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General Category => Microcar News => Topic started by: Big Al on November 26, 2015, 10:29:55 AM

Title: Mini Cometesse work
Post by: Big Al on November 26, 2015, 10:29:55 AM
The incoming Mini Comtesse has been put to the garage to resolve some issues.

It has been unused for a few years but a quick service got it going. It was willing enough going up and down the lane, but continually seemed to be getting too hot, or stalling. Eventually the electrics began to draw a lot of current and driving in the dark become next to impossible. All a bit odd

So it was pretty clear there was a electrical drain somewhere. A check of the system revealed a pair of over spec halogen bulbs in the headlights. So that was draining the system, in use. Removing the blower wheel and casing from the Sachs 47cc unit allowed a view of the starter unit. I slid out the brushes to isolate the live circuit. Immediately I could see the problem. One of the stator coils was shorting, sending puffs of smoke out, each time the starter button was pressed.

So off with the Motoplat Spanish made unit - not the expected Bosch. This is held on by only three set screws. An unhappy arrangement. It was pretty clear someone had been here before. On one of the set screws the shrunk wrapped plastic insulation had become caught in the threads and had unscrewed itself leaving bare some 5mm of bare steel the other end. It was here the unit was shorting as the coils have only shellac and are hard against the set screws. A poor design.

I managed to reposition the insulation, but switched the set screws round as one was a much less tight fit, the bad one went there. The coil itself showed little damage and I added some insulation, tied on with cotton and doped with some shellac. Pigging difficult with my sausage fingers at the other end of a closed cylinder! My collection of tweezers and probs once again paid their dues.
The unit was put back together and we had integrity of circuits. However now the starter struggled to turn. Taking it off again it was clear that the commutator had been rubbing on part of the stator. Here some fiddling revealed that this unit has no way of locating it centrally that I could find then. With three set screws it is all to easy to be off centre. However despite that the commutator, presumably mounted on a taper, did not look like it was centred. A pencil held across showed a slight eccentric rotation. I am at a loss to understand how that has happened but only removal will eliminate the possibilities. Dirt on the taper, the wrong key in the keyway, or a bent crank or commutator! Experience has taught me not to discount some Herbert in here with a big hammer.

As a test of the rest of the car I put it back together. The play in the stator mount was such I could create enough room for the unit to work fine, but with the brushes moving a lot, sparking. The car ran up but we then ran into some fuelling dramas. This was an issue to resolve later, so that is where work stopped. I need to get the commutator off the crank to see if I can get it to fit and have the assembly central. I feel sure there should be a couple of dowels or a flange to place the stator firmly in the correct place. If not these later engines are not as good a quality as the earlier ones. Seems unlikely.

For the rest of the car there have been some tidying of wire ends, earthing and such. The speedo does not work the Huret speedo. Not looked at that yet. This version has never had waist lights, nor pedal power. Sadly its lost the original rear lights, but the replacements use the same holes, I think. Given supply, an easy reversion to original. Less certain about the headlights. Not sure what was the original fitment, maybe only the bulbs were changed. Brilliantly the wiper motor retains its hand switch on the end, but is wired to a remote switch too. So it can be turned off twice!.

The cycleparts, brakes and steering show minimal wear and overall its in very good condition, no damage, green interior in perfect order. I had to rebuild the locking double door lock. Who ever put it together last time had assembled it to work backwards, thus the tab that locks the bezel had been able to fall sideways slightly and no longer was the cam on the end of the lock able to rotate it fully. Easy mistake to make and I bet others have done the same. Its a weak handle design on that door and I can imagine it being a nuisance. The ordinary door only locks from the inside. I think both are borrowed from Citroen.

Once I have resolved the car back to working, it will be available to a buyer. It has its 1975 registration already, so £17 or tax free next year, as its a 3 wheeled Moped class. Perfect for under-age driving too. Light enough to restrict the speed and use as a pavement mobility car. Goes very well. with more to come I think. Not sure tuning is plum. The auto box changes beautifully and holds gear on demand. Not seen a better one and this one should sell on the button, ready to go.
Title: Re: Mini Cometesse work
Post by: steven mandell on November 27, 2015, 08:34:40 AM
High order trouble shooting Al.
All those years of experience and clear thinking paying of here
It will be interesting to discover the source of your commutators eccentricity.  Likely more simple than your own.
Was yours built in 1975?  I trust it is the three wheeler without the extra front training wheels.  I have one of these on the way that has lost its front bonnet.  Are they the same as the ones used on my early (1973) 5 wheel version?   If they are, I at least have an original to pull a mold from.

Let me know if you need referential info from my early car.  Cleaning the tank is easy enough, as it does out with loosening of the straps.  Cleaning the gas valve helped one of my fuel supply issues.  But whilst rebuiling mine's carb I noticed that the float was inexplicably partially melted in appearance.   [Anyone know where i can find a replacement float?].  This brought its centralizing spear out of centricity.   I centered this locating spear by very careful bending and polished the shaft and ends to allow both better vertical float motion and sealing off of gas flow when the float chamber  fills.   But the arrangement still requires me to perform a very siily looking but effective ritual each time that i start it. I start by sealing my mouth firmly over the gas cap affixing protruberance on the gas tank.   I then blow mightily into the tank whilst pushing down on the external end of the float tickler.  Usually 3 times is enough to see some gas over flow.  It then starts instantly with just the slightest of choke.  Good entertainment for the masses.

My windshield wiper is the motor less hand operated one- so more reliable and less electrical drain as well as higher laugh factor.
Title: Re: Mini Cometesse work
Post by: Big Al on November 27, 2015, 11:24:29 AM
Looking for info on the dynostart I found this, presumably on the auto clutch. Needs translation prog but just adds to the excitement.

I also want to check which way round my carb needle is - might be causing my fuelling prob. My float is brass. More on that later.
Title: Re: Mini Comtesse work
Post by: Big Al on November 29, 2015, 09:19:38 AM
Well part of yesterday was spent fiddling with the Sachs engine, in between despatching the last of the Invacars in long storage here to Simon, and picking out the 'best' Villiers engine for a buyer. I sincerely hope it is, but its hard to pick out of three very similar lumps each with slightly differing issues visible. I think he chose right as oil came out of the one taken, suggesting clean internals.

