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thedawnpatrol

Wartime BSA and Norton

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Hello Guys, I'm looking for some help please, I've been offered these two bikes, always wanted a Norton, but don't know the first thing about two wheels.

can anyone confirm that these bikes in the pictures are what they are suppost to be and worth buying ?

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They've both been subjected to the sort of 'matt green over everything' treatment that makes it very difficult to judge condition. I can't see any obvious howlers on the Norton. Battery carrier cover is not original and the pannier load is a bit odd. It looks as if the voltage reg has been moved to under the saddle. The bikes both carry post-1948 registrations which are a bit incongruous with a black-out mask.

 

If the Norton really is 80 YB 83 then it should have frame number W8334 and was converted from the wartime number C4153502. It was struck off strength on 28/9/56 so had seen some considerable post-war service and is likely to have some more recent parts reflecting that but it doesn't seem to have been badly got at in civilian life.

 

I don't have detail on BSAs but a post on the WM20 forum might be worthwhile. It has the quite sought-after large early fuel tank.

 

Neither of them is likely to be a bad buy for someone experienced with older vehicles so it really comes down to price. Nortons tend to be more expensive than BSAs and spares are generally harder to find and more expensive (apart from some of the specific early production BSA parts that were shared with pre-war models).

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If the Norton really is 80 YB 83 then it should have frame number W8334 and was converted from the wartime number C4153502. It was struck off strength on 28/9/56 so had seen some considerable post-war service and is likely to have some more recent parts reflecting that but it doesn't seem to have been badly got at in civilian life.

 

Thats Spot on 79x100,

 

the frame number is W8334, interestingly the original green log book states date of first registration 29/9/56.

 

Thanks for that information, i'll post some pictures soon.

 

Jules

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It's nice to hear that it all fits, which reinforces the idea that no major disaters have occurred since demob. Have you bought it ?

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Yes, and the BSA, now all i need to do is get then going ! (never dabled in motorbikes before !)

 

both are complete, i would honestly say they need some light cosmetic restoration, the original gren logs show the Norton was registered as SZ4 981 in Ireland back in the mid 1980's

 

the BSA was /is registered as JZ2 655 and was first registered in 1949

 

Do you think they could still be registered ?

 

Any ideas of values ?

 

They are lovely and look great as a static display, but i would love to see them ridden.

 

Jules

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If you've got Irish documents then transferring to a UK registration should be straightforward. Make sure first though that the correct date of manufacture is shown rather than the post-war release date. If it isn't then it might be best to get a dating letter from the VMCC and start an age-related number application (it's detailed on the DVLA website).

 

The Norton is from contract C5612 and would date to mid-1940. It was originally supplied with a civilian type carrier (no paniers during 1940) and the large 8" headlamp. Does it still have a matching engine number ?

 

Values are difficult, especially from photos, added to which I've been around old bikes for too long and find everything expensive these days.

 

If I was pushed and if they're both runners, I suppose I'd reckon on about £3500 for the Norton, perhaps a bit less for the BSA, either of which might be brought up matching numbers (not so important as with a civvy bike) or dragged down by obvious mechanical problems. Dealers would ask more but whether they receive more in the end is always difficult to know.

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The engine number for the Norton is W46562

 

Nearly had it going the other night, i think the carb want a good clean out. I like the Norton out of the two, especially as it is 1940

 

Am i correct in thinking that the RAF used a lot of these type ?

 

Thank you for your valuations, they are just about what I thought.

 

Thanks for your help

 

Jules

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The engine W46562 is obviously from a later contract (C10217) which commenced production in June 1941. It is probably impossible to say whether the engine swap occurred during its service life or after demob, unless it has a brass rebuild plate inside the toolbox. At some point, rebuilt machines were issued with new census numbers (yours wasn't) but it is not clear whether this always occurred after engines were replaced.

 

Contract C5612 was completed on 20/5/40 and certainly some of the earlier bikes from the contract found their way to France, particularly with the 2nd BEF that landed at Cherbourg in June.

 

The 16H was extensively used by the RAF although later in the war, they purchased mostly Ariels. They were a substantial customer of Nortons prior to the war and continued throughout the conflict although the later bikes were mostly sidecar units fitted with 18" wheels. Neither your frame nor engine come from RAF contracts. However, specification and finish were identical and few could tell without a reference book handy.

