Stupid question - first of many maybe

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Oct 11, 2005
Mk3 commando. Bike was great apart from a tappet like noise that seamed to be getting worse. Checked the tappets and they were fine. Read in a couple of recent posts that a loose rotor might be the culprit. so off with the chaincase and rotor wasn't at the correct torque so fixed that. Slight scuffing on one part of the altenator but when i put all back together again i could get a fealer gauge all round.

New clutch cable and here is the rub. When i go out i can get all gears up but only back down to 3rd unless i drive it in 3rd then i can get 2nd then have to drive it in 2nd a short distance before getting 1st. Can get neutral no problem once i get it down there.

Clutch arm that the cable goes on to has 1-2 mm movement without the cable. Is that correct for the pushrod adjustment ?

New cable leaves very little adjustment at the handlebar with the adjuster fully in. Clutch grabs at the last quarter of the lever going back to position.

Any ideas. It is obviously something i have done but i only took the altenator off and put a new cable on :)

New to nortons and was wondering about the cross over linkage being sensitive to the position of the lever. Have moved the lever a spline at a time for about 6 positions. Still the same.

And i still have the tappet noise that started it all in the first place :)

Thanks for any feedback
Is the tappet noise at idle, then goes away with revs?

Your clutch actuator may be off it's pivot. It is located under the top round inspection cover on the trans.
try listening with stick used like a stethoscope around engine to locate noise. One source can be the stellite tip coming off cam follower, noise would be from front of barrel at bottom. If this is the case do not use bike till fixed. If you cannot adjust clutch with cable adjuster or nut on diaphragm you may have wromg numbers or poor quality plates in there?
Alternator rotor if early type can explode due to magnets coming out of alloy, also centre can be loose which allows it to rock about even though torque is correct

Hope these ideas are some use


Let us know where you are and maybe we can put you in contact with someone who has Norton knowledge.

The shifting problem. Sounds like it isn't quite getting into gear until the pull of the motor pulls the shifting cam fully into the slot/position for that gear, and if the cam doesn't seat for one gear, the action of the shifting lever won't be enough to get it into the next gear....the cam sits kind of between gears...until the motor pulls it fully into the correct position......something that should be done by the shifting lever and not the motor.....short and simple, the full action from the shifting lever, may not be effected that is required to get it into the next gear...if that makes sense.

One thing that can cause this is a tiny "u" shaped spring located on the inside of the outer trans cover where the shifter lever/linkage is mounted...on the splined shaft that the shifting lever is attached to. Inside the cover, if you use a mirror and look through the trans inspection cover, you should see it....looks like a hair pin. If one leg is broken off...the shifting lever/linkage will be loose and not snap back into a central position. This spring puts tension on the shifting lever...sets it back to the same position each time you use it to change gears...if this spring is broken...the shifting level will flop around, not hold a consistant position when you let go of it. These springs are very thin, break easy ...the shifting will be lousy or maybe you won't even be able to shift......

Might be wrong...but this spring has broken a couple of times over the years...and gave symptoms quite like you describe...foot moved, but gear wouldn't change....take a look...if it's broken, it's easy to replace, by removing outer cover....can't make one yourself...have to order one....don't forget to remove the broken will be lying about somewhere:: :D
The spring suggestion sounds good. Had a bit of bother putting the cable back in the arm...might have goosed it.
arm has to really be lined up with the hole for the cable up there on top...had the arm out? Is the arm loose on the screw? Screw broke on me once. Ball inside the arm holder can be out of place too...has to sit in a groove in the rear(where you can't see it) of the arm, for the arm to be in the correct position....if you pull the clutch rod out of the clutch center and don't put it back in and check the ball bearing is really in the right place, all clutch adjusts will be for the birds...

Spring is indeed thin...but I don't have to be correct with my prognosis...let us know :D
He is

Thanks for your help. As far as the gear changing presents its self. I had had the chancase open to check the stator, tried to release the clutch locking nut to check the adjustment. Had the bike in first gear and the back brake locked. Big wrench and lots of flexing and creaking noises, no movement on the nut. Decided discrection was the better part of valour and crapped out.

I will check it out at the weekend. 2nd daughter had a small get to gether in her car so she has mine and guess what i am using to work...yup the norton that doesn't change gear too well, back and forward to work. Just about got it sussed :)

Clutch lever feels tighter and doesn't grab till reall late although as i said there is bugger all adjustment at the handlebar. Must be something to do with the lever in the outer gearbox ?

The Mk III cross over shift shaft arragement is a piece of sh1t. You can fool around and try several differnet things to try and fix the vague shifting, but it was poorly engineered from the begining. It will never shift as nicely as the 'correct' RH shift Commandos.
not bein there...hard to say...but the whole setup should be looked at....this new clutch cable could also be the wrong length....sure it's the right one?

