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Advice on a non-rotating pushrod

BlackLightning998

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Afternoon all.

On adjusting the valve clearances I noticed that the front cylinder inlet pushrod would not rotate, even with the adjuster freed right off. I adjusted the play properly and took it for a run - everything perfect. Inspection cap off - still won't rotate but adjustment fine. I took the adjuster out and lifted the rod, I think I can feel it bringing the ET29 (lower cap) up with it until it stops/won't come any further. Gentle upward pressure with a rag and some pliers won't bring the pushrod out any further.

I suspect that when work hardening the bottom end of the rod has gone slightly oversize and locked itself into the ET29. I guess this is bad news and will need to be resolved?

I've ordered up a new pushrod but was looking for advice from Forum members on two questions:

1 - Anyone come across this before and am I likley to have identified the problem correctly?

2 - How do I go about changing the pushrod safely - I read in an old MPH of a guy who dropped one past ET29 down into the engine and got it stuck fast - having then to strip the head off - no thanks!

All advice gratefully received.

Cheers all

Stuart
 

Phil Mahood

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Stuart,
I've seen this a couple of times. In both instances, the pushrod was siezed in the cup of the cam follower. These were engines that were rebuilt over 10 years ago and seemed to be using new push rods and/or followers. Attention must be paid to the shape and finish of the cup. I've seen followers that were deficient in both respects.

In both cases, I was able to rectify the problem by lapping in the pushrod. Using fine valve grinding paste, and the rod held in a hand drill, I achieved a polished surface in the cup, and clearance all around. Problem solved. Obviously you need to remove the timing cover, staedy plate, and cam to extract the follower. Ergo refitting is easy.

It is always best to remove the timing cover when refitting push rods. Then you can poke about and be sure they've landed in the cups. Failing that, remove all the valve caps and shine a light down another pushrod tube. You can then see the exact location of the target cup. This will improve your odds and give you a chance of dropping the pushrod home. Again, use the pen light to verify as best as possible. Good luck!
 

BlackLightning998

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Thanks Phil

Hi Phil,

Thanks for the reply, sounds just a little complicated for a beginner like me though, mmmm - need to think about that one. The engine was re-built a year ago by Terry Prince in Australia - I have all the paperwork that came with the bike and it would appear (on the face of it) that it may well have new followers but the original pushrods - seems a strange money saving decision. When I bought the bike from the chap who had it re-built, with it came two large metal ammo boxes with all the parts that have ben changed and sure enough when I look through them this afternoon the rockers and cam followers are there, as are the valves and associated parts, even the pushrod tubes were replaced and originals are in the box - but no pushrods? Odd.

I could just about stretch my skill set to seeing if I can get hold of the pushrod with some mole grips and gently tapping upwards to see if I can free it up from the ET29 - then replacing it with a new pushrod (hoping that I get one that 'fits' from stock. What do you think - should I give it a go or should I find myself a Vincent engineer to have the job done properly?

Cheers

Stuart
 

barrys

Active Website User
Non-VOC Member
sticking pushrod

hi stuart, if in doubt do nowt! old saying but may save you loads of grief! and money, find a vin man give Derek Sayer a ring 0208 304 1527 he will put you right, works on them for living rebuilt my B twin engine a few years ago no problems at all , used to do home visits with tools! regards barry.
 

Phil Mahood

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Stuart,
I have to concur, it would be best if you had someone experienced, even if just to show you the ropes. Failing that, taking the bike to a professional will ensure it gets sorted. This is probably not to big a job, but it is hard to say until someone digs in. There may be other things at play that are contributing to the problem.

Your idea of pulling up the pushrod is definitely something one would do at the side of the road, in an emergency. It would probably get you home. I would not trust the solution until I had all the bits in hand for an up-close inspection.

Let us know how you make out. Good luck.

Phil
 

BlackLightning998

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Thanks Phil and Barry

Thanks Phil and Barry,

Although the bike is running fine, I know there is something wrong as the pushrod is meant to rotate and it is not - it will wear in one plane so that's not good. Although not an experienced engineer, I do have an inquisitive mind and so it needs to get sorted - it wasn't designed this way.

There are a couple of people that have helped me before who do have the necessary skills and experience to help out and both offer their skills to Vincent Owners in retirement to keep cash flowing in, so I will make tracks to one of them - failing that being a possibility then I will call Derek who comes so highly recommended from a number of sources, including currently putting Graham Smith's Shadow engine together.

