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'35 ES2 - Dolls Head Gearbox

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Thankyou to those who assisted with my engine queries(tappet settings), I think it is oil tight enough now too.

My gearbox has suddenly decided to start leaking more oil than normal (more than the engine)in the last two days and the primary chain has gone tight too. I'm hoping that the adjustment needs fettling but am worried about the oil leak, are there many seals in these boxes? I've checked the box in situ and there doesn't look like there are any cracks or anything or do they just leak?

Graham

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Hi Graham,

Normally your gearbox shouldn't start leaking more oil than it was previously leaking unless maybe you were out racing around the country side getting it hotter than you did before. Have you topped the oilup?? Various manuals tell of using a mixture of grease and oil in these boxes. A couple I've pulled apart have certainly had some resemblance of such a mixture inside them, makes for a horrible mess and I guess if you were scooting about and managed to heat the box up a bit, more of this stuff would become more liquid and leak out.

I just use 90 grade gear oil in mine. I have the dolls head behind my WD16H and the later upright, I've heard them called 'Tombstone' box behind my ES2, Laydown box behind the Big 4 and the AMC style behind the Commando. I've had them all apart for rebuilds and use the same oil across all of them. The real hassle with the upright boxes is filling the things with oil and getting the right oil level especially when you want to top it up. These boxes are supposed to have around half a pint of oil in the gearbox.

It's a slow process getting oil into the thing, The laydown box, you can actually see into the inner cover and the Commando box has a fill level plug.

I find it's easier to drop the oil out and refill with another half pint. Then I know the level is right.

There are no seals on these gearboxes, however when I replace bearings I buy sealed bearings and take out the inner seal on the large mainshaft bearing and also on the small mainshaft bearing, allowing oil to get to the balls, but not pass right through. I don't have oil leak out the kickstart shaft on any of the bearboxes except the Commando. The Commando gets a much harder time than any of them and also holds a bit more oil.

Regarding the chain adjustment, I run the primary chain with a good 1" slack, almost so it doesn't rattle the primary cover. See George Cohens notes on primary chain adjustment on his web site. You need to be careful with the upright boxes, because it's not hard to snap off the rabbit ears on top where the adjuster is. Sometimes the hole throught the bottom for the bottom adjuster bolt can be elongated and allow the gearbox to twist. Yours being an ES2 has a full cradle frame, so has better frame support for the gearbox than a model 18 or a 16h. None the less check and see if when you loosen of the bottom bolt that the frame springs away from the box. You may need to insert a flat washer between the frame and the gearbox case to give it better support. The alloy frets away over the years causing the bottom gearbox mount to be not quite aw wide as it should be.

I'd start with an oil change so you at least know how much oil is in there, but if the thing is half full of grease, that stuff won't come out when you drop the oil, meaning when you measure half a pint in, the volume occupied by the grease will cause the oil level to be too high and it will leak out the mainshaft behid the geabox sprocket and out the kickstart shaft. It's a start tho...anything else will need the outer cover pulled off the gearbox to see whats inside. You can always park in on a piece of cardboard. Anyway it's more a worry when the oil leaks stop!!!

Bob

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Bob,

Thanks for your help with the gearbox information. It now looks like the gearbox bearings must be shot as with the chains removed I can take hold of the clutch assembly and move it about quite a bit. I now need to decide whether to take the box apart myself or get an expert to do it for me. Can you tell me if there is a website where I can get a view of the box and its components including the part numbers and also, is taking the box apart easy enough?

Regards,

Graham

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Graham,

there is a file size limit which means i can't attach the files here but i recently posted a scan of the WD16H workshop manual gearbox chapter on the INOAList (the US/Canadian Norton Owners discussion group on Yahoo Groups). The pdf's are downloadable from the files section on that list, but you will need to create a log in. The section includes exploded views of the box, with names for each component.

Having watched a mate reassemble my gearbox recently it didn't look too difficult, but he did know what he was doing : )

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Previously wrote:

Bob,

Thanks for your help with the gearbox information. It now looks like the gearbox bearings must be shot as with the chains removed I can take hold of the clutch assembly and move it about quite a bit. I now need to decide whether to take the box apart myself or get an expert to do it for me. Can you tell me if there is a website where I can get a view of the box and its components including the part numbers and also, is taking the box apart easy enough?

Regards,

Graham

Graham,

If you can send me your address by email I can send you copies of gearbox dismantling and assembly notes, with pictures and parts lists covering the 1935-45, 4 speed doll's head gearbox.

Once in your possesion they will obviously create doubts and queries galore.

my email: derek.e.ambler@ntlworld.com

regards

Derek

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The WD16H manual is probably the most comprehensive I've seen and well worth it to almost any Norton OHV or SV single owner from the thirties through to immediate post war. There is something in there for everyone. Well worth having if you can get a copy.

Bob

 

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