Author Topic: Isetta gear change tube removal!  (Read 11912 times)

Rusty Chrome (Malcolm Parker)

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Re: Isetta gear change tube removal!
« Reply #15 on: April 02, 2015, 07:21:22 PM »
It is intriguing how varied the different Isetta's are in comparison to other cars built under licence, particularly given the Hoffman episode.
Malcolm
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AndyL

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Re: Isetta gear change tube removal!
« Reply #16 on: April 02, 2015, 09:29:35 PM »
It's not surprising that BMW came down on the Hoffman like a ton of bricks, it looked a better design in pretty much all respects. Lovely layout with the little flat twin.
1959 LHD 3-wheel Isetta.

Big Al

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Re: Isetta gear change tube removal!
« Reply #17 on: April 02, 2015, 09:35:41 PM »
BMW and Velem shared little, so Vellem departed on their own vision of what an Isetta should be. It is, I think, the prettiest of Isettas. It is completely different. To the extant comparison is quite difficult. The Vellam is veering toward minimalism. It therefore has less power, a more archaic feel to it, yet it wins you over with some classic bonkers Gallic whimsy.
The 250cc German Isetta I had was actually quite a reasonable drive despite useless brakes that caught fire. I would liken the Vellam as a KR175, to the 250cc's KR200. Yet I never had a British Isetta that came near the 250 in driving performance. Were the German cars so much better, or was it that all the other Isettas I had were crappers? I think the German car was better made.
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AndyL

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Re: Isetta gear change tube removal!
« Reply #18 on: April 02, 2015, 11:42:11 PM »
The engine and drive train was all German on the UK cars though. Unless they sent us all the Monday morning and Friday afternoon stuff!
1959 LHD 3-wheel Isetta.

Bob Purton

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Re: Isetta gear change tube removal!
« Reply #19 on: April 03, 2015, 09:28:10 AM »
They just vary from car to car. My first one, a RHD was very lively where as Thumper has to be persuaded.

Big Al

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Re: Isetta gear change tube removal!
« Reply #20 on: April 03, 2015, 11:16:43 AM »
The engine and drive train was all German on the UK cars though. Unless they sent us all the Monday morning and Friday afternoon stuff!

What was all the who-ha over German short pistons and British long pistons, or the other way round? Why did our cars have the valves with the heads that fell off for quite some time? I do not hear of this blight anything so much as I do from British Isetta. Maybe your right. I have forgotten much of what I knew about Isettas. But I know about 2/3rds of that which fits a German Isetta does not fit our standard British version. Some of that will be important bits that alter performance. Simply being a trike changes everything.
My personal feeling is an Isetta is actually an easy car to get going, but a heard car to get spot on. Phil Bowler had that old 250 pretty well sorted.
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AndyL

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Re: Isetta gear change tube removal!
« Reply #21 on: April 03, 2015, 03:41:54 PM »
They're a mass produced vehicle, so tolerances are going to vary from machine to machine. If you go carefully through the engine and running gear, blueprinting everything, you stand a better chance of getting a good running car.

The Japanese companies adopted a policy of zero tolerance on their parts (at least zero within the limits of the measuring equipment used), this is one big reason they got a reputation for consistent and reliable machinery.

A few people seem to think the friction welded valves were a cheap bodge, but I think differently. The kind of metal that makes a good valve head doesn't work so well for the stem when it comes to wear characteristics. The one piece valves will be much stronger, but will probably wear faster. Probably not a major issue these days, as the cars don't tend to run high mileage.

1959 LHD 3-wheel Isetta.

Bob Purton

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Re: Isetta gear change tube removal!
« Reply #22 on: April 03, 2015, 04:42:42 PM »
Yes but what would you rather have, a worn stem for which you get some warning or a head coming off and destroying your engine? There are still a few of us who are not adverse to hacking there Isetta's down the motorway and clocking up some miles but the lessons learned from history are to keep the revs down. I dont like to hold it in top faster than 45 for any length of time. I prefer 40 but on the Motorways thats a little too slow.

