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'72 Commando Restoration

Member's Norton Restoration Projects

'72 Commando Restoration

Postby Combat_Kid » Fri Apr 22, 2016 9:53 am

Howdy All,

I've lurked around this forum for quite some time, but I'm finally able to begin a long-awaited restoration.

My dad bought this bike as a leftover in '73 in NJ. He rode it for about 10 years until family came along - it still has the 1983 inspection sticker on it. There it sat until about 2 years ago when we rolled it out of the shed and began some simple work. We got it running roughly, but that was about it. I've now been gifted (I use that term as a positive) the bike and plan on a full restoration with some modern upgrades for safety and convenience. I know this forum is an absolute wealth of knowledge and look forward to asking many questions along the way. I have no real timeline and will go at the speed that my bank account allows. I'll post pictures with any significant milestones. This is how she sits presently. According to my father, the only things he remembered changing were the handlebars and one exhaust pipe.

I've been told it is a Combat, but I should be able to confirm that once into the rebuild process.

First order of business will be a complete tear down to get parts cleaned and inspected.
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1972 Combat Commando (In process)
1969 Honda CB350 (AMCA Winner's Circle)
2006 Triumph Bonneville Black

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Re: '72 Commando Restoration

Postby grandpaul » Fri Apr 22, 2016 11:12 am

Howdy, Kid.

I'd highly recommend NOT stripping it down!

Instead, flush out the old oil from the tank, crankcase sump and primary, remove the primary cover and wide the cavity & cover clean, then replace all the covers & plugs, and re-fill the oil tank. $25 for lubricants.

Next, flush the gas tank out and drain the carbs.

Next, pull the carb bowls off and see what shape they're in. If cruddy or "varnished", pull the carbs and overhaul them with new Amal gaskets, o-rings, stay-up floats & viton tipped float needles. $50 for carb bits.

Next, flush the front brake system out and re-fill with fresh DOT3 brake fluid. $5

Run through the valve lash adjustment; at least give them a cursory check to see that they all cycle though and give the slightest wiggle when each valve is fully closed and it's partner is being opened by the cam.

If you haven't already installed a new battery, install a modern AGM one. $60

The bike should then start and run just fine to see what it rides like. Check out all the systems just plodding around your neighborhood.

You'll likely have to adjust the clutch & throttle cables, chin, etc. Possibly also have to replace a few bulbs. $5

You'll definitely need to install fresh tires, tubes & rim strips to make it roadworthy. $250

All of the above should cost you around $400, so plan accordingly.

Get with it!
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Re: '72 Commando Restoration

Postby grandpaul » Fri Apr 22, 2016 11:13 am

Almost forgot: pair of "Combat 750 Commando" sidecover decals. $20

There, done.
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Re: '72 Commando Restoration

Postby Combat_Kid » Fri Apr 22, 2016 11:48 am

Hi Paul,

Thanks for the info. I'm concerned about a few things, which are spurring the tear down idea.

- Engine is leaking like a sieve right now. We put fresh oil in it a few years ago, and it has leaked profusely since. I'd really like to have a leak free Norton (which i know may be a pipe dream) and get to the bottom of what's causing it. I have not spent enough time with her yet to determine what needs to be addressed.

- The frame is rusted in several spots and I'd like to repaint it to mitigate any further damage caused by the rust.

- I'm not a fan of the current bars, so I want to replace those and the corresponding cables

- I'd also like to add electric ignition, a hot-button topic on this forum

- Tank is fiberglass, which I'd like to replace with a steel tank. I've tried Caswell sealant in the past but I'd prefer to just go with a metal tank to avoid that whole process

- The z plate and chain guard have some corrosion from a leaked battery. That will need some attention

- the isolastics have not been touched in ~35 years. If they look anything like the rubber bits on other areas, they will need work

- Shocks are shot

- wiring harness is falling apart, probably from all those years in the shed

Overall, I just want to clean her up and make her a better machine using modern knowledge and technology while still maintaining as much original charm as possible.
1972 Combat Commando (In process)
1969 Honda CB350 (AMCA Winner's Circle)
2006 Triumph Bonneville Black

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Re: '72 Commando Restoration

Postby bill » Fri Apr 22, 2016 3:59 pm

I think you are in the winston aria if so I am not far from you in shady valley tn . if you want some help on it feel free to call me @ 407 484 3388 or just call me because. you are going about it right with a complete tear down. as to an oil tight bike it is not a pipe dream BUT there are are some things particular to the 72-73 and more so the combat to make it a great and reliable street ride.


windy
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Re: '72 Commando Restoration

Postby batrider » Sat Apr 23, 2016 7:35 am

grandpaul wrote:Almost forgot: pair of "Combat 750 Commando" sidecover decals. $20

There, done.



