Thursday, May 17, 2012

Oiling issues, the first ride and SHSU Photoshoot

What's missing here? Oh yes....the motorcycle to
put them on!

 After receiving my Cannonball BSA, it was hard to contain my excitement and not jump right on for a ride. Obviously, everything on this machine had to be done slowly, carefully, and according to instructions. With the extensive rebuild on the motor, frame, and gearbox freshly completed, the last thing I was going to do was to cause any damage due to rushing through essential processes. Before beginning any mechanical work, I decided to mount my newly received Motorcycle Cannonball plates, beautifully done by the Dutch Bros. Garage. For me, this officially tied the BSA to the Cannonball run.

 Undoubtedly, the area that I was most apprehensive about had to be the oiling system. On the 1927 BSA Model S27, everything is kept cool and lubricated through the use of two oil systems: One, the automatic oil pump that provides a drip feed line to the primary chain and crankcase, and two: the manual oil pump that sprays directly inside the crankcase.

  In order to operate the machine, you have to first prime the system with four pumps of oil into the crank- this gives the machine a healthy dose of oil to start on before the drip feed reaches the motor. After priming the motor, the drip feed is set by turning on the oil tap to the pump, and opening the control knob to start drips. I've found that optimal oiling is at the rate of about 1 drip every 5-8 seconds, or about a 1/4 turn of the control knob. Once the drip feed is set and you are motoring, I've found that a healthy squirt of oil about every 15 minutes is advisable.

  While getting to know the bike, I have gotten into the habit of completely draining the crankcase after each day of riding to check for any metal debris (pointing towards internal damage) and to examine the quantity of oil that comes out (optimal amount of oil is about a full cup) It took a while to get the hang of the dual oil system- first the drip feed wasn't set right, so the primary chain and crank were over-oiled. I actually had an air lock in the oil tank, because the pump was pulling too much oil (drained the tank below the manual and automatic pump feeds. Luckily, I wasn't motoring at the time, just had the engine running on the stand. A quick refill of the tank, drain of the crankcase and resetting the control knob fixed the issue. One thing that is for sure: my BSA is quite a dirty machine. I've gotten in the habit of using a light engine de-greaser after a ride to clean off the motor and gearbox. It seems to get on everything!

  Finally after correctly setting the oiling, it was time to take off for the first ride. The only word I can think of to describe it is "Wow!" I'm very impressed with the power range and ease of operation. The area around my home is full of hills of varying steepness, and she has tackled them all with ease--in middle gear, nonetheless! She is quite sprightly and is energetic. Operation is smooth and quiet. Can you tell I'm infatuated?

  As of yesterday (16 May), the odometer reads 202 miles. 200 miles in, and my conclusions all boil down to one thing: The seat and springs need to be addressed, rather quickly. My arse feels every bump and pothole, and seems to bounce for five minutes after. I'm actually kind of concerned about the condition of the springs- they seem very brittle, which I can understand. To begin with, metallurgy in the 1920s was nothing like it is today, and count in 85 years of aging. I've decided to change out the seat springs, as well as bring along another mount (it too seems brittle and weak). For comfort, I'll take the seat cover to a local upholstery shop and have it re-padded with memory foam and possibly gel inserts.

My "hi-quality" iPhone camera shot on SHSU Campus
  Recently I also had the long-awaited photoshoot with Sam Houston State University's Communication Department. Thanks to the delays presented by United States Customs, I had limited time to become familiar with the operation of the BSA. Regardless, I loaded her up on the truck and trailer, and we ventured to the campus. I quite enjoyed the looks that I was getting by college students walking to class, as well as the crowd that came around as I pulled the BSA off the trailer and fired her up. The photoshoot was a bit unique, as it was held close to the center of campus, where motor vehicles aren't allowed. I was actually given permission to ride the bike through campus to the shoot location--imagine the surprise of students and professors when I came riding past amid a cloud of white smoke. All in all, the shoot went wonderfully, and I had a great time. The story will be released on the website as we get closer to the event, to help gain greater awareness and attention.

Best regards,

Buck Carson
Confirmed Cannonballer # 3
Carson Classic Motors Race Team

No comments:

Post a Comment