1968 B44 Victor Special re-commission

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KiwiB44
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1968 B44 Victor Special re-commission

Post by KiwiB44 »

I bought this as a “runner” but no battery so could not start it, seller said it jumped out if first and he had bought it over 15 years ago but it was so hard to start he hardly ran it.

I decided to strip the top end, gearbox, oil pump, and primary before getting it going.
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1968 BSA B44 Victor Special
1949 BSA B31 Rigid
1956 BSA A10 S/A
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Re: 1968 B44 Victor Special re-commission

Post by KiwiB44 »

Oil pump was really stiff due to corrosion under the gears but it eventually freed off after fettling the gears and washers with wet and dry paper. I bought two used gearbox gears (2nd gear) from a supplier in aussie (dogs were very worn) after getting no luck with a uk supplier. The used gears are not great but better than what was in the box.

The bore piston and rings were fine and on plus 010, big end ok as well with no detectable clearance.

The rocket box needed a sleeve installed by my machinist guy for the de-comp lever, the push rods were over length (now corrected) so the de-comp could not work which may explain the PO starting issues.

The bike came with a spare NOS cyl head (installed head had a broken fin) and new valves were installed in that after the guides were reamed to size by my machinest. The NOS head came complete with 50 year old swarf in the oil drain oils!

I bought new timing cover oil seals and am putting the engine back together. New cables, gaitors and final drive sprockets have been bought, plus case screws to replace the allen ones, and “oddie” clips for the toolbox (bodged on with bolts by. PO), I have not heard of oddie clips before ......I wanted posi CEI case screws but slotted got delivered by the supplier, but I will use them for now. New clutch plates were needed as well.
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Last edited by KiwiB44 on Sat Mar 20, 2021 12:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
1968 BSA B44 Victor Special
1949 BSA B31 Rigid
1956 BSA A10 S/A
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Re: 1968 B44 Victor Special re-commission

Post by KiwiB44 »

After reading about having to take the engine out to remove the top end I found it was a matter of mm clearance preventing the rocker box coming out with the engine in situ, so I removed the engine. When re-installing the engine I found I could trim a couple of rocker box studs and re-install the head and rocker box after putting the bottom end back in.

It took a couple of hours to work out which two studs needed trimming, also the head steady needed the corners ground off to sit flat on the box and enable the washers that were underneath it to be omitted and one of the 5/16 studs holding it on to be shortened. I didn’t want to use bolts instead of studs on the rocker box as is done by some owners. I wonder if BSA meant the rocker box to be removable in situ but didn’t get the stud lengths quite right, because it is doable, on my bike at least.
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1968 BSA B44 Victor Special
1949 BSA B31 Rigid
1956 BSA A10 S/A
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Re: 1968 B44 Victor Special re-commission

Post by KiwiB44 »

The seller said the engine wet sumped badly, quite right as I found it had over a litre of oil in the crankcase, the issue I think was a piece of rubber in the the non return valve in the case causing it it not to work, I think this may have come from the crankshaft end feed oil seal which was “munted” and had an effective I.D. 1/16” greater than the crank, I hope the big end is ok despite getting a reduced oil supply......

Looking at the paperwork that came with the bike the speedo read 0 miles when it was registered in NZ circa 35 years ago, by a dealer (who probably imported it from the USA) and it only has 23 miles on the speedo now! I guess the seller really could not start it......
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ED7D6935-F916-4567-B870-38C6AF346856.jpeg
1968 BSA B44 Victor Special
1949 BSA B31 Rigid
1956 BSA A10 S/A
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Re: 1968 B44 Victor Special re-commission

Post by koncretekid »

Nice project! I don't know my speedometer I.D. numbers, but I don't think the '68 Victor came with the 150 mph speedo. So mileage numbers will not be correct. Of course, the PO may have gotten a new speedometer from a later Victor or a Lightning, and he really hasn't put more than 23 miles on it since he has owned it.

Incidentally, the last Victor I rebuilt, with whatever studs were in the head, allows the removal of the rocker box and head while the motor is in the bike. Just have to rotate the rocker box just right and it comes off. Same with the head. It's quite possible that some PO already discovered the trick and shortened the studs appropriately.

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Re: 1968 B44 Victor Special re-commission

Post by KiwiB44 »

Thanks, and good point on the speedo max mph, I hadn’t thought about the possibility of it being “incorrect”! The possibility of it being changed had occurred to me, as had it being ridden without a speedo cable etc, especially given the fact it’s near zero miles. Pic attached on a piece of its “online” history.

