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Not so new project

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Not so new project

Post  flyblo5 on Sat Jan 05, 2013 12:14 pm

Hello all,
This is my first post on here and will turn into a bit of an essay, so grab your popcorn and get comfy.
I'm Steve and have been a Francis Barnett owner for 32 years, unknowingly for a lot of them. I'll explain.
Back in the 1981, having left school in June and waiting for my appenticeship to start in September i decided to get myself a summer project to keep occupied and use to get me to work and back once i reached 17.
I found an advert in a local shop window for a 1959 Plover (973 YMY)"in need of work" and after the owner had gathered all the parts from various areas in his garden, ended up taking it home. It was in a pretty bad way but mostly it was straightforward to repair, the exception being the front forks which were badly bent.
As luck would have it a mate of mine went to a local auction an up for grabs was another bike, "exactly the same as mine". A bid was made and the lot was won on my behalf.
Upon collection it became evedent that the bike, although a Francis Barnett, was completely different. A local expert identified it as a 1959 175 Light Cruiser (184 ALA).After many written and verbal exchanges with the DVLA a V5 was obtained with the intention of restoring both bikes, passing my test and selling both to part fund the purchase of a 350 AJS.
Anyway to cut a very long story short(ish) the Plover was completed and used until the Government decided to lower the size of bike you could ride on a provisional licence from 250cc to 125cc, which kind of scuppered my plans. Being a stroppy teenager i refused to by Japanese, threw my dummy out of the pram, sold the Plover and bought a Car.
The light Cruiser sat in my Dads workshop and at one point he expressed an interest in restoing it but it never happened.
Sadly my Dad passed a couple of years ago and i have only just started to clear his workshop, and burried deep under dust covers and piles of wood, angle iron and everything else was the bike, which i had believed to have been scrapped years ago.
So now it is my intention to finally breath new life into her and finish what i never started all those years ago.
I will post a link when allowed to some pictures and as you will see she is in a sorry state with major bits missing.
Are there are any experts out there that could confirm it is a Light Cruiser, just to put my mind at rest?(once the link is up and running)
Apart from obtaining parts and the amount of work involved there are a few hurdles to jump, not least of which will be obtaining a new V5. I have done a reg check and it has come back as still vaild with the same owner for more than 25 years, but the frame number is now unreadable. The other problem is the Bike test, I never did get round to taking it.
Any info, thoughts, ideas or comments would be most welcome.
Sorry for such a long first post.


flyblo5

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Not so new project

Post  MoscowFlyer on Sat Jan 05, 2013 1:32 pm

Hi Steve, good to here from you and I hope your restoration goes well, here is a pic of a Light Cruiser 79 which might help you id it. Just to let everyone know, this is a good time to join the FBOC as the membership year starts on the 31st January. Mike

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l/cruiser frame No

Post  piston 197 on Sat Jan 05, 2013 2:16 pm

if it is indeed a 1959 light cruiser 79 the frame No will begin AD or possibly AAD,the engine No will begin 17T it is possible to have a 1960 model in 1959 and these frame Nos begin with a B for 1960,if DVLA still have record of the bike you will have to fill out a V62 and send a cheque for £25,but you will have to be able to read the frame No,
JH
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Re: Not so new project

Post  flyblo5 on Sat Jan 05, 2013 10:49 pm

First thing first. I have the owners club form printed off and as soon as i find my cheque book (just moved house) it will be on it's way.

I have studied lots of pictures of Light Cruisers but as mine is missing the Petrol tank, Seat and Side Panels it's a bit more difficault, but looking at the general shape and section of the frame i'm pretty sure it is.
I won't be starting her for a couple of months as i have to finish my current project first.
Some parts won't be too hard to find and i'm not too worried if it's not 100% origanal, as long as it looks right, so if i have to modify a petrol tank or seat then so be it, after all she will be 53 this year and you can't expect an endless supply of parts. The Main concern are the Side Panels. I've been keeping an eye out for a while and haven't seen any as yet. A seat can be fabricated from scratch with a few good pictures and a tank modified but side panels are a different story.
There is no particular time scale for the rebuild that will be dictated more by free time and free cash, both in short supply at the moment but she will return to the road at some point.

flyblo5

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parts

Post  piston 197 on Sun Jan 06, 2013 8:17 am

Hi i am the club,s spares officer and can probably help with the tank,side panels will be the real difficult bit,but they do turn up,worth sending me a p.m wit your email address and any parts i can help with i can photograph and send you prices,John H.
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Re: Not so new project

Post  flyblo5 on Mon Jan 07, 2013 12:36 am

That would be brilliant,
As soon as i get sorted i'll drop you a line. Very Happy

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Re: Not so new project

Post  flyblo5 on Sat Jan 12, 2013 12:36 pm

I've served my 7 day probation so here are the promised pictures so you can see her in all her glory.

