Virago / TR1 dreaded front cam seizure

beachcomber

TJ - Beachcomber
DTT SUPPORTER
I posted this in my Vindicator thread, but thought it sufficiently important [ given how many TR1 / Viragos are being built here ! ] to repeat it here ......................................

Timely warning - the dreaded front cam seizure.

I've had a lot of feedback from the Virago / TR1 fraternity and guys I've sold parts to in the UK.

There is one common denominator [ apart from putting the oil filter in the wrong way round ! ] which seems to be coming up which points to a certain cause of front cam [ specifically ] seizure.

FOUR of the people that have suffered this problem have subsequently found that the oil pipe banjo bolt [ lower ] has not been drilled through correctly and causes a serious restriction of the oil flow to the cams.

I have 3 stripped engines in my workshop [ TR1 - 1982/3 ] and on TWO of them I found the oil banjo bolts to be faulty. The two faulty bolts came from damaged engines I had bought for spares, and yes they HAD seized front cams.

Doesn't take long to check and might just save an expensive engine rebuild.

Me, I'm busy checking out an aftermarket Russell / Earl's etc. flexi system in dash 4 ! ;)
 

beachcomber

TJ - Beachcomber
DTT SUPPORTER
Courtesy of one of the guys I suplied a cam bearing conversion kit to [ Kevin Emery ] - here's his neat, anti-paranoia oil pressure guage to monitor the top end oiling !

There's some interesting data .....................

Cold pressure is 14.5 psi [ 1 bar ] and 58psi [ 4bar ] @ 3K rpm.

When hot that drops to virtually zero at tick over to 29psi [ 2 bar ] @ 3K rpm.

That was with a 0-10 bar guage, which obviously doesn't monitor the lower scale precisely.

Also, I am waiting to hear what grade of oil he is using. But at least there's some basic info.

He also has fitted the roller bearing conversion following cam failure - AND drilled out the oil feed holes properly.

 

wynand2000

Active Member
I have 8 heads in total, 6 of them on 3 (duh) engines......all front cams and lifters are totally detroyed. They must have made a terrible sound........
Now I have understood that there has been an upgrade in about `84, where the lifters got an extra hard layer of steel , which is to identify by just looking at the half round guide that is guided by the camshaft.
When it`s twin layer it`s the newer one.
 

SONICJK

Reminds me of...me No, I'm sure of it. I hate him
beachcomber said:
Courtesy of one of the guys I suplied a cam bearing conversion kit to [ Kevin Emery ] - here's his neat, anti-paranoia oil pressure guage to monitor the top end oiling !

There's some interesting data .....................

Cold pressure is 14.5 psi [ 1 bar ] and 58psi [ 4bar ] @ 3K rpm.

When hot that drops to virtually zero at tick over to 29psi [ 2 bar ] @ 3K rpm.

That was with a 0-10 bar guage, which obviously doesn't monitor the lower scale precisely.

Also, I am waiting to hear what grade of oil he is using. But at least there's some basic info.

He also has fitted the roller bearing conversion following cam failure - AND drilled out the oil feed holes properly.



That gauge is sweet! I want one.
 

beachcomber

TJ - Beachcomber
DTT SUPPORTER
wynand2000 said:
I have 8 heads in total, 6 of them on 3 (duh) engines......all front cams and lifters are totally detroyed. They must have made a terrible sound........
Now I have understood that there has been an upgrade in about `84, where the lifters got an extra hard layer of steel , which is to identify by just looking at the half round guide that is guided by the camshaft.
When it`s twin layer it`s the newer one.

Wynand,

I think that's a "sticking plaster" approach after the fact - and not addressing the root cause.

ALL of the failures I've seen and been told about have been the result of a lack of lubrication to the top end - specifically cam bearings.

It seems to me that the base issue is poor lubrication [ for whatever reason ] and NOT the metallurgical composition of parts.

Sonic - I had to stall the chase to prototype the gauge / line kit due to having to look after my Doberman [ reported elsewhere ] whilst she's recovering from a cancerous growth removal.

However, I should be able to start thinking about getting out of the house soon for an hour or so during the day to follow up on this. As soon as I have the kit finalised [ already have some sweeeeet gauges ], I'll flag it up. Note the gauges come in side and back entry. I think the back entry might have marginal clearance on later Vees. I'm also going to prototype a second version using TWO back mounted gauges at the top union. That's just to monitor the situation more exactly, and maybe a 3rd. with the gauge just mounted on the front head.