As to getting the clutch nut undone, there is a tool to make it easier...but the best way(sure someone will disagree :lol: ) is to use a socket and one of those tools you hit with a hammer and it makes a super amount of torque on the socket, those will let it loose and retighten it. Don't know what they are called...impact wench? That point is though mute if you didn't get the nut loose in the first place...the ball shouldn't be in the improper place then, unless you removed the arm in the tranny and didn't replace it properly. The proper adjustment gets checked by checking the amout of play at the arm anyway....don't need to loosen any nuts to check that. You need just a bit of play ther at the arm 1/16 inch or so. That allows enough play that when the clutch level on the bars is not being pulled, the parts in the clutch aren't still in contact with each other and there won't occur a lot of wear...sort of like riding the clutch in a car will wear out the throwout bearing. Let me know what you find :)
I have found that using a "Rattle Gun", the tool driven by air is a good way to loosen hard to undo "tuff" nuts. Obviously you need to make sure you have the socket over the nut correctly before trying to undo it, otherwise you can "round" the nut very easily & end up making it harder to undo plus you need then to replace the nut.

The one on the end of the camshaft(left hand thread) is a prime example of where the "Rattle Gun' is very handy as they always seem tight.

hewy may be thinking of the "rattle gun" when he says "impact wrench" ?
prolly different terminology in a different country, I'm guessing.
Nut on the end of the camshaft is RH thread.
Nut on the end of the crankshaft is LH thread.
(Commando timing chest)
VA Rebel, my error, you are correct of course.

The crankshaft Timing pinion nut is the L/H threaded one.
Camshaft nut is normal R/H thread.

My apologies to the forum, always double check with the manual or this forum! One will be right, I think......

Impact Wrench is Yank speak for Rattle Gun (Aussie speak) These can be either air driven or electric.
Impact Driver is Yank speak for the one you hit with a hammer (don't happen to know what the Aussies or Limeys call them)

The impact wrench is excellent for getting the damper bolts out of fork legs and camshaft nuts off. The impact driver is the tool to get those bloody philips head case screws out. The two don't seem to do exactly the same thing so I wouldn't try to interchange the uses without carefull consideration.

Scooter :roll:
Impact Driver is Yank speak for the one you hit with a hammer (don't happen to know what the Aussies or Limeys call them)

Us limeys also refer to them as impact drivers!
Aussie, Yank or Limey, I am sure we will all know which tool to use when required.

It doesn't really matter what we all call them does it ?

If it confuses anyone, they will soon differentiate between them when they come to use one :D

Otherwise they better let someone do the job :wink:
tight nuts

Impact wrench / rattle gun, whatever, DO NOT use it to loosen / tighten the camshaft nut, there is a very real DANGER of shearing the end off the camshaft , i.e. high torque and brittle material = expensive mistake. Ride safely. James
To clear up this point about which tool I mean....I'd not use an impact "Wrench" either on the bike...that's something for the lug nuts on a car...way too "Indelicate" for the old girl. After thinking about it....and bothering to read the box it came in :oops: the tool is called an "Impact Driver" can tap it. or hit are in control of the amount of power you use. It is only used to loosen a nut that you have no real way to hold tight from in the case of the nut on the clutch center, which will turn all day if you try to get it undone just by holding it with a gear and the brake. A tap with the "Impact Driver, will loosen it and you can do your thing with the adjustment, or removal of the clutch to clean it...and then, when assembled and adjusted, a tap with the Impact Driver. will tighten up the nut so it will not come undone.

Rather than let this discussion go on forever as to what I am refering to....

Stupid question - first of many maybe

As you can see....the impact driver has bits with it that can be used to get a stubborn, or worn screwhead loose, and has a square drive for a socket. It was indeed my mistake that I ever refered to this as an impact's an impact driver :oops:
James is absolutely correct; the proper way to remove the camshaft nut is to use the cut-away timing cover, locking the crankshaft and use a socket and breaker bar. This is shown clearly in Mick Hemmings' video. That said I have been guilty of doing it the lazy way with the judicious use of an impact wrench set at a low torque with the topend off and the crank free. The cam I did this on had a chewed up lobe so I wasn't too worried if it snapped, I was more concerned with not putting strain on the intermediate gear spindle. Guess I was just lucky cause the nut came off with just a light hit and no broken cam. I definetly wouldn't put the nut back on with an impact wrench since they are difficult to accurately set the torgue on. Good point James, hope no one ran out to the garage with their impact wrench to pop off the cam nut. :(

Being a carpemter by trade, I have always had a compressor & "Rattle Gun".

You blokes should have told me 30 years ago & 8 nortons back that I should not be using that tool to remove camshaft nuts. And that does not include rebuilds I have done for friends.

Too late now, sorry, but I have been doing it without knowing that I should not be doing it !!

I have never had a problem removing camshaft nuts that way & will continue to do so. It is good to have the option though, thank you for the warning just the same.
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