Fullauto Technologies cylinder heads

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This is a very difficult thing to do on a small scale. It's not surprising that your costs have gone up. Manufacturing a complicated product such as this in today's economy for a relatively small market is an amazing accomplishment. Trying to maintain quality by staying away from the offshore route adds to the difficulty of trying to expand volume to the price conscious customers.

I have followed your path since the beginning because I come from a manufacturing background and am a Norton guy like the rest of this forum. We all want to see these bikes continue on and what your doing is important towards that goal. You are contributing an important piece to that and I hope your able to continue. Thanks for your commitment and hard work.

I'm sure you have discussed this with some of the key customers in other countries, but I would like ask if you have looked into doing the casting in Europe or the USA. You have a number of people on the ground who could help with this. I for one have contacts in my area capable of doing this.
 
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Full Auto

the product you manufacture looks excellent ( not having a go ) and it looks like you have found a Niche market supplying the high end restoration shops and classic racers

most commando owners i know are 60 plus years of age and have ridden commandos since the 1970¬s -80¬s paying 30-40% of the current value of thier bike for a cylinder head replacement will make most baulk

i think also your competition will most likelycome from the UK Norton specialists not china or India as you suggest restricting your UK distubution to Andover Norton may encourage RGM or Norvill to initiate
manufacture both seem very active in product development and there are some very good casting suppliers and engineering facilities in the UK
 
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Where, as FA will tell you - that route has been trodden! The Midlands is still using boxed molds and hammers to compact sand.
 

SteveA

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Frankie17 said:
Full Auto

the product you manufacture looks excellent ( not having a go ) and it looks like you have found a Niche market supplying the high end restoration shops and classic racers

most commando owners i know are 60 plus years of age and have ridden commandos since the 1970¬s -80¬s paying 30-40% of the current value of thier bike for a cylinder head replacement will make most baulk

i think also your competition will most likelycome from the UK Norton specialists not china or India as you suggest restricting your UK distubution to Andover Norton may encourage RGM or Norvill to initiate
manufacture both seem very active in product development and there are some very good casting suppliers and engineering facilities in the UK




I think you may be out of touch on two, or even 3 counts here. You are probably not in touch with the current prices good Commandos sell for, I would disagree with your 30/40% of value. And in any case most likely those who have actually owned the bike since the '70s or '80 will be those least in need of a replacement head due to investement of TLC over time.

Supply of Fullauto heads in the UK was until recently through Mick Hemmings where I bought mine. He was involved in fitting most of the heads he sold, but it never looked like anyone was going to challenge his position until he voluntarily moved on and transferred the business to AN, who as far as I know didn't go looking for it.

I think you also overestimate the engineering capability left in the UK. Many have retired, old skills are gone, try to find a good tank maker with less than a 2 year waiting list. Typically British, there has been little investement in training old skills, or new skills, or translating manufacture to more modern techniques.

Those capable of talking it on include the likes of Steve Maney with his casting and CNC capabilities, but Steve has done little by way of product development in recent years and has passed engine building on to others. He, like others, has his eye more on retirement than more hard graft running a business where your customers 'know' more about what you need to do than you do!

In truth, accepting AN is a Fullauto stockist, I think you are wide of the mark to suggest potential competition from the UK. Mick Hemmings was involved from the start with Fullauto and is now 'retired' from this part of the business. Norman White is past retirement age and has close links to AN for parts and little appetite for parts development today (he used to have alloy barrels cast and machined, but he has no enthusiasm for picking that up again...I asked). Norvil have tried to sell the business in recent years, you really shouldn't expect any significant investment there, too busy putting non AN parts in AN parts bags if anecdotes reported on this forum are to be believed, which leaves RGM. A competent supplier with a loyal client base, but I would suggest that if they were going down this sort of route they would have done it years ago, not now.

I do not see any new Norton specialists developing in the UK. Many critical components in my race bike are from Australia, NZ and the US.

I had a conversation not so long ago with a UK based gearbox manufacturer. Due to envisaged low volumes (under 50 per year) they didn't want to cast a gearbox shell, they wanted to machine sections from billet and bond! Like they do in other applications. The quality and strength would be good, the contents all CNC produced and appropriatly treated and way stonger than originals, with choices on ratios etc. Suppliers with this mindset will not relish investing in developing tooling for complex castings that require significant machining and hand fettling to turn into a finished part.

