I have just got my 1934 international on the road! But letâs start at the beginning.
About 2 years ago I inherited some money and decided it was best invested in another old bike. After some research I settled on a Norton (donât ask me why, I have no idea!) So the hunting began, all I knew was that I wanted a 500 single and not a side valve. Preferably a pre-war rigid/girder for model, but I was open to the idea of a plunger/tele one.
Just before Christmas 2011 I saw a 1930âs international on eBay. It was considerably less complete than I had been looking for, but that was OK because it was a âcammyâ. So, knowing very little about cammy Nortons, and having no idea what I was letting myself in for, I waited until the last minute and put in my bid. It was mine!
A few days after the end of the auction Chris Streather phoned me up to say he had heard I had bought the bike on eBay and talk to me about it. He recommended I got the factory records and hinted at the fact that it was âsomething a bit specialâ. What had I stumbled upon here? The records showed that the frame was 1934 and the engine was 1936 and left the factory âto full Manx specification race tuned by the factory.â Exciting stuff, and I still hadnât even seen the bike yet!
I was away at uni at the time and it was fairly close to home, so my dad went and picked it up for me and brought the pile of bits back in the boot of the car. About a week later I got home for my Christmas holidays and saw it for the first time. That first couple of weeks was spent visiting people who I knew to have inters to look at theirs and try and get some idea of what I was aiming for, hours trawling the internet looking at pictures and reading everything I could find on these bikes, and convincing mum that I hadnât wasted my money on a pile of junk!
The next couple of months where spent acquiring the missing parts and doing research on what I needed to do. I spent all the time I wasnât at uni out in the workshop, and most of the time I was at uni reading about these bikes.
This story could go on for a while, so I will attach some pictures and let you see for yourself. Die hard Norton enthusiasts look away, I have made this bike to be ridden by me and look good to me. I have tried to stay faithful to what they looked like originally but have made some changes to make it useable! I have also attached a list of the work I carried out. I am sure I have missed a few things off, and theunderlinedbits where done by other people. The rest was done in the workshop at home.
The one other thing I canât say enough about is this website and the NOC. Huge source of information and made the project so much easier!
Work Carried Out
Repairs to frame mounting points
Check frame for straightness
Bore and bush bottom gearbox mounts in frame
Manufacture gearbox mounting bolts
Manufacture gearbox adjuster
Manufacture engine plates, head steadies, studs and bolts
Bore out and bush girder forks
Manufacture new fork spindles
Reverse brake plate to make it fit RHS brake
Manufacture wheel spindles, spacers, nuts etc
Manufacture hub to brake drum bolts
Manufacture petrol and oil tank mounting brackets and fittings
Manufacture oil tanks fixing inserts and carry out repairs to tanks, including preasure testing to check for leaks
Manufacture chain âoilerâ tap
Bend and fit handle bar bracket
Recondition Andre steering damper
Manufacture Andre damper bracket
Manufacture mudguard stays and brackets
Manufacture bracket and mounting points for oval number plates
Manufacture number plate bracket
Manufacture bum pad base and foam insert
Make and fit leatherette cover to bum pad
Manufacture rear brake rod, trunnion and adjusting screw
Manufacture primary chain guard
Manufacture exhaust pipe and brooklands can brackets and fittings
Strip and inspect engine
Blast clean all aluminium cases
Rebuild broken fins with weld
Fit new main and big end bearings
Balance flywheels to 70% balance factor
Assemble and line up flywheel assembly
Fit new small end bush
Fit new piston, rings and bore and line barrel
Recondition oil pump
Re-assemble bottom end of engine and mesh bevel gears
Machine head and barrel to fit without use of head gasket
Fit new valve guides, cut seats and lap new valves in
Fit new valves and hair pin springs
Fit barrel and head to engine
Overhaul BTH TT magneto including manufacture of new end to take an oil seal
Manufacture and fit new cambox tunnel
Machine gasket faces to ensure good seal and deepen rockers recesses to allow for later type rocker sealing
Machine cambox to allow for addition of breather
Recoat magnesium bevel cover
Grind rockers to ensure concentric and smooth finish for wipers to act on
Assemble cambox, mesh bevels and fit to engine to check vertical drive free play
Carry out valve and ignition timing (new cams and shaft where fitted to as old vernier holes where badly work and didnât allow for accurate timing)
Fit wipers and oil seals in cambox and fit to engine with vertical drive tube in place
Manufacture oil pipes and fittings
Strip clean and inspect case and internals
Bore and bush bottom and top gearbox mounting points on gearbox
Fit new bearings and reassemble gearbox
Manufacture new external gear change linkages
Manufacture kick start
Machine ES2 clutch drum to convert to Manx style 3 plate clutch
Manufacture clutch pushrod and plate to spread load and improve clutch operationAttachments before-jpg
Lefthand side of the finished bike.
