Glenn's 850

MichaelB

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My friend Glenn Sunnenson, aka gtsun, passed away sometime around Sep 2018.
I bought his bike and all the stuff from the Estate.
A lot of ironies here. Through the ten years and several rides together, we never rode Norton's together. Just before I had met Glenn at our Thursday 'Vintage' bike night, I
had an epiphany and sold all my Norton's...except one, a 750 Combat 'Special'. Before Glenn, I was the only Norton guy there. I was very glad to have him around. We'd talk Nortons all night and soon realized we were in the same industry. We were the two Norton heads of the group till he brought third guy in. The new guy's Norton was always impeccable and ran. Glenn would always chastise me about getting the 750 up.
He even threatened to just come over with his friend and get it running.
One day I said if you like it so much, why don't you just buy it all my stuff. He brought his friend over and they both agreed the value was easily there but the friend was in the middle of 750 build and Glenn was building his 850 back. What they really wanted was for me to finish the Combat and ride with them.
I eventually started on the Combat, he was working on his 850.
The 2017 SoCal Norton Club Hanson dam ride was coming and we were shooting for that, but we didn't get them together in time. Oh we rode it, him on his Ducati, me on my S1000XR, Jerry on his Mark 3, Mark on his Burgman. Quite the electic group, at least there was one Norton. Glenn and I vowed to have them going for 2018.
It was not to be.
After some time had passed, I put it out that I would be a player for the Norton.
Around June 2019 the family was ready to let go.
So now I have another non runnning Project to go along with my other unfinished project.
A few pix from the day I brought it home.
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BTW, the third guy, the friend, is a guy named Jerry Doe.

To be continued.....
 

Richard Tool

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Always nice to have another Norton project to follow Michael- keep it coming - RT
 

Jerry Doe

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I miss Glenn, hope all is well Mike. Will call you soon. Take care mate
 

MichaelB

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What does Glen’s 850 need to run? ‘73 or ‘74?
It's a very early 74, Mk 2 and it didn't take much.
The above pictures are how I remembered Glenn's bike, but wasn't how I found it.
He had been working on it for a couple of years while riding his Ducati and BSA.
He really liked rear sets and clip on's. He commented one time how he didn't understand how any one could ride a Norton with the standard footpegs,
They were too far forward. He did acquiesce to the Tommaselli adjustables as he aged.
The bike was sitting in a shed, under a blanket when I first saw it. When they removed the blanket my heart sunk.
It was mostly assembled with the seat and tank off, but the blanket was damp and moldy and all the alloys had started to deteriorate.
I was crushed. The BSA right next to it was fine, I didn't understand, the shed appeared to be water tight.
Apparently it was outside when he passed and it stayed there through some rain and then finally put away under a blanket.
Now the wet bike is under a blanket for months. Good intentions were meant, it was truly sad.
I need to buy it and get it out of the shed, I did at the formally agreed price, along with any Norton related accessories.

Got it home and got to cleaning immediately. What's the procedure on a dirty motorcycle with oxidation everywhere?
Right or wrong I soaked it with WD-40 and let it sit. Soaked it some more.. Then hosed it all down, then my Air Blaster, followed by a towel dry.
Then another shot of the Air Blaster. Looking much, much better. Pretty decent from 10'.

Looking it over there is quite an assortment of nice pieces. It's loaded with Matt's stuff.
CNW Brembo master cylinder, CNW switch assembly, CNW hydraulic Clutch, CNW head steady, Shorai, Crane coil, Tri Spark
along with 19" WM3 Shouldered alloys w/ stainless spokes (Buchanon's probably) w/Road Riders, Amal Premiers.
I also know the Head had been to Comstock. I know there was exhaust repair done, it looks like it may have been tumbled.
The ozidation hurt that some. Not sure what else was done to it.
Not sure what other top end work was done.

