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I couldn't be happier...


Good morning fellows!

I rode the Inter 12 miles around my neighborhood area this evening past. i couldn't be happier with how the old boy runs. 

Carburation is exactly what anyone could hope for, throttle response is immediate, acceleration is even in all throttle valve positions.  The motor pulls strong up to 50 mph, i didn't go any faster than that as the engine build is, as i am told, all new parts. 

The Tell Tale leak is what i would consider negligible.  I have the oil pressure release screw turned nearly all the way in; running around 3 psi at idle and around 7 psi at higher rpm. 

The leak out of the lower bevel housing is not that much and appears to only be on the front; i think i will smear a bit of three Bond at that joint and see if that slows it down a bit; on the other hand, nothing i can't live with for at least the time being. 

The gearbox shifts easily, of course deliberate and positive foot movement is what i would expect and not far akin from shifting characteristics of my '67 Royal Enfield Interceptor Albion box. 

David, i now understand your concern about the sound emitting from the Brooklands can.  People were out walking their dogs this evening, i was glad i didn't get any evil stares nor dogs lunging at their leashes... 

I'm not certain that the generator is charging...  When i turn on the lights, the ammeter shows an approximate 6v discharge.  I am thinking with lights on the ammeter should show at least "0" or a little more than an amp above "0"...? 

I've posted some pics of the Inter in front of my garage door.  The compact side stand is an item from RacingNorton, it bolts securely to the frame tube underneath the primary cover, only shows the end of the stand with easy to access with one's foot to swing it down.  First bike I've owned with 3 stands!


...oh my gawd do i ever have an oil leak all down the front area of the "Oil Bath" outer primary cover; to be honest, i was rather surprised.  I have not looked closely for the source, but i can't imagine it is coming from the cam or either of the valve areas. 

The exhaust valve area leak is what i would describe as minor; the intake area has a fair amount but nothing that i find objectionable or at least yet.  The head and cylinder fins are anywhere from dry to a film; there is not oil dripping from the fins anywhere. 

Before i went for the ride, I filled the primary case until oil quit running out of the threaded plug below the foot rest.  Perhaps this is too much...? 

This is the only International I've ever been associated with; surely this leak is not the norm for the "Oil Bath" primary case...  As i have never had the inner primary cover off, I cannot visualize the hole the inner cover has for the drive shaft to pass through; so wondering if this could be where oil is leaking through...?  Would seem perhaps at least somewhat doubtful, as the outside of crankcase appears dry...  Or is the oil coming from another source...?    Attached is a picture of the primary; I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts as to the source of this leak; surely there is a way to stem the tide...

The few times i've had it running for 2-3 minutes and a couple other times for no longer than 10 minutes with fan blowing on engine i've not witnessed oil on the cover...  But then i did not have oil in the case. 

So perhaps oil in the case should be at a level barely touching or just below the chain's underside as it moves along with the clutch sprocket...?


I'm not certain that the generator is charging...  When i turn on the lights, the ammeter shows an approximate 6v discharge.  I am thinking with lights on the ammeter should show at least "0" or a little more than an amp above "0"...? 

The Ammeter measures AMPS not Volts. Yes it could/should come back to "0" So-polarise the dynamo, then check for an output with a lamp (D connected to F) then decide if it is a Dynamo fault or a regulator fault?


...the clarification of amperage output, not volts, i knew that, was late last night when i wrote out that post...

To polarize a Lucas generator, it's been a few decades, so i will appreciate advice to polarize the generator which operates in a positive earth arrangement. 

I seem to recall "D" terminal is the main brush and "F" terminal are the field coils; motoring the generator requires "F" and "D" terminals connected to the negative battery terminal and positive battery terminal connected to generator body, correct?

The regulator is a new solid state unit, i can only assume it is a working unit...  Using a DC multimeter to confirm the generator is charging, i will appreciate if you will tell me how to carry out the test.

Thanks in advance and kind regards,


In reply to by steve_swan


Steve, your engine has a breather at around 3 o’clock to the crankshaft.  There is a 

pipe connected to it aimed at your drive chain…   … make sure connection is tight.

Is it coming from there? It’s not aerated oil just looks like a deluge from some where.    

Fill level for primary is right when bike is level and bottom run of chain dips into the oil.  The crank also has a timed breather that may well have ejected the oil out of your sump into the primary raising the level significantly.  Open the fill level small bolt, see what comes out… Maybe it’s over full now. For your elimination journey, empty it. You can run for a few journeys without issue.  When you return open up the drain plug see ifs filled. If you outer cover is clean your in the zone!  

