Author Topic: SW5 Racer  (Read 10730 times)

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Offline zacgrief

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SW5 Racer
« on: 03 Jun 2011 at 10:30 »
Hi,

I am new to both forum and Douglas but i have just purchased a 1928 SW5. Its alledged the bike was a semi factory bike given to a guy called Jim Whalley to race a Brookland although i doubt this very much. What is interesting though is the engine number R24. This i am told denotes a factory race engine??? I have not yet ridden the bike but i am also told its very fast!!

Can anyone help me here and are there any factory records still available. It would be great to prove it had famous race history but no worries either way as its a beautiful bike!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Cheers

Zac

Offline Doug

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Re: SW5 Racer
« Reply #1 on: 04 Jun 2011 at 03:57 »
Zac,

Prewar dispatch records for Douglas have not survived.

The SW5 was not available until 1930, so if a 1928 it is more likely it is a DT5. As such it would have been configured for cinder track, not racing at Brooklands. Many DT models were re-configured to SW specifications after they were no longer competitive on the cinders.

Douglas did not use an R prefix for racing engines, it would use the standard EL engine prefix to denote a Dirt Track (or from 1930 a SW) engine. The R24 sounds like the crankcase match mark stamp. The engine number location is the top surface, rear edge of the case, alongside the magneto clamp.

-Doug


[Fix error in engine number location. -Doug, 04Jun11]
« Last Edit: 04 Jun 2011 at 23:14 by Doug »

Offline zacgrief

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Re: SW5 Racer
« Reply #2 on: 04 Jun 2011 at 19:23 »
Doug,

Thanks for the reply ref my sw5, see attached photo of engine number which is the only engine number on it. I also have a question about the lubrication system. The bike has a spring loaded plunger in the oil section of the fuel tank and I thought that when I pulled out the plunger it stayed out and slowly crept in as the oil was fed into the engine and when the plunger got to the end of the stroke I started again??? On mine when I pull out the plunger it goes straight back? Are the seals knackered or is more of a priming pump? I am not sure if the engine has a mechanical pump as well but given that I don’t see a return to the oil tank I guess it must be a total loss system.

Please advise as I don’t dare start the bike until I understand this!!

Regards

Zac

Offline zacgrief

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Re: SW5 Racer
« Reply #3 on: 04 Jun 2011 at 19:24 »
Photo as well this time!!!!!!!!!!!

« Last Edit: 08 Jun 2011 at 09:52 by Dave »

Offline eddie

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Re: SW5 Racer
« Reply #4 on: 04 Jun 2011 at 20:57 »
Zac,
        From the photo of your engine, it looks as if it has the later type of airbox (1929 on) with the oil regulator and sight glass on top. If this is the case, it should have a mechanical oil pump with the oil flow controlled by an adjustable needle (just behind the sight glass). This later oil system also incorporates a bypass so that an extra shot of oil can be applied with the hand pump. This could account for the pump returning quickly - the oil would just be pushed straight through the bigends. There are no seals as such used in the oil system - the oil goes to the first stage of the pump and is then fed to the regulator and sight glass - any excess oil returns via a bleed valve to the input side of the pump. The regulated supply then passes to the second stage of the pump and feeds through a spring loaded quill to the end of the crankshaft and then via drilled oilways to the bigends. If your engine has not been run for some time, it would pay to check that the quill is not jammed up - it can be accessed from outside the engine - just remove the outer cover from the airbox and look for a hexagon plug situated low and central in the airbox. Carefully remove this - there should be a spring behind it. Deeper in the hole you will find the brass quill with a facing washer that retains a cork seal. Using a wire with a hooked end, pull out the quill and check that it moves freely in its bore, and then reassemble. With the engine running, set the oil regulator to give 1 drip every 3-4 seconds as a starting point. This is the setting I use on my sprint machine running on methanol and Castrol M oil.
      As Doug says, the number(R24) looks like matching numbers for the crankcase halves - the actual engine number is usually situated on top, just behind the rear magneto clamp and usually has an EL prefix.
     When you have primed the engine with oil from the hand pump, it will be safe to start it - you will not see any oil passing through the sight glass until the engine is turning the pump. It may take quite a few seconds before the oil starts to flow through the glass, but don't worry, the pump full that you primed it with will keep the bottom end lubricated for several minutes.
            Regards,
                           Eddie.

