Matchless loom mk2 part 2

Now it is time to fit the loom, not too hard on these old bikes but you still need to start off with the right mindset so make a brew and drink it as you work out what to do.

Basically, that is my crimp tools for un-insulated wire and I tend to use both of them as work on this bike. Some are better for the bullets others are better for others. Though I ought to look at what AMP/DMC/Tyco make for this as I am sure it is expensive but they would do the job right.

It didn’t take long to feed the main part of the loom into place. Now the fun task of crimping the ends and making the various connections.

Lots of tea was needed for this task as its a right pain to follow the diagram and get it to work. The switches I have don’t seem to have the same bridged connections as suggested in the wiring diagram. Thankfully it isn’t to hard, but you can still make mistakes (more of that later).

While I was in there I had thought it would be a good time to fit a new horn & dip/main switch but annoyingly the new switches aren’t the same and the wire colours were wrong. Oh well, not wasted, this will go on the AJS once I get to it.

After a lot of faffing its starting to come along,

As with the modern loom, I had tried a few months back I also fitted and extra earth to the headlight for extra care. I must say the old way of using these connector blocks is quite nice. You can usually and up combining a few connections with little mess or bulk.

Then it was time for the midsection to get a look at. I fitted a modern rectifier (KPBC3510) as I was suspicious the old one was not in the best of shape. The modern bridge rectifyer I bought at the bike show but a search shows its avaible at RS for not a lot.

Then I had to wire in the rear brake switch and rear lights. The rear lights have caused me issues in the past, at one point using the rear brake was enough to act as a kill switch for the bike which was never fun as I approached junctions. I had again ordered a new rear switch only to find that the mounting holes didn’t align so more stuff for other bikes.

I’m glad I did this as the wire wasn’t in good condition. Then it was just a case of wiring the battery up and the ignition coil which again wasn’t too mad.

After all this, I revisited the Points and condenser. I replaced both units as I had a suspicion that the condenser was on its way out. While also in there the springs for the auto-advance/retard unit were replaced. Many of these bits aren’t that expensive but at least give you a bit of confidence when it comes to starting.

Now it is all done, so I do a few tests and erm it’s not working. Not getting a good spark and but the lights work but if I hit the horn I don’t get any sound but the horn gets warm to the touch rather quickly. More tea, and maybe dinner I rechecked my wiring in the headlight, I had make a error and had turned the horn into a dead short for the battery and the points wasn’t getting any more than the power from your kick. Thankfully I had used good thick wire so no burnouts. I was kicking myself for not fitting fuses but then again I didn’t see any fuse boxes I liked the look of, may fit one in the future to be safe.

After that was sorted out I took it for a ride and its working fine, then dad went for a ride. Later a neighbour who last saw this bike on the road the day he moved in 6 years ago managed to start it and off he went for a ride. I have yet to take it on a long ride but I will soon.

Matchless Wiring Loom mk2

I bought a Lucas loom, it didn’t work. I suspect I could make it work but considering I have moved the coil and added a modern rectifier I thought I might as well make my own. So an order went into Vehicle Wiring Products for some wire with the right colours stipes on and a selection of uninsulated Bullet (4.7mm/0.1850″ for the old bikes), and spade connectors.

I ordered wire in 1.0mm² (16.5A) and 2mm² (25A). I did some tests and the bike uses 11A but the larger wire diameter means a little less voltage drop. I got the 1mm² in case the 2mm² was way too big for my needs. Turns out the 2mm² was about the same as the old stuff. I took the original Matchless wiring diagram for my bike and added some colour to help with the wiring.

Now before I could start I had to sort, so the boxes of electrical bits came out and I procrastinated for a while sorting out the bits. This won’t be the last time. By the way, I have a large selection of Red and Blue insulated crimps with heat shrink, I have gone off them as a few times now I have done the crimp and it’s just pulled out, this could be a wire gauge issue or a crimp tool issue but I am converting to uninsulated crimps as I can get a good grip when crimping.

With that done and a cup of tea I started to look at the old loom. Its rather basic but I would like to have a neat loom.

I started off with tying the wire together with bailer twine so I could work out where the wires go an where they branch off etc.

Now I ordered 5m of each colour I needed to be safe, which means I have plenty left over for other projects.

With the basics done I started to think about how I was going to get the sleeving on. I had gone for the Braided Sleeving which is a pain to work with but does look nice once done. But with several cups of tea, I managed to get it on and the wires branching off where I needed them.

