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Discussion Starter #41 (Edited)
Found an hour or so today to spend on the MANX today as waiting for parts to turn up for another bike. No point getting involved in anything time consuming so I thought I would put the carb back together.

The carburettor and float chamber had been stripped and the alloy parts given to my favourite vapour blaster for a facial.

The correct carb for this bike is a 10GP long snout Amal a rare thing nowadays as most were thrown into the nearest bin when the short snout 10GP turned up. There's not a lot of different between these two carbs (see photo below) but the later version has a thicker mounting flange and it is more robust. The original carb was supplied to me incomplete with the cap, cap locking ring, main jet holder, fuel feed banjo, slide, slide spring and needle all missing, I guess after living in a box for 44 1/2 years bits were bound to go missing. Rooting through some of boxes of parts and managed to find all but a cap and locking ring, I ma sure I'll find the missing parts in a day or so.

The float chamber is also rare today, it's a bottom feed type and correct up to 1956 for competition bikes, in 1957 the weir type turned up which is less prone to flooding and comes with a tickler for flooding when cold starting. The earlier pair of long snout carb and bottom feed float chamber doesn't have a good cold start system, there is a choke facility but its crap and can cause normal running problems so often its removed. So how do you start a high compression single cylinder GP bike with no tickler or choke? Easy turn the fuel on and lean the bike over toward the float side (split fuel falls to the road and not all over the engine), I am talking Rossi angles of lean, this allow the float the jam open the float valve so petrol can flood the chamber. Then back up to vertical and roll back on to compression and bump start.

carb and float 3.jpg
Prior to assembly, but missing main jet block, top cap and locking ring.

carb and float 2.jpg
Before and after. The dirty carb lived in the same storage box for 44 1/2 years as the blast cleaned carb and float chamber. The dirty carb is the later type 10GP and correct for Manx 350 from 1957 to 1960, note the difference in mount flange thickness and length flange to slide CL.

carb and float 4.jpg
Finished but still missing a cap and locking ring, I am sure I'll find replacements in a day or so.
 

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Very cool that the blasting is safe for the carbs.
 

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Discussion Starter #43 (Edited)
Very cool that the blasting is safe for the carbs.
Actually any form of blasting is not good for carbs, filling jets with glass bead isn't a good idea. All of the jet apertures, the venturi and slide tower are blocked off prior to blasting. When stuff like this comes home to me it will be put into and an ultrasonic bath to ensure all is super clean.

A good blaster will plug all of the vulnerable areas of an item, they will know what they are doing. They should have box loads of plugs in various sizes to fit whatever they are working with.

Some advice: If you have NEVER used a specific specialist blaster, paint or engineering company before always test them 1st with something small before trusting them with your pride and joy. Always seek recommendations and endorsements for their work because it costs the same to do it right as to do it wrong, remember the rectification of a fuck up will be down to you to pay for or fight for: No matter how much you shout and stamp your feet the best you'll get is an offer to do the job again!
 

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Every time I see an old Classic returned to its ones glory it puts a smile on my face.
Keep up the hard work. look forward to see the old girl live again.
 

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Discussion Starter #45 (Edited)
I haven't managed to get much more done on the bike, waiting for parts and some other stuff to be done.

However I have managed to research the bike a bit and have uncovered the following;- I have spoken with NOC and Ken Macintosh who both have confirmed this is one of two sequentially numbered bikes that were delivered to John Surtees ( I may have mentioned John, but till now couldn't confirm) early in 1955 but no dealer is mentioned. This bike is the 350 and is matching chassis and engine number, I am waiting to find out if the gearbox and fork numbers are in the records but regardless the are correct for 55. I have also exchanged emails with John Surtees who confirmed that he collected both bikes from Harold Daniels and that he prepared both bikes for racing himself which he then raced in 55 with great success, "55 was a good year" John says. The modifications John carried out on his bikes where later built into the production 56 bikes he also tells me, so this bike must have gone back to Norton for analysis / strip at the end of 55. In 1955 John also rode Joe Craig's works Norton's in World Championship races and his own bikes in the domestic championship, 1955 was the only year he officially rode works Norton. He went to MV in 1956. This bike seems to have found its way to Francis Beart after John sold it (via his fathers shop; Jack Surtees) as there are several engine details which seem to confirm this, the drive side main for example I am told is probably Francis Beart or special order Norton works item, the bearing is an FBC item (not R&M) who would build special bearing for Beart and Steve Lancefield. So what a survivor! A matching number ex Surtees 350. Doesn't get much better does it. I should mention that John Surtees is to confirm all when he checks his personnel records.

