A quick rebuild

The Husqvarna 360 Automatic was complete but looking a bit tatty in particular the rusty frame and swingarm. Never a better way to go through the bike than with a complete strip down.

Ready to strip

The plastics have obviously been in the sun and though had lost some sheen they are in good condition and very much race useable. One of the rubber mounts to the airbox was perished and broke off. Exhaust was in good shape, but a bit heavy, probably due to the US requirement spark arrestor.

Not the best bolt

Drained the oil before removing the engine, but kept the oil in a clean jug as hadn’t quire decided what oil I’d need. (more on this later). One really knackered bolt holding the sprocket cover but wih subtle use of the impact driver managed to get it out.

Spent the last 90 minutes of work on day 1 doing the messy job of prepping the frame and parts for painting. Shot blasting takes time and I’ve a cabinet for the small pieces, but usually get good results on a frame with a small thumb sander. It takes a while and cleaning off the rust and marks doesn’t usually take too long. Then rub down the frame with some meths to remove any grease.

Progress

Brake plates and shoes were fairly worn but cleaned up okay. The tyres looked period from the 70’s (Baumn MX tyres) and were perished but given the way the inner tubes disintegrated on site, amazing they still held air. Didn’t have to get the angle grinder to them, but changing them to some new rubber (Michelin S12 130/90 18 on the rear and Metzeler on the front) was the longest part of the job. Cold mornings don’t help as ,means stiff tyres and need to get the heater on them.

Not the biggest engine

Paul had spayed a frame with Silver Wheel paint and though the original frame is a more bronze / silver in colour I went for something effective and cheap. Not powder coated a frame since the SWM Jumbo restoration many moons ago, as always concerned about the way it chips. If I was doing a restoration for the front room on something then might consider it. The recent 1970 Husky acquisition has been powder coated and its true it does provide a professional looking depth to the paint, so maybe something to consider for the future.

Broken rear axle adjuster bolt

Paint when on during the morning whilst working I could nip out and spend 10-15 minutes applying a coat of paint and in the end put 4 layers on the frame, swingarm and other components.

Sunny lunchtime spraying

I’d acquired some Fox rear shocks for £80 at Telford and look nice and period, even though they won’t be as good as modern ones, like the YSS items, but expedience over expense on this project. They look good on the bike, who’s age is right at the start of the extremely laid down shock period.

Rebuild break to cut the lawn

Used the glue gun on the carb to aribox rubber for now, but it ideally needs a replacement which I’ll seek out from Jef Bens, along with some new break pads. I changed the bars to a spare set of Desert Bend Renthals that I’d save from another bike I’d sold somewhere.

Slightly knackered tube

The electronic ignition was functioning and I limited myself to checking the cables. I do need to rig up the kill switch as this wasn’t working. Given you cannot stall the bike in gear something to stop the engine running will be pretty handy.

Fox shocks

It has a loose sounding piston and isn’t far away from a rebore and next size piston I would think, but again expedience pays and there is compression and it runs and starts. So for now will stay as it is, though may take the head off and measure the cylinder bore and piston to see where we are in the evolutionary cycle of the engine.

Helicoil fit

Need some grips and a better throttle and she’ll be ready to go. Currently targeting the Narberth Hare and Hounds on 4/April, as the bike has an enduro tank will be excellent if it is wet and muddy.

Day 3 evening

Garage of dreams

Replacement parts list:
– carb inlet rubber
– grips
– brake shoes, front and rear 25mm pads
– fork seals
– front sprocket, 11 tooth, serviceable but replacement not far away.
– clutch cable; is okay but the adjuster on the bar lever is broken
– new tyres (Michelin S12 130/90 18 rear, Metzeler 90/90 21 front

Now 540 and running

I acquired the 2nd engine for the TT500 a while ago and the engine was rebuilt by Roger over 12 months . It’s then sat on the bench in my garage since June last year, waiting for an opportunity to get it into the bike.

The original bike had run well on the points ignition, but the spare engine’s ignition was rotten with plenty of water ingress. I’d bitten the bullet and ordered a Power Dynamo ignition unit having had some good results with a previous unit ordered for the Husqvarna Sportsman a couple of years ago. .

PowerDynamo Ignition

The new engine is also a 1T1 but has a Wiseco 4mm oversize piston, to take it to 540cc. The cams is original (something like a White Brothers cam would be nice) and the crank and conrod were good so have not been replaced, for now.

The oil feed pipes to the head has been replaced with the upgraded Kedo item , which seems like a very good idea and a weak part of the original design.

Kedo Oil Feed Pipe

The decompressor worked initially, but after the initial start, you have ease the piston over TDC before giving the bike a good wollop on the kickstart. The compression has been increased from 9:1 to 11:1. The engine sounds good and runs sweetly, and picks up nicely. Full testing needed on the track but all seems good.

