Considering tackling a new project

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May 10, 2004
Hello everyone,

After staring at my father's 71 Commando 750 for my entire life I have finally convinced him to let me try and get the thing in good shape again. Having spent hours as a young child sitting on it in the garage pretending to be racing, its sort of a long time dream of mine (hopefully coming true).

So anyway... I was wondering if you could help me out with trying to figure out exactly how much i should expect to spend. I have very little knowledge about working on bikes ( in fact this is the first i've ever owned), however i'm pretty handy with cars so i have a grasp of the basic concepts of engines. From what my father has told me, so far i'm going to need to...
1. Get the engine rebuilt. it has been sitting for longer than i've been alive *22yrs
2. Replace the carbs
3. Tires... ofcourse
4. nearly all of the chrome on the bike is begining to pit

Like i said being new to the world of bikes, especailly british bikes which i hear is a totally dif. world all to itself :? I have no idea what kind of money i'm talking about here. Would apreciate any ideas. Thanks in advance, i'm sure i'll have plenty of questions for you all in the future. 8)
A short list... Do it as you can afford it. New rims and spokes 200.00 each, tires tubes 200.00 both, Frame straightening reenforce powder coating 300.00, rebuild gauges 200.00, New or resleave carb bodies 200.00, new fork legs seals and other nessasary front end mods 200.00 new seat with shipping 200.00 do your own paint work 200.00, motor and trans build a thousand if you do your own work and make no expensive mistakes. fixing elec system 200.00 so if you don't go crazy buying every modification around 2000.00 to 2500.00 should get you hearing it snort again. But you could have a bent swing arm 71 bikes were weak and you could have bad motor cases 71's were weak. And you could open the trans and motor cases and find that the layer of condensed water on top of the oil has cut the internal parts in half from a mechanical view. But you already got the most important thing that your going to need and thats a love for the bike passed down from your dad. That and the people out there that love to ride and work on Nortons will take you on a trip. norbsa
Hi M.,

You couldn't have come to a better place to find assistance in your new project. Many of us had/have similar stories (I got mine last December after it sat in a coastal garage for 19 years).

Feel free to throw your issues at us. If they've been batted about, we'll refer you to a previous thread ... and don't worry about simple questions. All of us have gone through the same curve at one time or another.

The folks here are pretty low-key, so enjoy the trip :!:

... a personal word of advice ... if this is your first scooter, you might think about getting an inexpensive 400-500 cc "beater bike", to learn on and get some miles under your seat. It would be a shame to see your first bike go down after much effort and $$. Also, many states have a rider safety course. Everybody I know who has taken one (including the most experienced riders) claims they're fantastic. I'll take one this summer. The Nortons have lots of muscle, and an inexperienced rider may be surprised (I was revving mine for the first time last weekend, and every blip made the entire bike jump sideways and backward 4" on the center stand :shock: )

Again, congrats on your new project and welcome!!
Rebuilding a Commando

There are a few quirks to working on a Commando engine. The basic pitfalls are:

you need a some special tools: clutch spring compressor, crankshaft pinion gear puller, primary engine sprocket puller

get an shop manual...some threads are left handed

the back center head nut is a bear to get off unless you have the special curved wrench..especially if it's corroded on

there's a trick to getting the head off while the engine is still in the frame, the shop manual will describe this, but if rebuilding take the whole engine out before trying to remove the head. Generally follow the shop manual for disassembly.

When putting the engine back together, you need to be aware the head gasket will blow rather quickly if you don't follow the head re-torquing the manual.

The swing arm spindle is usually worn out especially if it's dry, normally is supposed to have gear lube, not grease. If grease has been used at the grease nipple, the spindle definitely will be worn out.

Read as much as you can before starting in.

Go slow and if you get frustrated, stop and get on line before breaking anything.
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