RacingNorton Newsletter No.40 : Spring 2023
Progress since last Newsletter - More CNC Machine Failures .... but (hopefully!) - Light at the end of the tunnel
Well unfortunately, the most time consuming (and expensive for us!) thing going on since our last email in January 2023 was another CNC machine failure - and this particular one resulted in our main CNC Lathe/Mill being 'Down' for almost 2 months - as I update this email in early Mayt 2023, I have only just got the repaired 'milling motor' back into the machine - and it is now back up and running (and all now ok - Touch Wood!!).
However, the more positive update that goes with this is update - this particular fault manifested itself back in Autumn of 2022 (and acttually started, intermittently, long before that - almost a year ago), and since that time I have been unable to make new batch's of a significent number of our in-house CNC manufactured parts that require any type of 'milling' operation on them .. . . probably close to a 150 items, many of them now running out of stock.
Following the seperate CNC issues I reported on over the Xmas period in the last Newsletter, I knew at some point I would have to bite the bullet and strip down the CNC 12-station head. Unfortunately (or fortunately - dependent on your point of view!) - I have found most components on this CNC machine come from the best quality German or European sources .. . and as well as being quite daunting to strip down, I have found nothing is cheap when requiring replacement or fixing! The Lenze milling motor (seen in the top part of the photograph on the right) turned out to be no exception. I was not sure what to expect as I took the covers off - but was suprised to find that although shoehorned into a reasonably small space - it was over a foot long, and had some pretty complex wiring. With nothing obviously amiss (to my amateurish eyes), I had to send it away to a specialist UK company who knew these motors and had a test rig to find the fault. It turned out to be the 'sensor board', and although the company did a great job of repairing it - the machine was down for almost two months while waiting for the new parts to arrive. However, the good news is - the machine is now back up and running, and is again chomping away. But with 3 major failures (one being the compressor that supplies pneumatics to the machine), and a couple of smaller issues, since October last year. . .. I am really hoping to now get a good period of catchup.
Since October of last year, we have had a series of tooling issues - most seriously - 3 seperate serious issues with my main Emco Lathe/Mill . . . most recently the Miilling motor (the long black motor in the photo above) had gone A-Wall and meant the machine being down for most of March and April, while it went away for specialist diagnosis and repair.
Click on the Picture to show a seperate article giving more detail
Anyway, with that going on in the early part of the year (alongside the process of helping sort out my mothers estate and services, following her passing away last year) - has meant that some parts that were in the pipeline have had to take a backseat.
While my own CNC was down we were still restocking on many other parts - and apart from my lost time on that CNC, I was working on other parts to get out - some of which are shown below. But the good news as I complete this newsletter is - many of the parts currently showing out of stock will hopefully get replenished in the coming months.
I am pleased to say that after what must be about 6 years since I first started . . . I have finally finished the build of an M30 full race engine - which uses our first set of magnesium pre-war RacingNorton crankcases.
The engine is pretty much mid 1930's Works spec, i.e. it is full magnesium, round barrel and bi-metal head, but fitted wtih twin spark plug head (as experimented with by the Works team in 35-36), and Works type shock abosorber sprocket. As shown here in late April 2023 - it is ready to be fitted into the Gardengate 1939 Manx chassis I have reserved for it. I have just finished fitting the refurbished Amal RN (original Manx) carb, and am just about to make the mounting bolts for the 'Works' type Twin spark BTH magneto. More of this in future Newsletters and Youtube videos . .. half way through doing the current one
Own Projects and Youtube videos
With all going on above, I have not had a huge amount of time for my own projects - but from November time I was making a concerted effort to a least do a couple of hours each weekend on my 1938-39 M30 Gardengate project. The really good news is that the engine is pretty much finished (at least till I try and start it up!, and I have now moved on to ancillaries. In the photo on the left I had just finished restoring the Amal RN carb, and am now on to the magneto - a twin spak Works BTH.
I have also taken a few videos of the buiid so I can turn them into some (amateurish) Youtube videos. I am halfway through doing the first engine video (which gives a littly bit of history of the racing engines) . . . but I keep getting distracted by work!
But hopefully more of this build in future Newsletters - and i keep meaning to turn out a more regular update on our RacingVincent site . .. which I have been neglecting of late.