Should take no more that a week Exclamation








Will post some better pictures when i get started

flyblo5

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colours

Post  piston 197 on Sat Jan 12, 2013 1:04 pm

As your bike is sporting red guards it may have been one of the rarer colour options offered (red and green) if so there will be an R after the frame number, i.e. the frame number will read something like AAD*****R,worth a check,JH
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Almost ready to start

Post  flyblo5 on Fri Jun 28, 2013 11:24 am

After a number of delays my current project should be finished in a week or two (ish) so it's time to start looking at the bike.

There are, as i said before a few obsticals to overcome but my main concern is obtaining a V5 and i don't really want to start until i get my hot and sweatys on one.

The Engine number is 17T4265 so this at least ties in with the information supplied by other members but the Frame number is completely unreadable so i can't simply fill out a V5 application.
Just to make it a bit harder i can remember when i first got the bike, back in the 80's having a plate made up with the frame number engraved on it to attach to the bike, because of the amount of grief i had getting a V5. Sadly it never made it on to the frame but i do recall being told by someone that it looked more like a BSA number, I do recall it having more characters than other numbers mentioned in other posts on this site. I am wondering if the V5 hassle and strange frame number are related. Has it got a dark secret in it's past?

As i see it my options are,

1) Restoring the bike but not registering it, which would be a bit of a shame.

2) Restoring a Re-registering, but again i have no Frame number

3) finding another Light Cruiser frame (not seen any about) and making one out of the two.

4) Getting another FB frame and "borrowing" the frame number, but i'm pretty sure that would be illegal.(but there is one on ebay at the moment Wink )

5) Giving up and letting her go for spares but i really don't want to do that unless all else fails.

Any ideas or suggestions welcome.

flyblo5

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Re: Not so new project

Post  Jack Clegg on Fri Jun 28, 2013 3:18 pm

Stamp a frame number on yourself if all else fails to reveal. I've seen quite a few now with "pikey" stamping, so it's not uncommon. The police once took an engine off me which they thought was nicked & although the number had been polished right off, they were able to recover it with an acid process which revealed the denser stamped metal underneath. Then they gave the engine back.
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FB Light Cruiser registration details

Post  FB vincent on Fri Jun 28, 2013 4:39 pm


The good news is that the registration plate detail shown in your photo is held on the DVLA system as a FB Light Cruiser, so most of the re-registration problems are solved!

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Re: Not so new project

Post  Jack Clegg on Fri Jun 28, 2013 4:44 pm

I disagree, DVLA MUST have the VIN No. or they get very shirty.
JH will advise the correct procedure, but I imagine you will get to keep your current registration OK. I changed a frame on a Model 74, twice, & DVLA understood (They were both bent in accidents).
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Back to Beginnings

Post  ChrisTurner on Mon Jul 01, 2013 10:26 am

Going back to your original message, you say you never held a motorcycle licence. The route to a full licence, which is what you would need, is variable, tortuous and potentially rather expensive. I am a DSA Authorised instructer and can provide you with full and unbiased information if you so wish. Unfortunately, there is a lot of apocraphyl information out these so make sure you get the correct information before embarking. Drop me a line at christopher.turner@tiscali.co.uk and I will pass on the correct full information. If you happen to live anywhere near Plymouth, I can point you in the direction of the best value. Chris
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Almost ready to start

Post  flyblo5 on Mon Dec 30, 2013 5:51 pm

A full 12 months later than expected i'm almost ready to start.

A few issues with time and money haven't helped but the main problem has been the lack of V5.

Despite all the help/tips/grey area suggestions from piston 197 and other forum members both here and on other sites and numerous letters to and from the DVLA i am resigned to the fact they will not issue me a V5 as the bike stands.

The good news is that in anticipation in the summer i managed to aquire another frame with a vin number for the princly sum of £10.58 (i'm not counting the £70 in fuel to get it). So the plan is now to use this frame plus the rest of mine to make one complete and legal bike. The only downside is that,
1. I can not use my old reg number and i will have to get it inspected and issued with a new, age related registration number.

2. The "new" frame is a 1960 (no big deal) but the vin number ends in a W so would have had white tank and mudguards. On my origanal bike these were red as you can see from the pictures.

So do i go for white to match the vin or red to match the bike that it isn't any more?
I'm tempted to go white but as i have said before it's unlikely to be 100% origanal so does it really matter?

I have also managed to find a tank and seat, both FB but not for this model so it will be out with the grinder,mig welder and big hammer. I have sat them on the frame and they look ok and i'll modify the seat and tank, not the frame so if the correct items ever appear it will be a straight swap.

Finally, although i'm a few months from the point i need to worry about it does anyone have any thoughts/comments on the frame finish. Options are,

Sandblast and spray

Sandblast and stove enamal

Sandblast and powder coat.

Anything else that i haven't thought about.

I'll post pictures as i go along, but don't ecpect anything for a bit.

Steve

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For my bike....