Yamaha TT540

For a final flourish the front mudguard was changed as the later 1979 item was a bit big and flapped around a lot when the going was muddy.

Extreme Troubleshooting : a more complex exmaple of getting a two stroke engine to run

A simple job

After picking up the bike at the Telford show, on a Sunday I started to prep the bike, including putting oil in the crankcase and the forks. Also noticed the the stator wasn’t wire to the ignition coil and only one connector was present. Motoplat electronic ignition is a standard replacement for early 4 speed motocross Huskys, as they became standard in the early 90’s. Also took a look at the Bing 54 carb, which was of a type which wasn’t OEM to the Husky and like the Mikuni mods you see needed a rubber joiner to the inlet manifold.

Looks great, but not running

Statement 1 : You need a spark

Statement 2 : You need fuel

Fitted a connector to stator wires and put some fuel in the tank. Got a spark and got fuel in the carb, time to kick if over. Quite a few kicks and a quick push and attempted bump down this hill and nothing. Check the plug and it was wet, so fuel getting to the cylinder. In debugging bikes you then move to statement 3

Statement 3 : You need spark and fuel at the right time

So next step was to check the ignition time. There are a number of types of Motoplat ignitions found on Husqvarna’s but common for the 4-speed model with the smaller crankshaft is one with internal stator and external rotor. To set the ignition time it couldn’t be simpler. Set the bike to Top Dead Centre (TDC) and then line up the flywheel / rotor with the stator via the small holes and a pin (opened up split pin in this case). One thing of note, is that the crankshaft has a woodruff key and the rotor lines up with this, so you need to move the stator around to get it in place. As with many Femsa conversions, they’ve made up a back plate, which ensures that the stator is in approximately the right position and the original adjustment slots can then be used to line up the rotor.

Now in some cases (and I have this on the Bolt Up Husky, the woodruff key location for the original Femsa rotor is completely different to the one for the Motoplat rotor, that as setting up an aftermarket ignition like PVL or PowerDynamo you have to ditch the woodruff key completely.

Set up the ignition as per the Clymer Manual, that is the holes lining up on TDC. Fellow bike and shed enthusiast Paul then comes up in the evening and checks through what I’ve done and kicks it over. We agree that this is down to timing and there is the odd kickback and puff of smoke from the exhaust and that it must be out. Paul also rightly pointed out that for most Motoplat set-ups, like with KTMs and Gori’s the holes are lined up at the point of firing, which for a 250cc is usually 2mm Before Top Dead Centre (BTDC).

Sunday

So Sunday evening was consumed by timing adjustment by Paul and myself and quite a few kicks of the kickstarter and a couple pushes down the hill. Still fueling (wet plug) and still a really nice spark. I’d had a problem with a Montesa 123 a few years ago, see the article , which was another bike where I had fuel and a spark but it didn’t run. This came down to plug gap and rating. Some gapping (0.70mm) and swapping of Bosch and NGK plugs took place. Still nothing so Sunday night ended with a couple of beers (the excellent Blanche de Bruxelles).

The CR250 ready for further inspection

Monday

During work on Monday was thinking about next steps and one obvious course was to take a carb and ignition system off a running bike. So by the time Paul came round the garage in the evening, I’d swapped the ignition from the Bolt Up Husky (which had the same crank) and taken a relatively new Bing 54 from another bike, also with working provenance. This did involve changing the inlet manifold because of the rubber fitment. About an hour timing changes, checking plugs and fueling with the new components still nothing from the bike. So, off the came and we decided to go back to the carb and ignition from the bike, so why I put them back on the donor’s Paul started going through the Bing 54. This wasn’t one normally fitted to Huskys, but reckoned to be from a Sachs or KTM as it an open choke slot on the slide. Some another 54 was found from the extensive Bing carb collection, with float height and jetting (185 main, 45 pilot) changed to meet known working type. Ignition was set back to the initial TDC mark before another round of kicking was done. Further adjustment of timing, all the while with spark and fuel, with copious amounts of bike kicking. Another fruitless evening and adjourned for a beer or two, with Hopus and Jupiler being the choices. This was well earned after 6+ push start attempts down the hill, with the engine trying to cut it, but where it seemed to be choked up.

Tuesday

Spent a day working with a lunch break to finish the Yamaha TT500 after getting it running over the weekend and hit the garage again at 5.30pm. First job was a modification to the back plate to give it some extra holes so we could try some different timing positions. With the alignment right on TDC, and with a wet surface on the road decided to push the bike up to the pub car park before launching Paul down Eddie-the-Eagle style. Still needed me to push, we resulted in my emergency stop into the wall and the bike still spluttering and not starting correctly.