Click on either of the two pictures to provide a much larger version, that can be used as a Screensaver if you wish.
These photos were taken a few weeks ago, while sorting out transmission teething issues, but unfortunately still not running and in use yet.
Douglas 2 3/4hp Fettling - But Fighting me all the way!
Another project I started to revisit in the New Year, was my Douglas 1919 2 3/4hp TT Replica. I had been fettling it ready for the road up until the end of Summer last year when I realised that the original EIC magneto was no longer giving a spark, and dropped the engine to take the magneto off (It just fouled the flat tank frame bottom tube by about 2mm, when trying to remove it with the engine in-situ!) . . . so it could be sent away for a rebuild.
With the passing away of my mother back in October last year, I was in no rush to get it done, so waited unti the New Year until confirming the magneto rebuild was done, and getting the engine back in the frame.
With this now done, I moved back to the other fettling tasks I had been working on - most notably the transmission train - and lots of little jobs which were annoyingly stopping what I foolishly believed would be a very quick job - the bike being so simple in construction!
Anyway, with genuine Bremmer link belt now found and fitted (rather than a modern - almost identical, but supposedly more prone to slipping belt type - replaced) and the gearbox dropped and stripped again (it turned out to be the rear of the belt pulley just touching the gearbox casing when fully tightened on the taper shaft - not enough to lock the gearbox, just stop it changing gear - now fixed)I I am at least now able to run along with the exhaust lifter liftted and watch the engine turnover.
You would think then, that there should be no reason why it is not running - but as I finalise this updae in late May, unfortunately it is still fighting me - because although fuel is getting to the carb, and the magneto was re-wound, it is steadfastly refusing to start! - I suspect a further magneto issue, as the spark looks very weak . . . so more work required
Of course, all this fettling of such an old bike has made me much familiar with the basic layout and foibles of old Belt Drive machines - and what our enthusiastic forefathers must have gone through back in Edwardian times. Not least - how annoying it is when the only way to reliably turn the engine over - is to run along and push it, or put it on its stand and try and spin the rear wheel - no kickstarter fitted on this model, just slipping belts! We will persevere, how difficult can it be (!) . . .
General Parts Update and Re-Stocks - May 2023
So, having given a general update on some of the woes we have been dealing with for the last 6 months - at this particular point in time, I am now in 'Catchup' mode - trying to work my way through a huge list of parts we have been running short or out of stock of . . . and making new batch's on our own CNC machines.
We also have other parts being re-made by some of our trusted partner manufacturing companies and suppliers - although I can tell it is definitely a tough market out there at the moment - no suprises there, and unfortunately a few of the products we have listed in the past, I fear will no longer be being produced in the future.
It is positivie that there is a demand for these parts by customers such as yourself, but also demorilising when every time I order a new batch of Stainless steel or brass . .. find that the price has risen yet again. I placed a new order just last week and found that the price has more than doubled since the last material and bar size was ordered two years ago!
Never mind, the positive message for this Newsletter is - we are back CNC manufacturing ourselves (touchwood), and I hope to put out a further update on progress in the coming weeks, in the meantime I hope you all get the chance to get out on your bikes, or for those that prefer - just to have fun building them in your workshop.
Paul (and Steph) Norman
Re-Stocks Since Last Newsletter (and just a few new parts this time!)
Item 0301/0301B/0302 -SOHC Valve Guides
A popular item that has been out of stock for some months were our SOHC Inlet valve guides. We now have a new batch of valve guides in stock for inlet and exhaust.
We also had a handful of the inlet guides made wtih a fractionally oversize shoulder, in case your original head may have had a guide moving in the past
Valve Spring Collar (Casting)
These have been out of stock for about 6 months - we have had a new batch of stainless steel Lost Wax castings cast (notice our castings even include the original patent number) - and CNC machined, and they are now available again. In conjunction with our SOHC valve guides, these can be used for both inlet and exhaust valve guides. Sorry not cheap, but a very expensive item to make - particularly of late
In Stainless Steel
You can see here we have had a batch of the large nut that was used to retain the outer cover of the Norton Oilbath on most roadgoing Norton models from the 1930's onwards. These nuts are CNC made in stainless steel, using an orignal nut as a pattern, and are lightly linished and polished as standard.
