1971 Norton Commando Fastback LR @ Tulsa Tech!

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Some time ago, my father, TulsaAlva, and I pulled two classic British motorcycles from our building in our back yard; a 1979 Triumph Bonneville Special T140D and Norton Commando Fastback Long Range.

Both bikes were brought to Tulsa Technology Center to be fixed. The Triumph was first to be put on a lift and worked on, because it was assumed it would be the easiest to repair. A quick carburetor clean later and the Triumph was ready to come home.

The Norton however, is a different story. It has sat for nearly all its life, so I have no idea what the full extent of its problems are. I do know that some of the wiring has been chewed through. Another student and I have cut away all the electrical tape surrounding the wiring and have traced all the broken wires we can find. Only about 3 or 4 were actually split.

I don't know what kind of shape the carburetors are in. It has original Amals on it, and I was wondering if it would be benefitial to replace them with Amal Mk. 2's, like the ones on the Triumph.

I've counted four wires that have been disconnected at the front of the bike near the coils and two boxes, which I've not been able to discern the purpose of yet. There is a white wire with a black stripe, a white wire with a blue stripe, a black wire with a white strip, a black wire with a yellow stripe, and solid red wire. Is anybody familiar with these bikes enough to know what these wires do and where they plug in?

I will post pictures soon.

Thanks,
Seventeen
 

L.A.B.

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Seventeen said:
I've counted four wires that have been disconnected at the front of the bike near the coils and two boxes, which I've not been able to discern the purpose of yet.


Welcome to the forum, Seventeen,



The two "boxes" that you've found are probably the ballast resistor (White rectangular ceramic block) and the 2CP condenser pack that contains the two ignition condensers (Black rectangular rubber block).

Workshop Manual: http://www.classicbike.biz/Norton/Repai ... mmando.pdf




Seventeen said:
There is a white wire with a black stripe, a white wire with a blue stripe, a black wire with a white strip, a black wire with a yellow stripe, and solid red wire.


White/Blue and White/Black (are you certain it is actually White/Black?) connect to either terminal of the ceramic ballast resistor, and the Black/White and Black/Yellow go to each condenser terminal on the 2CP, the Red is the ground wire for the 2CP.
 

Ron L

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I don't know what kind of shape the carburetors are in. It has original Amals on it, and I was wondering if it would be benefitial to replace them with Amal Mk. 2's, like the ones on the Triumph.

I don't think that will be necessary. I would suggest a thorough soak and cleaning (don't forget the jet behind the air screw) and having them sleeved by Lund or Bruce Chessel. The Mk1 Concentrics are simple and easy to work on and sleeving will take care of the slide wear.
 
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I've made a slideshow of the Norton when it was first pulled from the storage building. Since this time, it has been moved into a workshop, the tank has been removed, as well as the seat. The back fender is just kind of hanging, and all the electrical tape surrounding the wiring harness has been removed.

Click to view the slideshow.

1971 Norton Commando Fastback LR @ Tulsa Tech!

Seventeen

P.S. I'll have to remember to change profiles when I use this website. Expect mild schizophrenia from Tulsaalva. lol
 
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Ron L said:
I don't know what kind of shape the carburetors are in. It has original Amals on it, and I was wondering if it would be benefitial to replace them with Amal Mk. 2's, like the ones on the Triumph.

I don't think that will be necessary. I would suggest a thorough soak and cleaning (don't forget the jet behind the air screw) and having them sleeved by Lund or Bruce Chessel. The Mk1 Concentrics are simple and easy to work on and sleeving will take care of the slide wear.

Thanks, Ron. Once I've sorted out the electrics I'll soak the carbs. I don't expect much wear with only 6200 miles on the bike.

I've decided against replacing the Mk. 1's with Mk. 2's. Not enough pocket change to go for that upgrade.

Seventeen
 
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There is a black and yellow wire coming from the left ignition coil that does not connect to anything. Where is it supposed to connect?

Oh and how difficult would it be to install an electric start on this bike?
 

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Seventeen said:
There is a black and yellow wire coming from the left ignition coil that does not connect to anything. Where is it supposed to connect?

The Black/White wire runs between the coil and that coil's set of points (contact breakers) also the coil to condenser wire should be the same?
The coil-points-condenser wire on the opposite side is normally Black/Yellow.






Seventeen said:
Oh and how difficult would it be to install an electric start on this bike?

Not easy, but certainly not impossible. A kit will be available from Old Britts soon: http://www.oldbritts.com/starter.html
 
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Well, Les, at $3000 - $4000, I think a kickstart will work just fine. haha

Also, when removing the electric tape from the wiring, I removed some wires and neglected mark where they fit on the rectifier. I've discerned that the top terminal is where the ground connects, but the bottom three, I am still unsure about.

They seem to make a kind of staircase shape, can you tell me which wires connect to the terminals from the top of the stairs to the bottom of the stairs? And I believe the wire colours are red (ground) blue/brown, green/yellow, white/green.
 

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Seventeen said:
Also, when removing the electric tape from the wiring, I removed some wires and neglected mark where they fit on the rectifier. I've discerned that the top terminal is where the ground connects, but the bottom three, I am still unsure about.

