• Welcome to the website of the Vincent H.R.D. Owners Club.

    Should you have any questions relating to the Vincent H.R.D. Owners Club, or Vincent H.R.D. motorcycles in general, please contact Graham Smith, Hon. Editor and Webmaster by calling 07977 001 025 or please CLICK HERE.

    You are unrecognised, and therefore, only have VERY restricted access to the many features of this website.

    If you have previously registered to use this forum, you should log in now. CLICK HERE.

    If you have never registered to use this website before, please CLICK HERE.

Routine Maintenance for Idiots

Ian Watson

Active Website User
Non-VOC Member
Hello ,I'm a new boy. I have both Stevens and Richardson's books as well as a photocopied "Riders Handbook" for my Black Shadow...which is running well. What would really help my confidence is an idiot's "basic check list ", with instructions . I'd be surprised if someone hasn't put one together? My idea of "basic" is around ten "checks" of areas needing regular attention. I would be grateful for your help, and thanks.

Best regards
Ian Watson Sydney
 

timetraveller

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Hi Ian, welcome to the Club. I will assume that things like tyres, their pressures and spoke tensions are all ok now. Modern inner tubes seem to maintain their pressure much better than the old tubes so checking tyre pressures once a month is probably sufficient. Incidentally, I find that modern tyres need to be about 8 to10 p.s.i. harder than the pressures in the books you have. Running them at the original pressures makes the bike squirm when cornering and this is a good way to find out if the pressures have dropped without you noticing. I find that lots of the checks can be carried out every time the bike is ridden without making them a separate job.

1) Pull in the clutch and push down the kick starter. This ensures that you are in neutral and that there are no strange noises from the gearbox. It also ensures that the clutch is freeing properly and is not going to be dragging in traffic and overheating.
2) Whenever you start the bike after it has been stood for a few days or longer turn it over four or five times with the kick starter and with the valve lifter held in. This will start to get the oil flowing and ensure that there are no new noises from the engine or primary drive.
3) Next check compression on both cylinders by letting go of the valve lifter and gently easing over the engine on the kick starter. This checks that the valves are seating properly. You are probably going to be using unleaded fuel and if you do not have hardened valve seats they will start and ‘pocket’ which reduces tappet clearance. This will eventually lead to the valves being held off their seats. I found that that the exhaust valves suffered more than the inlets. If you do find the compression is not what it was then, because of the clever Vincent design, it is only a few minutes work before you start the ride to slacken off the offending tappets. You should be able to stand on the kick starter without the engine turning easily.
4) After you have started the engine, and if it is either a ‘B’ or a ‘C’, look inside the oil tank filler cap and make sure that the oil is going round. This takes seconds. If it is a ‘D’ then you have to get off the saddle to do this so it is a little more difficult.
5) Look behind once the engine has started and if there is a lot of smoke then probably one or more of the valve guides are getting slack. Not a panic job but one to be borne in mind for future reference.

Go out and enjoy.

Please note that all the above checks rely on you listening as the engine is turned or started. They rapidly become second nature. In my experience Vincents are not prone to having nuts and bolts come undone due to vibration so the weekly checking with a spanner that was required on some other bikes of the same era is not necessary. Brake cables etc are also very robust but until you have more experience with the bike it would be as well to check that no cables (clutch, brake or throttle) are fraying. Occasionally when getting on to the bike and before starting it hold on the front brake and thrust manfully against the rear of the fuel tank. Any slack in the head bearings or eccentrics will show up as a clunk. You will soon find out if the bike is using lots of oil. If it is, then you might have to check the oil level more frequently, but until you are sure that the oil is not settling into the sump via a worn oil pump do not fill up the oil tank or you will find that it overflows once the oil which has disappeared into the sump gets pumped back into the oil tank. This can be a very messy occurrence.

Other people might make other suggestions but the above take almost no time and become part of the start up routine. If the engine sounds more like a bag of nails than normal once it is started then probably the tappets need adjusting. Older cams and followers use to cause this to be a regular routine check but modern Stellited cams and followers do not wear. If the tappets do become noisy then you should be looking elsewhere for a problem.

Good luck
 

b'knighted

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Hi Ian,

I completely agree with all the above.

My enclosed bike is set up to encourage neglect. Most of what you need to check is out of sight so only gets noticed once it has become a problem. Too much of it is out of sight and out of mind. One frequent problem (at least once a decade) which has also occurred on other bikes in the section, is the loosening of the bolts holding the final drive sprocket. I have never heard of one loosening on a Comet, but is worth checking when you adjust the chain. I also find that my front wheel spindle occasionally slackens slightly, and my kickstart works its way off the spline on a regular basis. It’s an expensive item to loose.

It was always suggested that cleaning a bike enabled you to check it all over but I don’t find that the squirt of Mr Sheen followed by a flick with a duster that the D needs, helps me notice when the oil is getting low.

Cheers,
 

Albervin

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
I agree with b'knighted agreeing with timetraveller.;-) Only a couple of weeks ago I had a bolt come out of my rear sprocket. Upon checking they ALL needed tightening. It is an area I have ignored for years. If the bike has been left a while I always check the oil level before starting. My Rapide is not a real problem but the Comet will sump a pint in a month. Check the speedo cable top & bottom occasionally, the top should only be finger tight but the bottom needs a spanner. Roll your throttle back & forth to make sure it isn't sticking, best done in the shed before you head down the first hill or approach a
set of traffic lights.
To adjust all those different sized fasteners you should invest in some good tools that fit! Spanners are getting harder to find in OZ but e-bay is worth monitoring. I use a set of metrinch sockets & have no problem with them at all on my machines.
 

Ian Watson

Active Website User
Non-VOC Member
Thank you to each of of you. I am riding and enjoying. I do think there is more an idiot should check/be told,like gear oil (same as engine) just touching the dip stick?, additive in petrol (premium not ethanol), choke levers pointing towards you (closed) when riding..no joke ! etc. I might summarise a few pointers ,for approval, when I have some time. Regards Ian
 

Albervin

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Thank you to each of of you. I am riding and enjoying. I do think there is more an idiot should check/be told,like gear oil (same as engine) just touching the dip stick?, additive in petrol (premium not ethanol), choke levers pointing towards you (closed) when riding..no joke ! etc. I might summarise a few pointers ,for approval, when I have some time. Regards Ian
Ian, depends on which carbs you are using, some are open when the levers are pointing at you!
Some people use engine oil (30-60W or thereabouts here in Oz) in the gearbox & others use 80-90 W gearbox oil. Some use engine oil in the primary drive & others use a much lighter (20W) oil. Confused?
 

Ian Watson

Active Website User
Non-VOC Member
Thanks. As the young people say O.M.G.! Yes, confused . I'm using Penrite 4 stroke Multigrade SAE 20W50 in both the engine and gear box. Not exactly pleasant riding in 45 degree heat is it ?..in fact madness. Ian
 

Alan J

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
I to, spent many a happy hour at a Dutch rally , was it 2 or 3 years ago? sorting out a loose sprocket on my "outfit" , much to the amusement of the whole Vincent world!-or so it seemed-I did notice that no one else wanted to handle the oily parts of my rear wheel! I agree that the occasional "wipedown" is good at finding "problems" in advance of a disaster!-but not "polishing!
 

Top