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Garage Notebook : Sunbeam Motorcycle resto's..

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12 hours ago, Bfg said:


This is its gauze filter .. for when one adds  oil to the engine.   For me it's inconceivable to pour so lumpy an oil into an engine that this coarseness of mesh would stop bits from getting in.!  :huh:

I was wondering about this, in regard that it might not be a filter at all, but rather a basket for holding something which in time dissolved ?   But what compound might one add to engine oil ?  I'm thinking along the lines of something like lead in petrol ..before unleaded ..as an anti-knock or else to make it more slippery ..like bath salts.    I  might add though that the dip stick goes down into this gauze tube, so whatever it might be, there was not a lot used.  

Ok., just possibly I'm over thinking this.

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7 hours ago, somewhatfoolish said:

Spring washers might have been the answer in 1946, but threadlock or stiff nuts(if available in the relevant thread) would do a far more reliable job now.

You make a good point and in many instances I would wholly agree with you ..but thread-lock does tend to rely on both inside and outside threads being clean of oil and 60 years of inside-engine-stained embedded grime.  I use a bench (rotatory) wire brush to clean into the threads of bolts, but the inside threads of a used nut is not so easy.  Likewise thorough cleaning all around a stud's thread can be very awkward when the stud is shrouded in such a bearing housing.  

I've used new spring washers here because they are 'springs' which tension up over a complete turn and a half ..and that's not a  does work or doesn't  scenario like thread-loc.  

And I further agree with you that there are other types of locking nuts - that would have been acceptable in such an environment (especially where new nuts are used).  In this particular this instance though - the spring washers have a thickness which raise the nut a little above the surrounding face and the plain nuts have a full depth flat - which makes getting a spanner on (almost) possible !   

Below shows the nyloc that was, and the very limited access to get either a socket or spanner in, and then the fractional depth of  'spanner flat'  on this type of of lock nut. 


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I'd agree that a new spring washer should suffice, since its lasted so long without falling off.

I have also used threadlok on CWP's.  Also on  Zetec flywheels, where the threads go right into the crank oil ways, its impossible to get all the oil out, but it's well stuck when you undo it.


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On 5/23/2019 at 7:57 PM, Bfg said:

That'll be all for today but I do have a few other tasks done to share. .

..last discussed was aluminium filling in a stud hole in the sump and retapping it.    Well it's taken a little time before I got back to this topic but here goes. .

This was the sump with standard (albeit clearly replaced) gauze oil filter,  as opened up after the first time this engine seized ..now determined to have been caused by the oil feed drilling to the crankshaft not having been cleaned out by the prior-owner when he rebuilt this engine.


 ^ the black donut shaped magnet on the filter is something I had added. 

Although I designed and have successfully proven a disposable-paper-oil-filter conversion on these bikes..  I've chosen not to use it on this particular 1948 Sunbeam.

The two negatives of that filter conversion are ; a sump extension is needed to fit the tall filter in, and also 20/50w oil is used - which is less viscous when cold than the straight 50w specified for these engines.  And that thinner oil doesn't dampen internal engine noise as well.   Hovis my 1955 Sunbeam has that oil filter mod ..and although it will last much longer with its very much finer oil filtration - it's also noticeably noisier.   As this bike is pretty close to being to museum standard, I decided to keep it visually standard (ie. without a sump extension).  

So my object here was to replace that coarse gauze filter with a finer one. .




the old coarse gauze removed (un-soldered) ready for the new gauze.


^ Instead of being flat I folded the new (finer) gauze into four corrugations, which of has over double the surface area of the original flat sheet.  The four corrugations correspond to the ribs in the sump so that oil  will flow between them.


^ with the engine upside down the filter plate (again with magnet) has the fine gauze soldered on.   It is very secure but not very pretty I'm afraid because I used a hot iron and tabbed it down rather than risk burning a hole in the brass mesh with a blowtorch).   The ribbed sump plate goes over this (actually under it, when the engine is the right way up !)  and the wet-sump oil comes in via the slots in both sides of the steel filter plate.   I'm happy with that :)

- - -

With the sump refitted and carefully torqued up to a massive* 6ft-lb (well.. they are only 1/4" studs) and I set the engine back upright, then set-to cleaning up the cylinder head gasket faces.


