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P11’s prototype oil tank

Discussion in 'Norton P11 Motorcycles' started by simon.morton@sky, Dec 3, 2018.

  1. simon.morton@sky

    simon.morton@sky

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2018
    Hi, im restoring an early P11’s (fn 122980) and going to reproduce the prototype. Does anyone know anyone who has made the same type of oiltank that does away with the battery box and gives more room for the rear tyre.

    Great if you can help, Cheers. Simon
     
  2. Ron L

    Ron L VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2004
    The original oil tank for the prototype was built by Paul Crowell for Bob Blair and Steve Zabaro at ZDS motors in California. The tank for the replica of the prototype was built by Bob's son Steve Blair and Steve Zabaro. I have no contact information for these gentlemen, but perhaps some of our left coast members might be able to help (Jerry Kaplan??).

    I am not aware of any other full width tanks in existence.
     
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  3. jerrykap

    jerrykap VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2014
    Hi Simon and Roy, First of all Happy Holidaze. Second of all, it's far too long since I've spoken with Steve Blair. It's high time I rang him up and I'll mention your desire for a full width oil tank. I'll let you know what I find out. There is a full width oil tank on the Patrick racer...it was fabricated back in the day by the Milne Bros. and is very robust out of desert racing necessity.

    Cheers, Jer


    QUOTE="Ron L, post: 398821, member: 77"]The original oil tank for the prototype was built by Paul Crowell for Bob Blair and Steve Zabaro at ZDS motors in California. The tank for the replica of the prototype was built by Bob's son Steve Blair and Steve Zabaro. I have no contact information for these gentlemen, but perhaps some of our left coast members might be able to help (Jerry Kaplan??).

    I am not aware of any other full width tanks in existence.[/QUOTE]
     
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  4. DoubleTrouble

    DoubleTrouble VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2014
    Find this in the archive of "Motorcycle classics":


    Ed Crowell
    8/16/2011 10:45:33 PM
    Hi, my Dad, Paul Crowell, mentioned as the alloy aluminum oil tank fabricator on the original Norton P11 Desert Racer prototype featured on the cover of the September/October 2010 magazine is still alive and fabricating to this day "Pauls Welding" located in Willmington Ca. The cracked mounting tab on the oil tank, mentioned in the article, was caused by improper tightening of the rubber gromet shock absorbing system, pointed out by Paul on his recall inspection. Thus the reason that the factory used the original design.
     
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  5. elefantrider

    elefantrider VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2013
    If you are lucky enough to have a '67 with an original aluminum tank, it is nicer than the steel one IMHO.


    I think the rubber becomes hard and doesn't isolate the vibrations as well, causing them to develop cracks.

    Mine has been repaired, and is holding fine for now.
     
  6. Ron L

    Ron L VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2004
    Norton replaced the aluminum tank with the steel one in less than 1 year of production, so that really isn't very long for the rubber to harden. I have an original tank on my hi-pipe, but I also painted a steel one in case it cracks. Time will tell.
     
  7. Junglebiker

    Junglebiker

    Joined:
    May 16, 2018
    That is interesting to know. So approximately how many left the factory with aluminum tanks? Maybe mine (122563) came originally fitted with a steel oil tank?
     
  8. mdt-son

    mdt-son

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2012
    It seems the aluminum oil tank lasted through the first two batches of P11 production.
    https://www.nortonownersclub.org/history/atlas-hybrids-2

    -Knut
     
  9. Junglebiker

    Junglebiker

    Joined:
    May 16, 2018
    Interesting. Now I need to go hunt for the batch numbers again.
     
  10. Junglebiker

    Junglebiker

    Joined:
    May 16, 2018
    Here we go, from elsewhere on the site:

    "P11 high pipe models. 1st 121007, last 123012. 4 batches made.
    P11A 1st 124372 last P11A, or P11A Ranger 126123. 3 batches made.
    Ranger 750. 1st 128646 last 129145. 1 batch made."

    So, still unclear on when the switch was made from alloy to steel oil tank, though after reading the article linked above, I now understand why Knut says the steel tank is best.
     
  11. mdt-son

    mdt-son

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2012
    The article was by Paul Morin of the HYCAM interest group. My position on the oil tank remains in the dark, but I trust the factory knew best when fitting the steel tank. It is still very light.

    -Knut
     
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  12. Junglebiker

    Junglebiker

    Joined:
    May 16, 2018
    Yes, in a another thread I was lamenting the fact that I had had to buy a steel tank for mine and you assured me that the steel one was the best one. I was unconvinced until I read the Morin article with his description of how badly the alloy ones used to crack, "...which negated the need for an oil drain [which was missing anyway]..." as he says.
     
  13. Ron L

    Ron L VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2004
    As often is the case, a differing comment from Paul Morin of HyCam group.

    "After only 500 P11 Scramblers were built the decision was made to convert the bike into a dual seat scrambler to satisfy U.S. public demand. The change was made in November 1967, and was named P11A. Early P11A's still had alloy oil tanks and fenders."

    It seems the P11A was a very fluid model in terms of build. Early builds had a number of P11 parts and late builds had a lot of Ranger 750 parts.
     

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  14. mdt-son

    mdt-son

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2012
    It's a P11 throughout, therefore these models shouldn't be considered independently. (Alterations from P11A to P11 Ranger aren't that many either.) Apart from the frame cross-bridge, seat fastening peg and ignition system upgrade, all changes lie within cycle parts. In usual fashion AMC introduced needed improvements and rectifications with each batch, rarely within a batch.

    Introduction of the steel oil tank after launch of the P11A seems late, but considering it was only 7 months after launch of the P11 and a holiday break in between, it takes time for buyer complaints to trickle through, for drawings and press tools to be updated, and for the necessary part bin to be stocked before the assembly plan is altered, so maybe 8-9 months isn't bad at all. I guess some early P11A were retrofitted with the importers before being handed out to dealers. It would be interesting to read the corresponding Service Note.

    My P11A (124***) had the steel oil tank when I got it, whether fitted on the assembly line or retrofitted I cannot say.

    -Knut
     
  15. Junglebiker

    Junglebiker

    Joined:
    May 16, 2018
    Just got a letter back from the Norton Owners' Group. They had no specific info about mine, but they were able to tell me that 122563 was in the middle of a long string of 500 P11 numbers and must have been made in June of 1967.

    So maybe it originally had an alloy tank after all. Whatever. Mine will be a long way from original in a lot of ways, so why should I get hung up on the oil tank?
     
  16. kentvander

    kentvander

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2012
  17. Ron L

    Ron L VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2004
    Cross your fingers and I hope you are a gambling man!
     

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