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Tin Man

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Tin Man

Postby Tin Man » Mon Oct 24, 2016 6:32 pm

Hi All,

A couple of weeks ago I purchased a matching numbers 1972 Commando for a scrap price. Everything is there, and it's in rough condition. The engine is locked up, the trans seems to be in good shape and goes through the gears, there is some rust on the frame above the left shock mount that will necessitate a frame repair, the wheels are rusty, the fork tubes are rusty, the master cylinder is dry as a bone, and there wasn't a drop of oil in it anywhere.

I've come up with a preliminary budget and in no way does it look like it's financially worth it to fix it up, but it looks like that's exactly what I'm going to do. I guess I'll do as one member said "open my wallet" and get busy. And maybe I should add... no whining!

Today, I opened up the outer cover to the transmission and found no metal in the bottom of the case. Then I made the determination that the engine is locked and that the problem is not in the transmission or primary chain. So I've removed the headsteady in preparation for removing the head. The plan is to check the cylinders before removing the crankcase. I've ordered a clutch spring compressor tool and sprocket puller from old Brits in preparation for getting the crankcase out.

I'll get the tranny out next to make sure that the layshaft bearing gets changed and that everything is in order there. I have a plan for the cosmetics and suspension, but nothing on the electrical yet. A couple of weeks ago I knew nothing about these bikes, but thanks to this forum and the generosity of the Norton community, I at least have a start. Thank you!
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Re: Tin Man

Postby Torontonian » Mon Oct 24, 2016 6:47 pm

Congratulations ! Keep the credit card handy. :shock:
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Re: Tin Man

Postby Danno » Mon Oct 24, 2016 6:55 pm

Amazingly, it costs about the same to completely refurb almost any year Commando. If yours is all there, and the numbers match, it will be worth more to put it back as original and keep the mods to internal updates that don't detract from the originality but make the machine better invisibly. That is what I plan to do with the '73 I just obtained. I have a '71 with lots of changes, '75 running gear and quite a few non-stock, non-original parts added, some of which I made myself. A matching numbers '71 is probably worth more on the open collector market even though I consider mine much better as a rider. Just my opinion.

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Re: Tin Man

Postby dave M » Mon Oct 24, 2016 7:12 pm

Before you dismantle everything why not pour some liquid wrench or other 'unseizing' fluid through the plug holes and leave it for a week or so, then try to ease the engine using a long bar on the crank shaft nut.

It's a lot easier to dismantle if you can get the pistons moving first.

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Re: Tin Man

Postby Tin Man » Mon Oct 24, 2016 7:37 pm

BTW, I've named it the "Tin Man" because I've got the oil can out releasing all of the rusted nuts and bolts on the bike.

Yes, what a great idea. I'll try to release the pistons with the crank nut before disassembly. I have the pistons soaking in mix of Marvel Mystery Oil and Dexron ATF, which is what I'm using intead of Liquid Wrench.

Yes, I plan to upgrade the internals. I'm going to stay with the stock con rods, and I'm wondering what pistons to put on top of them.
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Re: Tin Man

Postby o0norton0o » Mon Oct 24, 2016 8:13 pm

Paint it Black wrote:in no way does it look like it's financially worth it to fix it up, but it looks like that's exactly what I'm going to do.


I like you already... :lol:
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Re: Tin Man

Postby MS850 » Mon Oct 24, 2016 9:06 pm

Post some photos, im not a good reader. :lol:
Thanks,
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Re: Tin Man

Postby Fast Eddie » Tue Oct 25, 2016 12:03 am

Good on yer!

Strangely enough, you might not be so hard done by as you might imagine. The thing is, rusty spokes and rims cost X to replace... And totally rusted out ones cost the same. A seized and totally shot bore, costs X for a rebore and new pistons... the same as one that only just outside its limits. Etc.

What I'm trying to say, as was eluded to be a previous poster, is that within certain limits, the costs are kinda fixed.