Did you drain crank cases before you started?  Wash down and dry the machine, dust the  suspect areas with talc, drain down the wet sump, start up.  Check out the breather, is it blowing oil? Take the inspection cover off the primary.  Is it blowing there?  Now the best bit…. It looks stunning, I can imagine the grin on your face as you pop it into third as the sound trails behind you. Those mountains behind your place are going to be calling!!!

The journey has started, it’s like a new girlfriend, need to pay attention to keep it sweet!



Does it have a complete belt? Maybe the previous owner ran it without oil and put in a discontinuous belt to let air in to help cool it? Some owners allegedly used o-ring chains, or some exotic stainless chain designex for zero lubrication in the food industry!  Chain saw oil or simply regular spray lube (it's difficult to spray the whole chain with the cover in place)

Permalink reply.

The chain is a standard Reynolds. 

The p.o. had never started the bike since its build 20 years ago, so much of what i am addressing is what one can encounter when the machine is put into service after the a complete build.

An O-ring chain is a good idea, sucks a little horsepower, but only periodic aerosol lube required, so quite clean compared to running the oil bath.  Something i might consider perhaps maybe... 

Given i ran the engine on the lift for probably 20+ minutes at varying rpm's, i would think that at least there would have been some sign of a leak...  i wish i had not added oil to the primary case before i went for the 12 mile ride, not having oil in the primary would have ruled any oil getting blown out to the outside of the case after my ride....   

...for your reply!  Reviewing your comments:

1. The breather pipe connection at 3 o'clock to drive shaft is tight and leads directly to the rear chain.  The back side of the inner primary cover is dry.  The chain is not overly wet nor does the rear wheel have oil on it.  Wiping down the head and cylinder; oil collection negligible.  There is no oil dripping from the bottom of the gas tank.  I am convincing myself that despite filling the primary case to up to and not past the bottom of the threaded hole below foot rest is still too much oil in the case.

2.  You observation of a deluge is correct and adds a new dimension to the pride and joy of Norton's "Oil Bath."  Given my observations in #1, not only do I not see where that oil came from i do not comprehend how oil got on the outside front half of case.  Needless to say, seeing that oil, I was shocked, but not quite senseless...

3.  Yes, the crankcase was empty before I test rode.  When you say "Check the breather, is it blowing oil?" do you mean the breather at the 3 o'clock position of the drive shaft?

4.  Next start up I will remove the primary inspection cover and look for oil blowing.  I'm going to 'see' what i can do to try to get some oil out of the case without removing the outer cover.  The two cover halves seal perfectly; I hate to tamper with my seal.  Regardless, what i may not discover the source of this leak, I will ride again, perhaps with the 

5.  YES!!!  Those 12 miles were a thrill.  Looking forward to more.  On yesterday's ride I was sorely tempted to ride into the foothills, but I figured there might be some details needing tended to after the 12 mile ride.  And there was.  I am looking forward to the next ride, but likely will wait for my registration and license plate to arrive before I venture further.

I know it's not a Norton, but attached is somewhat of a picture of the mountains; the body of water is the 4 mile long Horsetooth Reservoir.


Lovely Enfield,   The oil on the outside of the primary cover  is a puzzle . I don't see any way that could come from the primary drive.  Blown accross and down from the head more likely.  A thought, I used different colour oils in the engine, primary and gearbox. That helped to focus the attention to the real problem. Its quite obvious you are a competant  enthusiast , and time is the magic element , just add a little more !!.


...for your kind words.  I'm inclined to agree with you about the oil on the primary cover, but i'm holding out probably the false hope that somehow oil defied gravity and came up the outside of the inside cover...  I'll go out for another ride and see if there is a repeat performance of the oil deluge onto primary cover and try to keep an eye out for spotting oil dripping onto the primary cover.  The right side of the head on the intake side is fairly oily.  Both sides and front of the head on the exhaust side are dry, so i don't see how the copious amount of oil on the primary cover came down from the front of the head and the intake side is far enough back that i don't see how oil could have got up front on the primary cover.  i did get some of the oil out of the primary.  i guess if I've learned anything in my 69 years, it's that anything is possible...

... not a bad looking bike either. 

In #3  I meant the crankshaft breather that vents into the primary...

 Wash down and run it till you spot the source.  Does it smoke on startup?  Have you  adjusted the feed to the rear of the piston??  I still recommend draining the primary and run it a  while to see if it self fills. If the chain is wet you are OK to continue.   (The lube is also for the clutch drum rollers so don't go up in them far off hills till you are filled again)!

