Thursday, August 16, 2012

1964 Raleigh Sports Restoration.... Part One

Hello and Welcome. It has been three years since I purchased this 3 speed mens bike from a gentleman in AnnArbor Michigan. Having finished the "Rusty Raleigh Restoration" I finally feel confident enough to take on this project. I only have one real concern now that the bottom bracket is removed. And that is the dents. Particularly in the fenders with the beveled shape and the ridged center of the front fender (or mud guard) it is going to be challenging to hammer out the dents. Strangely enough "if I still have it" there is a masonry tool that my be helpful. But I will get back to that latter on in the project.
Above: The Raleigh as it looked when I brought it home in 2009. The very first thing I noticed about this bike was the huge Messenger bicycle saddle. That is going to have to go. Then the dented chain guard and fenders. And that the paint was shot, not worth trying to save the paint job. So this is going to be a major restoration, no doubt about that.
Above: This shot shows the worst part of the chain guard. I guess all I can do is remove the paint and try to hammer out the dents. If I am not satisfied with the results then I can look for a suitable replacement.
Above: Here I have marked a few of the many dents and dings I will be trying to remove on the vintage style bicycle fenders.
Above: On a positive note, the 26 inch wheels look pretty good and spin freely. I will definitely be oiling each spoke nipple in advance to make the truing process go smooth. Also one of the solid front fender struts is bent. But I think I have a replacement front fender with struts around here somewhere. I will try to repair the original fender and struts first.
Above: The rear wheel looks pretty good too. The Sturmey Archer three speed internal hub appears to be working perfectly, at least on the stand. I have always heard these hubs are very reliable. I can hardly wait to install the cable to the shifter, this should be interesting. LTMS The kick stand mechanism works like an old Schwinn but is a bolt on. I do not remember ever seeing one of these before.
Above: The block pedals work fine but the blocks are badly worn. I wonder if NOS replacement blocks are available on the e bay? Seems like I remember seeing them offered a long time ago. I am pretty sure these are going to be the old English thread type posts.
Above: The handlebar grips are shot, And they are ugly too! No worries, I would be replacing these anyway.
Above: I will be ordering new decals. I do not think this will be a problem as this model was very popular and they built them for many many years.
Above: I was pleased to see the iconic Raleigh head badge is in fine condition. I am still debating if I want to remove this one for painting or not. The last one came out pretty good, and would have come out better if I had cut the painters tape better.
Above: This is the last one I did and I think it looks pretty good. And I think I can do this one even better. Ok it is decided, it stays! Why go looking for trouble?
Above: I took photographs of the cable routing to assist me in re assembly and ordering replacement parts. The photographs of everything was an idea I picked up on British television (shown here). This fellow was restoring a BSA or Triumph motorbike. They only showed a few episodes here and it was gone. Too bad it was really cool. But we still have "Wheeler Dealers" another great British restoration (automobiles) show!
Above: The touring handlebars are in decent condition. The Stem is good to excellent. And the "Lamp mount bracket" (not sure that is what it is called) is in fine shape as well. I was surprised how easily the stem came out. I was sure it was going to be difficult. But Raleigh owners seem to be the sort who maintain their bikes really well for the most part.
Above: Here is an antique "Delta Buddy" electric lamp (pat.1919) I hope to mount on the lamp bracket for photography purposes only. The battery compartment is clean and the directions card is still in place inside the case. I would not be all that surprised if the #@& &%#@ thing still works!
Above: Removing the crank arm I used every trick I know. First I removed the cotter pin retainer nut and sprayed a little penetrating oil in the nut end of the pin hole (24 hours before starting). Then I used a Heavy Duty C Clamp and a socket "before I used a lug nut but the socket works better." And then I carefully applied pressure. This part is tricky, because if the set up is not perfect it will pop off under pressure. Once I have tightened the C Clamp real tight I warm up the arm around the spline. Then I just leave it alone for a while. Often I will hear the cotter pin break loose while I am doing something else. If it does not break loose, once it has cooled I add more torque. I usually have to use a Crescent wrench handle as a lever to tighten the clamp. I do not want to break the clamp so I only tighten the clamp a little each time. Then I warm it up again and walk away. It took three or four times for this one to break loose. If you are not experienced with the tools and confident, you may want to have this done at a shop.
Above: If you are going to try this you will need a heavy duty C Clamp. I do not even know if they make clamps like this one any more. I find clamps like this one at garage sales and some thrift shops. A cheap cast C clamp could break under extreme pressure and could cause injury.
Above: This lighter duty modern clamp was literally folding under the pressure. So Please Do Not Try This With Inferior Clamps / Tools. Some of these older keys take an extreme amount of pressure before they break loose.
Above: As you can see eventually it all came apart. I think the other important part of this method is, Once you warm it up, shut off the torch. Then give the heat a little time to work. I have seen them break loose 15 or 20 minutes after I warmed up the arm around the spline area. Good tools, careful set up and sticking to the plan and of course lots of patience will get the job done safely.
Above: I was amazed to see the good condition of the bottom bracket spindle or axle, especially after the battle I went through to remove the crank. I expected this bracket spline to be all rusted and pitted. The bearings look suspect or not quite right. I think they may have been distorted or taken-on an oval shape possibly from over tightening or maybe they are just wore out. At any rate I will need to replace these. And the head set bearings will need to be replaced as well.
Above: Here I have cleaned out the bracket shell using White Lightning Clean Streak It looks like the drive side cup may be scored. I think it is just grease residue. But if I can not remove it (residue) I will have to remove the drive side cup and take a closer look. To spray the bracket shell I tilt the frame in the stand so the cleaner and sludge will run out. I hold a plastic (sink size) tub behind and under the bracket when spraying. Being careful to catch any spray through on the opposite side. You will need to read the directions and cautions carefully. The fumes could be dangerous and hazardous to your health.
Above: To remove the hardened grease I have given the headset bearing cups a heavy coat of Mother's Mag and Aluminum Polish. (inside and out). I'll leave this alone for about 10 minutes or so then wipe it clean with a paper towel or rag.
Above: A shot of the headset cup after wiping clean and buffing with paper towels. Sometimes I need to repeat the process. And a few times I have finished off stubborn grease marks with a fine brass detail brush.
Above: Having purchased this bike three years ago, I had totally forgotten that it has a rear coaster brake. As it sat over with all the other "not yet restored" bikes I noticed from a distance that it had a missing brake lever. Or so I thought. I remembered that three years ago I had removed the front caliper. And seeing one lever,I thought I must have removed the lever as well. "long story short" For a week I have been wondering where I could have stored the missing lever. When I finally dragged the bike out from where I had it parked, I spotted the coaster brake and had a good laugh. (at myself) Because there never was a second lever! Not being much of a three speed guy, I assumed they all had a front and rear caliper brake. Live and learn :)
Above: Normally my next step would be to rebuild the threaded headset and crank. However this bike is getting a total repaint. So the next step will be to remove the paint from the frame and fork and fenders as well. I wont sand the fenders down until I am ready to hammer out the dents. No sense having the fenders sitting around bare exposing the metal to moisture. I do have another front fender that is in excellent condition, I will see how it matches up with the original. If it is a good match I will probably prepare the nicer fender for paint and save the original.
Above: I have this idea of replacing the front brake with a vintage "Mafac Racer" center pull brake. Sort of a "period correct upgrade". I would need to come up with a cable guide. It might be possible to drill a small hole through the lamp hanger bracket and mount a barrel adjuster there on center. Anyway it is just a thought at this point. Until next time Please RIDE SAFE and Remember to Always....RESCUE, RESTORE & RECYCLE Cheers, Hugh
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  1. I was going to say that you are making work for yourself Hugh but then I realized that your 3 speed is a 1964 and that was a great year so its good you are restoring it {yep born then ;-)}. Seriously I expect it will come out as cool as your "formerly Rusty Raleigh" project. Love the wheeler dealer show btw. Just got myself a cordless Dremel and some detail brushes and buffing pads, looking forward to testing it out on the Peugeot. Good luck with the Raleigh.


