The BSA A7-A10 Forum

Technical => A7 & A10 Engine => Topic started by: TT John on 12.05. 2015 09:22

Title: Solid copper rocker box gaskets
Post by: TT John on 12.05. 2015 09:22
I have got fed up with the rocker box leaking all the time, so I have done something about it, I have had a load of solid copper gaskets lazer cut out of C106 soft copper 0.07 mm thick, I have fitted a set to my A10 and hey presto no leaks, not only that but I found they were much easier to fit than the normal gaskets.
If anyone would like a set, they are now for sale at £17-50 per set inclusive of p&p to the U.K.
Please contact me for more details.

Kind regards TTJohn
Title: Re: Solid copper rocker box gaskets
Post by: East_Coast_BSA on 13.05. 2015 03:01
I bought a set on EBAY last year.  They are 0.7 mm thick.  I haven't had a chance to install them, as the paper gaskets have been well behaved (so far).
Title: Re: Solid copper rocker box gaskets
Post by: Johnny J on 13.05. 2015 14:51
Beeing a bit too lazy to look in the Haynes or search the forum, is it a big job to change these gaskets?
Title: Re: Solid copper rocker box gaskets
Post by: TT John on 13.05. 2015 15:16
Hello Johny.

It's not too bad a job, the only problem is trying to get the push rods in place but I have found it a lot easier to pop them in if at first you get all the rod level, instead of one sticking up etc.
Title: Re: Solid copper rocker box gaskets
Post by: nimrod650 on 18.05. 2015 19:09
pushrods are not a problem if you have the tool to hold them in place
Title: Re: Solid copper rocker box gaskets
Post by: Johnny J on 18.05. 2015 20:55
Yes, have that tool, thanks!
Title: Re: Solid copper rocker box gaskets
Post by: bikerboy on 08.06. 2015 00:54
TT John

Thanks very much for the gaskets BTW i have not fitted them yet but I will over the next couple of weeks
Title: Re: Solid copper rocker box gaskets
Post by: Clive54bsa on 14.06. 2015 22:17
I've been waiting for the opportunity to install these copper rocker box gaskets, so after recently installing a fresh cylinder head, and                     re-torquing after 50 and 500 miles and all the rocker box removing and re-installing that goes along with it using normal gaskets, I thought it was time to cure this darn leaky rocker box problem once and for all, so after the last re torquing I put on the copper gaskets, after commandeering my wife' jewelry electric furnace, and annealing them as per installation instructions. With great anticipation I took my Super Rocket out for a 50 mile ride. It leaked much worse than the normal gaskets, at least with the regular ones it didn't leak for a while.
This was very disappointing, but I thought perhaps after everything had heated up and cooled down, I could check the tightness of all the rocker box bolts and nuts, and I did find that a couple of them could be snugged up a bit more, so I cleaned off all the oil. and took her out again today, about 25 miles. It still leaks just as bad, so I suppose I'll be going back to the normal gasket material.
Does anyone else have any positive experiences with the copper gaskets?
Title: Re: Solid copper rocker box gaskets
Post by: East_Coast_BSA on 15.06. 2015 02:44
I've been going through the Head Re-torquing business lately as well.  The paper gaskets worked fine for me.  I had purchased a set of Copper gaskets last year.  I finally tore one of the paper gaskets, so I decided to try the copper.  I annealed all three pieces, I even put a coating of the Permatex spray copper on both sides.  I went out for 20 mile jaunt and they are leaking everywhere.  The bolts are all tight, so I'll be going back to the paper gaskets as well.  I never had a problem with them, just the constant on and off of the rocker box had taken it's toll.
Title: Re: Solid copper rocker box gaskets
Post by: Billybream on 15.06. 2015 07:41
Copper gaskets worked for me, they cured my bike of leaks. I used Copper Gaskets from the USA, annealed them, used low modulus silicone sealant neutral cure, which was applied to both sides and left for 24hrs before reassembling. My opinion is the paper gasket gets damaged during the rocker assembly procedure and fight, using the combe may well be the culprit.
Title: Re: Solid copper rocker box gaskets
Post by: Greybeard on 15.06. 2015 20:35
You have to make sure the mating faces have no high spots, particularly around studs where the metal may have been pulled up above the surrounding area. Removing any studs and filing with a smooth file lightly held in place to bear on opposite surfaces at the same time seems to work. I don't know if this stuff is only available in the UK but I always use Blue Hylomar gasket compound http://goo.gl/f1FxdS. I have paper gaskets and my rocker box doesn't leak.
Title: Re: Solid copper rocker box gaskets
Post by: orabanda on 15.06. 2015 23:53
Further to Greybeard's good advice, I lap all the surfaces: wet & dry on a sheet of glass. Also do the rocker cover surfaces on the rocker box, and the rocker covers themselves.

