W/E 31st May 2015

That don't look right

That don’t look right

So the aim this week is to get the Atlas ready for next weekend’s LCF rally, just south of Tours. I want to be able to write a trip report without the normal mechanical shambles. The list of tasks was not that long – fit the back wheel which has the new tyre on it, replace the sprocket and replace the headstock bearings.

Too tight a fit

Too tight a fit

I got a new Pirelli Scorpion Trail 130/80 x 17 and new from experience that it might be tight against the standard silencer. Sure enough it’s tight so I took the custom setup off Atlas #1. I didn’t think the old Pirelli MT80 was rubbing but once I had the silencer off there were the tell-tale marks of a tyre just kissing the silencer.

That's better

That’s better

This now means that when we set off for France we won’t have to go the first 50 miles shaving the edge off the tyre – hurrah!

Along with the tyre a new sprocket went on – I’m effectively throwing this sprocket to the wolves because the chain is okay as is the engine sprocket. So I expect a bit of rapid wear and will go through the lot (both sprockets and chains) probably before the Scottish rally in September. It is penny pinching but over 20,000 miles in a year the pennies soon add up!

The job I hate doing and put off ’til last was the headstock bearings. I just hate the shambles of wiring around the headstock area – so deep breath and in we go. Soon found that where the bike had been inactive one of the bolts holding on the front brake calipher and two of the smaller bolts holding the bottom yoke to the fork were seized. Today wasn’t the day to mess things up so a liberal spray with Duck Oil and the decision to do the job without totally dismantling the forks was made. The only real downside of this is that it makes pushing the headstock back into place heavy work however the use of a trolley jack and Mrs A made it relatively straightforward.

Trolley jack workaround

Trolley jack workaround

The bearings themselves seemed okay as ever it is the races that are pitted. I did my normal bodge when I’m tight on time and fitted all new in the top yoke but just new race in the bottom. I’ve also slightly overtightened the plot based on experience that is it loosens off after a 100 miles or so – I couldn’t face having to pull it all apart on Tuesday to ‘nip it up’.

Notchy steering?

Notchy steering?

As the Atlas only has 40,000 kms or so I’d expected to be the first to dismantle the front end but not so. The clocks were incorrectly mounted and one of the little sleeves that protects the plastic clock mount was missing – lucky I had a spare.

Little sleeve to protect the clock mount from the bolt thread - easily dropped on the floor and forgotten

Little sleeve to protect the clock mount from the bolt thread – easily dropped on the floor and forgotten

I decided to fit the correct front mudguard. I made up a couple of spacers which I assumed were missing from the front two mudguard mounts (to match those on the rear) only to find that this approach meant the mudguard fouled the radiators? Inspection of Atlas #1 revealed that Laverda only used two back spacers on the mudguard and effectively bent the mudguard upwards (it’s plastic remember) by putting none in the front! Jeez they were broke at the end hey?

The speedo mechanism is not totally broken so I tried to fix the twisted tang with two pack glue – it failed but the tang is hanging in there until it presumably catches once more and completely shears off (as the last one did).

Atlas #2 complete with correct front guard

Atlas #2 complete with correct front guard

So just the sidepanel to fit and France here we come…

Nick 🙂

Advertisements

W/E 25th May 2015

Triple delights

Triple delights

Mrs A picked up a couple of cylinder blocks and the cylinder head for the RGS. I now have all the parts for both the RGA and RGS. I’m hesitating as I think I ought to get the engine nuts refinished before assembly – hmmm am I just procrastinating? It does feel a bit like the Atlas engine build when I had all the bits but found things to delay the rebuild. I am confident that the triple engines will be straightforward but I do need to spend time especially making sure the top end is 100%.

Atlas #2 has been testing the new metal inlets all week. They have completed 300+ miles without problems. I had wondered if the bike might be prone to overheating the carb in heavy traffic but the insulating plates between the manifold and carb’ are doing their job. There is also no discernible impact of the small step between the manifold and inlet track. The only change that I have noticed is that it takes longer to warm up.

The immediate focus is to now prepare Atlas #2 for the LCF rally in two weeks. I’ve got a fresh tyre and rear sprocket to go in, need to fix the speedo, replace the headstock bearings and sort out an oil leak. My aim is to write a trip report where my bike runs faultlessly…

Nick 🙂

W/E 17th May 2015

Guest mechanic

Guest mechanic

Thinking of having a new section called ‘Guest Mechanic’ – the garage has seen Cor Dees and Scott Potter in the past and this time round it’s Dean Young who dropped in for a chilli and ended up with some spanners in his hand!

Alloy inlet stubs

Alloy inlet stubs

Took delivery of the replacement inlet stubs produced by Stefan Huber http://www.or600.laverda-club.com/index_e.html. At the moment neither Atlas needs them but I thought it wise to plan for the future – I doubt they will be available forever. Excellently made they are supplied with all the o rings + a heat insulation plate to stop too much heat transfer to the carb’. Dean was keen to fit ’em so who was I to stand in his way?