Let's see if it will start.
Valve lash- check
Static timing- check.
Drain the sump, and drain, and drain and drain- check.
Oil is clean pour it back.
Head Bolts- check
Compression check, 150 lbs ea. approx.
Gas in tank still looks good, no varnish and smells good, weird
Has conditioner or Race Gas maybe? I'm going to use it.
Tickle the carbs, turn on key, bring to TDC and as I'm bringing it to TDC, it starts. HUH!!!
And then dies. I wasn't ready for that. A couple more kicks, it fires, running REALLY rough.
Then settles down. The issue here is, it is a new Head assembly and needs to be cycled, I'm not comfortable with it being road ready.
I shut it down. Tightened up the exhaust rings while it was hot. Retorqued the head bolts after cool down.
This was all on day one after, meeting at the AAA for the transfer, loading it, bringing it home.
A very Gratifying day.

One thing that caught me off guard was the mileage, 81k miles....
Most Commando's are between 3k -15k. This one HAS been ridden.
Not that surpirsing as Glenn has been all over the state (that would be California) on this, and knowing the previous owner.
He bought it from Bib Bibbiani, former SoCal Norton Pres. The Norton Club does go places.

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Matters not as I will eventually go through the whole bike.
Besides, what some will see as a detriment, I will carry as a badge of honor.
Low mileage Nortons are everywhere.

Continued...
 
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Well......first off ….. Sorry to hear about Glenn , 2ndly .....thanks for taking the time to post this, thirdly ...that wear on the seat seems to correspond wth the 81 k on the clock.
 

gortnipper

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Right on.

First I would have dumped the gas and pulled and cleaned the carbs tho.

Sounds like either the gas has h2o in it, or the carbs may be a bit gummy.
 

MichaelB

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Agree, Probably should have dumped the gas, I did bleed some out, no apparent water.
Then again i had sloshed the gas around in the tank so that test was pretty much void.
I was too excited to bother and it was late.
Carbs were new, never had seen gas.

Day 2.
Is that oil on the ground? Wasn't there yesterday, or in the shed.
Possible gear box main seal?
Clean it up. Do a pre ride check.
Front wheel- check
Steering bearings- check
Front brake- check
Brake fluid- check
Rear brake-check
Rear wheel- check
Swing arm- check
Iso's- loose
Clutch- works
Gear selector- little sloppy
Trans- shifts through gears.
Trans fluid- check
Tire pressures- check
Electrics- check..no horn, or tail light, (tail light is not installed)

Fire it up, let's go for a ride...............
All the way to the end of the Cul-de-Sac...........

Wow, it's been awhile since I've been on a Norton. The Torque.....
Clutch is effortless and smoooooth.....
Front brake works surprisingly well, despite the rotor condition.
Drive train feels loose, Iso's?
Front forks feel clunky and funky... Then again, I've been riding modern bikes for the last 10 years.
Gear box shifts like a box of rocks... That's not right...

Get it back, check it out. A little drip of oil. Probably a fitting. Don't find anything.
Let's set the timing and the carbs. Done..
Put tools away, turn around, What The......
There is now a PUDDLE of oil under the bike. Centralized under the counter shaft.
Man, the gear box is really leaking. A little finger and smell test, engine oil. A little finger and smell test in the trans, gear oil.
Dude, did you check the Primary, I ask myself... Nope....
Set the pan, pull the drain screw and it drains, and drains, and drains, and drains and drains some more.
Don't know how much a primary can hold but it looked like 1/2 quart or more in the pan. A whole lot more than 7 oz, that's for sure.
Obviously, we have main seal issue.

When the bike was in the shed, there wasn't a drop of oil under it.
One of the prechecks I did that didn't mention was feel around the engine gear box assembly, everything was dry.
There were no leaks, weeps or drips. There was reason as I am about to find out.
As I pull the primary apart, it has been meticulously assembled with a thin layer of something gray.
3 Bond, Permatex, not sure but it's NOT silicone...
This thin layer is around the center washer and the inner part of the O ring.
Then I remembered, the engine drain plug had it to. I will find out that every fastener related to oil has this thin layer.
Drain bolts, banjo's, everything.

