B50 Ignition timing?

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B50 Ignition timing?

Postby rmarshall » Thu Aug 26, 2004 2:27 am

A friend and I have purchased a 1972 B50. Clean bike, but only fires once on kickover - will not continue to run. It has a Boyer electronic ignition. Ignition timing may be off, but we do not know how to verify or adjust it. Does it sound like something other than ignition timing? Could someone please give us a few pointers?

Thanks,
Dick Marshall
Virginia, USA
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Postby Kommando unlogged » Thu Aug 26, 2004 10:36 pm

Have you tried a bump start, alternately don't know how experienced you are on kickstarting, the B50 requires you keep to the full drill.

Tickle Carb, with valve lifter engaged turn engine over twice with throttle closed, release valve lifter, operate kick start slowly until resistance is felt, engage valve lifter and operate kickstart slowly to just move piston over TDC, release valve lifter, allow kickstart to return to top, turn on ignition.

Now you are ready to kick bike into life with all the force you can muster, keep throttle closed until it catches and then use to keep the revs up until idle is reliable.
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Postby rmarshall » Fri Aug 27, 2004 1:10 am

Kommando: We are very experienced at kicking - just not at starting. Thanks for the info about the correct drill. A new friend has just sent us some information on the Boyer, so we will go through that and then try the correct drill. For good measure we may throw in some Eastern incantations while waving a bag of fish entrails over our heads. Wish us luck!




Kommando unlogged wrote:Have you tried a bump start, alternately don't know how experienced you are on kickstarting, the B50 requires you keep to the full drill.

Tickle Carb, with valve lifter engaged turn engine over twice with throttle closed, release valve lifter, operate kick start slowly until resistance is felt, engage valve lifter and operate kickstart slowly to just move piston over TDC, release valve lifter, allow kickstart to return to top, turn on ignition.

Now you are ready to kick bike into life with all the force you can muster, keep throttle closed until it catches and then use to keep the revs up until idle is reliable.
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Postby Andrew » Fri Aug 27, 2004 1:34 pm

sounds to me like carburation, not timing. if the timing was out, either the thing wouldn't fire at all, or it would have taken your leg off by now. The fact that its firing shows that its capable of running...

not sure what carb you're using, but try richening the pilot mixture, or even a couple of turns in on the idle screw...

the timing may still be out - but if it fires, it should run.
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Postby rmarshall » Sun Aug 29, 2004 1:09 am

YES!!!!!!!! YES!!!!!!!! YES!!!!!!!! To paraphrase Dr. Frankenstein, it is alive, alive! Kommando, Andrew, Cedric thank you, thank you. We have been working on this for a year, and had become very disheartened. I cannot tell you how elated we are. This is our happiest day in a very long time. We didn't even need the fish entrails.

The Virginia British Motorcycle Club will hold its Annual Rallye in Leesburg, Va. on October 3, and the B50 is going to be there. Right now it is covered in shop dust and lacks seat and side covers due to the ongoing work, so until it is polished and the seat and covers put back in place it is not its beautiful self. Fortunately the shop where we bought it over a year ago still shows it on its showroom web page, so if you care to look, it is the bike on the bottom left corner at
http://velocityvintage.com/bikes.html#

Again, thanks everyone for the invaluable assistance.
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Postby kommando » Sun Aug 29, 2004 9:22 am

Glad to be of help 8) , now about the Bike, BSA pissed off a few people by calling the B50 a Gold Star and now you want to piss off AJS owners by making it look like a 7R :shock: , looks good actually :lol:
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AJS look-alike

Postby rmarshall » Sun Aug 29, 2004 1:57 pm

Kommando,

This is the bike's appearance when we bought it, so we have no knowledge of its history. All the B50s we have seen here (and there aren't many) have the small alloy tank. (We also have a rather sad B44 awaiting restoration with a fiberglass or "plastic" tank.) Do you think an AJS tank has been installed in place of the original? Or maybe it is the paint job? We have no AJS bikes in this area for reference. The tank and side covers are a fairly dark green with gold striping, but though you cannot really see it in the photo, the fenders are black with gold striping. Also, does the seat look correct to you? At the very least, we need to recover it as the material has begun to split along the bottom edge.