I'll try and get it organised this week as the weather is set to improve and the riding season is fast approaching.

I'm very grateful for your interest and support - I'll certainly keep the Forum posted on how I get on.

Such a damn shame when the bike looks gorgeous and runs faultlessly, and I got the tank back on again without trapping any cables or changing the carb. set up. That's life I guess.

Cheers.

Stuart
 

BlackLightning998

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Thanks Trevor

Hi Trevor,

Thanks for your posting.

In your experience is it a matter of pulling the rod and reducing OD by spinning it in the lathe and using some wet and dry - or is it a bigger job whereby the timing case cover needs to come off and the follower be removed to ensure that the ball end of the rod and the cup of the follower are lapped to work with each other?

What would you recommend doing?

Stuart
 

Tom Gaynor

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Pushrods

It's possible the reason the originals weren't replaced is that they were work-hardening stainless steel, and the only ones now available are flame-hardened silver steel. Which is best is arguable, but I like the stainless ones: initially they are soft, but as they wear to shape they harden. Maybe your engine builder thought that too. I was obliged to replace one of mine after "an accident" in which it was bent, so I decided to replace all four - which is the only reason I know this.
Cheer up: if they are silver steel, at least they can be fished with a magnet if one drops in.........
I'd take the timing cover off so I could see what was going on, despite the temptation to use the Mole wrench idea as a quick fix. I suspect you're not the first person to have this problem: 80% of my "new looking but old" pushrods have curious vertical scars on them, just where a Mole wrench would clamp. Probably just coincidence.......
 

clevtrev

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Hi Trevor,

Thanks for your posting.

In your experience is it a matter of pulling the rod and reducing OD by spinning it in the lathe and using some wet and dry - or is it a bigger job whereby the timing case cover needs to come off and the follower be removed to ensure that the ball end of the rod and the cup of the follower are lapped to work with each other?

What would you recommend doing?

Stuart
If you remove and reshape, a few more miles down the road you will be back to square one. Waste of time lapping the cup, the shape will be determined by the rivetting action and the hardness of the two components. Is the top cup free ? if so leave alone and ride on.
 

BlackLightning998

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Thanks Trevor

Reply much appreciated (especially as I hear you've got quite a bit of experience behind you). Top cup nice and free, adjuster lifts easily off the top of the pushrod. I may do a few more miles then......


Cheers

Stuart
 

BlackLightning998

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
So I decided the pushrod should come out.....

Mmmm, been musing, anyway decided that the tank should come off again and open up the rocker covers. Adjuster out and take a gentle hold on the pushrod with some rag to soften the jaws of a pair of mole grips. A steady upward pressure and eventually "pop" out she came shooting northwards. It was rather well stuck into the follower.

I dressed it up with an oil stone and finally some emery and a little oil - it took three goes of popping it back in and checking then removing it and polishing a little more until I could get it to spin freely. It now does.

Let's see if after a few hundred miles I am back to square one!

All buttoned back up again and tank back on - but it's rather too late to fire her up tonight so it will have to wait until Tuesday evening.

Fingers crossed one and all - but this technical novice may just have begun the long and slippery slope into Vincent home maintenance.

Hopefully all will be well when she starts up again.

Thanks to all you posted. The advice was much appreciated.

Stuart
 

BlackLightning998

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
It just gets better,

Evening all,

Started second prod this evening - thought I would use the kickstarter rather than the electric leg to feel what was going on - started and ran fine - settled quickly into a nice slow idle.

Took it out and ran 20/30 miles - no problems - all just as it should be.

So tomorrow, when cold, we'll see if we have a rotating pushrod again.....

Regards

Stuart
 

Real Rocker

Website User
Non-VOC Member
Pushrods

Stuart, if you don`t fix things yourselve even if you **** it up you won`t learn your machine or enjoy it. I have had work done in the past by experts & not been happy with the results & have in every case had to do it again myself. It`s the only way to learn & I have found it cheaper to make my own mistakes than to pay someone & wait months to get the work back! In the late `70`s I had an expensive rebuild [£300] by Furness & Searle who were respected ex-factory employees only to have the big end fail after 100 miles. Re-built it myself with the aid of Harper Engines manual & it ran for another 20 years. Do not be afraid,it`s only chunks of metal[albeit nowadays ludicrously expensive bits] not a human with the complications they present. I think your solution to your pushrod problem was very sensible.
 

