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Old 10-05-2016, 07:10 AM   #1
Goldy
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Default 72 Norton restoration

I haven't done a build thread on here in a while, so I thought if there was any interest I would start recording the process of restoring a '72 Norton. The object is not going to be something that would be considered as concourse, just a nice looking machine that can be ridden on a regular basis. The bike is a 1972 chassis with an early '69 engine...from the pics you can see that it has been stored in a rather miserable and damp location (outside?) for at least 20+ years. A lot of stuff missing and a lot of stuff that just cannot be cleaned up. Got to finish up an AJS Model 30 before I dig into this one, but that should happen in the next week or two. The first thing to do will be to remove the engine and transmission and strip the frame so I can address some frost damage on the lower frame loops. After that I'll be tearing down the engine to see what kind of squirrels have set up housekeeping inside it.





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Old 10-05-2016, 08:29 AM   #2
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I have a '72 (per the title) that per numbers and equipment is a '69. Looking forward to your restoration. Mine isn't good enough for reference but runs well.
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Old 10-05-2016, 10:49 AM   #3
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Cool Re: 72 Norton restoration

Count me in as very interested to see you bring this one back and riding down the road. My goal is to get a '71 - '72 Commando one day !
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Old 10-05-2016, 11:45 AM   #4
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Default Re: 72 Norton restoration

Nice. Passed here today, but sadly didn't have time to stop

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Old 10-05-2016, 01:46 PM   #5
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I'm in !
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Old 10-12-2016, 04:06 PM   #6
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Default Re: 72 Norton restoration

Right before Canadian Thanksgiving, I got the AJS back to its owner, who seems very pleased with it. That means I got to start tearing into the Commando this week. Day one saw the machine stripped down to the basic components, with the frame laid bare and the crusty old engine up on the bench along with the transmission. I was going to spend the next day fixing a frost crack in the lower right frame loop and sorting out a pile of bits to go along with it to be powder coated, but instead I got side tracked and found myself getting carried away with trying to clean up the front wheel. When I'm doing this sort of thing, I like to try to refresh the original equipment if at all possible, rather than just replacing everything. It tends to be less expensive for the client and there's just something nice about being able to keep as much of the original machine as possible. At first I thought that trying to clean these wheels was going to be a waste of effort, but by lunch time I was pretty pleased and surprised with the results. Not absolutely perfect, but for a 'rider' it ought to be more than good enough. Maybe I'll tackle the rear wheel next and wait 'til after that to get into the engine. The chrome on the fenders is trashed though...too bad since they are free of dents and still crack free.

Front wheel before (note the fork leg backwards)


front wheel after:


Brake disc after machining and paint:


Frame, awaiting some TLC:


Ol' Crusty:
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Old 10-12-2016, 04:51 PM   #7
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Default Re: 72 Norton restoration

I had a Mk 2A 850 & a 750 fastback commando,... is that a dominator motor???.... only ask as it looks like it has a magneto or distributor that I don't remember any commandos having... the lump looks earlier than Commando ????... or am I missing something??
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Old 10-12-2016, 05:10 PM   #8
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Default Re: 72 Norton restoration

The early commando versions had the points behind the cylinders...about mid-way through the '69 run they changed to the points on the timing cover. My own '69 Norton is the later version.
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Old 10-12-2016, 05:56 PM   #9
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Kool, that explains it... learn something every day,....
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Old 10-13-2016, 10:06 AM   #10
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Default Re: 72 Norton restoration

WOW, that's a long road forward! Front wheel looks great. What did you use to clean it up like that?
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Old 10-13-2016, 04:16 PM   #11
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Default Re: 72 Norton restoration

Well, to answer your question, lots of elbow grease, but mostly penetrating oil and a collection of brass wire brushes...I did resort to a steel one for the most stubborn stuff. The spokes got a quick buffing with some Autosol and a rag. There was some heaver rust on the interior of the rim but not as much as I was expecting, that fell prey to a fine wire wheel. Then a final cleaning and waxing. The spoke nipples got a coat of chrome paint as did the rim interior. Even though it was in worse shape than the front wheel, I had similar luck with the back wheel today...again, not perfect, but certainly good enough....I got lucky with these ones; the job took about the same amount of time to do as it would have taken me to relace and true the wheels, but without the extra cost

Rear wheel, before:



...and after:

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Old 10-13-2016, 04:56 PM   #12
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Default Re: 72 Norton restoration

Can I ask about machining the brake disc? Are you just clocking up true in a lathe and taking a pass or something more sophisticated?
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Old 10-13-2016, 05:03 PM   #13
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Just as you said...dial indicator and just skimmed enough to get a clean surface.
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Old 10-14-2016, 01:38 PM   #14
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Default Re: 72 Norton restoration

