Finally I can start! Aixam+CVT based build

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Finally I can start! Aixam+CVT based build

Post by The-Original-T » Wed Dec 06, 2017 12:11 am

Well... What can I say.
After 3.5 years of being a forum member and countless hours of fantasising about building my own diesel bike I have finally pushed the proverbial button for launch!

I feel I have learnt a lot from all of you guys on the forum through reading your posts and answering mine so first of all thanks for been such a great bunch!
I also feel I should thank one of you that was at "The Big Knock" this year, I came just to spectate for an hour or two and got to chat to a few of you, no idea who was who as I wasn't there all that long but one of you gave me some great advice, something along the lines of (and I paraphrase):
"Just buy something and start building something, don't plan out every last detail and theorise about everything or you will be here next year still talking about it"
Thanks for that, and now here we are!!

Was originally thinking about using a 10hp Yanclone geared up 1:3 so I could get up to 10,800 RPM and then use a Scooter CVT, I wrote a post at the time in the CVT section of the forum "Cheap CVTs under our Noses" or something like that but that idea involved quite a lot of machining when I went into details and a lot of gearing at the back end too so decided this wasn't viable.
Then I wanted a V-Twin with a CVTech transmission, after many horror stories on the winsun/punsun/kingpoo ect... I decided to steer clear of this idea too.

So... Due to this being my first build I finally decided not to reinvent the wheel and instead source a complete Aixam so I pretty much had my complete power/drivetrain. I have being looking for a good deal on one since "The Big Knock 2017" and finally this weekend I found an absolute beauty!!!

2003 Aixam 500.5 with the Kubota Z482-E engine in full working order but with a bust gearbox (good job I wont be needing that!).
It was located 0.7 miles away from my house, has full service history, 4 new tyres, and recent belt change and only 40,000 miles on the clock and I manage to acquire it for a mere £275!!!!!! :mrgreen: :lol: :mrgreen:

Needless to say I am thrilled, by the time I have sold off the parts and weighed in the aluminium chassis I will have had the engine and transmission for free and hopefully it will give me a few fun tokens left over to put towards a donor bike!! 8) (not meaning to be too smug about it obviously :roll: :mrgreen: :roll: )
Aixam Ellie.JPG
My girlfriend looking thrilled after been towed... (could be the prospect that she has permanently lost me to the garage now)
(Quote SpongeBob) 10 hours later....
Engine Pulled.JPG
Sub-frame with engine pulled out ready for a clean up, clean out and general heath check! just trying to find a engine crane I can borrow, don't much fancy wrecking my back in the interest of haste.
Progress from here will be a little slow for a while, I need to get Christmas out of the way before I can save any money again unfortunately and then i'll be on the look out for a donor bike.
I am wanting to put it into one of the AJS 125 cruiser/chopper/bobber style bike frames as they are light, have disk brakes all the way around and are very minimalist, they also all have wheel driven speedo's. I want to avoid the SVA test if possible and you can get these bikes at a reasonable price.
I the mean time I will be cleaning up the engine and rigging up a temporary starting system and wooden frame to mount it so I can work on it.
The engines suffering from a lumpy idle when cold (I suspect tickover is too low, air filter was also in a disgusting state due to exhaust leak from the flex under the bonnet) and also got quite a bit of sludge in it so needs a good flush, will also check clearances and that all components are working as they should (glowplugs, oil pressure switch ect...)
Will also be cleaning/prepping the CVT, although its had a new belt recently its missing some wear blocks and is bloody filthy!

Info/advice that I am currently searching for if any off you can help???
- The maximum ratio of the Aixam CVT so I can work out gearing?? (Think its a Powerblock 50, unfortunatly the markings just say "powerblock" and serial numbers don't pull much up on google)
- What speed should I be aiming for from my engine/trans combo?? 60, 65, 70, 75mph - I know Mouse gets 70mph from his Z482 and reckons he's limited by gearing but he isn't using a CVT so I think I will have additional losses to consider anybody with experience on this combo??? (he's asked me to ask your lots opinion on the matter)
- Any tips/dimensions on CVTech mounting/installation?? web information, (useful) user guides/manuals for CVTech seems to be like trying to find rocking horse sh*t.
- How to fit a Tacho to the alternator (or where to go to have one fitted & approx. cost)
- Any usefully links to information you may think will be of value to me is always appreciated, even though I've combed this site we all miss things.

