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Re: The new Project

Posted: Sat Apr 04, 2020 5:08 pm
by Leejm
Hi Paul, the Healey looks amazing!

Re: The new Project

Posted: Sun Apr 05, 2020 5:35 pm
by paul.jameson
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.

Re: The new Project

Posted: Mon Apr 06, 2020 3:33 pm
by paul.jameson
The side panels are fibreglass so were destroyed in the fire. Knowing this, and assessing the chances of finding replacements as about nil, before I sold my previous Healey I took the precaution of taking fibreglass moulds from the side panels. So making the replacement panels was fairly simple. Fitting them was less easy.




The right side panel contains the tool box which I failed to take a mould of but assumed I could make one the right size easily enough. The panel is held to the frame by two pins on the back edge, by a special bracket which supports the front lower edge and by a locking bracket. The special bracket for the front edge was missing so I made one up out of angle iron and steel strip. The lock used to hold the panel to the frame is a Honda steering lock / helmet lock which are readily available on Ebay. A little applied fibreglass work and the side panel fitted well enough, although the lock is a little further inside the panel than on my previous bike. However, when I fitted the distributor, no way could I get the side panel off. It simply would not come out. So I have had to modify the inner edges of the toolbox section, the lower bracket and the holes at the back of the panel to release it. Even then, I have to remove the distributor cap and rotor arm. Perhaps a little more reshaping may improve on this because the panel came off easily on the previous bike.

The left side panel houses the ignition and light switch with the main electrical connections behind it. The switch again is Honda but is unusual in having an off position then three on positions (for ignition only, ignition + sidelights, ignition +headlights.) Most Honda switches are either one position on or two positions on. The one I have used came (from the USA) off a Honda CB160 as it was the only switch I could find with the 3 on positions. I am pretty sure, having looked at the Honda wiring diagrams, that the third on position was originally for a parking light. I needed to use it for ignition + headlight. In the end, the only way I could think of to do this involved the use of 2 diodes which can be seen at the top right of the connection strip. The left side panel is easier to remove. Having taken the right side one off, you undo the spring clip and the left side panel comes out - but you need to have the petrol tap turned on! Again, this wasn't needed on my previous Healey. Sadly, I was unable to get a side panel lock and an ignition switch which use the same key but at least I have been able to source 2 sets of brand new keys.

Re: The new Project

Posted: Thu Jul 02, 2020 5:21 pm
by paul.jameson
The Healey now has 88 miles on the clock but the running has been bedevilled by problems finding the correct oil level in the oil tank. The dipstick was missing when I got the bike so it has been trial and error finding how much oil to put in. Frequently, and more and more frequently of late, the oil warning light has come on to indicate that the oil feed tube from the horizontal spine tube of the frame has become uncovered with oil. It has been necessary to bleed the (Morgo) pump once the bike was level again in order to get the oil feed working. Usually, I have also added oil at this point.

It is worth explaining that I live on the steep Malvern Hills and that the drive down to my garage has a gradient of 1 in 5, or 20%, so I live in a somewhat testing area.

Morgo have been incredibly helpful and have given lots of sound advice but eventually, I sent the pump back to them to be tested. Apart from some minor scratching internally, the pump was fine and has been returned restored to full working order for a nominal service charge which included lapping out the scratches, a new rotor to suit and return by Royal Mail 24 hr Special Delivery.

I fitted the pump yesterday and then started the bike up. The result was oil being pumped into the engine but not back to the tank with the result that the sump filled up and the oil warning light came on yet again.

I discovered the cause of the problem when I took the sump plate off. The incompetent fool who built the engine (that's me, by the way) had to remake the scavenge pipe as the unions on each end became unsoldered during the fire which destroyed the bike. In putting the pipe back into the engine, I tried to get the bottom of the pipe as low as I could. I succeeded all too well, with the result that the end of the pipe was pressing on the gauze of the filter which in turn was pressing on the sump plate. The excellent suction of the pump then drew various bits of blue hylomar gasket sealant and a couple of bits of metallic debris under the gauze of the filter which had the effect of blocking off the scavenge pipe - hence no return to the oil tank yesterday and a very inferior return previously.

So make sure that the scavenge pipe inlet is something like 1/2 to 2/3 the way up the height of the gauze filter.

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