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James ML - opinion needed

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I just rubbed down the frame lug to expose number 6138 which is 1471 in front of my headstock frame number ML7619.

 

Ron?

ML 004.jpg

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Not what I was expecting Ron.

 

Could it perhaps be that the factory had a few thousand frames made as the WD order got in to which your ML belongs, and took just one out of their stock during assembly?

 

The James ML on the photo's for which I started this topic has seat lug number 1 135 for example ,but I don't know the framenumber. Post-war steering assembly , but wartime stand and footpegs,..

 

and on this picture of a civilianised ML with AAAxxxxA engine number , it believe you can see the first number '1' or '4';

https://oldthumpers.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/06092010109.jpg

 

Any other ML owners who want to give their numbers?

 

 

Regards,

Bjorn

Edited by HQsignals

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It's a very good subject to research...... if you can get enough response. Ron

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As far as can be ascertained, all WD ML frames were sequentially numbered.......this may well include "spare" frames built and/or supplied in addition to the 4 primary WD contracts............

 

Although no records appear to survive, there are a large number of "gaps" between contracts in the sequential frame numbering......

 

For example, the first contract finished at ML 3541.....the second commenced at 5209 and finished at 5408....the third started at 6001 and finished at 6900, and the final one started at 7001 and finished at 8500 (the remaining 1500 being cancelled, but no doubt built by James as civilian versions).........

 

I am tempted to suggest that the original WD contracts were for a specific number of "complete" bikes and the "gaps" between the contracts actually comprising of "spares" (common with many other WD motorcycle contracts)......these spares were usually large components, such as frames, fork-assemblies, engines, etc..........

 

The evidence to reinforce the above comes from a brand-new ex-WD ML frame (in the possession of Terry Roberts from "Metal Magic") which still bears the original SCC No.2 brown paint yet carries a frame number in the usual place in the "ML 4000" range, falling into the large "gap" between the first and second contracts..........

 

If this is the correct assumption, then it would suggest that all ML frames were numbered rather than being supplied un-stamped...........:D

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This would explain a lot.

 

Now considdering the frame of the motorcycle I have posted ; The frame itself has some military features (footpegs, stand,..) , on the head lug I could not find any marking while I was there except the inspector stamp '6416'. The current owner has further removed the paint on the head lug, but has come up with no framenumber whatsoever.

So I was wondering if it could be a military spec build frame that was left over or returned to the factory and fitted with a later model steering handle. But then again, a framenumber would be on the head lug. I'm interested to know.

 

Anyway, I have agreed with the owner to purchase the motorcycle. Overhere James ML are quite rare, even civvy ones.

It will be a nice project. Biggest problem will be the wheels.

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For reference, my ML is frame number "ML 3401" (first contract) and the number on the rear engine lug is "3520".....

 

The bike, although restored, is exceptionally complete with original fittings including saddle cover, correct ML headlight switch and resistor, etc.........second time I've owned this bike now in 26 years (and second time I've restored it too !)......it was bought in bits (though complete) around 1990 and according to the old log book was registered in 1953 as "Ex-WD - Rebuilt"...............

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For reference, my ML is frame number "ML 3401" (first contract) and the number on the rear engine lug is "3520".....

 

The bike, although restored, is exceptionally complete with original fittings including saddle cover, correct ML headlight switch and resistor, etc.........second time I've owned this bike now in 26 years (and second time I've restored it too !)......it was bought in bits (though complete) around 1990 and according to the old log book was registered in 1953 as "Ex-WD - Rebuilt"...............

 

 

thx for the info!

 

I've seen a photo of your motorcycle on the forum before, a very nice example indeed! ( and well restored).

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Steve that would be a huge amount of spare frames to keep in stock! Over 2300 in fact. Do you think that would be a standard or necessary procedure? Or is it possible that more were built as complete bikes and the records are just missing?? Ron

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Just a quick question: Is Terry from Metal Magic still making parts for ML's these days?

I tried e-mailing a while ago but have had no response so far.

 

regards,

B.

