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Old 04-25-2007, 02:52 PM   #1
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Default rebuilt BSA engine 1st start questions....setting timing

OK I have a freshly rebuilt BSA 650 Lightning motor dropped into my bike.... I have the electrical done, and all the plumbing done...

Now WTF do I do?

Seriously, this has been a long and expensive labor of love, and naturally some anxiety is involved. I want to think of everything possible to make this go as smooth as possible. This is my first time and I want to perform! if ya know what I mean. Maybe some of you seasoned sailors can give me some pointers....
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Old 04-25-2007, 04:13 PM   #2
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Default Re: rebuilt BSA engine 1st start questions....

Cyclo....the first thing I'd do is make sure your oil lines are hooked up properly and that it's feeding back to the tank and to the rocker. I'm sure there are a few ways of doing this, but one is kicking, another is putting the bike in fourth gear and spinning the rear tire until you see oil going to the tank.

After that...kicker man!!!
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Old 04-25-2007, 04:15 PM   #3
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Default Re: rebuilt BSA engine 1st start questions....

oh yeah...and watch for smoke coming out of wires. Watch for flames. Watch for gas leaking.

Hey...you did put a fuse in the wiring...right?
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Old 04-25-2007, 04:16 PM   #4
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Default Re: rebuilt BSA engine 1st start questions....

Quote:
Originally Posted by BSACafe
Cyclo....the first thing I'd do is make sure your oil lines are hooked up properly and that it's feeding back to the tank and to the rocker. I'm sure there are a few ways of doing this, but one is kicking, another is putting the bike in fourth gear and spinning the rear tire until you see oil going to the tank.

After that...kicker man!!!
EXACTLY the kind of stuff I'm looking for!! Thanx
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Old 04-25-2007, 04:21 PM   #5
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Default Re: rebuilt BSA engine 1st start questions....

Quote:
Originally Posted by BSACafe
oh yeah...and watch for smoke coming out of wires. Watch for flames. Watch for gas leaking.

Hey...you did put a fuse in the wiring...right?
Should I look for pistons exploding out the head? I have a 30amp fuse wired in but will replace it with a 20 amp fuse......
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Old 04-25-2007, 04:29 PM   #6
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Default Re: rebuilt BSA engine 1st start questions....

Quote:
Originally Posted by cyclocrossbikes
Should I look for pistons exploding out the head? ..
Shouldn't haveta worry about stuff like that if it were built properly. Jer is right on, check your oiling, make sure return/feed are correct, kick through and be sure you're getting oil to the top, and let'er rip. Was it timmed when built? Leaking gas is something to look out for. Nuthing like an untimmed backfire out of a leaky carb to get ur heart pounding as ur friends frantically look for a fire extinguisher... Ask me how I know. Fire away! (not litterally tho)
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Old 04-25-2007, 04:35 PM   #7
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Default Re: rebuilt BSA engine 1st start questions....

[quote=bzrfil] Was it timmed when built? Leaking gas is something to look out for.

It was not timmed, I suspect that the timming is the last major obstacle I have to get my head around.... and tuning the carbs...
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Old 04-25-2007, 04:41 PM   #8
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Default Re: rebuilt BSA engine 1st start questions....

Dude...is it a British fuse, or a North American fuse. There is a difference. British fuses are rated at blow rate, and North American at a continuous current rate....so the NA ones would allow more current to pass through. I don't think there is a way to tell by looking at them.

K...also....what kind of carb do you have? Amal? Anyway, not sure if this is your first BSA or not....let us know, and we'll give you the proper starting instuctions....believe me it will save your leg.

Oh...and put on a pair of comfortable shoes. If you've got something wrong, like the carb settings, timing, wire hooked up wrong, you'll be kicking forever.

Finally....keep a fire extinguisher handy, and roll the sucker outside if you can. If you get one of those carb farts and it ignites some gas, we don't want your bike burning the place down.
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Old 04-25-2007, 05:01 PM   #9
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Default Re: rebuilt BSA engine 1st start questions....

A missing small detail - re observing oiling... Pull your spark plugs so you can vigourously kick, or spin in gear; really get it spinning 'til you see the return thru the cap, squirting inside the oil tank. That way you know oil has moved thru the system (& it doesnt hurt at that point to pull the line from the rocker feed, but it may not get a bunch up there until actual running).