Next trip out it will probably be clear...


PS: The saddle badge rivets are on eBay under "Terry's seat badge rivets"...  split shank and  fold out, like a split pin paper fastener.



...a quick reply...  I believe we've talked about this crankshaft breather before, so maybe i don't know i need to be looking for...  attached are a couple poor quality pics of what i am attempting to visualize...  A pipe attached to crankcase in the 3 o'clock position that leads back to the rear chain which is all that i can see...  i need to get out the books and do some reading, i'm a bit hurried today...  My son and i are going to look at a 2009 MV Agusta F4 RR312...  We've been talking about them for 22 years now...  Here's a couple pics of him racing a few years ago...  We love motorcycles.


…he knows what he’s doing.  The crankcase has a breather 3 o’clock to the crankshaft.   You have dealt with that.     Now I may be getting confused: I thought the crankshaft had a feed out to the drive side main bearing that drained into the primary chain case?  I can’t find reference to it so I may be confused with another model.  Too many engines not enough brains…. Too early to disturb the chain case.    

Think a repeat test will guide you closer…




...sometimes i think i think i'm more confused than not so much..!  Agreed on repeat test ride.  Hoping the deluge will not return, it sure was a lot of oil compared to what little i was seeing from above, but maybe the wind was blowing it down...  The oil on the primary looked like someone dumped it on...  Take care and will update at my earliest convenience.  My ex-racer son and i picked this up today...  


… and no oil…

Afraid it won’t be adding to your list of conundrums, Just press the button…. And go!!!


Very nice Steve 



Although I've been working a lot since my last post that I logged 12 miles on the International, in the mean time I cut a 4x2 inch pad from some high-absorbent fabric, folded it in half and tucked it under the cam box as you can see in the pictures. 

This evening I took the bike out for a 6 mile run, speeds of 50 mph, and upon parking the machine there was no oil on the outer front half of the primary cover.  Hopefully these 6 miles was sufficient mileage to rule out that the this high-absorbent fabric halted the oil deluge pictured in my earlier post...  (My test rides are limited as I am reluctant to ride much out of my neighborhood area because as yet I have no paperwork for the machine; I am waiting on receiving registration and license plate which is another story of no import to you fine fellows living "across the pond.")

Upon closer inspection, after the 6 miles, it was quite evident that there is obvious oil leakage at the site where the A11/778 "valve guide lubrication pipe" enters the small hole intended to lubricate the valve guide. This leakage travels on both sides of the intake valve area on to cyl.head fins, etc.  So, I cut 1/2" wide strip of the high-absorbent fabric and stuffed it around the circumference of the inlet valve stem area; hopefully this strip should help better determine how much oil is coming out the area where the "lubrication pipe" inserts to feed the valve guide and stem.

There appears to be no oil leakage on the exhaust "valve guide lubrication pipe."

As I type this, I am looking at Schoen's book and the factory parts book, but cannot visualize where the end of the "lubrication pipe" would meet up with the valve guide so I can better understand how the end of the pipe fits into what it fits into...  (I am assuming there might be a hole in the valve guide that the end of the "lubrication pipe" feeds into...?) (attached is a picture to show this "valve guide lubrication pipe" I am referencing).

So, my questions are these:  "What does the end of the "valve guide lubrication pipe" fit in to?"  Is it common to experience an oil leak at the site of where these pipes enter the head?

Even after cutting the leather washer to help stem the flow from the Tell Tale, i still have more oil leaking from it than i would like, but the leather washer has fairly significantly slowed the flow.

In closing, the Concentric Premier offers excellent starting and idling characteristics and steady acceleration through all throttle valve openings.  The engine pulls strong.  The gear box shifts deliberate and positive.  Compared to other pre-unit singles I have owned, the kick start gear ratio seems to be such that there is not a whole lot of cranking speed when firmly stepping down full weight on the kick lever.  Thank goodness the engine starts on the 1st or 2nd kick.  At some point, I am going to measure the compression psi; the amount of compression is very strong.  Overall performance is thrilling.

OK; the feed pipes are a snug fit into the head, you seems to have a large hole on the inlet side.  The pipes are often swaged to a taper to fit.   Its reputed that the exhaust feed often blocks off  with carbon as the oil burns, but I have not had that experience to date.  They do come out for a  clean now and then.

Test that the depth and diameter of the hole reaches through the guide to the valve stem,  it may only be oversized for a short distance to put an "O" ring into?

QUICK TEST would be to run with the pipes capped off...  It will not cause harm on 12 mile run...