Then I added heat shrink to prevent the braid from falling to bits.

Now I have done the basic bit of the loom. I will fit it to the bike then make the wires shorter where I need them and then start crimping. I added a length of protective sleeving to prevent any undue wear from the tank and steering.

There is an extra wire in this loom, a red one. Its to run an earth (remember positive earth) to some where in the headlight as a backup. During this process I thought that I needed more eyelets to crimp on, I have a few but I ordered some to add to the collection, plus a new horn/dip switch and a new rear brake switch. This re-wire won’t be cheap but I enjoy having a go at stuff and learning new/developing skills.

In other news, I also challenged my friend with a Welder, “This Old Hoddy” to make me a tool for taking the inspection covers off the bike. It is rough but does the job. I just don’t like using a screw driver to undo them.

The Prince of Darkness Delivery

Well, Lucas didn’t deliver the parts but I did end up with quite a few of them from a few firms. With the search to solve the issue of the bike stopping after a few miles, I wanted to get a new coil, points and a new condenser (spring for the auto-advance/retard just because). While I was ordering this I had planned on making a new wiring loom but by the time you take in for the connects and wire the project was going to be rather costly, I had got a quote of ~£80 for a new loom but while I was looking for the coil I spotted I could buy a genuine loom from Lucas for £35 so I did.

I still plan to make my own loom just because I can but I now have the old loom to go on as a basis for the new one. It isn’t a very complicated bike so I set to dismantling the bike. The weather is sunny but its cold and that wind is even colder but I still set about it, working from the front to back. I did like things like an extra red wire in the loom which I have taken to mean it is there is an extra earth wire from the headlight area to the battery. Remember it is Positive earth on this bike.

I will keep the coil in the battery box area and I extended the wires for that. I am looking to fit a modern regulator/rectifier and that meant chopping the new loom to fit different connectors. I got most of the way but I was finding the wind was getting me rather cold and I was starting to drop bits and get grouchy. So I stopped, it is not like I will be going very far on the bike for a bit due to the COVID-19 restrictions.

This pause in work will allow me to think about how I plan to wire the battery into the bike. Plus anything else that pops into my head in the meantime.

Starting to go a bit further

I have been doing a few local short trips to build confidence with the bike and to run it in. If it was to break down it would be near to home and save me being stuck out in the sticks miles from home. These rides have gone well and I have enjoyed getting to ride the bike again. My friends have already started to queue up to take a ride on it and my usual rule of you need to be able to start it before you can ride it.

But while I wait for them to get their kickstart skills in place I had the opportunity to be able to ride it to work. The ride isn’t far but should only take 20mins, I gave myself 30mins. I needed all 30 of those minutes to get there. There I was happily riding along and then it started to slow, I was taking it steady as its still a new piston etc. Then fear came in and I pulled the clutch in, the bike came to slow and steady rest near a driveway and it isn’t easy to put your left arm out when you have your left hand holding the clutch in. I was a little upset with myself for this but at looking at the ammeter I noted it was way over into the negative side. I turned the lights off and wandered around the bike and tried to start it again, it started easily and I did notice the engine wasn’t super hot just nice and warm. I got my kit on and made it another 2 or 3 miles before it packed in again, pull over wait a few mins, start and continue. I would like to say I took photographs of this but I wasn’t really in the mood for it just then. I got to work with moments to spare. The ride home had another 2 enforced stops. This meant I was a little grumpy on Friday evening. The thought was I had seized it a few times or I had Electrical Pixies leaking somewhere.

Saturday morning dawns and I head off to the VMCC Autojumble at the Bath & West Showground armed with a mental list of things to buy. Also, strict instructions not to panic-buy any more motorcycles. For this was the show where I ended up buying the BMW R100GS PD.

While at the show I did come away with a new rectifier & fuel taps for the Matchless (or AJS). I didn’t find a Valve Spring Compressor for the AMC heads, it looks like I will have to make my own. Though the find of the day came on the last few stalls, out of the corner of my eye I spotted some very distinctive paint, could it be, yes it was.

Headlight Grill for a BMW R100GS Paris-Dakar.

This is just a light grill and I was planning of making one with the laser. But at £2 for what the breakers want to charge £40 for I was rather happy that I spent the £3 getting into the autojumble.

