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Rough shape Lightning. Buy, or no.

Rough shape Lightning. Buy, or no.

Postby msh5337 » Fri Jun 02, 2017 5:16 pm

So, I found this in my area today.
Image
Called the guy and he said that all the parts are there but the engine is locked up. I could probably get it for $200, but is it even worth it? Looks like this thing is going to need A LOT of work. If anything, I see it as good practice in rebuilding a motor, which I've never done. That brings me to my next question. How difficult is a rebuild on one of these things? I've broken down a couple of bikes to their frames then rebuilt them, but have never opened up an engine. Will I be getting in over my head with this one?

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Re: Rough shape Lightning. Buy, or no.

Postby Bernhard » Sat Jun 03, 2017 4:10 am

It really depends on how many parts are missing, or required being renewed, i.e. I see the whole exhausts and seat are gone.
The engine depends on where it is seized and by how much, you may not be able to unfree the piston(s)

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Re: Rough shape Lightning. Buy, or no.

Postby grandpaul » Sat Jun 03, 2017 7:06 am

For $200, I'd snap it up!

If the engine and frame numbers match, it's worth a grand.

Easy enough to see if the engine is catastrophically destroyed internally, just look for large cracks or holes in the bottom of the crankcases. If so, the value drops to nearer the $200 level.

A clean matching title can add several hundred dollars.
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Re: Rough shape Lightning. Buy, or no.

Postby RoadScholar » Tue Jun 06, 2017 5:21 am

As GP has already written, for $200 you would have a good practice "canvas". The head would be worth more than the purchase price alone on E-Bay, assuming that the motorcycle has, simply, been grossly neglected and not burned.

If you are thinking about putting this relic back on the road (a noble endeavor), I'd guess you'll be spending around $10K and 2-3 years (if you are ambitious). I purchase a 1970 Lightning that was suppose to be complete and running from a guy in Texas and have discovered that BSA parts are not nearly as available as Norton parts and are up to 30% more expensive.

I wish you all the best, BSA twins are very handsome motorcycles; one of the easiest on the eye to ever come down the pike.
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Re: Rough shape Lightning. Buy, or no.

Postby grandpaul » Tue Jun 06, 2017 7:41 am

RoadScholar wrote:...I have discovered that BSA parts are not nearly as available as Norton parts and are up to 30% more expensive.

I think perhaps you might not be looking in the right places! Personally, I have found Norton parts to be more expensive.
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Re: Rough shape Lightning. Buy, or no.

Postby msh5337 » Mon Jun 26, 2017 11:12 pm

Well I ended up picking it up last week. It seems to be in a little better shape than I thought. Frame is solid, numbers match, clear title, and no damage to the outside of the engine. The transmission is free, but the motor is def locked up. I've been soaking the pistons in ATF/acetone for the last couple of days and have been putting heat to it. No luck so far. To make things worse, the pistons are just about TDC. That being the case, has anyone ever seen/used this method before? https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3tsIsq3E43Y. Would this work on the BSA? Finally, if nothing ends up working, will I be able to split the cases with the pistons still struck?

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Re: Rough shape Lightning. Buy, or no.

Postby grandpaul » Tue Jun 27, 2017 7:05 am

I have an almost new BSA seat you might be interested in, also some other stuff you can use.

I'll e-mail you a checklist if you send me your email address.

This is by far the best deal I've seen in a while.
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Re: Rough shape Lightning. Buy, or no.

Postby RoadScholar » Tue Jun 27, 2017 6:38 pm

msh5337 wrote:Well I ended up picking it up last week. It seems to be in a little better shape than I thought. Frame is solid, numbers match, clear title, and no damage to the outside of the engine. The transmission is free, but the motor is def locked up. I've been soaking the pistons in ATF/acetone for the last couple of days and have been putting heat to it. No luck so far. To make things worse, the pistons are just about TDC. That being the case, has anyone ever seen/used this method before? https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3tsIsq3E43Y. Would this work on the BSA? Finally, if nothing ends up working, will I be able to split the cases with the pistons still struck?


You will not be able to split the cases with the barrel attached. Pulling the head on a BSA is a piece of cake, put a large piece of wood (the largest that can be fit) on a piston and start smacking with a 6 pound hammer, back and forth between the two pistons increasing the force; being near TDC is more of a good thing in your case. Prior to the violence be sure to soak with a rust penetrant; the pounding can occur over a number of days, on one of the days you WILL get lucky.

BTW, your $200 investment can be recouped by selling the head alone (or more), if you become disinterested, the transmission another $200 (or more)...
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Re: Rough shape Lightning. Buy, or no.

Postby msh5337 » Tue Jun 27, 2017 11:39 pm

RoadScholar wrote:You will not be able to split the cases with the barrel attached.


Yeah, that's what I figured. I removed the cylinder nuts today and was able to lift the cylinder about an inch from the cases when turning the crank. So the pistons aren't quite TDC, but it wasn't enough to get the cylinder over the case studs.

Grandpaul, I'm definitely interested in some of that stuff. PM sent.

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