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lakeside53
04-19-2013, 08:35 PM
Joseph Lucas, the founder of Lucas Industries was humorously known as the Prince of Darkness in North America, because of the electrical problems common in Lucas-equipped cars, especially British Leyland products.

Electrical Theory - by Joe Lucas

Positive ground (they meant "earth") depends on proper circuit functioning, which is the transmission of negative ions by retention of the visible spectral manifestation known as smoke.

Smoke is the thing that makes electrical circuits work. We know this to be true because every time one lets the smoke out of an electrical circuit, it stops working. This can be verified repeatedly through empirical testing.

For example, if one places a copper bar across the terminals of a battery, prodigious quantities of smoke are liberated and the battery shortly ceases to function. In addition, if one observes smoke escaping from an electrical component such as a Lucas voltage regulator, it will also be observed that the component no longer functions. The logic is elementary and inescapable!

The function of the wiring harness is to conduct the smoke from one device to another.

When the wiring springs a leak and lets all the smoke out of the system, nothing works afterward.

Starter motors were considered unsuitable for British motorcycles for some time largely because they consumed large quantities of smoke, requiring very unsightly large wires.

It has been reported that Lucas electrical components are possibly more prone to electrical leakage than their Bosch, Japanese or American counterparts. Experts point out that this is because Lucas is British, and all things British leak. British engines leak oil, British shock absorbers, hydraulic forks and disk brake systems leak fluid, British tires leak air and British Intelligence leaks national defense secrets.

Therefore, it follows that British electrical systems must leak smoke. Once again, the logic is clear and inescapable.

In conclusion, the basic concept of transmission of electrical energy in the form of smoke provides a logical explanation of the mysteries of electrical components especially British units manufactured by Joseph Lucas, Ltd.

And remember: A gentleman does not motor about after dark.

Joseph Lucas - The Prince of Darkness
A few Lucas quips:
Lucas is the patent holder for the short circuit.
Lucas - Inventor of the first intermittent wiper.
Lucas - Inventor of the self-dimming headlamp.
The Lucas motto: Get home before dark.
The three-position Lucas switch -- DIM, FLICKER and OFF. The other three switch settings -- SMOKE, SMOLDER and IGNITE.

The Original Anti-Theft Device - Lucas Electrics.

If Lucas made guns, wars would not start either.

Back in the '70s, Lucas decided to diversify its product line and began manufacturing vacuum cleaners. It was the only product they offered which did not suck.

Q: Why do the British drink warm beer?
A: Because Lucas makes their refrigerators

Q: Why donít the British build televisions?
A: Because they havenít figured a way to make them leak oil; not withstanding the smoke qualifier of course.

John Stevenson
04-19-2013, 08:58 PM
I fully agree with the "If it's British it leaks " I used to have a Royal Enfield bike and on the tank it had a series of patent numbers.

Idly looking one day I discovered one was the same number as the Valdez was built under.

I could never work out why Hardly Dangerous never used Lucas electrics, was it that they were unreliable or did they think that a flint was good enough ?

http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/threads/22359

GNM109
04-19-2013, 09:15 PM
There were only two periods in time when maintenance was generally attempted on Lucas motorcycle electrical units: Too soon or too late.

Lucas motorcycle lighting was like the sun and when the motor dropped to an idle, the sun set.

Lucas Co. was the only manufacturer that ever built a motorcycle electrical system that produced exactly one miliamp greater than the electrical drain and then only at top speed.

The only good things about Lucas electrical spares were the boxes that they came in. Once the units were tested, found faulty and tossed out, the boxes could make passable ash trays and, their labels being rather colorful, became highly collectible.

Lucas electrical systems are singularly responsible for the expansion of the American version of the English language with numerous scatological references that have since become common parlance in British car and bike repair shops.

Some of these words are unpronounceable and and others refer to various physical positions that are seemingly impossible to achieve without surgery or long bouts of aerobics and Zumba dancing.

:D

lakeside53
04-19-2013, 09:26 PM
I fully agree with the "If it's British it leaks "


So.. I checked my passport.. and sure enough... still British. So... I'm going to start leaking? "Depends" will fix that ;)

Mcostello
04-19-2013, 10:59 PM
Hardly Dangerous never used Lucas Electrics, but pay attention to the bikes You see broken down on the side of the road and You will realize they might have used previously unknown Lucas mechanicals. Had one never again.

GNM109
04-19-2013, 11:12 PM
Hardly Dangerous never used Lucas Electrics, but pay attention to the bikes You see broken down on the side of the road and You will realize they might have used previously unknown Lucas mechanicals. Had one never again.