He real losers are those who spend good money on a good bike and THEN proceed to strip it and execute an OCD rebuild... Like I did!

I'd say that the condition of your bike will cost you more time though, and patience, and skinned knuckles!

Don't get me wrong though, you're still gonna need deep pockets!

Please learn how to post pics and keep us posted on the progress.

BTW... What colour are you gonna paint it...?!
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Re: Tin Man

Postby Onder » Tue Oct 25, 2016 4:49 am

It is good to know that others are as stupid as I was....

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Re: Tin Man

Postby Mr.Sparks » Tue Oct 25, 2016 5:32 am

Onder wrote:It is good to know that others are as stupid as I was....

+1 (for the first bike)
Got a bit smarter with the second bike, also learned where to get the best value parts from.
So the 3rd bike should work out much cheaper to rebuild. (Yeah right) :roll:
Mk3 x 3 and a Wideline Frame now. Electric starts are only a fad, tell my right knee that!
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Re: Tin Man

Postby cjandme » Tue Oct 25, 2016 5:32 am

o0norton0o wrote:
Paint it Black wrote:in no way does it look like it's financially worth it to fix it up, but it looks like that's exactly what I'm going to do.


I like you already... :lol:

Ditto---So you're a "glass is half full kinda guy" too 8) and remember without pictures it never happened :wink:
Norton Fan by Bro w/'75MKIII
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Re: Tin Man

Postby Tin Man » Tue Oct 25, 2016 9:57 am

Danno wrote:Amazingly, it costs about the same to completely refurb almost any year Commando. If yours is all there, and the numbers match, it will be worth more to put it back as original and keep the mods to internal updates that don't detract from the originality but make the machine better invisibly. That is what I plan to do with the '73 I just obtained. I have a '71 with lots of changes, '75 running gear and quite a few non-stock, non-original parts added, some of which I made myself. A matching numbers '71 is probably worth more on the open collector market even though I consider mine much better as a rider. Just my opinion.



I'm going to lose so much money on this project that I'm going to build it the way that I want it. Money can't be the motivation.
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Re: Tin Man

Postby Tin Man » Tue Oct 25, 2016 10:00 am

MS850 wrote:Post some photos, im not a good reader. :lol:
. I've tried, but my files appear to be too big for this format.
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Re: Tin Man

Postby Tin Man » Tue Oct 25, 2016 10:08 am

Fast Eddie wrote:Good on yer!

Strangely enough, you might not be so hard done by as you might imagine. The thing is, rusty spokes and rims cost X to replace... And totally rusted out ones cost the same. A seized and totally shot bore, costs X for a rebore and new pistons... the same as one that only just outside its limits. Etc.

What I'm trying to say, as was eluded to be a previous poster, is that within certain limits, the costs are kinda fixed.

He real losers are those who spend good money on a good bike and THEN proceed to strip it and execute an OCD rebuild... Like I did!

I'd say that the condition of your bike will cost you more time though, and patience, and skinned knuckles!

Don't get me wrong though, you're still gonna need deep pockets!

Please learn how to post pics and keep us posted on the progress.

BTW... What colour are you gonna paint it...?!


I think you're right. The bike is exactly what I was looking for. It was cheap, it came with a factory manual, factory parts list, all of the original books, and i can remake it anyway that I want to. I would hate to have taken a $6,000 or an $8,000 machine and then strip it down to make what I want. As it is, I may try to keep as much of the "rat bike" character as I can. You know, make it safe, make it run great, and let it look ratty. I'll post a pic as soon as I can.
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Re: Tin Man

Postby nortriubuell » Tue Oct 25, 2016 12:27 pm

Congrats thar' "Paint it Black" for the "Tin Man" rescue :) So ... make it into anything ya want. Maybe you'll consider a ... "Hi Rider" ? ... some may disagree :shock: but me thinks the world of Norton motorcycles needs some more. 8) Cheers, and get them pics posted :)

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