For correctional work you can:

Mod the pipe with a soldered sleeve over that will fit into the hole.

Try a mini "O" ring to seal the pipe in position

Make up an  aluminium slug to fill the hole and re drill to the correct size.  (It may not be [hope] through the valve guide at that larger diameter).  If it is; Valve out job).

 As an aside do you know he jetting chosen for the premier carb?  Would like to test against the  930 I have on at present.

 Looking very good Steve :-)




...for your illuminating reply.  Needless to say, the intake pipe is not a snug fit at all.  Knowing that the pipes were a taper fit helps alot. 

I can silver solder to make the built up area around the circumference of the pipe a solid interference fit....  If i understand correctly, there is first the larger hole in the head followed by a smaller hole in the guide...  Am i of the correct understanding?  The hole in the head does not look large enough to accommodate an O-ring, but i will more carefully visualize what i am looking at. 

I can see clear in to the valve stem, will need to try to visualize if the hole in the guide is smaller.  What i do know is that the pipe goes in quite a distance, i am guessing nearly right up to the stem...  i suppose if I built up with solder around the circumference of the pipe where it enters the hole in the head that would provide the seal i want...?  or does that taper fit into guide hole...?   Does one place or the other matter...?  I'm too chicken to do any drilling of the head, will implement conservative approaches first... 

My Premier specs are:

Slide - #3 (hard anodized)

Jet needle position - middle notch

Needle jet - 106

Pilot jet - has 2 rings making it a #17

Main jet - came with a 310.  I dropped it down to a 300 as i am 5,000 feet of altitude and wanted to reduce the amount of gas above 7/8 throttle valve opening.  Once i have registration and license plate, then i can test fwo (full wide open) going up a steep grade as well as check for any stagger backing off from fwo.

fwiw, here is an informative link discussing the Premier -

Also, fwiw, the #15 has 1 ring, #17 has 2 rings, #19 has 3 rings, so forth and so on up to a #23

As always, than you for your most kind and generous help.


My valve guide oil feed pipes were fitted by a UK expert. They seem to pass through a hole in a cooling fins, emerge from that and then jam into holes in the head leading to the valve guide. They were then glued in place  with black silicone sealant! As you are finding, it's not easy to work out where oil comes from. Racers were happy with accessible valve springs, and didn't worry about leaks. Rocker leaks are usually blamed on the wipers above and below the rockers, but allegedly commonly come from the sides.

I'm afraid I just carry a rag and wipe it down when I stop.  With castor oil, although it's much more stable than in the 'Good Old Days'  it still lacquers itself where it lands on hot surfaces...especially the exhaust.

Your bike looks very pretty...hopefully you'll get some miles on it before winter returns.


...for your reply.  It's good to know that those pipes are to be a snug interference fit.  In the next day or two what i will do is silver solder around the circumference of the pipe and then remove the excess solder sufficient that i can then push that section of the pipe into the hole in the head.

I never imagined that I would feel reassured that I need to carry a rag with me to wipe down a motorcycle after a ride, but I do.  It's good to hear fellow rider's experiences with their machines as the OHC single is not like anything I've owned prior.

I am expecting that I should have the registration and license plate any day now; we typically have fine Autumn weather until the end of October, so there should be plenty of time for me to put some miles on the bike.  When i have a plate, then I'll take it up in the foothills and take some pictures to share.

Steve, in my experience the pipes seal into the head casting, not the guide.  A small dab of sealant back from the open end of the swaged pipe to seal on to the casting stops them dribbling and leaves them removable to clean through occasionally.  An increase in OD with silver  solder should do the trick.  Just remember to clean out the inside of the pipe after heating. 

The  hole you have in the cylinder head is not standard; so the fit of the pipe is now bespoke to your engineering skills.  If its a parallel hole then a parallel pipe would fit well.  I would stop it just  short of full depth of the drilling towards the guide so there is a small plenum there, any  misalignment between pipe end and guide drilling will be negated.

 Another improvement in hand...

Thanks for the carb set up, it is what I have though still on 310 main I will keep it for reference.


