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'64 650SS Downunder

Member's Norton Restoration Projects

'64 650SS Downunder

Postby robs ss » Tue Nov 15, 2016 1:18 am

I'm in the process of rebuilding a 1964 650SS that was imported from South Africa to Australia about 3 years ago.
It is my dream rebuild but also gives me some distraction time whilst looking after my better half who is very unwell at present.
I'll start with a few shots of the motor (test assembled without pistons or timing gear) together with some info on the motor to date (I'll post more later as time permits):
* The crankshaft is in good condition, original journals size so I disassembled, cleaned, rebuilt and had dynamically balanced to 65%.
* The conrods were mismatched so got some good commando ones of evilbay.
* Pistons and rings are good, like new - first oversize
* Carbs are original - with June '64 date stamped on flanges. Thought they would need resleeving as slides were quite loose. Got new slides from Burlens and they wouldn't fit, it worked out the bodies were out of round - a bit of careful "oversqueezing" with soft timber and clamps and they're like new!
* Main bearings only had 0.001" shrink in cases. This together with the fact that I want to fit lower rear reed valve crank breather (Jim Comstock design/idea) and did not want to adulterate the matching numbers casings meant a hunt for an "orphan pair". Eventually found some on evilbay that gave 0.0035" shrink on bearings (they're 1960 numbers - so at least a bit of Bracebridge Street on the bike)- you'll notice the oblong ports (bigger to minimise pressure loss) and tappings for the reed valve in the closeup rear photo.
*Using superblends, shimmed the outer races to 0.010" crank endfloat
* Spent some time with 1/4" drill and various dremel bits removing extraneous casting sprue?? from airways between cylinders on barrel and through head. Cooling very important here in tropical Queensland. Amazing how much more "open" they look.
* Base of barrel I blued - scraped - filed, blued - scraped - filed, blued - scraped - filed, blued..... 4 hours of work later the many gaps between crankcase and barrel were reduced from 0.008" to only a couple at 0.001" - 0.0015". I figured this is good enough. Will use Loctite 518 without gasket for this joint. Just painted the barrel with hight temp engine enamel and baked in the oven for an hour.
* Had K2FC magneto professionally rebuilt - but cam ring was not concentric with shaft (not happy!) but texasSlick's advice on the site helped - all good now
* I think I might have a fetish for fasteners (not quite as bad as the carb bolt vs stud thread though) but in my eye Dominators look "right" with slotted screws in the right places - work well too if you use the correct size screwdriver,
* Homemade engine stand looks a bit sad but will have to do as I can't weld
Anyway, as I said above I'll post more as it progresses
Cheers
Rob

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Re: '64 650SS Downunder

Postby gortnipper » Tue Nov 15, 2016 3:09 am

Very nice work.

I would think hard about the velocity stacks. Shame to ruin that nice new engine and carbs with grit from them dusty roads.

Maybe at least put a sock over them if not run some pods.
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Re: '64 650SS Downunder

Postby robs ss » Tue Nov 15, 2016 3:40 am

Yep - I do agree
I have the "standard" norton" filter box but feel that it visually spoils the bike (narcissistic me!) so am examining making a filter box that fits between the oil tank and battery box.
Was talking to Ken McIntosh about this a while ago and he told me stories of stones breathed in and denting the pistons on some of his racing bikes - but then his bikes are pulled apart often.
My Dad, Reg Craig (1932 - 2000) told me a story about riding one of Ken's works Nortons (1937 500), with Ken on a more recent bike (1950s) from Ken's shop to Pukekoe racetrack, open megaphones and doing around 80-90 mph when cops, lights flashing etc, came alongside. They must have realised they were no ordinary hoons (revheads, boy racers or whatever you call them in other places) so signalled them to follow and upped the pace to 100mph. Then waved them goodbye as they approached the track. Talk about excellent service by public servants!
Wish I lived in NZ
Cheers
Rob
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Re: '64 650SS Downunder

Postby grandpaul » Tue Nov 15, 2016 6:57 am

Firstly, may you indeed be comforted and distracted as your wife endures her distress; all the best wishes for her condition going forward.

What a beautiful lump. Just a peach.
GrandPaul
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JPN, 952 Prototype, MkIII Interstate, Combat Dunstall, VR880 SS, Triton
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Re: '64 650SS Downunder

Postby robs ss » Fri Dec 30, 2016 4:44 am

A question about rockers and oil feed...
I have just disassembled the head and found the following - looking for comments as to suitability.
1. Oil feed is from timing cover, oil pump is 3 start
2. Rocker shafts are scrolled, with flats facing inwards (toward spark plug) as installed by PO
3. Instead of stock (I believe for '64 650SS) outside thrust washer (81802) and inside spring washer (81803), on the rocker shafts, there are hardened steel washers/shims of varying thickness (from 0.028" to 0.138")
4. The rocker valve adjusters fit squarely on valve heads (when valves are closed)

I realise there is a lot of information on this site relating to this subject but I found id difficult to sort Commando stuff from others
Any advice welcome
Cheers & Happy New Year
Rob
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Re: '64 650SS Downunder

Postby rivera » Fri Dec 30, 2016 6:23 am

robs ss wrote:A question about rockers and oil feed...

