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Mk Series Center Stand Spring

by Doug Kephart

I have heard rumors of the horrors of installing the dreaded Mk center stand spring, but always put these down as myths until I had a Mk of my own to fit said spring to! In this case, the normally comprehensive Douglas Mk manual is little practical help. Just a mention of using a bit of twine to aid in tensioning the spring. Hardly, not unless they had Kevlar™ twine back then! I needed something else.

Instead of twine, I used Ø0.030" safety wire, that which is used for securing cross drilled nuts and bolts so they do not vibrate loose. Thirty-thou' worked out to be the maximum diameter that could be looped through the eye of the spring yet still comfortably pass the bolt that connects the spring to the center stand.

A single loop of wire that gave an effective length of six to eight inches is required. One end is looped through the eye of the spring. The other end of the spring should already be attached to the anchorage clip on the battery box. The other end of the wire should pass around a suitable tommy-bar, like a box wrench (spanner in the UK.) I find this enabled one to gain a sufficient pull on the spring, though it takes all of my meager muscle to do so. Granted I did it with the center stand down. This means having to extend the spring that much further, but I found the downward angle at which I had to pull much more advantageous. Douglas motorcycle - Mk Series Center Stand Spring

With the center stand up, you are pulling the spring more horizontally, and the back tire gets in the way of the pull. It is easier to have a second person ready to start the bolt when the spring is in position and steady the motorcycle. Once the bolt is well started, the wire can be cut with nippers, and yanked out from between bolt and spring with a pair of pliers.

One word of caution: be sure that the tab on the battery carrier, that the other end of the spring is attached to, is well secured. Some of the reproduction battery carriers have weak spot-welds. Mine gave way. As I was lying on the floor with my head under the bike to see what I was doing and effect a good pull, I caught myself right in the choppers with the tommy bar. Fortunately I had both fists wrapped around it so in effect punched myself in the mouth! My brother who was holding the bike thought it hilarious, but I really did not find it so. I got off with just a cut lip, though my front teeth felt a tad loose for a few days. So you might want to consider brazing the tab in place to supplement the spot-welds, it is cheap dental insurance!

© 2002 D. Kephart



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