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Waking up a 69 Commando

Discussion in 'Norton Commando Motorcycles (Classic)' started by Dutch, Aug 2, 2018.

  1. Dutch

    Dutch

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2015
    Hello all -
    I recently purchased a 69 Commando that has been stored for five years. It was functioning fine before and the garage was heated in the winter.
    I would like to get it running/driving but want to do so in a smart way.
    Any suggestions as to what needs to be addressed before starting would be appreciated.
    Thank you
     
  2. Bernhard

    Bernhard

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2011
    Drain fuel and oil out, if treacle comes out of bottom of carbs, strip them down and clean with paint thinners, and blow out pilot jets in 2 places that you can get to until clear. Drain and use fresh oil and remove exhaust rocker boxes and pour fresh oil to lube the cam and followers- electrical system may also require TLC.
     
    nattres and Dutch like this.
  3. Torontonian

    Torontonian

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Credit card , up the limit , they love it when you ask.
     
  4. Dutch

    Dutch

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2015
    [​IMG] Supposed to be in fine running order - maybe just tires and a fuel tank.
    Not my first classic (first Norton however).
     
  5. ashman

    ashman

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Looks great, hopefully won't need much to put the fire back into it, all oil drained and fresh added, new fuel and make sure carbies are nice and clean and of coure replace the tyres after its running, new battery maybe new spark plugs and see if they have spark when you kick it with the plugs out.
    Have fun with it.

    Ashley
     
    Dutch likes this.
  6. Dutch

    Dutch

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2015
    The most fun part of this adventure is learning everything about this bike.
    I'm going to get it ready to start - if that happens then tires and a few short rides.
    There is a solid 6 months of winter here and I'll have this apart for a complete inspection then.
    One thing that appeals to me about this bike is how "honest" it looks. Not all polished up like a piece of jewelry.
    Those bikes are cool but this bike just speaks to me being used/loved.
     
  7. 1up3down

    1up3down

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2011
    Congratulations!
    If you want no tickle leak starting, rock solid idling, no synching twin carbs and a stronger midrange, then fit a single 34mm Mikuni kit
    - still has points and sticking auto advance? get EI
    Boyer, Trispark, etc
    looks like you have a beautiful Commando!
     
    Dutch likes this.
  8. DogT

    DogT VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    Nice looker. Just a few observations, not meant to be critical, just informational. The front stay for the front mudguard is missing. I wonder what size that front tire is? Original is 3.00 or 3.10-19, if it's larger, it's got a later front mudguard because nothing larger will fit under the original mudguard. The petcocks have been replaced, not unusual. It looks like the spring to the centre stand is loose. The seat is correct for a 69/70 Roadster/S type/R type, less the strap, not unusual that they were cut off. What is that round thing on the end of the right handle bar? Maybe a bar end mirror mount? I'd be interested to know the production date/number on the plate on the headstock behind the headlamp shell. I'm pretty sure those years had silver barrels too so it may have been painted. The rear tail light faring should be silver flake, not red. There should be reflectors mounted under the front tank mounting studs on L brackets. But no doubt it's a good looking version for it's age. Doesn't look like it would take much to get it in running order if it's sound.
    Welcome and good luck/good riding with it. Get new Amal Premiers or re-sleeve and rebuild the carbs, it will be happier. The original style carbs were good but the slides wear fast, aftermarket will give you headaches, one way or the other. If the engine hasn't been rebuilt, it will need all new seals and most likely bearings. Major job. Check the swing arm for excess play left to right by pressing on the rear of the rear wheel. If the swing arm shaft hasn't been modified for excess play, that's a necessity. Probably needs a new headsteady arrangement, not a big issue. The 72 version and up is adequate.
    I'd like to see the other side.
     
    Dutch likes this.
  9. Onder

    Onder

    Joined:
    May 11, 2010
    I went with the Premiers and Pazon IE. Dog is correct about all those seemingly small things. Best to do them all when it is apart over the winter. Do
    them all and be done with it and you will have a quite reliable ride.
    ...noticed the seat with the bent base, mine was too.
     
    Dutch likes this.
  10. Dutch

    Dutch

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2015
    There is a handlebar end mirror along with a fair number of spares.
    One thing included was a manifold for a single carb.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  11. Dutch

    Dutch

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2015
    There is a really nice (unbent) spare saddle included also.
    Oh - the front tire is a 3.00 x 19
     
  12. DogT

    DogT VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    That looks like a big 300-19. The originals were Avon Speedmaster MKII ribbed. Hard to find if you want to go that route. Most don't. One sure way to tell if the front mudguard is original is measure the bridge. Here's one off my Apr 69 S model.

    bridge.jpg

    It looks like maybe you have an oil filter installed. The chainguard looks like this one chainguardnew.jpg

    The front brake can be made to work fairly good, but it will fade with hard braking for sure. If you do get another front stay, Andover has them for the early model. Anything 71 and later will not work unless it's been changed to a later guard.
    Have fun with it and be careful.
     
    Dutch likes this.
  13. ashman

    ashman

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    It looks great the way it is, I would keep it like it is and do the things that are needed, leave it un polished get it going and ride it fix things when they need fixing, I would leave the duel carbies on they are not hard to tune, just put a carbie kit in them with new needles, jets etc, bike will run with worn slides just won't idle real good, Amal carbies are so easy to work on, it just looks like it was ridden yesterday, keep the maintenance up and they are a very reliable bike, I have owned mine for over 43 years now and was a every day ride till I semi retired it a few years ago just like me, I have my Thruxton for every day riding now but its still great taking the old girl out.

    Ashley
     
    Dutch likes this.
  14. Dutch

    Dutch

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2015
    If I am reading the correct owners manual the tires are listed at 4.10x19 F&R
    These are the tires on my bike (soon to be replaced).

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  15. L.A.B.

    L.A.B. Moderator VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2004
    Early model sizes were 3.00 x 19 front, 3.50 x 19 rear.
    Although it has a Roadster exhaust system, as it's date of manufacture is "June 1969" it would almost certainly have been an 'S' Type originally, with 3.00 front tyre and close-fitting mudguard/fender necessary to clear the S Type exhaust under heavy braking.
    Extensions have been added to what is likely to be a "short" S Type stay and a later increased radius mudguard fitted that would allow the later spec. 4.10 front tyre to be used but I suggest you check the clearance before buying a 4.10.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2018
    Dutch likes this.
  16. Dutch

    Dutch

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2015
    Good catch - I had to look up the filter conversion to see what you were referring to.
     
  17. DogT

    DogT VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    Looking at your front tire assembly, now I see a spacer on the one stay to the bottom of the slider. Compare my guard to yours, especially where it crosses the rubber fork dust cover. Mine is much closer to the center than yours. I bet there's been a larger tire on that bike. I've got the ribbed tire on mine and there's not much room between the tire and guard, much less between the sides of the tires and the stay. I couldn't say if you have a later guard or not. Also check the center iso 1/2" nut on the left side to see if it's been flattened on one side by the exhaust. I've seen more than one that has. Mine was.
    fb1.jpg
     
  18. Dutch

    Dutch

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2015
    Thanks for the fender/tire size info.
    When I do get around to buying tires, the front will be ribbed - 3.25 tops (hope to find a 3.00).
     
  19. Mr. Rick

    Mr. Rick VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2009
  20. DogT

    DogT VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    Seems to me I got my 3.00-19 from Walridge. I think he had to order it. Then there's the problem with tubes. I could only find Bikemaster tubes to fit and they leak. I ended up putting a smaller Michelin in it because they don't make a 3.00-19 tube.