New owner questions

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Zed
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New owner questions

Postby Zed » Sun Jul 09, 2017 3:29 am

Hi, i'm just break in the engine on my '92 Norton Commander Krauser and was looking for advice/recommendations for a few areas:

I understand the 4000rpm limit for the first 250 miles from rebuild and the 5000rpm limit for the 250-500 miles, but the handbook says to progressively increase the rpm from 500-1000 miles. What exactly does this mean? Extra 1000rpm every 100 miles? Do i have to operate the engine at high speed (>7000rpm) to properly break in the engine? In at 440miles now and have mainly stuck to the 4000rpm limit, with the exception of a few short excursions of a few seconds for one or two overtakes. Only real variable has been rate of acceleration over this time. I have now started to operate up to 5000rpm as of this evening and plan some long steady motorway journeys at this speed before heading back into the peak district. RPM shot up and had to be dialed back via thr idle screws (i'm sure i've unbalanced it). Idle is at <500rpm (seems to have adjusted itself after sitting at 1100rpm?) and fuel consumption has dropped from 37mpg to >45mpg (i'm hoping for a target +48mpg).

Other quirks is how to set the choke. This is baffling as the rate of opening in no way matched the 4 clicks on the lever. Currently the first click does nothing. I have checked that the cable is in tension. The second click takes a cold engine to 1500rpm and is the one that i am currently using the most. The third goes to 3000rpm and i have not tried the fourth. I have tried shuffling the cable but it only seems to make matters worse so i go back to where it is. Am i doing something fundamentally stupid?

The bike appears to have all manor of electrical quirks. Switching on the headlight will cause a 5 deg C jump in the temperature gauge and the fuel gauge is the most dishonest thing i have personally come across in quite come time! It appears to have 50% error based on a 23 liter tank and a <12 liter fill from the needle buried in the red. Does this sound like fundamental electrical issue? Graham had put on a new thick earthing cable and he pointed out that both the old harness from the factory and one of Richard Negus' new ones were attached to the bike. Sound like the wiring is a bit of a mess.

What solutions have people found for the hot right ankle? I have to periodically stick my foot into the air-stream to cool it off. Is there a standard solution to this the others have adopted?

The final area i'm looking for input is riding & handling advice. I'm currently rising bolt upright, but i have had to rotate the bars to lower them as it was causing neck and upper back pain. The sweep on the bars seems far too much so my wrists are tilting out. Is there a reason for this configuration that i have failed to grasp? or bad ergonomics?
The bike's handling is actually very surprising. If i was not sitting so upright i would say it was more like a sports bike. It changes direction very fast and i do not slow for switchbacks. Are there certain riding quirks that i should know about? or areas i should keep away from? What are good indicators that i am nearing the limit? Leaning off the side of the bike makes little or no difference, but even though the handling appears very neutral, leaning forward appears to help the shocking crosswind issue. Generally she appears to require a manly firm hand; its the heaviest hydraulic clutch lever i have come across, and two finger braking appears to be out of the question. Neutral is only found with stationary bliping or while rolling to the stop (i try to use the latter as it requires less lever force, but resort to the former when i have cocked things up). The manual says i should not hold the clutch lever open to long periods. What is the reason for this?

I'm sure i will have more questions as i use the bike more...

Cheers
Zed

Joe
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Location: Essex

Re: New owner questions

Postby Joe » Mon Jul 10, 2017 7:50 pm

Hello Zed,
I have two Commanders both 1989's. One is the standard pannier type which I've had from new the other I converted to Krauser from an ex Police machine in 1999. I have around 80,000 miles on the first bike and 210,000 miles on the Krauser bike and I love them. They do have quirks.
The wiring on these bikes requires keeping on top of otherwise verdigree will attack the connections probably the cause of the fuel gauge problem. Check the black wire connection under the black rubber boot on the front R/H side of the fuel tank. With the bike on the centre stand turn the handle bars to the left and look down between the fuel tank cover and the front forks, you'll see the boot. Under the R/H side of the fuel tank cover where the fuel tank cover and front fairing join are three 9 way electrical connections which are a bugger to get to but worth the effort. Removing the headlamp cover and headlight plus the windscreen and light panel helps a lot with access. Theses connections tend to attract all of the available water a dirt thrown up from the front wheel and heated via the radiator. The connection terminals sometimes snap off due to corrosion. New AMP terminals are available. My temperature reading fluctuates when the indicators are illuminated. I believe the wiring loom Richard made for your bike is very good with fewer joints.
Replacing the headlamp (bulb) for an LED type will help on power usage but you do need a good voltage here, again check connections. Most electrical connections on our bikes are down to poor connection either due to wear or corrosion.
One important thing to check is the ignition unit isn't installed in it's original location bolted to the back of the voltage regulator. The V.R. Generates loads of heat which is a killer for an ignition box.
I've never had a problem with the riding position but I'm only 1.68 Metres tall and my 75 kilos help to squash down the suspension tucking me well down behind them screen so I suppose an advantage of being short fat and ugly.
The choke operates differently on both of my bikes and I just live with it, my high mileage bike seldom requires choke.
Handling is OK I can grind down the centre stand on left handers. Fit stainless steel braided brake lines all round if not already done.
Hope this helps.
Regards, Joe.