I imagine progress will be slow on this build so please be patient, not going to jack it all in though, been wanting to do this for years and I'm a precision engineer by trade (although been working in the sales department for the last 2 years so my matching is slightly out of practice but I still have access to the equipment 8) already looking forward to crashing that lathe! :lol: ) I want to get it right and not just plow through to get it done ASAP although it would be great to be able to ride down to "The Big Knock 2018" and join in properly - that's my aim anyways, whether or not this will happen time will tell, I just hope my finances and time will allow it.

Thanks for taking the time to read my so far lengthy thread and I look forward to your comments/Idea's and feedback!!

All the best,
Tristan :D
Its all Shits and Giggles until somebody Giggles and Shits :lol:

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Re: Finally I can start! Aixam+CVT based build

Post by gilburton » Wed Dec 06, 2017 12:36 pm

I would get something more substantial than the AJS type frame. By all means get a 125 cruiser type bike but go for Honda/Suzuki etc. or you might pick up a Chinese clone cheaply. You might consider a larger chop with a v5
That engine is very heavy compared to small 125 bike engines also the aixam cvt sticks out quite a long way.
A cruiser/chop style frame will allow enough space as the cvt takes up quite a lot of room as it is dictated by the distance between the 2 pulleys.
Providing you get receipts for the car/engine (or register it in your name) and the v5 for the bike there should be no problem getting it registered.
These days any engine change has to be verified or proof supplied. The DVLA will ask for proof or an inspection by a recognised engineer. My local MOT place wrote out the details on headed paper. If you send in receipts when you apply to change the engine on the v5 chances are it will be granted otherwise it's an inspection.
It's not a mechanical check it's just to verify the engine/bike details are correct. It's not an MSVA.
As for mountings before you get a donor bike measure the dimensions of the engine and cvt keeping the correct distance/tension of the belt.
Allow enough room for the INNER half of the rear pulley to move INWARDS as it can foul the frame. Once you have the measurements you can then start looking for a donor.
Basically a flat plate will mount the engine and if you extend it rearwards with a 90 degree bend upward so that you can put a couple of pillow block bearings to take a 19mm shaft for the rear pulley that is it. Depending on donor bike you might have to mount the bearings separately from the engine plate.
You should find the engine will mount fairly quickly where the time goes is all the smaller brackets etc. and finding ways round problems that suddenly crop up.
Plenty of info/pics on the forum so happy hammering/cutting/welding lol

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Re: Finally I can start! Aixam+CVT based build

Post by sbrumby » Wed Dec 06, 2017 4:11 pm

On the question of a tacho, why you would want to take the drive off the alternator is a bit of a mystery. There has been a load of rubbish talked about fitting a tacho, it is really so simple, all you need is a tacho off anything car or motorcycle that is electric not mechanical, fit a prox switch maybe £3, signal off woodruff key or anything steel and you are done. My big bike has original tacho that was fitted to the bike and the small bike has one that was off a triumph.

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Re: Finally I can start! Aixam+CVT based build

Post by mark_in_manchester » Wed Dec 06, 2017 11:07 pm

I don't think my mate's Guzzi V50 / Z482 does more that 60mph. That's through the guzzi gearbox / final (shaft) drive - he's used the best set of ratios he can find, but maybe you'll have more flexibility. It's not the fastest bike, but good on fuel, and very reliable. Engine spares are easy to find, compared to my Daihatsu. Good luck. If I were building another this is the engine I would go for.

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Re: Finally I can start! Aixam+CVT based build

Post by coachgeo » Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:26 pm

Am partial to adventure bikes myself. Id get a shaft drive smaller 3cyl Adventure bike or a big version of a 2cyl shaft bike (does that exist?) and build yourself your own version of a Track Bike. Only thing would do different is stack chain drive and CVT. CVT married to the universal Joint that drives the shaft.

Basically do what you proposed earlier with the Scooter CVT but too a lesser degree.

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Re: Finally I can start! Aixam+CVT based build

Post by klwinter2 » Fri Dec 08, 2017 1:50 pm

Welcome Tristan,
It looks like we are the freshman class here.

I am beginning my long awaited build too..

The aixam engine was one of my top engine choices.. But we dont get them here in the US..

Are you in England?
I would love to visit there for a diesel bike rally..

