Raising the 'Beam

By Robert Beech

A Restoration Story - SSJ 537... (Part 7)


Chapter 2 - December 2002


Well I am sober again and assessing the full extent of the top end damage. Its not just that the rocker gear is missing, the head and cam are shot as well, badly worn on cam journals and the bearing faces in the head are well oversize.

Anyway I’ve located a half time wheel and resigned myself to get on with the bottom end rebuild.

As you can see opposite I have had the casing bead blasted, and its looking pretty good.  I do have just a couple of problems with it, due to some previous owner being fond of tapping holes oversize, (not the correct way, always helicoil).

I’m sure I am not on my own here, with a fifty-year-old bike someone is bound to have put his or her personal stamp on it along the way.

The 1st error is that the rear head stud between the timing chain slot and the bore has been tapped at 7/16” Whit, luckily the thread is OK, so I am going to live with it


The 2nd error is a little more problematic the head stud at the rear of the timing slot and the top bell housing stud have also being tapped oversize. These two studs then clash in the casting, which was causes the bell housing stud to be canted over slightly. With a bit of fiddling I think I have got this about right now.

With a trip to Stewarts for the bits I needed; I was all set to get the bottom end together. Unfortunately one of the parts was a set of piston rings, which I dropped and planted my size 10’s on, breaking one of the compression rings. A call to Stewarts soon had one of these in the post to me.

You know Motorcycle dealers should have the similar ethical code as doctors” Customer confidentiality”. No such luck Dave at Stewarts mentioned it in passing to Chris Gamble, who thought there was some mileage in taking the piss out of this poor unfortunate amateur for a while via E-mail.

Then he appeared on my door step with a bunch of old piston rings asking if these were of any use, lucky his kids were with him or he may have had to extract them one by one from a tender area. Which would not have done me any good either because he then produced a spare head, cam and rocker gear from the boot of his car. Thanks Chris for braving the Midlands motorway link... They have cleaned up great.

So now I am back on track, with the target of a full engine by the end of the year, a dynamo rebuild in December,  and the Xmas holiday spent stripping the gearbox. Hopefully the whole lot back in the frame during February.





E-mail: bsmc@classicglory.co.uk