Nice work Goldy, looks great!
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Old 10-16-2016, 08:28 AM   #15
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Default Re: 72 Norton restoration

Cool thread, I shall watch with interest.
Nice work on those rims. What will you do now to stop them immediately going back to how they were when your back is turned? Although the surface discolouration on the decent chrome is all cleaned up, is there not lots of pitting that will just rust again super quick?
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Old 10-16-2016, 08:45 AM   #16
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That wheel looks fantastic sir, SERIOUS elbow grease.
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Old 10-16-2016, 09:25 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
Cool thread, I shall watch with interest.
Nice work on those rims. What will you do now to stop them immediately going back to how they were when your back is turned? Although the surface discolouration on the decent chrome is all cleaned up, is there not lots of pitting that will just rust again super quick?
These turned out very similar to what I found on my own Commando, when I restored it some 27 years ago. A decent coat of wax a couple of times a year has kept that one in nice condition, every couple of years a quick brush-up with a bit of Mother's, or Autosol...so it ought to work on this machine too.
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Old 10-16-2016, 12:59 PM   #18
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Excellent, that's good to know. Cheers.
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Old 10-19-2016, 03:31 PM   #19
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Got busy with some other bits this week. A frost crack in the lower right frame rail was welded shut and made a small pile of bits to go along with it to the fellow who does the powder coating for me. Then I got into the engine. It seems it may have been rebuilt just before the machine was sent to motorcycle purgatory. Some things suffered water damage, namely the end of the crankshaft that fits in the oil seal. Had to machine it down and then press a stainless steel sleeve over it...silver soldered it in place too just for good measure before machining it to the proper size. Con rod bearings were new at 0.030" undersize, but will be replaced just to be on the safe side. Con rod journals were checked for out of round and after a light polishing are in perfect condition. Main bearings appeared new, but will be replaced with Superblend ones. Cam shaft is like new. One of the con rods is new...this engine must have suffered a catastrophic failure at one time or other, other than the new connecting rod, there are some spots where some damage was repaired by welding on the inside of the left crankcase half. The bores are still standard, but the water etching is so deep that I can feel it with my fingernails, so a new set of pistons and a rebore to match will be in order...a mouse must have been using the right cylinder as a store house, as I found plenty of seeds in there. Started polishing a few other bits and pieces too and I haven't looked at the head yet...that will be a tale for another day.

Chewed up crankshaft oil feed:



Repaired oil feed



Welding in crankcase...may touch it up a bit more...

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Old 10-19-2016, 03:59 PM   #20
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Quote:
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That wheel looks fantastic sir, SERIOUS elbow grease.
i agree that SERIOUS elbow grease is way better than regular elbow grease
very cool to see the original old pieces come back to life
nicely done
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Old 10-19-2016, 04:09 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thomassuman@mac.com View Post
i agree that SERIOUS elbow grease is way better than regular elbow grease
very cool to see the original old pieces come back to life
nicely done
I think you miss the emphasis on my slang sir. I agree though lovely to see old stuff back in to use.
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Old 10-19-2016, 05:10 PM   #22
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Nice save on the crank. After machining what you fo to the sealing surface?

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Old 10-20-2016, 05:36 AM   #23
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Polished it with 600 grit wet/ dry paper.
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Old 10-28-2016, 05:59 AM   #24
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Had a look at the cylinder head this week...like the bottom end, it was crusty on the outside but clean on the inside. Valves cleaned up very nicely, guide clearances all good. Gave the head a good cleaning put in a new pair of intake valve seals and it's all back together. Transmission was the same story, It is not uncommon to find some spalling on the first gear pinion, but in this gearbox, it was just like new. Cleaned off the dirt and corrosion, all the bearings were in perfect condition, so I put it back together with a new mainshaft seal and that was that. Did some polishing on some other bits and pieces, installed the new tires and the frame etc have gone off to be powder coated. With new pistons on the way, I should be able to get the cylinders bored to match them next week...also waiting for the other engine parts, new isolastics and a new pair of fork tubes.

Head before:



Head after:



gearbox before:




gearbox after:



cleaning up a few other bits:



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Old 10-28-2016, 07:42 PM   #25
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These folks are a great group and their rallies are outstanding. I'll be going to Buena Vista next year. The Asheville rally last year was my first and very well done. If you want to see a horde of fine Nortons and other Britbikes, go.

http://www.inoanorton.com/index.html

GABMA are also excellent.

http://www.gabma.us/
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Old 11-01-2016, 11:58 AM   #26
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Man, that's really coming around quite nicely. You're going to have to give me some pointers for the Guzzi I recently picked up. I don't think my slave laborer is quite up to the task...

