Commando Advice Needed

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This bike has a very long story but I was just curious about possibly getting a bit more info from people who actually know what they are seeing!

I am helping out a family friend with this Commando and was going to try to get it running again. It doesnt have a battery and wasn't sure if it was 6v or 12v. The coil says 6v but at least based on the little research Ive done, it would appear that a 12v battery is what is supposed to be in there.

Is there anything I should know before trying to get her running? I'm not even sure how to check the oil....please forgive my ignorance, this is my first experience with a Norton!

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L.A.B.

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The electrical system is 12V and positive ground as standard.
As it appears to be a 1970 Roadster then the 6V coils might not be correct unless there is a ballast resistor (a white ceramic rectangular block under the coil bracket?). Edit: Or electronic ignition has been fitted?


Is there anything I should know before trying to get her running? I'm not even sure how to check the oil....please forgive my ignorance, this is my first experience with a Norton!

Manual

The engine oil will almost certainly be in the sump so that needs to be drained and the oil tank under the seat filled with (preferably new) engine oil, also see manual regarding gearbox and primary drive lubrication.

I suggest you remove both exhaust rocker covers and pour a small quantity of engine oil into the cylinder head before attempting to start the engine.

The engine could be from a later model. Edit: Or the crankcase breather has been modified?
 
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Fast Eddie

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Why the hurry to get it running? What if there’s no oil in the poor old girl? What if the oil is 40 year old grinding paste? Start it like that and you could do some expensive damage.

Change the oil (that’s engine, gearbox and primary) and give it a thorough checking over, electrical connections etc.

I‘d also strip and clean the carbs.

And when it’s running well, there’s another big list of things to do before venturing out onto the highway on it.

But seriously, if you honestly don’t know how to check the oil then you really should get a couple of workshop manuals (there are different versions and it’s well worth having more than one to refer to) and familiarise yourself with the basics BEFORE ripping into the poor old girl !
 
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Clean fuel tank( if fiber glass avoid ethanol), check condition of oil/fuel hoses, check condition of overhead oil lines & replace if cracked or loose on fitting barbs, ensure clutch is free, change fork oil, lubricate all control cables, check/replace tires, check brakes, etc.... just a little addendum......... Clean it up.

I wouldn't start it until all was done myself..... because I'd forget some in the rush if it ran only to be surprised when it quit and forced to go back and finished up. Be patient and safe.
 
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marshg246

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A little "spit and polish" and it's a nice bike! If there is any gas in it drain into a clear container and see if there is anything other than gas. That might be a fiberglass tank and they sometimes breakdown over time. If no gas, put in a little and then check it again in a day. If a metal tank look for rust (that's usually recoverable).

You can almost count on the carb pilot (idle) circuit being clogged. To strip and clean the carbs you will probably need at least a gasket set and might want one of the repair sets. PM me with questions on that.

When yo do start it, job one is to be sure oil is returning to the oil tank - remove the cap and watch.
 
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Looks a tidy machine, take your time to read up here from the wealth of experience & enjoy the challenge
 

Derek Wilson

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That is a pretty original looking 1970 - a real time capsule.

As said above, 6v coils would not be original if it still has points. But if it has a Boyer or some other wasted spark EI fitted, they would be correct.

Take your time with getting it running. Drain the sump and check the gauze filter in the plug for any major debris.

Drain all fluids, including the primary and look for anything out of the ordinary. Replacing the crankshaft seal is never a bad idea, especially if there is an excessive amount of engine oil in the primary. While you are in the primary, have a good look at the clutch - they are supposed to be dry, and usually need a regular washing out with brake cleaner. You will need a clutch spring compression tool to do this - it is specific to the Commando.

I would run a compression test - shoot a bit of oil into the cylinders before hand to wet the rings. Look for a number above 120 psi, and within 5% between the 2 cylinders.

Be careful with that fiberglass tank - it will not react well to fuels containing alcohol.

Definitely pull the carbs a give them a good cleaning. The pilot jets are subject to clogging with varnish, so liberal use of carb cleaner and compressed air are warranted.

As mentioned above, pouring some oil down the intake rocker cover is a good idea, and check the valve clearances while you are in there - .006" intake, .008" exhaust

If is has a Boyer EI and it has not been run in a while, replacing the black box is not a bad idea. I have experienced a number of them going bad from long period of non-use. The capacitors have a tendency of going bad if they are not regularly exercised. The later Mk 4 version box is a good upgrade.

Good luck!!
 

L.A.B.

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Anyone else notice where the pillion pegs are located?
Yes, also various other non-standard things such as the breather hose, carbs are probably not the originals, Mk3 type front mudguard/fender and 'A'/Mk3 kickstart lever, looks like a Tricon switch handlebar switch instead of a Triconsul, two warning lights in the headlamp shell, steering damper, shocks, chainguard and main stand missing, etc.
The front brake looks well overdue for some maintenance.
Furel tank is original fibreglass.

Never seen shocks with that alloy finned base before either.

Red Wing.
RWHDshck.jpg
 
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My advice is check literally everything. Those old bikes left laying around for years can kill ya if you don't make sure it all works as it should.

Something looks off with that steering damper setup. How far to the right will the bars go the way it is setup? With the front wheel straight ahead, the stroke on the damper should be very close to centered. Well, it is on mine anyway.

Gotta like that breather puke hose running out back along the fender.

Good luck. Get a manual. If all you can find easily is a Hanyes manual for the Commando, it will be good enough to get you in the ballpark check and prep wise.
 
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Thank you so much for all the help and advice, right off!

I have SO much to learn and I'm just going to have to sit down and start reading. @L.A.B. thanks for the manual link - diving in now
 
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Derek writes: "If is has a Boyer EI and it has not been run in a while, replacing the black box is not a bad idea. I have experienced a number of them going bad from long period of non-use. The capacitors have a tendency of going bad if they are not regularly exercised. The later Mk 4 version box is a good upgrade."

News to me that Boyer Electronic Ignitions go bad through lack of use.
Are you saying that there are capacitors in the Boyer that go bad, or that the Lucas 2MC Capacitor tends to go bad?
 

Derek Wilson

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Derek writes: "If is has a Boyer EI and it has not been run in a while, replacing the black box is not a bad idea. I have experienced a number of them going bad from long period of non-use. The capacitors have a tendency of going bad if they are not regularly exercised. The later Mk 4 version box is a good upgrade."

News to me that Boyer Electronic Ignitions go bad through lack of use.
Are you saying that there are capacitors in the Boyer that go bad, or that the Lucas 2MC Capacitor tends to go bad?
No it is the capacitors within the Boyer itself. I have seen it a few times. Typically manifests itself as a dead spot or two in the advance curve. Under load, the bike will pull fine until it hits this RPM, and then it will miss fire like crazy. Down shift, accelerate to a spot above this spot, and when you up shift again it is fine.

It has been typically with MK 3 and older versions. I have yet to experience it with a Mk 4. Personally, I prefer the TriSpark.
 

rvich

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Pull the numbers off the frame (headstock plate), the engine and gearbox. It will tell you more about what you have.
 
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