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good english steel grades

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  • good english steel grades

    Hello All.
    maybe some of the English chaps may be able to help here please.

    I have enquired with many vintage organisations but have no informative response.

    I was given a con rod out of an English motorcycle dated 1913. it needs some repair and has been welded at the bottom of the big end eye. I would like to know what type of steel this is probably made of before proceeding down any paths to repair.

    being this early, it seems industry was just coming out of the wrought iron era. however, there were airplanes, automatic weapons and lots of other engineering requiring steel better then what we call mild steel today.(less than .2% carbon.

    1. does anyone know what type of steel a conrod out of a 1913 Truimph would be made of. EG: plain carbon, alloy steel, what type of alloy steel, whether it was heat treated, what was the tensile strength, l etc.

    2. were the EN series of steels around in 1913

    3. is it possible that the rod was made from EN16 steel. this was a common grade used among english motorcycles for crankshafts, studs and bolts , however I am not familiar with its use as far back as 1913.

    I would like to know what type of steel I am dealing with here. I have no idea. the existing rod seems to be very soft, around 30 rockwell C. the documentation I have say the rod is the new improved heat treated steel, but this could mean anything.

    Any help and advice would be greatly appreciated.
    kind regards and best wishes to all

  • #2
    If you can spare some money for it, take a piece of it to a lab for analysis, then you know what alloy it is exactly.
    Amount of experience is in direct proportion to the value of broken equipment.


    • #3
      Is fabricating a new rod completely out of the question? Given that the 'new improved' rod has had one repair and requires another, it's no longer original and of dubious quality, it seems that a new part would be a viable alternative.
      Peter - novice home machinist, modern motorcycle enthusiast.

      Denford Viceroy 280 Synchro (11 x 24)
      Herbert 0V adapted to R8 by 'Sir John'.
      Monarch 10EE 1942


      • #4
        There is a ton of information on this page
        and right down at the bottom are lots off links to archive stuff on early triumphs.

        also you don't say; the model the cc / HP..that would help

        all the best.markj


        • #5
          If I was a scratch build modeler that article would have me on my way. The best thing to be able to do is of course have the real thing to measure from. And that would be best in pieces.

          This would be more than adequate.


          • #6
            Thanks for the replys.

            1. I dont own the bike, just trying to help someone out here.

            2. not enough metal to cut a sample from.

            3. the best details I can find are Model:: 3 1/2 HP capacity 500 cc side valve. date 1913

            4. Yes, I can make a new rod, but that is the absolute last resort.

            The main reason for wanting the steel type is to determine what happened to the base metal when welded.
            my logic goes like this
            the steel probably has a carbon content over.3. I say this because the factory says it has been heat treated. a steel with less carbon dont respond well to heat treatment.
            main query is it a plain carbon steel, or does it have alloying elements.

            beside it would be interesting to know what level of metallurgy was Triumph using in 1913. this has bronze bush big end and roller bearing mains. so if there were roller bearings then, it indicates tha steels were successfully being heat treated.

            thanks to all and best wishes Bradley


            • #7
              Steel in 1913 was at a premium, most of the good quality, which was variable, was sheffield made.
              There were no engineering numbers yet, not sure when they were in general use, a lot of steels were still specified by name, usually quite grand sounding like vesuvious, thor and stuff like that.
              Generally steel was bessimer, bottom blown or open hearth. Analysis was rudementry, looking at the flame when in the converter or open hearth, samples were taken to a wet lab for analysis, carbon was done by titration, as was most of the other elements.
              The steel was killed, ie the residual oxygen was scavanged by coal dust and aluminium, mostly 'carbon 99' as they called it, aka anthracite coal.
              Steel was cast into ingots using cast irom moulds, open top ones, bottle top moulds had not arrived.
              Alloying was carried out but it was a case of throwing it into the furnace or ladle, the degassing process was throwing beechwood or oak blocks into the ladle, along with lime, rabble blocks.
              They were all shapes!
              Further refining was often done by crucible, smaller batches and easier to control, it took a long time to get any kind of analysis, i doubt if 2 rods in an engine would end up the same as forging was required to get the inclusions and porosity out.