I was in the process of reassembling my long disassembled '75 Norton 850 and found that one of the rocker spindles was a sliding fit in the ol' RH4 head. Another one was almost as loose. They're supposed to be more of an interference fit to the point you need to heat the head to get them installed. Among the host of issues that loose spindles can cause is allowing the spindle to rotate (it's supposed to be held in position by an absolutely poorly designed stop plate) and will allow a lot more oil to enter the rocker cavity. This, in turn, swamps the valve guides allowing oil to get sucked in and burned which results in massive amounts of smoke and plug fouling.
One of the better fixes is sold by RGM in England (https://www.rgmnorton.co.uk/buy/one-piece-rocker-spindle-locating-plate_4062.htm). It solves two problems actually, it'll keep the spindle from rotating, and it allows you to really lock it in place with the grub screw which should help keep it much more stable over the long run.
Since I am impatient, had some stainless bar and a CNC mill, I decided to whip up my own version of these. I think they came out pretty good.
And here's the final result. I think they're going to work very well.
Finally in 2015, I decided on a paint scheme. I decided to use Vintage Vendor (Brent Budgor at http://vintage-vendor.com/) in Vermont as recommended by several folks on AccessNorton.com. I slightly modified one of his Commando themes and I was not disappointed. Here's the result mocked up:
Sitll in 2014, I guess I got the idea from Hobot (a frequent contributor on accessnorton.com) to drill holes in my Z plates. I ended up creating a pattern I liked and tested it out on my mill with a pen to make sure I had it correctly registered. Then I ran the program. I like it.
But things never go exactly according to plan. I sorta realized a bit late that there was a mounting needed for the rear brake pipe support that I just happened to have milled away. Oooops. I had to create a solution.
I realized I had left a very small part of the original hole that I decided to use. I then ginned up a sort of spacer to hold the bolt in this depression further aided by sandwiching it between a couple of washers. I first mocked it up with my 3D printer, then once I liked it, I machined one out of aluminum. I think the final product came out pretty OK. It holds the bolt securely and I think it looks interesting.
While I was on a roll in 2014, I got the idea to modify the speedo and tach to use LED strip lights. I found some red lights that were in strip format and rated for 12v.
I had to develop a way to remove and install the bezel. I ended up making a fixture to mount the tach or speedo to my lathe. Then I created a tool that I could mount on the cross slide to either unroll or roll the bezel on. I spun the chuck by hand slowly to accomplish the task. I don't have any pics of this process, but might update this with a few pics fo the tools.
I was interested in incorporating a diffuser of some sort so the light would be a bit more even. I ended up machining a couple of rings out of plexiglas to act as a diffuser.
Once I had that figured out, I mounted the strip - it's got adhesive on the back - added a electrical connection and closed 'em up.
The final outcome. I plan to add a dimmer knob somewhere for these.
Several months after the frame was done, I stared in on the wheels. I wanted to replace the rims with shouldered alloy rims and SS spokes. I also wanted to learn how to lace a wheel. So I ordered everything from Buchannans.
My first step was to measure the wheel offsets which I documented here rim-offsets-75-norton-commando.html .
Once I knew that I pulled the hubs, rebuilt them and laced up the new rims. Here was my quick and dirty method to measure the offset when I was building them. I used the flats on the hub center as a reference.
Next up was the forks. I chose to go with the Lansdowne upgrade from Madass www.tritonmotorcycleparts.com/(I did this on another bike and really liked them).
Decided this would be an excellent place to store my rim offset info before I tear down these wheels. I referenced from the disc rotor face to the outside of the rim.
Front Rim Setup
Looks like 32/64 to me
Rear Wheel Setup
Looks like 57/64 to me
Front: 32/64 = 0.500 in
Rear: 57/64 = 0.891 in
I also measured the width of the rim from outside to outside at 2.690.
So the dimensions from the disc face to the CENTER of the rim would be
Front: 0.500 + (2.690/2) = 1.845 in
Rear: 0.891 + (2.690/2) = 2.236 in
After a nice 4 year break, I picked the project back up in 2014. My first order of business was to sort all the parts. I chose to do this by the groups in the parts manual. After I sorted everything, I collected up all the fasteners and prepared them to get CAD plated. I used Colorado Cadmium Plating (used to be Aero Propeller) in Broomfield, Colorado - http://coloradoplating.com/. They were fast and affordable, but more importantly, they were willing to take on lots of loose little bits from some random person. This really took some time to get everything sorted and together.
Still feeling motivated, I got the frame and other parts powdercoated. I also started polishing aluminum.
Way back in 2010 I answered an ad on SF Craigslist for a Norton, in pieces. I immediately called and told the guy I wanted it as the price was so good it really didn't matter what was there, plus he had the pink slip and it was registered. I drove down and he related he and his brother, both Harley guys, thought it would be cool to build a Norton. They found a decent one, pulled it all a part, purchased some spares and tools and then, realizing it was English, lost interest. It sat that way for a couple of years - in boxes in a basement - until I came along. Heres what I got:
4When I sat down to look at everything, there seemed to be a complete '75, plus a '73 frame and cradle, some extra rims and some Norton tools. Not a bad haul. All the '75 stuff seemed to be in reasonable condition, so I was excited.
So excited, I put it all away and didn't look at it for about 4 years.