Honestly, I have been working on my AJS …

I honestly have been working on my AJS. I picked it up in October of 2010 and was all gung-ho to get it cleaned up and on the road.

But you didn’t hear anything. Nothing.

But believe me, I have been working on it. Honestly. The problem is that to this point there hasn’t been much to say or to show. I’ve been reading. A lot of reading. It’s a different beast than the V-Twins or Inline-Four’s I’m used to working on. It’s a push-rod engine with a dry sump for oil (dry sump engines carry their oil in an oil tank that is separate from the engine and uses two pumps to lubricate – one to pump oil to the engine, where it lubes everything and then drops to the bottom of the engine, and a second or ‘scavenge’ pump which pumps the oil back to the oil tank). This is something a Harley fan might be used to, but I’m not overly familiar with the 50+ year old technology …

I located a local importer and distributor of original parts from the UK (Walridge Motors). I procured factory manuals, parts schematics, and a plethora of tips from other AJS/Matchless owners.

Now I’m starting to have something to show you.

I started with the easy task of cleaning the Amal carb and replacing the throttle and clutch cable (Yes, that is an Easy Rider poster in the background!). First step was removing the fuel line running from the tank – I will also be replacing the fuel line, but haven’t got around to buying any yet. There is also an overflow line that must be removed (visible in this picture). The carb is attached to the engine via two bolts on either side of the carb and is buffered by a rubber gasket of sorts. Once you remove these two bolts the carb wiggles off and is free of the engine. To completely remove the carb we must detach the throttle cable (and with this carb the choke cable as well). There is a cap on the top of the carb that can be twisted off and will free the throttle slide and the choke. The carb can now be removed.

By removing the three screws on the ‘Amal’ cover plate you have access to the float – on newer carbs the float is usually on the bottom. This is the first thing I took apart. The float itself is held in with a brass ring (often called a ‘pin’) that just slides off, then the float can be removed. On this carb the needle rests on the float so it slid out upon removing the float. Now the jets can be removed.

Jets are screws that have a hole through the center of them which the fuel flows through to mix with air. The main jet is short and fat and will have a flat screwdriver head. The pilot jet is long and skinny and will take a flat head screwdriver to remove.

The last step before actually cleaning the carb is to remove the parts on the outside. The air screw and the idle screw can be removed with a flat head screwdriver. The idle screw is the larger of the two, and it adjusts the idle rpm of the engine. Also remove the air screw, which is the smaller screw and adjusts the air flow through the carb when the engine is running.

Before I started cleaning the carb I carefully removed all gaskets and o-rigns  – all were in great shape and appeared to have been recently replaced, so I deemed it unnecessary to replace them. Plus I’m a cheap bastard.

The easiest way to clean the carb and the parts is to soak them in carb/parts cleaner. Follow the instructions on the can for cleaning. I used a spray can of carb cleaner and used a clean oil drain pan to soak them in. Be sure to wear safety glasses and gloves!

I scrubbed the parts with a wire brush and then sprayed with carb cleaner. Then I sprayed the cleaner into the holes that the jets, air and idle screws, float needle, and choke came from. When cleaning the jets, be sure to spray cleaner into the holes, and look through them into light to make sure the hole is cleaned. If jets are not completely clean, blowing compressed air through the hole will remove any debris.

Allow everything to dry then replace gaskets/o-rings. Replace all parts in the opposite order as when you removed them. When installing the air screw (the skinny screw), if you don’t have a setting from the factory I usually screw it in all the way then back the screw out a turn and a 1/4. When the engine is running and warm you can properly adjust it by turning the screw in till the engine stumbles, then out till it stumbles, and leave it at half way in between.

Next install the float.  To install the float, line the holes up with the holes in the carburetor and slide the float pin in.  The pin will slide around freely, just make sure it is centered so it is secure. To make sure the float needle is working properly, move the float up and down to make sure the needle moves freely.  If the needle gets stuck in the up position it needs to be replaced.

Now I put a new throttle cable and choke cable in the throttle slide and choke slide. This was a matter of convenience as the carb must be removed to replace them. I still need to purchase new handlebar grips for the throttle…

With the throttle slide in and choke slide in, you can set the idle screw. Slowly turn the idle screw until the throttle slide begins to move. Now turn the screw half a rotation. You can properly adjust the idle screw with the engine running – turn the idle screw in to increase idle, turn it out to decrease idle.

Then I put the carb back on the bike by ‘wiggling’ it back on the rubber boot and bolting it back on. Now it looks cleaner than the rest of the bike!