Best regards



...for your comments which further clarify what I am addressing.  The other day when i was cleaning off the oil from the machine, i decided to smear some Permatex Ultra Grey on the circumference of the pipe where it enters the head in an attempt to see if this might stop the flow of oil on to the outside of the head.  I'll be pleasantly surprised if this is a long term solution, but will at least will get to see what the smear job might do...  Right now it is rather warm here... the past few days upper 90'sF/35C (tomorrow forecast 101F/38C) so i am reluctant to run a freshly rebuilt engine in this heat...  Here is what Permatex ultra Grey is >>>

I would imagine you are near sea level, so in that case probably the 310 main will work for you.  My being at 5,000 feet, we are right on the cusp of whether factory jetting at sea level will perform well; sometimes it does and sometimes it does not.  i decided to opt for a 300 without giving the 310 a try and as i mentioned earlier i am very satisfied with the results.

It is gratifying to be able to better understand my International, as it is a real pleasure to ride not to mention look at.

Best  thing is to smear the Permatex and leave it to cure whilst the external heat is on. Time for a blast on a big Enfield?? Interesting to see if the hole on the exhaust side is the same size as the inlet feed.   Thanks for Carb tips. I suffer a bit on the overrun, firing in the exhaust occasionally.

With your felt pads and new control on the valve feeds you should be able to see masked sources of oil emission, or…. You may have cured the problem.  if the tell tale is still weeping you can have the one I showed separated in the photos for reworking / experimenting.





... the hole in the head the exhaust pipe goes into is huge, at least to my eyes.  Why it doesn't leak oil is something i'm not going to explore until it starts leaking...

Too damn hot for any sort of riding. I've done my share of riding in snow, hail and down pouring rain, not to mention 110'F temps.  I'm getting old and so are my machines; I look forward to the near windless sub-85'F late afternoon and early evening weekday rides.  Nothing on weekends unless i am riding to get our of town.  Where i live has rude drivers scurrying about in their mindless haste not signalling from lane to lane, 20 mph over speed limit to 20 mph under.  For staying local, i'm fortunate that the ride to the hills is only a mile away where traffic is not so rudely frenetic.


Your traffic  situation sounds very much like being in  south London  where I take my fussy OHC  single out.  An early morning Sunday ride out and get back  before the lunacy takes hold. Your loose (?)  pipe in a hole  not leaking  says  to me  either no oil being delivered  or its got minimal flow going to an unpressurised area open to the outside with an easier escape path somewhere else.


...I removed the pipe, it is open.  I should have said there is a very slight film of oil around the opening; i am so used to profuse leaking, to me this was nothing in comparison.

However, the oil getting to the exhaust does appear negligible.

So, some questions...

1.  Why would the intake be getting oil and not the exhaust?

2.  When you say pressurized, what is the passageway for the oil from the top bevel gear area to the pipe?

3.  Assuming there is a passageway, would it be reasonable to suspect it is not completely open?

4.  Or is there some defect that allows the oil to leak out and not make the full supply flow through the passageway?

5.  When you say "to the outside," as in outside the passageway yet internal and not to atmosphere...?

Coming from a place of unfamiliarity, i don't know what other questions i need to ask...


The feed tube first goes through an oversize hole in a fin and then enters a matching size hole in the head. If it has pulled out of the hole on the head, the fault might not be visible.  The tubes start from the bottom corners of the cam box. I think they are visible when the cover is removed but I can't remember now. I've read that they can block. I might even try to investigate mine shortly. It's a bit like key hole surgery. I'm using castor oil so it's a bit like the bottom of a cooker in a fast fried food kitchen up there. I suspect the only way to clean it would be with caustic oven cleaner!


My knowlege  of   camshaft Nortons  could be written on a fag paper.  Common physics  tells me that if you deliver oil to an area thats under  any pressure above atmospherics , its going to  blow out if it can. So if its not leaking from an open hole then its either not getting any significant flow, or if there is flow its going into an area not  pressurised by  the engine  and there is another easy escape path. ( open valve spring chamber).If its going to a valve guide very very little would be needed anyway . Perhaps with the gay abandon that a cammy Norton throws oil everywhere the little it gets and leaks was not thought a worry.Valves and guides were expected to be replaced on a regular basis  in a competition engine. An alien thought to  us now.


...the feed is normally minimal and is only there to wet the face of the valve stem.  Steve seems  to have an oiling issue that may be exceptionally bad or just not what is expected.  I would have  no hesitation in a trail with the feeds caped off to see if they are an issue.  It does seem to blow  out somewhere witnessed by the pool on top of the primary covers.

My feeling is that he is still experiencing a high delivery pressure to the top end and its bleeding heavily.  But methodically and accurately; he is eliminating issues until it will be  the cleanest Cammy motor out there.

Working on an unknown machine with an unknown build quality is difficult, but high standards, as seen on his other restorations are the goal of his endeavours.  And when he's done he can  take a look at my Torrey Canyon!!! 






