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Getting the Matchless on the road

Getting the Matchless on the road

Postby OzT » Thu Jul 25, 2013 1:48 pm

Hi guys, how are you? I'm the bloke some of you may have seen on the Commando page that got his bike going again after 10 years in the garage, only to wipe it out 4 days after getting it road legal and taxed.
Anyway, whilst I'm fighting the insurance company on that bike, I decided to get the other bike in my garage going. It's a 59 Matchless G3L with 500 conversion, last on the road, according to the tax disc on it, summer of 1997.
This is as much a blog for myself, maybe of some interests to others, and to ask questions and opinions along the way.

So far, I have taken the head off. Thought I could have left it all as is and try to start it, but decided to take the head off and have a look. Well, all looks good in there, needn't have taken it off but at least I can see it's still oiled and no rust or corrosions in head or barrel. There's no spark, I have SR1 mag, which was working before, so I am hoping it's just the points may be stuck. The carb's a Concentric, I stupidly junked the Monobloc in the 70's thinking the Concentric will make for easier starting and 'go faster'. but the bike's not original anyway, I have alloy chaincase with alternator, front wheel's a full width hub, brought for looks and again stupidly junked the old half width one, and I had Triumph export bars with Lucas all in one lever/switchgear as well. Only thing I kept on the bar was the choke lever. Never had decompression lever, easy enough to find compression and kick it over.

So far I know I need to do the following
a) Get it to spark
b) Clean the carb out
c) Replace main drive oil seal. Kicked it over earlier, had wet sumped and pressure blew oil out between the crankcase and primary chaincase

So initial questions:
1: do you think I can reuse the old head gasket, it’s a copper one, and the old head bolts?
2: piston feels good in the bore; do you think I should lift the barrel to check the rings? After taking the head off and seeing I didn’t need to makes me hesitant to take the barrel off.
3: want to put lower bars back on. Would it use to have the slightly raised Matchless bars or Norton straight bars?

Thanks guys for Part I :)

This is how the bike looked when last running:

Image[/URL]


this is it tonight

Image[/URL]
Ed
1973 Norton Commando 750 Roadster
1959 Matchless 500 single
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OzT
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Re: Getting the Matchless on the road

Postby Rohan » Thu Jul 25, 2013 4:33 pm

Sweet looking bike !!
What old singles were all about.
Looks a bit headless now - decapitated !
Good polish up, and it will be as good as new.

Copper head gaskets can be reused, as long as you heat them red and then quench (soften) in water.
Rings probably should be checked, or even replaced with a very light hone.
But if they worked good before, just liberally oil the bore and put the head back on.
It will smoke a little initially, but if the rings have lube they should be good to go.
Headbolts will last eons, as long as they have not been seriously overtorqued anywhere.
Ride and enjoy, Have fun !

P.S. I have acquired a set of those Norton "western bars' for my ES2 project.
Unless its used on the motorway, I suspect it may give a very relaxed comfortable ride.
Try them again, they may be good ?
And save you a lot of recabling.. ?
If the cables are still good, that is.

Rohan
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Re: Getting the Matchless on the road

Postby OzT » Thu Jul 25, 2013 5:15 pm

Cheers Rohan! Yes I liked the look of it with high bars, it was comfortable, and at bout 70mph it was a bit of a drag, but it was much easier to swing on the kick start being more upright, and I used the bike more for green laneing anyway, it handles very well, I am surprised with it. I was thinking now though it may look a bit silly, high bars were good in the 70s and 80s. anyway, see how it goes, I can get original bars for about £30'ish, add to them cables. The existing clutch cable was one of those lubed for life cables, and I was just going to oil the other ones if I leave the high bars on.

I like your idea of leaving oil on top of the piston. Would you recommend I use 20/50 or thinner easing oil?

good luck with the ES2!!!

