Friday, July 6, 2012

The Bad..

  To be quite honest, I find myself pretty nervous, and have become rather stressed about the whole prep. The clock is steadily ticking, and my list of things to do seems to be getting larger and larger every day. I've been reading through several of my fellow rider's blogs, and everyone seems to be making quite a bit of progress. There are still several riders who are without running machines, so in that aspect I am quite fortunate. However in trying to track down spare parts, I've found that it's easier to beat my head against the wall. While speaking with Lonnie Isam on the phone the other day, one comment that I made sticks out: "Though you can get into 1920's English bikes for a relatively cheap price, the parts are the killer." My fellow riders on Harley Davidsons, Indians, and even Hendersons have the luxury of multiple parts sources here in the continental United States. I've been searching for parts all over the world; Australia, England, Germany, France, New Zealand....all of the rocks I turn over lead to nothing. The "hot leads" on spares wind up being rather cold. All in all, disheartening.

   My pal Jim Crain in New Mexico has been a huge help to me. To remind my readers, Jim is also riding his 1927 BSA S27 in the Cannonball, though his is a Deluxe model. Shortly after meeting him in Jefferson, Jim offered me the use of a spare motor. Recently, I spoke to Jim over the phone about putting together a spares list and comparing notes on parts sources. He told me that in addition to bringing his S27 Deluxe, he would be bringing his '26 BSA sidecar outfit, and we could use just about anything on it for spares. I cannot express how kind this gesture is, nor how much I appreciate his hospitality and generosity. This week, I was also able to purchase a spare +.020 piston and rings from Jim that arrived by UPS last night. This set is brand new from JP Pistons in South Australia...not cheap, but well-made.

A special thanks to my friend Jim Crain for selling me this
 brand new piston assembly from JP Pistons

  My only fear is not being able to find some more of the essentials for the journey. I don't want to rely solely on Jim's kindness---especially if we wind up having similar problems (obviously, knock on wood, those problems are few and far in between). With the clock rapidly winding down, I'm willing any of these "warm leads" to turn hot and prove fruitful. In all reality, I guess I'm just a bit apprehensive, disheartened, and nervous about the inability to find spare parts. Probably shouldn't be complaining, but it's just aggravating.

  Recently, I've been in contact with a huge veteran BSA enthusiast and restorer who lives in Hawaii, Jon-Paul Bingham. JP has been a great help in information and advice; he's also trying to help me source a set of floorboards for the BSA (4,000 miles on footpegs doesn't sound very comfortable...) Here's a few bits from a recent email about his thoughts on the Cannonball:

"On the BSA's along as you keep everything well oiled and after a long run the engine area going to look like crap - she'll be right.If the gearbox has been restored correctly and the clutch is in good order, you should not have a worry; those gearbox are internally indestructible. The important thing here is correct bearings and shims (if needed). I am a strong believer in if the mag. and carbie have been correctly restored (i.e spend wisely and get the job done correctly first time) your bike will just keep on going. So although the AMAL276 at bit non-compliant, it will serve you well, but the older and correct AMALs if done correctly will look the part - my L24 had a factory original (as most of the bike was) and never had a problem in the 1000's of kms I rode her.
Saying that, you still need to examine every inch of the bike for metal fatigue etc and correctly repair. You saw Dieters' experience, that is very typically where it broke, but usually caught at the fracture stage it would most likely been brewing for months/years. Does you L27 have the heavier forks? Apart from those things - "lock-tight" everything, just due to the constant vibrations, things will get loose, I'd suggest doing a few things...Using a fine tip art brush and good white paint do alignment checks on the following (once you've tightened and bedded in etc):
-fork link nuts (on the side of the forks)
-wheel nuts"

---Continuing on----

"Now looking at the Cannonball and seeing all the problems others had, this is what you will not see in a BSA

1.Broken con rod
2. Issues with crank pin (if the rebuild has been done correctly)
3. Overheating - if you ensure measure to obtain optimal combustion
4. Wheel bearing issues -again if they been done correctly"
I certainly hope that neither Jim or I see any of those problems and that things go smoothly. My readers must understand that I completely trust the work that was done by my dear friends at Vintage and Veteran, and do not doubt the quality one bit. My only concerns lie in "the unknown factor." That moment while cruising down the highway that something decides to jog loose in my motor--something that I don't have a spare of. Maybe I'm just being too pessimistic about things- it could be worse. Alright, that's enough late night blogging for me. Things will get better, I know it.
On the bright side, I think I've decided to call my BSA "Elizabeth," or "Lizzie" for short. What do you think?
Cheers from a disgruntled Cannonballer,
Buck Carson
Confirmed Cannonballer #3
Carson Classic Motors Race Team

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