The fiddle to set up a test on the commutator was worth it. My dial gauge has got busted in the move, a spindle bearing has come out and vanished. So I did it electronically. That is run a loop of wire through a multimeter and made a prob from thick household mains cable. This was then set to run on the denuded snub end where the cam lives. Several runs were needed to find any areas that the contact broke. It was found to be in one continuing area over the rest of the rotation, meaning the Commutator is slightly miss aligned. I do not have the extracting tool to hand.
The base plate of the starter was behind the stator. It to was on three fasteners and turned out to sit in the machined position of where a magneto would sit on a kicker engine as a conversion plate. With the screws loose this rotated about the set screws easily. But it also had a small amount of up/down play. So how do you get that bang in the centre? I am attempting to do this with filler gauges between the outer case and the converter plate to get equal values for the three out of four directions I can measure. Such niceties might not be needed if the commutator was true but both being a little out seems to be enough to create a problem. In truth it is poor engineering accuracy, and design. Is the Bosch unit the same?

I have located a source of the correct rear lights, this being a later car. Some ruminating on the age suggests the 1982 issued number might well be earlier, at 1975, that the vehicle actually was made. Buy using the French homologation date for the 'MK2' MINI COMTESSE IT MIGHT BE THAT THIS IS SOMETHING LIKE A 1978 CAR, IN REALITY. A COLLECTION OF SOME CHASSIS NUMBERS ASSOCIATED WITH KNOWN MANUFACTURED/SUPPLIED DATES WOULD SERVE TO INDICATE A RECOGNISABLE PATTERN OF DATING for these cars. This in itself would make gaining a V5 easier as DVLA can be given a year in which the car was made with the confidence of back up info. This car having a V5, the date is somewhat academic, but I like to know such things to get the right bits to repair it with.

On which topic. I would like to see if I can buy a pair of headlights. I am certain mine are not correct. I would expect Cibie, CAV or some such. They habitually have yellow bulbs, or reflectors, for that French character. So can anyone tell me what units these should be.

I was looking for clues and came open Steve being interviewed and filmed arriving for the Lemon award at Monterey? The car was looking and sounding good so clearly the unusual design baffled into placement as a Lemon.

Found a load of other stuff I did not know about too. Stuart was here helping so I might have set him off on a hunt for more oddities. He was able to negotiate DVLA's systems and we pretty much proved that my car is the ex Bob Cotton car, possibly the first that came into the country. Its famously pictured being push started (not easy on an automatic) by Micro Maniacs during a Weston Park? Rally.  Did it complete the slalom thus, I forget. Does this suggest Alan Forster as pilot? So its probably on the Register.
Title: Re: Mini Cometesse work
Post by: Big Al on January 03, 2016, 10:44:52 AM
Various diversions, but back to this car. I hand no puller to get the commutator off the crank. The system is much like an BMW Isetta or Goggomobil where there are, in this case 10mm threads in the commutator and 6mm threads in the crank. Thus a tool can be placed in the larger thread to bare on the end of the crank and get the unit off.  THe smaller thread carrying a long bolt to hold the assembly to the crank in use. (BMW/Goggo, I think it is 14mm and 10mm)

Without a puller its always a uncomfy moment to put a made up shaft of steel in and nip it up with a handy bolt. If it failed to work, is soft steel or some other issue unseen is lurking, you can get into frustrating problems, even to the point of a scrap crank. I put a little tension on, but it just did not feel right. So back off and out. Yet even now the shaft I put in would not come back out of the hole. So we drilled a hole in the end and put a screw into it. Nope, full movement sideways but it would not withdraw. So it must have belled out, though it looked OK. Swear words.

I now had an idea I should have had first. Tip the car over and fill the hole in the dynostart up with oil from a syringe. Took three goes to get enough air out of the volume inside. Since you cannot compress a liquid and  it pushes equally on all surfaces it does not force the stuckl rod stuck any further and should pop the unit off its taper. It did. One up to brain cells.

Now we could see the rod I had put in. It was bonded to some other metal that was itself stuck in the crank threads. Gingerly I got a pair of pliers to unscrew this failed thing. fearing it would shear off at the beginning of the thread leaving more drilling to be done. Luckily it all unscrewed leaving some pretty damaged threads. A look at the taper and key told the story. I was right. Someone had been in there and the key was displaced high to the front by swarf underneath it. The sort of black oil stain you get on these joints, at the clench edge, showed an area that had been a gap in line with the keyway. Evidence it was not on square. It was just being held off square by the swarf, but the taper was good enough to grip none the less. The Afternoon of work ended with a search for my taps so I could clean up the 6mm crank thread. They proved more elusive than some ale and cheese. But I feel confident that reassembly will provide a centre set dynostarter and hopefully, therefore a free and fully functional engine.

The remaining mystery is how the fastening bolt was doing anything and remained in place. The end is damaged so it may have been screwed into the remains I destroyed with my little shaft. I shall have to measure it. maybe its to short for the real task.
Title: Re: Mini Cometesse work
Post by: steven mandell on January 03, 2016, 05:57:09 PM
Fascinating tale of brains over brawn.
If I am conceiving properly- would a shorter made up threaded rod section been able to avoid the belling?
Have you ever had any luck with a poor man's hardening of heating up your made up tool with a torch till the right color glow achieved, and then suddenly dunking in an oil bath?
If so, could that have helped?
So the winning ticket was  to compress the oil in the chamber created behind your made up threaded shaft insert tool, by screwing in the center bolt?

Hopefully a longer highly hardened bolt and perhaps a flat bottom tap chasing out your crank threads to a deeper depth will save your day now.
I wouldn't have dared do anything but research on the internet and other sources to try to find someone selling the needed tool, and waited the requisite period to receive it in the mail.
Good thing your brains are as big as your bravado!

