Author Topic: New member Andy and the Dragonfly of despair  (Read 5959 times)

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Offline AndyMorgan

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New member Andy and the Dragonfly of despair
« on: 14 Aug 2017 at 10:43 »
By way of an introduction I am Andy from Gateshead UK an I enjoy a challenge having recently restored a few classic Italian bikes thought I could do with a British bike. I won't say won but I successfully bid on the pile of junk shown below.
What was listed as a 1954 Dragonfly with a complete spare engine turns out to be 1957 with a far from complete engine from an earlier machine. At least the frame and engine numbers match and title and the buff logbook look OK. I am willing to have a go since the seller has many other bits from a deceased estate and is willing to do swaps until I have enough of a project to be a going concern, if not I hope to at least limit my losses.

I will probably get some flack for being so careless with internet auctions but what I actually need in time will be some help from the good people of the internet, at least tea and sympathy.

The dragonfly "engine" is just the casings and a crank with the timing bushings in place, it appears to have had a main (ball) bearing failure but not catastrophic and otherwise seems serviceable apart from some slight rusting on the plain main bearing face.

The spare "engine"  (T35/S/1485) appears to be a T35 it has only one head and cylinder the other cylinder looks ok but the second head has ports at right angles. What that is from I don't know. The missing cylinder pot was violently removed probably in a crash, leaving behind a small cast iron ring. The timing gears and oil pump are present and I assume can be transferred.

Frame looks solid and serviceable once cleaned and painted
Shock absorbers rusted chrome
Seat is good
Wheels need new spokes
Tank has a small ding but is fairly clean inside
Headlamp missing
Carburettor missing along with the manifold




Offline eddie

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Re: New member Andy and the Dragonfly of despair
« Reply #1 on: 14 Aug 2017 at 11:47 »
Hi Andy,
            The 'spare' engine is a Mk1 T35, but the left hand head and barrel are from a wartime Douglas generator engine. The barrel can be used on the T35 engine, but the head is peculiar to the generator engine. Unfortunately, the only major parts from the T35 engine that will fit the Dragonfly are the camshafts and the flywheel/clutch assembly. The reason you have no carb or inlet manifold is that they were part of the Dragonfly gearbox - but the gearbox that came with the bike is from the earlier Mark series machines (it can be used if you decide to go for twin carbs direct on the heads). The cam drive gears are narrower on the early engine but are of the same size and tooth form so could be used. The distributor drive gears on the Dragonfly are peculiar to that model. The headlamp was originally Miller but is easily replaced with a Lucas unit.
Good luck with the rebuild - when you come across snags, get back on to the forum - we have a lot of long time Douglas owners who have found their way around most of the problems, and are willing to pass on that knowledge.

  Regards,
                 Eddie.

Offline eddie

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Re: New member Andy and the Dragonfly of despair
« Reply #2 on: 14 Aug 2017 at 12:08 »
Andy,
         So that you can see how your bike will eventually look, attached is a photo of my 1955 model. It is fitted with twin carbs but you can see where the original carb fitted above the gearbox, and also the flange on the side of the bellhousing where the induction pipe connected to the cylinderhead.
 
 Regards,
               Eddie.

Offline Pensioner73

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Re: New member Andy and the Dragonfly of despair
« Reply #3 on: 14 Aug 2017 at 12:54 »
I saw these two piles on Ebay and just missed out by seconds from winning the other pile.
I intend fitting a Sports cam shaft to my Dragonfly but need to check first if the Mark camshaft is compatible with the extra width gears of the Dragonfly.
Does the Dragonfly camshaft have an extra bit of length at the front to accommodate the wider gear.
I also intend fitting twin carbs. What are yours Eddie and how have you attached them to the cylinder?

Offline eddie

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Re: New member Andy and the Dragonfly of despair
« Reply #4 on: 14 Aug 2017 at 15:19 »
Ian,
       Mr Douglas used the same cams in the Mark Series and the Dragonfly. Dragonfly timing gears have wider teeth but a shallower centre boss, so the hubs of the 2 gears are the same width.
  My twin carbs are home made specials based on the 274's from the Mark series but with a 3 bolt flange to suit the Dragonfly heads (see attached photo).

Regards,
              Eddie.

Offline AndyMorgan

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Re: New member Andy and the Dragonfly of despair
« Reply #5 on: 14 Aug 2017 at 18:54 »
Fortunately, and all credit to him, the seller, 16yr old nephew of the deceased, knew as much about Douglas bikes as myself and has made several swaps to the "spare engine" and handed over enough bits of Dragonfly engine to get by, well mostly. I now have a pair of pots and heads that will probably work and he swapped the gearbox for a correct one with the inlet manifold, sadly the numbers don't match but are close. The deceased had several Douglas bikes and generator in pieces and all were mixed up so I got to pick through to chose the best bits in return for the T35 bits I can't use that will probably go under the hammer shortly.

We couldn't find a pair of cam followers and we only found 3 out of 4 of the push rods but I must say things are looking better

Still missing the headlamp, speedo, throttle and carb but I expect these can be found, eventually.

