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Starter kits and the importance of using the right battery

Tom Gaynor

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
Prompted by a mention in the "decompressor thread" about starter problems, I'll share my experience. I fitted one of Francois's kits, and it was OK. It would start the bike easily enough when it (the bike or the weather) was hot, but struggled when it was cold. It's cold here, or at least not very warm, a lot. Occasionally I would have recourse to operating the valve-lifter, spinning the motor on the button, dropping it. Often, but not always, it would fire. Two or three attempts, and it was back to the old ways.
After a screw-up involving leisure batteries and bike roller starters, and a great deal of looking through battery websites, I realised that there was more to batteries than amp-hours. There was "cold-cranking capacity". Leisure batteries, designed to deliver a relatively small current for a long time, wouldn't deliver the instant buckets of oomph a starter motor wanted.
The battery I had been using on the Vin was Francois's recommended YTX14-BS. Yuasa, I found by accident in a search, also do a YTX14H-BS, which has 20% more cold-cranking power in the same physical envelope. (C-C is rated as "EC". The YTX14 is rated 200EC, the YTX14H 240EC.) I decided to buy one.
The difference is amazing. I can start the twin easily when the temperature is below 10, and it'll stay "up" for 6 or 7 attempts, the most I've ever needed. The YTX14 was audibly dying after 3. The kickstart is used now exclusively to free the clutch (a fully wet V3) off before I start the motor. The valve lifter is used only to STOP the motor. The twin has NEVER failed to start on the button since i upgraded.
It isn't ALL good news, because it costs nearly twice as much as the YTX14 (no H), about £90, but it has been money very well spent.
 
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Newbs1

Forum Website User
Non-VOC Member
Tom that is useful information regarding the battery specification thanks for quoting the reference numbers. I joined the VOC in January this year. My twin is a 1950 C series rapide which is still on 6 volt electrics. I am thinking of putting an Alton generator on to improve the lights. Regarding the starter can you tell me how easy / difficult it was to fit. Would you mind advising how much it actually cost to complete the job. As we all know it is not just a case of purchasing the kit. Thanks for any advice you can offer. Regards, Geoff (Newbs1) Berkswell member.
 
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Tom Gaynor

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
I had decided on an electric start initially, not because the bike was difficult to start, but because if I stalled it in a traffic queue it was a 20 minute nightmare to get going again. And since I rode it to work... So I bought an Alton, and a Yuasa YTX14BS, knowing that that was what the starter would need.
Some time later, I bought the complete kit from Francois, retaining my original Vincent kickstart bits (ratchet etc) and had Trevor Southwell (who does / has done machining for Francois) mill the clearance required inside the kickstarter cover. I could have done most of the mods myself, but wanted to ensure that when I started the job, everything would fit, and that if it all went pear-shaped, I could revert to standard. On long trips I carry the original G46, G47, and G27. Trevor gave me a better G48. I don't seem to have a note of when I bought it, and how much it cost, but it was probably 5 years ago, and memory says it cost just over £1000. Obviously exchange rate comes into this.
Fitting was easy, took about two hours. It worked first time.
Problems I've had have been largely of my own making. I overgreased the sprag clutch. It needs to be greasy, not grease packed. I assembled it back to front, having failed to take a careful note of how it came apart. Amazingly it took several weeks for this to dawn: it kept working. I've never had to replace a shear pin (perhaps because i carry spares) but I wouldn't like to try this by the roadside. It would need a pin-punch and a hammer. The ratchet occasionally slips, but since I haven't needed to kick-start it since I bought the new battery, this is a very minor annoyance.
In retrospect the fundamental problem I had was that I didn't have a YTX14H-BS, because none of the earlier problems have recurred (ratchet apart) since I upgraded about 3000 miles ago. Now I have a 59 year-old modern bike. Need to start? Fuel on, close chokes, tickle briefly, push red button. When hot, skip steps 2 and 3. Like the Alton, the PV brakes, the Dave Hills stand, the Neal Videan propstand, it has been added to the list of things I no longer have to think about.
 

Newbs1

Forum Website User
Non-VOC Member
Starter Kits and the importance of using the right battery

It's good to see you have noted the minor issues you have needed to deal with and the fact that you have had the starter unit on the bike for a good length of time. The first thing i fitted to my bike was the Dave Hill's stand another excellent modification with good instructions supplied. Having set up the front brakes they are still not the best you mention PV brakes would you have any contact details do they advertise anywhere?.
Thanks again for the compehensive reply,
All the best,
Geoff
 

Tom Gaynor

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
PV advertise in MPH. You might try googling "Vincent Vleet" who makes them.

Although I'm familiar with drum brakes, nothing I did (and I did everything I knew of) made my Vincent brakes much better than not much good. They were just about acceptable on the open road where they aren't used much and I choose the braking point, but heart-stopping, alas not bike-stopping, in traffic where the guy in front determines it.
 

BigEd

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
VOC Forum Website Moderator
Dear Geoff,
There are 3 or 4 people in the Coventry section with Francois' starter kit fitted to their bikes. Don is one of them and he has fitted several for other people. You have the facilities in your own garage to carry out the mods necessary. It requires a bit of stripping as the G50 plate (the aluminium plate that the gear cover bolts to) has to be changed. (The aluminium plate that the gear cover bolts to.) Find out more in person at the next clubnight at Berkswell.
The advice is free, you will have to find the money to but the starter kit.:D

Tom that is useful information regarding the battery specification thanks for quoting the reference numbers. I joined the VOC in January this year. My twin is a 1950 C series rapide which is still on 6 volt electrics. I am thinking of putting an Alton generator on to improve the lights. Regarding the starter can you tell me how easy / difficult it was to fit. Would you mind advising how much it actually cost to complete the job. As we all know it is not just a case of purchasing the kit. Thanks for any advice you can offer. Regards, Geoff (Newbs1) Berkswell member.
 
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