Finally, we would like to fit it with a tachometer. This is a new desire, since engines that don't run do not need one. I have searched for the necessary hardware, but have been unsuccessful. We can find the instrument itself, I believe, but have had no luck locating the tach drive parts that go in the engine case. Any ideas?

Your starting drill is key. Once we started the engine we checked the timing with a strobe and found it was advanced a bit. However, we reset the timing at less than 5000 rpm I am sure, because we are reluctant to press it hard until we are satisfied that its innards are o.k.. If we set the timing correctly to the 5000 rpm marks, but did it at maybe 3000, does that mean that we are still too advanced at kickover? Lack of a tachometer leaves us uncertain about what we have done.

It is so exciting to know that we can now start the engine whenever we want! Though we have not looked inside the engine, it sounds very good to us, and develops prodigious quantities of torque at very relaxed speeds.
Life is good.
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Tach parts

Postby JonH » Mon Aug 30, 2004 9:36 am

"This is a new desire, since engines that don't run do not need one. " <grin> Yes, our hobby is much less expensive that way. All that oil and gas. Tach parts- British Cycle Supply, http://www.britcycle.com, (902)542-7478 has shown the parts in the catalogue. Might be worth a shot.
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Postby kommando » Tue Aug 31, 2004 9:09 am

The tank looks the right one to me, much the same shape as the alloy one but in steel and larger, the only non-original other than the colour is the Gold D decal which sparked the AJS 7R comment.

On the tacho drive, they come up regular on ebay about once every 5/6 weeks, £100 in the UK gets the full kit, US ones go for $100 so best stick to your side of the pond. The mini tacho is very common as loads were made for the Bandit which never made it into production but the drive is not. Most on ebay are the full kit, mini tacho, tach mountings and tacho drive.

Your seat looks genuine so a sew up or recover only looks in order.

The timing at 3000 should be at full advance anyway, the springs on the auto-advance weaken quite quickly so that brings the fully advanced RPM down. A check for this is to look at the timing mark as the bikes throttle is slowly opened, instead of the predicted progressive advance it will jump up over only a few 100 rpm. This is nomal and as long as it happens before 3000 rpm you have already seen your fully advanced figure. Best solution of all is a boyer, you will then not have to rely on the springs for the timing advance but electronics.
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Ignition timing and tachometer

Postby rmarshall » Tue Aug 31, 2004 2:08 pm

Kommando,

Thanks for the response. Actually, we do have the Boyer. I remember seeing a discussion someplace, possibly under a "Captain Norton" lookup, where people speculated that the electronic ignition advanced at a steady rate as engine speed increased, theoretically perhaps to infinity. Our understanding of the Boyer instructions was that the timing should be set to read correctly with the engine running at 5000 rpm. If it is true that the ignition timing does advance smoothly over the entire rev range and we mistakenly set it this way but at 3k or 4k instead of 5k, then it seems to me that we will have timed the ignition to fire a little too early at all speeds. If this is true, then kickstarting would still be more difficult than it should be (due to the slightly advanced timing). Or do I have all of this backward?

What is a mini-tacho? Is this smaller than the standard sized speedometer, or is it a matching instrument?

Sorry to be a bother. We are new to the BSA restoration and preservation world, and appreciate all the excellent help.
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Postby kommando » Tue Aug 31, 2004 8:59 pm

Checked the Boyer instructions and you are right about the revs, 3000 would give you an over advanced timing, but what made you think you were at 3000. Which leads me to

To the mini tacho, the optional kit for the B25/B50 was a 60mm dia tacho eg just over 2 inches, for the B44/B25 pre OIF the tacho was the full size one. Better to have the full size tacho if your speedo is full size but you need the later Tacho drive which suits the OIF frame better. Confused ? so am I :roll:
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Postby kommando » Tue Aug 31, 2004 9:04 pm

