W/E 24th September 2018

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Well the rally season is just about at an end. Spent last weekend at the Belgian Rally (report to follow soon) and now it’s time to begin work on the Atlas.

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Looking over the Atlas the damned exhaust has been at work again – further melting the sidepanel and also having a nibble at the Andy Strapz canvass panniers. Still with all the abuse the Atlas has had thrown at it I guess it has the right to bite back occasionally!

There’s the usual sorting out to be done like repairing the broken gearbox return spring but the biggest challenge is going to try and turn it in to a  more reliable starter. Had to take Mrs A out the other day and with the cold mornings it just wouldn’t catch! All this leaning on the starter motor is inevitably going to lead to more failed starters and starter sprags.

Sent off some silver steel bar to get a batch of oversize sprag rollers made up. I’ve also done a bit more digging on the Howdi sprag bearing. I’ve identified the auto transmission it comes from and got some advice that maybe the bearing is failing because it has to drag when not in use. The bearing normally works ‘locked’ to spin up the transmission but in the Howdi application it spends most of its time ‘open’. We’ll see as perhaps the solution is just to replace it every 5,000 miles? In addition to this I found that Ian Drysdale is making sprags out of used Kawasaki W650 parts – perhaps it would be easier to fit one of this into the Howdi housing?

Not been completely idle however and have posted my account of the Scottish Rally in the Trips section.

Nick 🙂

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W/E 16th September 2019

A busy couple of weeks since my last post – last weekend was the Laverda meeting in Belgium and the weekend before that the Scottish rally. Reports are being written but in the meantime I’ve posted a report on my trip to Northern Ireland which you can find in the Trips section.

To get up to Scotland I had to fix the starting issue and put on new chains and sprockets.

The starting issue was traced to a defective starter motor – easy fix just take a motor off Atlas #2 – this had the advantage of already having the right gear for the Zane clutch so no whining gears on start up. I left the plastic cover off the engine just in case I needed access but so far so good.

More worrying is the wear on the gearbox output shaft.

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Worn sprocket splines on the gearbox output shaft

I had a potential fix to this problem in the form of a new hardened sprocket with a shoulder on the back. This design makes use of the full length of the splines, is a tighter fit and won’t rock. To fit the sprocket I had to fit a different gearbox seal so the new sprocket can butt up against the gearbox end bearing.

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New and old sprockets, old and new seals and tool to hook out old seal

Getting the old seal out proved simple enough – I used a hooked tool I found when out walking so not sure what you’re supposed to use it for! Anyhow once the old seal was out the new seal tapped in, tho’ not that sweetly as the outer edge starter to ‘peel’. I decided it was good enough.

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I put locking fluid on the splines and tapped the sprocket home. You can see from the picture that instead of using a lock washer I’ve gone for a simple 21mm external circlip – no need for a lock washer you just need to take up end float on the sprocket (which shouldn’t move due to the locking fluid).

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Finally hot on the heels of Matt Hale I had a visit from Dean Young on his rather lovely GTL 750. Top bike and top bloke – can’t think of a better way to while away an afternoon.

Nick 🙂

W/E 2nd September 2018

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So mixed fortunes since the last post – but let’s start with the positives…

Ended up visiting the ILOC annual rally at Baskerville Hall last weekend. Made arrangements to ride over to Hay-on-Wye with Dominique (RGS) and his friend Marc on a first series SFC – picture above. Very nice hey?

We’d agreed to meet up at Chieveley Services junction 13 on the M4 on the Friday at 14:30. At 12:00 the Atlas was still a non-starter – it would run but not start on the electric start. As is my way I’d left it too late to twirl the spanners and left it to Thursday night to begin work. I put my money on the sprag rollers being knackered yet again so pulled the Zane sprag off Atlas #2 the night before!

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The sprag came off relatively easily and revealed that when I’d assembled it incorrectly putting a spacer the wrong side of a gear – wondered why it ran so badly when it eventually fired up!

New sprag on the Atlas but it failed to run – even with Mrs A pushing it down the hill out the back of the house! Mulled it over and realised I hadn’t timed up the balancer shaft gear so stripped it down to find not only had I missed this but also had the crankshaft gear on back to front! That probably explained the noise when it did try to fire up…Stripped it down again and now found that the original sprag had got jammed on the ring gear so back together and another bump from Mrs A and it ran smoothly…still nothing on the button however.

As I was working on the bike I was thinking how dumb it was to create such a tight deadline, it also meant that working under pressure I made mistakes further adding to the stress of the situation. I did consider closing the garage door and taking my Honda NC700x (I use this for work only)…but how can you turn up at a Laverda event on a Honda! Is it tho’ better this than not to go at all? Is an event about the people or the bikes?

Still I’d warned Dominique and Marc about the lack of starter so they duly lined up and pushed the Atlas round the services carpark – they pushed it for longer than they need as I forgot to flick the kill switch back to on…

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We called in on James White-Cooper to pick up a spare set of plugs for the SFC and then headed west down the relatively empty country roads across the south Cotswolds and into Wales – the Atlas held its end up I’m pleased to report 🙂

The ILOC meeting was well attended. The atmosphere was building as the Laverdisti enjoyed the autumn sunshine and stunning views.

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The wire wheeled 3C seems to be the current ‘in vogue’ model and there were some very nice examples on show.

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Time to head home – a 200 mile range tank meant the trip home could be completed without the need to stop for fuel so a couple of ILOC member obliged with a push and I was away. The sun was sinking but the ride back via the A40/M4 provided a nice balance of twisties in the fading light and then motorway when night fell and the job just needed completing. I rolled in home at 23:00 having had a great days riding – Mrs A was exhausted and asleep!

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Sunday saw Matt Hale rock up on his way home from Bristol. His [genuine) 3CE has a beautiful patina which hides the recently installed Redax ignition upgrade.

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Look above the ‘2’ and you can see the crude ‘E’ that identifies the bike as a pukka 3CE

Spent the afternoon catching up with Matt which helped me to ignore that the Atlas still won’t start on the button and the Scottish rally is this coming weekend! Maybe I’ll take the Honda!

Nick 🙂

PS Finally completed my account of the National Rally and have added this to the Trips section if you’re interested.