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Old 11-02-2016, 06:44 PM   #27
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That's the idea! Start 'em young and fuel them up on Coca Cola and chocolate bars! I remember those days, my little guy and me had great fun together...and then he turned into a teenager and I suddenly became dumber than Homer Simpson! He's growing out of it at last (I hope). ;D
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Old 11-03-2016, 02:02 AM   #28
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Fantastic work!
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Old 11-07-2016, 04:33 AM   #29
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Not much to report on from last week. Got a crack in the crankcase filled and ground smooth, fitted the new main bearings and confirmed proper axial clearance. Parts order came in, so the cylinders have gone to the machine shop for a rebore. Picked up an old B44 racer for a friend as well (the wheels in his head are going around so fast you can smell rubber burning!)
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Old 11-07-2016, 10:19 AM   #30
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"Picked up an old B44 racer for a friend ..." -- That ought to keep him safely in the garage for a few years.
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Old 11-07-2016, 05:05 PM   #31
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this is a cool project! I love that you're refurbishing as much original stuff as possible.
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Old 11-07-2016, 05:34 PM   #32
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I love that you're refurbishing as much original stuff as possible.
Thanks. I always try to reuse as much of the original stuff as I can. Some people like to restore stuff to the point where you have to wonder just how much of the original machine is left...that's OK, but it's not the way I roll...and when things are too expensive or too hard to find, that's when I find it interesting to fabricate parts myself.


...and Ratso, youre partially right, but that B44 will probably spend a hell of a lot more time cluttering up my shop than his.
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Old 11-08-2016, 09:56 AM   #33
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You work fast Goldy, winter has just begun and you have almost wrapped up the Norton already. Great thread! I'm still tidying and preparing my shop for the winters endevour. Could you go in detail on the head job if it is not already done.

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Old 11-08-2016, 07:36 PM   #34
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Well Lester, as far as the head goes, there really wasn't too much to it...upon removing the valve covers, I found the inside of the head to be remarkably clean. After that I removed the valves, springs and intake seals. The head was degreased in the parts washer, then after it had dried, I applied a good spray of Hotwire (that's an acid based wire wheel cleaner) to help remove the corrosion.While still wet, I gave it a light scrubbing, then it was thoroughly flushed with water and finally given a final buffing up with a selection of brass wire brushes. The valves were cleaned up in the lathe and appeared to be new. After checking the stem clearance in the valve guides, I lapped the valves to the seats, confirmed a good sealing surface with machinist bluing, then fitted new seals and put the whole lot back together, I gave the internals a good soaking in motor oil, polished up the valve covers and that was the end of that. I didn't take any pics during the job, so about all I've got is before and after.
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Old 11-18-2016, 06:04 AM   #35
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Got the crankcase together and was all ready to fit the freshly rebored cylinder only to find that I had the wrong piston rings..far too big for these cylinders (Triumph 750). I was hoping to have the engine back together this week, but it's going to have to wait until the correct rings come in. Meanwhile I decided to tackle the forks. I had to machine a new damper cap for the left fork, as somehow the original one had broken, anyhow after looking after that I replaced the seals and tubes and polished up the lower legs. After that I turned to the Ebay brake caliper...cosmetically it was in remarkably good condition, but of course, the bleeder screw broke off...so I had to drill that out and machined up a replacement bleeder bolt, all sorted out now.
I wonder how much longer I will have to wait for the frame...the fellow who does my powder coating for me does absolutely flawless work, but he is not usually known for a speedy turn over.
Meanwhile I'm sure I will find some other things to tinker with... got an Ariel Square Four engine coming in this weekend.

crankcase back together



New damper cap



Forks and caliper...nothing quite like a smooth pair of legs.

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Old 11-18-2016, 03:14 PM   #36
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You Rock Goldy!

A square four?!?!!?!?!? I hope you plan to share that with us.... NO.... You BETTER share that with us.

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Old 11-19-2016, 04:51 PM   #37
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Looking good and I am also eagerly awaiting Ariel four banger porn!
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Old 11-20-2016, 05:20 PM   #38
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OK...get your 'wank rag' out, here's the Sqariel stuff. I brought this pile home today, got to sit down and sort through it all to see how much is there and how much is missing. This total basket case is the sort of state that about half the projects I work on come in as...it's a challenge, but I enjoy it and it keeps me on my toes. I will document the build in a separate thread after I get this Norton sorted out.