But the market would not be someone looking to restore a road bike to original appearance, and it might not be of adequate original appearance to be acceptable for some classic series, so the idea was shelved.
 
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Value is a different concept to price. There are two ways of creating wealth by adding value , one is by making products in larger numbers with smaller margins , the other is by improving quality and charging higher prices, to justify the overheads. In both Australia and America we have well educated, highly paid work-forces. So going up-market is a better option. When we buy primarily on price, we do ourselves in.
 

comnoz

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I think it's great that Ken has found someone willing to do the castings. I spent some time shopping for someone to do them in the States and couldn't even get a price quote. Most places said it was too complex for the work they do, others just gave me a blank stare when I mentioned the numbers. I'm looking forward to seeing the new castings. jim
 

Brooking 850

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I have head number # 10 via Jim Comstock with 1.5 mm larger intake Vv's, excellent quality and in now has a potential of well over 80 HP , (we tweaked it here in NZ )not bad for a bolt on after market part.
Cheap HP when you are looking at performance mods.
Regards Mike
 
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I for what its worth agree in the main to Frankie17's point and see Steves point of view, hows that for sitting on the fence!!
I however cannot see any value in spending best part of three grand, with taxes, rebuild etc in the UK for a new head. It is well over a third the value of my machine.
At the moment due to a dodgy knee I need an electric start conversion, if I was to buy the Fullauto head and the Colorado Norton start then I am approaching the current value of the machine.
Mine runs beutifully, could benefit being returned to twin card and does not leak from the head apart from maybe a tiny bit of occasional misting which is easy to fix.

To make it clear, I would not be a customer for a Fullauto head, Maney crank, barrels etc I do not have the disposable cash to to throw at the machine, it is a brilliant ride, needs a few bits and bobs done over the winter though.

There are however many customers around the world who, I guess either race or have so much disposable they can afford to lavish money costing way over the value.

I applaud the manufacture of these parts and the specialists still in business who make all the parts still available, whether standard or special for a machine over 40 years old.

I am not convinced that there are not the companies in the UK who could do similar if they so had the desire but I do agree with Steve that they are getting few. I do however doubt that anyone will do it. I would imagine the investment needed and the returns would not make it viable.

Long live Fullauto, Many etc, but probably never for me!!
 

SteveA

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peter12 said:
I for what its worth agree in the main to Frankie17's point and see Steves point of view, hows that for sitting on the fence!!
I however cannot see any value in spending best part of three grand, with taxes, rebuild etc in the UK for a new head.!

Tell you what, if we use what I actually paid for my head in 2014 as 33% of the sale price of your bike to me, I will be around with the cash next week!

I wouldn't put a Fullauto head on your bike either! It doesn't need a new head, or even a head repair, but lets see how you feel after stripping to discover the RH4 cracked and in need of serious repair!

The economics would be different.

Now if you look at the cost (not value) of my bike, the head comes out at 7%! Which was a small price to pay.

Particularly since I had already spent the best part of £400 on a secondhand RH4 that would have cost at least £1320 to get to a remotely equivalent and usable state! (Maney stage 3 with exhaust port inserts and VAT) and I would probably have had to wait 12 months!

Oh! and I don't have the 'disposable income' today either....I disposed of it pretty well when I had it ;-)
 

SteveA

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Brooking 850 said:
I have head number # 10 via Jim Comstock with 1.5 mm larger intake Vv's, excellent quality and in now has a potential of well over 80 HP , (we tweaked it here in NZ )not bad for a bolt on after market part.
Cheap HP when you are looking at performance mods.
Regards Mike

Agreed, but I guess by the 80hp reference you are saying that the flow capacity of the head will support 80hp?

Are you using methanol like SBR?
 

Brooking 850

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peter12, each to their own, and as you say not for you and so you will stay on the fence.
For myself , I have a road bike that is very close to stock standard, very reliable and i ride it often and usually out with mates on modern bikes . As a consequence, very little money spent on it as i can do all maintenance and repairs myself.
i also have a couple of race bikes , i therefore am well pleased there are vendors with after market parts that make these race bikes strong and reliable.
Lavish and expendable are not words that need to be bandied about when we all have the same passion at heart involving Nortons.

Its unfair to say that one who decides to buy an after market part to make their Norton reliable or as a general service part is disposing money .
Regards Mike

PS I have 2 into 1 systems available.
 