I’m aiming to get it back on the road by mid April, to attend a rally a few hours ride away.
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1968 BSA B44 Victor Special
1949 BSA B31 Rigid
1956 BSA A10 S/A
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Re: 1968 B44 Victor Special re-commission

Post by KiwiB44 »

The clutch cush drive seemed ok with no undue back/forward play etc,so I was about to leave it be, but thought better of it and after a struggle with the 4 screws (I had to nail the cush drive to the bench and use an impact driver) I found this mess inside......the rubber seems to have fossilised!
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F7393EF5-BFC8-4CCC-B4B9-1AB162D178D1.jpeg
1968 BSA B44 Victor Special
1949 BSA B31 Rigid
1956 BSA A10 S/A
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Re: 1968 B44 Victor Special re-commission

Post by beat »

:lol: :lol: :lol: <069 <069
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Re: 1968 B44 Victor Special re-commission

Post by minetymenace »

Your Mayor (Alex Beijen) seems well impressed with your fossil find! Its times like this, :thumb that make you glad you had a closer look. Keep up the good work!
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Re: 1968 B44 Victor Special re-commission

Post by KiwiB44 »

Thanks minety, I have installed some home made rubber cush drive bits just to get the bike going for the rally mid April and will fit some proper “smarties” later on.

After major issues getting the stator installed so it does not rub on the rotor I have moved onto the clutch and have found the springs are far too compressed :shock: probably caused by the spring cups being too short at 7/8” long <201 rupert ratio says they should be 1 1/8” long but there are various part numbers quoted by suppliers for the ‘68 B44 (also various spring lengths are quoted). It’s not surprising the clutch is a source of grief given the differing lengths of cup and springs available for the same part number....

I’m not much good on a lathe but I might have to try make some 1 1/8” cups out of some bar just to keep things moving along....or buy a 1/4” CEI tap and make some especially long spring adjuster nuts, if the case has enough clearance from the clutch.

Edit, just worked out your mayor reference, well spotted!
1968 BSA B44 Victor Special
1949 BSA B31 Rigid
1956 BSA A10 S/A
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Re: 1968 B44 Victor Special re-commission

Post by KiwiB44 »

The bike came with two chainguards neither of which fit 🤔

But I reckon the one with the deflector piece next to the tyre can be made to look ok with a bit of grinding off of brackets and welding new ones on.

The other one seems to be for a b44ss so I guess I will need to find a buyer for that.

I’ve got the engine going after a heap of trouble with the auto advance unit (which did not retard). It sounds ok and ticks over properly, but I cant ride it due to the clutch having too short spring cups.
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1968 BSA B44 Victor Special
1949 BSA B31 Rigid
1956 BSA A10 S/A
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Re: 1968 B44 Victor Special re-commission

Post by KiwiB44 »

First proper tickover
Edit; oops file size exceeded so no vid will try youtube
1968 BSA B44 Victor Special
1949 BSA B31 Rigid
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Re: 1968 B44 Victor Special re-commission

Post by kommando »

Those chainguards are for 69/70, the shallow one is for the Shooting Star, the deeper one with the ribs is for the Victor Special. They do work better than the 68 and earlier against the vibration as they are further from the front mount but your swingarm will be missing 2 threaded holes just in front of the axle. You can add these by using the chainguard as the template, its the 2 holes on the arm that when offered up goes just in front of the axle.
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Re: 1968 B44 Victor Special re-commission

Post by KiwiB44 »

Thanks commando, that helps, I sort of figured out that the ribbed guard was closest to the original for a 68 and that the rear bracket was not for my bike as googling images of b44’s revealed it did not have the required holes in the swing arm, so I removed the bracket and am making up a new one to support the rear part of the guard, that fits onto the chain guide bolt. The front bracket made the guard sit too high that end so needed modding as well.

I have fitted a 520 O ring chain to go with new 18/47 sprockets and being wider found it fouled the guard near the front sprocket so had modify the guard in that area. I also found it best to put the chains split link facing the “wrong” way, towards the rim.

The ribbed guard is unused but my guess is that its made in india as it has hammer marks on the most rearmost section 🤔 which is also a separately made piece, butt welded on where the rear bracket was, and now needs a bit of filler before painting.

The slimmer SS guard may be oem, or at least a very good pattern. I will try to sell that but not a huge market for it in nz I suspect!

