Author Topic: Why 2 head gaskets?  (Read 924 times)

Offline Beezageezauk

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Why 2 head gaskets?
« on: 09.12. 2008 19:10 »
The Challenges of the IOM (Isle of Mud) International Rally.

I suppose that the main challenge of the event for most folk was the rain and the oceans of rally ground mud where we half expected to see Hippo?s wallowing in it every morning as we emerged from our tents.  However, this was not our only problem. No, ?problem? is the wrong choice of word because BSA Owners don?t have problems?.only solutions!!
Our main challenge began when the A10 that my brother was riding broke down between junctions 36 and 35 on the M6 motorway as we were heading for the ferry at Heysham.  It was obvious that more than a roadside repair was required so, as the minutes were ticking away and time was limited prior to check-in, we couldn?t wait for the recovery man.  There was no alternative than to hitch up a tow strap (all BSA?s should carry one) and the fully laden A10 was towed to the ferry by my fully laden B31.  I suppose that could be classed as a challenge in itself but we made it in time.  After checking in we were met by one of those ?Jobsworth? guys who told us that a non-runner could not be taken on board.  Anyway, after a few very carefully chosen words (and 30 BSA?s behind us) he approached his supervisor, who allowed it to be pushed onto the car deck?.cheers guys.  That was just what we needed at that particular moment!!
So, we arrived at Douglas and after hitching up the tow strap again the sorrowful A10 was hauled onto the road where we were met by a friend who knows ?The Island? well.  He was to guide us directly to the camp site amongst the rush hour traffic and were we glad of his help?Thanks Trevor?I would hate to think that I took a wrong turning under those conditions!!  Although it was only a 3 mile trip we were certainly pleased to get there.
The following morning (Saturday) we stripped down the engine to find an exhaust valve had snapped at the neck and fallen onto the piston crown resulting in a holed piston.  Fortunately there was no damage to the bore or the cylinder head and Saturday afternoon was spent trying to locate replacement parts?all to no avail.  We had plenty of suggestions of course and we tried most of them, but digging a hole and burying the bike was not an option.  In any case we didn?t have a spade!!  Eventually, a telephone call to my son-in-law (who fortunately talks bikes) resulted in him searching my garage back at home and locating a +060 low compression piston, 2 exhaust valves, a valve spring compressor, grinding paste and a sucker- the latter being a valve grinding tool and not him for volunteering to help us out!!  These items were boxed up and delivered to the Post Office on the Monday morning en-route to the camp site at Union Mills.  Another thank you- this time to Paul and the family at home for doing a sterling job.
Well, I?ve heard of folk knocking our postal system but we received the package on the Tuesday afternoon (3 cheers for the postal service. thrice hip hip hoorah) and the replacement exhaust valves were ground in with no problems.  These were undergoing a Petrol Test before the bar opened.
Now Wednesday was a free day and we began to replace the damaged piston.  The gods must have been with us that day because the sun shone and started to dry the site out.  By now not only were the gods with us but also a steady stream of onlookers, cameras at the ready.  We had to do this job right to avoid criticism, especially when there was photographic evidence in abundance.  The original rings were transferred to the replacement piston and plastic tent pegs used to hold the pistons in position prior to fitting the cylinder barrel.  I think the number of onlookers culminated at the point the barrel was fitted.  So far so good ?.BUT?.the replacement piston was protruding from the top of the barrel by about 1mm.  No, we didn?t swear, we just wondered what we could do about it.  Well, the answer was easy.  We simply obtained another solid copper head gasket (thanks Dave), annealed this and the original one and put both head gaskets on together.  It worked!!  Final build up, tappets adjusted, fuel tank on and the look on Derek?s face when he fired it up first kick early Wednesday evening?priceless!!  That was a treat to behold.

The remaining days were spent enjoying the organised runs and some sightseeing on both bikes, including two circuits of the TT Course.  Yes, it was a challenge, an enjoyable challenge, and the great thing was that both bikes arrived home the same way that they had set off?both ridden.