Next I’ll be working on replacing oil, fuel line, spark plug, drum brake shoes, and rubber and getting this bad boy back on the road! I’ll keep you posted!


Push Starting my Motorcycle in the Middle of Beijing Rush Hour

I thought I’d share my recent problems in my  adventure into the world of Chinese motorcycling. After having just bought a second hand but only one year old Chinese brand motorcycle, I’m already having problems. The first day riding it home was great. I was able to take it on of the major Beijing roads, the 4th ring and navigated my way through traffic no problem. Despite, the sub-freezing temperatures, it was great to be back on two wheels. Then after one day of leaving it parked outside my apartment, I press the ignition only to find that I get no response from the engine whatsoever. At first I think it might be the cold, but the sound the engine would usually make in that situation is a little different. Whereas in the cold the engine is trying to catch with a sort of revving type sound, I was hearing a barely audible click, which would indicate a dead battery. This was bad as I needed to commute to work and was almost late as it was. I noticed a slight incline behind me so I pushed the bike up and started to run it down. Luckily this push start worked and I was able to make it to work on time.

Of course this wasn’t the end of my troubles. A couple of times at stop lights, the engine cut out. I figured, with the engine warmed up there shouldn’t be any more problems. I was wrong and so on the side of a very busy Beijing street with bikes, cars, and pedestrians everywhere, I had to again push start my bike (what it must have looked like to the local Chinese to see a foreigner, which is a strange enough sight as it is, go through this ritual I can only imagine). Luckily I started to get good at push starting as I had to repeat this several times.

Other things of note for diagnosis are how sometimes power wasn’t getting to the horn and that after the bike’s been sitting outside of my office building all day and I turn the power back on, the headlight is barely lit. This all leads me to believe it’s a battery issue.

What’s going to be interesting is to get this all sorted out with the language barrier. I have already been in contact via text with the seller, all in Chinese. His first response was to say it was cold. I explained how it wasn’t because it happened even after running for 20 minutes. His next response was to say that he just changed the battery. This just came off as a typical Chinese response that I’m not too likely to believe. And finally he told me that I just didn’t know how to ride it properly. I’m sorry but that’s just the wrong thing to say.

I’m going to continue to text him now that, after several days, the problem is more than confirmed. Most likely this Saturday (China time of course), I’ll be driving it (after the ritualistic method of push starting I’ve been using the past 3 days) back up to the north end of the city to have him see the problem for himself.

The sad thing of it all is that I’ve been really enjoying the bike otherwise. It rides well, it does what I need it to do (when it’s running), and I like the look of it. Let’s just hope I’m able to get it working smoothly and can be back on the road problem free!

Long Term Storage Tip: Fuel Injection System

For those of us that have to put our bikes away for a long winter (or even longer as is the case for me), it’s good to make sure you’ve fully prepared your bike for the extended period of inactivity. We’ve already written some posts on the subject which can be found on the maintenance section of our website, here.

I found out another new trick for my new bike since the Dyna Wide Glide is fuel injected as opposed to my old ’06 Sportster which was carbureted. The idea of this is that you want to get that little bit of fuel out of the system since it’s not good to have it just sit there. So the first step is to locate the fuse box on your bike. On the ’05 Dyna Wide Glide, you can find this on the left side. I used a hex key to get the box off and then on the inside of the cover you should be able to find a map of the fuses (telling you which controls which bike part). Use this to locate the fuse for the fuel injection system. This will effectively turn off the system so it will no longer pump out fuel. On my Dyna, the fuse was the second on the far left (make sure you check this with the fuse map though). Once the fuse is out, go ahead and turn on the bike. You’ll know if you took out the right fuse if you don’t hear that familiar buzzing/humming sound that you usually hear when you turn on the power, because that’s the your bike pumping fuel to get the bike started.

So if you hear that sound, go back and make sure you’ve got the right fuse. Once you don’t hear it anymore, you can start the engine. It should start up and run for a few seconds before cutting out. It’s cutting out because there’s no more power to send fuel to the engine and you’ve drained what’s left in the pipe. Start it up one more time just to be sure, and this time it should cut out almost immediately.

And there you go! Now you can put the fuse back in and the cover back on. One more good tip for storage is to get the tires off the ground if at all possible to help preserve them better. And make sure to check out our website for other tips including tips for fuel additive, chains, and oil.

