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Electra Cylinder Head Removal

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Can the left side Electra cylinder head be removed with the engine in the frame?

Jack

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Well, I removed both heads on my Navigator with the engine in the frame

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Thanks Ulrich.  But the Navigator does not have the frame supports that the Electra has - which keep the head from clearing the frame.

Jack

I think you have answered your own question Jack. Seat off. Tank off.  If you take the nuts off both sides of the front top frame, the head steady bolt, the two 5/16 bolts in headstock and then remove the cross stud above carb, you are getting near removing the plates. Horn off, coils off, carb off, and things are getting clearer.

Exhaust, footrest, silencer to remove.

Tell us how it went. I'd love to know the easy way.

Best wishes

Peter

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I was looking at removing the supports yesterday but was concerned the whole front of the bike would come crashing off.  I guess that's probably the only way to have enough clearance beneath the main frame for the left side head to clear.  (I already took the right one off to look for a possible crack.  And need the other one off to replace the head gasket.)

I'll see if I can post a pic or two later today.   (It's about 7:30 a.m. here right now - LOL.)

Jack

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He's a frame pic I found somewhere and a close up of the left side support just in front and above my left hand head.  When the head is lifted up for removal, the rocker assembly hits the fore and aft support along the frame and catches the front of the head as well.

Jack

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Al Osbourne has an Electra, drop him an email, or give him a ring? Do those supports unbolt, or are they welded as well? 

Dan 

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The frame supports un-bolt as Peter described.  Except for the fact mine have probably been in place since new and are a bit rusty, they came loose relatively easily.  This allowed me to left the left side up and remove the head with no problem.  A positive result of the heads removal is that both looked quite good with very little mess on the valves.  The pistons also had almost no carbon on them.  I guess the 4300+ miles on the old speedometer may have been right for this almost 55 year old Norton.  Yea.  

Jack

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Yes I have an Electra and I do as little fettling as I can get away with....I remember that I partially removed the plates by removing the rear bolts and slackened the front bolt so that the plate can pivot upward, allowed as much access as one needed.

Al Osborn.

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I'm in the throes of assembling an Electra from a large pile of bits. The frame is basically done bar a few odd spacers etc,so I'm about to crack on with the engine. Crank has been reground, barrels honed for the NOS pistons.New valves, guides etc...

Doing a dry assembly with just the bare crankcases was a fiddly enough job, and the prospect of wielding a fully assembled engine into the frame is not one I relish, least of all single-handedly. I had planned to install just the bottom end, then fit pistons barrels heads etc in situ, but reading the above makes this look a non-starter. My interpretation is the length of the barrel studs necessitating the upward lift etc, so just a thought, would it be practicable, a la 850 Commando, to fit HT Allen bolts? That way once barrels lowered onto the cases, its then a simple job (!) to slide the heads on, and drop the bolts into place.

Assuming suitable HT bolts could be procured.......

Maybe I should have finished off the engine completely first, then assembled the frame round it!

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Hi Michael,

You are right in assuming that it is much easier to built the frame around the completed engine.

You will need a helper to lift the completed bottom end into the frame and secure it.

If you remove the primary side that saves weight and gives you much better access to rear engine mounting.. Remove gearbox internals saves weight.

Now you can probably lift engine in single handed.

Suggest you remove all 12 cylinder securing studs then drop barrel over the pistons. Then replace studs. Then remove re-inforcing plates from frame. Then add cylinder heads and the rest.

PLAN B

For the sake of a few bolted connections in your assembled frame, I'd consider undoing the bolts that secure the frame front piece (3 studs and reinforcing plate) , bolt the engine rear to the central frame member (2 studs), and bolt the frame front section back onto the engine and frame (5 studs and headsteady)

You can do this with a fully assembled engine if you are strong enough or have enough helpers and wooden supports.

Peter

 

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Peter thats really helpful, thanks. Plan B looks good, I'm not too advanced with the frame build so not a major step backwards for me. I'd like to progress with the engine on the bench as far as is practical, so I can get timing spot on, although a Pazon is certainly top of the list.

Think I will hold off with all the starter and its drive.

I'd liked to have assembled the gearbox whilst on the bench as well, but I might hold back on that to keep weight down. Already had one op for a hernia, no laughing matter.

A proper m/c workbench would have been great, but I'm not going to drag one of those through the back garden to the garage!

When I was in the Jaguar Owners club 20 years ago, there was a gag:

Q. How do you build an XJ6?

A. First, support the heater matrix 2' in the air......

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The photos attached show the profile on the strengthening plates on my Electra. I got the tappet covers, heads, and barrels off without unbolting the frame. I presume a previous owner has modified the plates as per some comments elsewhere on the forum. Note the frame is now unbolted because the engine is out.

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Leave the starter off till engine is in the frame, this would also mean you can leave primary drive/clutch out, and as you say leave the gearbox out until the engine is in place in the frame so it looks like a motor cycle. The starter is bolted to the primary drive inner, I found it all came out as one.

Mike have you still got those strange white leathers?

 

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