 

It probably goes without saying that you'll need to strip and clean the carb and fuel tank before it'll cough into life. It's also worth draining the sump (1/4" BSP hex screw at the rear right hand side of the crankcase). Nortons have a gear type oil pump and despite fifty years of factory denials, the oil tank will empty itself into the sump and the oil drag will make it a devil of a job to spin over fast enough to start (and you don't really want to see the smoke screen that can follow !)

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Nortons have a gear type oil pump and despite fifty years of factory denials, the oil tank will empty itself into the sump and the oil drag will make it a devil of a job to spin over fast enough to start (and you don't really want to see the smoke screen that can follow !)

 

BSA's have the same kind of arrangement, and the same problems if left to stand for long periods. The BSA has a small sprung-loaded non return valve that can get gummed up or held open by a piece of debris, and then they can wet sump in a matter of hours!

 

Another "problem" with the BSA is that the gearbox main output shaft has only the most basic of sealing. Normally, that's not too bad a thing as the gearbox oil naturally migrates out slowly and lubricates the rear chain - all you have to do is keep an eye on the level in the box and not be too suprised/worried that it drops. The problem comes when you leave the bike canted over on it's field stand overnight - then you can come back in the morning to find the contents of the gearbox in a puddle on the ground!

 

I've no experience of Nortons, but I'd sy that the BSA, if up and running, would be worth in the order of £3000-£3500. Fully road registerd and MoT'd might well add another £1000. I've just sold a 1948 civilian BSA M33 (the same rigid/girders cycleparts as the M20, but an OHV 500cc engine) and whilst it was MoT'd and taxed, it wasn't immaculate and the engine was a year newer than the frame - and that fetched £4300.

 

Good luck with the bikes - I've a parts manual for a WM20 on ebay at the moment, as well as a Haynes Super profile for them if you're interested...

 

All the best, Glen.

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I have a problem starting the M20 when its hot, I have to wait for it to cool down, the electrics have been overhauled so its got a good spark and the compression is excellent....... any ideas? or is that normal?

Thanks.

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Hi Ray, I have an M20 and touch wood in the heat of the Normandy tour in 2009 started with out fault. As you`ve had the electrics done it should eliminate this but check that the spark is still good when it is hot as a Magneto with a problem will produce a good spark when cold (that`s when a guy flicks it over in his hand at an autojumble and shows you a good spark is not a real good test) will break down when hot. If this is not the case, do you have any spacer between the carburettor where it bolts on to the cylinder manifold. These are usually made of brass, ali, or a paxalin material. They are used to try and disperse some of the heat travelling along into the carb that causes the fuel to vaporise. An over lean mixture as well would`nt help. Take a look at this website as well, great bunch of guys always willing to help. http://www.wdbsa.nl/ Regards, Ian.:)

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Hi Ray, I have an M20 and touch wood in the heat of the Normandy tour in 2009 started with out fault. As you`ve had the electrics done it should eliminate this but check that the spark is still good when it is hot as a Magneto with a problem will produce a good spark when cold (that`s when a guy flicks it over in his hand at an autojumble and shows you a good spark is not a real good test) will break down when hot. If this is not the case, do you have any spacer between the carburettor where it bolts on to the cylinder manifold. These are usually made of brass, ali, or a paxalin material. They are used to try and disperse some of the heat travelling along into the carb that causes the fuel to vaporise. An over lean mixture as well would`nt help. Take a look at this website as well, great bunch of guys always willing to help. http://www.wdbsa.nl/ Regards, Ian.:)

 

Hi Ian, thanks for the quick response, I had the mag reconditioned because I was having the hot starting problem, I became convinced that the carb was actually too close to the cylinder and heat transference would very likely be the problem, I think that you have just confirmed that. I will locate a spacer and let you know how I go on. A million thanks. Regards a very grateful Ray.

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Your very welcome Ray, if you have nothing on there at the moment I`m sure it should do the trick, good luck, regards, Ian.:-D

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I had no end of hot starting problems with my BSA M33. I had the Mag-Dyno rebuilt several times without any real success. In the end I fitted a solid-state electronic cdi type ignition from BT-H magnetos which sorted it 100% - albeit at a significant cost.

