Author Topic: Whats the most bodged old bike you ever came across that still ran?  (Read 474 times)

Offline mini-me

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Whats the most bodged old bike you ever came across that still ran?

Mine's an Ariel Huntmaster,back in 1977 I was asked to overhaul the engine in one, which attached to its sidecar was used to transport an old chap's wife and himself to visit their son in a care home.
Bike started and chuffed away quite happily, I could start it by just gently depressing the kickstart ;easy peasy, cushty little job.

famous last words
took the head off, inlet tract almost clogged with coke,exhaust nearly as bad, valves recessed back to last year, guides so slack you could get two valve stems down.Carb so slack you could hear the slide rattle.
Bores of course knackered, so down to the crankshaft, a bit of wear in the bigends, TS bush well fekked, so off to the regrinders, noticing, that the TS side was abit off centre.
Should have been a warning...

 camshaft so worn that the followers ran between little ears the lobes had worn down so far, and the magneto was running in oil yet had a big fat blue spark.

Meanwhile back from the grinder came the crankshaft, "we had a bit of a job to centre it" said the man.

Oh dear, so, it goes into the cases, but one side won't go fully home, each side fits the bearings fine, yet together the cases won't meet, driving me nuts by now well over estimate of time and money.

Scuriny of the now chemically cleaned crankshaft shows faint vice marks on the webs, with sinking heart I measure the distances, the damn thing had been gripped so hard in a vice it was bent.

"Was the last bloke to work on this a mechanic?"  I asked
"no its my neighbour, he's a dustman."

every word is true, I found another crankshaft and what the so called engineering shop did to that is another story, just as bad, if anyone out there has an A10 crank with the sludge trap welded, I can tell them why.

Its tribute I think to that old BSA/Ariel engine that it could keep going that worn out.


Offline Rex

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Re: Whats the most bodged old bike you ever came across that still ran?
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2017, 09:25:14 AM »
A few times I've broken my own Golden Rule, which is, never import a British bike from the US or Europe.
They don't seem to have (or can't be arsed to find) access to the wonderfully arcane world of British threadforms, so a nice bit of SAE or Metric thread mullercation is always the easy(?) way out for them.
Reliving the nightmare right now as it happens- an old RE with UNF nuts whanged on the head and barrel studs, but that's an easy fix. I wonder what awaits as I get further into it?
{Most bodged bike ever? Not mine, but a bloke I used to share a lock-up with had an A65 chop, and just a cursory look reminded me that some people really aren't cut out to use their hands in a manual occupation of any sort, and I still detest choc-blocks and Dexion to this day... but the wonderfully long shiny whippy curly-steel springer forks would have made any passing Hippy cry with joy..}

Offline mini-me

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Re: Whats the most bodged old bike you ever came across that still ran?
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2017, 09:58:24 AM »
I once had a bike from a collector of "investment" dinky toys, a T110 as it happens, to check over, he couldn't ride a bike but it was another "investment".........

the engine was held in by undersize studding, so slack that it moved as you tried to kickstart it; brakes where lined with some kind of cardboard-ish muck glued on with fish glue.

 I gave him the bike back FOC, I refused to have anything to do with it.

The young and oversensitive have never experienced that sort of thing, to understand the cynicism of us who have.


Offline iansoady

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Re: Whats the most bodged old bike you ever came across that still ran?
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2017, 10:13:16 AM »
I've just read a blog about the restoration of an Arial Golden Arrow. Very nice job except - he'd used metric fasteners everywhere. Not only that but he'd actually tapped the holes in the crankcase that retain the prop stand metric!

It's a real shame as someone will buy that on the basis of its finish etc only to have real problems later.

I suspect the chap didn't actually know there were different thread forms and standards on old(er) British bikes.

There's also been a recent thread on the Yahoo Velo mob with a similar person wanting to change all the fasteners to metric to avoid having 2 sets of spanners.

The mind boggles.........
Ian
1952 Norton ES2
1962 Ariel Arrow
1982 Moto Guzzi V50

Offline Rex

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Re: Whats the most bodged old bike you ever came across that still ran?
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2017, 11:01:50 AM »
Ian, when you're feeling bored or whatever, go on the RC/IKBA site and ask, "so who was it who tried to change all the threads to metric on an old Norton some years back"?
If you don't know who it was, you may be surprised!
That undersized studding is a thing particular to Americans, I've found. There was a long protracted argument I recall some years back where someone (probably) young and stupid used "All-thread" to hold his Triumph engine in place, and wouldn't be told that it was likely to be vibrating twice as much as usual.
"It works just fine" was his terse reply. As ever, the concepts of bolts, set-screws and studs was an unknown world to too many.

Offline mini-me

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Re: Whats the most bodged old bike you ever came across that still ran?
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2017, 11:39:33 AM »
Ariel Arrows are what taught me that there was such a thing as SAE threads, that my whitworth stuffdidn't fit,well I was a very young and suffering with a Crusader sport....

On the other hand I knew a very talented  and precise engineer, now dead sadly,who converted all the threads on his Honda 400 four to whitworth forms, why, because he could,  and as he said, it will really confuse someone in the future. That I know will have been an excellent job.

then again, I once had a Rudge replica to sort out, an import from Spain, it was held together with a lot of coach bolts; having had previous experience with what happened to pre war bikes in Spain I chucked the lot and paid a visit to THE Rudge man at the time, an ex Brooklands rider who still had a stock of genuine Rudge stuff....he gave me a handful of coach bolts.......that evidently was original Rudge practice.

You never can tell. Put me off Rudges thats for sure.