They seem to make a kind of staircase shape, can you tell me which wires connect to the terminals from the top of the stairs to the bottom of the stairs? And I believe the wire colours are red (ground) blue/brown, green/yellow, white/green.


OK, the top and bottom steps of the "staircase" (good description) are the AC connections from the alternator stator, so either terminal can be connected to Green/Yellow or White/Green.
The middle step is the DC output, so must connect to the Brown/Blue wire.
The stud (+) terminal is indeed for a ground (Red wire) connection.
 
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Tulsaalva here.

The Norton project has been on hold for awhile. My wife (Seventeen's mom) passed away on February 11th, a victim of breast cancer. Please gentlemen, never allow your wife to miss a mammogram.

The other hold-up has been because Seventeen felt we needed a new wiring harness. The original one had been chewed up by some rodents during the bike's 30+ year sleep in the storage building.

We finally located one and ordered it. It arrived today. It has a label identifying it as part no. CS-6062C, 1970-74 Commando, 6 Vt. Coils. A second sticker reads, "MC 32 PB, Made in England."

We have been assured that it is exactly like the original, with the same colors and gauges of wires as the factory, and is "excellent for restorations." We bought it from an eBay person who lives in Chicago and it looks really good in it's plastic bag.

My question is, "Our bike has a 12V battery. Will there be a problem with this harness?" I was of the impression that all Commandos of the year 1971 had 12V wiring. Is it possible that they had 6 Vt. coils in a 12 Vt. system?

Thanks, y'all! Seventeen is looking forward to getting the project off the ground.

Al
 

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Al,

I'm very sorry to hear your news.

My deepest condolences go to you, Seventeen, and the rest of your family at this sad time.


_______________________________________


Tulsaalva said:
My question is, "Our bike has a 12V battery. Will there be a problem with this harness?" I was of the impression that all Commandos of the year 1971 had 12V wiring. Is it possible that they had 6 Vt. coils in a 12 Vt. system?

There shouldn't be any problem with the harness, all Commandos were 12V, but from '71-on, the Commando electrical system had twin 6V coils fed from a ballast resistor rather than the earlier setup of twin 12V coils and no ballast resistor (the ballast resistor is the White ceramic block normally found between the coils on the underside the coil bracket)



Tulsaalva said:
We bought it from an eBay person who lives in Chicago and it looks really good in it's plastic bag.

There is a certain Chicago "vendor" of British bike parts that has a particularly bad name (in fact he has traded under several eBay names) for not supplying goods that have been paid for.

If you dealt with this particular person, then you could have been extremely fortunate to have received the parts you paid for!

Next time you may not be so lucky, so I'd advise extreme caution when dealing with anyone from the Chicago area in the future.
 

MichaelB

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Al, My condolences and sympathies with you and your family.

Yes, they are 6v. coils in a 12v. system.
 
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L.A.B. said:
Al,

I'm very sorry to hear your news.

My deepest condolences go to you, Seventeen, and the rest of your family at this sad time.

Thanks, Les. We've had wonderful support from all our friends, for which we're very grateful. Both boys are doing well in school and coping, perhaps better than their father is. I've been burying myself in an '87 Porsche 944 project, Seventeen's "new" car. I find that I don't miss her so much when mechanical work keeps my mind occupied.
_______________________________________


Tulsaalva said:
My question is, "Our bike has a 12V battery. Will there be a problem with this harness?" I was of the impression that all Commandos of the year 1971 had 12V wiring. Is it possible that they had 6 Vt. coils in a 12 Vt. system?

There shouldn't be any problem with the harness, all Commandos were 12V, but from '71-on, the Commando electrical system had twin 6V coils fed from a ballast resistor rather than the earlier setup of twin 12V coils and no ballast resistor (the ballast resistor is the White ceramic block normally found between the coils on the underside the coil bracket)

We've bought a negative ground Podtronics unit to replace the ballast resistor and zener diode.



Tulsaalva said:
We bought it from an eBay person who lives in Chicago and it looks really good in it's plastic bag.

There is a certain Chicago "vendor" of British bike parts that has a particularly bad name (in fact he has traded under several eBay names) for not supplying goods that have been paid for.

If you dealt with this particular person, then you could have been extremely fortunate to have received the parts you paid for!

Next time you may not be so lucky, so I'd advise extreme caution when dealing with anyone from the Chicago area in the future.

We did have trouble with the delivery. It took over three weeks for him to ship after we'd paid for the harness. I had to write several emails to him, through eBay, before he finally shipped. We received the wiring harness on Monday of this week. We will be very careful in the future. Unfortunately, his was the only wiring harness we were able to find. LaNelle couldn't find one for us. Apparently, Domi Racer no longer carries it.

The harness itself looks great! It has the cloth wrapping like the original (black with a regular white pattern) and looks very accurately designed and made.
 
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MichaelB said:
Al, My condolences and sympathies with you and your family.

Yes, they are 6v. coils in a 12v. system.

Thanks, Michael. I'm sure the wiring harness will work well with the Podtronics unit. We appreciate your input.

