Monday, August 11, 2014

Tank & Side Panels

The Hornet came with two fuel tanks. The filler neck was loose on one and it was removed, cleaned up and cad plated. The fuel tap threaded inserts were loose in the second tank and adapter pipes were epoxy cemented into the tank when it was lined by the previous owner. The taps were odd looking and probably not for a motorcycle either. The first tank, without the filler neck, looked pretty good so it was taken to Precision Motorcycle Painting to see if it was worth fixing.  Upon inspection it was determined a new tank was needed due to deterioration of the fiberglass. They preferred not to put labor into paint that would peel off as this makes unhappy customers. An aluminum tank was ordered from a source in India and will be impervious to ethanol fuels which are common here in the US. I may have the fiberglass tank painted to put on the bike at shows. Although I wanted to keep the bike in original condition I also want it to be a rider. The aluminum tank should remove a major shortcoming of the Hornet’s ability to be used as such. 

The aluminum tank looks good, unlike some of the steel tanks I have seen. With that being said there are a few issues. It had a few waves that were smoothed out, lug bolts on the bottom that were removed, and the center mount hole was 3/8 of an inch rearward of the factory tank. This should not be an issue as there is adjustment in the frame mount that gets me to the correct location. The fuel tap holes were also smaller than the originals, which mean I will need different taps. This is another area of improvement over the original Ewarts cork sealed taps that are prone to leaking in my experience.

As far as issues go there were a few with the filler neck:
  • The cap hinge hole was drilled through at an angle and one side had to be enlarged to get it to fit straight. 
  • The distance across the top was also to long by about a sixteenth of an inch which I "corrected" with an aluminum punch. 
  • The sealing surface was out of flat by about .020 which was filed to correct.
  • The filler hole diameter was too small. The metal center of the cap hit when closed and not the sealing washer. I fixed this with the addition of an o-ring behind the washer. 
  • The filler neck sits higher than the glass tank by about .25 inches.   

Studs are for later model Firebird reflector mounts. The smaller holes are for later model fuel taps as well. 

The bottom edge of the catch was moved back and the corner filed enabling the cap to shut. 

The sealing surface was blackened and filed flat. 

The "Made in England" cap came with no spring and the tank did not hold it open. 

Removing a spring from an old cap and installing it on the new one. 

An o-ring added to hold out the washer, spring fitted and hold open working although the cap will fall back and hit the tank if you go to far. 

The final result looks good although the cap sits a bit high. If you are looking for a show bike tank this is not it. If you are looking to build a rider I think this is a good way to go. I am happy with the final results. 

The side panels were in surprisingly good shape. Holes were elongated slightly and there was a small chip on one but there were no cracks. They were reinforced in the back and reused. The paint was color matched to the original tank which still had finish showing through its bottom. (It looks lighter in these pictures than it actually is) Decals were applied and clear coat was used to cover everything up. The results are great. They are on the shelf and ready to assemble this winter…..ride bikes in the summer….work on them in the winter.

Finished and ready to go.....

Back sides of the panels reinforced with a thin layer of glass. 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Painting the Frame & Parts

Painting is an area that I elected not to tackle. The finish of a vehicle makes or breaks its value. Not only do I have limited skills in this area I am not interested in investing the time and money necessary to be successful in it. I enjoy the mechanical aspects of restoration and will stick to that. Precision Motorcycle Painting in South Bend Indiana advertises with the International Norton Owners Association which I have been a member of since 1989. I have had good luck using sources that work with my fellow Norton club members and thought I would give them a try. The work on their web page looked good too.

The Hornet was purchased from a family of very successful demolition derby car drivers. They won events all over the mid west and dominated our local fair 18 out of the 20 years in which they participated in it. The reason this is brought up is that the bike must have been in the barn where they sprayed their cars. It had a tint of many colors with gold, green and blue being the most prevalent.  I cleaned all of the oil off of the painted parts and sandblasted those that needed fixing. Most parts were still painted when taken to Precision Motorcycle Painting.  They sandblasted, primed, and then sprayed all parts with three coats of paint. Overall I am very pleased with the paint work. It looks as good as or better than new. The Hornet has matching numbers and the frame number is visible through the paint. One of the reasons I elected not to powder coat the bike was that I did not want to cover up the number as I figured this would reduce the final value of the bike. People who have gone the powder coating rout also told me it is difficult to touch up. They also said not to go the powder coating rout if you are after an authentic restoration.  Painted parts are on the shelf and ready for reassembly this fall.