Just remembered, there are cheap eleactonic tachos available in the US for lawn tractors ($30?), they just feed off the HT cable, good for timing etc, just make sure you get the right one, For twins Boyers are wasted spark, if they are the same for singles (one spark per rev of crank) then get that one. You should be able to work it out by removing the plug and slowly turning engine over to check when sparks occur.
If it works then I will get one too.
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Test Tachometer

Postby rmarshall » Thu Sep 02, 2004 11:28 pm

Thanks for the test tachometer tip. I did not find many, but did turn up this one. Will probably order one if I can't find it locally. I believe the Boyer design for singles is wasted spark (one per rotation) but am not certain, and cannot get to the bike to verify for a while. If you are interested, here is the link that I found:
http://www.tinytach.com/tinytach/gasoline.php

If I find anything else interesting I will post it here.
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Re: AJS look-alike

Postby natman » Mon Sep 20, 2004 6:07 am

rmarshall wrote:Kommando,

[snip]
Finally, we would like to fit it with a tachometer. This is a new desire, since engines that don't run do not need one. I have searched for the necessary hardware, but have been unsuccessful. We can find the instrument itself, I believe, but have had no luck locating the tach drive parts that go in the engine case. Any ideas?

Your starting drill is key. Once we started the engine we checked the timing with a strobe and found it was advanced a bit. However, we reset the timing at less than 5000 rpm I am sure, because we are reluctant to press it hard until we are satisfied that its innards are o.k.. If we set the timing correctly to the 5000 rpm marks, but did it at maybe 3000, does that mean that we are still too advanced at kickover? Lack of a tachometer leaves us uncertain about what we have done.



Tach kits are commonly available on eBay. However if there was ever an engine that did NOT need a tach, it's a B50. When it stops accelerating, upshift.

There is no need to rev to 5000 rpm to set the timing. The timing will be fully advanced much earlier. If you are using a strobe, you can watch the timing advance until it no longer advances, no matter how much higher you rev it. This will occur well below 5000 rpm.
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Postby JB » Mon Sep 20, 2004 8:56 am

I tend to agree with your comments on rev counters as I've fitted one in the past to a B50 and never used it. IMHO the power characteristics of B50's are so distinctive that you know when to change gear, more use on a B25's maybe?

For strobe timing a B50 with a points set up there is no need to rev to 5,000 RPM as you say, the ignition timing is fully advanced at around 2,000 RPM.

For electronic ignitions that use a magnetic pick-up rather than an optical sensor you do need to rev to 5,000 RPM as they have a progresive linear advance curve.
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Tach availability for unit singles

Postby rmarshall » Mon Sep 20, 2004 1:55 pm

While browsing supply sources, this turned up.
http://www.britcycle.com/Products/57251TachKit.htm

It looks a bit funky (12k r.p.m.?) and clearly not a matching instrument, but probably functional. This may be the one Kommando has mentioned to us, designed for the Bandit. We just ordered it on Friday (Sep 17) so have not received it yet. I wish I had seen today's two earlier posts before ordering. Our enthusiasm may have overpowered our financial judgement. Oh well, no fool like an old fool, right? At worst, we may be able to use the drive unit and find the correct matching instrument (4:1 ratio?) and finally have the "right" setup.

I need to make myself feel better about this indulgence. Recent posts convince me that we do not need the tachometer. On the other hand, it is also true that we did not need the B50. This is a flight of passion, and though they are incomparably more important I cannot feel the same excitement about groceries. I can compensate by eating a bit "lower on the hog" for the next few weeks. Anyway, it would do me good to lose a little weight. When my time ends they may be able to plant me in a smaller box.

And if we can't get the tach to work on the B50, maybe I'll just take it with me when I go. Meanwhile, I am doing something just because it makes me feel so good. My life is now more vital and interesting to me than it has been in years. On second thought, maybe this entire venture is the best bargain I have struck in a long time, even if the damned tach doesn't work.