^ only cleaning up was necessary here because the cylinder head was fine, compression good etc, before I had the bottom-end problem.


^ I re annealed the copper head gasket, then used wire wool on this to clean the oxidization off both sides.


^ all looking pretty and clean, but the more interesting feature of this engine (designed in 1946) is it not only being an ohc (look MUm no pushrod tubes) but that these combustion chambers use 'squish effect' - which in layman's terms means ; in the final moments of compression the air-fuel mixture is squeezed sideways into the more confined space around the spark plug.  Accordingly when that spark is fired ; its flame front has deeper combustible mix and just 2/3rd the distance to travel (..relative to a flat top piston and combustion chamber). 

The stud pattern can be clearly seen, including the often forgotten one inside / forward of the timing chain chimney (..it and three other studs are screwed into the block so their heads are accessible to put nuts on).         

And so here we go . .


^ Note the cylinder head nuts & their washers in place between the fins ready for the cylinder to be lowered a little further. 



^ timing chain hooked up with wire, and that awkward but all so important cylinder head nut inside the timing chain chimney being fitted.

With the head on, the timing chain top sprocket was set in place (pinned and bolted to the end of the camshaft). The valve timing is set to number 2 cylinder, and then the cylinder head nuts were appropriately tightened.

The engine was then pretty-much-ready to drop back into the bike's frame..   But that's enough blogging for tonight..

I bid you a good evening.

Bfg :)


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4 hours ago, Bfg said:

The two negatives of that filter conversion are ; a sump extension is needed to fit the tall filter in, and also 20/50w oil is used - which is less viscous when cold than the straight 50w specified for these engines.  And that thinner oil doesn't dampen internal engine noise as well.   Hovis my 1955 Sunbeam has that oil filter mod ..and although it will last much longer with its very much finer oil filtration - it's also noticeably noisier.   As this bike is pretty close to being to museum standard, I decided to keep it visually standard (ie. without a sump extension).  

It's not thinner? Straight 50 is the same viscosity at running temperature as 20w50. Multigrade may well  be noisier at cold start though.

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^ Isn't that what I said ?  "which is less viscous when cold" 

..which let's face it - is when you most hear a motorcycle engine.   ie., Start the bike, listen as you do your jacket up and put your helmet on, and then ride away.  Conversely when I stop, I turn off the fuel, kill the engine,  get off and put the bike on the stand, and only then do I remove my helmet, etc.  

no ?

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All polished up and looking nice  Hovis  now has a most amicable new owner.   He'll collect or else I'll deliver on Sunday afternoon.

   ..and I have some money towards my project Tr4. !  B)


In the meantime Katie is back together and sounding very nice, but a little dusty and borrowing the fuel tank off Nudge while her own tank is repainted. .


Oh and for those who remember the issues .. the voltage regulator off  Nudge  fixed her lack of battery charging ..so all in all is getting very close to also looking to find a caring new home. 

I've put this fuel tank on so I can do the first 100 miles of running-in  (she is fully road legal) ..so that I might get the cylinder head bolts re-torqued their second time.  

Pending decent weather I'll start riding this weekend and into next week. :cool:


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It seems like longer since I posted here.,  but it's only 11 days ago.   Lots been going on and the ol' mojo has been kicking me down frequently..  

I mentioned last time that Katie now carries Nudge's petrol tank while her own is being resprayed.  Unfortunately the contacts I had for paintwork couldn't be arsed, and one had packed up business to go n' work for someone else.  So I had the choice  1.)  drive an hour to drop the tank off with someone who I'd used before, but who is quite expensive and has a slow turn around, and even then the work is not without fault.  2.) use a company I'd never used before nor had any recommendation for,  or 3.) do it myself. 

Regarding the latter.,  I don't have spray equipment, am inexperienced and have issues before with paint reacting, and the rattle can paint off the shelves is usually of the type which dissolves at the first whiff of petrol.   So naturally ..this is the option I chose !