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Old 11-21-2016, 12:28 PM   #39
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Sir, you are a mad man!!!!
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Old 11-23-2016, 06:56 PM   #40
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Got the correct rings, so it was on with the show. Barrels in place then the head was installed and torqued and valves set. Got the rear brake disassembled and cleaned...all set to go (or should I say stop)...Today, over coffee a little birdie told me that he saw a nice black Norton frame with my name on it, so if that is indeed so, then the timing couldn't have been better, as I'm just about ready to make this thing back into a roller. May tackle the carbs next.


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Old 11-29-2016, 05:32 AM   #41
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Got the carbs all cleaned up inside and out...not much wear on the slides or the mixing chamber bore, they should work well. And last night around suppertime, a knock comes at the door and there is my buddy with the frame and other bits and pieces...he does some damn fine work for a very reasonable price. Now I can start putting a roller back together again...that is, as soon as I finish painting the kitchen cupboards for the boss of me. Restorations I love, renovations I hate...besides, the painting was supposed to be HER part of the job! :P

Carbs:



Powder coated:

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Old 11-30-2016, 02:09 PM   #42
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It's going to be hard to believe that it is the same bike you started with. That frame is looking FANTASTIC
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Old 11-30-2016, 09:10 PM   #43
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just lovely
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Old 12-02-2016, 03:16 PM   #44
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OK...kitchen cupboards are done...with that out of the way I got back at the bike. Straightened out and polished the instrument cups, installed the front end after turning a missing wheel spacer, then got the engine and transmission in the frame...new isolastics too. Swing arm was installed following that. Then took a look at the shocks...I was thinking I would need to replace them, but on closer examination I decided that they might be able to be cleaned up (by now it should be obvious that I prefer to repair rather than replace things). Took 'em apart to make sure they weren't leaking and that they actually still worked, then gave them a good clean up and some fresh paint. After checking out the ridiculously high price of a replacement tail light fairing, I decided that it would be well worth the effort to repair the old one...just some cracks in the gelcoat, but I was glad I wasn't fiddling around with it while mama hornet was nesting inside. That's about it for this week.

instrument cups



engine and transmission back in place



crusty shocks



shocks after clean up



mama hornet's nursery

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Old 12-02-2016, 04:16 PM   #45
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Goldy, is this just a lucky score that you are going to sell on or is it a keeper? It's looking great so far. If you intend to sell it you'll have way more punters with a solid & clean rider with used parts than a showroom item - must put people off knowing that an hours worth of riding means a day's worth of polishing. Keep it coming, I'm filing all your tricks away for future use.
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Old 12-03-2016, 07:27 AM   #46
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No, this one isn't mine (although I am getting attached to it), I'm doing it for a friend.
I hope he takes care of it...I did one of this up for a neighbour a few years back and he let it get filthy, so and I grossed him out for it...he was afraid to bring it 'round after that without cleaning it up first.
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Old 12-09-2016, 06:41 AM   #47
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Things are progressing...got the primary installed and the cover polished and mounted. The oil tank was in terrible shape outside, but inside it was almost spotless...managed to get it cleaned up and it now sports several coats of shiny black paint. Gauges were cleaned up, fitted with new bezels and reglazed in Lexan...try breaking them now! After checking the cost of a replacement tail light fairing, I decided it was worth while trying to fix up all the cracking. Body work is not my strong point, but I must be getting better at it, because it came out quite nicely.

Oil tank



Gauges before and after:





Primary drive:



Tail light fairing

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Old 12-09-2016, 10:06 AM   #48
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Way better than new.
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Old 12-09-2016, 12:53 PM   #49
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Those gauges are making me horny they look so good! I've got a pair of Commandos that I'm going to send you.
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Old 12-09-2016, 01:45 PM   #50
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Looking exceptional.
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Old 12-09-2016, 03:02 PM   #51
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Those gauges are making me horny they look so good! I've got a pair of Commandos that I'm going to send you.
Giving away Commando's now are we? You are going to have a lot of friends before you know it...I'll take as many as you got!
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Old 12-09-2016, 04:43 PM   #52
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No, this one isn't mine (although I am getting attached to it), I'm doing it for a friend.
I hope he takes care of it...I did one of this up for a neighbour a few years back and he let it get filthy, so and I grossed him out for it...he was afraid to bring it 'round after that without cleaning it up first.


Didn't mean to say that what your doing isn't worth looking after...just that some 'concourse' restorers take it over the top with matching original parts / finishes and so on. This is way cooler, and hopefully the owner won't be afraid to ride the shit out of it... I would.

