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Reviving a Merlin and getting it back on the road.

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Reviving a Merlin and getting it back on the road.

Post  FB8 on Mon Apr 14, 2014 8:03 pm

Hello

I am completely new to this site but wondered if contributors can give me some advice.

I have a 1952/53 Merlin 122cc with a Villers engine I bought some 45 years ago for £2/10s as a bit of a wreck. I did it up a bit and rode it round the lanes and to school etc. However It has been off the road for the last  44 years. I have of course the original log book hand book etc and know the original registration number.

A few years ago I telephoned Swansea to find out if in some way it needed to be SORNed. They did not seem interested presumably because it was not registered at the time the new rules came in.

I am beginning to think it might be time to refurbish the bike which has been sitting in various sheds and now my workshop for all those years. The question is how now is the best way of getting it registered without risking the possibility of getting fined or indeed losing the original log book?

I will also I assume need to get a motor cycle licence to be able to ride it. Presumably the rules have changed rather a lot in the last 40 odd years?

Finally there is the question of the refurbishment. I guess the whole thing will need stripping down and refinishing. Where to start?

Adrian

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registering

Post  piston 197 on Mon Apr 14, 2014 8:14 pm

I am the club's DVLA approved dating officer and can assist with the registration, I have sent you a p.m. with contact details
JH
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Reviving a Merlin

Post  MoscowFlyer on Mon Apr 14, 2014 9:04 pm

Good luck with the restoration Adrian, this is what it should look like in one piece. Mike

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Merlin refurb

Post  FB8 on Mon Apr 14, 2014 9:35 pm

Hello Mike

Thank you for the picture. That is exactly how my bike looks right down to the razor sharp front number plate. The only difference is the flaking paint and the rust!

Adrian

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Re: Reviving a Merlin and getting it back on the road.

Post  Jack Clegg on Tue Apr 15, 2014 8:21 am

Hello Adrian. I'm in Marlow, not far from you. If you want to cut out a lot of work repainting, I recommend a powder coating man in High Wycombe. Not as shiny but a bullet proof hard finish. I had most of my Falcon 55 done there, not the forks or tank though. Same bike as yours frame wise, just a different motor.

Unfortunate about the bike license. That takes some effort & costs a bomb compared to the good old days.

Can help out if you have any particular practical probs.
TTFN
Jack
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Licence

Post  ChrisTurner on Tue Apr 15, 2014 10:42 am

As regards a licence, you can ride an motorcycle of less than 125cc ad 11Kw power output on L Plates after successfully completing a course of Combulsory Basic Training (CBT). See here :

https://www.gov.uk/vehicles-you-can-drive

A CBT course typically lasts about a day and costs between £80 and £100. The training and assessment is generally carried out by a qualified instructor at a local training centre, not by the DSA. It is not a "test" in the strict sense of the word, more an assesment of a rider's ability to ride and control a motorcycle safely.

As things stand, this is the only licensing requirement for the rider and can be repeated at 2 yearly intervals in order to preserve L Plate entitlement. having said that, there are moves afoot to change the 2 year rule to prevent riders riding in L plates indefinitely, but it has not yet become firm policy or statute.

Of course, to progress to a full licence will cost considerably more in terms of time and money and your local training centre will be able to provide full details, but count on an expenditure of at least £400 and a week of time for training, including the CBT day.

If you are thinking about this seriously, then now is the time because the Powers in Brussels are deep in though as I write and you can bet your life that they won't be making it any easier to get a licence once their deliberations are complete.

As regards paint, my personal recommendation would be for 2K overcoated with 2K laquer. This would be as near to the original enamel or celulose in terms of finish and durability. Powder Coating is OK but is somewhat dull and produces a plasticky look, that being, of course, exactly what it is. Chris Turner (Rider Trainer and CBT Supervising Instructor)
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Re: Reviving a Merlin and getting it back on the road.

Post  FB8 on Wed Apr 16, 2014 9:27 am

Hello Chris

Thank you for the information which is a damn sight clearer than some I have received. It all sounds like a bit of a performance, especially for an old git like me. Presumably the centre provides the bike.

I shall see if I can find a centre locally as you suggest and try and get under-way in the not to distant future.