Thanks to you all for your indulgence.
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Postby JB » Mon Sep 20, 2004 9:08 pm

I would still fit a tacho to a B50, I think it looks a lot better with one fitted than without one. I think it adds kudos to any B50 as it was about the only factory listed extra that could be ordered for the bike from new. Its just having owned a number of old brit bikes over the years the only bike in my mind that I would say has to have a rev counter fitted is the TRI/BSA triples, indeed I don't think any them were ever sold without one fitted.

The one you have ordered has the later drive which gives the cable an easier time as the cable has to curve tightly to avoid the frame tubes. According to some of Rickards BSA factory service sheets on his excellent CD you will need to swap the speedo to the LH fork top and mount the rev counter on the RH side (I never knew this when I fitted mine so the cables never lasted very long). I would try to find a 3" magnetic rev counter to match your speedo, if you can't find the exact right one, you can always send a wrong one off and have it rebuilt to match your speedo.

Regards
JB
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To ask a stupid question?

Postby Canberra » Sun Oct 03, 2004 1:12 pm

Well it is nice to know from you guys how to start the bike and how to set up the timing with the Boyer. I have a Boyer fitted on my bike and have played around with it but what tips do you have to set the Boyer statically after rebuilding the engine so it will run effectively before you strobe it?

John
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What Timing

Postby Canberra » Tue Oct 05, 2004 1:02 pm

Well I found the Boyer information about setting up on the B50, read the instruction sometimes helps or does it? Boyers timing information for the B50 is 34 deg BTDC or 0.385" (9.78mm) which ties in with my BSA workshop manual printed May 71 and an old Chiltons manual. It does say to strobe at 5000 rpm but does that mean the accuracy of the timing is dependent on the state of accuracy of the rotor/pointer interface. My problem is the 3 phase alternator/rotor assembly came from a twin and I cannot guarantee the settings of the pointer and rotor line.

What bothers me and has done for a long while is the BSA Owners Handbook printed April 72 calls up the ignition timing at 30 deg BTDC or 0.304" (7.7mm) and Rick's homepage shows the same.

I am going to get the old timing wheel out so I can see what the alignment of the hole in the crankshaft and timing plug gives me on my engine.

Who can explain the wide difference in 30 to 34 deg BTDC.
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Timing

Postby b50root » Tue Oct 05, 2004 1:51 pm

I can :!:

I will post a service sheet (23 nov 1971).

I think it´s on my CD :tongue

I have looked now. Yes it´s on my CD.

This says that the egnition mark on the rotor is 30 degree. It should be 34 degree!!.


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Re: Timing

Postby ghislain » Tue Oct 05, 2004 2:25 pm

Hello, guys
It seems to me that 30 degrees applies to the 250/350 C 15 B 40 range.
as my 65'enduro star runs with 7;7mm...
Have a nice day, all of you.
In Monthlery (France), this last week end was exhibited a ex Mead and Tomkinson B 50 (hydraulic front drum brake), formerly owned by french racer Bernard Berger (Engine number is HE 15153).
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Postby b50ss17 » Tue Oct 05, 2004 3:41 pm

HELLO GHISLAIN
The m&t b50 has no engine number and b25ss frame (ke 00830 b25ss).I think the engine number is the b50t which was for sale at montlhery.It was a fantastic week end with 5 b50 in the place!
françois.
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Postby Mark Cook » Thu Mar 12, 2009 2:36 pm

I thought I'd wake this one up as it seems people are still having trouble starting these mopeds :!:

And I promise not to type "INTERSPAN" ;-)

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Postby Mr Mike » Fri Mar 13, 2009 2:48 am

rmarshall,
I recall being in Louisa once but can't recall just where in Virginia it is. I think I went thru there on the way to a Bluegrass festival. Your tank does not look like a B50 but it may me the paintjob tha makes it look different. It some how looks bigger. How many gallons does it hold. If you want an original B50SS tank I have one if i can find a bigger cruising tank to swap.

I have been meaning to visit Velocity but have not made it up there yet.