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Yes he is and he was actually here at my place last week checking on a Flea part. I'm afraid he's a bit scatty with emails so best phone him or Drew on 01189731631. Ron

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Great Ron,

I will give them a call once I find some time to work on the ML.

 

Picked the ML up today with the owner, and had little time to inspect it further today.

I might seem to spot a very very faint trace of the ML number , right where it should be, but almost unreadible.

Difficult to make out from what date the motorcycle is then.

 

I also spotted on the 'AAAxxxxx' engine (pre-war? or pre 03/'43?), that it was fitted with the villiers 3/1 carb. Right next to the '3/1' mark on top of the carb where the air filter connects it has the numbers '3418' stamped. Seems like this has been done manually. Is this done with all ML carbs? I was wondering if that could bear a relation to the frame number.

 

regards,

Bjorn.

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3418 must be a Villiers number. I have it on my ML and Flea carbs. Ron

 

PS. All the war time production ML's had the engine AAAxxxxxA letters

Lightweights 396.jpg

Lightweights 398.jpg

Edited by Ron

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Going through some repro manuals for the ML, I was wondering how the steering spindle exactly locks the handlebars?

Is there a nut, or thread on the bottom side of the headstem ?

 

kind regards,

Bjorn

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No, it's the same principal as a push bike. As you turn the top fixing it draws a cone up the inside of the handlebar stem. The stem has slots in it, so you effectively expand the stem to lock it inside the frame headstock. Sometimes a bugger to move the handlebar which has been locked in the same position for a number of years and got rusty inside. Ron

Edited by Ron

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to update this thread a bit, I've replaced some of the wrong parts with correct ones. The fuel tank cap, handlebars & spindle have been replaced. Found a DU42 headlamp with correct switch.

But still a long way to go. picture to follow.

 

I also found this picture, note the number below the saddle. 1807 being ML1689.

http://cybermotorcycle.com/gallery/james/James-ML125-No1689-2.htm

 

 

regards,

Bjorn

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Out of interest I have been looking for some ML framenumbers and their related seat lug numbers.

So far I have come up with the following list:

 

 

ML515-558

ML648-884

ML1689-1807

ML3401-3520

ML7619-6138

 

Any other ML owner's numbers to add to the list would be very helpfull.

 

kind regards,

Bjorn

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I've asked another friend if he'll check his when he has time. I commend your efforts Bjorn. I don't know if you'll ever find any reasoning in it though. I started to wonder if maybe they stamped the engine lug with the number of the engine that was fitted. But I don't think so......Did they use engines with 3 or 4 digit numbers? Regards Ron

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Thanks Ron . I doubt it to that I can find a 'system' in these numbers, but whilst waiting for parts to come in, it kept playing in my mind.

 

About the engine numbers, I think Villiers continued the numbering from the pre-war 9D engines. Could be wrong but tough. I have a pre-war engine fitted to the motorcycle with number AAA11258 on it. I asume that most ML engines are around or within the 20 000+ range, so 5 digits for sure.

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Yes I also assumed they all had 5 digit numbers. But never studied it enough to know for sure. I often find that the research is just as rewarding as the building/ riding.

 

Ron

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Two friends have provided there numbers 1st one is frame= 1811 lug= 2301 2nd one is very early frame= 27 lug= 38.

 

It was suggested that the number is just a build number and the friend with the early bike has a 47/48 frame which doesn't have the lug number, so possibly just a war time thing. Ron

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Hi Ron,

 

most helpfull! My list is getting longer and you can start getting an image of the lug numbers as the framenumbers go up;

 

framenumber-seat lug number-engine number

ML27-38- ?

ML515-558- ?

ML648-884- AAA20739A

---my james' lug number (1135) goes here

ML1313-1670-AAA21495

ML1689-1807- ?

ML1811-2301 - ?

ML3401-3520 - ?

ML6716- ? -AAA25428A

ML7619-6138- ?

Edited by HQsignals

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My engine number in frame 7619 is AAA24255A (not original engine). The engine number for 1811 is AAA22222A.

 

If you want to keep an ML register, you may need to advertise further, like the WD bike forum http://www.wdbsa.nl/

 

Regards Ron

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