The Big Knock 2014

Last week was the The big knock 2014. At the bat and ball pub it was an excellent 4 days or so camping, and a large variety of diesel bikes turned up, a fair few of them too!

The ride out was also a great experience, especially good to see a couple of trikes and, of course, the sprocket!

Here are some pictures of the Diesel bike rally.

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XJ600 Diesel bike – Electric decompression release

I do a lot of riding in traffic, and especially during rush hour, I can sit at traffic lights for 2 minutes at a time. As a result, I thought of turning the engine off whilst sitting at these lights to save fuel, as thats what these bikes are all about!

On my L100, I have a remote compression release in the form of a choke cable attached to my fairing. This arrangement is fine when getting going, pull the lever, press starter, release lever off you go. This arrangment is cumbersome if you are at a traffic light and its starting to change so I had the idea of rigging up some sort of electric release so that I could actuate it from a button on the handlebars.

Initially I looked at solenoids, servos and motors but they where either too expensive on their own, or too complicated to control. I then stumbled upon a couple of door lock actuators on ebay. These are essentially 2 wire motors with a gear reduction and a nice hook on the end, apply 12v one way the rod moves in, apply it the other way it moves out. Heres what it looks like:



Its a pretty simple design, and at £5.80 ridiculously cheap. Great for a gamble in case it didnt work.

After I tested it to ensure there was enough movement and force produced I set to work installing it.

I bolted it to the bracing peice that holds my air filter in place, it puts it right in line for the decompression lever. There is enough space for it there and its pretty well hidden. I swapped out my “passing” switch for one that can handle 5 amps current and wired the output to the actuator.

I used a zip tie to attach it to the decompression lever which allows for some fine tuning and is strong enough.


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Here is the manual decompression release:



All in all works pretty well and the engine can be restarted without taking my hands off the handlebars

Diesel bike – Injector line heater

As most of you know, I run my Xj600 diesel bike purely on WVO (Waste Veg oil). I mix it with 5% Petrol, but during the winter its still very hard to start. This is mainly down to the thickness of the vegetable oil at low temperatures.

To counteract this, I have installed an injector line heater. I used Kapton tape and nichrome heating wire. Kapton tape  a thermal limit of about 250 degrees C and is very thin so aids heat transfer better. I wrapped 2 sections of nichrome wire after wrapping the injector line in kapton tape. Each coil draws around 4 amps.

The temperature aim is around 75 degrees c, to measure how long I would have to run the coils for, I crimped one end of a copper pipe and wrapped it with kapton tape, then the heating coils. I filled it with WVO and inserted a temperature probe. It took approximately 1 minute and 50 seconds to reach 80 degrees C.

As a result, I have coupled the heating elements with a 12v timer circuit and a relay. The timer is set for aproximately 1 minute 45 seconds. The output of the relay also triggers the oil pressure light on the dashboard so I can see when the coils are energised, when the light goes out I can start the engine.

With pre-heating, the engine now starts within 3 cranks rather than 10-15 as before. Even at 0 degrees c.

Some pictures below:

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XJ 600 Diesel bike – L100 injector cleaner

Recent issues with a dodgy fuel pump on my L100 engined Diesel bike has been causing problems!


I had some sediment go past my primary fuel filter and get stuck in my injector which was a pain!
A new injection pump was fitted and some injector cleaner ran through the system but I still had issues, mainly really bad diesel knock and very hard starting.

I initially suspected a blocked/faulty fuel injector, considering it has had WVO running through it, so I pulled it from the engine.

This is what it looked like before cleaning:

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A quick trip in the ultrasonic bath:



and after:

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Turns out, that didnt help at all! It was the injection pump causing the problem, as a second replacement injection pump sorted the problem! Happy days.

XJ 600 Diesel bike – Water injection

Right, so part of the quest to keep the bike running well, I have fitted a water injection system to ensure that ring gumming is kept to a minimum.

This system is very simple and is made entirely from a very cheap 1.2L windscreen washer kit (this one to be specific:

First step was to modify one of the washer jets so that it produced a mist rather than a stream. This was carried out using a old soldering iron tip, and melting the the front face of the jet so that it was completely blocked, then using a very small heated nail to make a very small pin hole. Its hard to see in the picture:



The next step was to insert the jet into the intake. I had created an intake extension out of plastic for my K+N air filter, so this bit was quite easy as its plastic.

I cut out the shape for the jet and inserted into the hole, it was then glued in place from the outside (so to ensure no glue would be sucked into the engine if it fell off). Its at an odd angle as the jet does not exit in a straight line from the jet.

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The remainder is easy, fit the tank, run the wiring and check the flow rate.

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Getting the flow right was the most difficult. I ended up using a hairpin shaped peice of metal over the delivery pipe, and held the revs at 3500rpm. I then ran the pump and kept compressing the clip over the pipe until the engine stopped bogging down. I confirmed that water was still flowing by looking through the intake. Happy days!

I will run 1.2 liters through the engine on each tank full, I will also be keeping a close eye on engine oil for signs of polymerisation.

XJ 600 Diesel bike

Good news, its passed its mot with an advisory for noise, but thats it.

I have now ridden about 250 miles without any issues, currently using the bike for commuting and running errands.

So far so good, I have implemented some fixes to the shafts that stick out of the right hand side to try and stem the oil leak from there. I must keep a close eye on the geabox level!.

Some pictures:
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XJ 600 Diesel bike build update

I recently managed to get the XJ600 out of the garden and onto the street to give it a propert test run!

Everything went fine! Gearbox and clutch worked correctly, clutch was a bit snatchy but we will see if that disappears!

The rear break needs work as well, the lever is in the wrong place and doesnt give the correct levereage. Apart from that, all seems well.

Video below:



XJ 600 Diesel bike build update

A brief update.

Not much has been going on. I spend a lot of time re-jigging the engine and gearbox moutning holes, and I noticed the drivetrain was out of line (engine and gearbox pulley out of line, then the gearbox and rear wheel chain where out of line).


This has been sorted. Most of the electrics are done including the forced cooling. I need to make a shroud out of ali at some point to cover up the old flywheel casing etc.


I spent a bit of time making a spacer out of old drain pipe for the air filter, as the fuel tank would have blocked it otherwise, some pics below: