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41 Years in an unheated shed

Forums

Finally got my new purchase home tonight.

It is a 1973 850 Commando interstate, 2 owners and 20k miles, original norton service book and lots of paperwork for the sale it's a UK bike, 1 MOT before being locked up for 41 years which has taken its toll.

I will post pictures tomorrow, I live in Bedford can I ask for recommended chromers, wheel builders, frame painters, in or around the area, I found a tank painter in the recommended section of this forum.

I plan to swop over to the roadster tank seat and side panels can anybody help, I Am going to need a lot of parts so if you can help please let me know.

Thanks in advance.

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Yes we would like to see the pictures.

It should be a nice project to restore as at 20K miles the engine, gearbox and bearings should all be serviceable. There will be a list of replacements like everything rubber and plastic, probable rewire and wheel rebuilds. But when you have it all repainted or replated it should be a bolt together job.

The challenge is to draw and record EVERY part as you dismantle it, then when they come back from painting or plating you follow your notes for reassembly. I would include every nut and bolt (including all the engine screws) for zinc plating and don't go buying new stainless ones.

Norm.

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Thanks for the comments it will be a bitza then as i think the interstate looks horrible.

Yep have all the bags and plan to do exactly that, interestingly I was contemplating stainless or cad plating.

Where do you guys recommend buying the replacement parts?

Had a look on eBay but a lot of India copies there and reading on past messages the tank that I had my eye on is from India and not a good fit.

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In my book itâs more important to enjoy the bike than keep it 100% original, I also think the interstate is my least favourite commando! ;) , but Iâd keep the bits for when you eventually want to sell it!

Andover, RGM, Norvil and the club are good sources for spares and some of the Indian tin ware is pretty good, but work on a recommendation rather than pot luck! The search facility on this forum and access norton is a good source of info too.

dan

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Is your Intersate tank glassfibre or steel? I understand that most Interstate tanks were glassfibre and later tanks were steel. The glass ones will be very dodgy and not cope with ethanol fuels.

I personally like the 'Intercrate' as they get called down south

Paul

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Hi

The tank and side panels are steel, and the tank is rusty inside not taken a good look at it yet. Just starting to post the pictures, my system will only post them one at a time so bare with me.

Please make comments and suggestions as I will strip it totally.

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A beauty! Who knows what you'll find when you get down to it, but I have to say I'm envious! I love the patina on the paintwork, the only things I'd really want to change appearance-wise would be to return the headlamp brackets to original style, available in stainless (I freely admit to being a stainless freak, driven by the fact that I live near the salty sea!), and swap the chainguard for the later type (also available in stainless) with the plastic, pop-on, pop-off end cap that catches a lot of muck. Although I'm pretty sure you could drill that chainguard and add the end cap â in theory, but my guess is that the chrome would probably start to rot around there pdq, unless the raw, drilled steel were protected somehow. Anyway that's just me, I hope you get a lot of satisfaction out of it, whatever you do!

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Looks like a very promising bike. Now you can do whatever you want with it. Personally I should keep the original patina, as it looks pretty good on the photos. Maybe it's worse corroded at a closer look. As an example I'we kept the dented and welded primary chainguard on my 350 as it got it's dents when the chain broke at last lap in junior TT back in -62.

Good luck with the restauration

Mike

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Judging from the rusty patches on the rear sub-frame it looks as if it's been run with a carrier/panniers at some point.

I sympathise with the point about keeping the patina; if it was mine I'd get it running and see what came along.

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Thanks for the comments my first thoughts are to strip it and refirbish it totally.

On closer inspection the engine has excellent compression and had a replacement head under warranty. Petrol tank is rusty inside, any advice on dealing with this? Maybe a handful of bolts in the tank then something like petseal. Even though I won't use the tank I will try to rescue it.

Frame as has been noticed is showing surface rust so it's time to sort that.

Exhaust system is scrap and kick start has been hitting silencer so will need looking at any opinions please. Looks like where it locks in position is worn. Not keen on the balance pipe does it have to be fitted? I assume the 850 exhaust can be bought without the balance pipe?

I can hear the purist start to groan but I will keep all parts to return it to original.

Wheels are a total mess and fork staunchions are rusty the front brake is totally solid the rear brake is a drum.

Having used this type of brake and the Lockheed upgrade before I would look for a twin disc upgrade what have you guys done even along the lines of jap twin disc c set up.......just considering at the moment.

Any more comments and opinions would be great I need to know what is now available, how would you tackle the different areas of the bike.

electronic ignition now there are 3 types which is best.

I will post more pictures as I go thanks for looking.

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Great to hear that the engine turns over, after all that time! The issue of the kick start hitting the exhaust may be down to the type of kick start lever fitted â the later type fitted to the MK2A and MK3 has more clearance, I believe, and in my mind you have a 750-style lever â but it's hard to see how a bike with such low mileage might've had its kick start lever changed, and I'm sure others are more able to confirm whether you have the right one or not.