Clocks look beautiful.
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Old 12-09-2016, 06:25 PM   #53
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No worries Cookie, I knew what you meant, I'm a stubborn bastard who clings to my ideals
and won't work for people who only want to have a machine as a living room ornament and concourse machines 'tend' to be treated that way (no disrespect to concourse builders intended...amazingly perfect work is indeed amazing). I say "ride 'em, don't hide 'em", after all, that's what they were meant for, right?! God knows my own bikes are not exactly spotless, I just try to keep 'em 'reasonably' tidy.
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Old 12-12-2016, 01:21 AM   #54
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Fantastic
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Old 12-12-2016, 04:42 PM   #55
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Looking good! It's gotta be hard to give that bike up after your done building it!
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Old 12-15-2016, 01:47 PM   #56
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Looking good! It's gotta be hard to give that bike up after your done building it!
Money always makes that easier
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Old 12-23-2016, 07:21 PM   #57
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Things have been moving a little slower over the past couple of weeks...I guess I can blame it on the holiday season and an elderly relative landing herself in hospital...then there was the three snow storms I had to clean up after last week too...now is "the winter of my discontent" indeed, and I've got at least another three months to put up with. Bah- humbug! :P
Anyhow, I did find some time to tinker with the Commando. The master cylinder was pretty full of gunk, but I managed to get it cleaned up...after fitting it with new seals, it bled through to the brake caliper in no time at all and the machine has a good front brake now.
I dismantled the handlebar switches, cleaned out the spider egg sacs and the contacts and mounted them onto the bars. Got the foot peg brackets etc bolted on and fitted a new headlight shell and mounting brackets...I was sorely tempted to do a little custom fabrication work for brackets, but resisted the urge and just replaced the old rusty ones. Clutch, rear brake, tachometer and speedometer cables are on as well. Since the local chrome shop has changed hands yet again, I thought I would give them a shot at the fenders, but at $600.00 plus tax, I decided for that cost they could stuff 'em where the sun don't shine...pricing themselves out of a job...I can get new ones for half the cost. I'll be ordering new replacements soon. And with that I will bid you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Happy 2017!

Gunky master cylinder:



Latest progress:

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Old 12-28-2016, 11:01 AM   #58
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That's really starting to take shape! What are your thoughts for the tank and side covers? Are you going to do the paint work yourself? What color are you leaning towards?
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Old 12-29-2016, 10:37 AM   #59
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The original colour on this one was orange (not a personal favorite). I'll be doing the paint work myself, but I'll let the client decide what he wants for paint. Personally, I like to cut lose a tiny bit from the traditional standard paint work on this sort of machine while still trying to remain true to it being what might be considered "period correct"...and not stray tooooo far from the original look of the machine. I'm not sure what he will want, but I hope he is willing to go with something other than black with gold or silver striping. Not that they don't look really good black, I'm just getting tired of painting so many of them in that scheme.
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Old 12-29-2016, 10:49 AM   #60
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The only thing worse than orange on a Commando is yellow. I really like the burgundy color. My favorite is the centennial they did on the 75's but being this is a 72, I vote for the burgundy or whatever that dark red is called. There was a guy on accessnorton selling a tank and side covers in this dark orange metal flake that looked absolutely amazing. Not a factory color per say but it looked fantastic and not like you painted it to modern/strayed too far and would be perfect for this.

http://www.accessnorton.com/beautifu...et-t25411.html
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Old 12-29-2016, 06:44 PM   #61
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Cycle Goon, you are right, that is a nice shade of Orange for a Norton. The only other Orange I would like on a Norton would be the Honda Flake Sunrise Orange which is a beautiful color






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Old 01-13-2017, 05:43 AM   #62
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I do like that orange ^^^ The owner dropped out last night and colours were one of the things we discussed. He was leaning toward black (of course), but after we talked a while he thought Brit racing green with gold striping might be a good combination. Anyhow, I suggested he google Norton Commando colours and have a look around for inspiration...we're still a long way from paint. Meanwhile, the switches have all been dismantled/ checked and cleaned, new horn is in place, carbs are ready for mounting and new front and rear fenders are on the way.
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Old 01-13-2017, 10:30 AM   #63
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Don't immediately pooh pooh a black set of tins. While it is the most common, a good black paint job with painted logos and pin striping on a freshly gone over bike look WONDERFUL. I really like that burgundy color Norton offered. While I think the flake paint colors look wicked, I don't know if I could live with one for an extended period of time. Please, ANYTHING but yellow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 01-19-2017, 03:23 PM   #64
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Any updates???????? I'm having withdraw symptoms as I can only make vroom vroom noises on my Commando Maybe able to take her out this weekend though for a bit
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Old 01-19-2017, 05:09 PM   #65
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Yes, progress has been a little slow, but some has been made. Got the carbs mounted and the throttle and air cables fitted, then turned my attention to the coils and mounting brackets. They tested good and cleaned up well, so they can be returned to service. I know it's kind of silly putting time in on something like this, but I even got the little reflectors suitable for further service. As I mentioned in the last posting, the fenders are on the way...things may slow down a bit, but I'm sure this thing will be on the road this spring. When the fenders arrive, that will give me something else to tinker with...getting closer all the time. A wiring harness, exhaust system and electronic ignition will have this thing just about up and running.