OK, there are one or two bits that still need some work. I have done about 50 miles on it so far and it's going brilliantly. But is leaking out the cambox even more than I would expect, so once its run it I will have the cambox off for another go at those wipers and seals. There are also a few bits and pieces still away being plated but nothing thats stopping me ridining it. And boy am I enjoying it, even though I'm taking it easy for running in it goes really well and handles better than just about any bike I have ever ridden!Attachments lhs-jpg
I don't know enough about Inters to have to look away, and if i did would have missed a Loverly bike.
I'm a fan of bikes being used so no criticism here of any improvements.
You did really well. Thats a brilliant bike.
An oil leak from the cylinder head ? You really should have held out for a side-valve, Andy !
Very nice. Did you find any trace of the works preparation ?
Yes. It had different cams, flywheels, conrod, and big end to others I have seen. It also has the central feed oil in the cambox that was fitted to all the Manx's. I dont pretend to be an expert on them and I am sure there will be other things that I find out about later. But it was an interesting thing to work on!I have retained all of these parts in the rebuild (it has new cams but I went for the manx ones rather than inter ones), appart from the piston, I have gone for and ES2 piston to keep the compression ratio down and hopefully make it a bit more user friendly.
The crankcases are different too. An extra breather and no tell tail for the oil pressure. They also don't have the web for an enclosed primary chain case, I have seen magnesium cases like this, but never another set of ally ones. Has anyone else?
Having done about 50 miles on it the wipers in the cambox apear to have given up and I have oil everywhere. I think the rubber I used was too soft, so I am going to take the cambox off today and have another go. I know it will leak, but I'm determined to improve on what it is like at the moment!
Andy you have done a fantastic job, I saw that bike for sale way back when, I even have the same ebay picture in a thread on my Norton build.
Well done, on all the hard work.
Ducati singles have rubber wipers for the rockers , perhaps could be used?
Did you realise this post was 7 years and 4 months ago ??
... got if fixed by now. He was a regular contributor not so long back. Probably ridding a Ducati already Rob...
somewhat similar to the David Cooper machine...
Should either of you gentlemen have the need for cam box sealing wipers, Stu Rogers (SRS Norton) stocks them...
Bottom ones look oil eaten; tops have the canvas insert which are much better. rest of t looks decent.
My 56 Manx with 38 Inter motor had adjusters top and bottom. Not sure if it was a factory fitting or a desperate attempt to stem the flow. Came out of George C's stable. She was quite dry...
Bottom ones are just oily. They seem to work as well as can reasonably be expected. No top adjusters. I think they won't fit on some frames. I imagine they would make it more difficult (if not impossible) to remove the cam box on some bikes. But I think the gap on top varies. Were there different top tube shapes?
Stu Rogers was modifying SOHC camboxes with 2 adjusters on each seal ( 8 altogether ) over 40 years ago, so these bikes may have been through several owners over that time. I can't remember anyone else doing this back in the day, but it is quite possible.
With a 500cc Model 30 and 30M engine in a rigid / plunger frame the clearance between the cambox and top tube is not much over 1/4". The 350cc 40M engine is slightly shorter and the Model 40 is 1/2" shorter still, so no problems there. In 1949 the Manx frames were modified to take the DOHC engine and the top tube became significantly re-shaped with a double bend to clear the elongated cambox. During 1951 the Clubman's Inter frame was being made using left over Manx lugs and a curved top tube which was then used to the end of plunger frame production. The 1930s CJ frame was lower than the CS1 so these clearance gaps will vary.
Very interesting.. Stu rebuild my CS1 Cam box with the top adjusters...