Wayne
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Re: New owner questions

Postby Wayne » Mon Jul 10, 2017 9:56 pm

2 things made me laughs
Jo 75kg i think you require new scales lol can i borrow then i might weigh 100kg

Your foot gets hot, i wish that was my problem , on a f1 sport is your nether regions that get very warm and you cant get them in the wind lol
Regards Wayne

Zed
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Re: New owner questions

Postby Zed » Mon Jul 10, 2017 11:51 pm

Many thanks Joe, I shall look at the connectors. My bike is a bit of a special as it uses a UAV engine case and an F1 crank re-machined to fit. So the harness looks a little strange, the bike also has a voltmeter which I have not seem on another bike. I am planning on a total LED conversion to reduce power usage as I want to drop to one battery (Motobatt). It currently does not have the running light although I have the board and the lamps which are being converted as we speak (opened, resprayed, etc). But this has four lights rather than the usual two and no flog light switch as on the non-Krausers. I'm at 1.85 m and 82kg so I cannot get behind even the taller screen without ducking down, which really cannot be sustained for any length of time. I'm impressed as to how clean my clothes stay after riding half faired sports bike and track bikes...

How have you got the handle bars set? I have tried to get the sweep back as horizontal as possible, but I have not been able to rotate the throttle side switch pod.
Exhaust rad shield fell off so that is something else I need to do. And I have had to ignore an ex-Interpol rider tell me how rubbish the bike is...but that's another story.

Is it worth getting the bike set up on a rolling road or does that not really make any difference?

How long did you go before rebuilds of the engine? I can live with the choke...its is like several areas of the bike where it just looks like it was designed wrong (maybe a consequence of me coming from a much later motorcycle era).

Wayne,

I did have that problem too but though it impolite to comment on such things. The solution I found in the Peaks was to ride while standing on the pegs until I had cooled off slightly. Not sure if that qualifies as getting them in the wind, but temperature reduction was sufficient to no longer risk a seated crush...I shall leave the rest to your imagination sir.

Zed

Joe
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Location: Essex

Re: New owner questions

Postby Joe » Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:48 pm

Hello Wayne,
Glad I made you laugh.
Actually 75 Kilos is a typo, I'm only 73 Kilos. Hurrah! On a down side though I'm now 32mm shorter. I was 1.68m when I was 18. I've lost 1mm a year for the last 32 years, I wonder if that's down to riding Wankels? I've note dared to check since my recent head injury, I could be even shorter.
Cheers mate, Joe.

Joe
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Posts: 183
Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2007 1:22 pm
Location: Essex

Re: New owner questions

Postby Joe » Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:31 pm

Hello Zed,
Wow, your bike sound interesting.
Thinking about my riding experiences I do now recal hot feet on hot days. I usually move my feet to the outside of the foot pegs away from the heat and into cooler air. These bikes do run hot, Norton Motors had 1000"c at the exhaust port on their test beds.
I am happy to make alterations on my Krauser bike and did remove both batteries to replace with a Motobatt MBTX14AU. This is the largest that will fit and phisically the size of the standard 14AH leads acid. I wasn't happy with this mod. after the battery went flat a few times so went back to twin batteries which have never let me down.
I'm surprised another Rotary Norton rider made comments like that, they usually come from people like the press who have never even seen a Wankel let alone ridden or even owned one. I have six rotary Nortom's and three other Wankel bikes.I have ridden and owned some vary rare and expensive bikes over the years and I still prefer a Rotary Norton.
You are located well for getting your exhaust shield repaired, Try Geoff Madden at Asbo Exhaust.
My standard Commander that I've had from new is untouched from memory my other bike I Molly'd when I purchased it with 33,000 miles. I think new seals and bearings were also fitted. At 160,000 miles it required a new R/H rotor housing and grinding of both main ends of the Eccentric shaft. The surfaces are ground and roller bearing inners are pressed on. The water pump side was done again at I think 190,000.
I ultrasonically clean the carbs every couple of years and replace the seals and needle and float valves at the same time. Setting these up is quite simple with the only tricky bit being the flying off choke rod clip. Leave slack on the choke cables as recommended in the workshop manual.
I've never felt the need to set the bike up on the rolling road I'm not sure what improvements could be made.
New running lights are available from an aviation suppliers and the last time I checked they were relatively cheap at I think £40 each. I don't think these are available yet in LED conversion although Whelen do make similar size LED light heads.
I'm sure had money been available when the bikes were produced thing would have been different. Norton Motors had some excellent engineers and if the production had continued these faults would have probably ironed out.
Feel free to PM your email address so we can talk further.
Many thanks, Joe.