They look lovely when used in conjunction with the genuine type lipped washer that fitted behind the nut (which we already manufacture - See Item 0380 below, both available in our Gearbox and Transmission section
Item 01166 - Norton 500T Kickstart Spring
This will certainly go as one of the rarer items that we have reproduced - To add to are increasing range of Norton related kickstart springs - we are now able to offer the Norton 500T Trials gearbox version kickstart spring.
As with other kickstart springs we offer - this spring is UK manufactured by our specialist spring maker and a genuine 'New Old Stock' 500T spring was lent to me from a good friend with an original 500T, as the pattern.
New Item - Norton 1925 Spare Parts List Facsimile - Reproduced in large A4 Format
As far as I am aware - this is the first Norton Spare Parts List printed (although I would be happy to be proved wrong - feel free to email us if you know of an earlier version . . .but I have never seen one, and this Spare Parts List does say it covers the 1925 and earlier models.
I got the the opportunity to purchase this very hard to find Spare Parts List from a collection some time ago - and even if you are not fortunate enough (like myself) to own a Flat Tank Norton, it still provides an excellent read in its own right. As with all pre-war Spare Parts Lists that followed - this catalog was pre-'Exploded Diagram', instead showing every part as an individual line drawing - but in fine detail, almost resembling a photograph. Although the original catalog was in very good original condition - as with all our Facsimile catalogs - we have spent some considerable time ensuring all defects and thumb prints have been removed . . . and with all our simiilar pre-war Spare Parts catalogs, we have reproduced it in a larger A4 Format, on high quality paper - rather than original small A5 format, which greatly incresases its readability - pictures bein much clearer than the original format.
It also includes an interesting one page picture of all the 1925 model range - including the Norton sidecar and the catalog includes details of the earliest OHV Models. I have to say - while doing all the photoshop work to produce this facsimile . . . I found it difficult not to get distracted just by reading this most interesting Spare Parts Catalog - it really is an excellent read! (and BTW - how many Norton Spare Parts Lists do you know that lists Norton Part Number - '0001' .. . well this catalog does!
. . . And to Go With Above . . .
The Corresponding 1925 Maintenance Instructions (For Touring And Speed Models)
From the same collection - comes this very early Workshop Instruction Manual. Also reprrodcued as in A4 format (from its original A5 size) - although not as interesting to read as the Spare Parts List, it does give useful information on maintaining early flat tank models, including things such as ignition and valve timing. Finally see Item 1152 - we offer a slight discount when both facsimiles are purchased together
Finally - We offer a slight discount if both of these 1925 catalogs are purchased together - click on picture below:
New Item - Norton 1951 Spare Parts List - The only Spare Parts List to Show exploded DOHC Cambox Details!
As far as I am aware - this is the first Norton Spare Parts List printed showing an exploded view of the DOHC cambox (and actually, I cannot remember ever seeing another Spare Parts list that showed the later shortstroke camboxs - but let me know if you happen to have one!). It is very similar to the 1948 Spare Parts list (which we also offer - and use part numbers from that to reference many of our parts) - but this 1951 has more pages and has lots of subtle differences - including the differences ot the last (1950 spec) Gardengate Manx - with alloy oil and petrol tanks.
This facsimile is printed in high quality A5 format and is an interesting read
New Item - Norton 1949 Model Range - A3 Laminate Poster and Trade Dealer A5 Pullout Facsimile
Many years ago I was very fortunate to be given a genuine period Norton Dealership 'Pullout' of the 1949 Norton range, the original no doubt been given to potential customers to put up on their workshop walls. I have never seen another one since, and thought it was just oo pretty not to do something with .. . so after some careful Photoshop repairing of the frail original - we have now produced this as an A3 size full colour plastic laminated poster - so it can go on your workshop wall, and be wiped down when you sneeze your tea all over it! As well as the A3 poster - each copy is also supplied with an A5 version of the same pullout - i.e. this A5 version opens up into the original Norton Pullout format, with both sides replcated. Both will be posted in an A3 'Please Do Not Bend envelope.
Other Facsimiles - Back In stock:
0230: 1948 Spare Parts List and 0136: Specification and Tuning Sheets for Amal TT/RN and GP Carbs
These are two of our most useful facsimile catalogs - the 1948 Spare Parts list is the definitive spare parts catalog for most SOHC and OHV/SV engine and chassis parts - and historically it is this we have based our own parts numbers on (we use an Item number, then part number in our listings).