A solution to Steve's mysterious oil pool on front of primary chain case!  I've just been cleaning up after my wet Sunday ride, and I see splashes on the front of the chain case. The solution is to look up! The oil is falling down vertically from tbe left edge of the recess in the bottom of the fuel tank. Oil escapes from exhaust rocker (left front of course), and some splashes up under the tank. Then, in the shed standing still, the oil falls straight down onto the chain case.

It doesn't happen on the right, because it's only the left side of the tank recess above the rocker.

But it also drops more on the right rear, from the inlet.


... Any source that throws the golden syrup up onto the tank and migrates under Newtons law to the top of the chain case is pretty severe, even by Norton cammy standards...

More felt Steve !!




...are too funny!  i love it!  just got notified my registration and license plate are on their way to me, so now i can motor at my own random and willful pace!  Supposed to be cool next week, nearly 100'F here today, temps supposed to break Sunday.  Maybe if i'm lucky i'll have my plate by Saturday!  Then i can drill holes to fix the plate to my undrilled license plate holder...


My license plate arrived in this afternoon's mail (: 

Trying to rain, but not quite misting, so in keeping with good British form, I thought I would take the old fellow out this evening for a ride around my usual test route. 

The engine started first kick as usual.  Under way at about the 3 mile mark, going up a steep grade began losing power, crested the top of the hill, followed by some popping out the exhaust on the downhill grade which has never happened before.  When I first noticed power loss, I feared the worst...  However, the way the engine was running, did not seem to be an mechanical issue.  Motored further downhill to a stop sign and the engine died.  Fortunately I still had a lot of downhill grade to go; coasted 1 mile to a stop and waited for my son to pick me up. 

Got the old fellow back in the garage, on the lift.  Alas, no spark even with a new plug.  The ignition points gap is 0.008"  I am guessing gap should be around 0.012"  I ran some 1500 grit paper through the points followed by a strip of business card, still no spark.  I am guessing the cause of no spark resides somewhere in the magneto... (: 

it's been a long time since I've worked on Lucas magneto...  I believe there are 2 brushes that act as pickups...? If i recall correctly, one is on the left front of the mag and one is on the right rear of the mag under the spark plug wire pick up, so if either of these brushes gave up, would that account for no spark...?  But... at this point, I am only guessing... 

Reviewing the symptoms: moderate loss of power, followed by mild backfiring into the can, followed by the engine dying, I'm going to wait to hear your thoughts of what to troubleshoot first before I explore further...  (and fwiw, compression remains excellent).

Having inherited a build effected by the previous owner, I have no idea if the mag has been rebuilt or if it was some "old shoe" bolted in place to take up space...

Other than set the points to their proper adjustment, I don't know what questions to ask as regards simple things to inspect to perhaps find the cause of the offending loss of "no fire in the hole."  So, again, I'm looking forward to your sharing the invaluable benefit of your experience...

On a lighter note, the amount of oil leakage is markedly diminished.  Yaay!!!  The goo smeared around the intake valve stem pipe has pleasantly decreased the oil I am seeing on the head.  Really, now the leakage is limited to the bottom and top of the vertical tube and the base of the bottom housing.  I can live with what leakage there is as I clock some more test miles...  But...!  I need some spark before I can do that...  (:

Attached is a picture of the old fellow napping at roadside's edge.


To annoy you folks with real cammy Nortons.Didn't trust the sixty year old magnesium alloy crankcase. So fitted a Molnar engine. Total oil leak after a full race season. One drop from the rev counter gearbox. Catch tank almost empty. But the shrouds for the cylindrical valve springs makes valve clearance adjustment difficult. It has used cylindrical springs since -62 , recommended by Arrgardh, the guy who made 5-speed gearboxes


Steve...if it is the magneto condensor, there is an external one on the market which van be fitted to avoid the need for a rewind. Check "Brightspark".

Lot of information on this site Steve. As it starts well there is some life in the thing but heat  permeating through de-rates their capability.   If its an unknown quantity I would certainly get it  seen to.   

Worth checking to see if it starts now its cooled, then you know its degradation as opposed to failure.  If its not working  something  changed/failed.  You have  done the front end the back  end being the HT output side. Take the HT lead out and check the brush and spring are intact and  moving.  Clean the slip ring with a a fuel dampened rag and a probe to get some pressure on to the ring.  The safety gap setting at the bottom is not usually a concern until you have it off he machine.