Ready to rumble

Next thought was to check the earth on the coil as the frame had recently been powder coated. Though it was sparking, it might be weak or failing under load, so stripped off some of the powder coat to get a better earth. Also turned the bike upside down to ensure there was no additional petrol in the crankcases, which there wasn’t. Time for a cup of tea and some further discussion. Though the bike was sparking whilst in the kitchen waiting for the kettle to boil thought I’d check some forums/pages on similar issues. I came across this thread on a failing Motoplat : and with tea and biscuits in hand return to the shed. Running the tests on the coil showed it was operating in tolerance (20-30 Ohms between black and blue and ~200 ohms between blue and the frame, earth). However noticed there were a couple of small colour marks on the coil, and that the blue and black cables from the stator were swapped. The coil has a 6mm and a 10mm male spade connection, but as the stator wires didn’t have the original connectors, then they might be wrong.

Motoplat Ignition
A swap of the cables and another kicking session. Nothing, but a quick squirt from Paul of the evil that is EasyStart into the carb and some response. Next kick the bike fired up. A quick dark run up the lane and seems like the bike is 99% right. Complete failure to success in about 15 minutes.

Retired to the house for a Westmalle Trippel, a worthy beer with which to celebrate success.

Lessons Learnt

Never trust an ignition
I’d installed the PowerDynamo ignition on the TT500 over the weekend as well and up and running first time. The big thing that threw us was the we had a spark, even though the coil was connected to the stator incorrectly. Also, swapping the complete unit from the other Husky also failed to get the bike running, including using the new carb. That was wired correctly, but maybe didn’t spend long enough on it.

It’s usually something you’ve done
Rather than part failure it’s usually how these have been together that is the problem if its not obvious. There are exceptions but as a general rule of thumb you can usually be sure that this is a factor.

Methodical
Whether it’s computer systems, or 2 stroke engines, you need to be systematic in your approach. This potentially needs to start as you are building or rebuilding, not just when you are searching for the problem. Checking the connectivity of the stator cables rather than going with the connector that was present and trusting a spark seems great in hindsight but not something you always do. When you make a change you need to repeat the test and starting process you would do normally. Trying to kick the bike over 5-6 times might not be enough, as experience with other 4-speeders is that there is a specific starting sequence depending if you have the side-float or centre-float Bing carbs [[Side floats you tap the tickle 4-5 times and turn the fuel off, don’t flood completely, and then 3-4 kicks and it starts, Bing 54’s need flooding, turn the fuel off and then a few kicks before the kickback takes off your ankle. It will fire next kick.]] .

Teamwork

Always easier to have more than one brain looking at the problem as collectively Paul and I looked at the issues with different points of views. Sometimes you disagree but also you can work through ideas before you dive into a fix. Also there is an element of competition as you both try to be the person looking to solve the problem. Paul’s offer of buying the bike for £500 about an hour before we found the issue was becoming increasingly attractive but also an incentive to finding the problem.

Tea and biscuits

No coincidence that the eureka moment came whilst I was making the tea.

Statement 4 : Always take the time out to put the kettle on.

Many thanks to Paul for his assistance, but it has renewed my faith in the garage / shed as a place for men (and women) to embark on journeys of inner discovery. And swearing.

Classic Dirt Bike Show Telford 2016

Classic MX Wales managed to get another stand for the Telford Show, and was a bit better organised than in previous years, with 5 solos and a sidecar outfit on the stand, as well as literature to give out and some photo boards. Though it felt like numbers were down on previous years, as the halls felt less packed, not sure that this was the case and it might have been the layout that gave it that feel. A lot of familiar faces came past the stand with a general enthusiasm for the season ahead, as well as number of people who fancied riding classic motocross for the upcoming season. By the end of the weekend, the stand looked well used, and an additional 4 bikes were there after various purchases that took place.

Classic MX Wales @ Telford

I picked up a Husqvarna 360 Automatic from 1976, from carpark at 09h00 on Saturday morning, as well as 1970 250 4-speeder that Paul Prosser located during the Sunday afternoon. A very rapid visit to the cashpoint machines of the nearby shopping centre ensured I had the necessary the funds for the unplanned second purchase. Ben Weaver picked up a nice 1974 380 Bultaco, and his brother Sam acquired another Maico, a 1977 400, for the Weaver collection. Brian Bodfish bought a hydralic bike lift, which ended up heading back to Wales in my van/trailer along with a couple of tons of other items on Sunday.

