Commando Advice Needed

Onder

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I was thinking of the Styling Exercise of the Green Blob and how it removed any real money
from engineering. I might also point to the Trident's similar outsourcing of the styling and
how either did anything for sales. Witness the change back to the Traditional Look
in short order.
 
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The front brakes need attention ASAP. The position of the two actuating arms is WAY off and you've lost all leverage. If you draw a line down the cable and through the bottom actuating arm it should be NO LESS than 90 degrees when pulled tight. I would replace the brake cable and brake shoes then try to figure out the problem.
Next, if the bike will not start and hold an idle, pull the carbs off and heave them into the trash can. Once the starting circuit is plugged there is little hope of clearing it. Buy the new and improved premier carbs and save yourself mountains of frustration. Cost is approx $400 but well worth it.
 

Lineslinger

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How long has it been ...sitting...since last ridden....last maintenance...on and on and on.

I would not straddle that bike without an in depth inspection/teardown/rebuild...very bad things can happen very quickly And it doesn't take much.

Is that an oil tank vent hose running along the rear frame right next to the rear tire?
Good luck with your endeavor to assist and be safe.
 

BERT

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My advice to the owner of the machine is unless you are sure of its history, if you have the patience and fortitude, start from scratch, get the workshop manual, parts catalogue, and take it apart and inspect it. That way there will be no doubts, now you know the machine intimately and will enjoy the man/machine relationship which makes the Commando special. Also, you will find this Forum very helpful with obstacles encountered. Good luck.
 
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I second LAB's comment regarding that front brake. Making sure it will stop is at least as important as getting it running. That front lever is looks like those shoes are seriously worn!!

....at least!? :D

As soon as I go through all the fluids, that will be the next thing I check - thanks!

As you tackle individual jobs, these reference articles are useful.


Also, do read the rebuild threads, looking for some of the earlier 750s.


And start your own rebuild thread. Ask lots of questions. The only dumb question is one not asked.

Thanks for the info! I have SO much to learn but that's the fun of it, right?

May we inquire where you are located ? If you were within a reasonable distance I would be happy to help - perhaps others may feel the same .

I appreciate that. I live in a small town called Santa Barbara, Ca

Hi all,
To my eyes that’s a pretty good looking bike.
if you had to be initiated into the joys of pommie bikes, it would be a great one to start with.
As almost all contributors have suggested, to rush into it, start it and roar down the road could create a lot of damage not to mention disappointment .
A sensible approach of arming oneself with knowledge would be a good first step. These bikes are ‘very old school’ even in comparison to other contemporary bikes, particularly those from Japan. They do require a degree of knowledge and commitment from the owner.
Unlike some other contributor, I’m a little less fastidious about ‘awakening sleeping beasts’. If it was mine, after changing all fluids, inspecting all that can be expected, I would give it a tentative prod, if all felt well, a good tickle with fresh fuel, I would give it a kick. Presumably with 30 seconds of firing you will know more about the actual bike than lifetime of consternation.
If it starts, and there is absolutely no reason to believe it wouldn’t provided if it was in good nick when put away, my bet is the pilot jets on the carbs will be blocked and it won’t idle but you can cross that bridge when you come to it.
Assuming it runs well and no strange noises are emanating, it has compression, oil is returning etc, I think I would revist all the fluids and check for contamination (metal content etc), if all good, I would gently and progressively reintroduce it back to the open road.
without actually seeing the bike, all is hypothetical. If in doubt at all, why not take it to a reputable bike shop and have them check it over?
good luck
al

Thanks for the info

I doing my absolute level best here to NOT JUMP ON THIS THING and go out and ride it. Patience and waiting are NOT my best suits but I'm trying, really trying.

All of the urging to check this bike over first is not going unheard. All of friday (post work and probably a bit during....) is going to go toward at the bare minimum changing the engine oil and getting the bike cleaned up a bit. Id like to get the gearbox and primary drive oil changed as well as long as I can find some kind of consensus online regarding what's best and I'm not foolish enough to start an oil debate.

;)

The bike had a long story that I dont actually know all of - its complicated so I dont really want to go into that at the moment. Just trying to concentrate getting the bike where it needs to be.

I have to say though - falling in love with this thing by accident. its sucking me in!
 

Richard Tool

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Santa Barbara - hmmm . Maybe I should pack up my Yater Spoon and come out and help you and ride Rincon as well . Too bad I’m on the opposite coast .
 
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Santa Barbara - hmmm . Maybe I should pack up my Yater Spoon and come out and help you and ride Rincon as well . Too bad I’m on the opposite coast .

Already got one here for ya

;)

couple old Hansens and Yaters as well! My favorite vinatge board is an old Roberts that have.... its almost perfectly flat but you can dammed near live on the nose!

:)
 

Richard Tool

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Already got one here for ya

;)

couple old Hansens and Yaters as well! My favorite vinatge board is an old Roberts that have.... its almost perfectly flat but you can dammed near live on the nose!