Offline Paul Taliesin

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Re: New member Andy and the Dragonfly of despair
« Reply #6 on: 05 Oct 2017 at 14:53 »
Hi there Chaps

I've also bought a Dragonfly even more of a basket case than Andy's of the same chap Paul up in Durham.
Missing a load of parts including barrels, Cam followers, some of the cam gear in front chest, Headlamps Nacelle, Toolbox , top handlebar. However I fancy putting on alternative fork like on the Mark series
I'd like to do a twin carb conversion like Eddie and a possibly a 500. However happy to get her running in standard form if possible. Looking to work on engine initially the crank needs a rebuild, cams seem worn. Would like to swap parts or buy
Paul

Offline Paul Taliesin

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Re: New member Andy and the Dragonfly of despair
« Reply #7 on: 05 Oct 2017 at 15:00 »
Andy,
         So that you can see how your bike will eventually look, attached is a photo of my 1955 model. It is fitted with twin carbs but you can see where the original carb fitted above the gearbox, and also the flange on the side of the bellhousing where the induction pipe connected to the cylinderhead.
 
 Regards,
               Eddie.

Hi Eddie how well does the Dragonfly compare with twin carbs compared to standard?
How well does the motor perform compared to a late Mark V or similar almost bought a complete motor Mark V recently elsewhere? Many Thanks Paul

Offline eddie

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Re: New member Andy and the Dragonfly of despair
« Reply #8 on: 05 Oct 2017 at 18:07 »
 Hi Paul,
             The twin carbs do improve the top end performance a little - the main advantage is that the bike no longer suffers from an iced up carb - that can get quite exciting at night, as the lights and ignition are on the same switch, so you have to kill the lights in order to stop the engine! Attending to the distributor will also improve the performance - the small shaft bearings are prone to wear and allow the cam to float, giving wildly varying timing. Also, the distributor caps are prone to tracking - this can be overcome if you bypass the HT side by fitting a twin spark coil and running with a wasted spark ( but leave the distributor cap and rotor arm in place to retain the cam).

Regards,
               Eddie.

Offline richson

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Re: New member Andy and the Dragonfly of despair
« Reply #9 on: 05 Oct 2017 at 18:38 »
Hi Paul, apologies if i'm hijacking this thread, but if you want to convert to mark forks I think I have pretty much all the bits. Be very happy to swap it all for a fuel filler cap!
Cheers,

Neil

Offline Paul Taliesin

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Re: New member Andy and the Dragonfly of despair
« Reply #10 on: 05 Oct 2017 at 20:12 »
Hi Paul, apologies if i'm hijacking this thread, but if you want to convert to mark forks I think I have pretty much all the bits. Be very happy to swap it all for a fuel filler cap!
Cheers,

Neil

Hi Neil that sounds like a good offer I'll take them off you ! Thanks

Offline Paul Taliesin

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Re: New member Andy and the Dragonfly of despair
« Reply #11 on: 05 Oct 2017 at 20:19 »
Hi Paul,
             The twin carbs do improve the top end performance a little - the main advantage is that the bike no longer suffers from an iced up carb - that can get quite exciting at night, as the lights and ignition are on the same switch, so you have to kill the lights in order to stop the engine! Attending to the distributor will also improve the performance - the small shaft bearings are prone to wear and allow the cam to float, giving wildly varying timing. Also, the distributor caps are prone to tracking - this can be overcome if you bypass the HT side by fitting a twin spark coil and running with a wasted spark ( but leave the distributor cap and rotor arm in place to retain the cam).

Regards,
               Eddie.

Hi Eddie sound advice has anybody converted the Dragonfly to fully electronic ignition? Or is too much of a challenge. A twin carb sound a much better idea !
How does the Dragonfly motor compare to a late Mark motor in terms of performance?
Did you do the 500 special that was in Motorcycle Enthusiast in 1989?  Thats a great looking bike

Offline richson

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Re: New member Andy and the Dragonfly of despair
« Reply #12 on: 06 Oct 2017 at 08:13 »
Hi Paul,

Ok, I will gather all the bits together at the weekend and post a pic of it all (or can PM if you prefer). Obviously all of it will need a refurb. Perhaps you can post a pic of the cap you have (both sides!).

Cheers,

Neil

Offline eddie

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Re: New member Andy and the Dragonfly of despair
« Reply #13 on: 06 Oct 2017 at 11:36 »
Hi Paul,
            Several LDMCC members have converted their Dragonflies to electronic ignition, but the distributor has to be replaced with something to take the sender unit. If the unit doesn't incorporate an electronic advance, you will have to retain the mechanical advance of the original distributor.
 Regarding the performance - with twin carbs, the Dragonfly's performance is on a par with the Mk 5.

 If the 500 special you are referring to is the Black and Silver one with Norton forks - that was built by another Eddie from the Douglas Club. That engine is unique - virtually all the internals were new build housed in strengthened crankcases. It is both stroked and bored to get close to 500cc, and has special cams and '90 Plus' racing cylinder heads.

Regards,
              Eddie.

