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Old 01-27-2012, 07:22 AM   #16
norton73
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Joined: Dec 2003
Location: Beautiful Downtown Springville, Alabama
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One of the best resources for Norton Manuals is the Kim CD man manuals. Shop, parts, riders, and plenty of other info is all available in one place. I print out the relevent section I need to do some work, then use the paper to wipe up the oil when i'm done.

A search will find you a retailer that you can order from.

Also, the INOA has a tech manual that is a good adjunct to the service manuals, plenty of experience to be found there, especially about upgrades.

The above link is to some articles, go to Mechendise for the Tech Manual, I can't access that page from work.
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Old 01-27-2012, 07:33 AM   #17
norton73
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Old Britts has some good info too. Scroll down to see the technical articles,
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Old 01-27-2012, 08:07 AM   #18
Rightshiftrick
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Also check the exhaust threads. They are notorious for stripping if you don't get them tight enough. All the little safety wire and clips won't help much if they aren't tight to begin with.
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Old 01-27-2012, 09:11 AM   #19
lrutt
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rightshiftrick View Post
Also check the exhaust threads. They are notorious for stripping if you don't get them tight enough. All the little safety wire and clips won't help much if they aren't tight to begin with.
Good point. I use the stock fin tabs to ensure the collars stay tight. Others safety wire. If they are good, make sure they are damn good and tight then apply the fin tabs to keep them from loosening up. And if they are stripped, well.... that's a different topic.
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Old 01-27-2012, 10:39 AM   #20
Steve G.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rudolf35 View Post
I have a lead on a 73 850 Commando. The bike was ridden to the current owners location and the fuel drained and then it has been sitting for 12 years. The bike is kicked over (not started but just turned over) once a month so the motor spins free, not frozen. I am waiting for images but would love to know what issues, Norton specific, I might run into. I have spooled up many BMW's and other British iron but never a Norton. Any info would be of value.


IMO, the best of the Nortons,,,,,late 750's, and all right hand shift 850's. You've been given many great pointers. I will list some of this particular machine's weaknesses, which you can look at later or right away.
1] The upgrade to some form of electronic ignition really is a no brainer.
2] The isolastic engine/gearbox suspension system really does work well at isolating the incredible vibration of this engine,,,,which started out as 498cc. The original rubbers will now be getting tired if original, and a perfect time to upgrade to the Mk111 850 system which allowed for quick and easy 'vernier' adjustment instead of the tiedious and time consuming old system which all Nortons had except the Mk111 electric start models.
3] The swingarm bushings are in fact oil bushings, not grease bushings. And the system is sealed with o-rings. And they leak. So get used to it, you will have to get some 140 weight oil in there or the bushings wear out quick.
3] Amal carbs work very well on these engines, and they look 'right' on them. I certainly can understand upgrades in this area with a single Mikuni for an example. I'm a bit of a traditionalist in the visual aspect of all my machines, and this is one upgrade I won't do, stricktly on visual. that said, Amals have a hard life bussing away on the end of those solidly mounted intake manifolds, lifespan around 10-15,000 miles, where slide/body clearances open up. This essentially causes one issue, upward creaping idle rpms whilst sitting at a stoplight. Once on the road, you won't notice a difference.
4] A big problem with the Mk111's [Portugese bearing supplier], but also an issue with the others,,,,the gearbox layshaft bearing is under-qualified to handle the tourque of this engine package. As mentioned, the telltale sign will be the kick starter starting to shudder downwards while accelerating from a start in first gear. If not changed to the upgrade 'mini superblend' bearing, this can cause complete rear wheel lockup as the kickstarter goes down far enough to hit the exhaust.
5] Exhaust nuts,,,,keep them tight. Tighten them while the engine is hot.
6] As mentioned, avoid fibreglass tanks totally. Ethanol kills them. There were actually two tank options for '74, not counting the Highrider or the JPS. The standard steel Roadster tank, and the Italian made 4 1/2 imperial gallon steel Interstate tank. There is a distinct visual difference in width to the later 5 1/2 imperial gallon English made steel tank, or the huge 6 gallon plastic tank. The only drawback with any Roadster tank is range, probably 100-115 miles before reserve hits. Interstate tanks have a disadvantage in that the tank is 2 1/2" longer, forcing the rider back, while the footrests are not. This causes the rider to become a human kite at highways speeds. luckily, several manufacturers have rearsets to turn this situation around.
7] 1973 and later Commandos will have indicators as standard. Unfortunately, the indicators are self grounded through the chrome plating on the inside by the light bulbs, and the improper grounding is somewhat common.
8] High quality upgrade kits to the charging system are available, including eliminating the zener diode heat sink, fragile bridge recifier and single faze stator. And the magnets on the rotor will be getting tired now.


Steve
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Old 01-27-2012, 10:53 AM   #21
Steve G.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rudolf35 View Post
I have a lead on a 73 850 Commando. The bike was ridden to the current owners location and the fuel drained and then it has been sitting for 12 years. The bike is kicked over (not started but just turned over) once a month so the motor spins free, not frozen. I am waiting for images but would love to know what issues, Norton specific, I might run into. I have spooled up many BMW's and other British iron but never a Norton. Any info would be of value.


