from stock in its 37,000 kms.
Old battery with aged strap – like a shipwreck on the beach…
A tour round the bike with a dud battery showed the horn, starter and all the lights worked except for the rear brake light. – the front chimed in once the lever had been pumped a couple of times, like a bear waking up after months in hibernation. The brake light switch is missing a spade so a new switch has been ordered – aside from having to bleed the back brake to fit it the fix is simple. I also see that one of the screws for the rear light lens doesn’t tighten so if I don’t fix this it’ll soon be long gone. There was evidence that the loom had been tampered with on the top tube but everything had been taped neatly back together. I added a couple of cable ties to tidy things up a bit more and job done. Final modification was to fit a battery tray that I’d flattened out to take the larger Harley battery I’m running on Atlas #1. I expect to swop the battery between the two bikes so this’ll save a whooping £125 + mean I won’t have to concern myself with charging the battery while it just sits there.
On the carb there is an interesting modification to locate an additional spring to the choke mechanism (the single, standard spring isn’t up to the job unless everything is squeaky clean) but aside from this everything is as the book.
Little piece of tin to facilitate extra choke spring
The brake pads are fine as is the silencer. So on Wednesday I think I have to just swop over the missing chainguard and rear wheel (current tyre illegal), mask the front light (dips the wrong way) and we should be good to go!
I have done some fiddling on Atlas #1 with an eye to the impending Welsh National Rally. I replaced the rear calipher with a spare – though this also shows signs on wear where the pin goes through the body. It has ‘clicked’ home but I have augmented this some bearing lock. I am also going to wire the pin just to be sure. On the front end I have ordered up an FZR 750 disc and arranged to borrow a spacing plate so I can get one made up to locate the front calipher correctly. Finally I started to look at the tangle of old wire which runs the speedo and lights. My remaining problem is getting the front high beam LED back on track. I think this is an earth issue. Still have a few weeks before the flag drops so let’s see…