Sunday, February 14, 2016

Frayed Clutch Cables, And Making New Ones.

When you alter anything from standard...
Inevitably something must change with it. The clutch cable was way too long since I've dropped the handlebars down, and although I'd managed to 'lose' some of its length, it wasn't quite right. 

But it worked; until it frayed. So I bought a kit to make a custom one myself. 

Having seen the job done by Gordon at Lucas Motorcycles, Ross-on-Wye loads of times over the years, I figured I knew all the tricks of the trade. Whenever I had a cable issue on my bikes as a kid, I'd be straight up the dual-carriageway to Ross and he'd make one for about ten quid. Bargain, and that was at any time up until 9.00pm everyday of the week... the guy was a legend!

So if you have an issue with cable length, an odd bike or the original part is too expensive, take a look on eBay and check out the kits available. This one came from the UK and is a quality bit of kit, nylon lined for smoother action, oo'er missus.

It came with all the different style nipples you might need, the rubber boot, clutch adjuster and cable ends. Pleasantly surprised.

Making your cable.
The crucial part is cable length. I measured and remeasured until I was happy with the way the cable flowed smoothly around the bike frame and down to the cover. I marked it with tape and tried it a few other ways to see which way worked best. Once happy I cut it with a side cutters. A miniature cut off disc would be better, and cleaner to be fair, but a quick clean up on the bench grinder had it looking perfect. 

Then the ferrule could go on. I used a punch to peen it gently and keep it secure. There was a spare one in the packet too, in case you muller it I guess.

Next job is to measure the amount of free-play the original cable had. Put them side by side and cut off to suit. You sometimes need to experiment with this if you're changing something on the bike such as Amal carbs etc. — Monobloc to Concentric are different lengths. But anyway, once you're happy with the length of inner cable, cut it off with a side cutters.

When making a cable, make sure you put everything on before you solder the nipple on (yes, it happens!). With rubber boot and adjuster in place, the nipple could go on. It's a really good sliding fit on the cable — impressed again, I think I've been messing about with too much cheap Chinese junk off eBay lately and it's nice when something is 'just right'.

A drop of flux if you will, just to keep everything clean.

I dip the cable and nipple in the flux, warm it up with the blow lamp and dip again.

Allow the cable to stick through enough to flare it. The idea is to solder the flared wire and prevent the strands from closing back up, not to rely on the solder to stick the nipple to the wire — although it will do that too. 

The punch should open it up nicely.

Until you're left with something like this. Dip it back in the flux, heat it gently with a blow lamp and dip it again. Cleanliness is key with soldering. Put it back in the vice and warm it with the lamp again. Dip the solder in and it should melt with the heat of the metal, not the flame. Just take it gently and all will be good.

The pic isn't clear unfortunately, but the solder is in and just started to creep out of the bottom of the nipple. Too much solder will run into the wire and make it hard and brittle, so a big no-no. This should be just the job. Enough solder to prevent the flared wire closing up and pulling through.

Now you can fit your new cable. It doesn't take long and is strangely satisfying. Now, must finish the seat unit...