The BSA A7-A10 Forum

Technical => A7 & A10 Engine => Topic started by: sunrunner1 on 12.08. 2010 00:34

Title: Major Starting problem
Post by: sunrunner1 on 12.08. 2010 00:34
I just bought what I think is a '65 A10.  It was worked on and new seals put in and when delivered, it was hard to start(50 kicks or so), but it ran well.  I put it in the garage for a couple of weeks and now it won't start at all.  I get compression with the kicker but nothing else.  Any suggestions?  I am a novice at mechanics but am willing to try what is necessary.  THX.
Title: Re: Major Starting problem
Post by: muskrat on 12.08. 2010 01:12
G'day sunrunner1,welcome to the forum.
                                                            Is that '56 A10, not '65?
Either way if it's got comp and valve timing & clearance is good, it will be fuel or timing. Pull plugs and kick over, do you get spark? After a few kicks are the plugs wet with fuel?
Title: Re: Major Starting problem
Post by: gold33 on 12.08. 2010 02:14
G'Day and welcome,

As Musky says check plugs and fuel, both easily accomplished with limited tools and know how, you will also find a thread on the best/preferred books for maintaining and working on these machines. Hopefully something simple.

I had a very similar issue when I first bought my "newly restored" machine, after much kicking I got it started and rode it home slowly (first gear up hills), seemed ok but not great...
I discovered fairly quickly that my "rebuilt" magneto had the original bearings and no spacers fitted, result, good smooth idle and revs without load but major break down under load and hard to start. I ended up needing to complete a top end rebuild, new rings, honed bore, rebuilt magneto, replacement oil pump, rebuilt carby, fuel and oil tank clean etc and 7 months all that on a fully restored bike?.  Lesson, never trust P.O's work, buy a workshop manual and check for yourself, from what I've read on here there are Masters helping on this site that could build one of these machines from scratch in their backyards; and kitchens...
Title: Re: Major Starting problem
Post by: sunrunner1 on 12.08. 2010 03:02
Thanks for the welcome and the information.  I'll check it out in the morning.  By the way, I checked the #'s and it is a Lightning Rocket with a '65 rigid frame and a '64 engine and a dead battery.  I appreciate the speedy replies.  

Muscrat, I am in love with OZ and would move there in a heartbeat.  Twice to Sydney, Cairns, Port Douglas.  Drove down to Canberra, if I had know you were right there inbetween, I would have stopped.

Title: Re: Major Starting problem
Post by: RichardL on 12.08. 2010 04:34

Whoops, it seems like you might have stumbled into the wrong forum. Regardless there are those here knowledgable in many models and they can also steer you to the right place. I think they also participate in other more general British bike forums. Nevertheless, the advise regarding the magneto is still worthy, but the magnetos on the unit-construction machines (A50 or A65, which seems like what you might have) is a different animal. If you've got the means (a digital camera) maybe you could post a photo so we might see your bike and enjoy it no matter what it is.

Richard L.
Title: Re: Major Starting problem
Post by: Brian on 12.08. 2010 05:03
Sunrunner1 it seems you have a A65 which is a different kettle of fish to our A10's. Your bike needs a charged battery to go so check you have lights. If you have lights then check for spark, if none there is a small round cover on the right side of the engine which has two sets of points behind it, run a piece of fine emery paper between the points and try again. If still no spark then we need to delve deeper.

If you do have spark then could be fuel. Is the fuel fresh ? If the fuel has been in the bike for a long time then drain it all out and replace it. Undo the big screw on the bottom of the carby and let some fuel run through, this will flush any sediment or moisture that may have collected.

I'm not sure but there is probably a A65 forum similar to this one which you could join although we are all willing to assist where possible.
Title: Re: Major Starting problem
Post by: trickytree on 12.08. 2010 08:48
Hi Sunrunner.

As all A50/65's were swing arm frames only seems you have a bit of a chop. While the battery is charging make sure the engine hasnt wet sumped....this is where oil drains from the tank and collects in the bottom of the engine, this can make starting difficult and can even damage the engine. There will be a plate under the engine held on with 4 nuts, remove this plate to drain any oil from the bottom of the cases. Try these 2 things first and see how you go.

For great help with the unit twins try HERE. (
Title: Re: Major Starting problem
Post by: LJ. on 12.08. 2010 09:23
Sunrunner... Yes, the link Trickytrees gives that points to Brit is the best source of help from our knowledgeable pals across the pond. Fraid I don't have a clue about unit models. Good luck hope you get it fixed!
Title: Re: Major Starting problem
Post by: BSA_54A10 on 12.08. 2010 10:45
If you bike has points then the condition of the battery is not quite so critical.
However the condition of the fuel is.
Tip it out ( put it in your wife's car ) and get some nice new fuel .

From the top flood the carbs.
kick the bike one or two times
turn on the ignition
kick again and it should start.
If you get no joy after a 1/2 dozen have a look at the plugs.
By now they should be quite wet from the fuel that is not burning.
If they are dry then you need to look at the carb idle circuit.
If they are wet then swap them for another pair.
New fuels are not compatiable with old plugs and they can go bad during the starting sequence
Title: Re: Major Starting problem
Post by: sunrunner1 on 12.08. 2010 22:45
Wow, thanks for all the suggestions, I will try all.  
The battery is putting out 3V and drops to zero when I turn on the light switch.  No lights though, just the drain on the system.

