Revieving long time storage commando

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Jul 23, 2005
I am a norton owner again! It's been awhile. I am currently sorting out a 71 commando that sat for 13 years. I have sorted out carb,rat chewed wiring,fluids, Clutch (that came out in one solid clump) etc. I't now lights up and sounds good. But i noticed left header is bluing further down than usual and appears to runs hotter than right. Running single mikuni and oil seems to be running thru head evenly.Any ideas? Maybe cheap header on left side?
Thanks jason, I am running a lucas rita that came with the bike. I haven't inspected it to see if it's in check. Can one side go out of wack with a rita.
Maybe i'll change plugs and check gap as i tortured them trying to figure out wich way choked worked. And recheck valve adjustment, could have been in a hurry to hear bike run. Back to basics.
Check the timing on both sides with a strobe. Yes Rita's can have problems with the studs that the sending wire attaches to and it has been known to through one cyilinder off time. Thought you were a points man Jason? Anyway don't hurt to check. norbsa
Thanks guys! I haven't even open cover. I'll take a look. I had boyers on past bikes, set them and never thought of them again. Great forum Thanks again.

Yes, I am a points-guy!

But I have a newer motorcycle - 1990 vintage - that has an electronic ignition. So, I do know a little something about the behavior and capabilities of motorcycle electronic ignition systems. That’s why I made the comment about timing between cylinders on an EI system being the same. Nevertheless, I agree that checking with a strobe is a reasonable first approach to figuring out this problem.

Years ago I had a Boyer on a '69 S type Norton that gave me fits. Oh, and I had an electronic ignition on a Triumph Spitfire that failed me in the middle of nowhere. It was the bad Boyer experience combined with Spitfire ignition failure that reinforced my love for the mechanically simple points system - for use on Nortons anyway.

Good to hear from you again,

blue left pipe


You may have a loose exhaust nut on that side or an air leak of some other kind...loose exhaust valve guide? I'm on the other side of Mt Diablo from you if you need some help. The Lucas RITA should not be giving you any trouble provided it hasn't been abused.
Thanks David, That could be i realized that exhaust collar was very loose after two day's of test drives around block as i was sorting things out on each return. I haven't even check to see if gaskets are there. If they are i'm sure there shot. Commando's do take a crush type gasket in exhaust ports don't they? It's been awhile, I don't remember. We'll have to meet up some time when your out for a ride. Thanks
exhaust ring


When tightening these do it when the engine is hot then they won't loosen up again.

I'm leading a ride over the Sierras on August 13. It's the alternate ride for the Norton Club, starts at the Dardanelles on Hwy 108 at 10:30am goes over Sonora Pass then a loop ride off Hwy 395. More info on under rides/August.

Herbert M. said:
Maybe i'll change plugs and check gap as i tortured them trying to figure out wich way choked worked. And recheck valve adjustment, could have been in a hurry to hear bike run. Back to basics.

Did you ever find out which way the choke did work?
I believe up was off. But i found that the mikuni works better for me in a box on the shelf. I put the old amals on after buying new jets,needles etc. The bike now runs like a bat out hell, the way i remember a norton to run. I will never put a mikuni on any norton i ever own again. The difference was night and day! And yes i know it must not have had the correct setting but everyone can't agree on them. At least with the amals the setting are a matter of looking in the book.
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