Day Fourteen: Coos Bay, OR to Portland, OR

Right now as I write this, I’m sitting in the waiting area at the Coos Bay Rt 101 Harley dealership as my bike gets worked on. Turns out I was pretty lucky I even got here. Still, I should actually be able to make it to Portland tonight and the be on the trail by tomorrow morning.

I drove the bike over to the dealership from my motel bright and early to see what could be done, and by now the wobble was really bad. I certainly wouldn’t be able to drive it even out of town, which started to get me thinking about buses to Portland.

The head of the service department arrived just after 8, I explained the problem, he took a look at it, pushed on the back and he knew straight away what was wrong. Quite a few of the spokes were loose in the rear tire. This was causing the wobble as well as the irregular motor vibrations. He told me if they had spokes that fit (which they did), they could get it done in a couple hours and I’d be good to go.

After looking at my wheels, he also noted that my tires were just about done and would soon need to be replaced. This was something I was going to do during my service check up when I got to Portland, but it seemed prudent that since I’d be getting in late anyway, might as well just get it all done at once.

So I’ve been hanging out at the dealership all day catching up on stuff and doing some food shopping for the hike while I wait for the bike to be ready. Hopefully in another hour or two I’ll be back on my way, finish up my drive north, and then hiking from Timberline Lodge, OR by morning!

Speedometer Self-diagnostics

I found this on HD Forums when I recently was having some issues with my engine light indicator on my ’05 Dyna Wide Glide coming on at high speeds (see post from my US tour trip here). This shows how you can self-diagnose the problem that the light is indicating:

The speedometer is capable of displaying and clearing
speedometer, tachometer, TSM/TSSM and ICM/ECM Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTC).