The Specification and Tuning sheets for Amal competition carburettors has a collection of original parts diagrams through the years these carburettors were originally produced - along wtih Amal original setup sheets and setup information from Norton. Invaluable for anyone struggling on the order to set these sometimes finicky carbs up. Both now back in stock
Item 1155 - 180 Degree 'Norton Type' Floatchamber Banjo to Fit Original Amal TT/RN Carbs
We have had a small batch of alloy 180 Degree type twin inlet floatchamber banjos - to fit original Amal TT/RN and GP1 carbs.
The 180 degree type were the type normally fitted to Norton competition types and are much more difficult to find than the more common 90 degree or single inlet type. Have a read of the detail listing before ordering though
I may have already listed this a few months ago . .. but just in case .. . just want to remind customers we now list a very nice (CNC manufactured) version of the well known 'Push/Pull' Enots fuel taps. I have seen a few different versions of this tap made, but think this is possibly the nicest made of any of them.
For those wondering - I will get back to machining Norton SOHC International fuel taps (with the big curved bowl) at some point this year - I still have a small batch half made . .
Item 1156 : Shorter (25") Version of our Pre-War Type, Rubber Sheathed Speedometer Cable
A customer asked recently if we could manufacture a slightly shorter version of our Pre-War rubber sheathed speedometer cable? (see Item 1046, or Item 1045 for our similar rubber sheathed early rev clock cable).
This customer wanted to replicate the look of those speedo cables where there was no 'slack', and the rubber cable followed the line of the girder fork tube. We have obliged and made up the pattern for this length as well, in case other customers also prefer this shorter length - but make sure you check the length is sufficient for your bike first.
I am in the process of making a new batch of the other rubber sheathed cables - all should be back in stock by mid June.
We can now offer on its own - the distinctive frront spring that was fitted to the front of the Andre damper assemblies that were fitted to original SOHC Norton International and Manx Nortons. These springs are made in stainless stee and are useful if your original spring is missing or has seen better days - particularly as this assembly sits in a prominent position
We also supply the complete Andre assemblies - as shown in the picture below - but a new batch are still being assembled and it may be mid-June until we can deliver - they can be reserved now thoughbe avai
New and Restocked Electrical Items
Genuine Lucas 6 Volt Bulbs From The Lucas' Classic Range
We already list numerous items from the Lucas Classic Range (see their beautiful 'Attette' horns below) - but as we already sell wiring harneses, and a number of light and horn fittings, as fitted to Norton single models - it seemed worth also stocking the most commonly fitted 6 volt bulb horns - all being genuine Lucas bulbs. It is worth saying - if you do not see the bulb you require - we can also obtain 12v bulbs, as well as more expensive LED version of some of these bulbs, by special order
Other Lucas Bits back in stock:
Lucas Altette Horns (6v shown - but 12v also available by special order, not cheap but really excellent quality) and early '50's Brake Light switch (as fitted to Norton single models)
- Both Now Back In Stock
Douglas Parts Re-Stock Update and Coming Soon
0980: Douglas 2 3/4hp and 4hp Models - Douglas Type Fuel Tap With Cylinder Filter
In the last two years since introducing this item - is has been gratifying to know there are so many people that own an Edwardiian flat tank Douglas and have wanted to fit these distincitive fuel taps.
I have just completed another batch of the CNC parts and they are back in stock again - a very pretty item
0982 - Early Amac Floatchamber (Stainless Steel) Bottom Nut and Brass Ferrule
And attached to the other end of the fuel pipe from the petrol tap . . . I have also manufactured a new batch of the nuts and ferrules that were fitted to early Amac floatchambers of the Flat Tank era.
These nuts are specifc to early Amac carburettors - they have a bigger/finer thread than later Amal carbs - and importantly the brass ferrule has a steeper taper than all other later ferrules - again specific to this early type of Amac floatchambers. We CNC both items and the nuts are in stainless steel and linished - so as well as being practical they are very pretty.