^ This paintwork  looked good after I cut it back and polished it up, but when I was adding petrol from a jerry can a little splashed over.  I wiped it almost immediately but it had already stripped the paint away.  (..the rusty dusty on the tank has nothing to do with it, that came after I'd remove the tank to work on it). 

So I went on Bikeshite thread and asked for advice.  I think (unless I missed a reply) only Jazoli bothered to reply or had any advice, and he said use 2k lacquer and to wear a decent face mask.   I looked on-line and found 2k paint doesn't necessarily mean two-pack (chemical curing) paint.  Further looking lead me to  ProXL < here@ £60 / ltr   (NB. don't buy - these cans are only 200 ml).   This is a two-pack paint in rattle cans.   A bit more searching led me to ebay seller car-colours-online  which offered the same paint at £33.90 / ltr  (..in 500 ml rattle cans).   This company is a small old-school shop in Stockport, Cheshire so I spoke to the chap there (James ..who i think is the owner).  He was very helpful and reassuring with his "how to paint" advice.  Although not listed on ebay he also mixed a 2k (air drying) satin black paint,  and also an etching primer to go over cold galvanising spray paint (zinc). 

So this is the route I went with ;  one can of ProXl UltraEtch  "an all purpose epoxy etch primer" (air drying) 500ml.  x2 cans of 2k satin black (400ml each)   and x2 cans of ProXl two pack clear lacquer "extremely scratch and petrol resistant" (500ml each) costing £80  ..I really hope this works well !

In addition to deciding and ordering that - I cleaned out the tank and used POR15 tank sealant inside . .  


^ vigorously shaking, rotating the tank with an assortment of bolts effectively clears surface rust.  A wash out and thorough dry and the tank is ready to seal.   


^ As you can see the tank was in pretty nice condition, so it needing a re-paint was upsetting.   Naturally masked off to seal with the POR15. 

After a day or two to cure and harden I tackled the outsides. . 


^ I really didn't want to take the tank all the way back to bare metal but I carefully flattened the paint to remove the top layers of black paint.  The original primer seems stable ..although the mottled nature suggests the red-oxide was sprayed and not flattened before the light grey was applied and that hadn't been flattened before two different types of black paint were applied.  The black had been applied very thick to flatten down and cover up the underlying geology.   I took it down just enough to get rid of the unstable top layer of black and to cut the remaining underlying black to be very thin.  Then I used cold-galvanising spray paint as an inert layer.   


^ over a seven day period the tank was given more coats, as I used this paint as a filler layer to fair the surface.  Inbetween times the tank sat in the back of the car baking in the sun. 

And then today the spray paint arrived, so this afternoon - after a final rub down with 600 grit wet n dry,  I tried the etching primer. 


^ although it barely shows in this photo I very lightly sprayed the inside cheek of the rear of the tank, just to see if there was any reaction.  All seemed good after 10 minutes.


^  so a light spray over the whole tank..  This is as recommended by James the supplier.   Again it was left 10 minutes to "touch off". 

I subsequently sprayed the tank three times, with 30 - 40 minute intervals inbetween to build up a decent layer, which I'll need to rub down before applying the black.  


One light coating and then the three decent layers will I think do.  This rattle-can performed well and the paint was easy to apply.  The above  photo was taken with the camera's flash so it looks a different colour but you might see.. the present finish is very similar to an eggshell.  Within minutes the paint is touch dry.  It's now 4:30pm and I'll leave the tank untouched for the rest of the day to harden ..and then overnight too.  Tomorrow I place it in the back of the car to thoroughly dry in the closed-car-in-the-sun heat.  I want these solvents to thoroughly dry out  before I apply the black paint.

So that's it for today.  I'm still a little anxious re. achieving an almost pro finish ..but now hopeful. ! 

I bid you a good evening


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" Not a sensor "   huh.. our 'beams are not so primitive..,  they  have an ammeter and low charge warning light, as well as low oil pressure sensors, as well as the traditional audible warning signal of  splutter, splutter, splutter, eek. to tell you when you've run out of petrol  !  :D

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update on tank paintwork from this morning ..