You can get unbalanced pipes easily enough, just don't get them from Norvil, because on theirs the flange that fits in the exhaust port has slightly too large a diameter â I'd recommend Andover Norton or RGM. On the other hand, I've been led to believe that the balance tube does boost bhp somewhat, and I'd be inclined to keep it.

You don't need twin discs, you just need an upgraded master cylinder with a 13mm diameter, normally available from Andover Norton but I notice it's presently out of stock â RGM used to offer the same upgrade, I haven't checked them. That alone will improve things, but for proper stopping power consider also RGM's floating disc upgrade â Norvil offer similar, but I avoid them like the plague wherever possible. Having said that, Norman White offers an excellent twin-disc set-up, besides a host of other upgrades, depending on how deep your pockets are ...!

I have an ancient Boyer fitted that serves me well, but, if my pockets were deep enough to try stuff at whim, I'd like to try something more modern, others will know more about that than I. HTH

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I would change the oils and get it back on the road pronto, then see how you like it. The great advantage of the Interstate tank is the amount of petrol it holds... Up here in the frozen North, you can ride a very long way between the few surviving petrol stations and the situation isn't going to get any better.

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Previously Katherine Scott wrote:

Previously john_neely wrote:

Petrol tank is rusty inside, any advice on dealing with this?

I am going to try this on my Greeves tank

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-dNX8Q7Jh4

Best regards

Katherine

I used this technique for de-rusting the tank on one of my bikes and it certainly works insofar as it produces an impressive and alarmingly thick sludge of bubbling, rusty scum. However, two things of which I became aware during the operation; firstly, it's difficult/impossible to know when to call a halt to the process as, the longer you leave it running, the more rust it seems to find and there's no way of checking progress on the metal inside the primordial soup you're generating and, secondly, having decided to call a halt and reached the rinsing-out stage, it is extremely difficult (impossible?) to completely dry the tank out quickly enough to prevent further, almost instantaneous rusting starting up again before you're able to apply whatever anti-rust paint or other lining that you've decided to use.

On reflection, I suppose the answer to the first point may be to carry out the de-rusting operation in two or more runs, emptying the tank and checking progress in between re-fills (lengthy and fiddly) and, with regard to the second, more important difficulty, do it in a mid-summer heatwave, augmented with a hot-air gun so that you can get it perfectly dry within seconds and then whack on your paint or lining immediately.

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This is a Mk 1 850 and the guards appear to be original which was stainless.

This looks to be a classic opportunity to undertake a considered overhaul/refurb retaining a significant element of the factory finishes and originality to create a good looking, reliable and practical machine.

For what itâs worth, to my mind the Interstate wins hands down over the Roadster on both practicality and looks.

Should be said though, as a long time Interstate owner I could be wee bit biased............

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If you rinse out a tank with IPA it will absorb the water and will dry more quickly than rinsing with just water. If the tank rust isnât too bad filling it with budget diet coke and leaving it for a week can do a good job.

Dan

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I have to say that I can't see the point of twin-disc set-ups on a Commando (unless perhaps you are going racing): given the "classic" (= "antiquated" ? ) front suspension and limited footprint of feasible tyres, how exactly is one supposed to take advantage of the extra braking force?

Also, if contemplating this route one is by definition not bothered about originality/period appearance, so -- when sourcing smaller-diameter master cylinders why not consider either period or replica Japanese ones, available for the price of a few pints of beer? (e.g. I seem to remember Kawasaki GPz 550 being recommended somewhere in this forum).

Previously john_neely wrote:

Wheels are a total mess and fork staunchions are rusty the front brake is totally solid the rear brake is a drum.

Having used this type of brake and the Lockheed upgrade before I would look for a twin disc upgrade what have you guys done even along the lines of jap twin disc c set up.......just considering at the moment.

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I knew it ...... I just new someone would ask! ;) not sure how it works but it has to be Ringwood ..... or failing that try Isopropyl alcohol!

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...... having decided to call a halt and reached the rinsing-out stage, it is extremely difficult (impossible?) to completely dry the tank out quickly enough to prevent further, almost instantaneous rusting starting up again before you're able to apply whatever anti-rust paint or other lining that you've decided to use.

Howard, and others interested.

I haven't watched the video but tank derusting has been well explained in a Roadholder article. The principles are: 1) sulphuric acid to eat up the rust, rinse x3, 2) caustic to neutralise the acid and stop further reaction, rinse x3, 3) phosphoric acid to put a stable phosphate layer on the bare iron, rinse x6, 4) put it in front of a 2kw fan heater for an hour with a vacuum cleaner hose pushed right inside.

Norm

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If you use Andover Norton web site you can see all the parts and whats available and the prices at a glance.. RGM are good and very quick to send parts. Remember prices are without VAT.