Kenneth Winter

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Re: Finally I can start! Aixam+CVT based build

Post by pietenpol2002 » Mon Dec 11, 2017 3:15 am


The slickest and quickest tach would indeed be as Sam has suggested. However, if your preference is for a mechanical tach, there are Kubota OEM options available that couple to the front of the IP cam and bolt to the timing cover. You'd need to drill and tap your timing cover or swap it out for a D722 one that is, as in the pic below. Unless you can secure one from Fleabay, the price from Kubota for tach, drive and cable will be snuggling up to $200. The bonus of the little oval Kubota tach is that is comes with an hour meter and idiot lights for oil pressure and charging. That said, Sam's option is still the quickest and least expensive.
Kubota Tach.jpg ... Swcj1Z9IY3
D722 Tach Drive.jpg

D722 Front Cover.jpg
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Re: Finally I can start! Aixam+CVT based build

Post by gearhead1951 » Mon Dec 11, 2017 9:28 am

bicycle speedo works great , is easy to install , and is the least expensive option !

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Re: Finally I can start! Aixam+CVT based build

Post by Tim » Thu Dec 14, 2017 6:35 pm

HI Tristan
Good choice of motor I’ve converted seven Honda superdreams using the z482 engine ,four using the Comet / Axiam CVT . You’re getting lots of good pointers and I'll add my money’s worth !
The CVTs I built I opted for gearing them for approx 65mph at max rpm . I used a toothed pulley rear drive but this was hassle and critical on centre spacing’s due to options on belt size. Sadly I can’t easily access my notes on these as I’m moving / building a house an everything’s in storage . The CVT ratio is listed in the Axiams original sales specification (in storage ). It’s on the micro car forum if you poke about / raise the question.
I used the Superdream (Or the slightly later CM 250)as they are relatively cheap and substantially engineered. The engine + CVT just fits in without needing to adjust the frame length , only mod is to shorten the top front engine mount tube by 50mm ish and reverse the rear wheel (otherwise the clearance needed for the CVT meant it stuck out just too far and unbalanced the bike too much )
However I now build them hooked up to the Superdreams box . This makes for the funest bike I have ridden for a long time (6 speed) . I realize you may only be considering CVT drive but after building three manual 6 speed bikes I don’t think they are any more demanding to build than CVT drive , indeed much less modification to foot rests / brakes needed and better top speed and MPG .
The manual box uses the donors bikes gearbox and the engine numbers are also conveniently retained with the original gearbox casing !
I could wail on for hours but the main thing is I think I can remember where the jigs, templates for the engine mounts are if that’s a route you go . Your welcome come down and try it for yourself if you want to try out a manual z482 for your self.(somerset )
You can see on the red one I drove the rev counter from end of the crank and so could use the bikes original clocks (it over reads a bit !)but cost £15 for the angle drive box and £5 for the cable.
Cheers Tim
Mk 10.JPG
Mk 9.JPG

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Re: Finally I can start! Aixam+CVT based build

Post by The-Original-T » Thu Dec 14, 2017 10:33 pm

So many responses so soon! thanks everyone for all your valued input.

This last week has been very disappointing, was due to fly out to Amsterdam with Ellie on Sunday but 30 mins prior to boarding @ Birmingham flight was cancelled due to the snow. Mangaged to get flights for the following morning from Luton but same thing happened again only this time the snow was in Amsterdam!!! So spent 2 days of my time off work driving up and down the country doing over 400 miles in my car for planes that never flew! To top it all off I had to spend a further day documenting and arranging everything for the holiday insurance claim :oops:

The upshot of all this is I managed to borrow an engine lift/crane so the engine is now out, just need to mount it to my engine stand I managed to source cheap locally, saves me building a temporary wooden frame anyways!

Tim, I Believe I may have seen you at the big knock this year on both of those cracking machines you have posted pictures of, looked like you were with your son possibly?? They looked well, I remember one had a wooden dash mounting :) and not sure if it was the same bike or on the other one but definitely had a cheeky blower on it.
It would be great to take you up on the offer of coming down, even if not to ride one of your bikes it would be brilliant to have a chat about your engineering of the bikes and the template sounds very useful. Although it would be good to have a ride :lol: just let me know when would be good for you and we can get something organised :)

Just to let everyone know the Aixam will be getting chopped up and scrapped over Christmas so if any of you require anything from it give me a private message and I'll let you know if the bit your after is available/in good condition and you can have the parts for cheap (half the price they sell for on eBay) + shipping or your welcome to collect, don't mind putting parts on one side for a few weeks either.
Eddy Wane has already called dibs on the driveshaft's though!