....and its not mine its a clients Whaaaaaaaaaa!
 

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I have to wonder how an ex-Surtees semi-works racer with that sort of provenance ended up in that advanced state of decrepitude.
I often think about that kind of stuff too.
When would this bike NOT have been desirable?
 

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Discussion Starter #48 (Edited)
A simple answer!

Race bikes are battered and altered thoughout their competitive race careers. This particular bike is owned by a former racer, now 75, who purchased it in the winter of 1962 from another ex racer (well known at the time). The bike seized a piston during a race in 1971 was partially stripped but never rebuilt, the bike moved house several times but has basically stayed the same for 44 1/2 years, it could have been stored better. The owner knew it had a Surtees connection but had never bothered tracing the bikes ownership timeline as many of those he knew during his race career are long gone so who do you ask? He also had a successful business to run. I have just set about proving the bikes heritage with documentation and evidence, the owner also believed it was a 54 not a 55; he had never checked the numbers! The takeaway point is "44 1/2 years", he kept the bike not because it was worth 1000's but because it is part of his life. That in my opinion, that fact, is worth as much as the bikes numbers. Why? Because it hasn't been mucked about with since the prices went UP. The bike below I restored in 2013 it has been with the same ownership since 1972, it too is matching numbers and was factory supported in 61 and 62, its history is known since it left the factory in April 1960.

DSCF0219 schneider manx.jpg

It amazes me how many old race bikes are still out there undiscovered. I know of two bikes that are actually rotting away because their owners don't have the heart to sell. They are both museum contenders, as raced and battle scared. One is a Brooklands type racer with famous owner and the other is a Suzuki RG500 works bike that's in a cellar with perhaps 5 years of life before it is unrestorable. A crying shame.

The guy who owns the Norton that is the subject of this thread rode for Francis Beart in the early 60's and gave him a Manx GP win on a 350 Aermacchi, he also rode for Ray Petty and endurance raced for Mead and Tomkinson both BSA and Laverda until he was chucked off at Spa. Or rather he was there in period racing these bikes and has kept hold of this Norton and another Manx based racer fitted with the 3rd G50 engine built by Matchless, I haven't investigated that chassis yet but I know its definitely had the Beart treatment.

When forming opinions about originality or authenticity try to forget todays hunger for nostalgia and the prices these bikes can make (in this case I can't even begin to put a price on a Ex Surtees matching number manx). But try to understand that these bike were almost worthless in the late 60's and early 70's, the strokers had arrived and British GP singles were slow and dead therefore. Few wanted them and those that did paid pennies for them. Many years ago I helped a motorcycle shop move premises, the business had stood on the same spot since 1928 and the whole area was marked for demolition and redevelopment. When the stuff they wanted to keep was moved the old man said dump the rest. In the 1970's there were still WW2 bomb sites in the northern cities of England and we dumped everything un wanted into a hole on a flattened site about 300yds away. A flat tank Norton, new Ariel Arrow engines still in their boxes, 7R timing cases, crank cases, several other complete Panther 600's, there must have been 5 tonne of stuff mostly pre-war and about 1/4 was race stuff went into that hole, a year later a fire station was built on top. My point is you couldn't give that shit away back then. And the same is true more recently, what was a 1969 Honda 750k worth 15 years ago? And what's it worth today in the same condition?

Finally in 1984 I turned my nose up at an Aston Martin DB6 because it had a crunched front passenger wing and needed a head gasket. The price was £1800! What a dick head I was (and I probably still am).
 

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Discussion Starter #50 (Edited)
Just got this from John Surtees;

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Steve,

Relative to your query on the Norton numbers, the number ***** for the 350cc Norton was the Manx that I purchased at the beginning of 1955 along with a 500cc. It is not the works Manx that I purchased late in 1955 from the factory when the season was over. I used the 350cc Manx all over the country with the exception of one race at Scarborough, Aintree, Silverstone and Brands Hatch which took place at the end of the season. The engine was to standard Manx specification which I had just taken apart and reassembled carefully. I think I am correct in saying that we won most of our races together.

Kind regards,

John
John Surtees CBE

--------------------------------------------------------------------
John on the bike in 1955

norton_john_surtees.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #53 (Edited)
I haven't posted for a while so thought I would write a quick update. So what's happened? Well bugger all really, I have been busy on other stuff namely an Egli Vincent and Norton Domi which has suffered from a lack of my attention and keeps being pushed to the back of the queue. Like the Egli though is closed to being finished.