Pop the cover and yup, there's the 3 phase stator with the Lucas rotor, with the sires meticulously sealed at the grommet.
Obviously blowing oil through the felt.
Remover clutch rod seal, Pop the clutch ring with a little difficulty, due to the tight stack height and looky here, a complete Fibre clutch assembly.
Probably a CNW clutch pack. Regardless, it is smoooth......
Find out later the custom bracket the Podtronics is mounted on is a CNW item, I imagine the whole charging system came from CNW.
Glenn really liked CNW stuff. What's not to like, all top notch and first rate stuff backed up by a Top Class guy.

So I am sitting here looking at all this on a Sunday and looking at what I need to complete this.
At minimum gasket, felt and seal. Bingo, brain bulb goes off. I have a complete AN engine gasket/seal set for the 750.
And since the cases are currently empty, it won't be needing these right away.
In I dive.

Pull the inner primary and looky here, a 22t counter shaft. I've never run a 22, and don't think I want to.
Now's the time to change it, to what, a 20 or 21? Can't find the 20, so I guess it will be the 21.
Go to pull the master link and find the next interesting thing, there isn't one, It's continuous.
That explains the chain breaker in the box of bits, bit no extra riveted master.
I slack things up, slip it out and in with the 21. Looks like the chain is too long for a 20t anyways.

Pop out the seal, in with the new.
Mock up inner case with gasket for center stud clearance. Check
New paper gasket with 518 on one side, new felt, install inner. 518 on bolts with new tab washers. (sourced from 750 bits)
Install rotor, Mock up stator and check clearance, check. Tighten up with new tabs.
Install clutch pack. With the near zero clearance stack, this was more difficult than I remember.
Having a hard time getting the ring to seat. Finally get it.
Go to install Clutch rod seal, O'ring is buggered. No worries, 750 to the rescue.
Cannibalize it. Install it.
Adjust primary chain, adjust rear chain. Everything slides back. Sure enough, 20t won't work. Needs 1 link less.
Clean off old sealant, apply thin layer around inner edge of primary, install outer cover using existing O ring.
Top off with 7oz. ATF.
Drain trans and fill with measured ATF. What ever the manual says.
In the past I used to fill till they flowed out of the plug holes.
Both cases, the measured amount did not reach the plug holes. Interesting...
Check engine oil, still looks good.
Fire it up, go for ride.....
All the the way to the end of the Cul-de-Sac....
Feels fine, shifts better, still loose.
With my jacked up neck, Clip on's got to go. Sorry Glenn.
Rear sets are OK with the Corbin.

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Too much looseness, needs some fettling......
 

Jerry Doe

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Hi Mike,

Super happy you ended up with Glenn's Norton. I remember that 22 tooth was too much for Orange County roads, too many stop lights. Great on the freeway though. He always had to slip the clutch a bit to pull away. Glad you changed it and the bars. Glenn couldn't ride with US bars as his back hurt too much. I would have done everything you have done too, I probably would have ditched the rear sets. I think/ hope Mark has the BSA?

I have just received John Snead's/ Matt's Mk3 starter mechanism upgrade to install in my MK3. I am going to test it for them (I will document that in a new dedicated thread). Other than that, got to take the rear wheel off the MK3 to check digital speedo drive (I think its called a hall sensor) as it broke, going to torque down the head, do valves. I have a good tri-spark in the Mk3, but its the 3rd one. I have a Pazon so I think I am going to change that. I put a Pazon in the 750 last year and now I dont need to worry about being stranded again due to the trispark and I like how it runs with Pazon. So I am headed to the garage for a few days. I got some stuff to do with the 750 too.

Cheers mate and all- stay well, lets get more threads like this going instead of stupid political ones lol



RIP Glenn
 
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Way more politicking than biking going on lately. Bikes fix problems... I've yet to see politic do anything except create more.
I hope the 850 falls in line soon because it sure looks to be a nice one.... Like that ES2 also.
 

MichaelB

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Thanks Jerry, Just talked to Mark and the BSA is finally going to him. He just needs to pick it up.

jb, you are correct. We are all Brothers in motorcycles bonded a little more tightly with Nortons.
In over 50 years of motorcycling, being helped along roadside, giving help along roadside or wherever, not once did Politics come up nor did it matter.
And that's how it should be.......
 