My challenge today was a completely stripped axle thread in the right fork slider, 9/16” 20tpi left hand thread 🤬 which I thought would be a major to fix, but my engineer guy had the right tap to make up and weld in an insert, quite a relief that, it’s a std lh thread on push bike spindles he reckons. The left slider basically fell off when I removed the wheel as the big nut on the bottom end of the stanchion inside the slider had come undone, luckily no damage from that. All I was trying to do was fit new gaitors ☹️😖🤬

The engineer also machined up some clutch spring cups from bar as I could not get 1 1/8’ long cups locally. Thats not going to be cheap but otherwise its a 4 week wait for a shipment from the uk.

My next challenge might be oil leaking from the slider into the brake drum, the shoes were contaminated with oil, I guess from the allen screw holding the damper “cartridge” in place.

Petrol tap leaks as does the carb so I just ordered a new tap and carb overhaul kit from local supplier, I have bought new carbs for my other 2 bsa’s rather than mess about with loose slides and warped bodies etc the b44’s concentric has been recently resleeved so I will give it a chance....the slide still stuck above 3/4 throttle though so a few hours were spent improving that with wet and dry...

Other (delaying) challenges were the header not fitting into the (new) head and the pipe needing bending to clear the frame, obviously the old head had a worn exhaust port that covered up these issues, the new head must be a later one than ‘68 as some of the studs from the old head did not fit so new studs had to be made.

This re commission has turned into a fairly major “overhaul”.

But, with luck I will get to ride it this weekend.
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3A196950-CDC9-44A0-A8A5-B7EED7FEBEB2.jpeg
1968 BSA B44 Victor Special
1949 BSA B31 Rigid
1956 BSA A10 S/A
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Re: 1968 B44 Victor Special re-commission

Post by beat »

KiwiB44 wrote: Thu Apr 01, 2021 11:19 am I have fitted a 520 O ring chain
I use the DID 520 VT 2 narrow X Ring chain.

the smallest I could find and it clears all fine.

beat
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Re: 1968 B44 Victor Special re-commission

Post by KiwiB44 »

Hi beat, unfortunately I just bought the cheapest o ring I could find in nz, an RK “SO” for on/off road use, thinking it would fit easily but there is not much room between the chain and the crank/primary case for the chainguard to fit into.
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Re: 1968 B44 Victor Special re-commission

Post by kommando »

My next challenge might be oil leaking from the slider into the brake drum, the shoes were contaminated with oil, I guess from the allen screw holding the damper “cartridge” in place.
Under the head of the allen bolt should be an aluminium washer, when you use these and unscrew the allen bolt the washer gets left behind and when you look down the hole its seen as part of the hole. So you dutifully add a new washer and when it sits over the old one then you get a leak. You have to carefully get the old washer out with a tooth pick or similar and then I use a Dowty washer instead, bit difficult to get one the right OD to fit down the hole so I use my lathe to turn the OD down, but no more leaks.
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Re: 1968 B44 Victor Special re-commission

Post by KiwiB44 »

Thanks kommando, this sort of info is gold 😁
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Re: 1968 B44 Victor Special re-commission

Post by beat »

hi kiwi

I guess the DID 520 VT2 is unusual small for a modern chain.
I will mesure the clip link , because this is the widest point at the all chain.
( iff I am right it is 21 mm wide )

beat
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Re: 1968 B44 Victor Special re-commission

Post by KiwiB44 »

I rode the bike round the paddock today and the gearbox is fine 😁 but a proper road test is needed to confirm that, the reason I could not go for a decent blat up the road is when I came to put the seat back on it fouled the oil filler spout at the front, after looking at pics on the internet I came to the conclusion the seat was about 40mm too far forward (it was just about touching the tank), so I have started modifying where the brackets are placed on the seat pan. It’s a pain of a job as the seat cover needs to be removed, which is pretty messy as the seat foam is a bit crumbly on the edges 🤬 I hope the cover hangs together as that is getting near to end of life as well.

The spring cups I had made work fine but I lost a clutch spring and the best substitute I have been able to get hold of is only 1” inch long compared to the other 3 springs which are 1 1/2” long, I set up the clutch using a dial gauge to ensure it lifted as square as possible and amazingly it does not drag or slip. I will have to order new springs from the uk and I guess wait a month for them to arrive as I can’t get them locally, but hopefully the “mixed spring bodge” will get me through the wof (mot) test and to the rally mid april.