I will be working on my newly received Solyto, and Super today.
My day yesterday was similarly frustrating as a well meaning, but overly eager volunteer helper hit the gas pedal whilst I had the top to the air piston of the Solyto's Gutner RN 17 carb unscrewed.  A "ping" was heard and the piston slide return spring no longer see , as the gas pedal plunge had caused the molded lug at the end of the throttle cable to escape from its angled bore in the no longer angle constrained(it was out of its bore) throttle piston.   
To make matters worse, the car was outside at the time.  After an hour thoroughly visually searching the engine compartment and a radius of about 30 feet from the epi center, and literally picking up the front end of the car a couple of feet and dropping it to shake anything loose out- nothing but swear words.  Metal detector faired no better. 
About this time my underly cautious assistant decided to over come what was noted to be a kink of resistance in the steering, by twisting the wheel back and forth harder each pass.  Before I could get him to stop- it released.  I then noted an extension spring on the floor of the INTERIOR of the car.
Knowing that the missing spring was a compression spring, I dismissed it as an extra problem in some as yet unseen chain tensioning system.  However, after discovering a thoroughly mangled spring rung remanent under the seat an hour later, I decided to have a closer look at the found extension spring.  It had the obligatory hook on one end, but ended with a flattened coil on the other end. 

After realizing that there could be no use for  a spring that was configured for compression on one end and extension at the other, I realized that my assistants rowing at the wheel must have caused the modification toi the compression spring, and spit out a rung and a half worth of remnants in the process! So the spring had shot the improbable path through the small opening in the firewall and got caught in the steering chain, in an area that is well hidden from prying eyes.    I have managed to reconfigure the hairpin twist in this hardened throttle piston spring into a useful rung, but would have too short an overall length if I were to create a flattened rung in the end.  So there is inevitably some side thrust on the piston due to the spring's new end configuration causing it to lean away from its landing.  Three hours in hardware stores looking at about a thousand springs to no avail.

Anyone got a clue where the right one could be found?
 Next the bung at the end of the throttle cable popped off, and then escaped from an unnoticed small hole a plastic jar that I had placed it in for safe keeping somewhere  between my spring shopping travels.  Another hour of scouring floors and parking lots for the tiny piece before I threw in the towel on finding and re soldering it.  The local bicycle shop provided me a thinner but strong stainless steel cable and housing, but with a bigger bung that I hope to grind to fit by spinning the cable by hand against my sanding disk.

Now the Comtesse Super.  Its entire fuel delivery system is only about 14" long yet had 6 leaks.  After trying to rebuild the petcock with every metric sized O ring that I could find at the parts store, I spent a few hours on the internet and phone, and replaced the whole valve and a low resistance inline filter for just $20.  Hopefully it will become a runner without the unnecessary  downward spiraling of disasters of the Solyto, as I will be working alone this time.   
Title: Re: Mini Cometesse work
Post by: Big Al on January 04, 2016, 09:25:05 AM
Fascinating tale of brains over brawn.
If I am conceiving properly- would a shorter made up threaded rod section been able to avoid the belling?
Have you ever had any luck with a poor man's hardening of heating up your made up tool with a torch till the right color glow achieved, and then suddenly dunking in an oil bath?
If so, could that have helped?
So the winning ticket was  to compress the oil in the chamber created behind your made up threaded shaft insert tool, by screwing in the center bolt?

Hopefully a longer highly hardened bolt and perhaps a flat bottom tap chasing out your crank threads to a deeper depth will save your day now.
I wouldn't have dared do anything but research on the internet and other sources to try to find someone selling the needed tool, and waited the requisite period to receive it in the mail.

The tool for removal is a 10 mm threaded bolt with a machined down prob on the end that I geuss must be 8mm. THe idea being it winds into the commutator and the prob lodges against the shoulder of the crank, not the threads. Then it is turned and given a smart tap to break the tension in the taper. I attempted to make a two part version. Where I failed is because the remains of something else where left in side the assembly, presumably after a failed attempt to remove the commutator with some spacer of soft material. I think this had been drilled into and a bolt wound in to effect the look of a correct assembly. In fact it was a mess.

The repair will be to recover the crank's 6 mm thread and find a new bolt to fasten the commutator in place. Such is the fit of the clean taper just hand fitting it means its hard to shift. We are not looking at something wound to a high lb ft. Hopefully this will remove the eccentric movement and the dynostart can be set up to work without extra friction, nor deviant points response. If so then the rest of the engine is very willing to give good power.

i still need to find out what the correct brand of headlight should be. I have found the rear light units new for this particular model. Those items done the car really is pretty much bung perfect and will want a new owner who can actually use it.

The ability of parts to get to what seems impossible places is an ever gnoring source of irritation. It is also exacerbated by the 'helpful', who seem never to fully appreciate that fixing cars is a logical progression, not playing around with random assemblies unbidden. Unless they can be kept busy, they are often more of a distraction. Yet those same 'helpers' never have the patience to clean up things or do repetitive tasks. The graft of self maintenance. Real helpers tend to fit in without having to be told what to do as they understand what is going on. The 'helper' will then expect your reciprocation on his car, where you fix it, because he actually does not know how too, despite having better tools that you have got. Generally the deal with 'helpers' is not worth it.
For instance, a 'helper' managed to nearly loose the woodruff key from the Comtesse Commutator by sprawling over the car, dislodging it from its resting place. All the nuts and bolts got moved, not to the same place. Then he blew a fuse on the TT mucking about with switches, while I was circuit testing. A set of test that, of course, told me nothing, since I was not aware switches had been changed. And so it goes on. Because they endlessly fidget these folk never watch and learn from what you are doing. Which is the most annoying thing of all. You know your going to get asked the same question in some future situation.