BlackLightning998

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Thanks for the encouragement...

Hi Real Rocker,

Thanks for your words, this will sound odd to serious long time Vincent people but I'm actually quite chuffed with myself.

Cold engine tonight - cover off - pushrod spinning easily.

Right - having the carbs sleeved, bored and re-built is next on the list......

Cheers and thanks.

Stuart
 

nkt267

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Stuart you are right to feel good about tackling your own repairs.As your experience builds you will take on more complicated jobs.The Vincent engine is not overly complicated in my view,sure there are lots of shims and bits,but within a good section and by using the forum and litrature that is available most of the mechanical work can be tackled.I'm now starting to tackle the 'black art' of paintwork(unfortunate pun),I'm not brilliant but I'm pleased with what I've done so far.Just don't let the beast get the upper hand.Use specialists when you need to.Happy spannering..John
 

BlackLightning998

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
My father used to do that stuff too......

Hi John,
Thanks for your kind words. One of my great regrets is that my Dad is not able to help me, he's in his late 70's now and not in great health. As an engineering apprentice on the LNER railway and a life-long motorcyclist there is not much Dad hasn't done, and at least I can have him on the end of the telephone when I'm doing something. I'd love to have had his lathe and milling machine but I can just about reduce a bit of bar in diameter and part it - end of story.

He re-painted and lined the tank on Ian Hamilton's racing egli - to put it back to black. I've got some superb 9by5 black and white pictures of it. He taught me that preparation was one of the big keys to good paintwork, careful rubbing down and then using a "disclosing" primer coat which showed up the small imperfections in the underlying metal. He would spend several days rubbing, filling, rubbing, filling, priming and so on until he got it where he wanted to and moved onto the final colour.

He also used to warm the object and spray onto gently warmed metal - the paint flowed better and resulted in a superb shiny finish.

He actually handpainted several of the smaller parts on our Rapide back in the 70's and when I bought the bike back from Australia last year those very same parts are still on, and still in that handpainted condition looking great (you can tell from the small chips and showing red oxide primer underneath).

I cheated, my headlamp shell had a poor finish on it and as it was one of the big expanses of black you looked down onto when riding along I stripped everything out and had Templeton's in Coventry do it for me - wow what a great job, I'm really pleased with it.

Thanks again for the encouragement, great fun isn't it.

Regards

Stuart
 

piggywig

Well Known and Active Website User
Non-VOC Member
Furness & Searle

Real Rocker,
I noticed your remarks about a big end problem and your naming the engine rebuilder. Big end failure has many possible causes, sometimes the owner! At about that time, early seventies, I also had a twin engine totally rebuilt by the mentioned Furnes & Searle who worked in the old Stevenage Vincent works (Alf & Jack? I seem to remember). In case they are no longer around to comment, the job they did was excellent and after many thousands of miles touring Eastern Europe and a number of long tours to Southern Europe and Nth.Africa the engine required nothing more than routine maintainance. Two years ago when a complete bike rebuild was undertaken, (nothing replaced in all that time) the engine was found to be not unduly worn and serviceable, but rebuilt anyway due to needing repainting.
This customer was happy with their work as no doubt were many others.
Col.
 
F

Flatout

Guest
Oz.

Real Rocker,
I noticed your remarks about a big end problem and your naming the engine rebuilder. Big end failure has many possible causes, sometimes the owner! At about that time, early seventies, I also had a twin engine totally rebuilt by the mentioned Furnes & Searle who worked in the old Stevenage Vincent works (Alf & Jack? I seem to remember). In case they are no longer around to comment, the job they did was excellent and after many thousands of miles touring Eastern Europe and a number of long tours to Southern Europe and Nth.Africa the engine required nothing more than routine maintainance. Two years ago when a complete bike rebuild was undertaken, (nothing replaced in all that time) the engine was found to be not unduly worn and serviceable, but rebuilt anyway due to needing repainting.
This customer was happy with their work as no doubt were many others.
Col.

Hi Col,
Are you over by Brisbane? I'm down in Perth just now currently contracting as a plumber. This place is booming and no shortage of work so I hope to stay down for another 3 months to get some money behind me then head home. My Comet is currently being rebuilt and should be finished for me coming home. Brisbane is a bit far away but if I happen to be heading over that area I'll drop you a line.
What a great lifestyle down here.
 

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