Brooking 850

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Hi Steve A , yes that is correct about the flow capacity , no intention to run methanol, so it will be interesting to se what we actually get on the dyno.
Jim C supplied flow figures with the head, i wasnt entirely happy with those results as it was very close to my RH10 head on the race bike,which is close to 80 at the crank.
Hence why we cleaned it up a bit and gas flowed its potential.
The SBR Norton also runs a RH10 head with standard sized Vv's , (mine also has standard Vv's) but as you know is on methanol. He has a raw FullAuto head for development.
Regards Mike
 
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Doesn't a cylinder head which flows enough to deliver 80 BHP, have enlarged inlet ports and is designed to operate at very high revs ? If that is the case, the bottom end of the motor needs to be a lot stronger, and preferably the crank would short stroke, so that it spins up higher without creating extreme loads. I suspect that what you get on a flow bench, often is not an indication of what the port will do when it is operating in a motor. You are measuring gas speed through the port at sustained pressure, not when the gas in the port is resonating at the speed of sound. What someone needs to do is progressively port a head and keep fitting it to a standardised motor and measuring the torque and ultimate horsepower - establish a correlation.
What I have done to the 850 head on my bike, is the result of having made mistakes on my short-stroke 500cc Triumph which have been irreversible, and also observing what works best on Triumph 650 motors. My feeling is that once the inlet ports are enlarged much beyond standard, the gas speed within the port drops, so the mass of gas transferred might actually decrease at certain revs - you lose torque.
 

Fullauto

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peter12 said:
I for what its worth agree in the main to Frankie17's point and see Steves point of view, hows that for sitting on the fence!!
I however cannot see any value in spending best part of three grand, with taxes, rebuild etc in the UK for a new head. It is well over a third the value of my machine.
At the moment due to a dodgy knee I need an electric start conversion, if I was to buy the Fullauto head and the Colorado Norton start then I am approaching the current value of the machine.
Mine runs beutifully, could benefit being returned to twin card and does not leak from the head apart from maybe a tiny bit of occasional misting which is easy to fix.

To make it clear, I would not be a customer for a Fullauto head, Maney crank, barrels etc I do not have the disposable cash to to throw at the machine, it is a brilliant ride, needs a few bits and bobs done over the winter though.

There are however many customers around the world who, I guess either race or have so much disposable they can afford to lavish money costing way over the value.

I applaud the manufacture of these parts and the specialists still in business who make all the parts still available, whether standard or special for a machine over 40 years old.

I am not convinced that there are not the companies in the UK who could do similar if they so had the desire but I do agree with Steve that they are getting few. I do however doubt that anyone will do it. I would imagine the investment needed and the returns would not make it viable.

Long live Fullauto, Many etc, but probably never for me!!

Along with a lot of others, you misunderstand the whys and the wherefores of my heads. My heads were never meant to be a performance part per se. They were made as an improved replacement part for something no longer available. Trying to get hold of a usable secondhand 850 head at one time was almost impossible. Even though there are more available now, it's still a gamble as to whether it is serviceable or not. Not to mention the fact that perhaps more are available second hand now because their owners have bought my heads!
The fact that you can purchase a brand new head as a direct replacement, which gives you a performance advantage must mean something.

Suppose your head reaches the end of its service life, how are you going to replace it?
 

SteveA

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Fullauto said:
Suppose your head reaches the end of its service life, how are you going to replace it?

Based on current usage rates, I think Peter imagines that he may well end his service life before the bike or head! :shock:

Keep up the good work Ken.

Peter, even if you were selling you wouldn't accept the figure in my calculation :wink:
 
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Ken, sometime you write something that you wish you hadn't, or realise you had written it in a way that you hadn't meant too!
There was no criticism of you or your heads or any other replacement part for a machine made 40 years ago, thought I had made that clear!
That I said value, I meant value, i.e. sale price, not perceived value of the machine, NOT the component.
Steve is right about my limited usage and I would like to use it a little more.
I have or help fund my son while racing for 3 years, I built the bike for him. We had a comparatively small budget but I can assure you that we spent many an hour trying to justify the cost of it, especially to a wife not in the slightest bit interested.

Ken, I would have to repair mine, at the moment I could not afford the price of a new one, whoever made it.
 
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