^ firstly a very light rub down with 600 grit wet n' dry ..because the paint finish was satisfyingly nice from the etching primer this rub down was as much as anything to clear away any unseen dust or overspray.  Literally I wiped over the surface very lightly until the water flatted across the surface rather than beaded.

Funny stuff this etching primer.  I probably used 450 ml of paint with the tack and three coats ..and the finish was great.  Very nice paint to work with.  It then soon felt hard and tough,  but it rubs down really easily and the water runs while doing so are more darkly coloured than the paint itself.   So very easy to rub through (as I did in one place on the underside of the tank) and seemingly a resultant very thin covering.  

The tank was paper towel and then air dried, and wiped over with tacking skin (a clean hand)  to make ready for  BLACK paint . .


^ black tentatively applied as a light tacking coat to the inside first.. 

No issues after ten minutes so I continued  . .


^ light tacking coat all over,  and left to air dry for 10 minutes

at which point Bucketeer turned up on my doorstep to deliver some hubcaps to me ..and to pick up some computer stuff for Beko and LightBulbFun.

Kindly he and Chris were prepared to wait a few minutes ..as I was keen to follow the same paint procedure as James (the paint supplier) had recommended..

Spray I did.


^ this is a little later ..after Bucketeer had moved on to the next stage of his triangulated tour of East Anglia,  where the gloss of this satin paint had matted off. 

But to get a decent covering (opaque black) it needed multiple coats. In fact although just a 5 gallon petrol tank - it took almost all of the 400 ml (a complete rattle can) for this one coat. Thankfully I bought two cans of the stuff.  

I had hoped the finish would have been less eggshell than that ..but this is the way it dried (only soft touch dry after about 45 minutes).  Although nice weather there's a northerly breeze so it's not a hot day here in Suffolk, so I'll now leave that to dry and harden a full day before I lightly flatten it and apply a second coat (can).   As the man says.. you need to be patient with this painting game ..and not pick off an airborne seed that lands in your paintwork with a hard finger nail. !

..perhaps I should write a dumb persons guide to how I learn ?    :wacko:



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One step forward, one step backwards.. you'd think I were learning to dance..


^ the first coat (400ml can) of black was not opaque enough to cover the light grey etching primer supplied, there was an underlying bloom.  So after two days in the summer heat to thoroughly harden it was rubbed down again ready for the second coat / can. .


^ despite the paint I was pleased with the clarity of reflection when rubbed down and wet (with water). .


^ second coat of black went on better with a smoother surface.


^ again, after another two days in the hot sun, prep'ing again for clear lacquer


^ sod it under the surface a white spot. 

what do you do now ? when you have no more paint, and getting it would take another two days.

Nothing to loose by rubbing it down to see if I can get passed it, down to black again.

In doing so another three tiny white spots appeared ..where are they coming from ?

I cut those back until barely visible but I dare not go any further otherwise.. who knows !


^ That'll have to do.


^ pull the plunger in the base of the can to open the valve to the two-pack's hardener.  Rattle for two minutes and don the face mask again..


^ first coat of clear lacquer was going well

. . . but before I'd even finished getting it wet on the top face ..


^ another speck of dust.   At first I didn't know what to .. but not to touch it.  So I put the activated two-pack paint in the bottom of the fridge and put a heater on the tank . .


^ fan heater needed to accelerate the drying. in June ! ? 

Then it was a matter of waiting 45 minutes and ..


^ another visitor.  Using the macro setting on the camera shows up the orange peel I'm managing to achieve.  Gee, I should get a job with British Leyland..  oops too late !


^ following a very light rub down of those dust spots. I tried again.  this time with the garage door closed.  

No good ..more dust particles. you can see one's reflection near the filler.   I think the spraying must build up static which draws dust particles to it.  How do you prevent that ?

Rattle can is back in the bottom of the Fridge.  Heater back on to warm / accelerate drying of the paint, although with two-pack I'm not sure how much difference it makes.

Ok .. it's another hour later, so time for me to rush out to the garage again to see if it's ready to rub down (again). And then try the clear lacquer (again).  Perhaps by now it's gone off. ? 



