Project Norton ES2: Part 5

Off with her head!

How bad is the cylinder head of our ES2? We delve inside the head of a 62-year-old…

After last month’s highs with the first part of Project Norton finished, I could look at the shiny frame and swing arm and finally see through the last few months of searching through the parts, working out what was what, a plan of action, where my limited finances would be needed and whether I’d bought more than I could do. It does serve me right for buying a box of bits I suppose, but it was the only way I could get into Norton ownership.

Frames away

With the cradle sitting there, it was easy to get the project moving, so I decided to put the yokes and forks in; partly to see what, if anything, was missing and partly to help prevent the finished parts from getting damaged in the crowded workshop.

The previous owner was great at keeping things, but I still have to identify parts, like the upper cup that covers the top head race and the steering damper arm.

Plenty of grease is needed and helps to keep those damn ball bearings in place

So they’ll have to get done when the mudguards and boxes are done. But for now, the races looked in good order, all the balls had been saved in a coffee jar, so everything was cleaned, greased and pressed into action.

The forks then went in loosely with springs, covers and headlight holders, and while I need a couple of the small screws that hold the spring covers to the bottom yoke, again, they are safer than sitting on the bench and it is starting to look bike-like; a big confidence boost.

The old parts manual has handy exploded diagrams

The swing arm bushes felt okay, but while I want to watch the costs, it seems pointless to have a bike all apart and not renew them.

So a new set cost me £39 from Norvil, not bad for new metalastics specifically made for a 60-year-old bike.

Stripped thread is a worry, as original helicoil has used up too much alloy around it

But what is more concerning is I have to press the old ones out and press the new ones in to a freshly painted swing arm. A press is the only way, but some jiggery-pokery will be needed to set up the press as they both come out of one side.

Read more and view more images in the May 2019 issue of CBG – on sale now!

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