BSA Victor Issues

Reader Contribution by Keith Fellenstein
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Editor’s note: If you’re having trouble with that old
Suzuki, BSA or BMW, Keith Fellenstein is your guy. From motorcycle tuning tips
to detailed motorcycle engine repair, he can draw from a wealth of experience
to help guide you to success. Send questions to: Keith’s Garage, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka,
KS 66609,
or send an e-mail with
“Keith’s Garage” as your subject.

BSA Victor issues

Q: There are only 2,500 original miles on my Victor. Since it only gets
ridden occasionally in the summer I have drained all the fluids and replaced them.
From new, this machine has always had a loud valve noise (I’m presuming that’s
what it is), which I have accepted as normal. However, since setting the points
gap, cleaning the carb and replacing the fluids, I have acquired a new
disturbing clinking sound when I accelerate moderately hard. I’m still not
clear on timing, so I have left that alone. It is a higher sounding “tinkling,”
almost like pennies rattling around somewhere in the top end. Once up to speed
and just riding it is gone, but as soon as I crank it on it sounds off. The
spark plug is a perfect color, and the exhaust is clean with no smoke of any
kind at any time. The tailpipe has a slight amount of grease in it, but it is
fairly dry and the same as it’s always been. Other than the noise, the bike
sounds, accelerates, rides and responds the same as it always has. Before
setting the points gap, upon kickstarting, the machine made some bucking sounds
during one of its periodic kick backs. Could something have been damaged? Or is
the points gap setting causing this? Under “specifications” in the owner’s
manual it says the points gap should be 0.020-0.025in. However, on another page
it says the points should be set to 0.015in. Do you know what the correct
setting is? — Larry Bush/via email

A: The 0.020-0.025in
will be for the spark plug; there may be a misprint in the manual. Most points
for any motorcycle will be in the 0.012-0.016in range, and I usually strive for
0.015in. If you have the points set to 0.020-0.025in, you will have overly
advanced the timing. That leads me to the new noise. It sounds to me like you
have “pinging,” the common term for the noise you hear when you have
detonation/pre-ignition. It’s a dangerous condition, one that can burn a hole
in the crown of the piston and subjects the piston and connecting rod to
explosive stresses they aren’t meant to have. It’s usually caused by one of two
things: low-octane fuel or overly advanced timing. Start by re-setting the
points gap to the proper 0.015in setting. The Victors were high-compression
machines meant to run on premium, so fill it with premium fuel and see if the
pinging remains. If it does, you will have to check and set the timing. Once
the timing is correct, your bike should be easier to start and sound fine. Good
luck! MC

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