As for timing, generally speaking with triumphs ( & you have all the same stock components) if you have your points gap set by the mark on the advance cam, with the points plate centered in the adjuster slots under the pillar bolts, it will run good enough to fine-tune (strobe).

No one has mentioned oil for startup & break-in, my (former Triumph dealer 30+ year builder) engine man says to use a straight-30 or 40 grade NON detergent (i.e. lawnmower) oil for first few hundred miles, then change to & run 20/50 detergent Pennsylvania crude (Havoline, Pennzoil) at 500 miles, then every 1000 for the first 3000. AVOID lugging ,more than over-revving, but work up to your higher revs progressively; also vary the road speed and overall loads. Basically, dont just run the same speed for an hour.
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Old 04-25-2007, 05:10 PM   #10
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Default Re: rebuilt BSA engine 1st start questions....

Quote:
Originally Posted by BSACafe
Dude...is it a British fuse, or a North American fuse. There is a difference. British fuses are rated at blow rate, and North American at a continuous current rate....so the NA ones would allow more current to pass through. I don't think there is a way to tell by looking at them.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BSACafe

K...also....what kind of carb do you have? Amal? Anyway, not sure if this is your first BSA or not....let us know, and we'll give you the proper starting instuctions....believe me it will save your leg.

Oh...and put on a pair of comfortable shoes. If you've got something wrong, like the carb settings, timing, wire hooked up wrong, you'll be kicking forever.

Finally....keep a fire extinguisher handy, and roll the sucker outside if you can. If you get one of those carb farts and it ignites some gas, we don't want your bike burning the place down.


First BSA So give me whatever you got as far as start up steps ( no detail too small), Amal 930s concentrics, decided to run a 20 amp fuse after looking at a schematic here on the JJ, Boyer electronic ignition...
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Old 04-25-2007, 05:38 PM   #11
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Default Re: rebuilt BSA engine 1st start questions....

Dragon has the dry kick/oil feed before fire helper. I pull plugs, shift to 4th, keep the dip stick on the bench, run the bike down the block, watch the oil feed return, stop, neutral, walk it home. The top and bottom end can now receive a hot fast spinning engine fire = OIL RETURN OK. I've tested my share of oils. Throw in anything. Oil will (pressure) thin down to a millionth of an inch... Oil base is oil base stock... Crude is crude, H reverts back to the origin (poppy) when shot in the arm... No matter how you slice it, the base is still distilled crude keeping an engine running.
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Old 04-25-2007, 05:50 PM   #12
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Default Re: rebuilt BSA engine 1st start questions....

Have you set the timing using the instructions with the Boyer? If not, go here http://www.britcycle.com/help.htm and download the right instructions and set your timing. You'll need to strobe it later.

Have you set your carbs to factory settings? If not, go here http://www.britbike.com/ubb/noncgi/u.../t/001129.html
and download the instructions. If you haven't checked the settings, then check them.

Once you have checked all of the above, and all items posted before, you can beging the "Starting Ritual."

1 - Turn on the gas.
2 - depress the tickle button on one of the carbs until gas leaks out of the float bowl.
3 - do this on the second carb. Your bowls should now be full of gas.
4 - If you've got one, release the choke lever.....this will allow the choke slide to go down into your carbs.
5 - Make sure the bike is in neutral.
6 - Pull the clutch in and release. Do this a couple of times to help free up your clutch plates.
7 - Kick the motor through a couple of times....DO NOT hold the clutch in. It will not start with the clutch pulled in.
Now the fun stuff.
8 - Turn the key on
9 - Press the kicker until you feel the compression build and when you do give her a good swift kick.
10 - Repeat step 9 until your foot is sore if required.
11 - When tired, or your foot hurts too much. Recheck carbs, timing, spark, oh...and Boyer requires a very strong battery. You should have someting like 13.2V...can't remember the number.

Best of luck...let us know how it goes.
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Old 04-25-2007, 06:22 PM   #13
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Default Re: rebuilt BSA engine 1st start questions....