:)
Apologies in advance if this is seen as a hijack or derail but too much coincidence here to not further it a step -
oldies in the quiver -
9’ 6” Spoon
DFDFB605-76E6-4A24-A30B-CCDE0F67BA3E.jpeg

842B6AC3-C976-4395-B704-D7D3773CCADC.jpeg

9’6” Greg Noll Slot Bottom- vintage 1966
I think maybe you are meant to have that Commando - I may be biased but you can’t do better for a vintage Brit Bike - probably the best supported one of the bunch - if your pockets are deep enough you can nearly build one from scratch with new parts and many lifetimes of knowledge are available from a great group here on this site that are eager to help . Buy it .
 
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Apologies in advance if this is seen as a hijack or derail but too much coincidence here to not further it a step -
oldies in the quiver -
9’ 6” Spoon
View attachment 81812
View attachment 81815
9’6” Greg Noll Slot Bottom- vintage 1966
I think maybe you are meant to have that Commando - I may be biased but you can’t do better for a vintage Brit Bike - probably the best supported one of the bunch - if your pockets are deep enough you can nearly build one from scratch with new parts and many lifetimes of knowledge are available from a great group here on this site that are eager to help . Buy it .
Whoa! A Greg Noll spoon!! Thats gorgeous - Id hesitate to take that near a bunch of rocks..... ha

My old man has a '64 Hansen Hustler 10'0" - reminds me a bit of that thing actually. Its a bloody tank but when you get it going, its soooo smooth. You feel like a pelican or something, but it needs a decent push to get it rolling.

As far as the bikes goes - time will tell! Im trying not to like it but failing miserably
 
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I was thinking of the Styling Exercise of the Green Blob and how it removed any real money
from engineering. I might also point to the Trident's similar outsourcing of the styling and
how either did anything for sales.
you mean like this? lol

thread bike is missing the chainguard
 

SteveA

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To me your impatience will be your downfall. You say you are listening, but really you aren't. Sorry if this seems personal, but I would give the same advice to anyone.

Why the panic to 'change fluids'? Do you imagine this is going to do something magical? That the bike will be safer to run because you changed the fluids?

Agreed, fresh oil is better than old oil, but it is where the oil is going and what it is going to pick up that matters. With a Norton engine you cannot guarantee that all the nasties will just flow out of the sump plug and get thrown away! I am going to cover a couple of basics but by no means everything.

The oil is normally kept in the tank. But the design allows oil to migrate to the sump, normally through the oil pump gears. First, where is the oil now?

Is there any in the tank? When oil flows from the tank to the engine it goes through a basic gauze filter on it's way out of the tank. You are going to need to pull that and thoroughly clean it. And make sure the tank itself is not layered with sludge at the bottom. If it is you would need to pull the tank to clean it properly! This is more than an afternoon's work.

What is the condition of the rubber hoses that connect the oil tank to the engine? Cracked hoses are going to be a problem on either feed or return. Does the scavenge/return line have a cartridge filter in it?, not all do, but some did and many more have had them fitted over the years. If it has, have you got a fresh filter to hand? Don't put any fresh oil in until you have fitted a new filter. Remember there is no filter between the pump and the crank and top end oil feed, so whatever gets caught in the return line filter has been through the pump once or twice. There is a basic gauze filter in the large sump plug when fitted. The oil being picked up by the scavenge side of the pump does go through here. BTW, do you have a 38mm or 7/8" Whitworth socket or box spanner?

Right, that oil from the tank is drawn into the engine through the oil pump and most of it is fed to the end of the crank, where in turn it is fed to the big end of the conrod. These are shell bearings. After lubing the big end, oil is in turn splashed around to lube other parts like the roller main bearings and the camshaft and followers!

(camshaft oiling is fairly critical on a Norton motor, so if you do start it don't let it sit at idle because it doesn't really get much oil until over 2000rpm!)

But here is the thing....in normal operation oil is fed into the end of the crank and into a chamber inside the big ends and feeds out to the shell bearings. This chamber has two purposes, it is a reservoir for the oil, and it acts like a centrifuge to separate larger pieces of debris in the oil. At overhaul this trap needs cleaning, but you don't have time for that!

Three things may happen when you try to start the engine, which is what your impatience will urge you to do.

1, absolutely nothing untoward because in fact this was done in the recent past. 2, some of the accumulated crud can become dislodged and flow into the shell bearings and limit flow to the main bearings and cam, and eventually be fed back through the oil pump to the tank. 3, the sludge prevents any oil flow to the shell bearings and subsequently the main bearings and camshaft.

I will leave you to imagine what kind of disaster you now have on your hands.

We don't need you to tell us the full story of the bike, but if you know when it was last run, when it last had any servicing done that is going to help a great deal.

So what do I think you might do with Friday afternoon? Well, after you have checked the tank for oil, and if you find some, do drain it. Also drain the sump, because that may be where most of the oil is.

Investigate the filter, and do get a fresh one, and a few other parts/tools. (Timing cover gasket, oil pump seal, oil feed seal, camshaft seal and camshaft seal tool, and you are going to need internal circlip pliers)

Then check your manual and look at how to remove the timing cover. This will reveal the pump and timing gears, and give you a clue to the actual state of the engine internals. If it is full of sludge in here, it won't be the only place. On the other hand, if it is nice and clean, things are looking up, replace the seals and refit cover. You will probably be out of time......
 