If you are refurbishing the head, and have removed the guides, you can then lap the head surfaces as well.

Richard
Title: Re: Solid copper rocker box gaskets
Post by: TT John on 16.06. 2015 14:10
I've been going through the Head Re-torquing business lately as well.  The paper gaskets worked fine for me.  I had purchased a set of Copper gaskets last year.  I finally tore one of the paper gaskets, so I decided to try the copper.  I annealed all three pieces, I even put a coating of the Permatex spray copper on both sides.  I went out for 20 mile jaunt and they are leaking everywhere.  The bolts are all tight, so I'll be going back to the paper gaskets as well.  I never had a problem with them, just the constant on and off of the rocker box had taken it's toll.

The copper gaskets that I have made are made with C106 soft copper and so do not need annealing, all I did when fitting ws put a smear of grease on one side, to stop them slipping about when I fitted the rocker box, once done, I took the old girl out for a spin, and like you I got oil al over the place, then I discovered that the feed pipe union nut to the rockers was loose, once that was retightened all was okay.
Were the gaskets you used, some of mine or did you get them from someone else? I'd like to think that mine are of real good quality and would like any feed back from anyone that has fitted the ones from me.

Kind regards TTJohn *smile*
Title: Re: Solid copper rocker box gaskets
Post by: Clive54bsa on 16.06. 2015 14:53
TT John, I purchased them on Ebay from coppergaskets63 located in Arizona, after receiving them I contacted him and asked about annealing them and was told that it was recommended.I installed them with Permatex Ultra Grey sealer on both sides. Maybe I'll just buy a sheet of gasket material and make my own, I have friends who own British bikes that do that quite successfully.
Title: Re: Solid copper rocker box gaskets
Post by: East_Coast_BSA on 16.06. 2015 15:57
I've been going through the Head Re-torquing business lately as well.  The paper gaskets worked fine for me.  I had purchased a set of Copper gaskets last year.  I finally tore one of the paper gaskets, so I decided to try the copper.  I annealed all three pieces, I even put a coating of the Permatex spray copper on both sides.  I went out for 20 mile jaunt and they are leaking everywhere.  The bolts are all tight, so I'll be going back to the paper gaskets as well.  I never had a problem with them, just the constant on and off of the rocker box had taken it's toll.

The copper gaskets that I have made are made with C106 soft copper and so do not need annealing, all I did when fitting ws put a smear of grease on one side, to stop them slipping about when I fitted the rocker box, once done, I took the old girl out for a spin, and like you I got oil al over the place, then I discovered that the feed pipe union nut to the rockers was loose, once that was retightened all was okay.
Were the gaskets you used, some of mine or did you get them from someone else? I'd like to think that mine are of real good quality and would like any feed back from anyone that has fitted the ones from me.