Cheers

Ed
Ed
1973 Norton Commando 750 Roadster
1959 Matchless 500 single
User avatar

OzT
Posts: 55
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Location: Chessington, England

Re: Getting the Matchless on the road

Postby OzT » Tue Aug 06, 2013 1:56 am

Quick update, not an awful lot done on the Matchless, been dealing with the insurance company about my Commando, when that completed post on the Commando thread, think some people may be interested in how the insurance works in England with write offs.

Anyway, what I have done is reversed engineered my wiring onto the computer for safe keeping. I wired the bike up over 25 years ago to suit the bike, and need to replace some of the wiring but as I encased it all in tape no idea what went where, so have now put it all into a Powerpoint doc so I can repeat it. Due to lack of proper colour cables I do have a bit of mish mash of colours. This diagram may be of interest if someone wants to wire their bike up with the combination of units I've got.

Bike background:
SR1 Mag ingnition
3 phase Lucas alternator
Rectifier
Zenner diode
Lucas 169SA switch gear (LH and RH)

You'll notice a few bullet connectors in the diagram, this was because I didn't have enough lengths of wires in one colour! :) Hope this helps some others.

Image

Now the problem I have is the SR1 mag is not sparking. Can anyone help me on this? As usual with this, it was working 15 years ago I put the bike away, now no sparks. Had a new condensor in it, good points regapped to 12 thou, but no sparks. Can mags just pack up? Was a recondition mag and had beautiful spark before.

Cheers!

Ed

ps Can't seem to get the image on the post, so here's the link:

http://s107.photobucket.com/user/kicker ... sort=3&o=0
Ed
1973 Norton Commando 750 Roadster
1959 Matchless 500 single
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OzT
Posts: 55
Joined: Wed May 15, 2013 7:38 am
Location: Chessington, England

Re: Getting the Matchless on the road

Postby johnm » Tue Aug 06, 2013 2:23 am

Hi

By 1959 they had the full width hub so I think you have the correct one although not certain because the photo is a little unclear. Is that an 18 inch ront wheel or is the front guard mounted a bit strangely ?

Since you are so far down I would lift the barrel to check the big end and perhaps install new rings. A light hone of the barrel may be necessary. (Oh dear now Im agreeing with Rohan :-) )

The SR1 mag is a good thing and looking at the timing cover you probably have an automatic advance unit installed. Im 90 % certain that coils, condensors, points, bearings etc from either Hunt or Morris magneto will fit straight in. Mags do not like sitting round for years in cold and damp so it may have decided to die.

Nice bike and in my opinion this is a good year.

John

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Re: Getting the Matchless on the road

Postby OzT » Tue Aug 06, 2013 5:46 pm

cheers John for that, so it seems 30 years ago when I junked the half width hub for the (better looking) full width hub I actually did the right thing? No both front and back are 19 inch wheels, the stays were what I could find to put the new stainless guards on.

Going to have a bash at the SR1 mag. It was working before I put the bike away and it is really quite simple I think, just a bunch of copper wires going round a magnet and a coil in there. Heck if MacGyver can make a radio receiver/transmitter from nothing more than a match box, bits of copper wire and a Swiss army penknife sure I can take the mag apart and maybe see something wrong?
Or not....

Never know if you don't give it a bash I reckon!

I'm going to leave the piston in the barrel. the cylinder has no rust, still a film of oil, and I think the rings will be ok. I haven't got a ring compressor and putting the barrel back on has always been a case of balancing it on thumbs of two hands while I push the rings closed one at a time with a small screwdriver, bugger when it comes to the cords oil rings! I know the big end's solid, went to the local engineering shop before I put it together last time to push the pin out and the bearings were good. after taking the head off and realized I didn't need to is holding me back from pulling the barrel up. Though I have a nagging wee bloke sitting on my shoulder, think he's called common sense, that I should just lift the barrel off to have a look.