MichaelB

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...The bike had a long story that I dont actually know all of - its complicated so I dont really want to go into that at the moment. Just trying to concentrate getting the bike where it needs to be.

I have to say though - falling in love with this thing by accident. its sucking me in!
I believe it. I bet it's interesting. And, that bike has had some love given to it.
A lot of good advice here. I want to emphasize the fuel tank. It's original Fiberglass and a beaut.
It will also be an Achilles heal if not dealt with. It either needs to be properly lined, or put aside for a metal one.
Modern day fuels will attack it mercilessly. Maybe it has been lined, Check it out..
Don't delay on this...
 
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Not to mention liquid goo then getting in the engine & messin stuff up.
 

MichaelB

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I will add a PS to the tank issue. If you have access to Non-ethanol fuel, whether it be Race gas, aviation fuel or whatever,
You're FB tank is fine. Pump gas with E-10, E-15 or any is not.
 
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My first Norton was this one. Very light and fast with the 19 tooth. Enjoy , or your friend.
 

Onder

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We caution against haste because we don't want your first Norton to be you last. Almost everyone on the list has earned their knowledge the expensive way...:-(
 
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To me your impatience will be your downfall. You say you are listening, but really you aren't. Sorry if this seems personal, but I would give the same advice to anyone.

Why the panic to 'change fluids'? Do you imagine this is going to do something magical? That the bike will be safer to run because you changed the fluids?

Agreed, fresh oil is better than old oil, but it is where the oil is going and what it is going to pick up that matters. With a Norton engine you cannot guarantee that all the nasties will just flow out of the sump plug and get thrown away! I am going to cover a couple of basics but by no means everything.

The oil is normally kept in the tank. But the design allows oil to migrate to the sump, normally through the oil pump gears. First, where is the oil now?

Is there any in the tank? When oil flows from the tank to the engine it goes through a basic gauze filter on it's way out of the tank. You are going to need to pull that and thoroughly clean it. And make sure the tank itself is not layered with sludge at the bottom. If it is you would need to pull the tank to clean it properly! This is more than an afternoon's work.

What is the condition of the rubber hoses that connect the oil tank to the engine? Cracked hoses are going to be a problem on either feed or return. Does the scavenge/return line have a cartridge filter in it?, not all do, but some did and many more have had them fitted over the years. If it has, have you got a fresh filter to hand? Don't put any fresh oil in until you have fitted a new filter. Remember there is no filter between the pump and the crank and top end oil feed, so whatever gets caught in the return line filter has been through the pump once or twice. There is a basic gauze filter in the large sump plug when fitted. The oil being picked up by the scavenge side of the pump does go through here. BTW, do you have a 38mm or 7/8" Whitworth socket or box spanner?

Right, that oil from the tank is drawn into the engine through the oil pump and most of it is fed to the end of the crank, where in turn it is fed to the big end of the conrod. These are shell bearings. After lubing the big end, oil is in turn splashed around to lube other parts like the roller main bearings and the camshaft and followers!

(camshaft oiling is fairly critical on a Norton motor, so if you do start it don't let it sit at idle because it doesn't really get much oil until over 2000rpm!)

But here is the thing....in normal operation oil is fed into the end of the crank and into a chamber inside the big ends and feeds out to the shell bearings. This chamber has two purposes, it is a reservoir for the oil, and it acts like a centrifuge to separate larger pieces of debris in the oil. At overhaul this trap needs cleaning, but you don't have time for that!

Three things may happen when you try to start the engine, which is what your impatience will urge you to do.

1, absolutely nothing untoward because in fact this was done in the recent past. 2, some of the accumulated crud can become dislodged and flow into the shell bearings and limit flow to the main bearings and cam, and eventually be fed back through the oil pump to the tank. 3, the sludge prevents any oil flow to the shell bearings and subsequently the main bearings and camshaft.

I will leave you to imagine what kind of disaster you now have on your hands.

We don't need you to tell us the full story of the bike, but if you know when it was last run, when it last had any servicing done that is going to help a great deal.

So what do I think you might do with Friday afternoon? Well, after you have checked the tank for oil, and if you find some, do drain it. Also drain the sump, because that may be where most of the oil is.

Investigate the filter, and do get a fresh one, and a few other parts/tools. (Timing cover gasket, oil pump seal, oil feed seal, camshaft seal and camshaft seal tool, and you are going to need internal circlip pliers)

Then check your manual and look at how to remove the timing cover. This will reveal the pump and timing gears, and give you a clue to the actual state of the engine internals. If it is full of sludge in here, it won't be the only place. On the other hand, if it is nice and clean, things are looking up, replace the seals and refit cover. You will probably be out of time......

Thanks for the frank advice and wealth of knowledge in here for a noob like me. These are the things that I really need to know! I will check all of these things before I attempt to start today.

As for the history of the bike, I know none. It doesnt even have gauges so I have no idea what the mileage might be. No idea when it last ran or when it was parked. The only thing that i know is the bike was last registered in 2015
 
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