1931 Royal Enfield Sloper GL Wednesday January 1, 2003 12:28
from: Jeff Meehan [firstname.lastname@example.org]
I have just started to restore a 1931 (?) 350 model Gl 'Sloper'.
I have attached a picture of it 'dry build' with most of the parts I aquired. The frame and metalwork were in fairly poor order so my first priority was to stop the rot. I have de-rusted and primed most of the bits before assembly.
I found a similar bike in Germany and fortunately this machine had the parts that I needed and by happy coincedence I had the bits lacking for that bike. Parcels of components have passed between us and now that all the major parts have been made I can start the full restoration.
If you would like me to give a more detailed account or a series of progress reports during the restoration I would be happy to provide them.
Many thanks for such an interesting and useful site, I hope to use it a lot in the coming months.
Send: Wednesday januari 8 2003 11:28
Attached are two pictures of the engine after it's initial strip, clean and assembly to assess the work required. When I bought the bike the previous owner assured me that no work was required on the engine because it had 'just been completely re-built'. However I am never very confident of other peoples ability and just as important was the fact that I wanted the bike to be restored to a standard that will make riding a pleasure so a complete strip down was essential.
Lifting the cylinder head revealed a pristine looking piston with no carbon so it did look as though the engine had not been run since it's re-build. This was to prove fortuitous as taking off the barrel revealed there were no circlips fitted ! There was what looked like a new little end bush but removing the piston revealed that the oilway had not been drilled out. I was now dubious as to what else I might find and this concern was justified when inspection of the flywheels found that the screw in the sludge trap had been drilled out with a very small hole. I know that many people attempted to 'improve' the oiling methods on bikes but I doubt very much that this modification would have helped the oil supply to the big end and I have now replaced the screw.
I started a thorough examination of the other parts I had removed and found that the drain hole which allows oil from the timing chest to get back into the cambox had been blocked with a piece of 4BA brass stud. I can see no logical reason for this as it would only have meant that the timing chain might have run in oil but it would also mean that what oil that did not escape from the joint faces would have ended up it the magneto.
That's it for now. I will be starting today on the clutch and gearbox so another report next week.
Send: zaterdag 18 januari 2003 9:35
Following is this week's progress report. I have been using the Royal Enfield site and web ring to try and find information about the bike but so far I have not had any success. Do you have any information particularly on the three speed Sturmey Archer gearbox?
The main object of this weeks tasks were to strip and clean the gearbox and clutch to make two lists, one of the work required and the other the parts needed. Unfortunately the net results of my efforts has been to add to both lists!
The major problem was posed by the clutch main shaft nut which had either been seriously over-tightened or fixed with some locking adhesive that over the last thirty years since the bike has been used had set solid, effectively welding the nut to the shaft. I had used all the normal methods of soaking in release oil, applying heat and trying to shock the spanner instead of steady pressure but the nut would not budge. I graduated up from my normal socket set ratchet handle to a breaker bar and finally my really large torque wrench in order to increase the effort. My reward was to shear off the clutch center studs I was using to lock the clutch inner. I then had to sacrifice a clutch plate to make up a tool to lock the clutch, photo 1 shows the result.
It may not have been very pretty but at least it was successful, as I increased the leverage in proportion to my growing frustration I was rewarded with a very satisfying crack as the nut finally releases it's grip. Removal of the clutch now gave access to the gearbox sprocket and the fact that the retaining washer on the sleeve gear nut did not have it's locking screw made me dubious as to what I might find in the gearbox internals.
Surprisingly apart from a massive amount of play in the sleeve gear bearing all the rest of the components were it quite good order (after releasing them from the thirty year old grease) and apart from the two RLS5 shaft bearings which would obviously be replaced were all still useable. The puzzle was, how to remove the play from the two back to back cup and cone ball bearings which support the sleeve gear sprocket. I eventually removed the housing from the gearbox shell and as measuring the individual balls had proved that they had only a minimal amount of wear I decide to take the whole assembly to Culo Dorso Engineering for some expert advice. For those unfamiliar with the English sense of humor Culo Dorso translates from the Italian as Bear's Arse and is normally associated with the phrase "as rough as a ..." A further clue to the mind of the owner of Culo Dorso is the motto on his letterhead 'Near Enough Is Good Enough'
It was decided that the only way in which the bearings could be adjusted was to machine some clearance between the cones but it was only when the cone was in the lathe being measured that it's secret was revealed and the shims fitted originally by Sturmey Archer detached from the cone!
