My first 500! Yes sir, inspite of years of Enfieldly Ecstasy, I never had one. 500s were few and far between in Delhi back then.
Saw this months ago on David Blasco's excellent blog. The seller had a rather humorous and frank description of it's ugliness, need of frequent tinkering, unpredictable gearbox and unconventional method of exhaust pipe fitment- via a spring welded to the pipe, hooked to a bolt in a hole drilled into the cylinder head fins. Ouch. It came up for sale right here in Columbus, a couple of weeks after I drove to Jersey to pick up the wrecked 500. Sigh... life's like that. I went and took a look, found the price to be a rather high for the shape it was in and decided to sadly walk away. It also had almost no compression.
Recently, I began to get second thoughts about registration issues and complications due to the salvage title of the wrecked 500 and remembered the ratty one in town. Discovered it was still unsold, made offer, was accepted. Thanks Nick! Your ex-bike is going to become really cool soon.
Went to pick it up, it was started up and ran, the deal was done. I'd brought wrenches to set the tappets so I pop the cover off and sure enough, the exhaust tappet is waaay too tight! As in the valve couldn't be closing at all! I began to fret, wondering about burnt valves. I adjusted the pushrod till it spun free, kicked it over and...still no compression at all!
Well, that was all I could do. Surprisingly, it would start and run but didn't like to idle, so I kept the revs up just enough and got on my way home. It didn't feel like it had much go, not surprising. This was also the first time I tried the USA left side shift on the old style gearbox.
In short, gears were swapped with the greatest reluctance, much missing and frustration. All you guys with the left side shift, I admire your patience! I DO have a couple of ideas on a right side conversion which I intend to try out.
The front brake grabbed furiously and almost made me skid. This made me extremely partial to the rear brake which, being on the right, made it rather fraught to use the neutral finder, which was unfortunate, because the bugger refused to shift!
Miraculously, I made it home, feeling a certain lack of love.
But, all it took was a day and all that old Enfield Effection rushed back in gushing globs.
Took the head off. Ummmm, TRIED to take the head off.
All studs and nuts off, much urgent tapping with a mallet under the intake and exhaust areas (not near the fins!), but it wouldn't budge. In the end, what worked was a 7 ft long two-by-four wedged under the back of the head (intake port), fulcrum was the top of the timing cover and I jumped up and down with it and it finally came loose, after ANOTHER member was used in the front in a similar fashion!
I found out soon enough and it was all down to a minor detail in the long cylinder nuts.
The BOTTOM edge of the long nuts had been chamfered on the circumference, which gave them a rather narrow contact area and a sort of 'conical' form at the bottom. Tiny, mind you, but conical, tapered. Very good at burrowing INTO the washers, which due to over enthusiastic tightening, expanded and spread out! And became very tightly locked onto the studs because the hole in the washers was now mashed SMALLER than the threaded portion of the studs!
We must remember that it really isn't necessary to bend our wrenches trying to tighten those suckers! Just remember to lightly face your head's mating surface by carefully moving it back and forth on a piece of sandpaper taped down to a piece of glass (150-220 grit will do). The glass will ensure perfect flatness.
I saw the bore was absolutely clean, no signs of seizure. I suspected the valves and did the old quick trick- pour some solvent into the ports and see if it trickles past the valves. And behold! The exhaust valve let it all flow through without even a feeble attempt at holding it in! The bike was running with an exhaust valve that had NO SEAL!
I took the head to the shop and had the valves out in a jiffy and saw the valve rim was COVERED with dings and pits and was very uneven! Being allowed to run for thousands of miles probably without a tappet adjustment had taken its toll! Fortunately, there was no bluing or discoloration.
So extreme was my emotion at this discovery that I must recall the Dead Parrot Sketch.
This was an ex-exhaust valve!
It had ceased to seal!
It was an extinct exhaust valve!
It had kicked the tappet!
Actually, not so much, about half an hour later... I popped it on the lathe, skimmed about 10 thou. off the mating surface which cleaned it up, skimmed another few thou. off the circumference to thicken the edge back to spec. You can reface a valve as long as you don't get close to a knife-edge around the circumference. Assembled the whole thing, popped everything back on and kicked her over.
AAAAAAAH. The satisfaction of 500cc of air-fuel mixture resisting my boot with every molecule was immediately apparent.
She fired up first kick and idled with that steady, unstoppable beat of a motor happy to be back to normal after a painful life.
The gear shift mechanism was found to be out of adjustment, that was taken care of in a jiffy and then off I went for a ride. Much better! Had some go to it, sounded great and shifted better.
But that left side shifter has to go.