As to resolving the spring issue. Hard to say without seeing the assembly. But there seems to have been a problem with the throttle return, before you intervened in the assembly, from what I picked up in my other messages I have yet to catch up with. That the cable end should fail, or pull through, is a fair amount of pressure.  I can only admire your bravado of taking on cars not fully running, and/or unseen, as projects bought in. I always assume stuff has been mullered until proven otherwise as I am conv9inced that 95% of people these days cannot fix a thing properly. Without the benefit of knowing what should be there it is thus very hard to return some things to functionality. Again the TT is a perfect example. Who ever built it never bothered to do a wiring diagram. The wires are inconsistent colours on a run, they are neither Messeschmitt, nor CN250. Some wiring is yards to long, others just reach. Its a complete nightmare to fix as most of the spade connectors are cheap and loose. When they fall off its very hard to know where they came from. Its a botch from one end to the other. I have given up. The car needs rebuilding and if that is the case it wants Schmitt front axles on it so it actually works as a car, rather than a random directional coin ride.
Title: Re: Mini Cometesse work
Post by: steven mandell on January 04, 2016, 11:37:39 AM
Picture of Gurtner carb piston spring post having the Solyto chain drive steering mechanism chewing off a rung and a half, and my carefully reconfiguring the thus modified faux extension spring attachment loop into a useful rung. So overall length and resistance about the same now, but a little sideways thrust created by now unlevel perch.
My high idle speed was more likely caused by the carb's air piston's vertical groove not quite matching the clocking of the screw tip guide installed in the side of the piston's cylinder wall.
The popping off of the end of cable bung was due to my correcting the path of the throttle cable through the firewall, and then turning the engine and front wheel assembly to full left lock.  Even my new cable and housing that I installed today cannot accomodate this action, as it turns out that the "original" beat up cable housing, was probably just a beat up non original piece, that became thus endowed by virtue of its improper routing causing it to get beaten by a tie rod in severe left hand turns.  I unwittingly copied its too short cable housing length that was based on its improper routing, so wasted much time on precisely getting the bung end piece to a perfect stab fit into the top of the air piston's receiving bore.  I will have to start over again with a new longer cable and housing after a short sanity break.

What "TT" are you referring to?
I presume its not an NSU, or Audi.
Am I correct in presuming the CN 250 to be its Honda produced powerplant?
Title: Re: Mini Cometesse work
Post by: Big Al on January 04, 2016, 01:35:16 PM
Tri Tech. Normally I am breaking them up after a crash or fire. This one has not worked long enough to have one yet.
Title: Re: Mini Cometesse work
Post by: Big Al on January 19, 2016, 05:06:19 PM
Finally recovering from multiple illness after Christmas. Seems Vitamin supplements helped a lot. All that dull weather, no D3

So finally got to strip the second rebuilt Sachs 200 engine. Nice unit with steel conrod serviced crank on 66mm, second, new oversize piston. An expensive job these days. So if my client has sorted himself elsewhere that can go back on the shelf as stock. The other just needs a new piston and a better head cleaned up to be a very good unit too. Piston is fine for a spare engine, but not in a unit to sell on.

So the other job half finished was to get the Sachs in the Mini Comtesse back together. This needed a 6 mm tap, which I have found. I do not know if the damaged thread pre existed my efforts or if I have added to them. Certainly there is older damage to the face of the crank. That has been dressed up. All is ready to attempt to clean the unit out. But I decided to put off lying on the floor till tomorrow's daylight and an an old dovet to lie on.

Instead I scrapped two poor black boxes for parts. A time consumming activity as some of the rusted fasteners are difficult to remove. Both these are ex IC. But there is call for the manual switch gear now. Folk on a budget can use them on Villiers and such. a £5 answer to a Schmitt priced answer. Adds to my two large boxes of used coils. Really out to take these to a jumble as ideal spares for those touring, or on a budget.

Great to be back doing stuff.
Title: Re: Mini Cometesse work
Post by: steven mandell on January 20, 2016, 01:16:01 PM
Great to have you back online Al. :)
Just got my hoodless, seat bottomless Comtesse model 770 running well last evening after installing new and properly sized fuel line and filter, and fuel tap, and carefully rebuilding the non stock carb that wasn't allowing any gas through the truly tiny idle circuit orofices.
Had to refine a strip of polyethylene into an adaptor collar for compression mounting it onto the engine's protruding intake tube so that it wouldn't slip off or leak air into the intake charge.

Can't wait to take it out for a run today to see how she goes.
Engine started immediately, ran quietly and did not fill the barn with smoke after a full 5 minute indoor run.

Wondering if there is any reasonable fix for the curious mismatch that has some how gotten the choke to activate only when the dashboard knob is pushed fully in.
A bit awkward and anti intuitive to have the knob sticking out away from the dash when fully warmed up.
Or do I just add this to its already impressive list of needlessly distinguishing oddities?  Can't say that such a trait would betray its overall appearance for that matter.
Title: Re: Mini Cometesse work
Post by: Big Al on January 23, 2016, 08:44:12 AM
The joys of modified machines Steve. Choke sounds odd. But then some just have a strangler, and why not if it works as its simple. At least these issues are exchangeable if truly needed.

Here I have spent several hours salvaging the Sachs Crank on the Mini Comtesse. It has been in the hands of a very heavy handed person. First task was to clean up the thread of the crank so that the commutator retaining bolt, replaced from one of my amazing bit boxes. Same spec! Must have come from one of the clearances or a Mannheim box of crap deals. Just shows the boxes of old fasteners are worth keeping. Each gem getting you out of a jam is worth a wedge of dosh saved in getting stuck. I would say that the old bolt had been modified to go in. It probably did little but stay put. In the end I had to run a drill in to clear the hole back to the threads. Then create a frame to hold the crank and hold the tap at right angles so that I could then find the start of the thread and apply pressure to start the cut of the ingressed softer metal from whatever had been used as a distance piece in the previous attempt to pull the unit off. A task I could not rush, and I took out a bit at a time, it getting easier as I gained good thread.

The new bolt offered, it went in with no interruption on the second attempt and having passed the first few poor threads was biting well. However thoughts of assembly stalled as on offering the commutator up onto the taper I found it was wobbling. Indeed in the same plain as it was leaning previously. I removed the woodruff key think it was indeed the wrong one. Though it appeared to have swarf under it when dismantled holding it just proud. The mounted commutator still wobbled. I have not the tooling to true a taper. Thinking back to what we have I formed a theory.