2. Rocker shafts are scrolled, with flats facing inwards (toward spark plug) as installed by PO

Rob

The flats should face outwards not inwards,( towards the valve covers.) at least on a Commando engine.
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Re: '64 650SS Downunder

Postby triumph2 » Fri Dec 30, 2016 7:38 am

With scrolled rocker shafts and a 3 start oil pump the flats should face inwards.
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Re: '64 650SS Downunder

Postby robs ss » Tue Jan 03, 2017 4:11 am

Does anyone have comments on the following observations on the details of my cylinder head?
When disassembled I noted:
1. the bores supporting the rocker shafts (both inner & outer) on the drive (LH) side have been bushed using aluminium. The bush ODs are all about 0.620". The outer bushes have obviously needed drilling to allow oil supply from the banjo drilling.
Image

2. The timing side (RH), while not bushed, has had 0.080 - 0.100" skimmed from the milled surface that the rocker shaft covers mate with. it is obvious if you look that the milled surface now extends to the exhaust tappet cover joint.
Image

I can't imagine realistic scenarios where these mods would have been necessary. Could they have been factory repairs to fix manufacturing errors? These heads, once you look at them are incredibly complex things to cast and machine so I can imagine errors or faults would have been likely repaired, if possible.
Any thoughts?
Cheers
Rob
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Re: '64 650SS Downunder

Postby robs ss » Tue Jan 03, 2017 5:32 am

Regarding my previous query on rocker shaft flat orientation...
I've just had a close look and it is now clear that the flat is the oil path between the drilled central groove of the rocker spindle and the offset internal drilling in the rocker supplying oil to the ball which engages the pushrod cup.
This will only work, on my head, with the flats facing inward (toward the spark plug)

Still not clear on the scrolled/unscrolled shafts vs. 3 start/6 start pumps, As long as my scrolled shafts are a good match with my 3 start pump with head feed from the timing cover banjo.
Cheers
Rob
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Re: '64 650SS Downunder

Postby Bernhard » Tue Jan 03, 2017 7:28 am

robs ss wrote:Does anyone have comments on the following observations on the details of my cylinder head?
When disassembled I noted:
1. the bores supporting the rocker shafts (both inner & outer) on the drive (LH) side have been bushed using aluminium. The bush ODs are all about 0.620". The outer bushes have obviously needed drilling to allow oil supply from the banjo drilling.
2. The timing side (RH), while not bushed, has had 0.080 - 0.100" skimmed from the milled surface that the rocker shaft covers mate with. it is obvious if you look that the milled surface now extends to the exhaust tappet cover joint.
Image
I can't imagine realistic scenarios where these mods would have been necessary. Could they have been factory repairs to fix manufacturing errors? These heads, once you look at them are incredibly complex things to cast and machine so I can imagine errors or faults would have been likely repaired, if possible.
Any thoughts?Cheers Rob


I think it pretty clear that some previous owner might have removed the rocker spindles while the head was cold-a very bad move. The result the spindles revolved round instead of staying in a fixed place even with the end caps on. Hence the drilling out and attempt to fit “brushes or top hats” which is very difficult to do on the Norton head –because there is NO meat around the spindle hole.
Or perhaps I have misunderstood the question.

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Re: '64 650SS Downunder

Postby robs ss » Tue Jan 17, 2017 2:27 am

I've been test fitting the carbs (376 monoblocs) to the head and would like to pick your collective brains on a couple of issues.
The carbs & spacers are attached by four socket head cap screws as shown below (no I don't want to reopen the issue of what mix of screw/studs is "correct"...)
Image
I bought some 3mm insulators (from Burtons) and as you can see they have excess material both around the edges and in the bore. I have sanded one back to correct shape and wonder... should the edges of these insulators be sealed with something, against water on the outside and fuel on the inside? If so what to use?
Also, is any kind of gasket goo recommended to reduce risks of air leaks at this joint?
The other question is whether to use a thread locker on the screws? They aren't very tight when the carb o-ring is compressed. I obviously don't want to over-tighten and risk distorting the carb bodies. What do others do?
Cheers
Rob
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Re: '64 650SS Downunder

Postby Danno » Tue Jan 17, 2017 5:08 am

I've always used aluminized silver spray paint to seal the carb insulators. It (more or less) matches the head and intake manifolds and elinimates the possibility of air leaks. It also cleans up easily with lacquer thinner during overhauls.
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