Discussion in 'Norton Commando Motorcycles (Classic)' started by comnoz, Aug 12, 2018.
new folks will be looking at all info given, for the first time tho
just a fwiw recent example of what aviation folks have to look into, as far as used, just for a start
i can't provide a link cos u must be registered on the site to read it, so just a copy paste..
full auto one has to remember Andover Norton do not manufacture the cams and followers they are reliant on suppliers using the correct materials and hardening procedures
i would very much doudt if they have in house testing facilitys to check each and every batch of components ?
so yes there may be some BS regarding made to factory specs etc as they are totally reliant on suppliers getting it right
Frankie, when making a statement like this, it should be based on facts rather than your own assumptions. It seems you are using your own assumption as proof of your arrant statement that A-N is "totally reliant" on suppliers. What do you know about this?
There is no reason to acquitt A-N, if QA is slipping (which I don't know). If QA _is_ slipping and the parts were supplied by A-N, then A-N is the responsible company. Period. Maybe Joe Seifert will chime in.
Any serious business - and particularly in the automotive industry - has to have QA (Quality Assurance) built into their purchasing policy. QA is about cost control, consistent performance of goods, goods fit for service, and statistics (does vendor have his manufacturing process under control). There are three ways to handle QA: Either by in-house staff, by charging vendors with the task, or hire a third-party on as-need basis. When a company outsources production of parts, they will not just send out a drawing and agree on a price per unit, but also issue a QA checking document.
Usually QA does not require sophisticated testing equipment. A microscope, some calipers, assorted go/no-go gauges, a hardness testing appartatus, maybe an ultrasonic material homogeneity testing device (which may be employed for hardness testing as well), and a computer with a spredsheet program will get you a a long way. The most valuable factor here are the man-hours invested.
That's all true Knut, but these aren't Mazda 3s.
They are ancient bikes for which owners can still purchase nearly every part. Those parts are likely sourced from a very large number of small manufacturer/vendors, many will be enthusiasts of the marque.
Realistically stuff goes wrong from time to time in that type of supply chain.
I also believe Andover will sort it out . The info Jim is supplying will push that process along by pinpointing the problem.
Most have been looking at the cam as the source of the problem, turns out that may not be the case at all.
simple really AN have no in house machine shop so do not have control over production
As for QA your theory works for large automotive companies with QA resources , as Andover are in effect an independent retail outlet producing small batches of components they are reliant on
the suppliers expertese calipers microscopes and hardness testers can not check if a camshaft or followers has been nitrided or laser hardened to the correct spec or even if wrong grade base
material has been used in production this is where they are reliant on the outside producers expertise and material choice
the classic motorcycle industry is in effect a cottage industry and small volume production runs are required to get things made
if you want to make camshafts / followers speak with a camshaft manufacturer and tap in to thier knowledge of production
So if this is true (which I believe it is) then A-N must be willing to accept the consequences of sub standard parts with their name on them. I'm not condemning or accusing them, just making a statement about how the supply chain works. I have almost 40 years in the auto parts industry, and if a part I sell fails it's not Federal Mogul, or Standard, or Gates who gets the blame, it's me. And it's up to me to make it right with my customer and deal with the supplier on my own. Kind of makes it a no brainer then that you would want to make sure every part you put your name on that came from an outside vendor is exactly what you spec'd out and sold that part as.
Here we have someone who understands. Thank you.
By the way, the follower pads have been produced and brazed by the same companies throughout the years. The company has been bought out and moved around a few times.
It would seem the quality control -by the company who makes [or brazes] them -not Andover -has slipped more and more over the years.
From my point of view Andover seems committed to making things right and I applaud them for a difficult job.
There has to be a bit of a labor of love involved there. If making money was the only intent, then there would definitely be easier ways to do it. Jim
I need some education to satisfy my curiosity. Are the stellite pads soft before being brazed to the follower body or is it the brazing process that is causing the softness through improper heat? Not that it probably matters to the end user.
Jim, is there anyway for a guy in his garage to do a scratch test or something to figure out whether he has a soft pad? Or do we all send our followers to you for testing? I can see the need for a lot of existing followers to be tested or eventually replaced with followers that are certified "hard".
PS (edit) - I guess what I am wondering with my above stated curiosity is whether a set of followers could be hardened and tempered to a uniform state using a kiln or furnace for heat followed by proper cooling techniques. I suppose this last might be part of the quality issue in the first place if the hardness is destroyed through the brazing process.
That's fine and acceptable if we are talking about cycle parts, but not vital engine and g/b internal parts which may cause lethal damage if failing, IMHO.
QA is equally applicable to small batch production as it is to serial production. Even making spare parts by Mazda for a 10 year old car would have to be considered "small batch production". Batch sizes, staffing and the amount of rigorous testing will vary though.