Joe
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Location: Essex

Re: New owner questions

Postby Joe » Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:40 pm

Hello Zed,
Just another thought.
I have had to replace the water pump shaft on my Standard Commander every 10,000 miles, the seal rarely went, something must be wrong. On my 210,000 miler I rebuilt the water pump when I Moody's it at 33,000 miles and again at 160,000 miles whilst having the other work done and then one further time in the last 50,000 miles. The difference between the two is the latter bike has a coller which retains the lubrication grease around the Oldham coupling with an oil seal. I'm unable to fit one to the other bike because it interferes with clearance and I can't then refit the water pump cover.
Regards, Joe.

Zed
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Re: New owner questions

Postby Zed » Wed Jul 12, 2017 10:41 pm

Ooh! That is exactly the battery that I have bought! A little further research indicates a possible reason why: The VR cuts off at 14.4v and AGM batteries to like taking more than 14v. I really to love my Motobatt as they have been a reliable companion on my BWM parallel twin and boxer (both some of the hardest engine configurations to start), cranking in the middle of winter after sitting outside, not having been cranked for several months and starting first time. I think the alternators on those bikes are sized better not to overvolt the battery. I think the Commander one is oversized due to the P52 and its electrical demands. Once I have sorted out the LED light board, I will post a picture of it. I will keep my lead acid batteries on one side while I try the Motobatt. The point was to replace one battery with a custom fabricated 2 stroke bottle. This is something Graham has done on his bike.

As for the other ex-rotary owner, I believe he used to be a member here as I once saw him with a rotary news letter with an article of Russian rotaries that someone had photoed in a museum. He was mocking my stupidity for buying one due to it being old and heavy and the engine needing to be rebuilt after 25k miles and the front brake being useless. He owned an ex police Interpol, but I think his expectation for the machine were set very high. I have never consider this as anything other than a vintage machine (not even a 90s one) and ride it as such.

I know a very good fabricator at work who can try to make a clip and weld it on as well as weld the bracket back on the front of the exhaust.

The bike has done 35k miles from new and as this is not my only bike I do not intend to put many more miles on it, but I do want to do some touring on it.

Where is the ignition box located? It a bit of a rat's nest under there...

So I just cam back from Oxford which allowed long 5000rpm runs on the bike. It is still very unnerving how much buffeting there us and I can pick up wake turbulence from 50-100m ahead of me. Vans appear to be worse then lorries until you have to pass them and then Bernoulli effect takes over!

One very strange issue that I have spotted is what I would describe as a 'Dutch roll'; this is an oscillation that the bike will generate if nudged (movement in seat, body hit by crosswind), this generates three oscillations of decreasing amplitude. A wiggle of the bars and shuffle of the bottom also generate this effect. Is this normal behaviour or an issue with the bike?

Cheers

Zed

Joe
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Posts: 183
Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2007 1:22 pm
Location: Essex

Re: New owner questions

Postby Joe » Wed Jul 12, 2017 11:48 pm

Hello Zed,
Unfortunately I haven't ridden a bike since my head injury back in February so I can't actually recal any weave. I am however going out tomorrow for ride so I'll look out for that and report back.
The Russian bike in the Epitrochoid is a MotoProm and owned by Swis member Hans Peters. He has two or possibly even three bikes. He also has a Russian rotary engine with a square rotor which incredibly does run. I believe he'll be attending the Wankel Treffen in Nurenburg this weekend upon one.
I have a MotoBatt on both my DKW W2000 and Van Veen OCR 1000. They both sit for months without being used and as you say they do just jump into life with these batteries. I did also play with my Voltage regulator so this could have been my trouble. My Classic and F1 Sport only have one battery and they start fine. I can't see any reason why a Commander with good wiring shouldn't be able to cope with just the one battery.
The Voltage Regulator and Igniton box are mounted back to back on the ignition coil mounting bracket using a bracket with two fixed nuts and longer bolts passing through the V.R. This can be found on the right hand side of the front fairing under the lift up cover. With the right hand side panel removed it is roughly located above the R/H air filter.
The ignition box can be attached to the fuel tank with double sided tape or with a thin aluminium strip located between two of the three coil mounting bracket M5 studs. It is possible to sandwich the ignition box against the fuel tank this way.
Loosen the three M5 nylon nuts and washers and pull away the ignition mounting coil and remove the white plastic spacers on the centre and rear fixing stud. Fit the thin strip, mine measures 22 x 166mm and replace the plastic spacers and coil mounting bracket. Slide the ignition box between the strip and fuel tank and tighten the three M5 nylon nuts after replacing the washers. ( Oops, Nearly forgot them) Probably a photo here would make more sense. Richard usually moves these to a better cooler location, sometimes up near the head stock. Yours may well be relocated already.
I love touring on my bike and have completed many long tours two up. I do know what you mean about the turbulence and on hot rides I actually seek out vans so I can tuck in behind them for cooler air. I have to judge my distance so I can get maximum turbulence.
I recal once with my girlfriend on the back overtakeing a lorry whilst at the same time I removed one hand to open my flip up helmet when I got passed the vehicle I was swept right across the carriageway with the cross wind. Not fun at speed. Within all the bodywork we are a big sail.
Sure these bikes are heavy but built very well. Fibreglass is inherently flimsy so its thick to combat this which does of course add weight. The silencers are bloody heavy too. I know a few Commanders with high mileage so they must be doing something right.
Many thanks, Joe.

