Wideline Featherbed Rebuild (need help):

Joined
Aug 18, 2021
Messages
18
Country flag
Hi guys,

I'm trying to restore a dominator but with updated looks to suit my desires. It'll consist of a wideline featherbed frame and a dominator engine. Likely a triumph race modified (slick shift) gearbox because I have one and I don't have a Norton gearbox. Originally I was going to try to convert my Reg Luckhurst race engine to petrol from methanol but it's a bit too much trouble so I'll be selling the RL engine and just sticking with a Dominator engine. IF anyone thinks retaining the Triumph gearbox is a bad idea I'd consider getting a Norton box.

I have a few serious build questions (but maybe obvious to most of you) for the frame/bolt ons as I don't want to get myself into trouble since it's a total rebuild from pretty much scratch I have no references and I have no prior experience.

1) Does anyone have torque setting information on everything from wheel bolts to engine bolts?
2) Does anyone have grease information. Do I use grease on my tapered bearings (the old tapered bearings had thick grey grease, my new bearing are NSK brand), do I use grease and or oil on the wheel axels or etc? Where do I put grease and oil basically when building a rolling frame.
3) I get how the engine works and how the oil is pumped in etc but I don't get how the gearbox oil works, does it just fill up and every once in a while you drain it and let it fill up again?
4) I see people using small wires to keep bolts from unscrewing themselves, is this necessary? Does anyone recommend using locktite on certain bolts?
5) Is it better to buy a new seal kit for all the engine/gearbox components or is it fine to use the sealing red gel in those tubes?

I'm sure more questions will pop up as I start reassembling everything but thank you in advance for any help you can provide!

Best,
Adam
 

gortnipper

VIP MEMBER
Joined
Nov 11, 2013
Messages
4,582
Country flag
Welcome Adam!

1- these are for Commando, but if you go by bolt size they should work just fine.


3 - AMC boxes are pretty much the same on Commanos and Domis withe the exception of the outer cover and clutch actuator lever.

These will give you an overview.



4 - no, lock wire is not required. Yes, loctite blue is recommended for a lot of places.

5 - buy new gasket sets. Lightly coat with grease.
 
Joined
Jan 18, 2020
Messages
324
Country flag
1. Back then very few torque settings was given. Only exception I know of is the crankshaft bolts and conrod bolts. The pinch bolt on the left slider shall not be tightened too much as the slider lug easily breaks. The carburettor flange will warp if you tighten the nuts too much.
2. Ordinary roller bearing grease. Repack hubs every 10,000 miles.
3. Gearbox top up every 1,000 miles. Drain and refill gearbox every 5,000 miles.
4. In roadracing, lock wires are mandatory for things that can spill oil on the track and for brakes. Plus chain spring clips. On road bikes I sometimes but not always use lockwire on engine and gearbox drain plugs. Medium strength Loctite can be used on many nuts.
5. Old British bikes are prone to leak oil. New gaskets is needed. A non hardening sealant can keep most of the oil inside. On how to get the primary chaincase leakfree a lot is written on different forums. When not used, an oven pan under the engine and gearbox is recommended.
As per P106/P Maintenance Manual and Instruction Book.
Which I recommend you to buy. Or maybe download.
 

t ingermanson

VIP MEMBER
Joined
Oct 17, 2018
Messages
219
Country flag
Welcome!

Building a bike from scratch is jumping into the deep end. It will be much cheaper and easier to find a bike to restore that is at least mostly together. If you look at the Andover Norton (parts supplier) website, you can see how quickly it all adds up, and they still don't have a lot of the big lumps you'll need. Built from scratch Dominators without a lot of patience and knowlege will start costing around the 8-9000 mark, and that will still require a lot of patience.

You mention you have no references, so the first thing to do is to get your hands on all the references possible, including but not limited to, manuals and parts books. Give each a good read before you proceed.

If you're still keen, go for it.

Make sure you can register the bike before you buy a single part or tube of grease. If you can, do it now, or get the ball rolling.