Carbs in place:



Rusty refelctors...




Coils reflectors and air cleaner cover ready to go:

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Old 01-20-2017, 08:05 AM   #66
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So, when is the first firing?
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Old 01-20-2017, 11:31 AM   #67
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Well Goon, I can't say for sure, but hopefully within a month or less....if I got really excited about it, I would have some fire in it's belly in as soon as next week. :P
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Old 01-20-2017, 12:35 PM   #68
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If you need a break from that one, I'll send you mine to work on
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Old 01-25-2017, 02:10 PM   #69
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Updates?? I live vicariously though you as I'm too busy to work on mine at the moment
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Old 01-26-2017, 05:48 PM   #70
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It was a slow week in the shop, coupled with terrible weather Tuesday and Wednesday...mainly being help up for parts on EVERYTHING. I did get the coils mounted and some new plug wires and caps fitted. Fabricated a nice little cover for the ignition system using a bit of aluminum and an old points cover from a later model engine...frankly I think it's an improvement over the standard unit. Missing the head steady, so went on Ebay and found a used, but complete mark III version...also found a nice little oil pressure gauge and fittings for a very low price...about 10 times less than a pre-made kit would cost...all I'll have to do is modify one of the rocker caps, fabricate a gauge mount and I should be in business. I was on the blower the other day ordering most of the other bits and pieces I'll need to get the machine almost ready to ride...and the owner even found a little box of odds and ends with the side covers in it...also the missing brake caliper (too late for that now). I got the shipping notice for the parts order today, so I expect those goodies will arrive by very early next week...the Ebay stuff probably won't show up for at least three weeks.

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Old 02-03-2017, 12:54 PM   #71
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Ok, some of the parts came in and things got under way again. Funny how something a simple as fitting an air filter can turn into a two hour job...it seems like the new filters and screens are thicker than the old ones used to be and this doesn't give you enough room to put the rubber gaiters in place. So that means the carbs have to be removed, the gaiters fitted to them and then the whole works gets crammed back into the space between the engine and air filter. In any case I managed to keep from inventing any new cuss words and the air filter assembly is now stuck in there where it belongs.
The Ebay head steady arrived too (from a mKIII) and that bolted up nicely after having to fabricate a spring holder. Replaced the clutch cable and made some adjustments to the mechanism that seem to have made it a bit easier to pull. Then it was on with the electrical system and the new electronic ignition...the ignition went in easily, but this harness does not colour match with the old one in all connections. A new harness should have made this an easy job, but in this case it is going to take some time and there are so many redundant wires on it that I think I would have been better off simply making a harness for it myself. Well, that's hindsight for you...I've got it now, so I'm going to make it work. At least it will look pretty. As of today, I have ignition , next week should have all the lights working. Also got a new set of head pipes for a very low price, they were supposed to be scratched, but I'll be damned if I can tell where.

$600.00 worth of parts here believe it or not.



Pretty much tells it all for this week; air filter, head steady and a mess of wiring:

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Old 02-03-2017, 03:32 PM   #72
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In my book, it's highly important that wiring looks pretty.
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Old 02-12-2017, 02:15 PM   #73
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It's been another slow week with family medical appointments taking priority, but I did get a few hours here and there to have a little fun in the shop. I found out why the wiring harness wasn't working out so well...they sent me the wrong headlight harness. Replaced that with the correct one and everything went together just like it should have. Got lights, ignition etc, one major step closer to having it running.
The front and rear fenders showed up...five days shipping time from India to Nova Scotia, not too shabby. The fenders themselves are hand made and the chrome is as smooth as a baby's arse. I got the rear one made without the holes, so I could drill them myself and make sure everything lined up properly. Then just when I was testing the tail light out, the electrical system seemed to have failed completely. I wont go into great detail, but it came down to me changing a dodgy looking three way connector with a better one...trouble was that the one I put on did not allow the five wires connecting to it to share a common power supply, I had used one from a tail light connection that keeps the connections separate...after three hours of grumbling and scratching my head, I won't make that mistake again!

New rear fender and tail light:



New front fender:

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Old 02-12-2017, 02:58 PM   #74
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Well thats cool ordering from india.
you communicated your requirements? and was slick?
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Old 02-12-2017, 07:23 PM   #75
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Thank you for the update. I have been watching this one from the start as I am in the process of bringing a T-140V Triumph back from the dead.

