Oil leak from Commando rocker spindle

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Aug 11, 2008
Bike is now up and running so thanks to everyone who has helped with my previous problems.

My new problem is pressurised oil getting forced passed the rocker spindle cover plate gaskets. I stripped the gaskets off today and put them all back very carefully. as soon as I started the engine oil came pouring out from behind the gasket. It is only the drive side exhaust one that has this problem.

The rocket spindle does not sit flush with the head but slightly inside the head.

I didn't take the spindles out during the rebuild and I never had this problem when the bike was running before.

Any help will, once again, be gratefully received.

PS. If anyone knows of a Norton owner around the Strathclyde area of Scotland then please let them know that a new branch of the Norton Owners Club is about to get launched.
Maybe the outlet hole in the spindle is blocked?

The oil would then have nowhere to go, except blow out past the gasket, -presumably the inner cover plate gasket you replaced was in good condition?

And the slot in the spindle was lined up with the head drilling correctly?
Since you're in the market for new gaskets anyway, try the new style silicone ones - they're a bit thicker and "rubbery" and thus probably a bit better in terms of making up for inadequacies of the sealing surfaces. If need be, a thin smear of Yamabond or the like on the gaskets (new style or old) may help also.

Good luck. - BrianK
I am using the old style paper gaskets with Wellseal sealing goo round them. I torqued the plates up as per the Norton manual.

What I did notice was that the holding plate did not latch onto the slots on the spindle once the thick gasket had been put in place.

I am borrowing a slide hammer tonight to pull the spindle out flush with the head and will try again.
I am borrowing a slide hammer tonight to pull the spindle out flush with the head and will try again.

If you use a bolt, nut and washer, you can screw the bolt into the end of the shaft and use the nut to pull it flush against the washer/cylinder head without turning the shaft.

You mentioned the forming (or should that be re-forming) of a Strathclyde Branch of the NOC - do have the details yet, or will they be in the Roadholder? Does the Stella Maris still exist?

If you are careful you can bend those small tangs a little farther out, and don't over do the gue cos it can block the feed to the spindle. I've always found fitting the gaskets dry works best for me. There's some one piece st/st plates on the market they are thicker and a lot stiffer and seal easier only needing one gasket, got mine from the States a couple of years ago.

DavidT I have contacted the editor of Roadholder and am hoping to have an advert in the magazine in the next issue. I am in contact with another 3 members and hope to find a venue soon. The top guns of the NOC are in contact as it seems you just can't set up a branch. With saying that the club is prepared to pay for some introductory nibbles on opening night of the new branch. Email me on colin_mckellar@hotmail.com and I will keep you informed of any meeting. If you can remember the Stella Maris then we may have met all those years ago. The chap that let us use the Stella died a couple of years ago of cancer. His name was Andy Hosie and it is very sad as he was only early 50's.

Not tried to use the gaskets dry, always something else to try. I have bent the locating lugs back out so will see how that goes. Somehow I seem to have damaged the thread on the shaft as the slide hammer would not screw in. Does anyone know the size and thread type and I will try and retap the thread?
Colin_McKellar said:
Somehow I seem to have damaged the thread on the shaft as the slide hammer would not screw in. Does anyone know the size and thread type and I will try and retap the thread?

= Rocker spindle thread is 5/16" x 26 tpi (5/16" Cycle thread)

I suggest that you warm the head before attempting to move any rocker spindles.
If you are able to extract the inlet rocker cover stud (5/16" x 22-26 tpi x3" part - NM18033) - then it can be used as a makeshift rocker spindle puller by using a combination of spacers and washers, - as the stud threads are quite short, and a 5/16 x 22 tpi (BSF) nut.

Be extremely careful when cleaning the spindle threads as the rocker spindles are hardened.
LAB is right the spindle is as hard as hell and there's a real chance you'll bust a tap in it. Get a good look at the thread you might as I have found it's burred a little on the start. With a little care a Dremmel should clean it up. But do remove the spindle and thoroughly clean it afterwards.

I tried to reseal everything using new gaskets and Wellseal gasket compound. After a few minutes of running the pressure had obviously built up again and out the oil poured again. Once I get the thread sorted I will start the bike up again to warm the head and get the spindle out.
Look for head porosity near the joint and have you checked the relief valve is working? Oil pressure too high?

Cash, I never thought of the oil pressure being too high. Everything was stripped and cleaned and a new spring was fitted. The oil is also not coming from anywhere else on the engine, just this one rocker spindle.
My rocker spindle covers were leaking, too. it took new bolts and copper washers, and a liberal application of Permatex Aviation Form-a-Gasket to both sides of both gaskets to finally stop the dribble.

I've put on 1500 miles since the re-assembly of my basketcase, and am still trying to nail down a couple of leaks. Finally got the exhaust valve covers to stop (I think) by making some gaskets out of cork-and-rubber gasket material, and using a liberal amount of the Aviation Form-a-Gasket.

Now it seems the crossover tube on my new (Andover Norton) rocker feed line is weeping at the banjo fitting.

As one seals up the low pressure leaks, the high pressure fittings start.

I think this is a never-ending quest - to make the Norton oil-tight.
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