73 Commando

Anonymous

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Hi,
While I'm waiting for an answer to my registeration problem, I guess I'll ask the questions I have.
I have a 73 Norton Commando 750 Combat I am restoring and I have a few minor problems. First of all, it was a mess when I bought it so I'm doing a complete restoration on it and want to keep it as original as I can. It does have what I think may be a 75 transmission (or case at least) because it has seals on the kickstart shaft and shift lever. First of all the kickstart shaft is cracked right where the pawl is attached with a pin. It is cracked in the inside sharp corrner where the pawl fits and the crack travels down to the internal bushing almost. I have no idea how it could have cracked because it looks pretty strong. I'm sure it could be welded and rehardened for a price, but I would rather try to get a different one. The pawl also has an "M" stamped on it which means this is a newer one. Anyhow, does anyone know where I can get a good used kickstart shaft Part# 040477 which crosses to a 06-6169 in the M.A.P. catalog. The old one could be repaired by a good heliarc welder and rehardned with out any distortion if someone wanted it to exchange. If all else fails, I'll try to have the old one welded.
Also I want to repaint my bike. It is now black. The oil tank, battery carrier, and aircleaner front and rear, are painted black also. Since the oil tank has a cover over it, should it be painted black or the same color as the rest of the bike? What about the other parts I mentioned? I want to paint it an original color such as a red. Where can I get color chips or paint brands and formulas. There was an original yellow I kind of liked but my wife frowned on that. Figures. Is there any way to salvage the original vinyl decals and strip the old paint around them, or do I have to use new ones? And if I painted it red, what color should the decals be. My bike was probably repainted at one time and it looks like they painted around the decals after doing a time consuming job of masking. A very nice job as there is barely a ridge where the paint meets the decal.
Also does ayone know where there are any nice detailed photos of wire and control cable routing along the frame. My original wireing was a taped up mess. I already have the original replacement wireing.
And I know they will look out of place, but I plan on doing a little traveling and would like to put on a nice pair of saddle bags that will fit good above the up swept pipes. Anyone know where there might be any available? Used would be considered. Guess that's enough stuff for now. By the way. Any parts I buy, I would prefer getting from with in the US. Thankyou.

Chuckb01
 

ILLF8ED

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'73 Commando

Hi Chuck,

1972 model year were the only combats. You may have a '72 that was registered as 1973 if the engine/frame/gearbox number is in the 200xxx range. If 220xxx you have a '73 750 model.

Can't help with the paint codes although my '72 combat roadster has the original signal red finish. Tank and side cover decals for red were gold with black surround and were not the vinyl type, rather a poor quality stick on with clear background. These for the tank are made of "unobtainium" although I managed two sets from Bob Raber that came in from a closed shop in Kuwait. If you want the original factory color for your machine you can get that information from the NOC historian. They have the factory records. www.noc.co.uk You will need to join that club to get this info, but it's only 15 pounds a year and you get a great bi monthly magazine.

The oil tank was originally black.

Gearbox seals for kickstart and gearshift are common modifications. The number stamped on the upper mount should be the same as the frame and engine numbers. 300xxx is '73 -'74 850 and 330xxx is '75 850 MkIII. I doubt you have a '75 as this doesn't have a gearshift exiting the outer gearbox cover, left side shift.

Colorado Norton Works had a nice set of Commando saddle bags, not sure if these are still available.
 

Anonymous

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Re: '73 Commando

illf8ed said:
Hi Chuck,

1972 model year were the only combats. You may have a '72 that was registered as 1973 if the engine/frame/gearbox number is in the 200xxx range. If 220xxx you have a '73 750 model.

Can't help with the paint codes although my '72 combat roadster has the original signal red finish. Tank and side cover decals for red were gold with black surround and were not the vinyl type, rather a poor quality stick on with clear background. These for the tank are made of "unobtainium" although I managed two sets from Bob Raber that came in from a closed shop in Kuwait. If you want the original factory color for your machine you can get that information from the NOC historian. They have the factory records. www.noc.co.uk You will need to join that club to get this info, but it's only 15 pounds a year and you get a great bi monthly
magazine.

The oil tank was originally black.

