Problems launching my new to me Norton Mercury.

Bodger

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Motorcycle expeirance:

Had a dirt bike and it ran fine throttle stuck once in a while, mostly rode around the beach and or forests. Got busy with university and then travelled around the world and didn't have time for bikes (aside from renting bikes in Phuket, Bali and other South East Asian countries). Got myself an EV bike when I moved to NZ, super easy to use for quick takeaway runs. Bought a 80's BMW R but didn't like it after riding it around town a tiny bit and sold it off after buying a Norton race bike (that I disassembled as I have no need for the race engine, gonna make a EV Norton with it). Got this Mercury and here we are.
Just re read this. You disassembled a Norton "race bike" because you had no need for the engine? Wonder what diamond in the rough you had your hands on. History? Pictures?
 
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I'm trying to help. Everyone thus far is trying to help. I'm sorry you can't see that.

While you're getting worked up over the details (yes, these are the smallest of details), all of us are trying to get you to see these bikes from a few steps back. They are a system of systems more than a collection of parts. You need to understand the systems to own and run these bikes successfully, because you're on your own once you're out of cell range.

Yes. While some very few things have changed since the manuals have been printed, the bikes largely have not. Unless your bike has been dramatically changed, it's a pretty safe bet to assume the manual still holds all the relevancy you need to make the bike run. Once you've got a grasp on the rudiments, most of the answers are extraordinarily easy to find answers to.

The motor needs spark, gas, air, and compression to run. You've found spark. @baz has suggested to find some starting fluid to spray into the carb's mouth, to temporarily bypass the function of the carb to check for gas function. If the bikes runs for a bit with the starter fluid, you've got carb issues. If it doesn't, you can temporarily rule that out as a variable and move on to another. Etc, etc, etc.

Everyone has pointed toward the direction of you getting all the manuals (specific to your model and otherwise) you can get your hands on, as well as joining the owners club. We've all been where you are now. This knowledge isn't something you're born with. We're all trying to arm you with all the tools you can have to have a successful experience. You don't even know what you're missing by refusing the advice.

You make your own luck.

I'll not be chiming in again.

P.S. My bike doesn't run right now. It's getting a complete engine rebuild because a main bearing died and spun on the crank. Your woes have just started. Time to put on your big boy pants and figure it out.
Sorry to hear about your bike, seems like a costly fix.
I get that you're trying to help but telling me to read the manuals and expecting me to know everything because of it is unrealistic. We wouldn't have a forum if all I needed to do was memorise the manual.
Here is a relevant although basic example of what I'm talking about. I read this and I was staring at my tank for a half hour trying to figure out where the markings were:
51586724799_fb774c2f7f_o.png


It took R.Spencer two seconds to write: "..if it’s old oil, stick it in the recycle bin and top the oil tank up to the third rib with new.." - of course he wrote a lot more than that and I value the time he took to write it but this was relevant to me checking the manual and being really confused.

Point is, I'm grateful for the help, and every time you guys suggest I try something I research/watch YouTube/read the manuals to try and figure out how it's done and I get to doing it. I can stuff my blowtorch into the carb intake and blast it without pulling the spark trigger of the blowtorch.

Anyway picking up the aluminium Amal today. If anyone thinks my old carb is worth re-freshing I'm happy to sell it to you :D
At this point I don't think the carb/sparkplugs/oilchange will solve my problem but will update you all the same.

Will heat up the plugs (stove heating so I suppose a quick blast with the blowtorch will be ok, it's not a fancy one it's just a basic can cook marshmallows type). Will put butane into the engine via the carb intake. Will try to kick it over.
 

gortnipper

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To clarify:

I started it first kick most of the time the first outing to my carpark, I couldn't get it into first any of those times and it would stall the second I tried. Took a break went back to it, got it to go into first with some finagling of the choke (keep in mind the cable is wonky I didn't know this). Could ride it around in first BUT couldn't sit still or slow down in first, idle never went down to 1000 when it did it stalled. Pulling of the clutch and restarting would stall it, so would putting it into neutral then first again. Left it running for a bit while looking at the problematic choke cable and noticed the bike was smoking a bit at the front end. Turned the bike off. Gave up went away and when I came back it refused to start. Thought battery might be drained as horn was lacklustre to not working so bought a charger to charge it and still didn't start. AFTER that I started to take things apart, and by that I mean took off the carb off to clean it (which did have some gas on it but I initially thought it was from the tickler). I didn't even pull the spark plugs out until you all mentioned to do so and I don't think I crossed the spark caps (I've checked a wiring diagram and nothing really mentions how to check left from right, and the manual doesn't mention it either). I'm afraid to ask now as I'm sure that's going to anger somebody but I have a feeling I can just try and swap them and try starting the bike again or something with the lights off and one fires before the other and then the one that fires first goes to the cylinder on the left or right (pending which cylinder actually fires first which I'm sure the manual may mention).

So I don't THINK I've done something wrong but maybe I hit or knocked some cable out of place. I doubt this as the bikes electrics run and again it sparks.