More updates over Christmas hopefully when I can fire it up on the stand and service the engine properly, once the cars gone I'll have room to bring in a donor bike! :D
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Re: Finally I can start! Aixam+CVT based build

Post by The-Original-T » Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:55 pm

I'm gathering as much info as possible to make my powertrain as best as I possibly can do and in the throws of this I have got the complete Applications Manual and Drawings for the Kubota SuperMini Series of Engines (Z482, Z602, D722, D902) including the "Technical Information Document" for the Z482 and they have promised me the CAD Model + Technical drawings for the exterior of the Z482 unit.

I basically asked Kubota UK for all the information they would issue to a OEM manufacturer wanting to use there powerplants and to my complete shock they obliged and sent me more info than I could have possibly asked for.

If you're using any of the Kubota SuperMini's I suggest you take a look at my thread I have started under the "Engine Related Topics" section as I have of course loaded all this lovely information up to share with you guys!

viewtopic.php?f=21&t=3406&sid=5d4e8dfb9 ... 3219c381d3

I'm currently in the throws of trying to work my magic (if any) with CVTech for the PowerBlock unit used in the Aixam and if I get anywhere with that I will of course share!

I am wanting to design a Jackshaft assembly that will actually bolt to the engine thus not altering the C/C distance or axial alignment of the CVT pulleys as the engines thrumming around in the frame. I'm Not to fussed about the final drive moving as chains are supposed to have some slack.

Buying the welder this week!

Proper piece of sex! Actually looking forward to welding with some decent tackle, all my previous welder have been total garbage (£100 jobbys)
Parweld XTM 182i Synergic Mig with DC Tig and MMA should I require :o
I have welded with decent tackle of my friends and the difference is day and night.
If I'm going to be riding this Frankenstein and putting my life in its hands I want decent joints and although the biggest factor in that will be my skills with the torch it helps if your not fighting a loosing battle so worth the investment I feel, plus its garage tackle, there's not such a thing as too much garage tackle.
Donor bikes next I promise!

Hopefully more updates soon as time and finances allow!
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Re: Finally I can start! Aixam+CVT based build

Post by The-Original-T » Mon Feb 05, 2018 8:31 pm

OK quick update, (maybe not so quick)

While talking to a lovely lady called Xavier at CVTech Europe I have discovered that the MORON who had the car before me had replaced the driven pulley with one from another vehicle (Ligier or Microcar, maybe petrol model of Aixam) not only this but he was using the wrong belt so consequently it caused the input shaft to the gearbox to be ripped out.... hence why I got it at the price I did @ £275 as it was a "non-runner".
Needless to say the CVT set I have is bolloxed :cry:

Having said that £275, even if just for the engine was a steal, and it seems to be in good nick (although filthy) and I have parts of the car left I will be selling.
The scrap man came for the remaining shell, with the back wheels on I was literally able to move the car around like a wheelbarrow :lol: quite impressive on the designers part at Aixam I must say :o

I asked CVTech to supply me with a full replacement, I told them what I was doing with it and they have offered me a better model of calibrated CVT to suit my application, I assume from a diesel quad bike or something. Anyways I placed my PO with them and paid the Proforma invoice today so hopefully I will have a brand new unit with me shortly. :lol:
It was quite reasonably priced at 275 euros (todays exchange @ £253) including delivery for the complete unit (driver + driven) I have a few belt c/c options with this new unit so buying the belt at a later date once I get the engine in the frame and I know what will best be accommodated.

Although a necessary expense it has taken most of my savings away that I had for the donor bike - slowly but surely wins the race I guess..... :|

In the meantime I've had a play with the welder and lashed up a temporary engine stand I can move around my garage to clean it up and service it and also fired it up for the first time since I removed it from the car. Very "Heath Robinson" or "Ghetto" depending on your preference but it worked :mrgreen:
Bare Frame.JPG
Frame with Engine and Wheels.JPG
I had quite a disturbing discovery however - I'm getting the same false dipstick readings reported by Mouse albeit mines the opposite way - tells you its empty when its full.... ( although I suspect it just reads one level continuously even if it was empty) think this needs some investigation as the first time I started it (having topped it up with oil) it exploded oil all over the garage by blowing the fill cap off :oops:
Turned out with my 300ml top up it had a total of approx. 5L in the sump!!!
I drained it and refilled with fresh oil of the volume specified in the Aixam owners manual to play safe at this point.
It only has a capacity of 1.8L or something (cant remember exact figure without checking, could be 2.8L) either way this 300ml was the straw that broke the donkeys back, when I bought it there was obviously too much oil in it however it wasn't showing any sinister signs :roll:
Think I will probably be going down the sight glass/tube route though to be honest as I progress.