I would strip and clean everthing and then do a shopping and work list and price everthing.

Then decide what you are going to do.

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I would never recommend using sulphuric acid, itâs far too dangerous especially when other methods are available, if you must use acid Iâd use acetic acid or phosphoric acid (available as milk stone remover) regardless of what it might say in Roadholder!

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Previously Dan Field wrote:

...itâs far too dangerous especially when other methods are available...

Have you ever considered riding a motorcycle, the bus is saferCool

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Nah, Iâm just suggesting you ride on the right side of the road, no point riding on the wrong side when the other side is available! ;)

Aside from the danger of sulphuric acid, using caustic soda to neutralise it isnât particularly wise either .....letâs put two caustic chemicals together and see what happens!!!

My suggestion would be to Mechanically remove the lose stuff with a handful of nuts and bolts then use vinegar or electrolysis, the waste can be put down the drain and no one will have to go to a and e! If you want to use an acid phosphoric is usually safer. If you must use a concentrated acid Iâd suggest you wear a full face mask and gauntlets.

This isnt H and S gone mad is just common sense, Iâll get me coat now!

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Thanks for all the information, had a good look at the bike over the weekend and am back tracking a bit, even to the point of keeping it original as it is so original already.

I took a look at the rims which seemed to be covered in rust, so applied some chrome cleaner just in case and found both rims to be perfect, exhausts the same, also the footrest hangers, gear change, and seat rest, the headlamp and silencers are scrap, rear shocker springs perfect.

The alloy casings are cleaning up well so like Chris said I will clean it up first and see what I really have, am away on holiday for a couple of weeks but will try to post further pictures of it before I go away.

Very interesting reading on sorting out the tank, question now is do I try and start it?

I do not know what oil is in it, mono or multigrade, so assume should refill with mono grade as don't want to flush out the sludge trap with mulitigrade as I remember, any opinions on this?

The barrels need painting and I hate the silver prefering black.

Thanks again.

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Yes, a beauty! BTW a tip that I learned from a neighbour for cleaning up rusty chrome is rubbing it with aluminium kitchen foil and warm, soapy water, then rinse, it works a treat! I use Silkolene 40 monograde in my '74 Mk2A, on written instruction from Norman White, the only problem is it makes it just that bit harder to kick the engine over in the sort of cold weather we have in the UK right now â it can still be done though, with the choke fully on and the throttle opened a crack. Once warm it's not a problem.

How rusty is the inside of the tank really? Enough for loose flakes to clog filters? Maybe just try it and see!

I'm interested how both the side covers seem to have tell-tale marks of some kind of rectangular sticker, just under the '850 Commando' decal, I wonder what was there. Good luck anyway!

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I have used Colin's aluminium foil technique on a rusty 17 year stored Enfield - it worked a treat. I reiterate my previous comment. Recommission it and ride it. It really would be a shame to go for a radical rebuild on such an original machine.

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Hi Colin and Gordon

Well the soapy water and ally foil certainly did the trick thanks for that one.

Started to take the bike to bits today I was going to try and start it but there are things about the bike that have alarm bells ringing. Such as the timing cover slots screws are in a bad way. cylinder base nuts are rounded. A rocker box stud has been replaced with a bolt. Took out the petrol taps and they are both reserve taps. Thick rust on the coil mounting plates and tank strap. The fuel tank is rusty on the top if you put your finger in the filler cap there is a fair amount that flakes off onto your finger, it would block up a filter in no time. the lower levels inside the tank are rust free. So bolts and coca cola it will be. still looking for a roadster tank and side panels.

Found a good wheel builder.

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Previously john_neely wrote:

Finally got my new purchase home tonight.

It is a 1973 850 Commando interstate, 2 owners and 20k miles, original norton service book and lots of paperwork for the sale it's a UK bike, 1 MOT before being locked up for 41 years which has taken its toll.

I will post pictures tomorrow, I live in Bedford can I ask for recommended chromers, wheel builders, frame painters, in or around the area, I found a tank painter in the recommended section of this forum.

I plan to swop over to the roadster tank seat and side panels can anybody help, I Am going to need a lot of parts so if you can help please let me know.

Thanks in advance.

My Grandfather had his car in the 60s and 70s in a Hen cabin converted to s garage complete with wooden floor! He could drive his car in wet and it would be dry in the morning. His car rusted corroded very little ans looked like new 8 years later! Also there was still bits of Motorcycles in there Rudge and Douglas fittings again not corroded! The modern garage concrete and brick structure has a lot to answer for.

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'...Took out the petrol taps and they are both reserve taps...'

Look at the inside of the tank, the reserve volume (Interstate or Roadster) is effectively halvedby the frame, so 2 reserve taps is not actually so unusual - personally I like to fill up before I hit reserve.