Yeah, sezz you. You should try a late model Harley-Davidson some time. They are much improved. It's obvious you had one bad experience and you want to share.

rode2rouen
04-20-2013, 12:43 AM
Many years ago I had a motorcycle salvage business.
A guy who was once a Brit bike dealer made me an offer I couldn't refuse on a large lot of NOS Lucas items.
To preserve their integrity, I stored them in a Darkroom. :)


Rex

SGW
04-20-2013, 06:50 AM
A friend of mine told me about a T-shirt he saw. It had a picture of a big brass Lucas headlight and the caption:

GENTLEMEN
do not motor about after dark

John Stevenson
04-20-2013, 09:26 AM
Lucas got a bad rep because of accountants.
First off Lucas made commercial gear as well as mass produced car gear.
Most of the British armed forces and bus's had Lucas CAV systems, these were produced to run under adverse conditions with little or no maintenance, and they did but they weren't cheap.

The car systems were designed as cheaply as possible, remember there was a sub industry in getting any equipment classes as OEM on vehicles even if it meant giving it away to the manufacturers as any spares soon paid for this exercise.

Another thing you have to remember is service and backup. In the UK at this time we had garages every 2miles in towns and 5 to 10 miles out of town, all were Lucas agents and a lot of stock was very interchangeable, 7 sets of points fitted most UK cars, and you could get this on sale or return.

The result was if you broke down it was quick and cheap to get going again and you tended to forget that.

Now in the US Lucas was an import and agents were few are far between, a breakdown would be costly and time consuming.

We had the same here when Vauxhall was taken over by GM and Sunbeam went the same way.
Pressure from the parent company forced them to drop Lucas and move onto AC Delco which was regarded here the same as Lucas in the US. main agents were few and far between, parts were expensive because of imports and fitters were not as familiar with AC Delco as Lucas so AC Delco got a bad reputation here.

Now someone is going to post and defend AC Delco but the point I'm making is you had many agents for cheap AC Delco parts, we had many agents for cheap Lucas parts, now swap countries and we both have problems.

Also remember that Lucas electrics was fitted to virtually every car and motorcycle made for 50 - 60 years ? That's a lot of vehicles and not all broke down. In those days unreliability was just as common from other things like design, oils and metals.

We tend to look at things with rosy coloured glasses on

bborr01
04-20-2013, 09:39 AM
A guy up the street from me has been rebuilding starters, alternators and generators for probably 50 years now. He is about 70 and his dad ran a service station since he was a kid. One day I brought him a starter of from one of my MG's. He quipped to me, "you know why the Brits drink warm beer? because Lucas also makes refrigerators". Currently, I have 2 MG's sitting with wiring problems.

It seems that part of the problem with Lucas electrics is that they used very few relays. There is a local guy who sells a complete wiring kit for the MG line of cars and it has lots of relays to keep the current down on the switches.

Brian

wendtmk
04-20-2013, 09:46 AM
Lucas got a bad rep because of accountants.
First off Lucas made commercial gear as well as mass produced car gear.
Most of the British armed forces and bus's had Lucas CAV systems, these were produced to run under adverse conditions with little or no maintenance, and they did but they weren't cheap.

The car systems were designed as cheaply as possible, remember there was a sub industry in getting any equipment classes as OEM on vehicles even if it meant giving it away to the manufacturers as any spares soon paid for this exercise.

Another thing you have to remember is service and backup. In the UK at this time we had garages every 2miles in towns and 5 to 10 miles out of town, all were Lucas agents and a lot of stock was very interchangeable, 7 sets of points fitted most UK cars, and you could get this on sale or return.

The result was if you broke down it was quick and cheap to get going again and you tended to forget that.

Now in the US Lucas was an import and agents were few are far between, a breakdown would be costly and time consuming.

We had the same here when Vauxhall was taken over by GM and Sunbeam went the same way.
Pressure from the parent company forced them to drop Lucas and move onto AC Delco which was regarded here the same as Lucas in the US. main agents were few and far between, parts were expensive because of imports and fitters were not as familiar with AC Delco as Lucas so AC Delco got a bad reputation here.

Now someone is going to post and defend AC Delco but the point I'm making is you had many agents for cheap AC Delco parts, we had many agents for cheap Lucas parts, now swap countries and we both have problems.

Also remember that Lucas electrics was fitted to virtually every car and motorcycle made for 50 - 60 years ? That's a lot of vehicles and not all broke down. In those days unreliability was just as common from other things like design, oils and metals.

We tend to look at things with rosy coloured glasses on

Sir John,

There's a definite reason garages were located every two miles or so. That was about as far as Lucas equipped vehicles could travel without requiring maintenance... ;)

Mark

A.K. Boomer
04-20-2013, 10:12 AM
really doesn't make me think of SJ any more than some other english bloke, now watching the show "grumpy old men" ------- that makes me think of SJ...

John Stevenson
04-20-2013, 10:30 AM
Most of my early motoring was on bikes, at this time, mid 60's there was a glut of old motorcycles kicking about as working men were now able to afford to move from motorcycle onto small cars.

Many were sat behind houses covered in old carpet just rotting and a word with the lady of the house usually got hubby to get rid for virtually peanuts.

