2 1/2 Year Mk II Restoration.. it's a wrap!

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pauldridge
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2 1/2 Year Mk II Restoration.. it's a wrap!

Postby pauldridge » Mon May 13, 2019 12:17 am

Today I installed the new plunger springs on my '53 Square 4. The old ones had settled to the extent that I was dragging my silencers during tame leaning turns. As a stop gap measure, I added 3/8" aluminum spacers above each spring, which did, in fact, raise the frame height noticeably, but also stiffened the ride.

A big shout out to UK owner Bernie Jones who kindly ordered a set of springs from the local supplier and shipped them to me in Texas (the manufacturer wouldn't ship direct across the pond). I never cease to be impressed with the helpfulness of this group.

For anyone laboring under the false impression that spacers will resolve issues with a sagging spring, I am here to say NOT. The spacers I added just served to further stiffen the old spring, making the bike ride like a buckboard. What a pleasant surprise to find a much "cushier" ride with the new, proper springs. No longer do I have to fear being ejected from my seat when hitting a big bump in the road.

This last little piece of the puzzle was all that was needed to make my bike now PERFECT. It absolutely needs nothing now, and I have been enjoying the 2-kick starts (from cold.. 1 kick when warm), smooth power band without hiccup, and buttery gearbox shifts. The frame handles as well or better than any other bike in my garage (several are decades newer), with nary a wobble or hesitation. Even my brakes have bedded in and are providing very acceptable stopping power (although I am having to learn to favor the rear brake, as the front is most definitely the weaker of the two).

I also need to acknowledge master technician/machinist Paul Ackerman, from Maine, whom I have come to believe is the ultimate Ariel engine expert in this country. His careful and patient attention to my engine (which suffered serious damage due to broken rod) went well beyond any other bike or car engine rebuilder I've ever encountered.

My engine received a number of upgrades, including a Morgo oil pump (and auxiliary gauge to confirm I'm getting 70 PSI pressure at cruise speed), oil filter kit, and, from Paul, his own rocker-to-rocker external oil line upgrade, which uses brass flare fittings for quick removal when re-torquing your head), and, rocker adjuster studs that use hex head allen wrenches for adjustment (2 inexpensive modifications I highly endorse):
Square 4 engine (2 of 2).jpg


Paul also insisted on removing the plugs and cleaning out the rocker shaft oilways, not a job for the faint-hearted, but oh so critical. He found at least one passage almost completely blocked.

I now have almost 800 miles on the new engine, accompanied by 3 oil changes and 3 head retorque exercises. It has been worth the additional attention, as the bike runs cool, doesn't consume any oil, and leaks are negligible.

Now all that is left is to enjoy our wonderful spring weather here in Austin, Texas!

full bike-9-Edit.jpg
Phil Auldridge Austin, Texas - USA
Visit the North America Ariel forum: http://arielnorthamerica.org/phpBB3/
53 SQ 4 MK II, '72 Norton Commando, '78 BMW R100/7, '79 Honda CBX, 2014 Indian Chief Vintage

Gui.dorey
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Re: 2 1/2 Year Mk II Restoration.. it's a wrap!

Postby Gui.dorey » Mon May 13, 2019 5:54 am

Wow! She looks lovely. It's amazing how a "small" thing can make such a difference. Glad you sort it out, and enjoy the ride, and congrats for all the work!

Mine also took 2 1/2 years but I 'm still struggling with some issues. Still hopeful it's nothing major, but dark clouds at the moment. The first rides were however absolutely amazing and completely different to the one cylinder thumpers I'm used to.

Phil, is your saddle and front bracket that fixes it to the frame original? I'm just curious because on mine the front of the saddle is just short of touching the tank.

Cheers
Gui

roger.fellows
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Re: 2 1/2 Year Mk II Restoration.. it's a wrap!

Postby roger.fellows » Mon May 13, 2019 8:31 am

Well done Phil, lovely to see.

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pauldridge
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Re: 2 1/2 Year Mk II Restoration.. Solo Seat

Postby pauldridge » Mon May 13, 2019 12:19 pm

My bike came with the standard dual seat, but I just felt a British bike of this vintage cried out for a solo seat (The original tandem is safely stashed up in my attic for the next owner!).

When I went to fit the new solo seat, it was clear that the "stock" position wasn't going to comfortably accommodate my 6 ft 2 in height, so I fabricated an extension for the front mount. It took me 3 iterations to get it right so that the seat is very stable but the forward mount pivots on its axle to accommodate the spring compression at the rear (what is visible is just a light gauge metal cover hiding the much beefier mount underneath):

IMG_20190513_054259.jpg


Of course, this rearward placement of the seat (which now fits me perfectly) required extending the mounting location for the springs at the rear. I fabricated an extension bar of 1/4" steel stock, and it has proven to be very solid and sturdy:

IMG_20190513_054341.jpg


Finally, when I had the rear mudguard rechromed, I decided to weld up the now-unused mount holes in the top. Later, I decided to add an aftermarket pillion pad (partially to cover my less-than-perfect weld job). It is attached solely with very strong 2 sided mounting tape. It is strictly for "show" as I never intend to have a passenger on the back:

IMG_20190513_054354.jpg


As you can see, there are lots of departures from pure stock on my bike, but all in the mode of what I'll characterize as "period correct"

For Gui.Dorey: I have been following your own issues with your blocked engine. My heart bleeds for you, as I know first hand just how much effort you've gone through to get to this point. Don't be discouraged, persevere.. there will be light at the end of the tunnel, and in the end it will be worth all the effort.

FWIW, I've documented some of the tasks involved in assembly of my own engine on my personal blog.. you might find something useful there:

http://blog.auldridge.org/2018/01/16/the-queens-revenge/

http://blog.auldridge.org/1953-ariel-square-four-motorcycle/
Phil Auldridge Austin, Texas - USA
Visit the North America Ariel forum: http://arielnorthamerica.org/phpBB3/
53 SQ 4 MK II, '72 Norton Commando, '78 BMW R100/7, '79 Honda CBX, 2014 Indian Chief Vintage

Gui.dorey
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Re: 2 1/2 Year Mk II Restoration.. it's a wrap!

Postby Gui.dorey » Mon May 13, 2019 9:18 pm

Thanks Phil, of course - the MkII already had a dual seat. I also think the chrome mudguards etc look very nice, even if not original. Still looks great and I always think these bikes always look better with a saddle rather than a dual seat.

Thanks for your blog and I already knew it before. I even played with your idea of assembling the pistons to the barrel first and then lowering the whole bunch to the con rods, but in the end decided for the traditional method as I had no way of suspending the barrel.


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