In the meantime, I'd urge all TR1 / XV owners to make the check - might just save an expensive engine rebuild ! 3 owners have already contacted me saying just that !!

 

Rich Ard

doin' the backstroke in an estrogen ocean
DTT BOTM WINNER
I'd be interested in one as well, TJ. Keep us updated!
 

beachcomber

TJ - Beachcomber
DTT SUPPORTER
Rich Ard said:
I'd be interested in one as well, TJ. Keep us updated!

Rich,

The more the merrier. Obviously the more I can buy in bulk, the better my price. At the moment I have 16 people who definitely want a kit [ gauge / bolt ] - and that's without advertising generally.

Actually, the more I think about it, the more I'm thinking - put the gauge on the front head bolt union - what do we think guys ???????????

I'll just put on 10% to cover my ex's to DTT / Virago Forum members and a "normal" commercial mark up to the World at large.

BTW - those gauges are 40mm diameter and stainless cases.

FIFTY is the magic number to get a decent unit cost - I might just go there, as I think that is a reasonable amount to market initially.
 

Rich Ard

doin' the backstroke in an estrogen ocean
DTT BOTM WINNER
Have you tried to gauge interest at the VTF?

For what it's worth I like it at the lower union - but I would be up for either. Can you give a ballpark on cost?
 

beachcomber

TJ - Beachcomber
DTT SUPPORTER
Rich Ard said:
Have you tried to gauge interest at the VTF?

For what it's worth I like it at the lower union - but I would be up for either. Can you give a ballpark on cost?

"GAUGE interest" .............................................. it's the subtle one's I enjoy !!!!!

These are only just passing thoughts at the moment.

IF it is the front cam [ as it seems ] that suffers in any poor lube issue, I'm thinking that's where the monitor needs to be.

We are all now aware of the possible restriction at the lower union bolt take off, and that's a must do / simple fix. ONCE that is resolved, feed to the two heads should be consistent and the same [ ?? ] front and back.

As this problem is intriguing me beyond belief [ too much time on my hands ! ], it would be very simple in the first instance to fit all THREE gauges just to see IF there is any variation in supply with a full flow lower union.

That will then give me the option of where the gauge go. I know the later vees have larger barrel finning and packaging might prove a problem as the gauges are 40mm dia.

I post on the Virago Forum - and have flagged this issue up there. There is some barely discernable interest, but at least 3 folk have contacted me saying they checked and found the lower union restricted - just in time ! One was on a newly built engine.

Final costs will depend on the volume I can afford to buy at - like I said, I'll only add 10% to cover my ex's for friends and family. What we call "Mate's Rates" in England !

That said, I'm aiming to get the cost for a single gauge [ stainless case ] and new union bolt for around £30 - is that around $60 US ?? There is a cheaper black cased gauge, which would bring the cost down by about £4 - but it doesn't have the "looks".

That cost is for either direct to head or lower fitting. I then intend to have larger [ -4 ??] oil feed lines made up in stainless hoses and fittings. That is really a BS choice, but never the less - it will carry more lube to the top end. I'm still having this debate with myself over Turbo / carbs. The Amal Mk2 Concentrics still seem a long way off [ problems with castings ] - but maybe if some Dellortos come along at the right money ?
 

beachcomber

TJ - Beachcomber
DTT SUPPORTER
Again - duplicated here as it's probably the cause of many an engine wrecking itself.

I've looked at all the options, and the most practical is mounting on the head itself at the top union bolt.

This way it will fit all models, and more importantly monitor the oil supply directly at the source of the potential problem !

I'm having some bolts modified so that there will be an option of front or rear head OR both ! That will allow for a good quality 40mm gauge. I will go with the Stainless case versions, and they will be back mounted. That said - a bottom mount will probably be visible from the seat whilst riding.
 

Rich Ard

doin' the backstroke in an estrogen ocean
DTT BOTM WINNER
That last point is why I was leaning towards a gauge at the lower fitting. Either way, keep us in the loop.
 

beachcomber

TJ - Beachcomber
DTT SUPPORTER
Rich Ard said:
That last point is why I was leaning towards a gauge at the lower fitting. Either way, keep us in the loop.

Rich ....due to the proximity of the barrel finning, I would have to use a very small gauge - something like 25mm [ like the original installation ].

Two problems ... not as accurate as a 40mm gauge [ unless you pay LOTS of money ] and also it's actually out of the eyeline [ legs, thighs, etc. ] and of course VERY small [ relatively ] to read while on the move.