It hasn't all been dead slow as I did get a great big box of stuff from Ken MacIntosh in New Zealand which I still haven't opened, the petrol is being straightened up and should be back with me in a couple or 5 days. The crank, cases and cylinders are all due back. So I thought I better get going on the chassis. Well you've seen the photos of the engine and it's very poor state so I guess you should expect similar form the chassis. After 45 years in shed it looks ok, grubby but ok!

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The seat is scrap and not correct, the fairing which is an original Peel Mountain Mile (cut in places) will be replaced for the original type small and flat cowl. We found the original alloy primary chain guard and oiler reservoir (photographed on seat) as used by Surtees, these will be straightened up and refitted.

You can see the Reynolds number on the frame which shows the date the frame was made in this case 10/54. If you ever get involved with Manx Norton's and you are about to part with a huge pile of you hard earned check it has a Reynolds number. I have found bikes which have a frame number suggesting a bike was delivered in Feb58 but it had a Reynolds number stating 4/59!

Note the interesting twin pull cable modification to the front brake, this will be reversed in the final built and the correct air scoops re-instated. The rear brake plate was modified in 1964 and as you can see is a floating although an improvement it will be removed and a standard arrangement fitted. However I will sort as discrete mounting that will allow the brake to be refitted if desired. The rear shocks are original I haven't made up my mind to restore them or not; restoration is possible with new seals and rods by parting the seal carrier from the shock body in a lathe, make a new seal carrier which is threaded as is the inside of the shock body. new oil and new seals = sorted.

Everything else is pretty standard, the forks are Manx length and have internal springs, bottom and top yokes are standard 50's dominator all of which is correct for 1955. Bottom yoke changed in 56 and stayed the same till 57, top yoke stayed the same till 57 then the new drop type yokes turned up.

Interestingly the revcounter is the Rotating magnet conical type which I though turned up in 1956 but I have been sent a photo of Surtees's "works" development 500cc in 55 and it has the same tacho, I guess this bike must have got some TLC from the factory, The number on the Smith tacho is also different to number on all tachos fitted from 1956 which also have the suffix "N" for Norton.

Will strip all tomorrow and look for magnesium worm and cracks.
 

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Discussion Starter #54 (Edited)
This old girl is finally getting to the top of the pile.

The crankcases, timing cases, cam box have all been cleaned, blasted and chromated and although pitting is evident it's not too bad and the photographs make it look far worse than it is. In fact I was waiting for horrible news that they had been blasted away to nothing which I have seen in the past. You might want to take a look at some photos of these parts posted earlier in this thread then take a look at the photos below as the difference is quite startling.

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I still have some thread repairs to do on the crankcases, will make some bronze inserts as this material doesn't react with magnesium badly. I have used stainless in the past but not successfully, never use steel and some grades of alloy which will react with magnesium. You will notice a pillar which is bright alloy, this pillar supports the inner timing case and had broken off (not unusual) and has been replaced - welding 60 year old magnesium isn't exactly simple! When I took this project on I did a little research to firmly established the Surtees connection then wondered about those stripes on the bevel cover and outer timing cover something I had not seen before. So I asked a few guys from the period and I was pointed to a tuner who carried this sort of OCD lightening of parts and a related article published in "The Motorcycle" a UK weekly magazine sometime in the late 50's. So I took some old motorcycle magazines off shelf from 1957 to 59 and started to thumb through - and there I found a grainy photo of a Francis Beart prepared engine with the same modified covers, same number of cuts and the same "around the corner" machining as the bevel cover on this engine - not exactly easy to do in a pre CNC world. So it looks like the bike after it was sold via Jack Surtees's (John's father) shop ended up with Francis Beart doing a little spannering on the engine for a year or so.

Sadly one piece of casting suffered badly from 45 years on damp garage floor, namely the inner timing case which is badly corroded and I may need to find a replacement BUT will try some metal filler and machine after. If I can get it oil tight it will stay. See below.

image.jpeg

The crankshaft has been stripped and the parts blasted and treated, the shafts protected of coarse. The small end has been replaced, likewise the crankpin rollers but the journal and big end ring were perfect. So good news there.

The original cylinder has been re-sleeved and again I was waiting for a call telling me the cylinder had split pushing in the new liner but no the news was good and all went to plan. I had two cylinders and decided to do both, one as a backup should things go wrong so we now have a spare!

So will be ready to start putting the engine back together in a few days.

Will photo as I go, these engines are easy enough but they always present little problems. Looking forward to it after working on a few truly horrible engines recently which were true "bastards" in every sense of the word, real mongrels - rebuilding prewar race engines can require a bit of detective work as tuners would often use cranks or pistons or heads from different models or even manufacturers on specials. Trying understand exactly what's been used sometimes leaves me scratching my head for weeks and then when all becomes clear I have to find parts! Should stick to building parlour Tritons which are super easy.
 