Run the idle screws out so the slides bottom out. Run each cable to zero slack, do not raise the slide! Turn each idle screw "in" one turn. Watch the slides move up and down as you take the handle bars, swing them from lock to lock and watch the slides rise. Adjust slack in said cable and then check and final adjust when the bike normally idles. You can either, "Old Style" tune/idle by listening to both pipes from the rear.... Or, remove the equalizer tube under the intake ports, use a manometer to balance the liquid in the tubes and quit guessing at that pipes using your ear... or better know as a lost art.
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Old 04-26-2007, 10:04 AM   #14
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Default Re: rebuilt BSA engine 1st start questions....

Hey Cyclo!!! How'd it go? Got a runner?
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Old 04-26-2007, 10:29 AM   #15
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Default Re: rebuilt BSA engine 1st start questions....

Quote:
Originally Posted by BSACafe
Hey Cyclo!!! How'd it go? Got a runner?
Whoa, I can't work that fast!!! I gotta read all the info I just aquired in this thread first.... then I work on the weekends in between rounds to check on all my bitches!!
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Old 04-26-2007, 12:06 PM   #16
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Default Re: rebuilt BSA engine 1st start questions....

Do the Dragon deal (1st page), but forgo the strobe; static gets you there. Center the main and secondary points plates (this is a general points gap trick - any bike using points)... If the second set of points has no piggyback adjust plate and uses the point gap to set the other cylinder... this is the design, so open the gap until the points break at the static "F". Say for example you want to use the advance marks instead... Take a steel scribe with the "L" hook at the end, pull the advancer to where the static light breaks at the point gap, there is your static points setting using either the static "F" mark or pull the advancer open and static advance the points setting this way. Run the points open to the widest gap, check to see the points open within the factory settings... Done.
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Old 04-26-2007, 02:16 PM   #17
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Default Re: rebuilt BSA engine 1st start questions....

Quote:
Originally Posted by cntrhub
static gets you there. Center the main and secondary points plates (this is a general points gap trick - any bike using points)... If the second set of points....
uhhhh...
Quote:
Originally Posted by cyclocrossbikes
Amal 930s concentrics, Boyer electronic ignition...
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Old 04-26-2007, 02:44 PM   #18
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Default Re: rebuilt BSA engine 1st start questions....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragon
uhhhh...
"boyer"... Exacry.

And unless I missed it, we don't know the year, so no way of knowing wheather he has a timming mark or will require a deg wheel. Cyclo, if I might (re)suggest to spend a bit of time searching the britbike site for BSA specific timming information, as well as here. And from my experience, a retarded timming is easier to start than an advanced, and adjusted from there.
(As well as it might save you from going through the wall in front of your bike. Get kicked back from one of these advanced, and you'll think you pissed off a cranky mule while airborn).
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Old 04-26-2007, 03:00 PM   #19
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Default For Research Purposes.... Points Adjustments.

I kind of expanded the thread, if not jacked up the chassis a little. So, when someone is looking for a Brit BSA search, the Brit adjust, Metric points adjust, H-D points adjust is somein'... I shoved one under the fence sort of speak... OK, Mebad! NO broken ankle here doing the static scribe advance technique...(smilie wink).
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Old 04-26-2007, 03:08 PM   #20
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Default Re: rebuilt BSA engine 1st start questions....

Quote:
Originally Posted by bzrfil
.
And unless I missed it, we don't know the year, so no way of knowing whether he has a timing mark or will require a deg wheel.
Yes again....and much as I hate to post a disclaimer in the same breath as offering advice, here goes...

I have only set up Triumphs with Boyers myself, even though stock the Triumph & BSA twins share the stock Lucas components for charging & the 4 & 6C points plates; there IS a difference with BSA that I learned working beside my local Triumph wrench, doing a topend & Boyer on my '67 BSA 441 Victor....and that is (and the point here - I believe also true to BSA twins) the BSA exhaust cam does NOT have the "peg" or key that locates into a notch in the advance unit (or Boyer pickup) for basic timing, rather it is a friction fit on the taper inside the ex cam.... Thus it requires a degree wheel even for basic setup.

Again, thorough review of the Boyer instructions should yield basic setup info, & I'll get ahold of my guy in the meanwhile to confirm.

*edit* & my lame-ass dialup fell out while cntrhub was posting, no such thang as too much knowlege...

Last edited by Dragon; 04-26-2007 at 03:10 PM.
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