I know that, but in-house machining is not a prerequisite for performing QA. Assuming there is a QA document / spec, upon finding faults ISO9000 specifies extended testing. You as a buyer would reject the faulty parts and send them back to the company who made them with a warranty claim many times larger than the unit cost. That's how it works in the automotive industry. QA is partly self-funding.
No. This kind of QA is equally adaptable to small-scale manufacture. What do you think happens at Ferrari, for instance?
Well ... every buyer needs to trust their supplier that the workmanship delivered is according to the spec specifed and agreed upon. That's why there are audits. A supplier who changes essential manufacturing methods without informing the customer / distributor would either be fired or charged with a penalty.
"Small" is debatable. I would assume A-N to order a batch size of 300-500 camshaft lifters and 100-200 camshafts, once they have to refill their stock.
Agreed, and that's one way of performing QA and product development (if necessary), but does not rule out the need or desire to make spot checks in-house, which is advisable to prevent sloppiness on part of the supplier. The companies who make these parts - although of limited size - are not normally what I would call "cottage industry". For instance, Newman Cams has between 10 and 19 skilled employees and runs a fairly modern outfit, it seems. Continous production of similar items and an identical or affiliated manufacturing process is necessary to maintain consistent quality.
The pad is supposed to be hard to begin with. It is supposed to be a cast Delchrome alloy.
The way it is designed makes it susceptible to a multitude of manufacturing sins.
It may be possible that excessive heat during the brazing operation could anneal the alloy somewhat. Correct brazing would be well below the temperature that should affect the specified Delchrome alloy.
So, incorrect material or bad handling -I don't know for sure, but since it seems pretty spotty and over a long period of time I have to suspect it's poor handling in the brazing or grinding operation.
I have attempted to harden the follower pad and found it did not work.
There are hardness testing files available but the better bet would be a local machinist who has been around for a while. There are a lot of hardness testers around.
PS, comparing Norton to Farrari? I would say the price of membership is a bit different...
Which way would that be, Jim? I am assuming that abandoning the business is not an option you thought of.
Seriously, I would rather pay 10-fold for a lifter/camshaft that was guaranteed to work, than a rock-bottom price for a product I can't trust with built-in flaws dating 70 years back.
If the initial design can't be trusted, then mitigating actions have to be prescribed, e.g., exchange every 20 000 miles, etc.
Well, dump a little hot coffee on yourself and sue McDonalds comes to mind.
Improvements keep coming for the old Nortons. Gauges and carbs come to mind, plus a few backyard industry guys making parts -like myself.
And I agree, I would pay far more for a seriously improved part, but with some things it's questionable whether there is enough of a market for the investment required to get there.
A complete modernization of the Norton valvetrain would require a clean sheet of paper. Short of that there will hopefully be small and affordable things done to make them more reliable but I will never expect a Maytag. [or at least what Maytag used to be before they got bought out.]
Prices keep going up also. Maybe they will be in the Farrari league some day -hopefully after I'm gone. Jim
PS, If I have to change the cam every 20,000 miles I will go back to riding my FJ.....
I'd hate to see lifters going for 4-thousand dollars for a full set. Kinda makes the old ones attractive.
Jim, have you ever tested a pad which has suffered a separation failure for hardness? I suppose it would be too much to ask that testing for hardness might help weed out that potential failure as well.
Yes, I have a few separated pads here. They are plenty hard.
I wish you would............... I am still waiting for my ordered head steady a loooooong time
Do you have one on order from me?
Norton lifters are made of cast iron instead of steel and there is the question of the brazing bond of cast iron compared with brazing to steel. Norton's seem to have a problem with the pads coming off. I worked at a BSA shop back in the day and don't remember this problem with steel lifters. If Norton had used steel for their lifters instead of cast iron - maybe there would be fewer problems.
Baz - I don't know who did the mod to your lifter. The illustration showing the suggested mods originally came from Mic Ofield who used to work in the Norton factory race dept. Its what some racers did to get some oil weight out of the lifters and the word got around. Then Ken Canaga told me about some Norton racers converting to BSA lifters. I can't remember who started those conversions - maybe Ken can tell us.
I'm not sure who started it, Jim. I first saw it in a short stroke 750 engine in a factory flat track bike I bought (just to get the engine) back in the mid '70s, just after NVT America folded its tent and slipped away. When the factory flat track effort was closed out, they gave some of the bikes to the racers. This one was given to John Hateley, who almost immediately put it up for sale, and I bought it. I don't recall the exact date, but it was probably 1976 or early 1977. I ran the engine in my PR for a while, and then pulled it down to refresh. The cam that they had been using was a Sifton 460 with BSA lifters, set in alloy blocks, and ground to a smaller radius than stock. If my memory is correct, the engine was built by Jim Messler, who was one of the factory race tuners at the time. I ran that cam and lifer combination in the 750 and later in a 920 race engine for a lot of years with no problems. It's the cam I ran in the 920 nitrous bike at Bonneville a couple of years ago, and it still looks good.
Perhaps via cNw, they have been out of stock since late last year.
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