Offline zacgrief

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Re: SW5 Racer
« Reply #5 on: 04 Jun 2011 at 21:09 »
Eddie,

Thanks for that, it makes sense and give me a bit of confidence. What oil would you recommend?

I will have a better look for the engine number and report back.

Best regards

Offline Doug

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Re: SW5 Racer
« Reply #6 on: 05 Jun 2011 at 04:03 »
Zac,

Oops, I made a mistake. I should have said top surface, rear edge of the crankcase. I have made the correction in my original post.

The picture shows the case match marks, and as you can see, you do have an original mated pair. The two halves were machined as a unit. It is not uncommon due to damage and replacement to have a miss-matched set.

As Eddie points out, you have the small airbox fitted, which had provision for a mechanical pump inside the timing chest cavity; though still a total loss oiling system. As originally arranged, the hand pump feeds the same supply tube to the oil pump; which normally would be a simple gravity feed. In theory the hand pump was only required if the mechanical oil pump malfunctioned. What is not so clear is how it possibly could have worked! If the pump stopped working because of a stripped drive, then it is not possible for the oil to able to force its way through the first stage of the oil pump, the sight glass, and then the second stage of the oil pump. Nor would it supply an additional charge to augment the mechanical pump for the same reason, and anyway the rate of oiling is determined by what can pass through the sight glass. There is a spring loaded ball check valve that connects the oil gallery where the oil enters from the oil tank to the gallery that communicates to the feed to the crankshaft. However the check is arranged so that it bypasses excess oil from the pump discharge back to the incoming supply. Were it the other way around the hand pump could be used to force oil against the check spring and directly into the end of the crankshaft. Most puzzling.

-Doug

Offline Dirt Track

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Re: SW5 Racer
« Reply #7 on: 05 Jun 2011 at 05:06 »
G'day Zach and all.
I suspect this machine may have been owned by the late Bob Thomas.
It appears in the Machine Register of the VMCC UK and at the time it was placed on the register it resided in the
Isle of Man. Its registration number was 8722MN and it was the 131st machine on the Register.
The 130th machine on the Register was a 1923 Model with frame no 20, engine no FE 20 (rego no 8717MN).....am I correct in saying this last model was the 1923 sidecar winning "RA" belonging to the late Bob Thomas?
It would be reasonable to conclude these two bikes belonged to the same owner at the time they were placed on the VMCC
Machine Register.
Yes.....I know this proves nothing!
But it might jog someones memory of the bike.
Howard.
8717MN is the 1923 TT machine......just checked....see phot.

« Last Edit: 08 Jun 2011 at 09:47 by Dave »

Offline zacgrief

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Re: SW5 Racer
« Reply #8 on: 05 Jun 2011 at 10:39 »

Thanks for that and that information ties up as I was told it came from the IOM at some point. It was first registered in 1952 and I assume it was under the reg number you gave (i had it as 8722MM). I contacted the VMCC and they told me the guy who registered it as no 131 had passed away in 2003 but they could not give me his name. I beleive it had 4 owners between 1952 and 2006, I guess when it came into the UK it was re-registered as FUD 405 but this was lost in the 80s when DVLA claimed back un-used registrations, it is now725 XUH.

Last keeper was a guy called David Earnshaw who I beleive is still active in the VMCC and I will try and contact him and previous to him was Geoffrey Little who I believe has sadly passed away.

Does anyone know any more of Bob Thomas?

