Grant's Featherbed Special

guest76

Guest
Joined
Nov 5, 2012
Messages
1,034
I am at the stage after spending several years collecting bits, designing and making parts that I can start assembling my bike.

Since there seems to be some interest in Featherbeds, I thought I'd document the build here.

Enjoy!
 

guest76

Guest
Joined
Nov 5, 2012
Messages
1,034
I bought the bike in May 2012



On the face of it, the bike looks fairly up together, and ready for fun!
 

Attachments

  • 001.JPG
    001.JPG
    679.7 KB · Views: 880

guest76

Guest
Joined
Nov 5, 2012
Messages
1,034
It's a 1961 Slimline Featherbed ES2 which I got from a local bike shop at the right price.

Being a late model, it was a distributor engine, and at the garage it started first kick, and ran well.
 

Attachments

  • 002.JPG
    002.JPG
    623.2 KB · Views: 872

guest76

Guest
Joined
Nov 5, 2012
Messages
1,034
When I got it home though, that's when the problems started.

I thought i would give it a quick service before I rode it.
I found straight away that there was a lot of thick, treacle-like gunge in the fuel tank, and the fuel tap and pipes were partially blocked.

Later, I discovered this was Castrol R, and the previous owner had regularly added a dash to the fuel to make it smell nice.
Doing that is fine, however if the bike is going to be left for any length of time, Castrol R starts to solidify.

I removed the tank and cleaned thoroughly with isopropanol, replaced the fuel tap, lines and carb filter (which on inspection surprised me that it would start at all) and figured i was good to go.
 

guest76

Guest
Joined
Nov 5, 2012
Messages
1,034
Excited to get going, i drove to the petrol station in the car to buy some fresh fuel for the bike, got home and filled the tank up.

Turned the fuel tap on, tickled the carb, and petrol absolutely pissed everywhere - it was actually leaking from between the float bowl, and carburetor body.

So i stripped the carb, and discovered that the bowl was warped beyond belief!
 

Attachments

  • 003.JPG
    003.JPG
    401.2 KB · Views: 851

guest76

Guest
Joined
Nov 5, 2012
Messages
1,034
Several hours with a piece of glass, and a load of coarse grinding paste got the float bowl flat and true again, and ready to be refitted.

The same can't be said for the float - not one of Amal's finest moments, like so many others, this one had become porous and had started to sink!



So i ordered a stay-up float, aluminium viton-tipped needle valve and a set of gaskets from the Amal website, and waited for the postman!

When the goodies eventually arrived, I reassembled the carb, and opened the fuel tap once again.
Gave it a tickle, and no leaks at all other than a satisfyingly stinky finger!

The bike started fist kick, and I was away!
 

Attachments

  • 004.JPG
    004.JPG
    385.5 KB · Views: 849

guest76

Guest
Joined
Nov 5, 2012
Messages
1,034
So off i went, riding round the neighborhood scaring the cats, dogs, old grannies and generally everyone with ears that worked - the exhaust was pretty loud, so baffling it was on my list of things to do!

After about ten minutes of riding though, i'd find the bike would die, and would refuse to start again - on two occasions this resulted in a long walk home.

Both times, the battery was flat.
- The first time I topped up the old lead acid battery and recharged it. It seemed to hold the charge, and the bike would start again.
- After the second walk home, I decided it would be an idea to replace the battery, and found a brand new AGM battery which fitted a treat.

When the same thing happened again, I started to dig a bit deeper.

I found that the previous owner had 'converted' the bike to negative earth.
However, the Zener Diode hadn't been touched, and the alternator had pretty much melted into a solid lump of green plastic.

Which explained the issue - the coil was draining the battery in ten minutes, and there was no charging of the battery.
 

guest76

Guest
Joined
Nov 5, 2012
Messages
1,034
So I was quickly coming to the conclusion that I should strip the bike... all these little issues were mounting up, and the previous owner bodges to fix them really wasn't giving me confidence in the bike.

Coupled to that the oil leaks.

There wasn't a torrent of oil, but there was a drip, drip, drip out of every possible orifice.

The previous owner had stemmed the flow somewhat by liberally splashing red hermetite all over the place - i don't mind red hermitite when it's used sparingly. But this was overly splurged!





So i made my mind up, i was going to strip it down and do some work on the engine.
 

Attachments

  • 005.JPG
    005.JPG
    611.8 KB · Views: 835
  • 006.JPG
    006.JPG
    580.3 KB · Views: 835

lcrken

VIP MEMBER
Joined
Mar 15, 2009
Messages
4,243
Country flag
Interesting bike, fun read. Please keep up the story.

