Author Topic: Cowl headlamp fitting and speedo cable  (Read 3653 times)

Offline shabashow

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Cowl headlamp fitting and speedo cable
« on: 11.06. 2008 22:09 »
Hi,
I'm having problems fitting the speedo cable to my 52 A10 plunger. The headlamp shell fits into the cowl, and the speedometer cable fouls this shell, causing it to bend at a very tight angle. This has already caused a cable to break after about 8 miles. It also makes fitting the headlamp very difficult as it needs to be pushed very firmly into the cowl, as the cable exerts pressure and tries to push it out.
Is there a trick to routin the cable so it doesn't get fouled by the shell? I'm serioiusly considering cutting away part of the back of the shell to ease the run of the cable. It would also make the job of changing the headlamp bulbs easier, in that I could get my hand into the bayonet fastening, and wouldn't have to remove the shell from the cowl.
The original cable had a springy guard on the end attached to the speedo, probably to protect it from damage from the tinware, but it looks like it would be even more difficult to fit around the bend.
I've attached some pictures which shows the problem.
John

Offline trevinoz

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Re: Cowl headlamp fitting and speedo cable
« Reply #1 on: 11.06. 2008 23:08 »
You have the wrong headlight shell. The shell used with the cowl is plain with two holes for the speedo cable to run through. There is a long rubber grommet which fits between the holes and the cable runs through this. There is no cut-out on top of the shell for switch etc. The cowl was fitted from 1953 - 57.
   Trev.

Offline shabashow

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Re: Cowl headlamp fitting and speedo cable
« Reply #2 on: 11.06. 2008 23:29 »
Thanks for that, Trev.
Do you know where I could see a photo of the correct shell?
Roy Bacon's book on restoration of the BSA twins, which I've used as a sort of bible during the rebuild doesn't refer to the difference. The BSA parts cataloge, which has handy and useful exploded views of engine, gearbox etc., is also vauge regarding the headlamp shell.
Sounds like drilling holes might be an ok thing to do, as this area is hidden from view by the cowl.
John

Offline trevinoz

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Re: Cowl headlamp fitting and speedo cable
« Reply #3 on: 12.06. 2008 23:26 »
Hi John, I don't have any photos and can't get a clear shot at mine.
The shell is the same basic shape as yours without the panel. You could get a late sixties type and fill the pilot light holes and redrill.
The bottom hole is at about 7 o'clock, about 2 1/2" from the front. The top hole is directly under the speedo spindle. From memory they are elongated and the grommet fits between them with the speedo cable going through. There is not much clearance between speedo and top of shell so you have to slide shell down the cable to fit up.
The wiring hole is at about 7 o'clock, approx 1 1/2" from point of shell, looking at the back. Size about 1/2".
The grommet is No. 20 on the attached picture, part No. 19-2126. I bought a new one a few years back, you may have to do a bit of searching. From the shape you can see that it fits at an angle.
I hope this helps.
                           Trev.

Offline shabashow

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Re: Cowl headlamp fitting and speedo cable
« Reply #4 on: 13.06. 2008 13:43 »
Thanks Trev,
I've got that parts catelog, unfortunately the picture of the headlamp shell doesn't show the detail required. I don't know how the speedo worked before I took posseions of the bike, 25+ years ago. I dismantled it shortly after that, but never noted the run of the cables, etc.
I think I'll modify my exisiting shell by drilling a suitably large hole to accomodate the cable, and make a channel from that to the existing cut out (which would have been for the switches). This will enable me to remove the headlamp without disturbing the cable, or removing it from the clock. Access is pretty tight between the cowl and shell, but the old switch hole allows a fairly straight down route from the speedo. Instead of the proprietory grommet, I'll protect the cable from chafing and rubbing against the tinware by a suitable length of rubber hose. I'll post a photo of the finished article to let you see in the next few days, when the job is completed,
thanks again for your advice and information.
John

Offline RichardL

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Re: Cowl headlamp fitting and speedo cable
« Reply #5 on: 13.06. 2008 17:32 »
John,

I'm no expert in A10 cowled headlamps (or, maybe, anything), but it seems to me that getting the correct shell may not be that difficult. I wonder if the one shown on Ebay at the link, below, could be the correct item? If it is, selling your existing shell on Ebay, before it is modified, could recover some expense. Actually, I'm surprised the Road Rocket style shell fits into the cowl at all. Speaking of "correct," acording to Roy Bacon's, "BSA Twins and Triples," the cowled headlamps were not introduced until 1953. (Don't shoot me, I'm only quoting what I read.)

Richard

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/BSA-Plunger-Headlamp-shell-54-on_W0QQitemZ250258501040QQihZ015QQcategoryZ108839QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

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Offline a10gf

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Re: Cowl headlamp fitting and speedo cable
« Reply #6 on: 13.06. 2008 19:13 »
^ the ebay link, some not often seen plunger parts. Buy quickly if you need anything.