It was my first year not outside with the Autojumble, but a visit around 09h00 seemed to indicate that it was pretty popular, though the number of stalls still seems to be declining steadily. Kevin, Giant, Mark and others from Tredegar kept up the tradition, though AFAIK, Mark’s good value DT failed to sell, as did many of bikes. There was a nicely priced 1982 420 Husky still unsold on the Sunday, as well as a 1976 250, which was a bit more money. Bing 54 carbs didn’t seem too popular and managed to pick up a couple of 5 pounds each. As per previous years, pricing generally was on the high side, with £9000 Twinport CZs and a £12000 CCM catching the eye. As a rule of thumb £1000 will get you a project pre74 or Twinshock, with circa £2500 getting you a race ready bike, though more for the desirable models. The psychology of buying/selling at Telford is covered in another article, except to say there are deals to be done, but you need to be the educated buyer, and pretty quick.

Tidy DT175 project anyone ?

I’d not been on the Sunday before and true to say whilst it is quieter, there are some deals to be done on bikes that might have not made their higher asking price on the Sunday (the 1970 Husky being one of those). A bit more space and time gives you a chance to visit the vendors at leisure and maybe pick up a few bargins missed on the whirlwind travese of the jumble on the Saturday morning, as you look to beat the Belgians to the bargins.

Staying up for the weekend also meant you could enjoy the delights of the Wetherspoons in Wellington (close to the Travelodge) and of Telford (near to the Premir Inn and Park Inn) as well as getting you stomach around the surperb breakfast at the nearby Boxwood Cafe. Not a lot of gossip, but AFAIK noone got the tape measures out for bike suspensions, which avoid the controversy of the previous year. Coming off a busy work week, wasn’t really in the most refreshed mood for Telford but managed to struggle through and really enjoyed the weekend, which flew by. Though some will rightly argue that it’s not what it was, it is still a worthwhile show for the classic MX or trials enthusiast. As the Belgium contingent will testify, there is no other show like it in Benelux, though some of the larger autojumbles like at Novegro in Milan will be a better place for Italian exotica.

Twist and go !

Though the Husky collection has continued to grow, this is something a bit different. Picked it up in the car park at Telford from Richard, who along with his son James run RJP Motorcycles in Oxfordshire. Like the other importers they have some good stock, but based on the pictures seen and bike purchased it tends to be of good quality. Had a choice of 2 360 Autos and plumped for this one as although the frame was rusty it hadn’t been buggered around with as the other, which had a rear brake lever placed on the bars. Husqvarna made Automatics from 1976 through to 1982 having responded to a request from the Swedish army to develop a bike that could be ridden by a new recruit within a week.

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They use a centrifugal clutch with 4 speeds selected automatically, so it is really twist and go. Not intending to strip the bike straight away so details on its operation will (hopefully) remain obscure for a while. Operation is relatively straightforward, with a centre-of-the-bars mounted clutch lever being engaged for kickstarting and when the engine is warmed up, it can released. Forward motion is obtain by simply twisting the throttle, with drive disengaged when the throttle is shut off. This means there is no engine braking, which might mean that you will be a little hot into the corners on some occasions.

The bike fired up 3rd kick, which was bit unfortunate as this was in the hall at Telford as we were clearing up on the Sunday. A significant shock was obtained from kill switch and it was stopped by removing the plug lead. Fired up back in Wales and it started easily again (it has a Mikuni carb conversion, probably a period modification) and a couple of minutes, I let the clutch out and twisted the throttle to be pleasantly surprised by solid forward motion. A quick test up the lane proved that the higher gears were engaged and that I could look forward to a more solid test in a field somewhere. A bit of a top end rattle, so the bore is probably a bit worn, but still good enough for a race or two I would think. The only problem with the bike is that it looks a bit tatty so a strip down to paint the frame before racing would be worthwhile.

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Looking forward to getting this out for a spin and the Gentle One Enduro run by the Narberth Club on the 4th April might be a good place to try it out.

Race ready 1970 4-speed Husqvarna

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A later Hallman framed bike, which whilst not that ‘original’ in looks is very much race ready and has been very well prepared.

– later Bing 54 carb with larger carb inlet and airfilter (earlier Bolt-ups have a slightly smaller airbox)
– some nicely made shocks
– plastic (racing) mudguards
– later fuel tank (from 75 and later machines)
– generally well put together with new bolts and lock nuts
– original mudcatcher rims (similar to early Yamaha’s) aren’t perfect but good.

One of the things you learn over time is that the ‘project’ bike bought for the lowest possible price is something of a false economy. Lets say (and these are conservative prices)
– set of tyres (£80)
– upgraded or new carb (£200)
– plastics (£75)
– racing / replacement tank ( £50-100, after a good autojumble hunt)
– wheel rebuilds (£150-300, depending on rims or not)
– engine rebuild (£100 – 300, depending on the state of the piston)

If you’ve a knackered crank etc, then it gets worse. So any project bike might take somewhere £300 – £1000 to get race ready. Depends on what you want at the end of it.

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The good news with this bike, is that it came with 8 crates of spares, which was a nice surprise. Ready to race and with parts to hopefully keep it running for the whole season (or until 2019 if I’m being optimistic)