HOWEVER - I was playing around with the components yesterday and a bottom entry [ oops pardon vicar ] gauge [ front head ] could easilly be angled to have the face pointing towards the rider's eyeline.

There are only pennies difference in price and both available in stainless cases.

Now here's the cracker ......... the existing bolt [ top ] can easilly be drilled and tapped to take the gauge - obviously saving the cost of a special union bolt - I was quoted £8.00 each [!! ] in stainless if I take a minimum of 50 units at a time. That's obviously something that the owner could do / get done at minimal costs [ drill / tap ].

That puts the gauge face directly in the eyeline which can be adjusted to be at the correct angle with the judicious use of washers [ like degreeing a spark plug ].
 

beachcomber

TJ - Beachcomber
DTT SUPPORTER
Rich Ard said:
I dig it.

Yes Rich,

I took onboard your earlier comments, but in the end there were just too many variables / problems with mounting it on the bottom union. The main problem was getting an AFFORDABLE 25mm face gauge that was accurate. Also, with my nearsight problems - I wouldn't be able to read it on the move anyway !

This is far the simpler way to go. It also means that you don't need a new union bolt - just have the OEM one drilled and tapped [ 1/8" BSPT ].

I will fit them to both heads, with the side mount gauge on the front head. I had to buy ten of the little buggers to get a half reasonable price, so I might as well use them !

The manufacturer will give me a reasonable deal on 50 minimum order [ gauges ].

The machine shop won't even quote for less than 50 bolts to be made - and even 100 is marginal on getting a good price. I suspect that if people want this conversion, they will have access to a local machine shop - or facilities in their own workshops.

At some stage I WILL get round to making up a kit of parts initially with the Roller bearing conversion and the gauge [ with or without modified bolt ].

Then for my own use [ at first anyway ] I'll get the oil feed hoses made up in -4 stainless flexi hosing. Once I've proved the value [ or otherwise ! ] of that move, I might get those duplicated.

Once the gauges are installed to both heads - I can see the benefits [ or not ] immediately of fitting the larger bore oil supply hoses.

Logic tells me it can only be an improvement - and in any case [ hoses ] there's the BS factor to consider !!!

Pump supply is NOT an issue - many TR1s have been fitted up with oil coolers running much larger dia. hoses.

Right oh, back to the plot ................ finish prepping the brake plates [ AGAIN ], and checking the other Gold finishes I have. IF neither looks right, then there's the Satin Black to fall back on !

Here's the rear entry version.

 

beachcomber

TJ - Beachcomber
DTT SUPPORTER
Final costings through now .................... I will be offering these bearing conversions and gauges commercially at a normal markup.

However, as originally stated I'm prepared to offer them to Forum members [ here, ViragoTech ] at a token cost which covers my expenses.

What's the protocol here Mr. Moderator ?

Several overseas members have expressed an interest in "bulk" buys. This will ultimately make it cheaper for the freight to US, Canada, Australia, etc.


As a guideline -

Sealed Bearings [ pair ]

£7.95 [ Forum ] £11.95 retail

Guage [ 40mm face Stainless Steel cases ]

6 or 10 Bar back feed - £9.50 [Forum ] £12.50 retail
6 or 10 Bar side feed - £10.25 [Forum ] £14.50 retail

Due to the high cost of having bolts specially made - the fitting of the gauges [ front head ] will simply require the head of the OEM bolt drilling and tapping [ ptfe tape on thread ]. The gauges can be fitted to either / both top unions. If the side entry is fitted to the front head, it will be visible seated on the bike.

There is NO UK tax [ VAT ] payable [ 20% ] and freight / postage will be charged at cost.

Hose line kits [ stainless ] will be finalised in the New Year - again the same deal for costings.

I KNOW there are many TR1 / Virago / XV builds going on here - more important than ANY of the above - check those oil union bolts !!!

I see someone over on the VT forum has just experienced the dreaded "screeching" coming from the cam bearing [ front ? ] - "a stitch in time" etc.
 

beachcomber

TJ - Beachcomber
DTT SUPPORTER
For those with facilities - here's the very simple DIY job on the OEM bolt.

No need to turn the head of the bolt. Drill and tap 1/8" BSPT and use Teflon tape when fitting up.

 

DTT Bike Of The Month Gallery

DTT Light or Dark

www.jadusmotorcycleparts.com
shop.themotoworks.com
www.cognitomoto.com
https://www.townmoto.com
www.speedmotoco.com
www.lostapostle.ca/
www.sparckmoto.com
Top Bottom