Sunday, February 23, 2014

Servicing and Cleaning Raleigh Sports Bottom Bracket, Etc.

Friday featured some good weather once some storms passed, so I got back to work on the Raleigh Sports. The task for the day was to check, measure, and sort the ball bearings for the bottom bracket.

I had been soaking about 30 or so ball bearings of the appropriate nominal size in WD40 for about 2 days. I put them on a small tray and began to sort them into two cups: good and questionable. A smooth bottom bracket comes from having good lubrication, good adjustment, and good quality bearings and race surfaces.

The bearing size for the Raleigh Sports bottom bracket is .25 (quarter inch). I pulled out my calipers to check each of the bearings for size. Bearings at or extremely close to .250 were kept, those varying in size were put in the questionable cup. Those with pitting also went to the questionable cup.

I also took the time to clean up the bottom bracket parts and race surfaces. I want them shiny and smooth, ready to receive new grease.

When working on a Raleigh bottom bracket, I tend to think the best way is to leave the fixed cup in place if at all possible, and then work from there. You can use the small, soft metal brush to clean the fixed cup. Do not use hard steel brushes or anything that will scratch the fixed cup race (or any other race for that matter).  I used a small wire brush of soft metal (brass) and some WD40 to clean the old grease out of the frame bottom bracket and the fixed cup. 

Here are a few shots of the progress. The bicycle is up on its wheels and slowly coming together.

I will add that it is important that you remove all old grease or oil from the insides of the crank holes, where they contact the bottom bracket spindle. I used Formula 409 to clean the insides of the crank holes and the spindle itself. It is a common misconception that you want to grease the contact points between the spindle and cranks. You actually want more friction between the cranks and the spindle. You grease the face of the cotter pin not the contact point between the crank arm itself and the spindle.
 Again, you want these parts clean. Every bit of old grease you get off will add to the smoothness of the final drive train. Remember, no grease in the crank arm spindle holes. 
I like the plain, 1950s type headbadge. I also like how the brass goes with the gloss black finish.
Starting to come together a bit.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Sturmey Archer SW Hub versus AW/FW

For those into Sturmey Archer, I've put two brief videos together. One demonstrates the sound of a late model SW hub (the final version from 1958) and a 1956 FW (four speed version of the AW) hub. You can hear that the SW is not silent, but is still considerably quieter than the FW/AW.

SW Hub:

FW Hub:

Restoring a Raleigh 3 Speed: 1958 Raleigh Sports

 As you may recall, the 1958 Raleigh Sports came to me with no head badge. The original had been removed and another, larger badge put in its place. The replacement badge was off center as well. I cleaned up the head tube with polish and tapped out
 the old rivet remains with a punch and hammer.

I have two head badges on hand. One is brass and black Raleigh heron from the 1940s or 50s, while the other is a painted brass heron from the late 1960s or 70s. Contrary to popular belief, not all Raleigh herons share the exact same hole spacing. The older heron has spacing a bit smaller than the later on.

Instead of rivets, I have Type U drive screws. These are small screws with helical threads. They are tapped in, similar to nails, but the thread theoretically keeps them from backing out. They are one of the ways to attach a thin metal badge without having to tap threads or resort to specially sized rivets.

I found the old Heron fit pretty closely. I tapped in the first drive screw in and synced up the holes using a very small, round needle file. The correct screw size was #0 with a 1/8 inch length.

Here is the finished product. It looks nice so far. I put a dab of JB Weld epoxy on the inside of the head tube where each of the drive screws enters. This may not totally stop them from loosening, but in the event they do loosen, it should hold them in place long enough to get home and replace them.

As you can also see, the holes from the larger badge are still present and were indeed off center. I took some JB Weld and filled the holes with it. I left it to set overnight. When I get a chance, I will cover the grey of the JB Weld with black paint to make it virtually invisible.

A few shots of the frame. My stand is makeshift- the tool shelf of a ladder. Do not attempt to do it with a fully assembled bike or you may break your ladder tool shelf. I was only able to do this because the frame is more or less stripped.

While the the frame sat, I moved on to the wheels. I flushed them with some WD 40, until the crevices bled clear liquid. I then inundated the front hub with 50 weight oil and the rear hub with 20. I like medium-heavy oil in the bottom brackets and front hubs of these bikes because I use it in lieu of grease. The hubs and bottom bracket are oil lubricated and you just have to top them off with more oil from time to time.

The rear is a Sturmey Archer SW, notorious for camming out of second and third gear, as well as being very picky about bearing adjustment and oil thickness. The original Sturmey oil was an SAE 20 machine oil. 3-in-1 blue can is the way to go today. I used only that in the SW. I inundated that as well, working it into the bearings by laying the wheel on each of its sides.

Meanwhile, I strung the brakes, handles and cables vertically on the ladder. I filled the housings with oil until the oil ran all the way down and out. This flushes and lubricates the original brake cables, which I certainly want to keep.

Finally, I called it quits in the shed and moved into the house where it was a bit warmer. I worked on touching up the white tail of the rear fender. This paint is a mix of Testor's Gloss Enamel, the type you might use on a model car or airplane. I've found the little jars are perfect for touch up work and the paint mixes easily. It is also oil based, which I like for its extra rust protection over water-based hobby paints.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Bicycle Paint Touch Up: 1958 Raleigh Sports

I got a little more work on the 1958 Raleigh Sports done thanks to some free time and a warm afternoon. My task for today was to touch-up the black paint on the fenders.

I used my customary method. It involves finding a matching paint, then thinning it until it tends to fill the holes in the finish without leaving blobs higher than the original paint. I match the paint for color and gloss, then thin it.

That was not difficult. I bought a bottle of gloss black and a bottle of semi-gloss black. I thinned them and went to work. The results are not bad at all. I do not fool with water-based acrylics. I go straight for oil-based enamel every time for these jobs. I have yet to deal with a water-based acrylic that can match the durability and rust prevention of oil-based paint.