It was sold via an auction several years ago and the blurb was as follows,

This rare  ( and very fast!) Douglas competition motorcycle has been restored and fitted with a Norton gearbox and clutch but comes complete with the original Douglas gearbox and flywheel clutch.
Reputedly sold to a gentleman in the Isle of Man and raced at Brooklands by a Doulas agent named “Whalley”, the machine was first registered for road use in 1952.


Many thanks for the replies.

Cheers

Zac

Offline zacgrief

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Re: SW5 Racer
« Reply #9 on: 05 Jun 2011 at 10:40 »
p.s definately no other engine number apart from the R24 crankcase matching numbers?

Offline eddie

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Re: SW5 Racer
« Reply #10 on: 05 Jun 2011 at 18:54 »
Zac,
       Bob Thomas was a long standing member of the London Douglas Motorcycle Club - ending up as a vice president. Bob lived in Bicester for some time before moving to the Isle of Man and taking his collection of motorcycles with him. On arrival in the Island, all his machines were re-registered with Manx numbers. There are still several members in the LDMCC who have fond memories of riding that bike round the paddock at Bob's house. There are probably some photos of it in that era held in the LDMCC archives.
                Regards,
                               Eddie.

Offline oil baron

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Re: SW5 Racer
« Reply #11 on: 06 Jun 2011 at 07:03 »
Hi  All

Eddie in his last post mentioned Bob Thomas.  There always was a visit to see Bob at Ramsay when the LDMCC went to the Island for the TT in the late 1960's.  I have fond memories and I have a few colour slides of these visits including club members testing the Dixon banking sidecar just after it was restored, those were the days!. I will try and get the slides scanned in the next few days and I will post them on this site.
Steve L

Offline zacgrief

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Re: SW5 Racer
« Reply #12 on: 06 Jun 2011 at 09:27 »

Hi,

Thanks very much that would be great. Do you remeber my bike when Bob had it in the IOM?

Does anyone know the correct oil that it should have?

Best regards

Zac

Offline zacgrief

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Re: SW5 Racer
« Reply #13 on: 06 Jun 2011 at 10:11 »
Dear All,

I went all over the engine last night and there are no numbers on the engine at all apart from the R24 crankcase numbers, strange but I have looked under/ over and round it. The R24 is also on the V5 as the engine number.

The bikes frame number is TE261 (that is defiantly TE and not TF or TF that has be miss-stamped) I think I have read that the DT models had a TF pre-fix?

Any ideas here?

Cheers and thanks

Zac


Offline Doug

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Re: SW5 Racer
« Reply #14 on: 07 Jun 2011 at 01:49 »
Zac,

Definitely should be TF; either a miss-stamp, extra chisel mark, or who knows what. The letter font used has serifs, so could you be seeing the 'foot' of the 'F'? From about 1921 on, frames were prefixed AF and worked their way through the alphabet to ZF on a special model supplied to Poland in sometime about 1930. So all frame prefixes ended in F. Thereafter the frame prefixes began with F, with FA being a 1930 350cc, and again right through the alphabet (skipping a few letters this time, or a few went undocumented) to FZ on a 1935 500cc sold to the War Department. They had quite a variety of models in the early thirties! Having exhausted the two 'F' combinations, they then used AA, AB, AC, etc through AF to see out the remainder of the thirties. There really were not any new production frame designs after 1936. The only thing recorded outside this range was a F.S.S. of 1935 used for a single customer.

The V5 is an inspector's stamp, it is pretty common.

Generally I understand straight 50 weight was the equivalent to what was used in the day. However since it is a total loss system, practically anything will do as it will only pass through the engine once! Fulton used mustard oil in a pinch on his round the world epic! So the usual condemnations about using multi-grades in roller bearing engines does not matter as much. The oil does not stay in long enough for the chopping up of the polymers to be much of a factor. It really comes down to a matter of the condition of the bores and rings, and how fast the oil gets past into the combustion chamber.