Gearbox seals for kickstart and gearshift are common modifications. The number stamped on the upper mount should be the same as the frame and engine numbers. 300xxx is '73 -'74 850 and 330xxx is '75 850 MkIII. I doubt you have a '75 as this doesn't have a gearshift exiting the outer gearbox cover, left side shift.

Colorado Norton Works had a nice set of Commando saddle bags, not sure if these are still available.

Illf8ted,
Thanks for the info. I forgot about the trans kickstart changing to the left in later years so mine is probably not a 75 trans. But the seal seats certainly appear to be factory machined. As far as the engine, I have completly rebuilt it and it is definitly a combat. The serial # is 212321 and it has a "C" stamped on the head and the "SS" cam which I measured. Date of manufacture was Sept of 73. I have a book by Bacon and I'm not sure what year or years the combat was made but you could be right one way or another. Have to do some more reading. It was worked on maybe more than once by someone and has the Fag superblend bearings. Crank throws were good and less than .0005 out of round. But I had to replace the drive side main bearing because the inner race was loose on the crank. So I had to have it ground, chromed and reground back to original size.
Number on what mount? There is a number on the engine crank case, on a plate on the front fork tube, and on one large boss on the transmisson.
I will check on the saddlebags but right now my big concern is the kickstart shaft. And I have thought about the NOC. Thanks for the reply.
Chuckb01
 
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spindle repair

Hi Chuck,
A couple of years ago I went through my transmission and found that my spindle was cracked similar to the way you describe yours. I carefully "V"ed the crack with a die-grinder and had it Tig-welded in. I then smoothed out the bead where necessary reinstalled it and it hasn't been a problem.
I opted for repair because at the time a new one from British Only was pretty expensive. Since then I have seen them on Ebay really cheap, but of course, you could be buying one in worse condition.

justa thought,
geo46er
 

Anonymous

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Re: spindle repair

geo46er said:
Hi Chuck,
A couple of years ago I went through my transmission and found that my spindle was cracked similar to the way you describe yours. I carefully "V"ed the crack with a die-grinder and had it Tig-welded in. I then smoothed out the bead where necessary reinstalled it and it hasn't been a problem.
I opted for repair because at the time a new one from British Only was pretty expensive. Since then I have seen them on Ebay really cheap, but of course, you could be buying one in worse condition.

justa thought,
geo46er

Just what I wanted to hear. I know it is probably an expensive part. But I think it could be preheated slightly and weld it in steps to not lose all the temper in the bearing surfaces. Think that's what I'm gonna do. Thankyou.
 

Anonymous

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Re: '73 Commando

illf8ed said:
Hi Chuck,

1972 model year were the only combats. You may have a '72 that was registered as 1973 if the engine/frame/gearbox number is in the 200xxx range. If 220xxx you have a '73 750 model.

Can't help with the paint codes although my '72 combat roadster has the original signal red finish. Tank and side cover decals for red were gold with black surround and were not the vinyl type, rather a poor quality stick on with clear background. These for the tank are made of "unobtainium" although I managed two sets from Bob Raber that came in from a closed shop in Kuwait. If you want the original factory color for your machine you can get that information from the NOC historian. They have the factory records. www.noc.co.uk You will need to join that club to get this info, but it's only 15 pounds a year and you get a great bi monthly magazine.

The oil tank was originally black.

Gearbox seals for kickstart and gearshift are common modifications. The number stamped on the upper mount should be the same as the frame and engine numbers. 300xxx is '73 -'74 850 and 330xxx is '75 850 MkIII. I doubt you have a '75 as this doesn't have a gearshift exiting the outer gearbox cover, left side shift.

Colorado Norton Works had a nice set of Commando saddle bags, not sure if these are still available.

Illf8ed,
A couple corrections. I was wrong on my date of manufacture. I forgot, and rechecked my plate this morning. It wasn't Sept. 03, it was Feb. 73. Also I have Roy Bacons Norton Restoration book and in it they state the Combat engine was first built in 1970 and offered in 1972 then stoped in 73. But there were some built in 73. There are even part numberes for the head, pistons and corburettors for 72 and 73 combat. Also I was wrong in guessing about the trans. I remember reading the gear change lever was put on the other side around 75. So I think mine is a later 73. Shouldn't the trans and engine have the same number?? Take care and thanks. Gotta check on the saddle bags, if I can.
 