    1. Hey Ryan,
      Yeah my "easy work" break did not last very long. I don`t know if the Sports will be as sharp as the Sprite, but I am hopeful.
      Yeah Wheeler Dealer is great! Also American Restoration is cool. Rick (on American Restoration) restored the same chain driven three wheeler I have in the shop/garage. That's another project that has been on hold for a long time. My "Dremel like" tool is broke. I think (actually know) it has a short in the cord. It should be a fairly simple fix.
      I haven't worked on a Peugeot in a long time. In fact I think that was the only one I have ever found. And Good Luck with your project as well.

  2. Have fun I have done three, I really enjoy every post on your blog.

    1. Thanks Dan,
      I think this is my second Raleigh Sports. But I have done a couple of Sprites as well. And more Raleigh road bikes than I can remember. Raleigh has always been my favorite bike to work on.
      And I like American Raleigh bikes as well. But there is something special about a Nottingham Raleigh. They are "for the lack of better word(s)" proper and dignified. And I am always happy to hear that people actually enjoy the blog.

  3. On stripping the paint, have you considered a chemical stripper? Very cheap, quick and easy. And instead of tape on the headbadge, coat it with something the new paint wont stick to, rubbercement or caulk would peel off easily and could be applied with great detail. Maybe test these ideas on a lesser project first. =)

    1. Hey John,
      There is no better way to completely know your frame than wet sanding it down to bare metal by hand. I am not a big fan of chemical paint strippers. I am just not convinced they do not have a negative effect on the metal.(or other things for that matter) Maybe it is because I worked in the "second oldest profession" for 32 years that I like to do things the old way. I will give it some thought though. But I make no promises. I do not embrace change easily. But I am working on it :)

    2. I wanted to do up my 1950ish raleigh but too poorly to do it. Just found an enthusiast who would buy it. HOW MUCH is the question?


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