I'd recommend sticking with all Norton parts for your first Norton. It'll be much easier researching and purchasing all the parts from one parts book. Norton (AMC) gearboxes will do just fine, debatably better than a slickshift Triumph box.

Find a knowledgeable friend or join the local owners' club, and get real friendly with the man behind the parts counter at the shop you'll be buying them from. Beer helps, as do informed questions.

Don't get too ambitious. You can easily find yourself overwhelmed and lose motivation.
 
Joined
Aug 18, 2021
Messages
18
Country flag
Hi guys thanks for all the good resources and good advice!!!

Gortnipper - Thanks for the links, extremely interesting how a gearbox works!!

Mike40M - Awesome info thanks a lot I've screen captured this and will be referencing it.

T Ingermanson - Wish I would have read this before I feel in love with Nortons.. I'm already pretty deep in on parts. I actually started with an old race bike but I cannot use the engine and a lot of the bolts/parts etc I wanted to replace. I've already ordered most of a full fork rebuild and front and rear complete wheels. Frame has been done so my rolling frame is set no turning back now. So it's too late to turn back :D
 

Fast Eddie

VIP MEMBER
Joined
Oct 4, 2013
Messages
15,764
Country flag
So it's too late to turn back :D

Actually it’s not at all! Relatively speaking (in terms of spend) you have barely begun. I am not trying to dissuade you here, but you need to recognise that you’re only at the beginning of an exponential spend curve !

If you WANT to continue, then you should. But do so with your eyes open.

Jus’ sayin’ …
 
Last edited:
Joined
Aug 18, 2021
Messages
18
Country flag
Actually it’s not at all! Relatively speaking (in terms of spend) you have barely begun. I am not trying to dissuade you here, but you need to recognise that you’re only at the beginning of an exponential spend curve !

If you WANT to continue, then you should. But do so with your eyes open.

Jus’ sayin’ …

Sage advice! But yeah I've gone over the numbers and it's not cheap but wife has given me the thumbs up :D
 

Fast Eddie

VIP MEMBER
Joined
Oct 4, 2013
Messages
15,764
Country flag
Sage advice! But yeah I've gone over the numbers and it's not cheap but wife has given me the thumbs up :D
Well, so long as you understand the difference between ‘wife numbers’ and ‘real numbers’ and so long as you’re ready for the ‘real numbers’ … then go for it.
 

t ingermanson

VIP MEMBER
Joined
Oct 17, 2018
Messages
219
Country flag
Well, it still applies to see if you can get the bike registered. The reality of spending a dozen grand on bike and not being able to ride it can spoil your day.

@Fast Eddie is very correct. "Wife numbers" and real numbers are very different. Make sure you understand that you'll be spending well over what the bike is worth. Like three or four times more. Sucked in by your perceived sunken costs is a rough place to be, whether we know we're there or not.

I'm not here to p*ss on your picnic, only speaking from personal experience. I've got several bikes that are very fun and rewarding to wrench on and ride (usually in that order), but good god, I could own several more if I had just gone down to the dealership and bought brand new.

Again, join the local club. You'll get exponentially more help (and maybe even parts!) than from the internet. There are some Domi spares that are extraordinarily thin on the ground for sale, but lurking in sheds and basements of club members.

Spend the little bit of money to become a VIP member here. You can then easily post pics of your project (please do) and that will help you out when trying to solve all the little problems that will arise.
 
Joined
Aug 18, 2021
Messages
18
Country flag
Well, so long as you understand the difference between ‘wife numbers’ and ‘real numbers’ and so long as you’re ready for the ‘real numbers’ … then go for it.

Do you want to sell me your red carbon fibre race bike at a good price :D I'd be happy to consider!
 
Joined
Aug 18, 2021
Messages
18
Country flag
Well, it still applies to see if you can get the bike registered. The reality of spending a dozen grand on bike and not being able to ride it can spoil your day.

@Fast Eddie is very correct. "Wife numbers" and real numbers are very different. Make sure you understand that you'll be spending well over what the bike is worth. Like three or four times more. Sucked in by your perceived sunken costs is a rough place to be, whether we know we're there or not.