Ken
 

grandpaul

VIP MEMBER
Joined
Jan 15, 2008
Messages
11,632
Country flag
That first photo is a good one.

Sorry to hear it wasn't all roses, but how the the fuel leak at the carb go un-noticed a the dealer's?
 
Joined
Aug 26, 2010
Messages
8,216
This is starting to sound like the all too familiar rebuild story of many a Norton ... !

In my case recently, I noticed the drainplug for the gearbox was lockwired on.
When I undid the lockwire, the drain plug just fell out !
And that was just the beginning.

That first photo up top here does look grand.
 
Joined
Jul 25, 2010
Messages
4,967
Country flag
Saw Pete Lodge's ?? ES2 at the Eastern Creek thingo , short stroke ( manx bore & stroke 0 8.000 rpm etc etc .
Goes like billyo . There ya go . That'll give you something to do . :twisted:

p.s. its a Kiwi Motorsycikle .
 

guest76

Guest
Joined
Nov 5, 2012
Messages
1,034
The carb wasn't leaking at the garage, because we think it was 'sealed' with a lethal combination of the Castrol R gunge, and Wellseal between the float bowl and carb body - if you look at this picture, you can see some gunky stuff splurged between the two mating faces
 

Attachments

  • 007.jpg
    007.jpg
    478.6 KB · Views: 749

guest76

Guest
Joined
Nov 5, 2012
Messages
1,034
So having decided to partially strip it down, I started with the oil side of things.

First thing i did was checked out the anti-sump valve



I removed it, and tested it - I couldn't open the valve by sucking on it - which really surprised me.
Having bought this bike, clearly I am a really good sucker!!!
 

Attachments

  • 008.JPG
    008.JPG
    536 KB · Views: 724

guest76

Guest
Joined
Nov 5, 2012
Messages
1,034
So with a crappy anti-sump valve in line, it got me worried - the oil tank would take ages to get hot, and the return to the tank was a feeble dribble not a squirt.

This was looking like a strip down job for sure.


Enter my Dad...

Let me tell you about my Dad over the next couple of posts, and why he is an important part of this story.


My Dad is my best friend, and has always encouraged me to be practical and hands on. He's retired now, but his background is engineering.
I can remember from a very young age helping him in the shed. And over the years, we've done many projects together around the house, down the shed, and on various cars.

Dad had a Sunbeam S7 Deluxe among many other bikes which he rescued from someone's back garden.
Here he is in the Summer of 1976.



Well, he stripped in the Sunbeam down in about 1978 and started with a restoration - it needed a lot of work, and he made parts when he could, and sourced others from various bile jumbles.
Back in those days, there was no internet, and parts were hard to come by - so it was a frustrating process.

In about 1982 at the ripe old aged of 6, I asked Dad if he was ever going to finish the Sunbeam.
I think that got him asking himself the same question, and he eventually boxed it up and sold it.

I reckon he has resented me ever since for making him sell his bike, and it was 24 years later when he got back into bikes again.


My Mum (who is no longer with us) decided that she was going to buy him a motorbike for Christmas!
They has spent 40 years of struggling to pay for life, saving to do-up the house, saving for their pensions and retirement, and struggling to make ends meet.
With retirement in their sights, and retirement not too far away, Mum decided that Dad should have something for himself, and that should be a motorcycle!

So we selected an Ariel Huntmaster - he had mentioned them before, and was following with interest a restoration that Frank Westworth was doing in the Real Classic Magazine. He like Frank's writing style, and I think this made him all the more enthusiastic about it.



The Ariel Huntmaster for those that don't know is kinda based on the BSA A10 - it's a 650 Twin, but Ariel took the BSA engine and made a lot of changes to it. In it's day it was a deluxe (and expensive) bike and because of the latter factor, it wasn't quite as popular as BSA's, Nortons or Triumphs.

So on Christmas morning, Mum and Dad came round to my house.
Dad knew something weird was going on, as this is the first time in over thirty years that we had not been at the family home on Christmas morning.

And so it started... the treasure hunt!

We spent the next hour sending my Dad backwards and forwards on a cold, dismal, rainy morning following stupid clues.

We thought it was marvelous fun - Dad was getting increasingly pissed off, as he hates Christmas, unwrapping things, kids, fun, etc...
We were all laughing at the fact that he was getting so annoyed, and the clues kept on coming!

And finally it led to my garage, where his Ariel Huntmaster was waiting for him!


Well, i'd never seen my Dad cry before, but he was so happy.
It really was a special moment, and one i will never forget for the rest of my life.

I think we were all forgiven for laughing at him!
 