Make yourself a spark plug with the electrode to the side casinground off. Connect HT to test plug and see if you can create a spark from the centre electrode to the case as you kick it over (main spark plug  removed).  If it can jump to the case with out the side electrode it should be pretty healthy.  Bulldog clip to the cylinder head with plug placed in between the press plates of the clip usually give you a good ground. 

I'll search out some other test measurements if you are ok with an ohm meter (Multimeter).

But as previous, if its a dubious history have it redone as it puts your mind at rest for the future....

If the oil is only from the tube nuts,  check their tightness, or slacken, de-grease, lightly smear the favoured sealant on the copper seals and top /bottom of tube, re tighten,  clean off excess and leave to skin over.   It may help until you are ready to replace the seals. 



Hi Steve, early mags  often lose their magnetism   due to the  technology of the time  in the steels they use. Worth checking the earth brush , if you are getting  breathing issues oil can find its way into mags. Does sound like condenser is  on its way.  The smaller than std points gap is a clue ,A cooling down rest and small plug gap will sometimes allow you to get home.

... yeah, no fire when cold.  Appears to be a pretty abrupt failure of something... 

Seems condensers are the typically offending party.  Last night in my websearch i added the magneto guys to my list of contacts. 

I will remove the HT lead and see what comes out and clean the slip ring. 

Will check out your test with modified spark plug. 

Yes, i have a Fluke multi-meter that tests for ohms, volts and amps... so any test specs you have are welcome. 

The jury is still out on how ultimately i will address the mag.  And the generator/dyno which i have recently tested has no output.  I am wondering if sending out the unit is the most effectual solution to my problems...  i rebuild my own generators on my 94 year old Harley's...  But the Mag is a cat of another color and what i have seen on various websites these rebuilder's have some pretty specialized equipment to carry out their work...  And i am wondering if it might be a smart move to convert to an external condenser... As much as i would like to send the unit to a UK specialist, I'm reluctant to have it carried across the pond for obvious reasons.  So, would like to find a competent US specialist if any exist...   Doug's Cycle Barn...??

I tightened the tube nuts and smeared goop long prior.  The leaks are around the circumference of the tube which the tops of the nuts surround which i suspect indicates oil is getting past the rubbers...

Cheerio, let the games begin!


Non resistor plugs are becoming harder to find. Resistor plugs can give an old weak mag a harder job. 


As David says is a quick fix for condenser failure but the upshot is the whole devise is at it's age  limit.  I ran one for a while with the surgery required to implant it.  But at the back of you mind  you know the device is not fresh. 

I have a contact who may be able to do an exchange.  Not sure how it would measure up for cost on the back of a big bird.   Shipping internal US would be a  good price too I guess.

If  there is zero output some  tests of the various winding's required. Mag Guys and Brightspark  have the tests listed in their site. 

The Fluke will be sufficient as  its mainly resistance under  different circumstances.  Lucas docs are on line for the standard  tests, will send you the diagnostic sheet I have when I get back on the weekend.  Keep an eye out in your Spam Box.

Dynamo is a simpler device but the regulator can through a few odd results.  Will send you the  docs for those also.

Off with the lot and get to know them.  The dynamo will run like a motor if you connect it to a battery, so if that's the result there is only the brushes and mechanical's to work on there.

The regulator if not working are a bit special,  I have had success in recovering them to working order but the AO Services (Alan Osbourne) solid state device takes all that mechanical variability away.

 A new issue to ponder, is like having another bike.  And as the great Peter Meryck said as I sat  forlornly aside my all sparkling 35 CS1 with mag in bits, "chrome don't get you home". 

Enjoy Steve it will all be sweet in the end!



Eugene (Skip) Brolund is or was a regular poster here and repairs or repaired magnetos. He seems to have gone very quiet. He's somewhere in Ohio.


...momentary flash of brilliance.  Sure would be nice if i was that smart all the time...  I'm glad i stepped away from the International for a while and have been fettling with other things.  From time to time i have been  remembering the symptoms the engine was having before it finally took a snooze.  Considering the engine didn't just up and die, but began losing power, progressively stuttering more before it died just didn't seem to match up with a mag problem, as in my mind mag's either work or they don't.  And after things cooled down, i still had no spark.

Tonight as i walked by, glancing at the Inter, i suddenly had the thought, "Could it be the spark plug?"  I grabbed my new spare and was pleasantly surprised to see a nice fat blue spark.  I then again tried the new plug that had 17 miles on it that i had cleaned the electrodes with fine emery paper after it died that fateful evening and again, no spark.  Just to make sure i had not imagined i thought i had seen a spark with the new unused plug, i rechecked again and yes... spark!