I did try and include a picture of the bike, which obviously is going know where in the near future, but I could not work out how to insert it.

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As Above

Post  ChrisTurner on Wed Apr 16, 2014 10:02 am

Any centre worth its salt will provide a suitable machine, and this should be included in the price of the training. The DSA monitor all training centres very closely so I think you would be fine to just throw yourself at the mercy of the nearest one to you and let them guide you through the process. Most centres will conduct a CBT with you and the assessor will advise how many days training you are likely to need in order to progress to full licence.

In real terms, you could be on the road "L Plate" licence-wise, for around £100 and a day's committment as long as you complete the CBT to the satisfaction of the assessor, who after all, is just another, albeit very experienced, rider. It is certainly not a process to be wary of, just one designed to make sure you are safe on the road.

If you want more detailed information about CBT, pm me with an email address and I will send it on.

Don't hold me to the cost of £100, centres can charge what they like but £100 seems to be the going rate where I train. Chris
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Re: Reviving a Merlin and getting it back on the road.

Post  FB8 on Thu Apr 17, 2014 8:31 am

Here are some images of the bike as It has come out of the shed.









Adrian

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Reviving a Merlin

Post  MoscowFlyer on Thu Apr 17, 2014 12:14 pm

Don't know if it's my computer, but I can't see any images. Crying or Very sad  Mike
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Re: Reviving a Merlin and getting it back on the road.

Post  FB8 on Thu Apr 17, 2014 3:23 pm

Hi Mike

I have had all sorts of problems getting the pictures on so I am not surprised you cant see anything.

However if you can see the little icons right click on one which should open a box click open in new tab. You will have a new tab appear which you have to open. This should display the picture.

Hardly an ideal way of doing things but it is the only way I can find to get the pictures on. One for the site designers I think.

Adrian

PS if you do succeed in opening the pictures please let me know.

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Re: Reviving a Merlin and getting it back on the road.

Post  banjo boy on Thu Apr 17, 2014 7:23 pm

Hi Adrian that is a very nice bike I would just give it a wipe over clean carb and etc check it over perhapes new tyres and enjoy riding it ,it is in very good condition and seems to my untrained FB eye very original condition. Cool 
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Re: Reviving a Merlin and getting it back on the road.

Post  Kim on Fri Apr 18, 2014 7:27 am

Seems to work?
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Re: Reviving a Merlin and getting it back on the road.

Post  FB8 on Sat Apr 19, 2014 9:20 am

[quote="Kim"]Seems to work?

Hello Kim  Nice snaps; so how did you get them to apear on the post its self? I understand other pepole are having problems doing this.

Could it be a problem with windows 8 ?

I have to confess I know little about computers

Adrian

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Re: Reviving a Merlin and getting it back on the road.

Post  Kim on Sat Apr 19, 2014 11:14 am

FB8 wrote:
Kim wrote:Seems to work?

Hello Kim  Nice snaps; so how did you get them to apear on the post its self? I understand other pepole are having problems doing this.

Could it be a problem with windows 8 ?

I have to confess I know little about computers

Adrian

The images are hosted offsite and linked to from here.
The first thing you need to do is open an account at a photo sharing website. I use Photobucket but there are others.
Next upload photos to that site.
It is easier to resize your pictures using paint or some other editing software before uploading. 640x480 seems to work well.
Once you have done that, you can then post a link (for photobucket use the direct link)to the photo in the "image" link box at the top of the edit/post function when posting here.
Good luck
Regards
Kim
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Re: Reviving a Merlin and getting it back on the road.

Post  FB8 on Sat Apr 19, 2014 2:14 pm

Having a go at reposting the image using photobucket and insert image ................... Apparently, can't use a link for 7 days.




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Merlin original pictures

Post  FB8 on Thu Apr 24, 2014 8:36 am

Hello again
OK we have managed to get the original images on this time.









As you can see I have a way to go. I shall take more pictures as the rebuild progresses and can post them if it is of interest?