Way back this engine had suffered a dynostart fault, or had been uprated to electric start. This would explain the Spanish dynostart? Who ever fitted it did not really know what they were doing. INstead of restoring the crank thread after botching the extraction, they adapted what was there and fitted the commutator by use of a mallet on the end to shock it onto the taper. I do not know how soft the steel of the crank is. Not very I would have thought. But how did he fit the woodruff key if it was not home. Ah ha! A check on the woodruff keyway slot relieved the problem. the edges were slightly raised. Chummy had hammered the key way in. We had a job to get it out. So it is the wrong woodruff key now, even if it was not at the start! The woodruff key slot has been dressed with a fine file and the commutator is now a firm fit without a key. Now to find a suitable key to use. I might have to file one down. REmember a keyway is a location device, not the item that holds the part in position, the interferance fit of the accurately matched tapers does that when they a driven together.

Such a small mistake, creating a long job, requiring great patience. But will the result yet provide a correct running engine? Should find out this weekend.

Meanwhile one Sachs engine is complete and the other awaits a new piston to be found out of my piston box, along with a better head and unmodified trumpet casing out of the stock at the shed. Then I can look at my own tuned unit for the St Helena car.
Title: Re: Mini Cometesse work
Post by: steven mandell on January 23, 2016, 12:44:41 PM
I didn't get why your new threads allowed your new found bolt to wobble.
Was there not enough meat for them to be cut into?
Did you redrill the crank hole a little deeper and end up using a bottoming tap?
Ditto the original woodruff  key now being incorrectly sized.
In which dimension did the previous gnasher's beating resize its slot?
If it is an oversized hardened key that you need to dress down, a filing of its surface seems doomed due to a lack of bite.  Perhaps a grind on your smooth cement floor, possibly aided by Emery paper and oil on a truly flat surface for the later stages will better get the job done.
Title: Re: Mini Cometesse work
Post by: Chris Thomas on January 23, 2016, 05:54:25 PM
Steven M and Big Al: A match made in Heaven.

Chris Thomas
Title: Re: Mini Cometesse work
Post by: steven mandell on January 23, 2016, 06:21:17 PM
Steven M and Big Al: A match made in Heaven.

Chris Thomas
A high compliment for me if we are to be considered equals.
However despite our having similar styles of communicating technical issues, I would consider Al to be unequaled in his near photographic memory and encyclopedic like knowledge of micro car engineering issues, as well as out of the box thinking.
Did you catch his recent post where he utilized hydraulic pressure generated by his turning in a bolt in a threaded chamber that he filled with oil?
 More than a bit of unbridled genius even if he does say so himself.

Al has amazed me in these ways dozens of times over the last few years when I have privately consulted with him.
Even my last post here is more of me questioning what he already described, rather than me making a useful suggestion, as I am sure that he is already well aware of the engineering principals/ techniques of which I speak.

Never the less, compliment graciously accepted.
Title: Re: Mini Cometesse work
Post by: Big Al on January 24, 2016, 02:08:10 AM
I am not that smart, I am afraid. I still do not build my own Sachs bottom ends/gearbox into casings, for instance. I still screw things up. I have just been around a long time and learned a lot from folk more skilled or experienced than myself. So many folk do not take the trouble to watch what the experienced do, question it to understand, and remember. Folk like Malcolm Thomas, Ian Hopkins, and so on, used to freely help those who suffered failure on rally, they still do, but with some favouritism against those who are in the same failure as three times before!  They are not present as a free RAC service to those who feel no need to learn. Your thanks to these guys is to take the knowledge they freely gave, understand it, and pass it on. Secondly it is to admit you do not know, if you do not and invite advice. There is nothing worse than wrong advice. Someone somewhere will have had a similar problem, even if it might be a different machine, or even in a differing scale of engineering. Its what draws the oily together and marks them from those who wish to, and enjoy, clean handed showing of cars. Its a different hobby, I think.

Anyway to the specific questions.

The drill was to attempt to break up the hollow plug of metal jammed into the threaded hole of the crank. THis took out metal, leaving the threads contaminated, but pretty mush unsupported by interstitial material stiffening the structural strength, but also blocking the inward passage of the tapered cutting tap. The unwanted metal was fortunately softer than the crank so it was possible to feel the start of the original thread. One chance to get it right or effectively the engine was scrap. Many would argue I over complicated the process, but I prefer to be cautious as I am not an engineer.

It was not the thread that was wobbly, well not after a couple of turns. It was the taper surface itself. Clearly a high spot, or malformation.

I think the woodruff key had been beaten into the slot with blows to its surface. This effectively flattening the key slightly, raising the edge of the key slot slightly? I suspect the key-way was either originally to tall. or the swarf made it to tall, if the swarf was really under the key. I cannot swear that it was.

I can remove and change the key, its not of tough material here. Its a location device, but also sacrificial should there be a seizure of such violence that the inertia of the dynostart might shear the crank. Better the taper face slip and the key shear off. This is more evident in the Sach 200, with a more massive dynostarter and also not unknown on the cardon shaft drive gears, if the rear wheel or chain has locked up on a KR200. Harry Conners tunned his Schmitt to rev up to some 7000 revs. The problem came when he needed to slow down quickly in an incident caused by someone else. The inertia of the dynostart turning was too great for the crank, which sheared through. In this case the woodruff key did not sacrifice itself on the slipping taper. Better that it had,

The crank I cannot exchange so I dressed the area around the key way slot to remove any high spots. Now, keyless the taper fits together without any movement. So I feel that with a correct sized (standard) key I have a repair, and that I can pull up the taper by using the 6 mm threaded bolt, as it should be done. It should not need to be excessively tight to stay put. I have not a torque setting to hand, but I guess about 65 lb ft. For me that is wrist tight.
Title: Re: Mini Cometesse work
Post by: steven mandell on January 24, 2016, 05:44:34 PM
Glad that it seems to be working out.
Do you think that it was the pounding in of too tall a key/ one with swarf under it that could have set the tapered inner surface of the flywheel akilter of its intended centering with the crank face taper?
Otherwise, I missed what caused the tilting of their mating axis in the first place.
Machinist blueing on their mating surface prior to trial fitting should reveal high spots, that could then be dealt with by a machinist, or yourself depending on severity/ surface area of protuberant material. 
Obviously a tiny bump could set off the whole assembly but be removed easily.

