Everbest Petcocks …they must be repairable, because i did it ! (with the help of Craig Vechorik's excellent tech article)
How do you go about ?
First of all, you find yourself a petcock that is worth rebuilding : no obvious holes, no split brass tubes, just the plug loose and leaking.This is an Everbest petcock.
You can see that the plug is held in place by a ring which is tapered towards the front of the petcock. The metal of the body is crimped over the tapered ring, either over the whole circumreference or just by two small punches at the sides.
There are three gaskets : one large one on each nut, and a smaller one at the base of the fuel filter.
If you got one with the two punches (like the one in the first picture), you just discovered that life is gonna be easier.
Before you start, screw on both nuts to protect the threads. The upper nut is left hand thread.
You need a sharp knife now, to trim away the parts of the body protruding over the ring retaining the plug. Cut away…mind your fingers. To do this easily, it's best to clamp the petcock into a vise. Use copious amounts of kitchen paper inbetween anything metal and the petcock, because the pot metal of the petcock is very soft and easily damaged. (don't ask me how I found that out !)
Cut at the pot metal until you think the ring will be able to come out with a bit of force. Then it probably won't anyway, and you'll have to cut away some more metal. Trying to uncrimp the petcock body is probably impossible, especially if the crimp is all around the ring. If it's just the two punches, you can give it a try, if you've cut away enough metal to have a sharp groove inbetween the ring and the body, put the blade of a sharp screwdriver in the groove and tap lightly with a light hammer. If the body cracks…you can just as well throw the petcock away, so take care.
If you think both you and the petcock are ready for the big pull, then clamp it into the vise somewhat more firmly, and use vise grips on the handle of the petcock. Use lots of kitchen roll paper to protect the handle …you can easily damage the Everbest signature. (don't ask me…etc etc) Wrap the paper around the back of the handle with the open end to the front, then put the vise grip on. Brace yourself and pull with all your force. Chances are either the vise or the vise grip will let loose. Actually they probably will, catapulting you through the room. If possible stand against a wall when pulling… If this happens three or four times in a row, it's time to cut away some more metal. Don't get sluggish in ensuring that enough paper is inbetween the vise grips and the handle… If you're lucky, you'll find yourself on the floor one of those times, with the plug still clamped in the vise grip. This is a good time to have a cup of coffee or a beer, and disinfect and bandage all injuries ;-)
These are two pictures : anexposed view of the everbest petcock with the old cork (and how bad it looks !) and a close up of the front of the body and the ring on the plug. Freeing this sucker is what just took you longer than an hour…
Take the cork out of the petcock if it's not on the plug and examine the plug. If it's pitted…you just did all of this for nothing. Sand the plug lightly with grade 600 sandpaper. Clean out the petcock body. You're ready to replace the cork now.
Vech uses 1/8 inch (or 3mm for the metric ppl) cork gasket material. Cork gasket material is not of this world anymore, or at least here in Belgium it apparently isn't. So i tried to use 3mm cork tile. I carefully cut it to the dimensions Vech indicated (50mm x 28mm i believe …check with Vech's article and do your own conversion ! 1 inch is 25,4mm), and then discovered that it could not be bent to a cylinder without breaking. So I used finer cork tile. That broke also.
I ended up taking a (used !) cork from a winebottle and filing the excess cork away. First cut to a length of 28mm. Then file at the outside (using a course file first, or you're going to take a long time !) until the outside circumreference is under 60 mm. Then drill a hole through the center and cut and file cork away until you have a cork cylinder with a wall thickness of 3mm (1/8 inch), all the while keeping the out- and inside perfectly round !
A couple of weeks later I discovered that there is a little German family company that specialises in (old) Bing and Amal carbs and fuel systems. They really have everything. Including pre-formed cork plugs for Everbest petcocks. If only I'd have known…
Tel. Int. Code. + 49 2734 439771, Fax Int. Code. + 49 2734 439773
Email :tillmanns-at-a-tillmanns.de Replace the -at- with the @ symbol to get the actual email address.
They only speak German. No affiliation …yada yada. I bought my new gaskets for the petcocks from them. Sure enough they didn't fit… some filing helped that, and it must be said that I didn't have a petcock with me when I bought the gaskets.
Grease the outside of the cork and make sure that the petcock body is perfectly clean. Push the cork inside the petcock body. It should end up level with the surface the ring on the plug is supposed to rest on. If not…do your very best to get it in deeper. If it doesn't want to…wonder if you cut off the right amount of cork. If you've cut off too much cork in the first place, or you just want to take the chance…trim off the excess cork until it's perfectly level with the inner lip. Don't start putting the plug in if there's still cork bulging out, because you won't be able to get the ring seated to crimp the body over it. If you appear to have too little cork…start over. Too much, by the way, is better than too little.