Adrian

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Reviving a Merlin

Post  MoscowFlyer on Thu Apr 24, 2014 10:06 am

Hi Adrian, I see your Merlin ok now, well done. The bike looks nice and original, the rear light, some owner fit a part from the later model, pictured below, they can be hard to find, the one below has the wrong rear light fitted, for the correct one click below. JO is an Oxford registation. Mike



http://villiersservices.co.uk/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=21_22_33&products_id=210
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rear lamp

Post  piston 197 on Thu Apr 24, 2014 10:31 am

The rear lamp fitted to your Merlin fell foul of the new lighting laws for 1953, and the hump mike has pictured above was supplied by FB to owners to upgrade and fit the Lucas 529 lamp that is shown in the link to Villiers services above.
The tin hump fits over the existing light moulding on you guard, these were used as standard on the 1954 bikes and retro fitted to the earlier models, after 1954 the light fitting was moulded as part of the mudguard and was not detachable.
J H
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We have take off

Post  FB8 on Sun Apr 27, 2014 9:52 am

Hello all Very Happy

Well she fired up on the fourth kick after 44 Years in various sheds and garages often in slightly damp conditions. I then rode it round the garden a. to prove the gearbox and clutch are still working and b. to prove I had not forgotten how to ride a motorbike.

Many thanks are due to Jack Clegg for advice and a few crucial bits I was missing (fuel connectors/plug cap etc.).

So I am going to pause now and evaluate how best to proceed with the refurbishment; where to get the few bits I am missing and of course how much it is all going to cost. I can see that the most difficult and expensive part is going to be the blasting and refinishing. Also of course the refinishing and possible lining of the tank although the rust is not too bad. This leads me to a question:

I have been seeing bits on sites about the problems with ethanol in petrol. How does it effect these old bikes and what precautions should a bloke take to preserve his loved one?

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Re: Reviving a Merlin and getting it back on the road.

Post  MrTweedy on Tue Apr 29, 2014 4:05 pm

Great to see another Merlin. I've had mine for 2 or 3 months now and not had much luck in getting the engine going. Hoping it won't take another 44 years to see it running!

Regards

Matt

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Don't Despair!

Post  FB8 on Thu May 01, 2014 8:34 pm

Hi Matt
You probably know all this so apologies if you do; but If you have compression, fuel actually arriving at the carburettor and good sparks it should start. I checked mine out before attempting to start it and to cut a long story short, it was the plug cap, which I fitted earlier the same day which caused her not to spark. A quick change to a non resistive type and I have spars galore; away she went fourth kick having out of the shed.

I had 44 years ago filled the engine up with Duchams Q20-50 which I drained out of the crank case first which I think made her a bit smoky to start with along with the grease I rubbed onto the exhaust pipe.

Here is a picture of the bike being worked on before I attempted to start it. I took the fly wheel off to change the points and re-timed the engine according to the marks on the fly wheel and magneto casing. Not a difficult job, the fly wheel nut which is not a left hand thread, pulls the wheel off as you undo it. No key-ways are provided, so TDC when refitting the wheel.






How do you like the dolly the bike is standing on? I knocked this up with some cheap wood and casters. It makes working on the bike so much easier and is of course so much easier on the back!! You can push the whole rig round the shed with no trouble which makes access from both sides a doddle.

Good Luck

Adrian

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Thanks for the encouragement!

Post  MrTweedy on Thu May 01, 2014 9:28 pm

Thanks Adrian.  I've done a bit of work on the Merlin and some of the problems are....
1, tank needs drained and cleaned out.  Not too difficult.
2. Sparks seem very weak and intermittent.  I changed the cap and spark plug however, that seems to have made it worse.  What cap and plugs did you use?
3. The kickstart pawl is worn which results in a slipping kickstart 6 out of 10 times.  Very painful on the foot after a while!

I did have her running for a while, but she conked out and now not even a cough.

Here's a video of the old gal after I got her running.  (i know, she's a bit smokey!)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zqzg2BUkVqs

Regards

Matt
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Re: Reviving a Merlin and getting it back on the road.

Post  FB8 on Fri May 02, 2014 12:28 pm

Hello Matt

I can't claim to be an expert but this is my experience and how I solved the problem of little or no sparks and got her running.

THIS PRÉCIS DOES NOT INCLUDING EVERY ACTION OR EXPLETIVE

1. I swilled out the tank with fresh petrol. Mine is not too rusty inside but in any case there is a filter on top of the tap and another under the banjo to the carb if these are clean you should not have too much trouble. As a temporary measure I fitted a clear plastic pipe so I can see the fuel making its way to the carb.