I also think the Interstates look great (but then I've got one so I will readily admit that Iam biased :))

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Previously john_neely wrote:

Thanks for all the information, had a good look at the bike over the weekend and am back tracking a bit, even to the point of keeping it original as it is so original already.

I took a look at the rims which seemed to be covered in rust, so applied some chrome cleaner just in case and found both rims to be perfect, exhausts the same, also the footrest hangers, gear change, and seat rest, the headlamp and silencers are scrap, rear shocker springs perfect.

The alloy casings are cleaning up well so like Chris said I will clean it up first and see what I really have, am away on holiday for a couple of weeks but will try to post further pictures of it before I go away.

Very interesting reading on sorting out the tank, question now is do I try and start it?

I do not know what oil is in it, mono or multigrade, so assume should refill with mono grade as don't want to flush out the sludge trap with mulitigrade as I remember, any opinions on this?

The barrels need painting and I hate the silver prefering black.

Thanks again.

If you intent to try and start put new cheap Classic oil in it after first changing filter and checking oil tank for slug. My oil tank was half full of thick black slug only a couple of pints of clean oil in it. check it with a long dip stick. Carbs are bound to need cleaning. Look up Bushmans Amal.

Check out wiring a cheap meter is useful.

fairdeals 2017 on ebay have side panels and roadster tanks listed, no idea of quality but it says they are in the Uk. Andover Norton also have had Roadster tanks.

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Previously christopher_winsby wrote:

Previously john_neely wrote:

Thanks for all the information, had a good look at the bike over the weekend and am back tracking a bit, even to the point of keeping it original as it is so original already.

I took a look at the rims which seemed to be covered in rust, so applied some chrome cleaner just in case and found both rims to be perfect, exhausts the same, also the footrest hangers, gear change, and seat rest, the headlamp and silencers are scrap, rear shocker springs perfect.

The alloy casings are cleaning up well so like Chris said I will clean it up first and see what I really have, am away on holiday for a couple of weeks but will try to post further pictures of it before I go away.

Very interesting reading on sorting out the tank, question now is do I try and start it?

I do not know what oil is in it, mono or multigrade, so assume should refill with mono grade as don't want to flush out the sludge trap with mulitigrade as I remember, any opinions on this?

The barrels need painting and I hate the silver prefering black.

Thanks again.

If you intent to try and start put new cheap Classic oil in it after first changing filter and checking oil tank for slug. My oil tank was half full of thick black slug only a couple of pints of clean oil in it. check it with a long dip stick. Carbs are bound to need cleaning. Look up Bushmans Amal.

Check out wiring a cheap meter is useful.

fairdeals 2017 on ebay have side panels and roadster tanks listed, no idea of quality but it says they are in the Uk. Andover Norton also have had Roadster tanks.

As you say quality may be dubious. For any would be Buyer, check out Fairdeals ratings in User feedback and you find them not very encouraging, plus most of the stuff probably still in I think, India.

it is a new move by Sellers to pretend they are int he UK.

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Fairdeals do say they ship from India. I had some D shaped footrests from them and they were adequate quality, arrived reasonably quickly and were cheap enough. But I wouldn't have critical parts from them.

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Previously christopher_winsby wrote:

Previously john_neely wrote:

If you intent to try and start put new cheap Classic oil in it after first changing filter and checking oil tank for slug. My oil tank was half full of thick black slug only a couple of pints of clean oil in it. check it with a long dip stick. Carbs are bound to need cleaning. Look up Bushmans Amal

Yes its itâs very important that they are no slugs in the oil tank! ;)

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Hi Chaps anupdate for you and a few questions.

I will post a few picyures tomorrow, the cylinderhead is off and in good shape, a bolt had been fitted instead of a stud on one of the rocker covers and just needs replacing. A stud is snapped off in one of the fork legs (not me) and will need sorting. Barrels are still on and on standard pistons, i learnt that a 2p coin used on it's edge will remove carbon within minutes without damage.

i took off the primary drive this afternoon, the chain was tight, and woodruff keys were a slight problem, noted all spacers and took loads of pictures. The main drive sproket is as new as is the rear sprocket.

When i removed the inner chaincase i noticed i have a problem with the side stand. when it is in the folded away position it touches the centre stand and assume the rubber bung on the side stand should be tight up against the frame rails. If i hold it against the frame rails and let it go it just flips down onto the centerstand. i haven't had a good look at it yet but the bolt was solid and worn.

i noticed the crank cases are painted silver is this normal, my 750 was polished?

Engine and gearbox out next checked the gearbox for bearing wear but seems good, the bike is filthy and has lots of surface rust.I

Oh decided to hand paint the frame i have the time and have done it before with good results. i spent lot of time researching the paints available and settled on POR15 system.......watch this space.

They also have a kit for rusty tanks.

 

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