The plug i had been running when the engine died was fouled; the ceramic was dark; cleaning the electrodes had not been enough.  All that i imposed on that plug goofing around trying to get the TT to work the way i hoped it would had apparently fouled the insulator in addition to the electrodes not allowing it to do its job and it finally lost the battle while i was underway.  Simply cleaning the electrodes with emery paper had not been enough. So, i ran the the plug through my bead blaster, blew it off with compressed air and it allowed the mag to show its spark.

So!  I am back in business!  I got my license plate and registration last week, so i don't have to be on the look out for bobbies.  I just happen to be taking 11 days off, today is day 2/11.  The weather finally cooled off Sunday past, so i am going to see how many more miles the old beast will let me log in the next few days.  With any luck, i should be reporting in again, soon.

As always, thank you for your help.


Its possible that once you get the beast up to a good working temperature  that the plug will self clean a bit.But I would not  be too confident of that. Carry a couple of spares  including one of a softer grade as a get you home dodge. If you can find  an old properly vintage plug  (not so easy as there are now repro vintage about)   you will find that its possible to soot up the plug and it will self clean if its given a good canter. All down to the change in the ceramic spec that comes with todays  plugs designed to only cater for lean burn clean running engines.


Robert is correct about modern ceramics.  I used to use NGK plugs but constantly had issues with spark.  I could heat them with a flame and watch the contaminants ooze out around the electrode.  When dried they would fire again.   I eventually kept them in an old welding rod heater box to ensure they were dried from previous use.  I then used a Champion N5 and an old Lodge for experiments and never suffered the same issues. The Lodge is my “get me home plug” which sits inside the plug socket, top right pocket.  enjoy your remaining 9 days…

in the foothills!




Strange things, plugs. I was out the other day and parked up. And decided to have a look at the plug. It was glued in with castor oil. Took it out, it's filthy and black. Onlookers said "that won't work". Put it back, fired up first time and ran perfectly.


That was me !!.   I think you should get your local shoe mender to make you up a leather Bandolia accross the shoulder job and carry a selection of plugs  ,very stylish. 1930's  image. I would not venture out far with your oily issue.


...for your replies.  I did not know modern spark plugs have these issues.  It also sounds like plug fouling might be part and parcel considering the variety of lubrication supplies inherent with engine design...?

The plug that came in the bike is an NGK B7ES.  What do you fellows recommend?  Definitely will carry a spare with some sort of hammer and chisel to effect plug changes.

Robert, could you clarify what you mean by a "softer" grade?  Jon, appalling to visualize contaminants oozing out around the electrode.  David, would love to have seen you and heard the Inter's reply to skeptical onlookers; it sounds like a sort of fondness has evolved over time with your shotgun marriage to bean oil arranged by the previous owner...   (i ran that once in a B50 during the foolishness of my youth, smells awful good, other than that awful stuff :)

jeeze, 2 more hot days, 95 today, 97 tomorrow.   then in mid 80's, and progressively begin cooling down.  May 30 our high was in the 60's  June 1 upper mid 90's and its been that way ever since except for a day or two.

Our of curiosity, did machines come from the factory with a tool kit in the toolbox?


Hi Steve, A softer plug is one that runs hotter  ,in your case a B6ES or B5ES , might burn off a bit more oil  or fuel carbon. to get you home. It could also get a bit too hot if you were hard riding ,  However  once sooted or oiled it can't recover like the old plugs did as the insulator is not glazed as they were of old and soaks up contaminents. My 1936 Rudge  is running on a  new plug that  is made for some simple  farm equipment , Likely it is glazed ,hope so. I will look for the number  .


...thanks for your explanation, that is very helpful, i always like to try to learn in my efforts to have a better understanding.  i figured as much, but i quit assuming decades past.  Plus i might learn something such as what you've shared that modern plug ceramics are not glazed...

i run farm equipment Champions in my '27 Harley.  Will appreciate hearing what you are running in your Rudge  ?Ulster?  These pre-war machines have such an elegance about them that is skin deep to the beast that lurks within...

As i begin logging miles, i will pull plug after runs to monitor appearance, perhaps now that the Concentric is in charge of AFR, there won't be as much buildup on the ceramic.  i think i'd rather stick with the cooler B7ES unless contamination continues to occur at more than desired rate... (i'm now conditioned that some contamination will occur :)

After all the Inter (and you fellows) are teaching me, i do feel a deepening of relationship forming with the beauty and the beast.  Wouldn't have dreamt in my fondest dreams that two creatures exist in one machine...  


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