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Welcome

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Welcome to Old Ireland.   My initial idea for this site was to cover only classic vehicles, but since classicireland.ie was already taken and the best alternative I could find was this one, my thoughts for the site began to broaden.   A lot of the inspiration for this comes from the few magazines for which I have written articles.   Let’s get these mentioned early, because you should not be surprised to see a little of their influence here.   Real Classic is subscription only in print, but also has an excellent site at https://www.real-classic.co.uk/ , where Frank, Rowena and a host of writers entertain and inspire.   Then there is Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly, formerly in print monthly, but now only on line at http://mnmotorcycle.com /.   MMM’s archives could keep you reading happily for months, and the like it or not truths told by Thomas Day (Geezer with a grudge: see his own site at http://geezerwithagrudge.blogspot.com/ ), should make everyone on two wheels pause for thought

German Engineering?

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 As mentioned last time, when rebuilding the top end of my R75/6 the replacement heads that I had for it had a few problems. The heads are from an R75/7, so are a straight fit onto my bike because I already have modified the  valve gear to a later specification than that originally fitted to my series 6 bike.  I have no idea of the mileage these heads have covered, so they were stripped for inspection and cleaned before anything was done with them.  I have a small lever type clock gauge which I used to check the valve guides for wear.  These at least were well within tolerance, so we had a good start. Next the valves.  Both inlet valves looked good and a light lap in with fine paste produced a good seating surface.  The exhaust valves were a different story.  They appeared to have been seating on a knife edge thin ring around the valve (see the before and after picture below).  When running my finger nail across this, the nail actually clicked into a thin groove worn into the seat.  Wh

An old mistake.

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 I have owned my BMW R75/6 for many, many years now and have always had something of a love/ hate relationship with it.  Get it going well on a long run and all is right with the world, but despite the image that BMW are keen to portray, it has been less than reliable over the years.  I must point out that not all of this unreliability has been BMW's fault.  For example, I have been through two Boyer electronic ignitions over the years, and as mentioned in the story link below, had an oiling fault caused a previous owners attempt to fit an oil pressure gauge (more on this particular fault shortly).  There has been one nagging issue that has been in this bike throughout though, and it bugs the hell out of me. The bike's engine has always made more noise than a bucket load of angry rattle snakes!   I have written about this elsewhere, including here:  Living with a 1974 BMW R75/6 (oldandireland.blogspot.com)  in a story first published in Real Classic magazine.  Eventually. a few

Neighbours can be such an unthinking pain in the you know what!!

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  I have recently had to spend a time and money to fix a really crap bit of work by my next door neighbour. Considering he is a qualified tradesman, who has worked in the building trade all his life, I really would have expected a better, neater job.  You could always see through the hedge between us, which wasn't a issue until they built an extension with great big bloody windows pointing straight at the boundary hedge.  Then a week or so ago, he removed a Berberis plant that was part of the hedge and put up a bit more trellis  and this really crap green stuff that looks like green tinsel to block the hole he had created in the hedge.  Incidentally, n otice the top piece of trellis in one of the pictures.  I had to make enough of this to go all round the garden to stop Tilly jumping the fences when she was younger, and the part he put up is identical to a piece that went missing a few years ago.  That in itself is interesting!   When putting up the trellis, he initially put the wo

Happy 125th Birthday...or perhaps not?

 I saw this link on the VMCC site but thought it was worth passing on.  The very first UK speeding ticket was handed out 125 years ago yesterday, (28th January).  The reckless driver who received it was breaking the 2mph speed limit!! Enjoy. https://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/HistoryofBritain/Walter-Arnold-Worlds-First-Speeding-Ticket/

Donald J - A complete explanation of Trumpism in only 5 seconds

 

One thing leads to another.

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Last summer, that wonderful locked down one, my wife parked her car in the road in front of our house while I was cutting the grass close by. Our neighbour across the street then clipped it while reversing out of her driveway leaving a small crease in the door of our MX5. Damn! Still, these things happen and the crease was neither very big or very deep. Yet when we got a few quotes some, from the bigger body shops that handle only insurance claims, were astronomical (over £1000 for that little ding!!), and they wanted to replace the whole door rather than to simply fix it. Fortunately, there is a local business that specialises in MX5’s (East Engineering) located further down the Ards Paninsula in a small industrial complex beside the Kirkistown race track, so we went to him. If you want to see his work, check out some of the videos on his Facebook page. East Engineering Mazda MX5 Parts - Home | Facebook If you look hard enough, you should still find one showing chassis repai

Bloody Amazon

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Bloody Hell!! We have just had yet another delivery from Amazon for Rebecca at an address about 2 miles from here. There have been loads of them since just before Christmas. I have had 3 long, long talks to Amazon's customer services, we have personally delivered two parcels, and we have caught a load of their drivers before they left the scene, but this is the last time we are going to even try to set things right. From now on, if Amazon care to leave stuff on our doorstep that is not for us, we are going to keep it, as per their customer services instructions. The driver today said that the sat nav leads them here, and they deliver, despite neither the road name or the post code being correct. Amazon are obviously incapable of learning, and I am sick of trying to teach them.

Bittersweet.

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Because the race was a victim of the current epidemic, the local BBC showed, Road, the documentary about Joey and Robert Dunlop and Robert’s sons in place of their North West 200 coverage.   You can see it on Iplayer for a few more days at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01jhws7 Having never been involved in racing, I did not know either of them, although I have met Joey on a few occasions.   The image of Joey as a quietly spoken, modest gentleman is exactly how he came across to me.   Back in the 80’s and early 90’s, we had a reasonably active motorcycle club.   For a few years during the off season for motorcycle racing, we organised a bus from Bangor to take us to Joey’s Bar in Ballymoney for the night.   By phoning in advance, we were able to arrange an evening when Joey could be there.   The first round of drink, for the whole busload of us was always on the house, and during the evening, the bar also provided a supper of sandwiches, cocktail sausages and all the usual

All dressed up and nowhere to go.

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I have to say that during this Covid lock down I am not missing my daily commute to work.   Even on a bike it is pretty hateful.   Still, the Suzuki needed a little TLC before I have to start weaving between the traffic to Belfast again, and the sunny weather that we were having was an excellent opportunity to do this maintenance. There were two linked things that needed to be done. Change the worn out rear tyre. Change the exhaust so that removal of the rear wheel would be much easier in the future. The Burgman with one lower panel removed.  you can see where the exhaust disappears up behind the bodywork and one of the frame tubes. I have complained about the inaccessibility of the Burgman’s rear wheel in a previous article.   Rear wheel removal on this bike should be easy since the scooters engine and drive train are in essence a single sided swinging arm, with three nuts holding the wheel onto this assembly.   Unfortunately, Suzuki’s designers then destroyed thi

Island life.

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OK, Islay has nothing to do with Ireland, but it is only twenty five miles off our coast, and the scenery and culture would be familiar to anyone who lives here in Ireland.  This story was originally published way back in 2008 in Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly, a great magazine in its time.  I thought this was sufficiently far removed from the current Covid crisis to give us all a small reminder of better times. Enjoy. __________ My home in Northern Ireland provides scope for many good scenic runs on a bike.  One familiar and rightly popular local run follows the coast north through County Antrim from the narrow confines of the Irish Sea to the open Atlantic.  The two waters meet off Ballycastle, a harbour sheltered by the rugged cliffs of Rathlin Island 3 miles offshore.  Look west from here on a good day, and the coast winds off toward Donegal and the open ocean, look north and off Scotland’s coast, the horizon is broken by Islay, the first of the Hebridies islands, and by the h