MichaelB

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Chuck, According to my parts mauel, your bike should have a steel tank. Interesting on the color choices, it lists only, Canary yellow, Fire Flake blue and Black with gold lining for the 750 Roadster, I assume it is a Roadster?? Yet on my original 73 Brochure, shows a 750 'Short Stroke' in Red with Silver logos.

The 850 lists 'Candy Apple Red' in the parts book. Who knows if they actually built a Combat on Candy Apple Red?

If it were mine and I wanted Red, I would paint it Candy Apple Red with Silver Logos, no striping. Tank and side covers only.
 

ILLF8ED

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'73 Commando

Chuck,

I don't doubt the Feb '73 mfg date. It just shows the inconsistancies at the Norton factory. The 212xxx serial number is within the '72 model year range of the 750 MkIV. By then it's likely Norton was supplying the Superblend main bearings. The '73 range started with 220xxx and were being manufactured starting Sep or Oct '72. My "73 750 MkV had a date of Nov '72 with 220627 number. My current '72 combat is 201xxx dated Dec '71.

There have been some statements regarding '70 combat engines, but the combat sold to the public under that name was announced for the '72 model year then dropped when Norton went to the '73 750 MkV. There was a '73 high compression 750 using the RH6 head. My '73 had this, but the performance is noticably different from the combat. The camshaft on the '73 750/850 and later Commandos went back to the orginal and engine compression was lowered.

Dave,

Sorry about the 330xxx for 850MkIII start.
 

Ron L

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Hello Chuck,

It's interesting that your 212321 numbered bike has a build date of Feb. '73. My one owner '73 750 with a serial number of 220808 had a build date of Nov. '72. My other '73 750, again with a serial number of 22XXX has a build date of Dec. '72. Neither of these have the "C" on the head, but the RH6. Does yours have the polished instrument cups or deeper black ones? Steel tank or fiberglass?
You are correct that the transmission, engine and frame tag should all bear the 212321 number.

I guess this is another case of the factory using up what parts were left over from the previous year.

An alternative to the CNW bags are those by RKA (http://www.rka-luggage.com). I believe they are less expensive too.
 
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72 combat

Yes this one sounds like a 72 combat or (factory bitza) model even if it is a late release.
Up to around 208xxx it might have the old starter block off plate, but this one should be un machined.
It is likely that by 212xxx it had factory superblends. The change over point is listed in the tech digest.
Under the left hand Z plate on the frame gusset there is usually a frame MFG date.


Dave
75 E-start-2
74 commando
73 750 commando
72 commando "C"
71 commando
68 atlas
66 atlas-2
63 atlas
 

Anonymous

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MichaelB said:
Chuck, According to my parts mauel, your bike should have a steel tank. Interesting on the color choices, it lists only, Canary yellow, Fire Flake blue and Black with gold lining for the 750 Roadster, I assume it is a Roadster?? Yet on my original 73 Brochure, shows a 750 'Short Stroke' in Red with Silver logos.

The 850 lists 'Candy Apple Red' in the parts book. Who knows if they actually built a Combat on Candy Apple Red?

If it were mine and I wanted Red, I would paint it Candy Apple Red with Silver Logos, no striping. Tank and side covers only.

Yes mine is a 750 Roadster so I'll probably go with the fire flake blue if I can find an exact paint match or chart or formula or something. And it does have a steel tank, thank god. Right now it is black and not really in that bad a shape. May leave it. Thanks for the reply.
 

Anonymous

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Re: '73 Commando

illf8ed said:
Chuck,

I don't doubt the Feb '73 mfg date. It just shows the inconsistancies at the Norton factory. The 212xxx serial number is within the '72 model year range of the 750 MkIV. By then it's likely Norton was supplying the Superblend main bearings. The '73 range started with 220xxx and were being manufactured starting Sep or Oct '72. My "73 750 MkV had a date of Nov '72 with 220627 number. My current '72 combat is 201xxx dated Dec '71.

There have been some statements regarding '70 combat engines, but the combat sold to the public under that name was announced for the '72 model year then dropped when Norton went to the '73 750 MkV. There was a '73 high compression 750 using the RH6 head. My '73 had this, but the performance is noticably different from the combat. The camshaft on the '73 750/850 and later Commandos went back to the orginal and engine compression was lowered.

