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Rapide sat for 12 years ! Any tips B4 I start her ?

Domiracernick

Website User
VOC Member
Good morning forum.After collecting my old man’s Rapide which hasn’t been started for the last 12 years after looking at a couple of YouTube videos and reading some information on other websites I have decided to give it a little strip down before I throw some fresh fuel in it and give it a kick. Any advice on the following would be grateful. After inspecting the fuel tank the previous run lining has broken down so I’m in a dilemma whether to replace the tank or have it stripped out however the tank is not in the best condition so I might be looking for a secondhand tank. I also plan to remove the top frame and clean out the oil as I am Sure there will be sludge at the bottom. I’m going to do a pressure test today of the two cylinders to see if there is a good seal on the valves otherwise I might also have to take the heads off, and relap seats. I noticed on close inspection the push rods seem pretty solid and won’t spin round.I’m also planning on removing the oil lines to make sure that they are clear and freshen the carburettors. I have read that you need to once the oil is drained out spray WD inside the motor to ensure there is no buildup around the big end? And to leave this to soak overnight?. Also on bringing the bike home notice the front suspension feels pretty solid? I’m used to modern bikes with Plenty of compression and rebound so until I can try another Rapides I’m not quite too sure whether the front-end has seized up a little bit . Planning to do all the work myself on the bike due to budget restrictions plus also I’d rather get to know the bike inside out. So any help from the knowledgeable forum would be great..
 

bmetcalf

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
I suggest you do not do all that at once. Read up on a task, make sure you understand each step and then finish it. I know a fellow who took apart his Rapide in 1976 and it is still apart!

Before starting it, there are a number of things to check, properly adjusted pushrods is one of them. Regarding the WD40, you'll read a lot of opinions and you need to evaluate them. As an example, Classic Mechanics may have had a Vincent maintenance article in 1981, but it might have all sorts of bad info that doesn't apply to your specific motor. Be cautious, it can be expensive!
 

Albervin

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
You need to sit back, listen to advice, think, ask more questions And then do something. Take the tank off. Block all exit holes and pour fresh petrol in. Leave for a few days. Drain. Then fill with something like Marine Clean, a water based cleaner that will shift a lot of organic rubbish (make sure you use boiling water) and agitate well for two hours. Drain. Dry well with a commercial hair dryer or heat gun with all hole open. Do NOT entertain cleaning the UFM unless you are prepared to spend hours, days, weeks doing so. It is well designed to do what it is supposed to. If you want to release the piston rings then use diesel or kerosene (paraffin). Just slacken off the rockers to loosen the pushrods and squirt more paraffin down there.The carbs will need a thorough clean probably so a good investment is a medium sized ultrasonic cleaner, cheap as chips. Remove all the oil lines, the washers will be dead, and wash them out in paraffin or a water based deep cleaner. The hoses may be hard and dead but you be the judge. ALL banjo washers etc. will need to be replaced and none better than from Neal Videan in Australia or his agent. Drain all oils, remove oil filter, remove the oil return and oil feed pipes including the stop valve and filter. That should keep you going for a week.
 

Domiracernick

Website User
VOC Member
Thanks for the advice.. love these forums.. Im in no rush to finish it by the weekend for sure.. The petrol tank looks reel bad and think its past rescuing me thinks. Im taking it to a guy to attempt to lightly blast out the rot and years of resin deterioration. If that fails I have another lined up on ebay but would like to try keep this one on it. The UFM actually after taking the rear filter off and draining the lines down didnt look to bad. However looking into the valve and seats with a light they look a fair bit coked up , and oil seeping a little on an exhaust valve which could be a stem? and a head off job to inspect the bores and refresh the seats will involve a UFM off so may give it a rinse after all.. The lines are all off and carbs and ready for a bath ! Yes the seals and washers on line, caps are dead and possible will replace the fuel pipes and they feel solid. Watching a video the UFM and head removal looks pretty straight forward with no timing to worry about.. only the inspection of the rods and re tappet adjustment. Trying to do as much as possible to avoid another strip down in future without going to far. So long as the bores look ok will plan a rebuild back . ? Hows that sound ?
 