With forty thou of shims removed and the bearing re-assembled it now seems fine. I have loosely put back together the gearbox as shown in photo 2, it has a neutral and first gear but both second and top seem to both be direct drive so further investigations are still required.
Send: Saturday 25 January 2003 10:27
There has, this week, been only small steps forward with the bike but I have still made some progress. I have sent for manufacture samples of the reduced hexagon nuts favoured by Royal Enfield and where appropriate I have specified stainless steel. These nuts with their smaller outside diameter add a lot to the neatness of the machine. Also being made are the special fixings for the detachable rear mudguard which show the original attention to detail and well illustrate the makers motto 'Made like a gun'.
I have thoroughly cleaned and loosely re-assembled the clutch and it is ready for the replacement studs from Culo Dorso.
The failure of the magneto was, according to the previous owner, the main reason that the bike was taken off the road in the first place but a preliminary inspection showed that all the parts were there and although the unit was too weak to produce a spark there was still sufficient life present to give a reading on my meter. I have sent the unit off for a complete rebuild and this will hopefully (to give me the time to raise the money!) take several weeks.
I have also made a start on the painting, I decided that this machine would be a bit different than the others in my collection - black frame mudguards and forks, where only the tanks provide any colour - and I have opted for a very period looking shade of maroon. Because I will be using two pack paint I will be putting on an undercoat of black to add to the depth of the maroon and this plus the primer and laquer will add quite a thickness of paint. As the magneto platform sits astride the engine plates this extra thickness would have affected the fit so I have taken all the old paint off these items with a power wire brush and started to repaint from bright metal.
The two attached photos show the re-assembled clutch and the main frame after three coats of primer and vigorous rubbing down. As you can see there is still a lot of work required on the frame as it and all the other metal work was in a very poor condition. However it is satisfying work and knowing that the final coat of paint will only be as good as all the preparation it is not something that can be rushed.
Send: Saturday 8 February 2003
Unfortunately there has not been too much progress on the Sloper this week. Primarily this is because I have had to split my efforts between the Royal Enfield and a 1930 ES2 Norton which is another of my projects. The work on the Norton was held up waiting for a set of control cables but when they arrived last weekend I decided to concentrate my efforts on getting that bike up to a 'ready to start the engine' position. This simple sounding exercise has taken a lot longer than expected with several setbacks having to be overcome and all bar one of the cables needing some modification before a satisfactory arrangement was achieved.
A preliminary attempt at starting the Norton has been made but in the time taken since assembly all the oil has (predictably) passed through the pump and filled the sump creating too much drag for a quick enough spinning of the engine to give any chance of a start. So the first job today is to drain the sump and try and cure some of the petrol leaks at the carburetor before resuming work on the Sloper.
The set of clutch studs for the Sloper have now been made by Culo Dorso and hopefully I will get time over the weekend to go and collect them. I have had great difficulty trying to buy the main bearing rollers of the correct length as used by Royal Enfield and have had to resort to buying a bag of standard 1/4" rollers and taking twentyfour of them to have 40 thou taken of the length and they will not be ready until the middle of next week.
I did eventually receive the two books relative to the Sturmey Archer gearbox from Elk Engineering and it proved quite interesting. It appears that the gearbox fitted to my machine is a transitional model in that it has the later Type 111 outer shell but still retains the double cup and cone bearings on the sleeve gear as fitted to the earlier L.S. type for chain-cum-belt drive models. This would tie in correctly with the log book details which give the first registration date as 16th May 1931 but suggest that the bike is actually a 1930 model.
A further drawback to making much progress this week has been the sudden failure of my spray gun. Most of the frame components are now the recipients of several coats of primer and are ready for the undercoat but I would like to finish all the priming before I change over to undercoat. The failure of the spray gun should only be a temporary hold up on the job because if I can not identify the problem quickly I will bring my old spray gun out of retirement so that work can continue.