Pulled the plugs and got no spark on either one and after several kicks and removing the plugs again, they were dry.  

Joined the BritBike Forum as suggested and hopefully this babe will run soon.

Manosound, I lived around the Chicago area for nearly 30 yrs and now am in Arizona.
Title: Re: Major Starting problem
Post by: BSA_54A10 on 13.08. 2010 10:23
Is it a 12V battery ?

While the condition of the battery is not critical to start an A65 you do need some electricity.
Title: Re: Major Starting problem
Post by: sunrunner1 on 14.08. 2010 01:01
Thanks for the info...while the charger was cooking the battery, and I had my cardio workout for about an hour of kicking (over, that is, not the bike), I opened the carb and drained about a pint out.  Holy S. I couldn't believe the sludge and I think some oil. 
    Kicked it again 5 times and it started, rough, but ran.

Now, I see it is leaking oil like a sieve from what looks like where the front sprocket of the chain drive is attached to the ?transmission? 
Also it looks like some leakage from the left side where the chrome piece meets the cast metal.  Might be a gasket?
When the engine finally was running, the wrapping on the left exhaust pipe started to smoke, a lot.  My guess is oil, but how does oil get on the outside of the exhaust pipe up near where it attaches to the engine?:

A lot of questions, and I appreciate that all of you are here and willing to help.  I have already learned a lot and I think I am going to be learning a whole lot more.  Thanks again.
Brian, have you also been known as BrianFromOz on the Brit Bike site?
Title: Re: Major Starting problem
Post by: Brian on 14.08. 2010 04:28
I'm only on this forum sunnrunner so its not me.

Sounds like you have a engine full of oil, did you drain the sump as tricktree suggested ? The oil coming out in front of the sprocket is coming from the engine breather. The other oil is coming from wherever the engine can push it out from and this is also probably the reason the bike is so hard to start.

Take the sump plate off and let it drain for ten minutes or so, put the plate back on and check you have oil in the oil tank and try again. When you do have it running look in the oil tank and make sure oil is returning, it will squirt a constant stream out the small pipe for a few minutes but then become intermittant which is normal as the pump can pump more oil out of the engine than it can in.
Title: Re: Major Starting problem
Post by: trickytree on 14.08. 2010 10:16
Nice least your getting somewhere!

If the fuel was that bad its a good bet the oil in the engine is in a similar state. Drain all the fluids and start again.

 Drain the fuel tank and remove the taps...these will have a gauze filter on them...swill out the tank with fresh gas, replace the taps and refill the tank. Next strip the carb....there simple things compared to a Mikuni or whatever so take your time and make a note where everything goes. Thouroughly clean the carb body and blow out with compressed air.

Drain the engine oil from the oil tank and remove the sump plate to get rid of any oil from the crankcases. The sump plate has a gauze filter...clean it. As standard there is another gauze filter in the oil tank...hopefully there is one on yours...clean that aswell. Refill with fresh oil, 5 pints is standard.

Drain the primary chaincase, this is best done by removing the cover as there is often some crap in there from the primary chain tensioner...clean it all out. There is a pipe at the rear to lubricate the rear drive chain so even if there are no primary leaks you still need to check levels regularly. Check the primary chain tension while your in there...about 1/8" of free play...not too tight. Put the cover back on and refill with 1/4 pint of oil.

Drain the gearbox oil and refill with 7/8 of a pint of fresh oil. I think the earlier engines had a dip stick for the level check....later engines had a tube within the drain plug which is a right pain.

Note that all the capacitys given are British  quantities so you will have to adjust accordingly!!

As for making these engines oil tight...thats another story...ask if your not sure *smile* Lets go one step at a time.

Title: Re: Major Starting problem
Post by: sunrunner1 on 30.08. 2011 20:49
Nothing new to report except that letting the bike sit for a couple of weeks after draining the sludge from the carb and again opening the 'drain' on the bottom and tightening it again, gas now pours from the drain.  (sigh) 

I haven't tried to fix anything since that time, so much has happened that I couldn't get back to it and then it got to be summer in Phoenix...I am not going to spend hours in the hot garage at 110°F at this time.  October will be soon enough. 

Got some schematics and instructions from and an offer of walk-through help when needed. 

I'll let you know what is happening when I know. 

Thanks again!!!! Many times over!!!
Title: Re: Major Starting problem
Post by: sunrunner1 on 07.04. 2013 23:45
Hey all,
So much has happened and time on the bike.  It is working great and kicks over 1st or 2nd try.  A lot of time and rebuilding everything from the ground up. I found that I have a '65 motor, '64 frame, '52 front and rear from a Triumph.  I had to design and have a bushing made so the rear would fit tight.  Also got new tires, the '52 rubber on the front was in good shape, but I didn't want to chance it.  It is in the motorcycle museum in Indianapolis.

I have learned a lot since being on here last and I want to thank you all for your suggestions and help. 

The bike still looks the same and I found that the tank is the same as Captain America's in "Easy Rider", an original, not a copy.
Title: Re: Major Starting problem
Post by: a10gf on 08.04. 2013 00:03
Welcome back, and thanks for finding the forum useful. Bike looks like great fun, but as it's A65 based the amount of support will be limited here.

Now, to get the full use of the forum resources, evaluate getting an A7 \ A10 as your next project ?  *smile*