Chris Launders

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
While you have the UFM off you can check the fork bushes, after riding a modern bike you will indeed think the forks have seized, they don't move very much or easily as standard. I would suggest if you have plenty of time read through the thread "Modified Steering Stem" on this forum.
 

timetraveller

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Also when the UFM is off consider doing what is called a manhole cover job, If you have the skills and equipment you can make one yourself.. The idea is to make a removable circular cover in the top of the UFM which allows one to get inside to do a thorough clean. If you put, say, a screw driver down the filler tube and scrape the inside of the bottom of the tank you will be able to see what is in there. Most have about quarter of an inch of almost non removable black crud which has accumulated over the last 70 years. Petrol, diesel, paraffin etc do not remove this. A 'manhole cover' allows you to get at it. There are Vincent specialist who can do this adaption for you or alternatively you can get drawings or photographs on here to show you what to make.
 

Domiracernick

Website User
VOC Member
I suggest you do not do all that at once. Read up on a task, make sure you understand each step and then finish it. I know a fellow who took apart his Rapide in 1976 and it is still apart!

Before starting it, there are a number of things to check, properly adjusted pushrods is one of them. Regarding the WD40, you'll read a lot of opinions and you need to evaluate them. As an example, Classic Mechanics may have had a Vincent maintenance article in 1981, but it might have all sorts of bad info that doesn't apply to your specific motor. Be cautious, it can be expensive!

Also when the UFM is off consider doing what is called a manhole cover job, If you have the skills and equipment you can make one yourself.. The idea is to make a removable circular cover in the top of the UFM which allows one to get inside to do a thorough clean. If you put, say, a screw driver down the filler tube and scrape the inside of the bottom of the tank you will be able to see what is in there. Most have about quarter of an inch of almost non removable black crud which has accumulated over the last 70 years. Petrol, diesel, paraffin etc do not remove this. A 'manhole cover' allows you to get at it. There are Vincent specialist who can do this adaption for you or alternatively you can get drawings or photographs on here to show you what to make.
Ok great idea i got a camera i can stick inside so 1st will inspect and see if this is necessary .. Quite a good camera once i swished out will inspect ..
 

danno

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
I was in the same position a few years ago.
Rapide had stood for around a decade. I did all the checks with help here. Also poured a cup of oil into the pushrod access holes.
Fired first kick although had running problems at first. Good spark from the Rita helped.
Check for oil flow into the tank when running.
 
Last edited:

Ken Tidswell

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Good morning forum.After collecting my old man’s Rapide which hasn’t been started for the last 12 years after looking at a couple of YouTube videos and reading some information on other websites I have decided to give it a little strip down before I throw some fresh fuel in it and give it a kick. Any advice on the following would be grateful. After inspecting the fuel tank the previous run lining has broken down so I’m in a dilemma whether to replace the tank or have it stripped out however the tank is not in the best condition so I might be looking for a secondhand tank. I also plan to remove the top frame and clean out the oil as I am Sure there will be sludge at the bottom. I’m going to do a pressure test today of the two cylinders to see if there is a good seal on the valves otherwise I might also have to take the heads off, and relap seats. I noticed on close inspection the push rods seem pretty solid and won’t spin round.I’m also planning on removing the oil lines to make sure that they are clear and freshen the carburettors. I have read that you need to once the oil is drained out spray WD inside the motor to ensure there is no buildup around the big end? And to leave this to soak overnight?. Also on bringing the bike home notice the front suspension feels pretty solid? I’m used to modern bikes with Plenty of compression and rebound so until I can try another Rapides I’m not quite too sure whether the front-end has seized up a little bit . Planning to do all the work myself on the bike due to budget restrictions plus also I’d rather get to know the bike inside out. So any help from the knowledgeable forum would be great..
look before you leap, cleaning the sludge out of the oiltank is no simple matter. it is designed to trap the sludge. drain it
take out the feed pipe and clean observe the grot in the back of the tank. It will consist of large idler fragments and a graey paste from piston debris . I fished out a perfect quartze crystal about 1/4'' of an inch long. drain out all the oil , clean out the oilfilter and fit a new one befor you do anything else fill the oil tank after repacing the oil strainer/ feed pipe.Check if you have a spark with a new plug. If not clean and adjust the points. try again. If no joy spend several hundred £'s on a rebuild. Doin't ask me how i know this. fill the oilfilter chamber with a pressure oilcan frm the hole in the timing cover. And take out the oil jet holder in the timing cover, pump oil until some flows out of the top appears it will take time, It takes about 2 and ahalf minutes for oil to start circulating so don't rev the engine in the mean time IF it starts. Best of luck
 

Domiracernick

Website User
VOC Member
Still awaiting the heads to return and now the pistons and barrels are to be replaced .. the videos on utube of Mikes rebuild are helping me out.. plus the advice here ..
 

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