1- Turn Ignition switch to OFF & Run/Stop switch is to Run.
2- Push odometer reset button in & hold.
3- Turn ignition switch to Ignition and release odometer reset button. Background
lighting sould illuminate, speedometer needle should sweep its full range and
indicator lamps (battery, security, low fuel, check engine and cruise) should
illuminate. The word “diag” should then appear.
4 – Push the odometer reset button once and you will see the selection menu “PSSPt”
with the first P flashing.
5 – Each letter represents an area of the diagnostics module. The module that is
flashing is the one you are going to check. To move from one letter (module) to the
next, you push the odometer reset button one time. (from P to S to SP to t and back
to P, etc.)
P = ECM/ICM (Electronic Control Module [EFI] / Ignition Control Module
S = TSM/TSSM (Turn Signal/ Turn Signal Security Module)
SP = speedometer
T = tachometer
6 – To get the DTC within an area of diagnostics, push and hold the odometer reset
button in for 5 seconds and release. If there are any DTC’s the code will be displayed
or the word “none” will appear if there are no DTC’s. Push the odometer reset button
again to view additional codes if they exist.
7 – Record the codes.
8 – If DTC’s are not to be cleared, Press and release the odometer reset button. Part
number of module will be displayed.
NOTE: To determine if a code is current or historic, clear the displayed code by
pushing in and holding the odometer reset button ( longer than 5 seconds) until
‘clear’ comes up. Release the odometer reset button. Turn OFF the ignition switch.
Run your bike and shut it down then recheck the DTC’s again by repeating steps 1 to
9. If the code is current it will reappear.
9 – Press and release the odometer reset button to continue to the next module.
10 – Turn Ignition switch to OFF.
On models not equipped with a tachometer “No Rsp” will appear when the
tachometer identifer is selected.
“No Rsp” will also appear if the run/off switch is in the off position when doing this
“BUS Er” Serial data bus shorted/low/open/high
B0563 Battery Voltage High TSM/TSSM
B1004 Fuel Level Sending Unit Low Instruments
B1005 Fuel Level Sending Unit High/Open Instruments
B1006 Accessory Line Overvoltage Instruments
B1007 Ignition Line Overvoltage Instruments
B1008 Reset Switch Closed Instruments
B1122 Right turn output fault
B1131 Alarm Output Low TSM/TSSM
B1132 Alarm Output High TSM/TSSM
B1134 Starter Output High TSM/TSSM
B1135 Accelerometer Fault TSM/TSSM
B1141 Ignition switch open/low
B1151 Sidecar BAS Low TSM/TSSM
B1152 Sidecar BAS High TSM/TSSM
B1153 Sidecar BAS Out of Range TSM/TSSM
P0106 MAP Sensor Rate of Range Error Carb
P0107 Map Sensor Failed Open/Low Carb
P0107 Map Sensor Open/Low EFI
P0108 Map Sensor Failed High Carb
P0108 Map Sensor High EFI
P0112 IAT Sensor Voltage Low EFI
P0113 IAT Sensor Voltage Open/High EFI
P0117 ET Sensor Voltage Low EFI
P0118 ET Sensor Voltage Open/High EFI
P0122 TP Sensor Open/Low EFI
P0123 TP Sensor High EFI
P0131 Front 02 sensor low (lean)
P0132 Engine running rich
P0134 Front 02 sensor open/not responding
P0151 Rear 02 sensor low (lean)
P0152 Rear 02 sensor high (rich)
P0154 Rear 02 sensor open/not responding
P0261 Front Injector Open/Low EFI
P0262 Front Injector High EFI
P0263 Rear Injector Open/Low EFI
P0264 Rear Injector High EFI
P0373 CKP Sensor Intermittent Carb
P0373 CKP Sensor Intermittent EFI
P0374 CKP Sensor Not Detected Carb
P0374 CKP Sensor Synch Error EFI
P0501 VSS Low Carb
P0501 VSS Low EFI
P0502 VSS High/Open Carb
P0502 VSS High/Open EFI
P0505 Loss of Idle Sped Control EFI
P0562 Battery Voltage Low Carb
P0562 Battery Voltage Low EFI
P0563 Battery Voltage High Carb
P0563 Battery Voltage High EFI
P0602 Calibration Memory Error Carb
P0603 EEPROM Failure Carb
P0604 RAM Failure Carb
P0605 Program Memory Error Carb
P0605 ECM Flash Error EFI
P0607 Converter Error Carb
P0661 Intake solenoid low/open
P0662 Intake solenoid high/shorted
P1001 System Relay Coil Open/Low EFI
P1002 System relay Coil High/Shorted EFI
P1003 System relay Contacts Open EFI
P1004 System Relay Contacts Closed EFI
P1009 Incorrect Password Carb
P1009 Incorrect Password EFI
P1010 Missing Password Carb
P1010 Missing Password EFI
P1351 Front Ignition Open/Low Carb
P1351 Front Ignition Open/Low EFI
P1352 Front Ignition Coil High/Shorted Carb
P1352 Front Ignition Coil High/Shorted EFI
P1353 Front Cylinder No Combustion EFI
P1354 Rear Ignition Coil Open/Low Carb
P1354 Rear Ignition Coil Open/Low EFI
P1355 Rear Ignition Coil High/Shorted Carb
P1355 Rear Ignition Coil High/Shorted EFI
P1356 Rear Cylinder No Combustion EFI
P1357 Intermittent Secondary Front EFI
P1358 Intermittent Secondary Rear EFI
U1016 Loss of ICM/ECM Serial Data Instruments
U1016 Loss of ECM Serial Data, Vehicle Speed, Vehicle Inhibit Motion or Powertrain
Security Status TSM/TSSM
U1064 Loss of TSM/TSSM Serial Data Carb
U1064 Loss of TSM/TSSM Serial Data EFI
U1064 Loss of TSM/TSSM Serial Data Instruments
U1097 Loss of Speedometer Serial data Carb
U1097 Loss of Speedometer Serial data EFI
U1097 Loss of Speedometer Serial data TSM/TSSM
U1255 Missing Message at Speedometer EFI
U1255 Serial Data Error/Missing Message EFI
U1255 Serial Data Error/Missing Message Instruments
U1255 Serial Data Error/Missing Message TSM/TSSM
U1300 Serial Data Low Carb
U1300 Serial Data Low EFI
U1300 Serial Data Low Instruments
U1300 Serial Data Low TSM/TSSM
U1301 Serial Data Open/High Carb
U1301 Serial Data Open/High EFI
U1301 Serial Data Open/High Instruments
U1301 Serial Data Open/High TSM/TSSM
2006 models with 02 sensors (Dynas)
P0131 Front 02 sensor lean for any length of time
P0151 Rear 02 sensor lean for any length of time
Above codes can also be set if 02 sensor fails.
AFR – Air Fuel Ratio
ATS – Air Temperature Sensor
BAS – Bank Angle Sensor
CCM – Cruise Control Module
CKP – Crank Position Sensor. The CKP generates an “AC signal” which is sent to the
ECM where it is used to reference engine position (TDC) and speed. Home position
established by taking readings off the 22 teeth on the alternator rotor.
DTC – Diagnostic Trouble Codes
ECM – Electronic Control Module. (The Computer) Computes the spark advance for
proper ignition timing and fuel control based on sensor inputs (from CKP, MAP & TP
sensors) and controls the low-voltage circuits for the ignition coils and injectors. The
dwell time for the ignition coil is also calculated in the microprocessor and is
dependent upon battery voltage. The programmed dwell feature gives adequate
spark at all speeds.
ECT – Engine Coolant Temperature. Sensor also controls the cooling fan relay that
provides 12 Vdc to the fans.
EFI – Electronic Fuel Injection
EFP – Electronic Fuel Pump
ET – Engine Temperature sensor
FI – Fuel Injectors
FPR – Fuel Pressure regulator
IAC – Idle Air Control actuator
IAT – Intake Air Temperature sensor
ISS – Ion Sensing System…detonation detection
MAP – manifold Absolute Pressure sensor. The MAP sensor monitors the intake
manifold pressure (vacuum) and sends the information to the ECM. The EMC then
adjusts the spark and fuel-timing advance curves for optimum performance.
TP – Throttle Position Sensor
TSM/TSSM (Turn Signal/ Turn Signal Security Module)
VE – Volume EfficiencyVSS – Vehicle Speed Sensor. Used as an input for idle speed control