 

If you rule out the carb spacer (and you should be able to get one easily from the likes of Draganfly Motorcycles or Burlen/Amal), then be brave and try starting the engine with the mag fully advanced when the engine's hot and it won't go otherwise. The mag produces it's strongest spark on full advance - just be sure to kick it hard, don't be gentle or it'll likely kick you back hard!

 

All the best, Glen.

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I had no end of hot starting problems with my BSA M33. I had the Mag-Dyno rebuilt several times without any real success. In the end I fitted a solid-state electronic cdi type ignition from BT-H magnetos which sorted it 100% - albeit at a significant cost.

 

If you rule out the carb spacer (and you should be able to get one easily from the likes of Draganfly Motorcycles or Burlen/Amal), then be brave and try starting the engine with the mag fully advanced when the engine's hot and it won't go otherwise. The mag produces it's strongest spark on full advance - just be sure to kick it hard, don't be gentle or it'll likely kick you back hard!

 

All the best, Glen.

 

Thanks Glen, I have had a great response on here from you guys, thanks a million........ I will report the outcome, but be a little patient, I have quite a bit of work on other vehicles at the moment, GMC 353 (Cosmetic) White M3 Halftrack (Mechanical) Harley Davidson WLC (Minor cosmetic, really minor) I am holding out high hopes for the spacer!!!!!!!!!! I also have a couple of other bikes (Royal Enfields, WD.CO and 350 Bullet Civvy) I like to ride them, I have to have some quality time.

Regards from a very grateful Ray.

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Glen

 

Advancing the ignition makes absolutely no difference to the strength or intensity of the spark. It just means that it sparks at a different time in relation to where the piston is in the engine cycle.

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Glen

 

Advancing the ignition makes absolutely no difference to the strength or intensity of the spark. It just means that it sparks at a different time in relation to where the piston is in the engine cycle.

 

 

Maybe with other types of magneto - those where the advance/retard mechanism moves the whole assembly... But not in the case of a Lucas MO1.

 

I'm pretty well acquainted with is the Lucas MO1 Mag-Dyno and their design is such that the advance and retard moves the points, whilst the armature's position relative to the crankshaft remains fixed. Optimum spark strength is attained when the points are opened with the armature and magnet at a precise point relative to each other (when the flux density is at it's peak). This is found at maximum advance on a MO1, retarding the ignition alters the relative positions of armature and magnet when the points open and results in a weaker spark.

 

This was a well known weakness of the Mag-Dyno. If you get a good unit then they can be very reliable, but a bad one is not uncommon. As I said above, eventually I gave up rebuilding and replacing ones for my M33 and fitted an electronic replacement - now that was perfect, just a shame it cost me nearly £700!

 

All the best, Glen.

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Maybe with other types of magneto - those where the advance/retard mechanism moves the whole assembly... But not in the case of a Lucas MO1.

 

I'm pretty well acquainted with is the Lucas MO1 Mag-Dyno and their design is such that the advance and retard moves the points, whilst the armature's position relative to the crankshaft remains fixed. Optimum spark strength is attained when the points are opened with the armature and magnet at a precise point relative to each other (when the flux density is at it's peak). This is found at maximum advance on a MO1, retarding the ignition alters the relative positions of armature and magnet when the points open and results in a weaker spark.

 

This was a well known weakness of the Mag-Dyno. If you get a good unit then they can be very reliable, but a bad one is not uncommon. As I said above, eventually I gave up rebuilding and replacing ones for my M33 and fitted an electronic replacement - now that was perfect, just a shame it cost me nearly £700!

 

All the best, Glen.

Before I had the Mag-Dyno recconditioned the M20 always started much better,even from cold, with the timing fully advanced, you just had to push it through pretty quickly to try to avoid the kick-back. However, since the recconditioning she will fire O.K. now when retarded. So I assume that initially it was a combination of possible poor spark coupled with possible fuel evaporation....... I must fit the spacer as soon as possible, fingers crossed..... Thanks guys, I know that I can sleep easy knowing that you are no further away than my keyboard. Thanks again.

Regards, Ray.

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