Covid seems to have added a couple of weeks onto “normal” shipping times from the uk.
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Last edited by KiwiB44 on Sun Apr 04, 2021 3:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
1968 BSA B44 Victor Special
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Re: 1968 B44 Victor Special re-commission

Post by KiwiB44 »

beat wrote: Fri Apr 02, 2021 7:32 pm hi kiwi

I guess the DID 520 VT2 is unusual small for a modern chain.
I will mesure the clip link , because this is the widest point at the all chain.
( iff I am right it is 21 mm wide )

beat
I just measured the RK chain and it is 20mm wide across the pins, and 22mm wide across the spring clip, which is “offset” to one side.
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Re: 1968 B44 Victor Special re-commission

Post by beat »

hi kiwi

the measurements of the DID 520 VT 2 chain:

18.8 mm at the pins

20.2 mm at the clip link.

I have just ordered 3 of them ( to make two long ones out of ) and got right now the message from the seller as he will send me the new type of it, called
DID 520 ERVT.

I do hope it is usable, this new stuff.
will let you know when I do have it in my hands....

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Re: 1968 B44 Victor Special re-commission

Post by nopdog »

Hi Kiwi
Have you tried British Spares in Nelson South Island Kiwi Land.
britishspares.com
I've used them heaps in the past and they are very good.
Simon
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Re: 1968 B44 Victor Special re-commission

Post by kommando »

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Re: 1968 B44 Victor Special re-commission

Post by beat »

Thanks kommando, - this ERVT seams to be evan better at several points.

:thumb :thumb
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Re: 1968 B44 Victor Special re-commission

Post by KiwiB44 »

https://youtu.be/zldvcWzeqKE

https://youtu.be/l0LOsLso8MA

The bugger jumps out of first into neutral over about 3000 rpm 🤔 despite my replacement of two worn gears...so the box will come apart again dammit. It is rideable on the road like this tho. So can wait.

The front brake is rubbish, might be “historically” oil contaminated shoes from the leaky fork allen key. I’ve cleaned and sanded them twice, but its still not good, also made sure the leading shoe contacts first, this def needs fixing, back brake easily locks up.

I managed to fit a spin on oil filter in the correct orientation behind the motobatt battery (it is smaller than oem battery size so frees up a little room). Pic will follow. It’s a tight fit for sure. I’ve not found much on the net how others have done this for B44’s so did my own thing.

Its charging, but not properly, it drains with lights on, charges when they are off, the rectifier is suspect as the zener tests ok at about 14.5v. I will fit a used pazon rect/reg. I picked up from a mate, thinking this might happen. The electrics are over 50 years old after all.......

The rally in mid april still looks doable but issues are still cropping up!
Last edited by KiwiB44 on Wed Apr 07, 2021 12:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
1968 BSA B44 Victor Special
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Re: 1968 B44 Victor Special re-commission

Post by KiwiB44 »

nopdog wrote: Mon Apr 05, 2021 11:12 pm Hi Kiwi
Have you tried British Spares in Nelson South Island Kiwi Land.
britishspares.com
I've used them heaps in the past and they are very good.
Simon
Yep nopdog I use britishspares, I am glad we have them as a local supplier and have bought things like cables and clutch plates from them for the B44 but the uk suppliers tend to have a broader range and better quality, the owner of britishspares does things his way and if you don’t like it ....tough! Most people don’t send rubbish parts received back as it’s easy to get offside with the owner 😏.

The other local supplier worth using is https://www.britishmotorcycleparts.co.nz/ I have just bought the carb refurb parts I need from them.
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Re: 1968 B44 Victor Special re-commission

Post by KiwiB44 »

The spin on oil filter fitment, a bit over kill but I expect to use the large ally plate to mount rectifiers and electronic ign etc in the future. Its a std, cheap filter. I will protect the rubber pipes from rubbing on parts of the frame and plate etc, and potentially leaking.

The only mod to the frame was to bend the rear battery strap over a bit. The holes were already present in the cross brace. The original tab on the frame for (I think) the rectifier is a bit in the way but the plate complete with filter housing can still be removed in one piece if necessary. There is about an inch of space between the seat and the plate.
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A6930164-B806-4C02-B3F6-3E7098923151.jpeg
2BBC4C20-3A6C-4434-83BF-893435D2B588.jpeg
1968 BSA B44 Victor Special
1949 BSA B31 Rigid
1956 BSA A10 S/A
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