After my excitement of the Autojumble I went out to inspect the bike and upon inspecting the bike I remembered one of the issues being the bike doesn’t seem to be charging, hence my purchase of a reg/rec for the bike so I guess it might be a pixie leak. Plus brake light doesn’t seem to work now, but headlights and rear light do. I took off the seat and looked around for any issues, I had found a wire loose from the horn and thought I might test that, oddly both connectors on the horn have power when I ground the chassis (positive earth) and disconnecting the wire I had fitted there caused the horn to fail so I put that back together. Now it was time to probe the rectifier, I start the bike and probe away, No voltage except for the 6V from the battery. No power is getting there. I check the leads out of the alternator and they are fine. Then I happened on a chance sighting of a bit of light, a spark! Hmm, and I looked in and saw.

Its a crap video I know. This is the coil, I had moved it because my Dad didn’t like it under the tank as it makes it a pain to get the tank on. Well, it was shorting to the chassis. I wrapped some nice thick rubber around it.

I started it again and now I get 4V AC on either side of the rectifier and 7 DC on the output. Problem solved, I hope. I didn’t fit the fuel taps as the petrol leak as stopped for now, but I have the taps ready just in case it gets worse.

Finally Back on the Road

After far too long the bike is now back on the road. Saturday was spent doing a few things to the bike such as not fitting a regulator/rectifier as I bought one with a Dynamo bike and I have an Alternator bike. Not to worry as that part will get used on the AJS once I get around to getting that to work.

One of the jobs was to finish off the failed attempt at drilling and tapping a nut, I visited my Uncle who is a dab hand at welding etc with some replacement nuts and the tank. Just ran a tap down the thread which has seemed to have done the task of taking it to a 5/16″ x 22tpi BSF thread even though it was 5/16″ x 26tpi Bicycle thread that has had an M8 bolt stuffed into it at some point. I may have to revisit this one day but I think that will be once I have learnt to weld.

Matchless G3LS Tank Mounting

The above picture shows the correct setup for the mounting of the tank. Since I have had the bike we have never managed this due to various bodges that others had done to this bike before we got it and the lack of correctly sized bolts. Now thanks to an AJS/Matchless owners club in Denmark all the manuals and data for the bikes are in an archive online, I was able to find out the correct mounting solution, order the bits. Though I did have to ask another person on the owners club about what size bolt it was. 1.1/4″ Long 5/16″ x 26tpi Cycle Thread, I have cheated a little and gone for BSF just to make getting bolts a tag bit easier. But I am keen to remove any Metric stuff from the bike, its an old bike and should have the correct bolts for it. Anyway, I digress. The tank took a bit of fiddle and levering to fit and now it is on and good.

Tank bolts in place.

With the fuel tank on I needed to get the fuel pips back on, a good part of the time was spent looking for the 3 way adapter we had for the bike and was put away in a safe place for when we got to working again.

Fuel Pipes warming up before fitting.

Posh clips used because I could, the pip is in hot water to help get it onto things.

Then it was time for the important things, such as improving aerodynamics. So this item was removed to give me extra HP.

Oh and this fell out of the exhaust pipe,

Honest guv, it just fell out.

By the time I had done all this, it was dark and cold. So I had to wait until Sunday to go for a ride. You may also notice a new Genuine Lucas rear brake light lens.

As you can see the gear lever is set to trials mode and will need adjustment.

Sunday and I robbed some fuel out of the BMW and put a litre or two into the Matchless. I started it fairly easily and warmed it up and took it for a quick ride around the block. Where it coughed and spluttered along until I pulled over and remembered this bike never liked the choke. Then I rode home and waited for it to cool down. Took this time to give the bike some extra air in the tyres and also a Polish using a Dirty Oily Rag.

Standard Drip tray in place, it is a Classic Bike.

This amused some on the Social Media saying aren’t you worried about Oil getting on your clothes or damaging the paint.

The original paint can be seen.

Nope, not worried about damaging the paint in the slightest. As for getting oil onto your kit, well its a classic bike it is bound to leak some fluids. Currently, it seems happy to leak fuel from the taps on the tank. These have cork in them and that has a habit of going dry so needs a bit of time to soak and swell with some fuel, I hope.

Oiling the tank does make the water bead up.

