1938 Ariel VH Ė Work Log
The Ariel is a good runner although itís not been used much in recent years so some light recommissioning is required. It rode well from Ringwood back to Barnstaple although the rear brake was full of grease. When I took the wheels off there was a lot of grease to clean out and the brake linings were microns away from the rivets. I have new bonded linings of the woven type and also new Avon SM / Speedmaster tyres and the SM has the new rounded profile which works very well on rigid Ariels. The front brake cable also snapped so a new one from Drags was fitted. Once the steering damper was backed off the handling and steering are just about perfect and the brakes are very good.
The clutch cable was not that free, even after lubricating so it was replaced.
A rear hinged mudguard support fastener had been replaced by a locknut so this has been changed to the correct large Ariel type. Whilst I was at it, the studs on both sides were replaced as they were very worn.
New handlebar and tank rubbers have been fitted.
The charging system stopped working. This was fixed with a good clean of the dynamo.
The damaged gearbox filler nut was replaced.
The gear changes became very crunchy. Some clutch springs were found to be loose and were rubbing on the cover. These have been tightened.
The lock nut on the points is stripped so these are held with loc-tite for the moment. I also noticed that the spinning part on which the points are mounted was loose. This has been tightened and it seems to be in the right position for the timing. It didnít lock into place so I wonder whether it has been flapping around and has elongated its mounting posts. The magneto will have to come off at some point to have these issues sorted out.
A battery holder strap broke and a trunnion was lost. I have fitted a new strap piece and trunnion.†
The tin cover which goes over the voltage regulator was missing. I have fitted a reproduction item.
During a ride on Exmoor a rock in the road caused the forks to absorb the harsh bump and the headlamp rim shot up and landed on the tank still held by one remaining wire. The only damage was a broken glass and fortunately there was one on ebay so this was replaced within a few days.
There is a certain amount of Ďdustí coming from the tank which was affecting the float level and the float chamber needed cleaning out at least once per day of use. An inline filter has been fitted which makes a huge difference but still a very fine brown paste gets past the filter. I will try a finer filter. Eventually I may have the tank lined.
During the Isle of Man rally the petrol tap started to leak quite badly. A whiskey bottle cork was chopped up and coaxed into service where it remains, drip-free.
The primary chain case oil level plug thread was stripped so this has been helicoiled.
The screw which secures the float chamber top was lost. Now replaced.
The charging system has become more intermittent and a clean of the brushes no longer cures it.
The forks appear to have the original lubrication nipples. I have photograph them and stored them safely and have will fit items which can be used as they need regular greasing.
The motor has reasonable power but is fairly worn out with little compression. It was last rebuild many years and miles ago and during its tour of the Isle of Wight the power did seem to slope off a little. The last oil change revealed thick black gloop of molasses. I like big singles which are worn as they are lovely to ride and take on an almost side valve-like character and I donít like to fix things which arenít broken. However, itís gone beyond the point of no return.
The head and barrel have been removed. The piston is thought to have come from a Ford car engine (+.030) with the top machined off so that it has one compression ring and one oil ring. The oil ring has broken up and what remains is stuck in the groove. The piston shows signs of seizure. The head and barrel have been sent to an engineer and will come back with a rebore, new piston and new valves/guides/springs. The new piston is from Draganfly and is +060 with 2 compression rings.
Whilst the top of the motor is in pieces I have sent off the magdyno for an overhaul as there are a few small issues.
Also, the petrol tank will be re-painted with the correct pattern. (The petrol tank was re-painted many years ago but the painter got the left and right templates the wrong way around.) One of the threaded mounting plates has been Ďrepairedí in the form of a stud and lots of araldite so this is being put back to standard. The tank will also be lined as it gives off a lot of Ďdustí and Iíve had to fit a filter.
Observations & Work To Do
The wiring is a bit untidy but it all works. When I have access to a garage with electricity this will be done.
The sludge trap must be cleaned.
The oil gauge is not connected. The gauge is from a square 4. I will look for a genuine eureka item and put it in circuit.
The factory records state that the VH was born with a 100mph PA speedometer. I have procured a reconditioned unit.
The gear change rubber is cracked and about to fall off.
The screw which secures the dynamo wires was in a stripped thread and now the bolt has gone. I will find a good end cover with a good thread.
A cheap horn is fitted. It came with a spare Lucas HF 1140 which was used by Royal Enfield, New Imperial and Rudge in the late 1930s and was common post war. The Ariel should have a Lucas Altette to complete the Red Hunter look so that is on the list.
There is a solid state voltage control regulator housed in a Lucas MCR2 which is a post war item. If a pre-war MCR1 becomes available then I will fit that.