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Such a cool project.
Thanks for sharing it here.
 

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View attachment 18032
New rollers in the sleeve gear, grease holds them in place for assembly.
If you happen to stop by and if you would be so kind...I have a memory test for you. Was there a steel thrust washer between the sleeve gear and the splined bronze thrust washer on the mainshaft?
In a parts diagram that I found (link below) it is shown as #12. The gearbox that I have arrived in pieces and there isn't a steel thrust washer. The way it looks, the bronze bit #11 doesn't look like it would suffer from being run directly up against the sleeve gear. I can only assume the parts diagram is correct and it needs the steel thrust washer but it would be nice to know for sure. I also wish I knew how thick it was, because I probably have a couple squirreled away and don't imagine they are easy to come by. I would also appreciate it if you could steer me towards a good source for new parts and a decent parts diagrams.

https://andover-norton.co.uk/en/shop-drawing/409/laydown-gearbox
 

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Discussion Starter #58 (Edited)
If you happen to stop by and if you would be so kind...I have a memory test for you. Was there a steel thrust washer between the sleeve gear and the splined bronze thrust washer on the mainshaft?
In a parts diagram that I found (link below) it is shown as #12. The gearbox that I have arrived in pieces and there isn't a steel thrust washer. The way it looks, the bronze bit #11 doesn't look like it would suffer from being run directly up against the sleeve gear. I can only assume the parts diagram is correct and it needs the steel thrust washer but it would be nice to know for sure. I also wish I knew how thick it was, because I probably have a couple squirreled away and don't imagine they are easy to come by. I would also appreciate it if you could steer me towards a good source for new parts and a decent parts diagrams.

Cyorg

1st off thanks for picking my brains. Its Monday morning and I'm still a little fuzzy before 9am.

Parts diagrammes = You need to get hold of a workshop manual try Bruce Main-Smith Technical Literature | National Motorcycle Museum

The laydown box is a good box but unfortunately very few stock any parts and few if any manufacturers support them. The AMC gearbox is well supported and we are fortunate that some parts crossover namely bearings and some bushes.

The spacer / shim you need only ever came in one size (only one part number listed) and its a pressing so not super accurate and as your gearbox will be worn I would make it, a new item would probably be too skinny anyway. I often make additional shims to take up wear and keep the gears meshing correctly. If you assemble each shaft as pictured, put all 4 bearing on the shafts to locate 1st and 4th. Now place both shaft assemblies together as they would be inside the gearbox shell, perhaps between a couple of parallels, you can slide "main" 3rd gear into position and mark the shaft on 2nd gear side. Measure the width of main shaft 3rd and then depth inside 4th to the scribed mark. Then do some maths. Put a lump of MS in a lathe and spin it up and you are sorted.

It will take a little fitting time though; assemble check clearances, it too wide remove a few thou and reassemble, check, remove a few thou etc . Take the box through its change sequence ideally the gear edges should align in the direction of thrust.

If you decide to find this part, try Russell Motors London (email) they still have a lot of old stock parts. They may take a while to get back though. The laydown box was Norton made and a copy of an earlier Sturmey Archer gearbox so you might find some part going that route.

During the build use the lay shaft roller bearing conversion its far better and much more stable than the original ball race. These gearboxes are notorious for leaking oil via the sleeve gear bearing, make sure you fit a shielded bearing the big deflecting washer behind the sleeve gear. It is also possible to fit an oil seal behind the sprocket in the same way as the AMC gearbox but the AMC seal is a different size. You will need to measure up and get the seal catalogue off the shelf. Also the original sprocket type is only available in 18 teeth (has a long shoulder that locates against the bearing) but you can fit AMC sprockets but you will need to make / fit a spacer behind the sprocket which you will need to size to match the seal if you decide to fit one.
 

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Thanks Jalsteve.
If I was over that side, I'd buy you breakfast for that one.... and thanks for the link to the museum as I wasn't aware of it... and it looks priceless. I haven't measured anything in this box yet, as I'm still cleaning and sorting, but so far I'm amazed at how good everything looks. I've been procrastinating about truing the chuck jaws, so time to pull my thumb out. +1 on the sleeve gear bearing leak, it's been a while since I've seen that much crud. It'll probably be considerably lighter when it come out of the dishwasher.
Would Russel Motors have the roller bearing conversion or is it all off the shelf stuff? Actually a more important question is how are things going with this Manx?
 
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