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I think I've 'xuxked it up..!     I waited an hour with the heater wafting warm air over the tank before very lightly rubbing down the dust particles. But then the lacquer appeared to bloom and it went a fine crinkly finish.  More heat to dry the water (from the wet n dry) and the bloom disappeared (or was it that I'd just turned the tank around to face the wall ..and so the lighting was different ?). 

you've got to ask yourself one question "Do I feel lucky? " Well, do ya, punk?   So I then dumped another layer (approx 150ml) of lacquer all over.  But that's two hours since I open the valve to hardener, and I have no idea what the working time of this paint is, once activated.  It'll either work to flatten everything again or it will simply make things very much worse.  So, on the one hand I'll be able to cut and polish it when properly hard, and on the other I'll have to let it thoroughly harden and then rub it down until I'm back to something flat and stable.  

A good painter has I'm sure been through this learning curve many times until it finally sunk in .. Don't Touch when things go tits up.!   ..me I'm a total novice at this game, so how can I expect to get a decent result first try ?


^  1/2 an hour later it looks better than I might rightly have hoped..


^ under the harsh light of a spot lamp  - the occasional reflection of fresh dust plus a good amount of orange peel.. These ought to cut back and polish out once the lacquer has thoroughly hardened  ..So I'm hopeful. 

That's it for this evening. I'll leave the heater wafting more warm air over it for an hour or two ..and then tomorrow we'll see if I'll be wanting that .44 Magnum to finish the job. !


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Looks like I mighta got away with it..  

Yesterday evening's arty image entitled ' Sunbeam Sunset ' B)


Limited edition prints signed by the artist etcetera..  :P

Today., warming in summer morning sunshine..  


..which by one o'clock was pretty darn hot !

The clear lacquer is far from perfect ..but then nor is this 71 year old petrol tank.  Once hardened for a day or three ..then I'll flat it back with 1000 and used-1200 grit before hand compounding it.   I'm sure any imperfections will bother me but I'm just so glad I didn't have paint reaction issues or blistering.  So, as long as I don't ruin it now, I think I can live with it.   I'll then leave it another week to harden before sealing it up with a hard polish.



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Not much happened this past week ..due to back issues leading me to be laid up for four full days.  Got back to doing some work on Katie yesterday ..with her wheels n' tyres.,  and lightweight tasks like black smithing !

In short ; the wheels on Katie had been restored* donkey's years ago ..with heavy paint layers over the deeply-rust-pitted rims, hubs and spokes.  Added to which the front is hugely imbalanced and wears a correctly specified Dunlop 4.50 x 16  ..from 1971 I think.  The rear is an Avon SM MkII 5.00 x 16" ..which is just 1/4" wider than standard, and is a positively modern ..from 2004.  Most likely the inner-tube is from then also. 



^ it doesn't look so bad in the picture but there are some places where the spokes seem pretty wasted despite the heavy paint layers.  So what do I do, replace the innertubes and ride on rust pitted wheels and old tyres or else swap them out. ?  Perhaps I'm getting soft in my old age but I don't trust 'em ..even for dry-road running-in speeds.  So for the well being of the skin on my limbs and probably much more, and the likelihood of real damage to my wallet - I chose to swap 'em out. 


^ I had three spare wheels to fit an S7 or the S7-deluxe ..each in this sort of condition from years in storage.  I chose the best two,  even though one of those had a buckle in the rim ..and needed several applications of heat n' hammer to get it somewhere close to true.  From experience I know the big fat 5" x 16 tyres at a low tyre pressure are not ultra sensitive to a bit of rim wobble.  Seems to me that within 1/8" works fine,  although I will use the best rim on the front, and they will be balanced as best we can.


^ This is the better of the three, although here with just a first coat of hand-brushed paint. 


And this is the one that had a bent rim. It's now had two coats of hand brushed Hammerite, and is presently sitting in the back of the closed car, parked in the sun, to bake dry.

Tomorrow I'll rub down the newly applied paint on other wheel and give it a second coat.  By Monday the paint ought to be hard enough to have the tyres, with new rim-tape and inner-tubes fitted. 

So that's all for today, and yes after this light exercise  ..I can feel my back this evening !  :huh:



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