IMO, the best of the Nortons,,,,,late 750's, and all right hand shift 850's. You've been given many great pointers. I will list some of this particular machine's weaknesses, which you can look at later or right away.
1] The upgrade to some form of electronic ignition really is a no brainer.
2] The isolastic engine/gearbox suspension system really does work well at isolating the incredible vibration of this engine,,,,which started out as 498cc. The original rubbers will now be getting tired if original, and a perfect time to upgrade to the Mk111 850 system which allowed for quick and easy 'vernier' adjustment instead of the tiedious and time consuming old system which all Nortons had except the Mk111 electric start models.
3] The swingarm bushings are in fact oil bushings, not grease bushings. And the system is sealed with o-rings. And they leak. So get used to it, you will have to get some 140 weight oil in there or the bushings wear out quick.
3] Amal carbs work very well on these engines, and they look 'right' on them. I certainly can understand upgrades in this area with a single Mikuni for an example. I'm a bit of a traditionalist in the visual aspect of all my machines, and this is one upgrade I won't do, stricktly on visual. that said, Amals have a hard life bussing away on the end of those solidly mounted intake manifolds, lifespan around 10-15,000 miles, where slide/body clearances open up. This essentially causes one issue, upward creaping idle rpms whilst sitting at a stoplight. Once on the road, you won't notice a difference.
4] A big problem with the Mk111's [Portugese bearing supplier], but also an issue with the others,,,,the gearbox layshaft bearing is under-qualified to handle the tourque of this engine package. As mentioned, the telltale sign will be the kick starter starting to shudder downwards while accelerating from a start in first gear. If not changed to the upgrade 'mini superblend' bearing, this can cause complete rear wheel lockup as the kickstarter goes down far enough to hit the exhaust.
5] Exhaust nuts,,,,keep them tight. Tighten them while the engine is hot.
6] As mentioned, avoid fibreglass tanks totally. Ethanol kills them. There were actually two tank options for '74, not counting the Highrider or the JPS. The standard steel Roadster tank, and the Italian made 4 1/2 imperial gallon steel Interstate tank. There is a distinct visual difference in width to the later 5 1/2 imperial gallon English made steel tank, or the huge 6 gallon plastic tank. The only drawback with any Roadster tank is range, probably 100-115 miles before reserve hits. Interstate tanks have a disadvantage in that the tank is 2 1/2" longer, forcing the rider back, while the footrests are not. This causes the rider to become a human kite at highways speeds. luckily, several manufacturers have rearsets to turn this situation around.
7] 1973 and later Commandos will have indicators as standard. Unfortunately, the indicators are self grounded through the chrome plating on the inside by the light bulbs, and the improper grounding is somewhat common.
8] High quality upgrade kits to the charging system are available, including eliminating the zener diode heat sink, fragile bridge recifier and single faze stator. And the magnets on the rotor will be getting tired now.


Steve

Steve G. screwed with this post 01-27-2012 at 04:23 PM
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Old 01-27-2012, 11:07 AM   #22
rudolf35 OP
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Pissed Very good pointers!

I have been getting some very good pointers!

Now, the only thing I need is for the seller to send me the images. I nugged him again and see what happens.

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Old 01-27-2012, 11:52 AM   #23
BrianK
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I wrote the following to another poster who, some time ago, inquired whether he should buy a Commando:


If you buy that bike, I predict:

- You will find many, many things that need to be fixed/replaced, no question about it. Tires, battery, cables, fluids, probably a bunch of seals and gaskets, layshaft bearing, etc.

- You will find many, many things that you could probably live with, but want to improve and bring up to a better standard of performance. Brakes, wiring harness, H4 headlight on relay, electronic ignition, clutch pushrod seal, chain and sprockets, carbs, etc.

- You will find that the dollars you put into the bike AFTER you buy it at least equal its initial purchase price. Soon. And then they exceed it.

- You will need to purchase a slew of special tools to work on your bike - whitworth sockets and wrenches, clutch removal tool, primary chain sprocket puller, points seal tool, exhaust nut tool, etc. (If you DON'T work on your own bike, you will find you bought the wrong bike.)

- You will spend a lot of time on this board and other Norton resources (of which, thankfully, there are plenty) seeking answers to a lot of questions about how to fix your bike.

- You will find yourself very frustrated by the bike and its quirks, on a regular basis.

- You will find that at some level you really enjoy all of the above. You will not admit this to anyone else.

- You will find that you love your Commando far more than you would ever have believed, and you wouldn't be without it for the world.

- You will thank your lucky stars you decided to buy your Commando. Then, another problem will arise... but you will deal with it and it won't change your mind about the bike.
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Old 01-27-2012, 03:08 PM   #24
lemieuxmc
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Shit... just wait till you have a Commando, a Guzzi, a BMW with chair and a Suzuki DR650.

Hell... when I open my garage door I'm more confused than a toddler in a titty bar!
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Old 01-27-2012, 03:59 PM   #25
lrutt
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Originally Posted by lemieuxmc View Post
Shit... just wait till you have a Commando, a Guzzi, a BMW with chair and a Suzuki DR650.

Hell... when I open my garage door I'm more confused than a toddler in a titty bar!
What hack is that?
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Old 01-27-2012, 04:51 PM   #26
yokesman
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email me at richardlstrain@g.mail.com give you some unwritten pointers.
rode mine during college, 60-100 miles daily.One kick bike, won many dollars after starting and betting they could not do it.
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Old 01-28-2012, 08:35 AM   #27
RobbieO
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The Corbin seat made a big difference!

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Old 01-28-2012, 08:39 PM   #28
Doug Matson
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Speaking of the layshaft bearing, here is what mined looked like with no warning.
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Old 01-29-2012, 11:33 AM   #29
Steve G.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Matson View Post
Speaking of the layshaft bearing, here is what mined looked like with no warning.

Portugese bearings,,,,oh yeah. port yes, anything else, no.
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Old 01-29-2012, 11:54 AM   #30
victor441
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there is an excellent Commando forum at http://www.accessnorton.com/ good people and info on all repairs, upgrades, etc. Have a '73 850 myself and it is a great bike also waaay more reliable than the '69 750 I rode long ago
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