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Rob's WD16H and Big4 Forum

Dutch army, Johan Herman Fuhler, somewhere between 1945 and 1950

Rob's WD16H and Big4 Forum
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Always having issues

Hey Guys,

After finally getting it back from a Mechanic who did NOTHING to the engine and charged me an arm and a leg.. i noticed that after having the bike start once, it worked fine. leaving the bike sitting for about 2 weeks.. noticed no oil in the oil tank. its all in the bottom of the bike. Fine i tried to start it and it would not start. Check plug and noticed it was oilly. so i moved the oil (drained) from the engine to the tank, starts fine. BUT .. engine gets hot.. i want to check if the oil pump is actually circulating the oil.. how? also, when giving gas to the engine it just wants to die!!!!!! ugh i wish i couldve given the bike to a better mechanic who would do great work. thanks!

Anyone in Miami?

Re: Always having issues


It sounds like the oil pump is leaking. This is not uncommon, but emptying the oil tank in two weeks seems a bit quick to me. The oil pumps wear out and then it does not prevent the oil draining into the crankcase. What oil grade do you use? Thin oil, anything below the specified SAE50, will increase the leakage.
In normal circumstances with the engine running you can see the return oil coming out of the return pipe when looking into the oil tank.

If the oil only drains down then it looks like a serious leakage problem.

The function of the oil tell tale on top of the timing case is to see if there is oil pressure. Does it rise when you kick the engine over? (After assuring that there is oil in the oil tank!).
If not, the only thing you can do is to dismantle the engine and check the oil pump.

On carb settings, see

I put some pages in dropbox showing the carb settings and how to change them



Re: Always having issues

hi Luis,

my bike was fitted with a one-way valve in the oil-feedline. However, after a few weeks the oil level in the oil-tank had also dropped quite a bit. What's more, I wasn't sure if the pump had enough power to suck the oil past the valve. That's why I decided to fit an oil tap (old used brass fuel tap). The only problem: forgetting to turn it on might cause harm to the engine. So I made it a rule to turn the oil on before I turn on the fuel. So far it worked, and no matter how long the bike is not used, the oil-tank remains full.


Re: Always having issues

Ah Philip

you too!

I did it years ago and only forgot it once.
The bike started to run a bit rough after some kilometers but not more than that. I did stop and found the culprit quick, but it has not really led to anything dramatic.
Likely its different if you ride a long trip without oil of course.

As you say, its sort of automatic to turn it on before opening the petrol tap. There are spring loaded valves on the market, but I am hesitant to use those. You cannot really see if it is open apart from the tell tale indication. I like the more certain on off idea.



Re: Always having issues

I've only ever had 1 bike with an oil tap, I cable tied it in the ON position during the Summer. In the winter I could turn it off with a note on the tank saying oil. It's an accident waiting to happen..!
I have an ES2 with an oil valve, it was fitted when I bought the bike and I've never had a problem with it. Velocette's have them fitted as standard so they obviously work well enough for a manufacturer to fit them. If the bike's been stood for a while it's always a good idea to check the oil's returning to the tank. The spring inside them is very weak so it doesn't take much suction to open the valve. Wet sumping quickly is a sign the oil pump is worn and needs the end plates lapping in, but oil will eventually get through a gear pump.

Re: Always having issues

Guys you are the best...

I also have an issue where i can, after draining oil, putting it back into the oil tank.. start the bike if i put the Adv level where its tighter. not released. (making it advanced?)

but when i put it back down to normal, and try to give the bike gas it cuts off. so im sure my timing is off.. whats the best way to configure it?

Re: Always having issues

You should run the bike with the lever in the advanced position (tight wire on a 16H). You will hear and feel the difference in the engine as you move the lever.
The timing should be 7/16" fully advanced if you want to check it.
Put a cigarette paper between the points and when it just starts to slide out, the piston should be 7/16" below top dead centre (TDC) on the compression stroke. Mark TDC on a rod and then 7/16" above it and this will act as your timing mark.

Re: Always having issues

Im going to take a guess and say this rod should go where the spark plug is? and its mark should line up with what? :) thanks! so advanced is lever fwd or lever towards me?

Re: Always having issues

No, the rod goes in the blanked hole above the piston. What I do is get a small metal plate and drill a dole in it so the rod slides easily in it. This can sit on the head and can be used to mark the rod when finding TDC. The lever will be pulled tight for advance, so towards you.

I've just found this on another forum which I will post here. It may help you.

Excerpt from Maintenance manual and Instruction Book for Motor Cycle Solo Norton "16H" 490cc S.V. (this manual is undated, but there are WD instructions in it, and one would assume from this that the manual is likely to be a wartime edition.)
Engine section, part 25
Ignition timing
"Fit Cam wheel sprocket(keyed) and chain.
Remove compression plug from cylinder.
Place gearbox change-speed lever in top gear position.
Advance ignition fully.
Rotate engine by turning rear wheel, until both valves are closed and the piston is at the top of its stroke.
The position of the piston can be ascertained by placing a thin rule into the cylinder, via the compression plug hole.
Hold rule on the top of the piston and take the reading of the rule as it leaves the cylinder.
Turn the rear wheel backwards, still holding the rule on top of the piston, till the reading of the rule tells that the piston is 7/16" down the bore.
Remove magdyno contact breaker cover.
Turn contact breaker in an anti clockwise direction until the points open.
Insert thin feeler gauge or thin piece of paper between the points. Turn contact breaker in a clockwise direction until the points hold the feeler.
Turn contact breaker in an anti-clockwise direction until the feeler is just free, that is when the points have just commenced to open.
Put chain round sprocket, fit sprocket carefully on the magdyno shaft.
Place a tube over the end of the shaft and sharply tap tube, forcing sprocket on to the taper of the shaft.
Fit nut.
Tighten down nut carefully, so as not to turn the shaft.
When nut is tightened down, check timing.
Fit contact breaker cover.
Fit magdyno chain cover.
Fit compression plug."

Re: Always having issues

This valve is available with a tidily built in electrical cut out for the forgetful like me, for those that can afford it.
I don't know the details but the Mag version is different and slightly cheaper than the coil version.

Re: Always having issues

That is a great idea Iain. I talked to a mate about doing the same thing some time ago, but a bit more "Heath Robinson". That looks neat

Re: Always having issues

The tap for magneto bikes will only be a bolt-on part on machines which are already fitted with a mag with cut-out, such as the K2F on some BSA twins.

In order for an electrical cut-out to work on an MO1 mag, it would be necessary to fabricate a system for earthing out the points.

Re: Always having issues

Yes, I realised that as I was looking at the pictures and wondering where to connect the wires The only way would be to have a different end cap on the mag.
The bike I was originally working out a simple system like this for was a Dommie. A wire from the mag to the tap and as the lever went to the off position it shorted with a plate off the frame.

I've emailed Iron John for more details and this is what he's written back. Sorry it's a bit disjointed but that's as he sent it. The prices are in Canadian dollars.

"hi this is the 1st proto type they are more refined now mag.s 115 coil 128 plus shipping less 10% for orders over 10 payment excepted western union money gram postal money orders shipping to the uk 13.93 Canadian for 1 every one you ad on is 2.79 extra john

hi just some thing I am doing to many problems with what's out there this is the proto type the newest one is even shorter have a good one john

hi I have them for 6 and 12 volt systems all so john

hi the new wet sump vale for the magneto bikes don’t turn it on it will not start its about as goof proof as I can make it even for use old guys that cant remember what we had for dinner last night have a good one john"