The front forks are Metal Profiles. Once again, the sliders and top yoke would have melted in the fire so I didn't receive any forks with the bike.
I scoured the autumn Stafford Show for a suitable set of forks in 2016 but was only able to find two of the cast iron yokes used for the bottom yoke. But, at a pinch, I could use another one as the top yoke although Healeys used an alloy top yoke. Thinking I might find the rest of the forks at the other end of the country I went to a Kempton Park autojumble where I had arranged to collect one or two items including two large and weighty packages, one for each hand. Having been round every stall and failed to find any Metal Profiles I paused at a stall on the way out to buy one of those 2 gallon old fashioned petrol cans for Madam's 1927 Standard car. The stallholder also persuaded me to buy a suitable screw jack for the car which was rather heavy but just went into my bag. So, very well laden down by now, it was inevitable that I should find a set of fork stanchions and sliders on the next stall towards the exit! Getting that lot to the car was no mean feat!
Spot the difference on the sliders. The one standing on its own is one of the Kempton Park ones which lacked the mudguard brackets. Although I thought I could make brackets to come from the studs on the underside of the sliders, when a set of forks appeared on Ebay with sliders featuring the mudguard brackets I bought a second set of forks. These came with an alloy top yoke. But on mock assembly, I quickly found that the handlebars rotated all too readily so something was wrong.
Spot the difference on the top yokes. It seems that the first one I bought uses U shaped clamps beneath the handlebars, much like the earlier cast iron top yoke, despite the casting numbers on the underside of my two alloy yokes being the same. The yoke on the bike, which is the type originally used by Healeys, has a groove along the top between the handlebar clamps which acts as the bottom half of the clamp. So I was pretty pleased to find this brand new old stock top yoke on Ebay one day, even if the price was a bit steep. When it arrived though, I made the interesting discovery that the holes for the stanchions were too small, although the centres were correct. There are more variants to Metal Profile forks than there appear to be at first sight. Note the saw cut clamping arrangement which prevented reaming the hole out to size. The choice then was mill or lathe. I chose the lathe because I was more confident of getting exactly the correct hole size that way. Taking the gap section out of the bed I was just able to swing the yoke mounted on the faceplate. Making the tooling for this took far longer than boring the holes, as you might expect. Dummy assembly showed that the steering stem (from the Ebay forks) fouled the oil filler neck on the frame. So this too had to be shortened, a new thinner top nut made and a plug for the stem. The steering head bearings are standard taper roller bearings designed for this very use. The steering stem is clamped to the top yoke by a piece of alloy secured in place and tightened up by two allen bolts set and an angle of about 75 degrees to each other. The only way this will clamp up is by use of the play between the allen bolts and the holes in the alloy. Not a great design and the alloy clamp which came with the correct top yoke simply would not tighten up - by miles. So I had to make a new one and get the holes spot on right both in terms of centring and angle. This was another tricky job.
Assembling the springs into the stanchions is an interesting and sometimes painful job. The springs are part compressed at rest which means you have to overcome their force when screwing the top cap into the stanchion. You should be able to see that the only means of turning the top cap is a hole for a tommy bar. No way are you going to get that top cap in with a tommy bar! I made a suitable short length of bar with v-shaped ends which fit inside a standard socket. That way you can push down straight and turn at the same time but I did need wife Maggie to watch that the top cap was square before I started to turn. Please tell me if you know of a better option.
Then it was polish the alloy, chrome the bottom yoke, fit new bushes and seals and assemble. Metal Profile forks are still available new, as are parts for them, from Greeves Motorcycles.
36 4G, 37 VH, 54 KH(A), 75 Healey 1000/4, 52/53 ex ISDT KHA (project).
Former Machine Registrar & Archivist, General Secretary and Single Spares Organiser (over a 25 year period).
Now Archivist once more - but not Machine Registrar.