Zed
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Re: New owner questions

Postby Zed » Thu Jul 13, 2017 9:00 pm

All interesting stuff Joe. Love the mention of the quadrotor; is this by any chance the quasiturbine concept? I think the guy in question actually wrote an article for the magazine...
The Soviet Union had quite a long history with the rotary but with cars and APCs rather than bikes. They seem to have found a home in aviation for obvious reasons.

After the long run yesterday I was resetting the idle and trying to get smooth running. I did notice some worrying things. Feeling the exhaust (hand in gas stream) I noticed two things: the right hand rotor exhaust was maybe 5-10 deg hotter than the left; the left was puffing harder than the right!

The only thing I have ever done is to turn the idle screws. Is this normal (seems very strange if it is) or are the setting mucked up or is there something wrong with the rotor.

I have also noticed that when starting for cold its a bit hit or miss and the rpm without choke is very low. Adding choke causes the rpm to skyrocket. I had thought that retardation occurred at 80degC and this very much used to be the case with the rpm at over 1000 for idle then +80degC dropping to 500rpm. No when I restart the engine the whole retard at 80 does not seem to occur.

I am tempted by the certainty that a digital ignition system would bring because I cannot figure out what this one is doing. Do Andover still make one?

I struggle to understand how they managed to configure the bike with the intake downstream of the radiator and with the fan on it is blasting hot air into them intake. They really should have ducted air from around it in the cool airstream. I wonder why they didn't? Garside is smarter than that judging from his SAE paper.

Cheers

Zahid

Anthony Duffield
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Re: New owner questions

Postby Anthony Duffield » Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:03 pm

Zahid,

Some of this may help you, by the way I have owned my Commander for several years:

After a full engine overhaul I did not go over 4000 revs for 500 miles then let it slowly return to normal speeds for the last 500 with no ill effects

My temperature gauge changes very slightly depending on the electrical load, its to do with volt drop and not an issue for me, my fuel gauge is same as yours not reliable but as my bike will do 200 miles from a full tank and there is a good reserve it is not a problem.

My cable clutch is nice and smooth and fairly light, the front brake is excellent, I'm average height and weight 6.0 and 13 stone and find the riding position just right, the bike is a bit of a barn door but I have got used to it, a tail wind makes for interesting riding but again not a problem.

I can find neutral no problem immediately after a cleaning session of the clutch plates but not long after the stiction between the plates stops any chance of finding neutral on my bike unless on the roll or engine off. Keeping the clutch lever pulled in for too long will overheat the clutch thrust bearing.

Most electrical issues are caused by bad connections especially earths (right hand side behind the air cleaner) check them on a regular basis and it should be OK.

I converted my bike to one battery (lead acid) years ago and have never had any issues, the redundant space on the left side is a perfect fit for a 1.2 litre plastic oil container. I still use halogen lamps throughout no LEDs

I have not heard of a Dutch Roll but from what you describe I would check the wheel(s) and swing arm bearings, my bike is rock solid in a straight line I do a lot of two up long distances and when my passenger moves about the bike does not move at all.

Cold running for me, others do not seem to have a problem, has also been an issue, once warmed up to around 70 deg its OK I had a problem with only running on one side when cold but when overhauling the carbs found on one the cold running starter blocked, since then it has been OK.

And finally, having toured extensively in the UK and abroad, last year in temperatures around 35 deg my Commander just kept on going with cooling water jacket temperatures on average of 100 deg (85 during a typical UK summers day)

I hope I have answered some of your questions

Safe riding
Tony


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