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AuroraAynMon Mar-27-06 08:25 PM
Member since Mar 18th 2009
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"Beginner's Questions"


  

          

Hi, everyone. My friend and I just purchased our first Norton together, a 69 Commando. We are both young riders and novices with Brits, though my father was a huge lover of Nortons, BSAs, and Triumphs. He's passed away, now, so I thought I'd turn to you folks for some advice.

We haven't been able to kickstart the thing, yet, can't even get it to turn over at all. We figure we're doing something wrong, though we seem to do everything we've read about and that I can remember learning as a kid. We know about tickling the carbs, etc., but it's been about thirteen years since I saw anyone start one, so perhaps I've forgotten something. It feels all wrong to me, when we try. Seems like the bike doesn't want to find neutral, and when it does, if the bike rolls at all, it slips into gear. That may not be what is happening, but it feels as if it is.

The other thing that happened is that the battery died, though the headlamp and horn worked at the beginning of this. The bike was supposed to have a new battery, but maybe that wasn't true. I don't know if the two things are related, but I thought I'd throw that out there. We haven't had a moment to check the electrical system, yet; I'll amend this post if I come up with any new info.

We're wondering where you folks think we should start investigating. Are there common mistakes new folks make with their first bike?

Thanks for any help you can offer us. If anyone is in Claremont, CA area and would like to give a lady some pointers in person, that might be great. Sorry if these are stupid questions. I'm a newbie, for sure, but mechanically inclined, so please give me any help you can. It would mean a lot to me to be able to get this thing running.

Oh, and if anyone can recommend their favorite shop manual, that would be great, too. We have the Haynes, but are looking to get more.

Thanks again,

Aurora

  

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dynodaveTue Mar-28-06 10:30 AM
Member since Mar 18th 2009
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#1. "RE: Beginner's Questions"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

The CD by KIM is the best value for norton heavy twins. It has all parts books and shop manuals for all years.

You need:
compression,
fuel,
ignition.
All three can be equal contributors to a "fail to start" engine.

Compression 140psi by a strong and experienced kicker.

carbs routinely gum up if allowed to sit AND the fuel petcocks leak (most do),

ignition, dirty points? also you can potentially be better off without a dead battery(remove the fuse) to drag down the alternator as it tries to supply power (assuming the charging system works)
Do the spark plugs spark if laid out on the head?

Can you make any declaration as to the condition of these?

  

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Ty ParkerTue Mar-28-06 04:08 PM
Member since Mar 18th 2009
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#2. "RE: Beginner's Questions"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

AS Dave said you need the 3 basics: fuel, compression, and spark. You say that you can't get the motor to turn over at all. Do you mean that you can kick it and it's just not starting? Or you can't move the kick starter? I would first remove the spark plugs and make sure you can get the motor to spin freely with the kick starter. If it spins freely with the plugs out, leave them connected to the spark plug wires with the metal body of the plug touching the head. Turn the ignition on and kick it over and check that your getting spark at the plugs. If you have spark, and your seeing fuel come out as you tickle the carbs you should be able to get it to at least sputter. One never fail method that I had on one of my bikes was to tickle the carbs, then two kicks with the key off, then turn the key on and kick it again. Worked every time. One other concern is what's called wet sumping. This is where, over time, while the bike sat unused all the oil has drain from the tank down into the engine. Make sure there is oil in the tank before you start all this. Anyway, this is where I would start. Let us know how you make out.
Good Luck
Ty Parker

  

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riverbendFri Mar-31-06 09:23 PM
Member since Mar 18th 2009
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#3. "RE: Beginner's Questions"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

Does the previous owner have any idea why the bike was parked ? How long has it been sitting ? Those answers might shed some light on why it is hard to start. Nortons will usually keep running until something serious goes wrong.

Try charging the battery at a 1 Ah rate overnight, or use a seperate battery. Do the lights work ? Does the ammeter show a discharge when you turn the key ? IS the ignition system complete ? Is the autoadvance jammed ? Is power getting to the coils ? Is there spark at the plugs ? Are the points clean ?

Is the clutch free ? Does the transmission actually change gears ? You may have to turn the rear wheel to get it to shift. Does the pointer on the shift lever point at the 'N' when the gearbox seems to be in neutral ?

Are you using fresh gas ? When you tickle it, you should just see fuel around the tickler. Are the plugs wet / dry ? Are the carbs flooding ? If the motor is flooded, shut the gas off, remove the plugs, wind the throttle all the way open, and (with the key off) kick it over 10-12 times to clear out the excess fuel. Dry the tips of the plugs off with a propane torch. Do be carefull not to set yourself or the bike on fire. Reinstall the plugs while they are still very hot and try again.

Use the Haynes manual (the factory service manual is better) to give the bike a tune up and do all the maintenance items. Skip the cam chain adjustment for now. It is not running, so there is not much to lose. The process will give you a good understanding of how the bike should be set up. The tools are Whitworth sizes, so neither SAE or metric will be a perfect fit.

Fair Spares America is in San Jose and will have the parts that you will need. Have you been in touch with the INOA ? They have a lot of members in California.

Good luck.

  

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