Post  ChrisTurner on Mon Dec 30, 2013 6:29 pm

I would blast and spray, although sand blasting might be a trifle harsh leaving the frame pitted.  The ones I have restored have been blasted with glass or soda, leaving the decision of which to use to the operative.  The next step would be to etch prime the bare frame and immediately spray with 2K filler/primer, rub down and spray again.  Repeat until all pitting and blemishes are invisible.  Then several coats of 2K in the colour of choice followed up with several coats of 2K clearcoat to give it a shine. This will produce a very durable finish, easy to achiebe, and akin to the original celulose which is no longer used as far as I know.  Be careful though, 2K paint is nasty stuff and you will need the correct PE, preferably an air fed mask, although you can get disposable impregnated masks which are said to be effective against 2K poisons.  Ask at your local car body parts shop.  This will certainly be the cheapest option and in my opinion, produces a finish as near as possible to the original.  Powder coating is horrible, I think, leaving a finish akin to Homebase garden funiture, and stove enamelling is probably out for reasons of availability and cost.
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Re: Not so new project

Post  fulmar88 on Tue Dec 31, 2013 7:21 am

flyblo5 wrote:2. The "new" frame is a 1960 (no big deal) but the vin number ends in a W so would have had white tank and mudguards. On my origanal bike these were red as you can see from the pictures.

So do i go for white to match the vin or red to match the bike that it isn't any more?
I'm tempted to go white but as i have said before it's unlikely to be 100% origanal so does it really matter? "




Personally, as it is likely to be one of only a handful of red/green Light Cruisers (if not one or two) I would keep it to the original colours. The DVLA will not know the significance of the W. You say does it really matter as it's unlikely to be original but it looks pretty good to me as a candidate for an original bike. Just my opinion. Be a shame to lose such a rare bike / colour scheme.

Steve.
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almost ready to start

Post  mike Sayer on Tue Dec 31, 2013 2:12 pm

Hi Steve, just a thought, you say the frame No. is unreadable, have you tried the old dodge of placing a piece of writing paper over the number & rubbing over the paper with a soft leaded pencil . It often works! Shocked 
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Re: Not so new project

Post  flyblo5 on Wed Jan 01, 2014 10:55 am

mike Sayer wrote:Hi Steve, just a thought, you say the frame No. is unreadable, have you tried the old dodge of placing a piece of writing paper over the number & rubbing over the paper with a soft leaded pencil . It often works! Shocked 

Yep, tried everything except X Rays.

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At last

Post  flyblo5 on Mon Nov 10, 2014 7:12 pm

A full 2 years late I have actually started my restoration, no honestly this time I have.

First job is to see if the engine is salvageable. It's seized solid at the moment, not from lack of oil or overheating but just because it's been standing for decades. It certainly hasn't run for 34 years and I suspect a lot longer than that.

I've dug out my old imperial tools and gone round with socket set and penetrating fluid and apart from the rear shock top bolts everything moves. Not bad for a 55 year old machine. I was expecting a fair bit of grinder / hacksaw activity but all seems good.

So it's engine out, strip, inspect and hopefully rebuild depending on what I find.
Once rebuilt / replaced I'll re-install in the frame (temp) and once it's running, remove and start on the rest.

I've not done an AMC Engine before (The Plover was a Villiers) but it looks straightforward.

Is there anything I should know or any special tools I need?

As always any comments or hints welcome.

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Still no luck

Post  flyblo5 on Sun Nov 23, 2014 5:37 pm

So I spent about 3 hours today trying to free off the Engine.

Tried Heat, cold, copious amounts of Plus gas and a series of increasingly large Hammers. The idea being it would free off or break......It did neither.

Any ideas?

I fear I may have to find a replacement unit. As It will also have part of a new frame (V5 Issues) it will become more of a Bike made from a collection of spares than a restoration.

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Well, It's apart

Post  flyblo5 on Fri May 15, 2015 3:12 pm

After another enforced break and lots of penetrating fluid the engine is finally stripped, although I probably shouldn't have bothered.

Barrel has lost a piece of the mounting flange so will need to be welded and re-machined. The bore is in surprisingly good condition. I haven't measured it yet but providing it's within tolerance it looks like it will only require a quick hone.





Piston looks OK as well and apart from a few "encouragement" marks on the top, which I'm sure will buff out, should be fine. Small end bearing is toast but that's not really a surprise is it? Oddly though there were no Piston Rings at all so someone has stripped it before (many years ago) and decided not to bother. Would also explain the damage to the barrel.

Bottom end is another story. Main bearings are shot although the Crank journals look OK, but again I haven't measured them. Big end bearing just seems to be a ring of rust and has a massive amount of play. Other than that the Crank is rusty beyond belief and I think possibly un-savable.





Gearbox looks pretty good and other than a new clutch should be fine.

Any comments / advice welcome.

Steve.

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Re: Not so new project

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