This is going to sound crazy at this point but reading the manual was a bit confusing so at the risk of being flamed does the bike have an ON switch?
The manual which I will refer to (by memory so excuse me if I'm mistaken) says that there is a keyhole on the lamp head, for me it's on the side of the bike. It goes on to mention that you can turn the key one way and get it on w/battery power or the other way for an emergency start with coil (if you have a coil). First mine only turns one way not both, secondly since my keyhole is next to the oil tank I noticed that the headlight has a switch. The switch has three positions and my handlebar has a dip switch (I think I know what those three positions are/do but just want to make sure I'm not missing something). Since my bike is a mercury I'm wondering if other than the keyhole is there another switch that needs to be switched on to start the bike? Again I didn't mess with any switches but incase I accidentally knocked something?
Photos are good, and help identify parts that are (non) standard.

I am assuming you get better spark with new plugs (when laid on head) when you kick it?

It woulnt hurt to swap the plug leads to see what happens.

I use HPS 20w50 in my Commando. Not sure what grade is recommended for Mercury. For the Commando in NZ, I wouldnt really run 10w40, especially in town.
 

gortnipper

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Sorry to hear about your bike, seems like a costly fix.
I get that you're trying to help but telling me to read the manuals and expecting me to know everything because of it is unrealistic. We wouldn't have a forum if all I needed to do was memorise the manual.
Here is a relevant although basic example of what I'm talking about. I read this and I was staring at my tank for a half hour trying to figure out where the markings were:
51586724799_fb774c2f7f_o.png


It took R.Spencer two seconds to write: "..if it’s old oil, stick it in the recycle bin and top the oil tank up to the third rib with new.." - of course he wrote a lot more than that and I value the time he took to write it but this was relevant to me checking the manual and being really confused.

Point is, I'm grateful for the help, and every time you guys suggest I try something I research/watch YouTube/read the manuals to try and figure out how it's done and I get to doing it. I can stuff my blowtorch into the carb intake and blast it without pulling the spark trigger of the blowtorch.

Anyway picking up the aluminium Amal today. If anyone thinks my old carb is worth re-freshing I'm happy to sell it to you :D
At this point I don't think the carb/sparkplugs/oilchange will solve my problem but will update you all the same.

Will heat up the plugs (stove heating so I suppose a quick blast with the blowtorch will be ok, it's not a fancy one it's just a basic can cook marshmallows type). Will put butane into the engine via the carb intake. Will try to kick it over.
You getting the carb from Tim? And are sure it has the right jets/needle/slide for the Mercury?
 

Bodger

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Sorry to hear about your bike, seems like a costly fix.
I get that you're trying to help but telling me to read the manuals and expecting me to know everything because of it is unrealistic. We wouldn't have a forum if all I needed to do was memorise the manual.
Here is a relevant although basic example of what I'm talking about. I read this and I was staring at my tank for a half hour trying to figure out where the markings were:
51586724799_fb774c2f7f_o.png


It took R.Spencer two seconds to write: "..if it’s old oil, stick it in the recycle bin and top the oil tank up to the third rib with new.." - of course he wrote a lot more than that and I value the time he took to write it but this was relevant to me checking the manual and being really confused.

Point is, I'm grateful for the help, and every time you guys suggest I try something I research/watch YouTube/read the manuals to try and figure out how it's done and I get to doing it. I can stuff my blowtorch into the carb intake and blast it without pulling the spark trigger of the blowtorch.

Anyway picking up the aluminium Amal today. If anyone thinks my old carb is worth re-freshing I'm happy to sell it to you :D
At this point I don't think the carb/sparkplugs/oilchange will solve my problem but will update you all the same.

Will heat up the plugs (stove heating so I suppose a quick blast with the blowtorch will be ok, it's not a fancy one it's just a basic can cook marshmallows type). Will put butane into the engine via the carb intake. Will try to kick it over.
Please run the "butane through the carb intake" idea through the forum before you do it. Probably ok but I'm not certain it's safe. Even with regular automotive starter fluid it's good to have (actually should always have) a fire extinguisher nearby. I'm pretty paranoid. Because of the danger of fire I don't think it's safe to start these old things in a garage - even assuming you have the doors open to disperse carbon monoxide.
 

gortnipper

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Please run the "butane through the carb intake" idea through the forum before you do it. Probably ok but I'm not certain it's safe. Even with regular automotive starter fluid it's good to have (actually should always have) a fire extinguisher nearby. I'm pretty paranoid. Because of the danger of fire I don't think it's safe to start these old things in a garage - even assuming you have the doors open to disperse carbon monoxide.
I think he is talking about a parking garage since he lives in town.
 

Fast Eddie

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Will heat up the plugs (stove heating so I suppose a quick blast with the blowtorch will be ok, it's not a fancy one it's just a basic can cook marshmallows type). Will put butane into the engine via the carb intake. Will try to kick it over.
You’re new to bikes and struggling with an old bike that leaks petrol… that’s exactly why I chose not to mention the plug heating trick.