Jerry Doe

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A few years ago we were having a lot of trouble with folks going off topic in the motorcycle forums, like I am now. We decided to try out the pub forum, so we could easily move topics there so folks could do friendly banter and jokes without interfering in the Motorcycle forums. I did not realize it was going to get political and slanderous. That was not something I imagined would happen. Thank god it’s not a real pub or there would be blood.

Now we have to continually watch out for members insulting each other due to political differences. I am considering closing the pub forum, but then it will probably start up in the motorcycle forums.

Monitoring closely.
 

Jerry Doe

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The ES2 was at the Hansen Damn meeting in California 2017. I am not sure who owns it. We were just wandering about looking at the bikes. I really liked that bike too. Someone did a great job on it.
 

MichaelB

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In the box of goods was a brand new Corbin seat, a reconditioned rotor and a couple tail lights, a 750 one and a 850.
I happen to have a couple of tanks. I bought them years ago before anyone was popping them
One is a Black, the other with JPN colors. Both old and need cleaning, The JPN has yellowed badly, the Black still looks good, at 10'
Here's a mock of the Black with the Corbin and the 750 tail light along with the rotor change. Rotor had been ground and drilled. I repainted the black center.


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Even though I'm not much on Black, I think it looks pretty sharp with all the Black out going on.
Even the Wife commented on how nice it looked. Think I'll run this tank.
Plug up the taps, pour in some gas for a rinse and Whoa, leaks everywhere.
Upon closer exam, it's obviously been repaired in the past. The repair is leaking and new spots around the repair.
This is above my ability. Back in the box, up in the rafters it goes. Silver tank goes back on with the old seat.
Silver tank does not warrant the new seat. Seat gets stored.

Let's focus on the mechanics....
Gee, I wonder why I changed the Rotor.
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Iso's are out, shimmed up the rear. Front's a pain. Probably have to remove the mount. Deal with it later.
Rear cush rubbers are toast, replace them.
Swing arm bushings feel OK? Leaving as is for now.
Replace fork oil with 20wt. Bel Ray.
Forks are much better. Must have been 10wt or less in there.

Fire it up, go for ride. Much better. Front's are still loose, everything else much better.

On to electrics......
 

Craig

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You have a Real nice thread started here , thank you very much for this distraction , threads like this is what has kept me for one, checking in daily and supporting our Forum over these last 15yrs or so , while I do really enjoy the friendly banter and experiences related from ,places I’ll prolly never get to, in our Pub .... it is very hard to read the personal attacks .... early in my working life I financed a lot of our “extras” with working in a Tavern part time ,3 nights a week , I heard and saw a lot of sh-t during those 7 yrs with lots of serious injury usually sustained by instigators , or sadly in some cases by us ,the staff in just trying to get offender outside for Police to deal with , things have quieted down a lot around here since those rough days in 70’s manly ,I think because price of a pint went from $0.40 back then to $6.00 each these days ... sure don’t like reliving the type of verbal behaviour on here .... this one of few happy places I get to that not on wheels , so again thank you for starting this thread , will be looking forward to your ongoing posts !
 
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Just got back from a pleasant ride on my 850.... she informed me that it's time to clean sediment out of carbs again. It'll be great to hear when you're down to regular maintenance on yours.
 

MichaelB

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The electrical is pretty good shape. He had upgraded to a 3 phase with a Pod. Several connections have been cleaned up, specifically the grounds.
There is a dedicated ground from the battery directly to the coil plate mounting bolt where the coil is grounded to.
There is a CNW switch assembly at the bars, everything works. Hi / Lo, signals, cancel. I am not much of a Honda guy but I have to admit this is a nice switch assembly.

