The TY lives again!

The mystery electrical problem goes on its summer hols

Weeks of head scratching have taken place while the TY gathers dust. Consultation with an expert in the field of jun- er, classic bikes and a bit of
diagnostic work revealed a distinct lack of spark.

A vote of the TY owners’ syndicate resulted in a resolution to get hold of a flywheel puller. JK Hirst supplied a new condenser, coil and HT lead (on the basis that they were cheap), which finally arrived after a couple weeks’ delay – neatly timed to coincide with Nick’s return from sunny Bloomfontein.

First on the list were the TY’s forks, never its strong point, which had developed a very distinct leak on the right-hand side after the first sessions of abuse around the farm. Draining the left hand fork produced a mucky black mixture. This seemed fairly unpleasant until the right fork was tapped, producing a copious rust-brown effluent.

After much struggle, the forks were disassembled, degreased, cleaned and covered (intentionally and unintentionally) in oils of many weights. We even managed to get them back together again, and in the right order. 15w fork oil and some new fork seals got some additional protection from tasteful black fork gaiters. At the very least, the oil should stay inside the gaiters and not run down into the front brake! We also made the saluotry discovery that our mudguard was not bent, but rather whichever previous owner put the front wheel back on last had put the spacers on incorrectly. So now the TY has a front wheel in line with the rest of the bike, putting an end to its budding career as a Daytona 1200 impersonator.

With the easy bit done, we settled down with our flywheel puller and an assortment of old TY workshop manuals to diagnose the mystery electrical problem. Which is to say, Nick sat down, while I stood and kicked. Initial analysis suggested that the condenser was toast, making the replacement an inspired purchase. After struggles with solder and knives, however, no improvement was evident at the plug. The coil and lead were changed, again producing no improvement. In desperation, the magneto’s coils were removed, cleaned, inspected and replaced. A desultory kick was attempted, eliciting (to our surprise) as healthy a spark as 6v electrics were ever likely to produce. After the usual ceremonial dousing of the crankcase with premix and swearing, the TY fired first kick and was soon thrumming away happily to itself.

A short test ride and some mild leaping from highish things showed substantially improved damping from the forks. Whatever magic had been worked by Nick on the electrics produced substantially improved tickover and bottom-end response, and turns became tighter and wheelies easier than ever. We’re both looking forward to actually getting the TY in a trial!

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