Please anything but these fake "combat" decals.
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Re: '72 Commando Restoration

Postby Combat_Kid » Sat Apr 23, 2016 10:50 am

bill wrote:I think you are in the winston aria if so I am not far from you in shady valley tn . if you want some help on it feel free to call me @ 407 484 3388 or just call me because. you are going about it right with a complete tear down. as to an oil tight bike it is not a pipe dream BUT there are are some things particular to the 72-73 and more so the combat to make it a great and reliable street ride.


windy


Thanks Windy, I am indeed in the WS area. I appreciate the offer for assistance. If I feel I am in need I will certainly let you know!
1972 Combat Commando (In process)
1969 Honda CB350 (AMCA Winner's Circle)
2006 Triumph Bonneville Black

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Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2015 10:49 am
Location: Triad, NC

Re: '72 Commando Restoration

Postby Combat_Kid » Sat Apr 23, 2016 10:52 am

batrider wrote:
grandpaul wrote:Almost forgot: pair of "Combat 750 Commando" sidecover decals. $20

There, done.



Please anything but these fake "combat" decals.


Did the original side panel decals not say Combat? I'd like to keep it looking like it did back in the day.
1972 Combat Commando (In process)
1969 Honda CB350 (AMCA Winner's Circle)
2006 Triumph Bonneville Black

Combat_Kid
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2015 10:49 am
Location: Triad, NC

Re: '72 Commando Restoration

Postby Combat_Kid » Mon Apr 25, 2016 10:02 am

Was able to get started this weekend, and despite some VERY stuck nuts/bolts, I was able to some major components off. I'm excited to continue and start getting parts cleaned up and inspected. Work was slow going due to the process of inspecting the parts, photographing them as they were installed, and bagging/boxing each component for reference.

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1972 Combat Commando (In process)
1969 Honda CB350 (AMCA Winner's Circle)
2006 Triumph Bonneville Black

Combat_Kid
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2015 10:49 am
Location: Triad, NC

Re: '72 Commando Restoration

Postby batrider » Wed Apr 27, 2016 3:56 am

The original decals were the same as a "normal" 750. It said 750 Commando. I started seeing the Combat decals from the one eBay guy much much later - like maybe 2005.
'72 Combat Roadster 2020xx
'61 Matchless G3 350, ex-Dutch Army
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Re: '72 Commando Restoration

Postby Combat_Kid » Tue Jul 19, 2016 7:01 am

So it's been a while since I've posted. Sometimes life just gets in the way of fun.

Anyways, I finally have the bike down to the frame and have decided on powder coating. My first question (of many to come) is about the finish. Gloss or semi-gloss? From what the original paint looks like, I believe it is a gloss. Can anyone verify whether the powder coat gloss looks similar to the original paint?
1972 Combat Commando (In process)
1969 Honda CB350 (AMCA Winner's Circle)
2006 Triumph Bonneville Black

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Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2015 10:49 am
Location: Triad, NC

Re: '72 Commando Restoration

Postby grandpaul » Tue Jul 19, 2016 8:22 am

I've always used gloss black powdercoating. Rust-O-Leum gloss black is the perfect touch-up when the time comes (not very often at all)
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Re: '72 Commando Restoration

Postby Combat_Kid » Tue Jul 19, 2016 8:49 am

grandpaul wrote:I've always used gloss black powdercoating. Rust-O-Leum gloss black is the perfect touch-up when the time comes (not very often at all)


Thanks! I'm planning on having the shop follow Old Britts process as close as possible and I'll keep the Rust-o-leum in mind!
1972 Combat Commando (In process)
1969 Honda CB350 (AMCA Winner's Circle)
2006 Triumph Bonneville Black

Combat_Kid
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2015 10:49 am
Location: Triad, NC

Re: '72 Commando Restoration

Postby Combat_Kid » Mon Jul 25, 2016 9:40 am

As I'm working through the various parts that need to powder coated, vapor blasted, polished, painted, or re-chromed, I got to thinking: what do you do with all of the old hardware that is showing its age? It seems silly to use the same old bolts on newly shiny bits. Is there a cheap way to refresh hardware? Should I buy new hardware? What say you Norton restorers?
1972 Combat Commando (In process)
1969 Honda CB350 (AMCA Winner's Circle)
2006 Triumph Bonneville Black

Combat_Kid
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2015 10:49 am
Location: Triad, NC

Re: '72 Commando Restoration

Postby grandpaul » Mon Jul 25, 2016 10:40 am

If you do the ENTIRE BATCH of hardware in new cadmium, it's worth it (about $165)

If it's only a double-handful of bolts & nuts, it's cheaper to buy new ones.

There's also Eastwoods & Caswell plating kits...
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author "Old Bikes"
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JPN, 952 Prototype, MkIII Interstate, Combat Dunstall, VR880 SS, Triton
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