Kind regards TTJohn *smile*


I bought them on EBAY over a year ago, so I don't remember who the seller was.  I'm guessing that I bought them domestically.   These are weeping oil pretty much around the entire perimeter of the box.  I'm not going to slather them with sealant, I'm just going to change them out.  The plain paper gaskets worked fine before.
Title: Re: Solid copper rocker box gaskets
Post by: TT John on 18.06. 2015 11:08
Clive.
I do not sell my gaskets through e-bay, I only sell to people on forums or at motorcycle shows and I have not had any complaints yet.
However, I have just discovered another place where oil is leaking and I thought was the rocker box but I found it was leaking from where the dynamo is located, same symptoms as leaking from the rocker box but with the turbulence when going along at speed carried the oil over the head and it was splattering the mag & carb, so I had to strip it down renew the cork in the breather timing cog, plus all the other gaskets on the timing side. I am hoping that it will be okay now.

Regards TTJohn
Title: Re: Solid copper rocker box gaskets
Post by: Gasket4450 on 17.08. 2015 14:33
Hi John.
                        Just a word or two in praise of the copper gaskets. I have an A10 and an A7 ( the latter having caused me no end of problems over the last year or so, all documented elsewhere on this goodly forum ), both fitted with copper rocker box gaskets, and both heads are leak free. I don't think they are yours, but they certainly work for me. Also, so much easier to fit the rocker box after maintenance, even with the ubiquitous BSA ' comb ' . Just my opinion.

Norman 
Title: Re: Solid copper rocker box gaskets
Post by: Phil on 05.09. 2015 11:34
Thanks John received Mine this morning, just in time for the head to be refitted.
Title: Re: Solid copper rocker box gaskets
Post by: muskrat on 05.09. 2015 12:23
Just make sure they are well annealed and the rockerbox face is flat. just re-did mine yesterday, no leaks.
Cheers
Title: Re: Solid copper rocker box gaskets
Post by: jjbsa on 16.09. 2015 22:29
Hi,  I'd like to contribute about these copper rocker box gaskets.  I've been making and selling these under the Ebor Bikes badge for a while, both from my website and eBay UK.  From what I've read on this thread, many people but not everyone have found joy with them.  When problems occur, I believe they come from the annealing which to date has been done by the customer, and it is possible that if significant amounts of oxide have to be removed as a consequence of prolonged heating, that the gasket thickness may no longer be satisfactorily uniform. 

So as from now, the gaskets I sell are both made from C106 copper (as before) but are now also vacuum annealed after the laser cutting.  These are about as soft as you can get copper, a Vickers hardness test of them is typically 42.5 on the Vickers HV1 scale.  Remember that, as supplied, C106 copper has an allowed hardness range of 40 to 160, so the annealing is necessary to get them really soft.  That it is done in vacuum means that no clean-up job is needed.

Copper is a good gasket material for this application.  It's used with success on Triumph twins and triples too.  It is able to withstand the lateral forces imposed on the BSA twin rocker-box well.  It does pay to have the two joint faces in good condition. Flatting the faces down with abrasive paste on such as a sheet of plate glass can work, though it may end up with a joint face that is smooth but not very planar.  My favoured way is to run the end of a really sharp end-mill over the joint faces on a milling machine, removing just a thou or three till it's cut all over.  If the engine has a light alloy head, and this is not done, attention should be paid to ensuring that the cast-in bronze inserts in the head for the rocker box bolts have not been pulled slightly out above the joint face surface.  If this has happened, they can be flatted back using a smooth file very judiciously. 

I think that generally there's no harm in using small amounts of a sealing compound with the copper gaskets.  This will seal any minute nicks in the joint faces, but if the faces are in really good condition I don't think it's vital.

I have from time to time wondered about another approach: machining a small groove round the joint face of a rocker box, to take 1mm or 1.5mm O ring cord (probably Viton).  I do know that japanese bikes using this type of arrangement do NOT exude oil!  I have a CNC mill that could do the job and it could be easily programmed off the drawing for the gaskets, but it's only about number 423 on the list of projects  *smiley4* 

I hope that helps,

Jon



Title: Re: Solid copper rocker box gaskets
Post by: muskrat on 17.09. 2015 08:17
G'day Jon, thanks for your input.
Having them already annealed is a big plus. Do you do them in different thicknesses? To allow for 50 rears of skimming.
Cheers
Title: Re: Solid copper rocker box gaskets
Post by: jjbsa on 17.09. 2015 09:31
Hi Muskrat,  good question.  I don't presently do them in different thicknesses, but I've been wondering about using 0.9mm copper instead of the present 0.7mm because the laser cutting people tell me it's easier for them.  For this reason I would quite like to make them 0.9mm and I am keen to hear peoples' views on that. 