This week I'm going to make sure the wiring's ok with the battery on. one reason I rather stick with the mag, no worries about having a good battery to start!
Ed
1973 Norton Commando 750 Roadster
1959 Matchless 500 single
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OzT
Posts: 55
Joined: Wed May 15, 2013 7:38 am
Location: Chessington, England

Re: Getting the Matchless on the road

Postby Corona850 » Tue Aug 06, 2013 6:00 pm

OzT wrote:.....

I haven't got a ring compressor and putting the barrel back on has always been a case of balancing it on thumbs of two hands while I push the rings closed one at a time with a small screwdriver,

.....


Some strips cut from an old coffee can and a jubilee-clamp (or even elec zip-ties) works. That's what I used to get all four pistons simultaneously in my KZ1000.

Corona850
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Re: Getting the Matchless on the road

Postby skipsoldbikes » Tue Aug 06, 2013 8:01 pm

Great project & thanks for putting up the thread on it!
As to the SR1 mag, I will help in any way I can over the net, via Skype, or PM me. The very first thing I would recomend is reading up on the Brightspark magneto web site. The not only have a free download (see library) of the SR1 Lucas parts list, but also the Lucas workshop manual. The best part of the site is the Easycap condenser to replace the poorly made paper one that Lucas made. If you decide to send it out they will do a complete rebuild, or they will just sell you parts, eaither way, they are great guys to deal with.
Have a read, you'll be impressed: http://www.brightsparkmagnetos.com/

manual: http://www.brightsparkmagnetos.com/libr ... gnetos.pdf

original parts list, see pages G20 & G21:

http://www.brightsparkmagnetos.com/libr ... 20ATDs.pdf


re-magnetization: http://www.brightsparkmagnetos.com/libr ... ue%202.pdf

Skip Brolund

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Re: Getting the Matchless on the road

Postby dave M » Tue Aug 06, 2013 9:55 pm

Good luck with this OzT, The monoblock carbs are being remanufactured and are available so you could easily get hold of one.

I used to live in Chessington back in the mid 70s when I worked for Mitsui Machinery Sales (the Yamaha importers) and then the Brabham F1 team, many fond memories of riding company road test bikes down to the pub in Oxshot.

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Re: Getting the Matchless on the road

Postby johnm » Wed Aug 07, 2013 12:37 am

Re the mag comments above.

The SR1 is a rotating magnet magneto. (the best kind )

The Brightspark condensor is for the rotating coil type magneto.

Im sure the Brightspark company will be able to help you anyway. You are much better of with the SR1 type and changing the condenser in this mag is extremely simple and several providers sell them. I personally use the more expensive and physically larger racing condensor sold by Morris mag in the US. The one that costs about US$28 - which is a lot for a condensor but it works !!!

http://www.morrismagneto.com/instructions/exp.html

I found in racing use the smaller condensors can fail after a year or two. Continuous high rpm. But I have never had the larger condensor fail.

But I have not worked on a genuine SR1 mag - only look alikes from Hunt and Morris so I cannot guarantee it will fit inside the cover of an SR1. (I think they all came originally from a Fairbanks Morse design anyway if you go back far enough) You can see from the different diagrams how similar the rotating magnet mags from the differnt companes are.

http://www.huntmagnetos.com/parts-1/

John

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Re: Getting the Matchless on the road

Postby Rohan » Wed Aug 07, 2013 4:01 pm

Ed says it has had a new condensor, and new points.
That only leaves the coil, the plug lead (and cap) and the connections between.
And checking the points are not accidentally grounded anyplace ?

Aircraft owners that use rotating magnet maggies (a pair of) routinely carry spare coils
- aircraft maggies may work their coils harder, but they certainly don't last forever.
At least they are easy to change - if you are on the ground !

There is a test for SR coil integrity that involves a small torch battery, and keeping your fingers out of the way ?

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Re: Getting the Matchless on the road

Postby OzT » Wed Aug 07, 2013 11:14 pm

Well this is a slightly worrying development on the mag. took points and condensor off to take the plate off the mag, all looks clean in there, coil's not wobbley, couldn't see anything physically wrong, put all back together and now I have a fat blue spark.