Dave,

Sorry about the 330xxx for 850MkIII start.[/quote

According to the book by Roy Bacon, in 1973 the first Interstate was numbered 212278. And it also shows 220xxx mark v as being manufactured in march of 73.From what I read, this info all comes from the original records. Don't really matter I guess except the British sure keep screwed up records. Also everything on mine points to it being a combat, as well as the records and combat parts availability listed for the 73 Roadster in all the original factory manuals and specifications. Now the combat may have been dropped when the mark v came out but according to what I read, the mark v didn't come out until March of 73. I think it lists it as an Interstate mark v? What ever. I'm not that concerned really. I just want to get mine as close to original as I can, and can afford. I already have more stuck in it than what I paid for it. But I can say this, everything subject to wear has been replaced or rebuilt. Almost everything. Thanks for the reply. But I still need to find paint info.
 

Anonymous

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Ron L said:
Hello Chuck,

It's interesting that your 212321 numbered bike has a build date of Feb. '73. My one owner '73 750 with a serial number of 220808 had a build date of Nov. '72. My other '73 750, again with a serial number of 22XXX has a build date of Dec. '72. Neither of these have the "C" on the head, but the RH6. Does yours have the polished instrument cups or deeper black ones? Steel tank or fiberglass?
You are correct that the transmission, engine and frame tag should all bear the 212321 number.

I guess this is another case of the factory using up what parts were left over from the previous year.

An alternative to the CNW bags are those by RKA (http://www.rka-luggage.com). I believe they are less expensive too.

According to Bacon, who researched this stuff a lot I guess, the first 220xxx Roadster mark Vs were built March 73. Like I mentioned in an earlier post, he is supposed to have gotten all his information from the official records and he is an expert, but who knows. Mine has a steel tank and black instrument cups. Original black, I think. The trans has a different number than the engine, 302xxx. In all honesty, this bike has been ridden hard and put away wet, a few hundred times. But it looks a lot better so far. Be done in spring. And the tag on the frame does say Feb 73 or 03/73.
 

Anonymous

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Re: 72 combat

dynodave said:
Yes this one sounds like a 72 combat or (factory bitza) model even if it is a late release.
Up to around 208xxx it might have the old starter block off plate, but this one should be un machined.
It is likely that by 212xxx it had factory superblends. The change over point is listed in the tech digest.
Under the left hand Z plate on the frame gusset there is usually a frame MFG date.


Dave ,
I'll check that gusset. There is no starter block off plate and it was never machined for a starter. The Superblends may or may not be original. I am inclined to think that they are. The engine shows signs of being taken apart, probably more than once. By some grade school kid. Thanks for the reply.
 

Ron L

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There are several "inaccuracies" in Bacon's book. I purchased my '73 Mk V Roadster new in May of '73 and it has a build date of November '72. Therefore Bacon's statement that the first MkV roadster was built in March of '73 is one of these.

I am sure there was a period of time when the factory was building bikes on the "new" MkV specs while cleaning out the bins and building the "old" Mk IV bikes at the same time. I find Bacon's book and others valuable reference, but definitely not the last word on authenticity.

By the way, Chuck. A friend has my side covers with original "fireflake blue" paint and his painter is trying to match it. He has spoken with Les Emery (Norvil) who says he once did the paint at the Norton factory. The original Fireflake blue on the '73 models is a fine flake and appears to be a translucent (sort of candy) blue over a silver base. When they are finished I can get you the details and paint codes they use. I'm thinking of having an extra set sprayed up myself, as my originals are beginning to look like they are 32 years old!
 
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starter block off plate

Sorry Jerry
This was indeed the factory's first failed attempt to install a starter.
It was primarily in 71(20M3S cases) and 72 partial.
If you look closely, you can NOT hook up a mag or rear points housing to this bolt pattern, as you would on a 20M3 series case.
Also there is no residual provision for the 2nd chain to drive said mag or rear points.

http://www.britiron.com/dynodave/engcases.htm
 
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Jerry,

The "Norton Commando" book by Mick Duckworth is also a good reference for commando information. He talks about the "failed starter" attempt in his book.

Roy Bacon books are mentioned a lot, but Duckworths book is another good one to have on your shelf.

No doubt a few of you already have it or have read it.
 
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