Blame it on the science

Blaise Pascal said “The eternal silence of these infinite spaces fills me with dread”.   Poor old Blaise didn’t last long but in his brief 39 years he contributed a heck of a lot to mathematics and managed to get a computer programming language named after him.  Curiously, the first language that I used commercially.

In the mid 17th century he was messing around with barometers and trying to disprove Aristotle’s ideas that everything, visible or invisible had substance.    Aristotle said “Everything that is in motion must be moved by something”.   Pascal wanted to prove the existence (or not, depending on how you look at it) of a vacuum.

The shed isn’t exactly an infinite space.    It also doesn’t have an eternal silence.   The silence that it occasionally experiences is frequently broken by the the cursing of a frustrated man.   Let me try to expand.

I put the engine back into the frame.   I fastened the available nuts and bolts that hold the engine in the frame (I’m missing a couple, they should have arrived earlier in the week but I reckoned I could get by without them).   I carefully studied the wiring diagram and connected the cables running from the points and from coil to where they belonged.   I cleaned up the earth cable and checked that the battery was giving a healthy six volts.

I thought I’d check that the clutch was doing what it should be doing so I connected the cable at the clutch lever and then tried to connect it to the clutch mechanism on the engine.   It didn’t look right.   It just didn’t work.

A search through the many photo’s I’ve taken over the last 16 months revealed a missing bit.   There’s a clutch cable holder that attaches at the base of the cylinder head.   Fiddlesticks, there’s no sign of mine but looking through the engine pile I found one on one of the HOAP engines.    It was a matter of minutes to remove it, a matter of an hour to clean it up to Little Project standards and a matter of minutes to fit it back on to Little Project engine.   Guess what?   The clutch does what a clutch should do.   I can go up and down through the gears just as one should expect.

The next big step was to put some oil in.   I was a bit concerned that the oil would go in and then come straight out again somewhere else but no, it has stayed inside the engine.

A friend of a friend said to turn the engine over slowly without the plug in.   This gets everything lubricated before the big moment.   I did this.   Very carefully.

Time to check for a spark.   Ignition on, hold the plug against the head and kick.

There’s a spark.


I thought I better fit the last bits before I start the engine.   On with the exhaust.   It’s a bit fiddly to fit the exhaust because there is a loose collar that holds everything together.   No problem after all these months though.   On with the exhaust and let’s turn our attention to the carb.

The carb doesn’t fit.    Well, it does.   It fits perfectly onto the engine but it won’t connect to the air filter, the connecting tube will either connect to the air box or to the carb but it won’t connect to both at the same time.  Worse, the fuel intake on my carb is on the right hand side and it needs to be on the left hand side.

So we shall have to wait.   I’m now in desperate need of a Keihin PC04B carburettor if anybody happens to have one lying around in their shed.   Other than that it will just be a case of keeping a watching eye on eBay for the next few weeks.

Hey ho, it was very exciting to get a spark though.



3 thoughts on “Blame it on the science

  1. As the old adage goes, “If you have spark and fuel then it must start” (provided all else is correct!). I would have squirted a bit of fuel through the plug hole and kicked the starter just for the joy of hearing it run for 2 seconds!!!

      • We used to hot test the engines at NSA starting them up and checking there was oil getting to the rockers and that there was oil pressure and then running them for about 10 minutes which meant getting them hot and checking oil pressure at operating temp, listening for unusual sounds, setting idling speed as well as adjusting timing with a timing light. All this was done without an air filter and Nissan engines in SA are good for 200k kilos or more so I hardly think 2 or 3 seconds running would be detrimental to the engine. But that’s only my opinion. Well done for getting as far as you have and overcoming so many obstacles. Hope you get a carb soon.

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