Leaking petrol… blow torch… inexperience… stressed and frustrated… what could possibly go wrong??

Please don’t explode.
 

Fast Eddie

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It’s not an issue of knowledge, or even the lack of.

The issue is how to gain that knowledge. Which is in turn an issue of patience and methodical approach.

Example: Not knowing what the ignition coil is. Fair enough, if you don’t know, you don’t know.

But a methodical approach would be to look at it… notice the big black wire coming out of it… follow that wire to the spark plug… and think about it... if still stuck, look at the manual or parts book.

@ Norluck, you don’t read manuals and parts books like books, with the intent of the knowledge downloading to your brain. That’s not how learning works. You need to have them with you on the job to refer to constantly. Do something… get stuck… refer to manual… learn… repeat. Yes, progress will be slow, but you‘ll learn quickly. Think of the manual as being your 70 year old Norton expert neighbour, he ain’t gonna do it for you, but he’s there for when you get stuck.

I also note you had down loaded the manuals, well, if you haven’t already, you need paper ones unless you want to get your device covered in grease and oil! But far more importantly, with paper you can write your own notes next to things quickly and easily, as you learn them, which will massively increase knowledge assimilation and help you learn (and stop you forgetting what you’ve learnt). This way, your manuals become YOUR manuals.

Without sounding like an old fart, this issue is common today, I see it all the time at work, where people have grown up with knowledge of everything available instantly so long as you’ve got access to wiki or Google, and they’ve just not had much practice in how to approach more complex practical learning. Learning the intricacies of owning, maintaining, repairing an old machine simply isn’t like that.

Yes, as you say Norluck, forums such as this do help us all learn about these wonderful old machines tremendously, but it’s not Google, and it does not replace the above. You’ll learn best, and you’ll get the best from this forum if you follow the above advice about using manuals on the job to go through that cycle of of getting stuck and learning and then when you’re really stuck… you ask the forum.

The real task at hand here is not fixing your bike. The real task at hand here is LEARNING how to fix your bike.

Slow down to learn fast.
 
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baz

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One thing I would add is old gits like us have gained out knowledge/ability the hard way
Back when I was starting out a lot of old timers would not even give you the time of day let alone help you with info
Not all of them but a good percentage would covet their knowledge
I like to think the majority are not like that now? Hence this forum? Anyway as Eddie says there's nothing like having a physical paper workshop manual in front of you when working on just about anything
I'd guess most of us would not want you to make the mistakes that we've (ok what I've made) in the past
I could fill this forum with tales of chasing my tail on a problem that was easy to solve
 

Fast Eddie

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When I was 15/16 years old (so, in 1984) I built my first bike. A Tiger Cub I built from an incomplete box of bits.
I was quite pleased with myself, but it pissed oil out of the strangest places, no matter how much bathroom silicone I plastered all over the gasket faces.
Long story short… I had not fitted ANY engine breather at all! I simply didn’t know about engine breathing, so it never occurred to me. Great learning though !

Here’s the Trusty Cub after I’d learnt the lesson (note big breather pipe):

6E377098-3114-42C6-A768-7DD4BD9562BD.jpeg
 

robs ss

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When I was 15/16 years old (so, in 1984) I built my first bike. A Tiger Cub I built from an incomplete box of bits.
I was quite pleased with myself, but it pissed oil out of the strangest places, no matter how much bathroom silicone I plastered all over the gasket faces.
Long story short… I had not fitted ANY engine breather at all! I simply didn’t know about engine breathing, so it never occurred to me. Great learning though !

Here’s the Trusty Cub after I’d learnt the lesson (note big breather pipe):

View attachment 82242
Other than the mis-matched fridge magnets - what the hell does that say on the tank? Should be Triumph but looks Russian!
 
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You all make good points (printing the manuals make a lot of sense). And yeah I thought better of mixing fuel, fire, in my warehouse even though I have sprinkler systems and ventilation and fire extinguishers on hand.

Update:
Basically I took the primary case off and noticed right away the clutch basket was wobbly and when I turned the clutch basket with the clutch pulled in it wobbles. Not sure if this is normal on Norton’s.

Anyway took the clutch plates off and cleaned them in gas, but to be honest they were SUPER CLEAN. Way cleaner than my triumph slickshift gearbox plates. Put it back together and still having problems with the kickstart. I didn’t install the carb or do anything like that. I was just trying to see if it would attempt to kick down easily but it doesn’t.
 
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When I was 15/16 years old (so, in 1984) I built my first bike. A Tiger Cub I built from an incomplete box of bits.
I was quite pleased with myself, but it pissed oil out of the strangest places, no matter how much bathroom silicone I plastered all over the gasket faces.
Long story short… I had not fitted ANY engine breather at all! I simply didn’t know about engine breathing, so it never occurred to me. Great learning though !

Here’s the Trusty Cub after I’d learnt the lesson (note big breather pipe):

View attachment 82242
Cool, looks good. Still like your old red bike a lot!
 
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