If there is demand for still thicker gaskets I could get quotes, though this would probably for smaller sized batches which would put their price up somewhat.  What sort of thickness did you have in mind?

Best regards,  Jon

Title: Re: Solid copper rocker box gaskets
Post by: muskrat on 17.09. 2015 21:28
G'day Jon.
I found 0.8 worked OK on the cafe but I needed 1.00 on the plunger.
Cheers
Title: Re: Solid copper rocker box gaskets
Post by: jjbsa on 19.09. 2015 12:12
Thanks Muskrat,  I'll bear that in mind and wait to see what others might say,
Jon
Title: Re: Solid copper rocker box gaskets
Post by: bikerboy on 21.09. 2015 23:47
John

I got gasket from you and I did anneal them :(. Oil poured out but I found one of the front studs had stripped so the rocker box came back off and I heli coiled the thread and faced teh rocker box again just in case.

I will tell you how it worked out once I have tried it out hopefully me annealing them wont have hurt :)
Title: Re: Solid copper rocker box gaskets
Post by: Gasket4450 on 22.09. 2015 10:34
Jon,
               Just purchased what was shown as 'the last one' of yours on Fleabay - I have decided to give the A10 a thorough overhaul through the winter, including an annoying little oil leak from the front left of the rockerbox, which I've tolerated up to now........ "Don't worry, they all do that, sir.....". I already have copper gaskets on the A7, no leaks so far, so I reckon yours will be just fine.
               Hope sales are on the up for you, certainly seems like an excellent product.  *clap*

All the best
Norman T
Title: Re: Solid copper rocker box gaskets
Post by: a101960 on 22.09. 2015 11:00
Quote
including an annoying little oil leak from the front left of the rockerbox, which I've tolerated up to now.".
Funny you should say that! I fitted copper rocker cover gaskets and they worked well except for the front left, and from conversations I have had with other A10 owners it seems that if the rocker cover is going to leak after fitting copper gaskets that is exactly the area where the leak will be.
Quote
"Don't worry, they all do that, sir.....
Said in jest I know, but you might be closer to the truth than you think.
John
Title: Re: Solid copper rocker box gaskets
Post by: Greybeard on 22.09. 2015 11:10
I know the swinging arm bikes have an engine stay bolted to the rocker box and that is thought to possibly be responsible for leaks so I can be a little smug about my Plunger rocker box being dry. In fact the whole engine is leak free, (at the moment)!  *whistle*
Title: Re: Solid copper rocker box gaskets
Post by: paulmbsa on 29.09. 2015 21:25
My A10 & A7 Have done mega miles, on rebuild i flaten the rocker box on glass and have the top of the head skimmed (remove guides) no oil leaks mega miles together 20 years

regards
Title: Re: Solid copper rocker box gaskets
Post by: TT John on 30.09. 2015 12:35
It's good to read all the input on the gaskets and although I don't normally advertise these on any site, I have been selling these for quite a while now, I also sell the M20 head gaskets which are 0.9mm thick made from the same C106 soft copper, which I first started with. It was good to see JJBSA report which makes sense, he advertises in the Star magazine also and a fellow member of the club. At the moment I am too busy with taking the new BSA club raffle bike to shows etc, I think the next one is Copdock on the 5th October then East Sussex on the 25th followed by Shepton Mallet on the 31st to the 1st November. The Rally raffle bike is a great little show winning C12, 1956.
All the best with your sale JJ.
Title: Re: Solid copper rocker box gaskets
Post by: Butch (cb) on 30.09. 2015 18:00
Hoping to be at Copdock myself this Sunday - weather permitting. I'll likely be on the H1 or T3 mind. I'll see if I can catch up with you - presumably on the BSAOC stand?