Day Two: Roanoke; Disaster Strikes

Bad news today when we head out this morning. We had another pretty big day, including the Tail of the Dragon in Tennessee. We left the hotel at about 8 or 8:30 and as we were pulling out onto the interstate, all of a sudden Brent and Pam pulled off onto the shoulder. He said that as he went into 5th gear the engine started cutting out.

After looking the bike over Brent tried to run it again and we noticed some smoke coming out of a drainage pipe in the front. So Brent took off the air filter and we saw smoke coming off the carbs and oil dripping out.

We thought that if he was burning oil, it would be bad to try and ride it anymore in case the oil ran out and the engine seized. So I went off to find a repair shop that could tow the bike. Unfortunately, it being Sunday and being in a small town, everything was closed. So finally after about an hour and a half, Pam and Brent sitting in the sun on the side of the road the whole time, I managed to get a tow truck to come out. For a pretty hefty price, we then took the bike to the nearby Kawasaki dealership where we parked it til someone could look at it on Monday.

The rest of the day was just spent sorting things out back in the hotel. Most of the planning couldn’t be figured out until we knew more about the bike, particularly how long and how expensive the repairs would be. The bad news is though that it doesn’t look like Pam and Brent will be able to continue on to New Orleans.

Winter Storage

That time has come here in Ontario.

Some have already stored their bikes, some keep it ready for any final decent riding days.

Buck has already mentioned a fantastic service for storing your bike through the winter here. This post is for those who, like me, will store the bike themselves.

I don’t claim to be an expert on this, but I’ve done quite a bit of research and am providing you with the info I intend to use for my storing process.

First off, I’ve heard some complaints about ‘Stabil’, the fuel additive that keeps gas fresh through storage. Not that it doesn’t do the job but that bikes stored with ‘Stabil’ run ‘crappy’ after the winter. As an alternative ‘Sea Foam’ apparently works great. It is a fuel additive that, among other things, cleans injectors and carbs, adds lubricity, restores power, removes moisture, cleans carbon, stabilizes fuel, smooths rough idle, and assures fast starts. I’ve had trouble finding it so far but when I do I will post the source (you can check some stores in the shops section of the sidebar).

The instructions for storage using ‘Sea Foam’ involves adding 1/3 of the bottle, filling up the gas tank, and riding for about 5 minutes after warming the bike up before parking it.

I also suggest removing your battery and putting it on a trickle charger throughout the winter. This will insure battery power for the spring so you won’t have to wait to get back on the road again!

If you have a chain driven bike, I suggest thoroughly cleaning and lubing it before storage. Again, this will reduce any work come the spring and get you back on the road immediately.

I’ve read it is a good idea to change the oil for storage. Used oil has certain acids and contaminants that leech out during prolonged idle periods. It has been suggested you put in cheap oil to store throughout the winter, then change with your usual oil and a new oil filter come the spring. See our oil changing video tutorial here.

Another idea is to wrap bags over the exhaust pipes to keep the moisture out.

I’m storing my bike in my clean and dry garage this winter. Ideally you should put something under the bike to keep it off the concrete – like a blanket. I also wrap it in a blanket to prevent any dust and moisture that might occur. I plan on doing some work on it throughout the winter so having access to it will make the work that much easier.

I also like to clean my bike before putting it in storage. I always say, ‘A clean bike is a happy bike!’.

Hope this helps out and if you have any tips of your own please do share in the comments!

Also, keep checking in to Rubber on the Road for work updates and general bike talk throughout the off-season!