Monday, September 5, 2016

Norton Commando Fork Rebuild (And Stuff)


Thought it was about time we had an update on this guy! Above is a photo of my Commando at dad's a couple of months ago after I took it there to clean it up after the HFoS #4 launch ride... which was a total wash-out; rain, dirt-roads, breakdowns, crashes etc. Very eventful, kinda fun, but left the old Norton in a rough state! Anyway while giving it a good 'up-close-and-personal' type clean I noticed heaps of shit needed fixing and replacing – starting with the gators below...


Now these pieces of shit had only been on the bike for about two or maybe three months. I'd had Roger rebuild my forks for me in about late Feb or March I think? He put these gators on and I dunno where they came from, but they obviously are shit.


I was hoping I might get away with just replacing the gators, but there was so much shit had got in them by this stage the seals were buggered and needed replacing.




Dropping the forks out was fairly self-explanatory. I followed my manual a bit and winged it where I could. To dismantle the forks I actually went and bought a cheap belt-spanner (see below). You can see by the marks on the lower fork tube that people have been doing it in the past with vice-grips or whatever but I wanted to try out the belt spanner and it was only $20. Stoked I did too cause it worked really well and was well worth the buying.



I could have just replaced the seals but decided to strip 'em right back and have a good look at everything internally. In the end I just replaced the fibre washers at the bottom of the damper rod and the stanchion seals. The bushes all looked fine.


Putting the new gators on the lower fork legs was proving difficult until I heated them up in front of a heater! That made easy work of it. These gators are from John Miller and they're proper Andover ones, so hopefully the bloody last?

Putting the forks back into the bike proved a little more difficult than pulling them out. I think they were like this before, but the right hand stanchion wouldn't go fully up into the tapered yoke. You can see below the left one does, but the right one is sitting quite a bit too low...



This has been a real headfuck! I tried cleaning out and polishing the hole with ultra-fine sandpaper and it didn't make any difference. I know you're supposed to use the chrome top bolts to pull the legs up into the taper (with the washers and instrument housings on), but that simply wouldn't work. It didn't matter what I did this wouldn't go up into the taper. In the end I showed these photos to both Ray Coleman and Andrew Daly at bikenight and they both said they didn't think I needed to worry about it too much, so I've taken their advice and put them back together and I'm trying to forget about... while shit like this really plays on my mind!? Still I think it has been like this for ages...


So forks back in, exact amount of oil in each, and I have to say they feel better than they ever have. Which is weird cause all I did was replace the seals!? And I didn't notice anything was super wrong when I pulled them apart, but they used to be real clunky/noisy... and now they ain't? So yeah I dunno what I've done really but they're feeling really good. I did drop new springs in after Roger had done them earlier in the year – could I have fucked something up then?

While I was doing this I thought I'd try and fix a bunch of other niggly little things too. One being the piece-of-shit petrol tank I'd gotten from India a while back. I'd finally cleaned it out and had it painted (black and gold) but when I put it on the bike and rode it round it started leaking – seeping through the shitty welding round the taps and mounts. Sooo... I'm about to try putting a liner in this tank (without fucking the paint!?). I've got one of the POR15 kits and I've finally got the bungs I need etc so will be doing that soon.

On the last ride the throttle had been sticking really bad, so I stripped and cleaned the carb and also got a new throttle cable. Also I noticed the oil filter mount was loose and when I tried to tighten it the thread in the mount stripped. I'd actually had these re-threaded recently and so obviously that metal's gone soft so I ordered a new filter mount too...


And the tail-light that I'd gotten from MMCC a while back had also fallen off a while ago. It cracked from the vibration, and I'd just been riding round with no light for that last 6 months or so. Anyway I gave the bits to Jimi and he welded it back together but added these neat little braces on the side. He's done a bloody nice job. I'm lucky to have friends who help me with this sorta shit!


So yeah very close to being back on the road again. Really all I gotta do is get the tank liner sorted. I'll try and post again when that's done, maybe document that process here...

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