The ferrule is designed to be a size fit into the copper pipe used for fuel pipe on most flat tankers of this era and i believe this type of Amac carb and floatchamber were fitted to a number of Edwardian models, not just Douglas bikes
We manufacture two types - the original type below and a slightly modified type above - which has an addition of a small slot milled in the top - which helps keep the silve steel pin captivee
Of the two types - our modified version seems slihghtly more popular, but both types do the job (and of course we also sell the valve springs in the same Douglas section
0687 - Douglas 2 3/4hp Square Headed Shouldered Bolts and nuts - Various Types
We make quite a few of these early and distinctive Douglas square headed bolts - as well as nuts, some in commonly available 1/4" BSC and a couple in the rare original 25tpi that Douglas had a habit of using!
For the moment they are all niw back in stock . .. although I think we may be running short on a couple of them
I have mentioned that I am working my way through a large list of parts, which are currently out of stock and need to be remade.
Well, in the Douglas list - the following items I am hoping to manufacture again in the next 2 months:
- New Item: Douglas (2 Speed shown) Gearbox LH Sprocket Nut -I intend to make a small batch of these in stainless steel, but with a slightly extended Hex shoulder. I have a standard nut on my own bike, but was thinking it maybe useful to make one with a bigger hex, where occasionally I could start the bike on its stand, using a torque drill on this nut
- Item 0976: Douglas Engine Mount (pinned) Bolts
-Item 0977: Similar pinned headstock Bolts
-Item 0978: Barrel Base Nuts (25 tpi)
-Item 0737: Crankcase Tappet Guides
There are a few other parts I know we are running short of, or need to make - email us on firstname.lastname@example.org if you need an update on anything in particular - sorry but think early Douglas fork spindle sets may be a while until I get to them again
0849 Tank Top Screws and 0701 Gearchange Gate Screws
I have to confess - I was recently a bit confused about both these items - as I thiought we had ran out of both .. . . but on checking - they are both still in stock (just) . . . so we have amended our catalog to show that - sorry for any confusion if you had tried to order them and been told they were out of stock.
That said, I know we are running out of both, so I do have them on my curren 'CNC Re-Stock' list - but that is quite a big list at the moment, so if you need them - get them while still available!
Other New or Restocked Products This Month
(i.e. some were previously showing Out of Stock on our Catalog)
SOHC Big End Units - Various Types - Back In Stock
It was a couple of months ago now - but we recently had a new batch of all our range of SOHC Big Ends - This includes the 500cc Mod 30 shown here, the smaller Mod 40 350cc Big End (Item 0071B) and both early and late 30M/Manx type Big Ends (Items 0072 and 0072D). All can be found in our SOHC Crank section
0863 and 0864: OHV/SV Big End Assemblies - Also Back In Stock
Likewise, we also have a new stock of our OHV and SV Big Ends in stock (shown here - Hotdipped iin grease was to protect them in storage).
We offer two types of OHV/SV Bgend - the original 'uncaged' design (Item 0863) and an updated 'caged' (Item 0864 - shown), which is a good choice if you are running your engine hard - both available in our ES2 Section
Item 0072B - Early Type M30/Manx Big End Nuts
Just a reminder that early M30 (Longstroke Manx) engines were originally fitted wtih a Hex nut, of bigger diameter than the International SOHC Engine. I think this may have been because the area of shoulder that pressed into the flywheels was less on the narrower Manx crank, so these nuts have a larger flat surface.
We can offer this early Hex Manx type nut seperately, as well as the later 'castellated' nuts (Item 0072C) which were most commonly fitted to later DOHC engines, but often found now fitted to earlier M30 cranks.
1149 - OHV/SV Big End Nuts
Similarly, we also offer the Big End Nuts for the smaller OHV/SV Big End assemblies on their own - useful if you have an old stock Bigend still sat in your workshop, without nuts
0882 - Stainless Steel Lipped Clutch Spring Bolts - -Back in Stock
These popular 'lipped' stainless steel clutch bolts make fitting and adjusting your clutch springs a much easier task (if you had prevviously lost the original lipped bolts - and instead were using normal bolts with a washer behind them!). We mill the hex on these to the correct Whit spanner size, and they have a lip on the reverse side to self centre the clutch spring. A new batch of these pretty bolts now back in stock
0883 - Stainless Steel 'Wasted' (Early Racing Type) Lipped Clutch Bolts -
. . . .As with the 'normal' type lipped nuts on the left - we also manufacture the same bolt with a 'Wasted' head, which look very pretty when fitted to an open racing clutch - as in this picture.