What do you suppose could be a good answer to the Excelsior triple's well known weakness of having its cranks additional throws (when compared to the 328 cc two cylinder base engine) located by woodruff key?
Is this also an example of a tapered fit employing the keys strictly for indexing purposes, or does the key in this context provide some more torque transmitting role?
Would a key hardened to a Rockwell hardness just below that of the surrounding seating material help in this context?
What about machining an additional key way?

Better yet has anyone else already come up with a cure for the weakness?
My motivating factor here is not only my intention to enhance reliability, but to increase output.
Note that the Kawasaki 500 triple that was gestated just a decade later put out a healthy and reliable 60 h.p., which is double that of the Excelsior of similar displacement and configuration.

Perhaps with effective modification the Excelsior could be made to half make up the difference.
Title: Re: Mini Cometesse work
Post by: Big Al on January 24, 2016, 10:42:52 PM
Well on this Sachs, I am making educated guesses. I am not really looking to go much further on it, as the project starts needing investment of cash. Easier to buy another engine as I have all the parts to make it an electric start. As it happens I think I guessed right. Hitting things is never a good policy, unless its designed to be hit.

Excelsior crank. Well its a wonderful thing that its made to come apart so easy, and can be built at home. Trouble is most homes do not have a suitable way to balance all the bits into a perfectly aligned crankshaft. If Mr Botch has been busy the ability of the assembly to dis-associated its parts in action becomes more likely, as fit is poor. Its a bit like giving a blind man the job of putting the pins in the hand grenade at the end of the production line. Its only a question of time before something goes rather wrong. But certain folk have produced stunningly good machines that are rather difficult for any other Microcar to keep up with. Sadly completion shows longevity remain elusive. Its not an engine I like and I have had little to do with building the units up, other than to make runners to sell.
Likewise I do not know what grade of key would be demanded by the Excelsior. Best bet is for an Excelsior guy to chip in, but I am not sure we have any real experts on those engines within the forum. You need to talk to the Berkeley boys on this front.
Title: Re: Mini Cometesse work
Post by: Big Al on January 27, 2016, 09:10:37 AM
Success, the unit is now running true. I need to fine tune as correcting the eccentric track of the commutator has moved the cam, effectively, so the timing is out. Need to find the sweet spot. Well I wonder how long that car has been struggling to supply service carrying an injury. Maybe it would have been kept as it will probably go like stink now.

Shifted the Tri Tech Schmitt yesterday. One of my failures. The wiring was unintelligible, with no diagrams from the builder. So I never got to resolve the overheating (water pump?), put the lid back on with a new hinge, nor resolved further front suspension mods. I have to say that it was looking very tatty after its long being out of use. Hopefully the next person will have time, health and a better idea how modern electrics work. I have no idea what is wrong with on / off. Linked relays, in line with micro safety switches and relying on chokes to stop current going the wrong way is just asking for things not to work to me. I would bin all that and go back to simplicity. After all its not a CN250 scooter on two wheels anymore. Glad to see the back of it. as I can get on with the first of the years Messerschmitts. For the record a Tri Tech will go in a SWB Transit with the boot flipped over with the door off, or off if the door is on. Perfect fit.
Title: Re: Mini Cometesse work
Post by: Big Al on January 30, 2016, 08:14:09 PM
I now worked out the headlight situation. Interesting as the later units carry a W badge that I though should be Westinghouse. I was happy with that idea as Westinghouse supplied parts for the Inter. They also hold several patents on headlight technology, I believe. Its the wrong style logo  though. So it took a while to break down the lack of information.

Anyway I have got hold of some bits and this evening I have restored the componants and made up a pair of units. THis now need to be mounted onto a proper mounting gasket, and I need to alter the wiring so as to suit the correct packplates. Pity, I do not think I have a pair of yellow bulbs to give it that French look.

Tony has been round and I now know how to edit down my replacement website. So a lot of work to do there
Title: Re: Mini Cometesse work
Post by: steven mandell on January 31, 2016, 06:06:52 PM
What is this replacement website that you are referring to?
Title: Re: Mini Cometesse work
Post by: Big Al on January 31, 2016, 09:37:53 PM
The one that replace the one I stopped modifying about 10 years ago, thanks to the Inland Revenue attempting to use it to assess my tax due and rip me off. It decided me to choose cease trading, rather than to invest in growth having bought a commercial site and preparing to move. Greed and force got them what they did not want, as I have produced next to no taxable revenue for 10 years. So up yours, thieves and liars.

This was an early sign that has since come true, that running a business from then on was seen as an opportunity to systematically apply arbitrary taxes and fees to drain the self employed and small business of money. The exact opposite of the prior Tory commitment to encourage commercial activity and start being self employed or run a small business. I called it right to cease trading. Right now I am nearly out of investment in the City. Only the Pension, another rip off of broken promises, remains, and that takes a turn in a month or so. So I am out of the Government  / City hegemony of lies, traps and coming crash. So I am not paying for all these immigrants, wastrals and big whigs who produce bullshit. Indeed in a few more years I will be able to emigrate without to many problem. At that point I do not care if the country fails, not my problem. My website is a world entity, not British.

The new website will be about my interests, associated interests and links to places where parts can be obtained, but it will not be a commercial outlet, other then market my cars to be cleared from the collection. It will probably develop organically depending how things go. I am making no predictions or commitments. But it might become the window through which folk and I communicate. I am not interested in Facebook stealth theft or light weight activity. If your serious you get in a do the job properly. A website is not expensive nowadays. A website should grow into a repository of useful information. More accessible than a stack of printed magazines or a forum date based stack of information. I do not know how far I can go down this route on my own. But it is clearly the way forward.

