Real Classic - - Letters -

The Moto Morini Cor­saro 125 I re­built sev­eral years ago has given ster­ling ser­vice and has even been to France, con­quer­ing sev­eral moun­tain passes. It proves that a small ma­chine can do any­thing a big ma­chine can do (but slower!). Sim­i­larly, my Triumph T100 from 1955 is su­per re­li­able. Th­ese two ma­chines are my first choices in all weath­ers– un­til last week, that is, when they both let me down. Or did I let them down?

The Triumph per­formed per­fectly on the Satur­day and cov­ered over 200 trou­ble-free miles. On the Sun­day, at the start of a VMCC run with an au­di­ence, it re­fused to start when nor­mally first kick and it’s off. The prob­lem was quickly ev­i­dent: the cap of the Lu­cas mag­neto had be­come loose. A sim­ple fix then. Err, no: the threads had suc­cumbed to years of vi­bra­tion. The so­lu­tion was half a French wine cork jammed be­tween the pri­mary in­ner cover and the mag­neto cover to firmly hold it in place. It works so well it might have to be patented; just the right amount of pres­sure and easy to shape.

So the Triumph was back on the road again un­til a more per­ma­nent fix could be found. The (hope­fully) per­ma­nent so­lu­tion was a newly ma­chined mag­neto cap. This has re­vised thread di­am­e­ter to give a much bet­ter fit, and 12 flat ma­chin­ing to en­able good tight­en­ing with a cus­tom al­loy span­ner to suit. It was quite com­plex to ma­chine some­thing like this, which was pre­vi­ously a cast item.

The Morini wasn’t ex­actly straight­for­ward to fix, ei­ther. It came back from France hav­ing com­pleted many for­eign miles with­out a hitch and went into the shed for a rest over win­ter. Upon re­vival it started mis­fir­ing after about two miles and then – nowt. It had fresh petrol and the spark was there but weak (but then, it is only a fly­wheel mag). I changed the plug, re­placed the coil, HT lead and sup­pres­sor cap to get a slight im­prove­ment but still not per­fect.

I cleaned the carb and fil­ter, checked the points and auto ad­vance, and all seemed to be good. Checked the con­denser, which I re­placed last year, and that was fine. So as a last re­sort I checked the valve set­tings. This re­quired re­mov­ing the valve cover on which I have an engine earth fit­ted to one of the lo­cat­ing screws – AHA! The ca­ble, which was sol­dered on, fell off. The sol­dered fix­ing had suf­fered with vi­bra­tion from the engine and was prob­a­bly only held on with the shrinksleev­ing over it.

I con­nected a new earth with a crimped con­nec­tion. Went for a ride and it worked well up to 60mph. The Morini is a quick ma­chine for an old 125! I was al­ways sus­pi­cious of sol­der­ing – now I will crimp.

Prob­lem solv­ing on old bikes re­quires a bit of lat­eral think­ing some­times, and none of the is­sues are what ap­pear in the manual (if you even have one). It’s prob­a­bly bet­ter for the brain cells than Sudoku. In fu­ture I will keep a wine cork in my tool kit; you never know what it might be use­ful for… Stu Thom­son, mem­ber 2256

If you need any help emp­ty­ing a few wine bot­tles so you can have the corks, just say… FrankW

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