-Doug

Offline zacgrief

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Re: SW5 Racer
« Reply #15 on: 07 Jun 2011 at 06:26 »
Doug,

Thanks again for that, interestingly a friend has lent me a copy of Fultons original book printed in probably the thirties!! good book. I will lift the seat and get a better look at the frame number and report back.

Best regards

zac

Offline oil baron

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Re: SW5 Racer
« Reply #16 on: 07 Jun 2011 at 08:33 »
Hi There Zak

I have checked my slides, I certainly do not have  a picture of your machine at Bob's place at Ramsey.  Mind you from what I remember the garage/storage space was fairly dark and crammed with all sorts of goodies I would have liked to photographed.  In those days the film camera's certainly do not compare with  the modern digitals, especially in low light conditions, because I was not certainly carrying a flash so I did not take any pictures inside.  I think the flash I had at the time used the once only  flash bulbs which was a real hassle.    I have got 6 slides being digitized at present, these are of  testing the bikes at Bobs place at Ramsey I.O.M., mainly of the Dixon Banking outfit,  the date is 1970 or 1971 or even may be a mixture of the two.  Hopefully I with a bit of luck will be able to get them on the site tomorrow night NZ time.

Regards   Steve L.


Dave Richmond demonstrating the Dixon designed banking sidecar outfit.  The sidecar chassis was the one that won, with a later reproduction sidecar.



Note the travel of the of the sidecar mudguard, when the banking is applied.   The car in the background is an ABC Flat Twin


Dave Harris  riding Bryn Williams's OB  with Bryn looking on


The Oil Baron riding Bob's original DT, and exciting it was , no clutch and no brakes and still on beaded edged tyres
 
« Last Edit: 08 Jun 2011 at 09:39 by Dave »
Steve L

Offline Dave

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Re: SW5 Racer
« Reply #17 on: 08 Jun 2011 at 09:39 »
Photos added to Oil Baron's post above.

Offline zacgrief

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Re: SW5 Racer
« Reply #18 on: 09 Jun 2011 at 08:06 »
They are great pictures, I have a few old photos of riders in Oz in the 20s. I will scan and put them on this post too.

Many thanks

Zac

Offline Doug

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Re: SW5 Racer
« Reply #19 on: 09 Jun 2011 at 11:57 »
Zac,

Quote
I will scan and put them on this post too.
Please put them in their own, dedicated post. It is a lot easier when searching for stuff later and reorganizing the Forum (if need be) if the posts stay on topic.

Thanks,
-Doug , Site Moderator

Offline zacgrief

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Re: SW5 Racer
« Reply #20 on: 09 Jun 2011 at 15:06 »
Thanks will do. I spoke to a guy this morning who rode my bike on the IOM in the 60s when it belonged to Bob Thomas, most interesting.

Thanks to all

Offline MRD

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Re: SW5 Racer
« Reply #21 on: 09 Jun 2011 at 15:46 »

Hi Zac
It might be worth going along to the Douglas rally later this month. At least one of the two Daves in the photos will be attending so you might get more information there.
Regards     Martin

Offline zacgrief

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Re: SW5 Racer
« Reply #22 on: 09 Jun 2011 at 15:49 »
Thanks, will do, where and when is it?

Offline Chris

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Re: SW5 Racer
« Reply #23 on: 11 Jun 2011 at 19:31 »
Hi Zac
   This information is made available to members of The LDMCC in their magazine, The New Conrod and as you are applying for membership I have sent you a personal message.   Chris.

Offline zacgrief

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Re: SW5 Racer
« Reply #24 on: 13 Jun 2011 at 19:45 »
Gents,

Can anyone send me an idiots guide to starting the SW5. Never started a bike this old before never mind an SW5, I have a spark, I have fresh fuel in the float chambers. I seem to be getting the odd fire on the front cylinder but nothing on the rear.

If someone could give me some rough control settings/ anything obvious to do/ not do, then if it still wont go I can look at the more technical stuff.

Many thanks

Zac