The tailight. It's apparent he was going the CNW route as the 750 fender has been blacked. Not sure if he bought it that way, had it coated or what.
The 750 fender has the mounting holes for the 750 tailight, ala CNW. I start to mock up the tail light and start having some issues. These are quite fiddly and a general PITA.
At least for me they are. One of the issues I have is the license plate backing plate. there are two in box of goodies, one nice polished Stainless and nice Black one.
The black one looks like a CNW piece, but has a broken turn signal mount. The stainless one is narrow and verticle, will require another plate to it.
I have a ride planned and want turn signals. Stainless one it is. Mount it up and....................................... I don't like it.
First off the Stainless is too shiny with all the black. It's a backing plate and will stand out too much.
The big issue is, the droop. The Norton, tail light droop. I leave for awhile to let it set in and REALLY don't like it.
I'm not really OCD, but this bugs me. Is it from the loop droop or what?
Let's try the 850 assembly in the box. They too are fiddly with all the pieces and parts. Get it mounted up and there it is, sitting just right.
I'm running this one and it's already got the turn signals mounted up. The 750 holes are exposed under it but I don't care. I'd rather have straight with holes than drooping without.
There's no ground wire, need to fab one up. Of course I hook everything backwards, turn signals are flipped, running and brake light are flipped. Managed to get them all wrong.
At least I got the ground right.
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I know a lot people are enamored with the 750 tail light, myself, I think the 850 looks just fine, and it's correct.
Put the 850 on the 850 and the 750 on the 750. Oh well.
I know it's a lot words for a tail light, but it was a lot of work. Everything takes WAY longer than it should.

Oh, yes, those bullets are soldered and before peoples brains explode, I have done many and have never had an issue.
I have since sourced a proper Lucas Crimper. And have to admit it is now the coolest tool in the box. That's for another time.
And yes, I have other connectors and crimpers also.
So let's just leave it alone, OK? Thank you....
 

grandpaul

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Sorry to hear of Glen's passing, his bike looks "well loved", (as I know it will be, going forward)

Your methodology is "fastidious" to say the least. Certainly not a bad way to work.
 

MichaelB

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Thanks GP.

Everything is now together and everything works. A few things still bother me.

1. The Silver tank needs help. The Black tank leaks, the JPN tank is out, as I stand and stare at the 750.
I had already mocked up with the 750 tank and the 750 side covers and didn't care for it. After all, they said 750......
This time I set the tank and leave the unmarked Black side covers. HMMMM, not bad....
This tank has been cleaned, I'm not real comfortable, need some filters. What's in the goodie box.
Looky here, filters. And they are blue.....
2. Then I mount up the 750 Corbin seat I have. The original with basket weave. Not bad.
3. Now for the handlebars. Clip on's got to go. Since I never throw ANYTHING away, I have an assortment of bars.
Don't know what they are, possible Superbike, Euro. low rise whatever. And apparently, I like them narrow cause most have been cut. Ok, I like these.
Now for the Mirrors. I like Stock Norton mirrors, and I have several in my stuff. This bike has CNW, Brembo stuff. No where to mount.
If I have to run a bar end, I will, but don't want to.
In my stuff I find a Norton mirror clone, mounted to a stem that has an 8mm long shaft that fits through the Brembo pivot bolt.
I have no idea how or why I have it, I haven't seen this stuff since 07. And there is only one. One it is, on the left then.
4. The easiest starting Norton is morphing into the hardest starting Norton.
Once it starts it's fine. Idles great. Is it the gas?
Dump the gas, fresh 91. No diff. Change plugs, wires etc. Sometimes yes, sometimes no.
Clean the carbs, clean the pilots, up the pilots to 19's. Check timing.
Check the TS, check to the coil. Only thing I can see is 'maybe' the coil is weak. Or maybe it's my weak A#$%# leg.
The test sparks are more yellow than blue. The coil ohms @ 8.88k. Don't know if that's good or bad. The Harley sites mention 12k.
Don't know enough about coils to know what a low resistance does.
Change it out for the 47 year old Lucas from the Combat. Blue spark now.
Again, once it starts, it's fine. Could this be one of those 'Special' Nortons that needs the choke with the Amals?
Yes, the chokes are out with a plug in the cap. This is how I how I have run every Amal / Norton in So Cal @ sea level.
I try the old primer kick method. Key off, tickle, throttle wide open, couple of kicks to bring some fuel.
Seems to work OK. Don't remember ever having to do this.


So here it is....

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Don't touch that thing without chain mail gloves because anything that sharp looking is bound to take a finger off without proper PPE.
 

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