Offline Paul Taliesin

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Re: New member Andy and the Dragonfly of despair
« Reply #14 on: 06 Oct 2017 at 20:30 »
Hi Eddie

Yes the black and silver Douglas 500 Dragonfly is certainly a special bike something maybe Douglas may have produced if they kept going.I hope to see it one day.

Just read about somebody using a modified Triumph twin electronic setup made by Accuspark and this does away with the rotor and advance unit.
I'll focus on getting the engine back together first what size is the most I can bore the standard cylinders to 62.5mm?
Looking for cylinders if anybody has anything usable.

Offline richson

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Re: New member Andy and the Dragonfly of despair
« Reply #15 on: 07 Oct 2017 at 13:42 »
Hi Paul, here's a pic of the bits I have.

Cheers,

Neil

Offline AndyMorgan

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Re: New member Andy and the Dragonfly of despair
« Reply #16 on: 19 Oct 2017 at 19:06 »
Hi there Chaps

I've also bought a Dragonfly even more of a basket case than Andy's of the same chap Paul up in Durham.
Missing a load of parts including barrels, Cam followers, some of the cam gear in front chest, Headlamps Nacelle, Toolbox , top handlebar. However I fancy putting on alternative fork like on the Mark series
I'd like to do a twin carb conversion like Eddie and a possibly a 500. However happy to get her running in standard form if possible. Looking to work on engine initially the crank needs a rebuild, cams seem worn. Would like to swap parts or buy
Paul

Paul
I feel a bit bad now as I had quite a few trips back and forth to Durham to pick through and do swaps for all the best bits and to make sure I had the parts needed. Although it was advertised as having a spare engine it didn't quite live up to expectation but in the end I was happy with the deal. Paul had a few spare Barrels among a later auction of remaining bits http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/douglas-mk4-crank-cases-dragonfly-heads-and-belived-dart-barrels/272861089474?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649 so someone out there will have them and probably turn up at autojumble.

I haven't had time to do anything with it as yet but as my retirement starts next week I plan to get stuck in soon, I'll post a blog on here when I do.  So far I did manage to get a 375/7 carburettor and a repro speedometer on ebay. All I need now is headlamp and controls
There is quite a lot to do and a light rust on every surface including the cams but a quick whizz with the wire brush seems to clean them up.  I have some duplication of bits and pieces but not sure which will eventually be spare otherwise I would be happy to pass them on.

Offline Paul Taliesin

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Re: New member Andy and the Dragonfly of despair
« Reply #17 on: 21 Oct 2017 at 14:48 »
Hi Andy

Good to hear off you.

There seem to be a quite a mix of parts up there with Paul in Durham.It's such a pity all the bikes had been stripped down and mixed up not his fault they were inherited down off an family member who has passed away.

It would be good to swap parts  and share experiences on restoring them I'm missing quite a few bits. Eg Toolbox and headlamp nacelle footrests etc. It's early days I have a few duplicate parts also.I'm looking at getting the engine sorted 1st, the club spares has lots of useful engine pasts such as gasket sets, pistons, pushrods, valves,  new timing gears etc
Spoke to Alpha Bearings about reconditioning the crank the front con rod has some play.

Picked up some barrels of this week from somebody who has a 8 Dragonflies! He knows them inside out he has many parts so I'll pass you his contact details if you want he is most helpful.
Happy retirement

Offline steve.link

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Re: New member Andy and the Dragonfly of despair
« Reply #18 on: 21 Oct 2017 at 23:09 »
Hi there Chaps

I've also bought a Dragonfly even more of a basket case than Andy's of the same chap Paul up in Durham.
Missing a load of parts including barrels, Cam followers, some of the cam gear in front chest, Headlamps Nacelle, Toolbox , top handlebar. However I fancy putting on alternative fork like on the Mark series
I'd like to do a twin carb conversion like Eddie and a possibly a 500. However happy to get her running in standard form if possible. Looking to work on engine initially the crank needs a rebuild, cams seem worn. Would like to swap parts or buy
Paul

Paul
I feel a bit bad now as I had quite a few trips back and forth to Durham to pick through and do swaps for all the best bits and to make sure I had the parts needed. Although it was advertised as having a spare engine it didn't quite live up to expectation but in the end I was happy with the deal. Paul had a few spare Barrels among a later auction of remaining bits http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/douglas-mk4-crank-cases-dragonfly-heads-and-belived-dart-barrels/272861089474?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649 so someone out there will have them and probably turn up at autojumble.

I haven't had time to do anything with it as yet but as my retirement starts next week I plan to get stuck in soon, I'll post a blog on here when I do.  So far I did manage to get a 375/7 carburettor and a repro speedometer on ebay. All I need now is headlamp and controls
There is quite a lot to do and a light rust on every surface including the cams but a quick whizz with the wire brush seems to clean them up.  I have some duplication of bits and pieces but not sure which will eventually be spare otherwise I would be happy to pass them on.

I have these bits but the barrels are not Dragonfly. Happy to swop items for my restoration project

Regards

Steve

 

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