2. I removed the carb cleaned out oil which seemed to have collected in the float chamber checked the jet was clear . Nothing was too bad, gave it a clean anyway and reassembled with a cleaned out air filter.

3. I emptied out the oil from the crankcase I had put in to preserve the mechanicals. Then tested the compression by turning over the motor with the plug fitted a few times by hand. Its not rock hard but this is only 122 cc and seems more than adequate.

4. The plug cap had been robed off the machine so I fitted an old Champion one without thinking too much about the consequences. New plug champion L86 I seem to remember and turned her over by hand to see if I had sparks. I did get a few but a bit weak. So I looked at the points which were not too bad so I decided to touch them up with fine paper. Re-tested the spark but nothing! I telephoned a well known supplier of bits who immediately said the magneto coil needed changing. I WAS NOT CONVINCED so I removed the flywheel with a view to changing the points and possibly the condenser.

However You have to remove the back plate to do this or indeed change the coil. So I decided to change the points and in doing so the lead for the condenser came off the brass ring which makes the contact with the points base.

So I decided to solder this back on change the points and reassemble the magneto fly wheel using the marks on said and a screwdriver in the top to get dead centre. (apparently the advance is allowed for by the marks).

STILL NO SPARKS AT ALL. It was at this point that my hazy memory of motor mechanics going back to Triumph Herald days reminded me that cars with coil ignition have a plug cap with a resistor in it. Magnetos do not need this. Therefore I took the plug cap off and tried stuffing the plug directly up the high tension lead not terribly successful but I did get a couple of really good belts off the magneto on turning her over. Then confirmed sparks by holding the end of the HT lead just off the engine.

So I now know she needs a non resistive plug cap. I could not get one quickly anywhere but Jack Clegg came up with an NGK one. Poped it on the HT lead and a new NGK plug; sparks galore. I then fitted the plug.

5. Finaly I made up some petrol oil mix at 20:1 using some old filtrate oil I have. (Others will I am sure be able to advise you on the best mix for an old engine like this.) I carefully poured it in to the tank making sure It has gone the same side as the tap.

So next was to take it off the stand or dolly out of the shed; a bit a of tickling and the fuel came through, a lot of choke a little throttle and she kicked into life on the fourth kick. (better than the first three) Held her there on the throttle as the idle was not good; gradually let off the choke completely.

I then ran her round the garden a couple of times plenty of power although would not idle.

The adjustment for the idle is on the top of the carb and is simply achieved by adjusting the cable. In my case the cable is too long so I inserted an extra ferule at the twist grip end which should give me more adjustment. Since it has been raining ever since I put her back in the shed I cant comment on weather or not the idling is now!

The plug is an NGK 4510 B6HS

The cap is an NGK LZFH With rubber seals both ends

Both theses items are on the Villiers service web site

The problem with the kick-start I can't help you with never having had the gearbox apart. I am sure someone else will jump in and help here. I would be interested to know as mine sometimes misses right at the start of the swing.


Hope this helps
Adrian

Please keep us informed of progress? Looks like a realy nice bike.


Last edited by FB8 on Fri May 02, 2014 12:35 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : bit missing off end)

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Pathetic Spark!

Post  MrTweedy on Fri May 02, 2014 6:42 pm

Hello Adrian.

I've cleaned out the fuel pipe, connectors and the carb. That all seems OK. I am getting gunk in the carb so I'll have to give the tank a proper clean out soon.
I had a look at my new spark plug and cap. They are NGKs like yours but different part numbers. (Plug is 4511 BP6HS and the cap is LB05E-R). However, the spark plug cap box says Spark Plug Resistor Cover on it, so I'll need to change that after reading you post.
I changed the plug and cap back to the original items and I'm getting either no spark or a very weak spark, I'm not sure why I'm getting sparks only some of the time.
So Adrian and any other helpful folks, where do I start to hunt down the issue? What should I do first? I have only very basic knowledge of engines but I'd really like to learn more.
I'm in two minds about paying someone else to do the work or learning how to do it my self. These engines are pretty basic, right? I have a shed, some basic tools and a bit of cash to spend, that's a good starting point I think.
Any help would be most appreciated!

Best regards

Matt
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