If all is well in this department, then grease the plug. (Vech says wheel bearing grease…I didn't exactly have that lying around at the time so I used vaseline)
Start putting the plug in the petcock body. If it slides right in, you can start filing cork again, because it *will* leak. You should be able to get the tip in and then get stuck. It shouldn't pop back out all too quickly when you release it.
Then I used a large C-clamp and a block of soft wood with a slit sawed in it (careful…sawing this slit "quickly so I could go on" nearly cost me my thumb and a lot more time than doing it carefully. It's also a lot less painful doing it carefully) so that the handle of the petcock will fit in it. That way (and with kitchen paper), you'll be able to apply force without damaging anything. If the plug doesn't go in by screwing the C-spanner by hand, file some more at the inside of the cork. Do this with the petcock in a vise (paper !) and clean out all the cork filings from the inside. Don't forget to remove any grease left on the cork before you start filing. Then apply new grease to the plug and try again. You should be able to get the plug in all the way until the ring touches the housing. Once you get there, put the petcock in the vise again and put the vise clamp (paper !) on the handle. Try moving the handle to the R and A positions. This is probably hardly possible by hand, but should work with the vise grips. The petcock will loosen up with use. If it rotates easily, you can just as well start over now, because it will leak. If you're satisfied, transfer the clamping equipment (paper on the back, wood block on the front) to the vise, put the petcock in and press the ring past the crimped part of the body you've been cutting at. Recrimp the side of the body over the ring. The best way to do this is with a small punch and a light hammer : give a slight blow on either side of the rim of the petcock body to bend the metal over the ring a bit.
Then put the petcock back in the vise and give it some excercise, putting it on, off and on reserve 50 times or so with the vise grip (paper !). This will loosen it up enough for you to be able to work on it. Now unscrew the bottom nut to expose the two holes which are blocked by the cork you've just put in. Put the petcock in the A position and find a small but long philips head screwdriver, one that is thin and long enough to go all the way through the longest brass tube to the cork. Drill at the cork with the screwdriver. Turn the petcock upside down and drill out the front hole. Try not to damage the plug while doing this. Then turn the petcock to the R position and drill out the back hole and the small brass tube.
You're ready !
Now replace the gaskets if they're still there (and definitely do so if they're not) and it's ready to go on the bike.
Please keep in mind that the fuel tank has to be completely empty for this operation (and no I haven't tried that ;-) Lying it on one side while it is almost empty will work also. It may be a good idea to apply copious WD40 to the old petcocks before trying to take them off…otherwise you might end up breaking or scarring something. Keep in mind that the nut going on the tank is a right hand thread to the tank, but left hand to the petcock. While your newly rebuilt everbest petcocks may seem impossible to move when you got them in your hand, once they're firmly on the tank, things will suddenly be a lot easier. Disassemble and clean the small fuel filters a couple of times during the first couple of tanks of gas, to get rid of leftover cork filings. Check the flow through both petcocks before riding. It needs to be a steady stream, not just a trickle, both on reserve and on. I had one that for some mysterious reason had a restricted flow. I already pushed it through once, and that did help somewhat, but not enough, since the bike still stalls after a while when riding on that one petcock alone. I'll see to it later… If all the gaskets are present and all the nuts tightened down properly, there should be no leaks whatsoever. At least I have none.
Now keep the petcocks wet with gas all the time once they've been on the tank. If you ever take them off…put them in a sealed jar of gasoline.
Update : After the accident mentioned in the speedo article, the gas tank suspension rubbers broke from the shock, and the tank ended up in the same ditch as the bike. I picked it up later, took off the petcocks and put them in a sealed jar of gasoline. At least, I thought it was gasoline. Five months later, with the bike back together, it turned out that it was lacquer thinner. Whoops. Both petcocks leaked like there had never been cork in them, so off I went rebuilding them again. I have a couple of Everbests lying around now that I am constantly working on, and two on the bike that are good.
I have one in which I cannot possibly get the tapered ring into the hole in the body again, so the plug can easily be pulled out. I have another one that was "rebuilt with rubberised cork" so it wouldn’t leak. It looked better than new, with gold coloured nuts and everything, but after one year, all the "rubber" in the cork had dissolved, clogged up the fuel filter and line with rubber and cork, and the petcock –sure enough- was leaking. I rebuilt that one too, with plain simple cork, which still seems to be the best. I can’t wait for Vech’s replica Everbests …
Best of luck,
1971 R50/5 toaster