As Richard says, if it's a 52 it should be without cowl, and the speedo on a bracket above. Not that complete year-originality is my target, having a plunger with speedo\tacho setup (and very happy with the view! http://www.a7a10.net/BSA/techpics/speedo_tacho.jpg )

A10 GF '53 My A10 website
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Offline shabashow

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Re: Cowl headlamp fitting and speedo cable
« Reply #7 on: 13.06. 2008 20:13 »
Although the bike was originally registered in october 1952, I'm sure that there have been a wide varity of replacement parts over the years. During Restoration, the paintin firm that I got to paint the bike noticed a weld in the front mudguard, as well as fabricated mudguard stays. Probably the bike had a front end smash at some time in it's life. The top shrouds of the forks also showed the remninants of the headlamp brackets, which were cut off some time in the past. The cowl also showed evidence of blue paint inside, although the bike is painted black. The inside of the rear brake back plate was the golden colour. To cap it all, the original engine threw a conrod, and the replacement block was a 1953 model, so the more you dig into it, the more of a mongrel it appears, or should that be "interesting history"? The tank that came with the bike had clips underneath for a small pump, but was bashed in a bit, and the rear lugs had been repaired poorly, so I've replaced it with an e-bay purchase, probably dating to well after 1953.
I really want to get the bike up and running as soon as possible, as next weekend our bike club, the Scottish Classic Motorcycle Club is having its summer run. Maybe I'll modify my existing shell (sound's like there's no historical loss to motorcycling) and get an original one to fit at a later date.
John

Offline RichardL

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Re: Cowl headlamp fitting and speedo cable
« Reply #8 on: 13.06. 2008 20:38 »
John,

My A10 didn't have a speedo when I bought it in 1973, nor does it have one now to go with the 2003-2006 rebuild (after sitting 24 years). Maybe this amounts to "going commando" in motorcycling terms (i.e., no "speedo").

Richard

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Offline shabashow

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Re: Cowl headlamp fitting and speedo cable
« Reply #9 on: 13.06. 2008 21:43 »
Richard,
good luck with sourcing a nice speedo. Mine, fortunately, still had it's speedo, but the bike had been vandalised a bit before I purchased it (at an extrememly reasonalble price) and kids had smashed the glass and bent the needle. I finally got it professionaly rebuilt a few months ago at the cost of several hundered pounds - many times what I paid for the bike in the first place!
Just got the timing cover back on, after putting a new armature inot my magneto, and it started on the third kick. Lets hope it continues that way.
I'll save my headlamp modification till tommorrow, and hopefully get it through an MOT next week,
John

Offline trevinoz

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Re: Cowl headlamp fitting and speedo cable
« Reply #10 on: 14.06. 2008 00:25 »
Just had a look at the shell on e-bay. It is the correct one for cowl headlight 1955 - '57.
Trev.

Offline RichardL

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Re: Cowl headlamp fitting and speedo cable
« Reply #11 on: 14.06. 2008 02:25 »
Just curious, does MOT require a speedometer and can one register as an antique vehicle?
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Offline fido

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Re: Cowl headlamp fitting and speedo cable
« Reply #12 on: 14.06. 2008 08:04 »
They don't do anything to check the speedo on the MoT but they do note the mileage off it. You do need one fitted to ride legally on the road though, on bikes over 100cc made after 1935.

Offline shabashow

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Re: Cowl headlamp fitting and speedo cable
« Reply #13 on: 21.06. 2008 00:26 »
To complete the story, last weekend I extended the opening at hte back of the headlamp shell to get the routing of the speedo cable nice an smooth, without any sharp bends or kinks, photos attached.
I think this modification is better than the standard cowl headlamp shell, in that I can remove the headlamp complete without disturbing the speedo cable. The speedo cable appears to pass throuth the standard shell, which would mean disconnnecting the caple if the shell needed removal.
During my excavations inot the back of the shell, I came across a previous alteration (a cutout of the tinware) which was thouroughly repaired by the firm I used to paint all the parts. I suppose he thought he was doing a good job restoring and repairing the shell to what he though was original. I never cottened on that the cut out was so important, and my restoration of the bike took so long that I forgot how everything fitted together under the cowl. The bike was dismantled around 1982 and sat in boxes for a long, long time.
The speedo seems to be working properly, having clocked up about 85 miles so far, and the machine has passed its MOT with flying colours. He never looked at the action of the clock, but did take the mileage reading.
I can now build up some miles on the road and sort out some other minor niggles, eg a bit of clutch drag making finding neutral a bit of a chore, a stiff clutch action and an occasional misfire at low revs (probably points setting imbalance between cylinders).
I'll look at the points tomorrow, and change the oil before our bike club's (the SCMC) annual summer run on sunday. We start at the Baiglie Inn between Glenfarg and Bridge of Earn (10 for an 11 start) south of Perth, Scotland, for anyone interested in a nice run through the Ochils and returing for something to eat at the pub.
Thanks again for all your advice, looking forward to further helpful positings. If only I found this site before!
John