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Postby steve m » Fri Mar 13, 2009 8:45 am

MM,
(no, not MinetyMenace. MischievousMark) :lol:
surely you didn't have to go back 4 1/2 years to find an opportunity not to type "INTERSPAN" ;-) .
interesting though, nice looking bike, nearly standard trim - shame about the paint job. it seems the standard "big" tanks weren't popular in the U.S.

dick & friend,
have you still got it?..... is it a runner yet? :lol:(sorry. i do hope it is) i see you posted recently, so your still with us - that's gotta be a good thing, dont it?

steve

ps. forgot to mention something else that is current. i notice the sidestand is bent (like mine is). this is obviously due to the engine in frame weight bias to the left (something that happens when your b50 spends too much time on it's sidestand).
suggested fix for this is to fit a new stand and check wheel alignment ;-)
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Postby rmarshall » Fri Mar 13, 2009 3:36 pm

Hey guys!
Yes, I am still around and still enjoying the B50. Personally, I like the paint job, though it was done in the past by a previous owner. The gold "D" on the tank was hand painted, and not excellently done though you can't really see that in the photo.

You are right, it spends too much time on its side stand! The ignition spark has always looked very weak (not at all bright with a healthy "crack" about it), so we have tried reverting it to the original breaker points system. Still not as strong as we think it should be.

Another starting problem is more troubling - age (ours, not the bike's). I think the greater part of our difficulty can be found in the mirror. We are on the "senior" side and though I hate to admit it, I suspect that if some of you were to watch us attempting to kick it over you would spot the real problem right away. I suspect we just don't have enough punch.

Still, the bike is beautiful, it is ours to play with and if the best we can do is run a polish rag over it from time to time, well, there are worse ways for an old guy to end up.

Our best to all, and if we make progress I will report back to you about it. The next attempt is scheduled for next week!

Dick
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Postby b50root » Fri Mar 13, 2009 4:46 pm

Here are a link to the pic:


http://velocityvintage.com/GRFX/007bsa.jpg
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Postby rmarshall » Fri Mar 13, 2009 5:04 pm

Thanks for posting the photo link, Rickard. Incidentally, I think I recall that you have a CD concerning the B50 that people like very much. Is that still available, and if so, how do I order it?

Also, I want to express my thanks to you for creating this site and to all the "regulars" here for their generous help over recent years. I feel I am among friends.
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Postby b50root » Fri Mar 13, 2009 7:26 pm

Dont sell it more but you can download all files here:


http://b50.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=1654


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Postby Mr Mike » Sat Mar 14, 2009 3:13 am

Richard,
Starting a B50 can be troublesome. Sometimes mine is an easy starter and somtimes not so easy. I am a senior, but because your are kicking briskly on the power stroke where resistance is minimum, it doesn't take a lot of strength. The starting ritual is the key. If followed, it doesn't take a lot of effort to kick it over smartly using the compression release. The carb needs to be set up right. If the throttle stop is set too high, or the pilot air too lean, it is a bugger to start and keep running.

It's a nice bike and although BSA tried to promote is with the name of its legendary predecessor, The Goldstar, it is a very nice big single with enough stomp to run with the twins and it will out handle them with a significant weight advantage.

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Postby minetymenace » Sat Mar 14, 2009 6:23 pm

Mr Mike, that is the large tank, personaly I like the big tanks (beat, I still have a dented one if you want it). As Mark Cook is about the same age as me, I hope that when he is unable to start a B50, he will develope and electric leg.

rmarshall, tidy bike, if I was you, I'd take it with you when you go, but I'm sure you arn't that senior yet :shock:
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Postby beat » Sat Mar 14, 2009 7:22 pm

hi minety,
you know, I have the nearly perfect B50 bike !!!
the ( nearly ) only thing I am looking for is still a biger tank as the one with 6.2 liter it is fitted on.
so I am still interested on your dented one.!
a 10 ore 14 liter size in aluminium would be perfect, :!:
still reading al the coments here in the forum abouth tanks and prices and hoping to pic up a good idea for something <017
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Re: B50 Ignition timing?

