1958 Royal Enfield Meteor Minor - Part IV

August 31, 2015

A rebuild draws to a close, and Gerry Atric makes a discovery about Lucas alternators which may help you if your electrical system fails to charge its battery properly...

Assembling my large DIY motorbike kit was not without its snags. For a start I was a little disappointed with how brittle the stove-enamelling was. While fitting the engine into the frame I knocked several lumps out of the coating with what I thought were only light taps. However the base coat was unaffected and I was able to touch in the knocks with black cellulose with no visible ill effects. Serves me right for being so clumsy!

From the left...

Spraying the tank and the mudguards in Ford Velvet Red proved no problem with a German Wagner solenoid operated gun. It prayed well, except at abnormal angles so the parts had to be arranged to make spraying easy. The Ford colour turned out to be an excellent match when compared with another Meteor Minor still in its original factory paint.

The rest of the bike went together without a hitch, or so I thought until I lifted the bike off its blocks and put it on the centrestand. Fortunately, I caught it before it hit the deck! It did not take too long to fathom out the problem. The so-called 'correct' spring units for the rear suspension turned out to be one and a half inches too long...

From the right...

I found a buyer for those wrong units (he was a BSA man) and to get a correct pair so that the bike could stand up on its own. The other problem took longer to cure.

By this time I'd built the bike and got it MoT'd and was using it for work. The Enfield ran beautifully but would not give full charge. After a day or two's running the battery had to be given a boost. With the help of friends and meters we checked everything, and it all seemed OK. We decided that it must be the alternator but still could not find a fault. Yet when we tried a different alternator the ammeter needle immediately tried to break out of its case!

Eventually we found that the stator was OK but I had the wrong rotor. With a different rotor fitted I could've charged a hundred batteries. Physically the two rotors looked the same and neither had a part number to identify them. It turned out that the iron cores were of different dimensions, affecting the magnetic lining-up within the stator.

Of course, all you Lucas experts out there will be saying; 'fancy not knowing that!'.

Well I do. NOW!

So there it was. One Meteor Minor back in running order and ready for action in the 1980s. After a couple of years' use the front forks needed re-bushing, and then I stopped using the bike for regular rides - partly because the old drum brakes didn't really feel up to modern traffic conditions. The Minor was put away to be used on high days and holidays.

Enfield Stuff on

...and from the olden days.

And that brings us to the current era when I decided to get the Enfield back on the road again. I was hoping to have it back on the road again for Whitsun 2005 but, 20 years after I first rebuilt the Minor, it was going to need doing all over again...

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