Whilst that may be good news, what bothers me is I have done nothing. so it's sparking in the workshop, I haven't put a plug on it, just the end of the HT lead to the barrel, but a defo fat blue spark. Now do I carry on and risk no sparks when I'm on the road? But what else can I do?

Think I'll take the barrel off and check the rings are clean and clear in their groves. I have a slight carbon lip at the top of the barrel and may just give it a slight rub down with wet and dry. hope to do it before the weekend as I'm away, and really that's what I need to do now to get it ready for the 1st kick with fuel in...

Clean barrel/piston/rings
Reassemble barrel and pistons etc
Check timing half inch before TDC on full advance
Replace head after heating up old head gasket
Replace a few wires that have harden and frayed and sheath the wires where it goes into the headlamp shell
Clean the concentric up, check jets clear with fine wire
Rocker box on and tappets clearance
Remove brakes to check for rust and replace wheels
Remove clutch to check plates are clean
Oh and put oil in!!!

Anything I missed out on you think???

Then I think I am ready to try and fire it up! Hopefully next post will be result of starting up or it may be more problems I find along the way!!

:)

edit: oops remember to put oil in!
Ed
1973 Norton Commando 750 Roadster
1959 Matchless 500 single
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OzT
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Joined: Wed May 15, 2013 7:38 am
Location: Chessington, England

Re: Getting the Matchless on the road

Postby johnm » Thu Aug 08, 2013 5:21 am

Gearbox oil and front fork oil.

I like to pour oil down push rod tubes onto the cams if a bike has sat idle for a long time.

You could flush the oil and petrol tanks. Is there a wire strainer filter going into the oil tank ???? It is so long ago I cannot remember?????

Lube chains and cables as well.

Tyres,

Those mags were pretty good so you might get lucky.

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Re: Getting the Matchless on the road

Postby Bernhard » Thu Aug 08, 2013 6:31 am

OzT wrote:Well this is a slightly worrying development on the mag. took points and condensor off to take the plate off the mag, all looks clean in there, coil's not wobbley, couldn't see anything physically wrong, put all back together and now I have a fat blue spark.

Whilst that may be good news, what bothers me is I have done nothing. so it's sparking in the workshop, I haven't put a plug on it, just the end of the HT lead to the barrel, but a defo fat blue spark. Now do I carry on and risk no sparks when I'm on the road? But what else can I do?

Anything I missed out on you think???
e brakes to check for rust and
Then I think I am ready to try and fire it up! Hopefully next post will be result of starting up or it may be more problems I find along the way!!

:) edit: oops remember to put oil in!


I suggest you replace the HT lead and the spark plug cap, as there have been standing for sooooooo…. long :!: :shock:

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Re: Getting the Matchless on the road

Postby OzT » Thu Aug 08, 2013 8:43 am

Ah yes, thanks guys. Fork oil, will change that for new 20/50 I reckon, and check gear box oil has not watered, as weld as defo change leads and cap.

Not sure I will change the tyres, still very good tread on them, due to time in garage, and I had it on centre stand to take load off one pint and rotated them every now and then. Hate the thought, and cost, of throwing good tread tyres away.

Cables I'm not sure if I am keeping the high bars or buy new proper bars, with just the 2 inch rise, so either new or oiled cables, new should be new sheath for life ones, else oil them too.

No there's no strainer, just straight into oil tank. Thought I'd shake the petrol tank with some clean gravel to check for rust, good idea. Adding to my To Do list.

and thanks ye sI'll be lubing the rocker box and bits as I put the rocker and push rods in.

cheers!
Ed
1973 Norton Commando 750 Roadster
1959 Matchless 500 single
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OzT
Posts: 55
Joined: Wed May 15, 2013 7:38 am
Location: Chessington, England

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