What is your process for restoring the rust on the stainless rims. Yours are turning out a lot better than mine.

Are you using a dremel tool and different abrasive polishing wheels???
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Old 02-13-2017, 07:47 AM   #76
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Well thats cool ordering from india.
you communicated your requirements? and was slick?
Yes, no problem with communication. I deal with them quite often and I have never been less than satisfied with the products.




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What is your process for restoring the rust on the stainless rims. Yours are turning out a lot better than mine.

Are you using a dremel tool and different abrasive polishing wheels???
The rims aren't stainless...that would have been too easy. I thought I was going to have to replace the rims and spokes, but luckily the chrome was still in good enough condition between the rust speckles and dirt for the rims to clean up nicely. I used penetrating oil combined with brass wire brushes and later on a polishing wheel with rouge to tidy them up the rest of the way...if the chrome is totally shot, the isn't much you can do other than relace a new set of rims or resort to paint or powder coat.
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Old 02-16-2017, 02:12 PM   #77
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I can't wait to see this thing finished
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Old 02-25-2017, 02:06 PM   #78
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So...got a few things done this week. Made up an oil pressure gauge...I was particularly interested in fitting this after having repaired the end of the crankshaft...if anything were to happen to that repair oil would simply flow past the seal and into the crankcase instead of the crankshaft. The on-line kits are ridiculously expensive, so I decided to try to adapt an automotive unit. Fabricated a bracket to hold the gauge between the handlebar clamps and then fabricated a fitting to mount the oil pressure line to the engine rocker arm covers...I am rather proud of this little item as I machined and threaded the three fittings together, then soldered them permanently in place to eliminate the possibility of any leaks developing around the threaded sections. The gauge shows oil pressure after kicking the engine over about five or six times. Oil flow to the tank is confirmed as well. The seat pan was in serious need of attention, so the fibreglass was repaired, a new seat bracket was fitted and I am now ready for a seat cover. A very nice shade of British Racing green metalic has been acquired, but I will wait until the weather warms up a bit before painting. it's almost ready to run...in fact I'm sure it would run right now with a little fuel in the IV unit..but I'll wait until I get the mufflers before I do that.

Oil pressure gauge...about 10x more cost effective than the kits:



Rocker arm cover fitting:

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Old 02-27-2017, 09:10 AM   #79
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Looking good! I am always excited to see updates on this bike
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Old 02-27-2017, 12:35 PM   #80
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That little fitting is really neat, I like it.
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Old 03-02-2017, 04:41 PM   #81
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Time for another update. I think I may have already mentioned this, but this machine has a fibreglass seat pan...first one I've ever seen on a Norton. It was cracked in a couple of places and worn through in a couple more, but fibreglass being pretty easy to repair I got on with it. After the pan was patched up I made up a new seat mounting bracket...this one goes right across the seat pan rather than just being fastened near the edges...should make for a stronger mount. After that I removed the rotten sections of seat foam and replaced it with some of a similar density. The whole seat got a final coat of low density 1/4" foam to smooth up the whole lot...all this was done while waiting for the seat cover and mufflers to come in. They showed up this morning, so the seat cover was the first thing I tackled, then the mufflers went on. Started doing a bit of body work on the side covers and am preparing the fuel tank for a Caswell liner kit. Only a few more bits and pieces left to go!

Patching up the seat foam:



Waiting for the seat cover:



Seat cover in place! Just need to make a strap.



Mufflers!

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Old 03-02-2017, 07:05 PM   #82
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Excellent work on the seat....looks fantastic !!
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Old 03-03-2017, 02:07 PM   #83
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I just bought another Norton. I'll send you my 73 so you can work your magic on it
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Old 03-03-2017, 02:36 PM   #84
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You can never have too many morotcycles, especially Nortons. If you send it to me, does that mean I can keep it?
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Old 03-10-2017, 04:51 PM   #85
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Things are slowing down as this project nears completion. Made up a seat strap and fitted that, applied a Caswell sealer kit to the interior of the fuel tank. Not much left to do at all...need to fit the fuel cocks, replace a bad front brake light switch and a couple of minor bits still left to tighten up. I'll have to wait until the weather warms up a bit before applying the paint and clearcoat (that's black primer on it right now). I've also decided to wait a while before the first start-up...I don't want to fill the oil tank only to have the bike sit in the corner for a month until some milder weather arrives so it can be test ridden. Anyhow, I'll continue to keep on posting any progress and when the weather warms enough, I will make a video of the first start-up.