Postby Gizmo » Mon Apr 06, 2009 5:21 am

RMarshall, I have just finally got my B50 Started up after 37 years in storage. I just installed the Boyer Bransden Electonic Ignition on it as well. We were getting one big bang occasionally after lots of kicking. We called the Boyer number that came with the kit and the gentleman was very knowledgable and suggested that we needed to check our carb and make sure all of the jets were clear. Of course the first thing I did was clean the carb by disssembly and dipping in carb cleaner and blowing out all orifices. Well we cleaned them again and with a good tickle (until you get fuel running down the side of the carb) and kick through three or four times with Compression release engaged we then brought it up to TDC and then engaged the Compression release to nudge the piston just barely over top center, released the compression release, and then a swift kick. Two our three kicks using this method, and it fired and kept running. Check your carb, you may not be getting sustained fuel to the cylinder.

Good Luck, :grin: Tom
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Re: B50 Ignition timing?

Postby Gizmo » Mon Apr 06, 2009 5:40 am

Nevermind, :grin: I need to check the dates on these posts before I reply. Gizmo
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Re: B50 Ignition timing?

Postby rmarshall » Mon Apr 06, 2009 3:40 pm

Gizmo,
Nothing wrong with your response timing. Our earlier progress has again disappeared. One problem we have is of our own making, we just are not able to get together often enough to get persistant results (my friend and I live nearly two hours apart, one-way). Two weeks ago we were going to attempt again, having retarded the ignition timing which mistakenly was set too advanced. Our efforts were only too brief. When we turned on the fuel tap, fuel poured out of the carburetor like it was connected to a water hose. We pulled the float bowl and found a bit of wear on the rubber tip of the float needle. We are seeking a replacement, but the leak was so fast that I suspect there are other problems.

I apologize to the forum for this now absurd trail of difficulties. Our efforts are spaced too far apart, and our personal ages have compromised our ability to kick with sufficient vigour.

I appreciate the advice forum members have given to us. To Kommando, your starting drill was extremely helpful, and at one point had us doing very well. I think the problem is not the bike, it is us. I had promised to report back here the results of our most recent work. I did not do so because I am embarrassed.

When and if we ever have good news I will post the result, and anything interesting we may have learned along the way. Again, thanks to all for your help, and to Rickard for making this outstanding forum available.
Richard
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Re: B50 Ignition timing?

Postby b50root » Mon Apr 06, 2009 7:02 pm

As promiced in 2004 here are the service sheet. :oops:

Rickard
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Re: B50 Ignition timing?

Postby rmarshall » Mon Apr 06, 2009 7:25 pm

Thanks, Rickard.
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Re: B50 Ignition timing?

Postby Gizmo » Tue Apr 07, 2009 3:24 am

Perhaps you should take it to a shop that works on older bikes and have them sort it out for you. Then when it is running you can fast forward to that day and begin having fun with the bike. I took my to a shop because I kept running out of gas trying to kick it over so much. Didn't want to have a heart attack! :grin: I'm 65 and still pretty strong but my friend at the bike shop is maybe 40 and kicks over old Harleys all of the time. Good luck to you and if you continue to work together on it keep us informed as there are some really smart and experienced folks on this forum excluding me that may just be able to help you get it going.

Best of luck to you both,

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Re: B50 Ignition timing?

Postby ghislain » Tue Apr 07, 2009 11:43 am

rmarshall wrote:Gizmo,
Nothing wrong with your response timing. Our earlier progress has again disappeared. One problem we have is of our own making, we just are not able to get together often enough to get persistant results (my friend and I live nearly two hours apart, one-way). Two weeks ago we were going to attempt again, having retarded the ignition timing which mistakenly was set too advanced. Our efforts were only too brief. When we turned on the fuel tap, fuel poured out of the carburetor like it was connected to a water hose. We pulled the float bowl and found a bit of wear on the rubber tip of the float needle. We are seeking a replacement, but the leak was so fast that I suspect there are other problems.


I have got such a provblem , with erratic ignition, and firing away from marks on the stator index ...the ignition cam had gone free : it's just stamped on its axle and stamping went away, so ignition was out of time ...
So, check this before having another essay, cause it varies so much that your engine can't decently fire ...
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