0883 - Stainless Steel 'Square Head (Later Manx Type) Clutch Bolts -
- All 3 Types Back In Stock
. . . .And finally - an item I particularly dislike making . . . but having been out of stock for some time - we have manufactured a new batch of these special shouldered clutch spring bolts - with a square spanner head - as was used on Norton Model 30M and later Manx models. See listing for more information on how these are made - and note we also sell a very handy screwdriver/spanner for screwing them in - Item 0885
Just a reminder to anyone who was not aware we can supply tax discs - when you order a tax disc from us - we will supply 3 copies (two with your own bike details already pre-printed in a 'handwritten' font, but also a 3rd copy left blank - so you can 'handwrite' the details in yourself, if you so wish).
Each tax disc faithfully reproduces the exact detail of the original years, including the correct underlying watermark and year details (you would be amazed how many other reproduction tax discs do not do this!) -
and each tax disc is printed on a high quality paper, similar to the original, and printed on a professional photography printer.
We would go as far to say - we think our tax discs are in the top 3 suppliers of Facsimile tax discs for quality and closeness to originality - but our cost are much cheaper than some others you may have seen
We might offer a 'War Year' next, email if you dont see the year you are after
Norton Clutch plates - Both Non-Surflex (shown above) and Genuine Surflext - back in Stock
We recently had new batchs of our friction clutch plates - both non-Surflex and genuine Surflex type. Click on link to go to clutch and gearbox section.
Above are the non-Surflex type, with the genuine Surflex type being Item 0253 (I always used to use the Surflex type for racing)
Note - I will be working my way through a number of smaller clutch and gearbox parts that are out of stock over the coming 3 months - please keep an eye on our Homepage for updates, as I will update that page as they come back online
. . . And Finally - Stuff Coming Up or on the 'To Do' List . . .
Parts Expecting To Be Back In Stock In The Next 3 Months:
I am busy at the moment going through a long list of 'Stock Outs', and expect many more of those out of stock parts to be available again in the coming months (including some bigger items also being re-manufactured by trusted partners)
The picture above left is our M30/Manx type 'Oilers' which were fitted to wrapround tanks front and back to oil both primary and rear chains. I know I said some months ago these were expected soon - but then CNC and family issues prevented me from finishing off and assembling the next batch - however, I will be getting back to these in the next 4 weeks. Click on the photo or email us if you wish to order in advance
On the right is a picture of the distinctive gearbox bolt (original part number A2/405, and called ' Change Speed Indicator Bolt, strangely enough!), which allow the selector mechanism to be greased wtihout removing the cover - I will be making a new batch of these and many other of the currently out of stock Gearbox parts in the coming weeks. Email us on email@example.com if you wish to reserve anything or need an update on availablility
Some of the other parts expecting to remake in the next 3 months:
- Item 0248: Norton Single Crankcase Breather - One Way Valve (seems like only yesterday since made these, very popular)
- Item 1051: Norton Gearbox Camplate and Quadrant Bushes
- Item 1059: Norton Upright Gearbox Selector Front and Rear Bushes
- Item 0903: Clutch Cable Adjusters - Racing Type
- Item 0875 : Girder Fork Crown Main Nuts
- Item 1008: Girder Fork Greasing Bolts
- Item 0091 SOHC Engine Cheesehead Screw Sets (Note: please email if you wish to reserve a set of these, so I know quantities - also email us if your are an OHV or Side Valve owner - as I may make a batch of the 48/57 OHV/SV cheesehead screw sets at the same time if enough interest)
Lots of other Norton fasteners or smaller parts showing out of stock, and some Douglas parts
- Note: to check out any of these parts - to remind yourself if waiting for them - you can just enter the 4 digit number in our RacingNorton 'Search' function on the left sidebar. Always include the '0' in the search if item is less than 1000, i.e. '0963'
Longer term - I will be looking at a new batch of our short 'Manx Type' upright gearbox gear levers, a new batch of oldham couplings and possibly SOHC vertical shafts, and numerous other parts we are currently working on - but not far enough developed to confirm yet