By the time I and my brother moved onto 4 wheels we had owned 84 motorcycles between us, none special just commuter bikes and many small 2 strokes.

There was a choice of electrics. Lucas, Miller, Villiers own and Wico-Pacy, known as Wipac

The wipac was a 27 watt flywheel unit that was direct lighting, ie no battery, lights only worked whilst the engine was running, ironically they had a commercial 30w headlight bulb ?

Villiers were about the same, flywheel mag with lighting coil, selenium pack rectifier and direct lighting.

Lucas dynamo's of the time were 45 watt and the delux one was 60 watt and were able to charge batteries but again total consumption was often greater than output so the battery went flat. The regulator was usually mounted under the seat, driest spot on a bike.

Millers in my opinion were the worst designed piece of equipment out. They did magneto's which were very good but the coil ignition machines [ Cost again - coil far cheaper than a mag ] were a disaster.
the dynamo was divided into 3 sections, the dynamo, the regulator and the the points for the ignition. This meant the armature of the dynamo was less than half the size of the 45 w Lucas unit to make room and finished up at 36W

Now work out tail light, headlight, charging losses and coil we will forget the stop light because anyone who knew used to disconnect this at night or the engine would stall at the first road junction, never to start again.

http://www.stevenson-engineers.co.uk/files/miller%20dh1.jpeg

Believe me Lucas were not the worst thing on British roads.

_Paul_
04-20-2013, 12:28 PM
A lot of the 2 stroke stuff I used to ride around on in the 60's was pretty poor in the lighting department the Lambrettas I had were 6v direct lighting with a headlight something akin to a candle in a goldfish bowl at anything less than half throttle, Im trying to remember the manufacturers Marelli was one Ducati Elettrotechnica & CEV? others I think.
Some of the smaller Italian machines/mopeds were no better Aprilia used to make dismal switchgear like little tin snuff boxes tacked on the handlebars that used to fill up with verdegris in rapid fashion.
Italian parts prices were ridiculous I remember in 1968 being quoted 30 bob for a set of points for a Minarelli engined Kerry Capitano Moped with Aprilia electrics plus they had to be ordered from London, in the end I took the spring of a set of Lucas (D7 Bantam) points and riveted that onto the Kerry ones.

Paul

MrFluffy
04-20-2013, 02:19 PM
They copied the design of that high low switch from lucas & wipac though.
Wipac were responsible for the headlight switchgear on my t20 bantam cub (weird factory bastard offspring of a b175 bantam and a supercub engine) and that was awful.
Anyone who's had one of those lucas/wipac style high low thumb flips on the bars, with the bendy metal bit inside that touches different poles and absolutely no weatherproofing will sooner or later become familiar with the frantic wiggleation of the switch on a dark lane trying to get the headlight to come back on when flipping from dip to main after passing someone.
But yes, CEV & the italian stuff was terrible, ducati's of the 70's & 80's came with free electrical fires and crap parts too, and in fact my '92 bimota came factory equipped with CEV lights. Every time I went for a quick ride, the rear and indicator bulbs all fell out and were swimming round their holders. I just grafted in some honda innards out of some c90 rear lights and fitted some generic indicators of better quality, it wasn't worth the fight to do anything else. It had a magneti marelli electric reserve tap which went up in smoke once as the wires came out the bottom with no strain relief and could be bumped on the top of the starter motor during plastic petrol tank installation., the best part of that bike was that they had taken pretty much all the rest of the electrics from the donor yamaha 1000 exup so it was jap quality with italian craftsman doing the frame, but the less said about the italian sourced bits of the electrics the better.

Optics Curmudgeon
04-20-2013, 06:43 PM
I know it's been posted here before, so please forgive me.

http://i106.photobucket.com/albums/m278/ocudge/lucas-smoke_zps561a0fb6.jpg (http://s106.photobucket.com/user/ocudge/media/lucas-smoke_zps561a0fb6.jpg.html)

there's a solution for everything.

Bill736
04-20-2013, 09:26 PM
I don't know if Jaguar cars used Lucas electricals or not. However, I'm reminded of some tests done by an automotive magazine a few years ago. The tests compared a new Jaguar against an old Jaguar . A reader later inquired why the magazine did not also test a new tow truck against the required old tow truck.

Optics Curmudgeon
04-20-2013, 09:32 PM
My '63 XKE did, positive ground and all.

Black Forest
04-21-2013, 06:38 AM
It seems the injector pump on my just out of guarantee John Deere tractor has quit. The mechanic was here this morning to look at the problem. He sprayed some WD40 on the label so he could read what make of pump.

Lo and Behold it was a Lucas! I started laughing and he looked at me really funny. Of course I thought of this thread when he said Lucas. The wiring harness is not very good either. Maybe it is a Lucas.

That Lucas stuff is crap. My injector pump quit after only 44 years in service. They sure don't build them to last!