As with microcars, driving them was/is to be at the front of what is going on, so with what replaces the failing club scene, driving your own web presence is to go where you want to. It will be good for my brain to, over the years to come.

A longer and much more frightening answer than you expected, I think!

Meanwhile the little Saxonette is now running freely and crisply. Need to do some circuits to tune it into the sweet spot. The lights to be sorted and fitted and we about there. I will put it against anyone else’s.
Title: Re: Mini Cometesse work
Post by: steven mandell on February 02, 2016, 12:13:02 PM
It's a shame that the world never got to see an expansion of your trading.
In the early to mid nineties, from my far away perch in Los Angeles, the very existence of "Alan's Unusual Microcars" seemed as whimsical and alluring as finding a lost plateau in South America where dinosaurs still roamed freely.
The only things that I knew about Micro cars was only what I had discovered by reading a couple of World Car books from the late fifties.  I had only seen a couple of Isettas and Messerschmitts at the home of a local collector at the time that I bought my Freeway HMV from him.
The very idea that someone was actually making a business out of buying and selling alluringly original and tiny vehicles that I had not yet been even able to view seemed almost unbelievable to me.  At the risk of being rightly accused of over dramatization, I will compare it to a hungry child in Botswana first discovering that there was a real place called Disney Land where fantasy took form.

You sent me a pack of pictures of cars that you had for sale that drove me crazy with desire, but inherent limitations of letter writing and the expence and complications associated with making trans oceanic international calls at the time, combined with your own migratory patterns whilst you chased down cars and auto jumbles together with my lack of experience in dealing with so many unknowns, conspired to prevent me from ever being to actualize a purchase from you.
  I had my mind set on a Scootacar Mark one that needed finishing  for approx 1,800, an FF3 that had its door handle punched in from roll over for a good bit less, and a Heinkel powered tractor for but a few hundred quid.
I was also considering buying a completely restored brown Bond for a very reasonable sum for the proposed purpose of resale to help finance my shipping.
It took me nearly twenty years to make up for these missed opportunities.
If the internet was any where near as available and useful back then, I could have actualized my dreams much sooner. 
Your business may not be as appreciated in your homeland as it was from afar due to the much greater density of indigenous unusuals in the UK, but it is indeed a greater loss to the rest of the Micro car world that your unique business was deprived of its opportunity to expand during the era of the fully blossomed internet.

Are you sure that you couldn't make another smaller scale go at it when you eventually become based in another less taxing country?
Title: Re: Mini Cometesse work
Post by: Big Al on February 02, 2016, 08:30:00 PM
Ah, should I be based somewhere that was to reward entrepreneurial activity I would be more than tempted to do some interesting stuff. But age and health would mean it would be in a more managerial way. There are so many opportunities out there that it amazes me folk can sit around saying there is nothing to get into. Spot bots, you have to go to where the action is.
My own success is really what is now stopping me move forward. I have property, cars, spares all to sort out, and reduce to a sensible level, having been very good at accumulating projects, rather than profits, when I was in my prime. Do not get me wrong, I am not complaining, as I planned it that way. I did not bank on being a semi invalid! Ignoring that last, I think our modus operandi have been much the same. If it looks buy-able, take it. Trade the unwanted, keep the better stuff. Buy property to suit your activities. Can be a lonely lifestyle at times but when your busy producing stuff, and making it visible, it attracts some great and interesting folk who join in the fun, and your friends build up again after natural wastage both to females or to the stiff yard. One day, one, or both, will get me. Be great to have all my stuff on some really daft place, like St Helena, to get at with folks wanting to get in for a deal.
Title: Re: Mini Cometesse work
Post by: steven mandell on February 03, 2016, 11:54:49 AM
So St. Helena is the heaven on Earth  that you would follow the footsteps of Napolean Bonoporte, by allowing yourself to be voluntarily exiled to.
Sure looks the part of a tropical paradise replete with volcanoes and lost plateau.
Is it indeed inhabited by minitiarized species that survived the extinction experienced on the rest of the globe due to relative isolation from competition for the niche of personal transportation?

Catalina Island off the coast of Southern California has indeed been host to these processes on both the biological and mechanically microcosmological levels.   To wit - the Pygmy Mamoth lived on in this island for several thousand years beyond its extinction on the rest of the planet.  Relatively lower levels of resources, and less need for increased mass to fend off competition,conspired to rapidly reduce the body mass of an already fully evolved species in a relatively brief spurt of dwarfistic evolution.
Catalina is also host to a slew of functioning  micro cars not typically seen on the streets of any other US city that I am aware of.

Downsizing, is an evolutionarily easy game to play on a secluded island.  Perhaps you could apply the principal to relocating / re-establishing  your collection of unusuals.

Problem to overcome would be high cost of transport, and therefore great limitation on trading with the rest of the world.
If the native ladies don't get to you, could still make for a dramatic ending when the volcano erupts, and your collection falls into an earthquake opened crevase, or the whole isle of Atlantians fall into the sea.
Title: Re: Mini Cometesse work
Post by: Big Al on February 03, 2016, 04:16:19 PM
I could become King of Peel Island. Only last a year, though, I think.

Trouble with Islands is there are either people already there, nasty bitey creatures, or they are very expensive. I like the idea of miniature pachyderms. Might be really good pets.
Can you get Pygmy Muslims, or do they spontaneously combust?
Title: Re: Mini Cometesse work
Post by: steven mandell on February 04, 2016, 11:04:52 AM
What you are describing seems eerily like your taking Marlon Brando's part in the Island of Dr. Moreau!
So do keep yourself well isolated from nasty bitey creatures armed with combustibles.
Title: Re: Mini Cometesse work
Post by: Big Al on February 04, 2016, 11:14:53 AM
Only a small part. The Island of Dr Moreau Minor. Look out for the mosquito with Nibblola. A cross between Ebola and AIDS, not made by the CIA, but Alec Issiagonayet.
Title: Re: Mini Cometesse work
Post by: Big Al on May 09, 2016, 12:05:26 PM
Finally able to devote time to getting the Comtesse sorted out ready to sell off. The new, much better original style rear lights have been located and bought. Thanks to the bins on the inner rear wings access on the left side is very difficult. I had to use the original position as the leads pass through the hole that matches the light units, to feed the power and earth cables in and out. That it is a fit was proved by the very shrouded screw being lined up with the the hole in the bin that the rear location peg also uses, Cunning. The other was at just an angle that a quality bladed screw driver could do it up. A posidrive might have been easier, but I had none suitable. The light units needed a slight modification as the internal light screen was not correctly made, fouling the captive nut moulding. I suspect this is a product of the unit being modified from the totally original unit, probably due to some minor EU law. My guess would be bulb power requiring good distance between bulb and lens, as you can see the former bulb holder position, now not used.