Attachments

  • 009.jpg
    009.jpg
    631.4 KB · Views: 720
  • 010.jpg
    010.jpg
    616.6 KB · Views: 737

guest76

Guest
Joined
Nov 5, 2012
Messages
1,034
Well, as it turns out the Ariel was a local bike, and when new it was sold from a dealer that my Dad used to walk past as a school kid every single day.

It could well be the case that the exact same Ariel was in the window of the shrowroom, and my Dad had lusted after the gleaming paintwork!

Just goes to show how small the world actually is!!!!


Dad's rekindled love of motorcycles has grown, and since having got back into the scene has has done another couple of projects.

He got a basket case Sunbeam S7 Deluxe and did a nut and bolt restoration on it - making stainless bolts and whittling bits for it in the shed.

It has made a great hobby for him in his retirement, and we both enjoy working on bikes together.

He sold the Sunbeam on, to make room for the next project.
 

Attachments

  • 013.jpg
    013.jpg
    659.8 KB · Views: 391

guest76

Guest
Joined
Nov 5, 2012
Messages
1,034
His next (and current) bike is the Norton Dominator 650SS

The previous owner really bodged this bike up, and there was a whole stack of things on it that were not right - but that's a whole different story!

We have spent a lot of time and effort on this over the last year, making it right and making a nice, ride-able bike.



The current thinking on the Dommi is that he'll keep this as his regular ride, and sell the Ariel on.
The Norton is more agile and nimble than the Ariel, and is a little lighter to handle - much better when you are getting old and fragile :wink:
 

Attachments

  • 012.JPG
    012.JPG
    913.3 KB · Views: 411

guest76

Guest
Joined
Nov 5, 2012
Messages
1,034
So back to my bike - but why did I stop to mention my Dad?

It' s called payback...

As i was stood in my garage wondering what to do with my Norton he kept encouraging me to take bits off it.

Comments like "it's only two bolts and you can take that bit off" and "why don't you take the cover off and check it"

Before I knew it, this is what i was left with...



And I am 100% convinced this was Dad's little way of paying me back for asking that one question in 1982 "Dad, are you ever going to finish the Sunbeam?"
 

Attachments

  • 013.JPG
    013.JPG
    812.6 KB · Views: 391

guest76

Guest
Joined
Nov 5, 2012
Messages
1,034
So the first thing to do was strip down the engine - amazingly it was pretty quick and easy to do.

Worryingly, the crank was a loose fit into the crankcase bearings, and pretty much fell out when we split the crankcase halves - no heat required





Also, on inspection of the cases, we could see at some point that the crank had been rubbing on the cases.

You can see in the pic below, that before any reassembly work we marked the areas that had rubbed in marker pen, so we could see if there was going to be any interference as we put it all back together.



After a deep clean of the cases in my dishwasher (thank god i'm divorced, as I would never have been allowed to do that otherwise) we were ready to start assembling the engine.

First up the oil seal - this was the deciding factor that made my mind up to strip the engine this far, as it was one of the many leaky parts of the engine.

The oil seals these days are metric, so the trick is to trim away some of the outer rubber in order to get the seal in properly.

I think the old oil seal was filed away rather than trimmed, as it just fell out.



The new one was trimmed carefully so it was an interference fit.
We drove it in with a nylon drift after a liberal coating of Loctite bearing retainer ensuring that it was pushed home, siting flat and true.
 

Attachments

  • 014.JPG
    014.JPG
    616.1 KB · Views: 390
  • 015.JPG
    015.JPG
    591.3 KB · Views: 372
  • 016.JPG
    016.JPG
    647.6 KB · Views: 381
  • 017.JPG
    017.JPG
    525.5 KB · Views: 393

guest76

Guest
Joined
Nov 5, 2012
Messages
1,034
Next up was to gently warm the crankcase - i have a heat gun which i use for heat shrinking that is ideal for this.
I didn't want to use a blow torch, for fear a damaging my shiny new oil seal.

The new ballrace had been in the freezer overnight, and with a coating of Loctite bearing retainer, it just dropped in a real treat!



Next went in the castellated spacer (with the castellations facing up - the opposite way to how it was when I removed it!!!)



Then went in the main bearing outer ring - again this had been in the freezer overnight and with a smear of Loctite bearing retainer, it just dropped straight in to the case.



Before the case cooled down and the bearings warmed up, we just gave the whole thing a gentle tap with a nylon drift to make sure everything was home.
 

Attachments

  • 018.JPG
    018.JPG
    689.9 KB · Views: 387
  • 019.JPG
    019.JPG
    682.1 KB · Views: 402
  • 020.JPG
    020.JPG
    642.6 KB · Views: 384
Top