Where it stands now

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Old 03-13-2017, 01:50 PM   #86
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Harden up! Throw some oil in her and take it for a ride


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Old 03-13-2017, 03:46 PM   #87
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LOL! Windy, -15 degrees, salt and ice all over the roads, snow storm on the way for tomorrow afternoon...I think I'll stick with plan 'A'. The only thing with two wheels and handlebars I'll be driving for now is a friggin' snow blower.
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Old 03-14-2017, 09:03 AM   #88
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I hear you on that.
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Old 04-11-2017, 07:25 PM   #89
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Well, the weather is warming up a little bit around here and I decided it was time to see if the engine would run. It started pretty easily all things considered. Did a quick carburetor adjustment and set the ignition timing. Engine sounds good, ran the transmission up and down through the gears and checked the charging system...the only other thing I had to do was seat the float needle in the left carburetor. Later in the day it was warm enough to spray a bit of colour on the tank and side covers. It now sports a nice deep shade of metallic green. I'll give that a few days to cure, then I'll apply the decals and give it a few good coats of clear. Once the owner gets it plated, I'll be able to take it out on the pavement and see what falls off of it. Here's a crappy little video:

https://youtu.be/6mLOdBChrLc
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Last edited by Goldy; 04-12-2017 at 05:18 AM.
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Old 05-03-2017, 03:19 PM   #90
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Getting closer! The grass is turning green and the weather is starting to get milder. I got the clear coat on the fuel tank and side covers today...results are not too shabby IMO. Owner was out a few days ago and has the registration sorted out...just waiting for a license plate now, with a little luck it might be here before the weekend, then we'll get the rubber on the road!

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Old 05-03-2017, 04:04 PM   #91
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Wow, looks great!
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Old 05-03-2017, 06:19 PM   #92
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Yow.
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Old 05-08-2017, 04:44 PM   #93
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At last! Sun came out this afternoon and I got a chance to test ride the Commando. Spent the afternoon zooming around the neighbourhood and stopping back at the house about five times to adjust the carburetors and read the plugs. For now, I think I've got it! Runs very smoothly, starts easily, pulls like a Clydesdale. I'll keep riding it for a while to make sure the owner is going to be happy with it, but if things keep going the way they did today, it won't be too long before I turn it over to him.





...and time for this!

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Old 05-08-2017, 05:58 PM   #94
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Gorgeous bike!
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Old 05-08-2017, 07:00 PM   #95
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'Sbeautiful.

Is that an Interstate seat? Looks chubby. Did the Roadster or Scrambler have a skinnier (less padded) seat, or am I misremembering or simply nuts?
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Old 05-08-2017, 07:14 PM   #96
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Thanks guys,

No Ratso, that's the original Roadster seat that the machine came with, but you are partly right too...the early Roadster's and Commando"S'' models did indeed have thinner seat pads.
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Old 05-08-2017, 07:18 PM   #97
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Well done Goldy and beautiful machine. Turned out super awesome !!
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Old 05-09-2017, 09:20 AM   #98
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Very nice first rate professional job.
My first motorcycle was an 850 Commando and I also have owned or restored a number of Norton's and British motorcycles throughout the years and purchased many parts from the Nicholson Bros. when there business was located in Calgary. I was fortunate enough to live just down the road from there warehouse.
I did a fairly good job but lacked in equipment and some of the finer points in the restoration of motorcycles that I see on here but I enjoyed the time.
I am presently working on an older Harley but know where there is a very original 850 that I might try to purchase.
Your thread has inspired me.
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Old 05-10-2017, 01:32 AM   #99
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Great execution Goldy!
Only problem is that you didn't charge enough for all that work you put into it.
I know its meditation and a labour of love and it shows.
Thanks for sharing, now get to that square four!

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Old 05-10-2017, 05:26 AM   #100
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Thanks for sharing, now get to that square four!

Lester
Ha-ha! Thanks Lester. I'm still waiting for a couple of exhaust valves to arrive for the Ariel, but to be honest I could have fitted the pistons and cylinders if I wasn't so lazy. On the other hand I did use the time to work on one of my OWN projects that has been languishing in the outside shed for the last five years...AJS Model 20b. Those milk crates full of bits and pieces are finally starting to look like an engine!
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Old 05-10-2017, 04:25 PM   #101
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Wow - that turned out beautiful Goldy! Absolutely stunning color choice...I really like it. If one goes back and checks the pic in the very first post of what you started with, you get a real sense of appreciation for the work involved to get it where it's at today. Thanks for posting BTW, I really enjoyed it - can't wait to see the Arial being reborn as well - Dave.
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Old 05-10-2017, 05:16 PM   #102
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This thread really inspired me to keep plugging along on my Trumpet (T140V) Thanks for posting it as it is appreciated.
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Old 05-10-2017, 07:47 PM   #103
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...hello man; pretty nice. May be a bit more closer photos?

Thanks
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