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Bringing one back!


New Forum Website User
Non-VOC Member
I have this evening been asked to start up a Vincent that has not run for over 20 years. I do not even know the model, so, big ask. Any do's and do'nt folks would be much appreciated. Thanks in anticipation


Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
oh dear..there isn't enough room to type what you need to do...I suggest putting several bottles of good single malt on the table..then inviting a VOC member over to assist....


Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
If it was properly stored, some fresh petrol and oil might be all it needs. A friend once bought a seized Comet which we broke loose with a drilled out spark plug hooked up to an air compressor.When we put the old spark plug back in, for a lark, I opened the fuel tap, tickled the carb till it was full of what smelled like turpentine, kicked it twice and it was running! Only then did we decide to change the old fluids out. The thing ran a few years after that before it needed a rebuild to the top end. He still has the Comet and we still laugh about it thirty years on.
Cheers, John


Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
Assuming that the engine turns over easily and that there is compression then I would drain the sump, the oil tank and the petrol tank. Refill the oil tank with a decent modern oil and put fresh petrol in the fuel tank. Take out both spark plugs and ensure that there is a decent spark and if so then go for it. Good luck.


Take the tappet covers off and pour some oil in there to give the cams a better chance of surviving the first minute without damage.
Good luck!


Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
I have just had a private message pointing out that my advice above might cause some troubles. The problem pointed out to me is that it depends upon what oil was used when the bike was last run as to just how much sludge there might be in various bits of the engine. If a highly detergent modern oil was used now and a straight oil had been used earlier then that sludge would be loosened and could cause trouble. So how best to proceed? Try putting a long screwdriver down the oil tank filler neck and gently scraping the bottom of the oil tank before starting the engine. Look at the end of the screwdriver. If it has a good coating of sludge then it is likely that the rest of the engine internals are similarly covered. If it comes up clean then perhaps old oil such as Filtrate was last used. It would certainly be a good idea to remove the oil filter and have a good look at both the oil which comes out and carefully check the filter. You might be in for a shock! If there is a lot of evidence for sludge and other contaminants than you will probably have to use modern straight, non detergent oil. Put in a new filter in any case and be prepared to run the engine for a while and then replace all the new oil and filter if it looks really dirty. As mentioned above, oil down the push rod tubes is also a good idea.
It was also pointed out to me that I wrote “remove both plugs” but the engine might be a single. If it is, and does not have twin plug heads, then remove just the one plug.
One thing which I like to do when an engine has not been run for a long time is to turn the engine over a lot with the kick starter without the spark plug in to start to get the oil circulating. This is even more important if the oil filter has been changed. If you have access to either a long hill, a bit of private land where the bike can be towed in gear or a modern battery powered starter as used by the racing boys to turn the rear wheel then that is an easier way of getting the oil circulating. Once again good luck.
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