Never mind, it runs very smoothly so its apparent no (noticeable) damage had been done (Praise the lord, Hallelujah!!) :lol:

Fingers crossed I will get a donor bike in the next couple of months :roll:
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Re: Finally I can start! Aixam+CVT based build

Post by The-Original-T » Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:32 pm

Hot off the CVTech press :lol:
I was surprised that the pulley faces don't actually appear to be either machined, ground or lapped from new, albeit the casting is very high quality and they have been dynamically balanced, I can only assume they do this so the belt beds its own surface after all the pulleys are only aluminium but I imagine my first belt wont last long due to this and also initially it wont perform as perfectly as you would expect :?
Not purchased the CVT belt yet as I'm unsure what length I will want to factor into my design, this CVT gives me a few belt options, I want to get the engine into the frame and see where I want to position the "driven" and then purchase the belt to suit where I want to locate it. See attached for the part numbers and alignment details + belt options and corresponding centre distances. ***NOTE*** This CVT is not the Identical replacement for the one fitted to the Axiam - Its one that is calibrated for the Kubota Z482 but better suited to use in the bike (So I'm told by CVTech... Time will tell :roll: )
CVTech Belt Options.pdf
(502.55 KiB) Downloaded 61 times
Really need to get this bike bought - I'm itching and twitching for it now.... :oops:
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Re: Finally I can start! Aixam+CVT based build

Post by The-Original-T » Wed May 16, 2018 9:15 pm

Been a while since I gave an update but with very good reason.

So... That false dipstick reading...

Basically the following day from my last update I fired it up to warm it up prior to draining the oil in preparation of a service, about 5 minutes of it ticking over it started knocking like a really load high pitch "clack" honestly thought it had thrown a valve or something it was that bad :shock: I assumed the worst, however once disassembled it turns out it was oil starvation, only just got to the point you could tell in that moment when one of the galleries became fully blocked
So the basic service I was going to give it turned into a full engine rebuild - the old head gasket also looked questionable when stripping :roll:
Its internals we're covered in tar like gloop.
Check your sumps guys...
Sludge round the Valves
Stripping it down...
Head off.JPG
Almost Rebuilt, Look at the cleanliness!!! 8)
Words of advice for all with false dipstick readings or sludge build up....
Check sump this will be an instant tell tail, if you have sludge I suggest cleaning it in the following area's as these we're particularly contaminated and I don't think any amount of engine flush would clean it, I was literally spooning it out :oops:
Clean the following if you want to avoid a full rebuild:
1- behind the throttle control plate
2- behind the fuel pump
3- Sump strainer
4- on the head around the valves/rockers
5- This is the cheeky unexpected one! - remove the splash/windage plate from the rocker cover, behind here was vile!! if you don't clean this the crank case can't vent as it was completely blocked off raising crank case pressure this will probably cause it to burn oil ect...

This maybe wasn't a bad thing in all honestly - although I could have done without spending money on a full gasket and seal set + oil and filter (approx. £150 in total), once the engine was all stripped, cleaned and inspected turns out there is literally no internal damage, no scoring of the bores, rockers, valves and head are all good, all the bearings are in great condition and all-in-all its a fine example!
I assume it has just suffered some prior neglect with oil and filter changes, it does however gives testament to Kubota build quality!! :lol:
I am happy to report now its rebuilt it starts so easy, sounds sweet as a nut, has a very smooth and slow idle, revs effortlessly and has no smoke!!!
ALSO - The dipstick now reads correctly as the dipstick pipe isn't FULL OF sh*t!!!! :wink:
I'm guaranteed its got plenty of life left in it yet! :mrgreen:

hopefully more updates in the coming weeks/months as time and finances allow - still need a donor bike :cry:

:mrgreen: SEE YOU ALL AT "THE BIG KNOCK" ON THE 1ST!!!! :mrgreen:
Its all Shits and Giggles until somebody Giggles and Shits :lol:

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Re: Finally I can start! Aixam+CVT based build

Post by Tetronator » Thu May 17, 2018 2:16 pm

Change yer dang oil bois. :lol:
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