Barry

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Re: Isetta gear change tube removal!
« Reply #23 on: April 03, 2015, 04:46:52 PM »
They just vary from car to car. My first one, a RHD was very lively where as Thumper has to be persuaded.

How much do you weigh now Bob?

Bob Purton

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Re: Isetta gear change tube removal!
« Reply #24 on: April 03, 2015, 05:23:49 PM »
Ha ha!  Exactly the same as I weighed at 16 years of age when had the RHD. 10 stone.

AndyL

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Re: Isetta gear change tube removal!
« Reply #25 on: April 03, 2015, 06:52:17 PM »
The advice from my Dad was to keep them at 40mph, although he drove Heinkel's (owned by Peter Green)and his own Messershcmitt KR200. They toured France in the KR200 and only suffered a broken throttle slide spring (fixed with a large washer bridging the two pieces), and drove the Heinkel to Gibraltar and back the following year over a two week period (all the annual leave you got back then). No major mechanical problems, apart from a bent track rod and worn tyre- Peter took a turn a bit too quick and put the car in a ditch whilst driving through Spain.

The following year Peter took a trip to Germany with his brother, and the Heinkel. During the trip the gearbox couldn't get fourth gear. They ragged the engine in third, and it went bang. Stranded in Germany they ordered up a complete new engine and gearbox from Stuttgart. Apparently they fell on their feet whilst waiting for the items to arrive,as a couple of frau's put them up, and I think they got more than bed and breakfast if you get my drift!

My Dad almost owned an Isetta, a shiny red one he saw in a dealer in Finchley, but it was a bit more than he could afford at the time, as it was only a year old, whereas his KR200 was a 1955 model, which I think cost him 75 quid in 1963.

Owners that drove Isetta's over long distances and high mileages like Vic Locke and Brian Westoby also said 40mph cruise, with the occasional burst up to 45mph. I think it was Brian that got over 200000 miles out of his Isetta engine before it needed major work, so that kind of proves the point that these engines will last if you don't belt the guts out of them.

Even at 40 mph the engine is working fairly hard. The bubbles would have benefited enormously from an extra gear or two, but I guess for the roads of the day, they were considered adequate.
1959 LHD 3-wheel Isetta.

Big Al

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Re: Isetta gear change tube removal!
« Reply #26 on: April 04, 2015, 09:37:56 AM »
Indeed. Road speed his climbed with density, till density has started to win. Planning your trip to use byways and timing to miss rush hours can see travel made in very quick time. But even given the unfair advantage of a sat nav, most choose not to do this. So it is still possible to use older cars, but its is preferable to select a suitable route. Likewise, where traffic is slow the older car can happily keep up, like in town.
The chaps who did high miles had another thing in common. Attention to detail. Bernard Beeston, KR175, hit half a million many years ago. They all  took car of their cars, used them regularly. So their 40 mph was probably a real 40 mph, not the imaginary one of many folk impressed by inaccurate speedos and noise. There is no doubt the excess performance shortens the life of the engine. Two strokes prefer some revs but with Sachs driven hard you can be looking at a new set of rings, or a bore, at 20/25k miles. Not as radicule as a valve issue - related to a certain type of vale not made to a good enough specification or tolerance. Certainly serviced 4 strokes seem to have been averagely happy to reach 45k before some fault saw them come off the road. In comparison my Austin Big Seven was good up to 50 mph, but happy at 45 mph. There were still a lot of those sorts of cars on the road in the early '60's.

I had my time in Treinkels, and they go well when allowed to. However I preferred the strokers in Messerschmitt and Goggomobil as the top speed was so much greater. But I was doing mostly country driving, where I could keep the kettle boiling. In town the Schmitt is not so happy. The Goggo gets on with it, but after a while it longs to have a blat to clean itself out a bit. The four strokes do not have this 'temperament' to deal with, and in a good car the acceleration in traffic is acceptable. Hills are less of an issue. So your location for driving does make a difference.
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