It then rained and prevented any more rides for a bit. I am trying to do short rides to bed in the new piston and to check everything is on where it should be and I won’t have it blow up miles from home. Thankfully it dried out enough I could go for another ride. So I went and visited my Gran and stopped for a picture on the way home.

Top of Stockhill in Chilcompton.

Next weekend is the classic bike show where I bought the BMW. Let us hope I don’t panic buy myself another motorbike while there.

A little more tinker time

The Matchless now runs but as with all things, there is always more to do. I wanted to get the bike on the road and take it for a ride but there was a few things annoying me. The worse being the fuel tank mounting.

Since I got the bike all those years ago the removal and refitting of the tank have always been a task. I even bought the correct bits for it which just didn’t come close. A few questions asked on the owners club forum and I was informed the correct bolt is a 5/16″ x 26tpi Cycle Thread bolt of 1.1/4″ in length.

The threads into the tank mounting have been damaged and other bolts have been forced in. I plan to drill, tap and use a wire insert (aka Helicoil) a 5/16″ x 22tpi BSF because I have some inserts leftover from the cylinder head work I did a few weeks ago.

I managed to tap the top nut with ease and that made me feel good, even if the swarf from the drilling did cut up my hands a bit. As I found out the next morning when I did the washing up in rather hot water. But back to it, the lower nut for some reason would not drill, I have tried sharpening drill bits, using other ones etc but no luck. Rather than get overly annoyed I have decided to order some 5/16″ nuts with the mindset of just griding these off and then visiting my Uncle Jamie to see if he will weld new nuts on for me (c’mon I have only just upgraded to an Angry Grinder – They are Always ANGRY).

To fill my Shed time with something productive and because the Stormy weather was actually Sunshine (in Somerset) I felt I had to carry on. I decided to fit a new battery as the Battery I recently bought for the bike has a fault and is only giving me 4 of the needed 6V. I did some googling and found this interesting article from a fellow Matchless owner which talks about fitting 2x Hawker Cyclon 0809-0012 6V 5Ah batteries to the bike and wiring them either in series (12V) or parallel (6V) and that would give you 10Ah and fit in the Lucas battery box. Well, I don’t have a Lucas box so not much use to be so I opted for the 6V 8Ah version going on the assumption that I don’t really use the bike a lot and that battery would still fit and is quite compact.

There isn’t a fuse there at the moment and I think one of the next jobs will be to fit one. I am not worried about it taking up space there in the box because unless you carry a screwdriver in your pocket it isn’t easy to open.

The bikes Coil sits under the tank and often is in the way when we try to refit the tank so as I had the electrical bits out I thought I would see if I could move it to the airbox area or some other convenient spot.

Not too bad and it may change but just for now it works.

I told you it works. Some of you observant people will spot another little job, I used some lock wire and special lockwire pliers to lock the rocker cover nuts in place, they have a habit of vibrating loose. This will have to come off to adjust the pushrods at a later date. For now, it is just, starts it, warm up and let cool. The clear bit of pipe near the head of the engine is on an oil feed pipe and there so that we can keep an eye on the oil, which is fun as its a light green at the moment.

I haven’t done it to book as there is a technique which means that you tighten rather than loosen the bolts thanks to the tension applied by the wire.

Now to wait for the bits I ordered, including a posh Reg/Rectifier as I suspect the original device isn’t working as it should be.

We had a Phut

Today work continued on the Matchless, the head went on, the rocker is on, the alternator and chain case went back on. Then it was some faffing to fit new oil pipes etc.

The worse bit, timing, we have never had much luck in finding and easy way to get this right, not helped by a piston that is domed and lots of books with differing ideas on what to set it to. But recently I found a wonderful archive of manuals for the old Matchless etc online.

Well we think we got it right but the spark is a bit rubbish and not as consistent as I would like. We took to adding some petrol and giving it a damned good kicking. But that is where we found out the decompression lever needed more adjustment.

We gave it some more kicks but no luck, we both were getting cold as the wind was being lazy and there was the hint of rain in the air. Though I did get a phut out out of the carb once so we know she will fire. If the weather isn’t crap I might try again tomorrow. Tonight I shall mostly be reading up on stuff.

Two Steps forward, one step back.

Over the weekend I ventured into the shed, admired the offerings to the Geds that hang on the garage door. But I had to stop as I was getting cold and I wanted to do a bit of work on the Matchless.

First, the battery came out, and that proved that after 5 years that the battery is ducked, well its showing 1V, I will give it a go on the charger but holding my breath.