Al
 

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Tulsaalva said:
We've bought a negative ground Podtronics unit to replace the ballast resistor and zener diode.



I thought Podtronic units could be wired to suit either polarity, as other electronic regulators generally are?

The Podtronic (or other type) electronic regulator replaces the rectifier and Zener, however, the ballast resistor will still be needed if it is intended to keep the original points ignition?
Aftermarket (wasted spark) electronic ignitions such as Boyer, Pazon, Sparx, Tri-Spark Classic Twin, etc., do not use the ballast resistor, as the two 6V coils are then re-wired in series.
 
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L.A.B. said:
Tulsaalva said:
We've bought a negative ground Podtronics unit to replace the ballast resistor and zener diode.



I thought Podtronic units could be wired to suit either polarity, as other electronic regulators generally are?

The Podtronic (or other type) electronic regulator replaces the rectifier and Zener, however, the ballast resistor will still be needed if it is intended to keep the original points ignition?
Aftermarket (wasted spark) electronic ignitions such as Boyer, Pazon, Sparx, Tri-Spark Classic Twin, etc., do not use the ballast resistor, as the two 6V coils are then re-wired in series.

I'm sure you're right, Les, about the Podrtonics unit. We used a special one for the Bonneville Special, which is negative ground. If I recall, it had three wires to connect.

We hope to use the Pirhana ignition that I bought for the Norton many years ago in England. I removed the points and wired the Pirhana into the system at the time but never got the bike running. I tried to use it with a "Mity-Mite" battery eliminator but it didn't work. The latter was chewed up by the rodents. We've thrown it away because LaNelle said, "Don't worry! The Mity Mite never worked anyway, even with the points." :)

If you have any tips on how to wire the Pirhana with the Podtronics unit, we'd be most grateful.

Seventeen plans to visit this site while at Tulsa Tech today. Hopefully, he'll have time to ask any questions he has.

Thank you!

Al
 

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Tulsaalva said:
I'm sure you're right, Les, about the Podrtonics unit. We used a special one for the Bonneville Special, which is negative ground. If I recall, it had three wires to connect.

OK thanks, as I wasn't aware there were three-wire Podtronic units! Generally replacement single phase electronic control units have four wires, so the positive and negative wires can be connected to suit the bike's polarity. Your Bonneville Special of course, is a negative earth/ground model, unlike the Commando.



Tulsaalva said:
If you have any tips on how to wire the Pirhana with the Podtronics unit, we'd be most grateful.

I can't see any reason why the the Pod. unit wouldn't work perfectly well with the Piranha ignition system.

"Piranha" became "Newtronic" some years ago.

Due to financial problems, these Piranha/Newtronic units (or any services and spares) may no longer be available, as far as I know, even though they are offered for sale on their website? http://www.lumenition.com/newtronic/index.html
The system is reasonably easy to set up, and is basically similar to other types, except for the pickup which has an optical trigger instead of the more common magnetic type used with other electronic systems.
 

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Al, On electronic ignitions, (Boyer at least) the coils are wired in series by passing the ballast resistor.
And both plugs fire at the same time. (One wasted spark)
 
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L.A.B. said:
Tulsaalva said:
I'm sure you're right, Les, about the Podrtonics unit. We used a special one for the Bonneville Special, which is negative ground. If I recall, it had three wires to connect.

OK thanks, as I wasn't aware there were three-wire Podtronic units! Generally replacement single phase electronic control units have four wires, so the positive and negative wires can be connected to suit the bike's polarity. Your Bonneville Special of course, is a negative earth/ground model, unlike the Commando. [/b]

Actually, there are five wires on the Podtronic unit we used on the Special. Two (which I didn't count) go to the battery and three to the ignition wiring. Sorry.



Tulsaalva said:
If you have any tips on how to wire the Pirhana with the Podtronics unit, we'd be most grateful.

I can't see any reason why the the Pod. unit wouldn't work perfectly well with the Piranha ignition system.

"Piranha" became "Newtronic" some years ago.

Due to financial problems, these Piranha/Newtronic units (or any services and spares) may no longer be available, as far as I know, even though they are offered for sale on their website? http://www.lumenition.com/newtronic/index.html
The system is reasonably easy to set up, and is basically similar to other types, except for the pickup which has an optical trigger instead of the more common magnetic type used with other electronic systems.

Thanks for the history lesson, Les. As has happened so often, your knowledge amazes me. We'll go ahead and use the Piranha ignition. If it breaks, we'll do something else. :)

Al
 
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MichaelB said:
Al, On electronic ignitions, (Boyer at least) the coils are wired in series by passing the ballast resistor.
And both plugs fire at the same time. (One wasted spark)

Thanks, Mike! Seventeen told me last night that the Piranha is wired into the old system. He'll just mark the connections and plug them into the new wiring harness as they were in the old one. That seems the better way as we've lost the instructions that came with the Piranha.

One of the students at Tulsa Tech told Seventeen, "The new wiring harness is the prettiest part of the Norton." :) It is pretty impressive!

Does anyone know who manufactures it in England? There was no company name on the packaging, only the parts numbers I quoted in one of the posts above.

Al
 
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