Have had all the fighting on the first one, the other was a simple fit. The effect looks so much better and well worth the effort.

The headlights remain to be done, again all the parts have been located to do the task. Then a check on electrics to be sure I have done everything correctly.

Title: Re: Mini Cometesse work
Post by: steven mandell on May 11, 2016, 11:15:49 AM
So much to fret about on so small and simple a vehicle.
Good thing that it wasn't more complex.
Mine came without a spare.
Does anyone know if and where a spare was meant to be carried on these smallest Comtesses?
Title: Re: Mini Cometesse work
Post by: Big Al on May 11, 2016, 11:38:21 AM
My car has a spare wheel. I disagree with its carrying position, which is clamped to the left inner rear wheel arch. That is because it prevents the seat from being able to go fully back. It could fit across the rear of the inner on the back body panel, but in my car there is a battery tray in the way. This takes a larger battery. Remember it had naff fitted dynostarter, so I suspect rather than fix a botch, the extra botch was a bigger battery. Doh!

I think the original idea was that one cubby hole pannier on the rear inner wing took the bike sized battery and the other the tool kit, the Gitane and a spare bottle of wine. With the rear empty of gubbins it is possible to have a small passenger, dog or shopping in the car without hassles. You tube clips show the cars used thus.

So the wheel could be fitted on the rear, resting on the bumper, clamped onto the body. Best with a matching cover to the seats, green in my case. But my preference would be the void under the rear floor as it gets it out of sight, gives a lower centre of gravity and keeps the interior empty. It would not be hard to find a bin to then bolt over it to keep it clean, with four drain holes in the bottom.

Now suffering a poor leg as a result of the contortions I had to do on my knees to get at the restricted light fasteners. Just proves I really have to back out of this as a not only a business, but as a main hobby. The Doctors are winning the argument.
Title: Re: Mini Cometesse work
Post by: Barry on May 11, 2016, 12:02:06 PM
My spare wheel is under the seat.  This gives the impression of a commode...................appropriate for the normal drivers age and driving experience I think.
Title: Re: Mini Cometesse work
Post by: Big Al on May 11, 2016, 12:05:29 PM
I assumed it would not fit. Clearly wrong! Makes sense.
Title: Re: Mini Cometesse work
Post by: Big Al on June 14, 2016, 05:20:41 PM
The Mini Comtesse is now sold. Gone to be an exhibit in a museum. So the titivation was worth it.
Title: Re: Mini Cometesse work
Post by: Barry on June 14, 2016, 07:05:13 PM
Not much point in getting it working then?
Title: Re: Mini Cometesse work
Post by: steven mandell on June 14, 2016, 07:38:25 PM
Did your spare come with any stock looking hardware or molding designed to keep it from floating about from its under seat setting?
Was there anything like a tire iron or jack?
A light weight block would be more expedient than a jack.
But the question still stands.
Title: Re: Mini Cometesse work
Post by: Barry on June 14, 2016, 11:23:37 PM
I will have a look Steven and get back to you tomorrow.
I seem to remember my back-side keeping the spare tyre in place - commode fashion.  The seat does not have much support.
Title: Re: Mini Cometesse work
Post by: Big Al on June 15, 2016, 09:05:41 AM
Not much point in getting it working then?

No, other than the satisfaction of sorting out a few botches gained over the years. Likewise a waste of a V5. But then who ever bought it there was a 95% chance it would never be driven further than the nearest public road, really. Yet the buyers would all make a fuss if it did not work. So that is the perverse world we live in.
However the difference between trade, and hobby, is I do the fixing up because I want to, not because I need to. The reward is enjoyment, and if one is lucky, a few shandy tokens into the bargain. Certainly did not make money on this car, as I had to put hours into returning it to working order. So if I was on an hourly rate.....
I enjoy tinkering, so most cars I will be selling will be as good as I feel I want to get them, and as complete, too. Trying to get a Type 70 going at the moment, but life demands my time elsewhere, so that has been two weeks not happening. Not even getting to many club nights now. Light evenings are to valuable to waste, after all the crap weather, and my being ill. All the more reason to clear the decks.
Title: Re: Mini Cometesse work
Post by: Barry on June 15, 2016, 06:09:40 PM
I will have a look Steven and get back to you tomorrow.
I seem to remember my back-side keeping the spare tyre in place - commode fashion.  The seat does not have much support.

Just the flat floor with the spare lose on it.  It won't move around as my back side nests into it quite nicely.  The seat pad is not very strong.
No tyre levers, stud spanner or jacks.
Title: Re: Mini Cometesse work
Post by: steven mandell on June 17, 2016, 11:16:44 AM
That means that mine came completely equipped with nothing but a spare floating around under there.
Well at least I didn't have to invent wheel splicing a couple years sooner.

I wonder if there was supposed to be a tool bag in the top of wheel well cubby opposite the one that houses my too small battery?
If so, I'd be curious to know what came in the roll.   Lug wrench would seem obvious. 
Combination wrench stamping like those made for bicycles might even be useful.
Title: Re: Mini Cometesse work
Post by: Barry on June 17, 2016, 11:50:16 AM
I doubt there were many luxuries provided but I think a wheel nut brace would be essential.
Perhaps other owners have something in the other wheel well cubby - probably another battery :)