I'm not here to p*ss on your picnic, only speaking from personal experience. I've got several bikes that are very fun and rewarding to wrench on and ride (usually in that order), but good god, I could own several more if I had just gone down to the dealership and bought brand new.

Again, join the local club. You'll get exponentially more help (and maybe even parts!) than from the internet. There are some Domi spares that are extraordinarily thin on the ground for sale, but lurking in sheds and basements of club members.

Spend the little bit of money to become a VIP member here. You can then easily post pics of your project (please do) and that will help you out when trying to solve all the little problems that will arise.

Would be nice to start with a running clean Dominator that I just swap the seat/tank/yokes/clipons/lights/mudguards on and call it a day. But haven't found one at a reasonable price here.. So started from scratch.
 
Joined
Aug 18, 2021
Messages
18
Country flag
Anyone know where to get carbon fibre oil tanks? Nobody I've talked to who makes oil tanks wants to make them in carbon fibre and I don't want to have to buy a alloy oil tank and take it to a carbon maker as I'll end up with a alloy tank I don't need.

Anyone know someone who does good custom seats too? - Might attempt this myself but just curious.
 

gortnipper

VIP MEMBER
Joined
Nov 11, 2013
Messages
4,582
Country flag
I would think the vibes on a carbon tank would not be healthy to their structural integrity? The steel tanks often break their mounts (at least on Commandos).
 

texasSlick

VIP MEMBER
Joined
Jan 2, 2013
Messages
3,341
Country flag
I would think the vibes on a carbon tank would not be healthy to their structural integrity? The steel tanks often break their mounts (at least on Commandos).

The mounts fracture from vibration on Dommies and Atlas's too. They do not simply break off, but work the steel top of the tank (roof) to a brittle structure that is permeable to oil. The tank will literally sweat oil.
The fix involves cutting off the brittle metal roof of the tank, replacing it with a heavier gauge steel plate, and fabricating a 12 or 14 gauge "L" bracket to replace the original.

Slick
 
Joined
Aug 18, 2021
Messages
18
Country flag
I would think the vibes on a carbon tank would not be healthy to their structural integrity? The steel tanks often break their mounts (at least on Commandos).
I had read somewhere that fibreglass oil tanks were better than the steel tanks because the steel tanks fracture. And carbon fibre looked cool so thought win win.. Maybe Fast Eddie will chime in with his experiences.
 
Joined
Aug 18, 2021
Messages
18
Country flag
Also does anyone still make the "upgraded" brass bushings to replace the metalistic whatever bushings from the featherbed swingarms? Paul and I are in talks for the one set he has left, but I need two sets. So figured why not try another type since I know a few ppl made them/sold them at one point.
 

Fast Eddie

VIP MEMBER
Joined
Oct 4, 2013
Messages
15,764
Country flag
Generally speaking, composite tanks on racers / cafe racers fair better against vibration induced cracks than alloy ones (not so sure about steel).

Carbon fibre is stronger than glass fibre IF made correctly. It is not normally used in order to be stronger though, it’s normally used in order to make parts thinner and therefore lighter whilst still being strong enough for the application. This might sound daft to some, but the weight difference is more than you might think and too much to ignore for OCD racing types!

However, well designed and mounted alloy tanks do work fine.

The fabricator needs to know what he’s doing though, seams need to be in less stressed places, bends need to avoid stress being caused, mounting points need to be strong and also stress free, etc.

Mounting is super critical with alloy. Even the best alloy tank won’t last long on a vibrating bike if mounted badly.

Its not vibration alone that kills, it’s vibration WITH stress, vibration WITH hard touch points. They’ll guarantee a failure.

Actually, carbon seats, mudguards, fly screens, fairings, primary chain covers, etc are quite readily available. BUT not in posh looking ‘exposed weave’. Making parts in exposed weave is far more time consuming as the layers have to placed very carefully to look nice (if making highly stressed parts the weave layering and pattern can be important, but for motorcycle bodywork, it’s only an aesthetic topic). I had to twist arms and cross palms with silver to get parts made like that when I did it. I wouldn’t bother now.
 
Top