Then it was time to have a look at the task I was in there for. Recently my Dad has restarted working on the bike again, but after breaking a piston ring we had to wait until I could track down some replacements. As he was getting ready to do that he then mentioned that some of the threads holding the rocker cover down are the best part stripped,

Now I made the mistake of going onto the forum for the Matchless owners club and looking up the parts diagram and finding the bolts stated “Rocker Box Cover Bolts” and that part number relates to a list of bolts. The mistake was assuming that the data was correct, and it is if you own a twin. So I ordered the wrong thread inserts. That meant I had to measure them at which point I got the right ones. Remember the Matchless is pre Unified so you have BSW, BSF & BSC all on one bike, thankfully these days I am a bit more clued up on threads so it doesn’t daunt me as much now. Armed with more info I ordered the correct inserts, and some extras as well.

Cycle Thread 26tpi

and more. Some of you will notice there are two taps in the case, that is something I have now learnt, you have the tapered tap and a second tap that is for finishing the thread off.

BSF Thread

But back to the Matchless, after attacking it with a drill I had a clean hole.

Then some tapping,

Then a quick insert,

I even used cutting oil which does half make it easier,

Need to think about getting or making some more bolts like this as these do look a little second hand, I have found stainless ones but that isn’t wise with an Ally Engine.

After all that I wanted to rest for a bit so I found a bag of random bolts we picked up at an event and I took to sorting them.

Yes, I am a sad person, I have all of them sorted by size and length this is supposedly called Knolling. They go into neat storage boxes so I can find them when I need them. But these are Metric so not much use of the Matchless.

But back to the Matchless, we removed the valve springs etc so I could clean the head and so that we could re-lap the valves. Upon re-lapping it was noted there was a slight issue with the valves.

Yup, that’s right. They are bent. To give you an idea of the failure we are talking about here is some pictures of the state of the piston.

So this week I have been awaiting new valves, which turned up tonight with a tool for fitting the springs as the special G-clamp we have died.

The tools use is still to be tested but the manual does show how to use it.

That is it for now, this weekend is the Classic Bike show in Shepton Mallet and I am trying to avoid buying another basket case bike, last year a BMW R100GS PD followed me home.

Inspection of the altenator

While looking about the Matchless it was noted some of the wires on the alternator looked a little cracked. Well, the wire has died, in places, the insulation has gone hard and cracks upon flexing.

A quick search on Vehicle Wiring Products website and I have ordered a length or two of 3 core wire. Plus some crimp on 4.7mm Bullet connectors. I may well be able to unsolder the old ones but I don’t want to make the assumption I can.

5 years later

Many years ago I broke the Matchless on the way home from a weekend in Wales. The piston crown came off and bounced around the top of the engine, this meant the engine needed to be stripped down to find all the bits in the bottom.

This didn’t take very long but as we have a collection of bikes and some rather repair intensive 4×4 vehicles (Land Rovers) the Matchless was left at the wayside. I am reluctant to take on the task of rebuilding it as I didn’t take it apart and many of the parts have been sat on the bench alongside the AJS parts that were gradually going back together ready to go into the AJS.

This week my dad had the chance to spend a bit of time in the shed and managed to get a good part of the bike back together. Sadly he snapped a piston ring as it tried to refit the rebored barrel and new piston. These where originally for the AJS so had been fitted for that engine.

Sadly we pushed the kickstart over, on the engine a few times and there seems to be a lack of compression so we suspect that piston is also cracked, or the barrel.

I did make a gasket for the chaincase as that was another thing we needed to do. I used the old chaincase gasket as a template but I had to tape it down as its been in a folded state for a few years. It was then traced and cut out with a sharp knife.

The oil pipes need to be looked at as they seem to be a bit too loose and potentially could leak. I plan to source some clear pipe of a suitable diameter.

Another task is to resoldering the wires on the alternator as the 1960 wire insulation is starting to fail. I haven’t tried to do this yet as the parts need a clean before I tackle it with the soldering iron.

This meant today’s plan was to have a bit of a tidy up in the shed so I could get to the parts cleaner. But while at that I did some paint restoration, and with in keeping of the military treatment I didn’t go overboard on prep before painting. The parts were cleaned and just with a small brush and some enamel model paint I repainted a few parts that were originally painted red, though a slightly deeper red than I have applied.