Originals

Originals

Fitted proved straightforward. The right hand oil feed pipe banjo had to be removed to refit the manifold nut and the carb’ support arm that previously stopped the carb flexing on its rubber inlets didn’t line up. We decided that as the carb’ is now held rigidly it wasn’t essential so didn’t open up the hole for it to be attached. A bit of road testing will tell if this was wise.

Replacements

Replacements

I didn’t check but apparently the inlet are slightly larger in places than the diameter of the inlet track in the head. Tom Eatman smooths the passage with alloy paste whereas Andy Bartlett who has just done the same fitment decided the ‘step’ would make little or no difference. As a fan of the ‘line of least resistance’ I’ve gone with Andy. Again let’s see what happens out on the road.

While Dean worked on Atlas #2 I tried to get Atlas #1 to work by refitting the ignition. Got a spark but it wouldn’t start. I fear the engine is in need of major work but before I decide what next I will have another go – I know this might be a bit ‘head in the sands’ but I really don’t want another engine in pieces.

Broken speedo tang

Broken speedo tang

My focus has to be on Atlas #2 as the countdown to the LCF rally commences – just two more weekends to go…I checked the speedo drive for reasons why the speedo has stopped working and sure enough the drive has seized in use and the tang that drives the cable almost sheared. It is a cheap way to make a cheap speedo work and this problem happened on Atlas #1 when I first got it. First time round it cost me €60 with the result that the damned thing broke shortly after it had been repaired. I will get my thinking cap on before repeating the same futile exercise this time round.

I had feared that the rear shock had popped a seal on its first outing in years. Atlas #2 is fitted with a high class Ohlins item and fortunately this seems okay with the oil coming from somewhere on the engine. Not quite sure where but did notice the seal behind the ignition spinner ‘weeps’. However all this is okay with only a new rear sprocket, tyre and headstock bearings requiring replacement for me to be confident of making the LCF bash. I do however have limited time over the next two weeks so fingers crossed this can all be achieved and that the pannier frames can also be transferred over.

Nick 🙂

W/E 3rd May 2015

Yamaha FZR 750 disc

Yamaha FZR 750 disc

Start this week off with a picture of the Yamaha FZR 750 disc in the Atlas wheel. Decided to post this because it’s the only positive thing I can think of. Disc has gone onto the wheel just fine, with a set of new stainless bolts to add to the impression. I’ve delayed trying to fit these in case the front calipher wasn’t working correctly but it seems the pistons on either side are moving. Unfortunately the bolts I had with the spacer bracket are too long and I just can’t be arsed to cut ’em down to size. It can wait – the wheel bearing seems a bit worn in any case…

Guzzi V11 at the top

Guzzi V11 at the top

I got Mrs A down to the shed and we tried bleeding the back brake through again. I’d fitted a unit off the RGA but the seal on the top had been leaking (hope it doesn’t lift too much of the frame paint) It gripped but no convincingly. I fitted a new master cylinder. The originals are no longer available so had to go for a smaller unit normally fitted to a Guzzi V11. The different length means you can only use the front securing bolt – no big deal.

Switch with broken wires

Switch with broken wires

Anyhow the new ‘Guzzi’ unit hasn’t done the trick and revealed the wires for the brake light got broken when it was fitted. So the back brake light now doesn’t work…

The bike has been running poorly throughout the week – or rather it has been a poor starter mainly and then run on one cylinder until off idle. I could live with it but then took Mrs A for a day out on Saturday and we limped round the 50 mile tour.

Got the bike on the ramp Sunday and removed the plugs. The left hand plug looked like it had again picked up debris – not as bad as before but something seems to be going on in that cylinder. I did suspect the valve clearances but these checked out – only thing I ‘fixed’ was a baggy connection to an ignition coil.

I also went through the carb and found nothing particular wrong – bit of dirt here and there but nothing to get worried about. In getting a fresh carb setting on the pilot screws I found that the bike won’t start just on the left cylinder (it does on the right) so without the benefit of a compression tester I’m guessing the compression is down…Oil consumption is heavy at maybe a litre every 500 miles!

Spots at 50%

Spots at 50%

Moved onto the lights – the left hand LED spot worked intermittently. I had power and it should’ve worked but wouldn’t – I was getting tired. So I’ve wired it into the right hand spot so now they both come on a 50% and rise to 100% on hi beam (previously the right hand only came on hi beam at 100%). In a way it’s an improvement but I liked the neat original arrangement. Took the opportunity to just check the front brake light and guess what…it doesn’t work. I didn’t have any energy to try and resuscitate the LED speedo and dash…

So time is running out with the Welsh National Rally next weekend. The paperwork has gone off for Atlas #2 but it would be remarkable if that was sorted in time. So I have to just hope Atlas #1 has another 1500 miles in it before going ‘bang’.

Nick 🙂