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The Rebuild from Hell
Updated 01/22/19

1974 T150V Refresh
Updated 07/12/24

1970 T120R Rebuild
Updated 05/05/24

A Trident Rebirth
Updated 7/4/2024

1970 T100R Rebuild
Sold 6/1/2019

1971 T120R Rebuild
Sold 6/22/2017

US FlagWednesday, July 24, 2024

In 2013 I bought a titled, numbers matching, 1974 T150V that was nearly complete but in rough shape.  The pictures below show how it was before starting (the tank and rear fender were removed previously).

Before starting

November 14, 2015 the disassembly began and then November 21, 2015 the mystery started! The timing cover and stator were missing when the bike arrived and the nuts for the cam gears were only finger tight -- that much I knew, several other things are a mystery:
  • When I started to take the top end apart, I was surprised that none of the head bolts were properly tightened even though the dirt and grime showed that the engine was running like that.
  • Once the head was off, it was clear that the left cylinder had been running properly but the center and right cylinders were running quite rich.
  • I found no oil in the oil lines, oil cooler, oil tank, and only a couple of drops in the rocker boxes but everything in the rocker boxes looks good and so do the valves.
  • The left engine mount was covered with road grime and missing one bolt and the other were not tight.
  • The road grime on the outer primary cover showed that the bike had been running quite a bit since the last time the cover was off.
  • When I took the outer primary cover off, the amount of water and oil matched and the nut that is supposed to retain the engine sprocket fell out as did the locking washer! Then I noticed that the primary chain adjuster was missing! Then I unscrewed the cush drive nut with my fingers. I have no idea how the bike ran like that! Even more amazingly, everything else in the outer primary looks new!

November 21, 2015 here are some more pictures as it comes apart:

Starting disassembly

December 6, 2015 a few more pictures as it comes apart and a revelation. I was sure that this was a running bike before being parked and partly disassembled. The oil pump was not screwed in and the crankshaft nut that fell out is not the right thread pattern, it was just stuck inside the case! The gearbox mainshaft had a tab washer and nut, but was cross threaded so I may have to find a mainshaft :-(.

Continuing disassembly 1
December 12, 2015 finally ready for the engine to come out of the frame. The kickstart pinion, which normally slides right off, took about five hours of trying different methods but it finally came loose. I then put the bike on its side stand so the muck wouldn't gush out of the gearbox when I took the inner cover off -- water followed by oil gushed out of the engine instead! I can't imagine what the crankshaft will look like when I split the cases.

Continuing disassembly 2
December 15, 2015 notice the engine in the box behind the frame. Finished fully disassembling the frame. Everything other than the front frame, back frame and swingarm are now in boxes, marked, and on shelves.

Continuing disassembly 3
July 16, 2016 This bike has been on hold for a while.  In the first picture you can see another Trident with a white side panel.  That is being turned into a clean daily rider.  It's engine is in good shape and has been fully serviced.  The wheel bearings and front end are being fully rebuilt and it has new rear shocks.  Once it's done and sold, there will be much more room in the shop and I can get back to work on this one.

Starting reassembly
October 15, 2016 The White Trident mentioned earlier is almost done and will now be called the Black Trident. The tank has been painted High Gloss Black. While waiting for parts for it and three other bikes, I blasted the frame for the Trident that is the being described in this page and it will be painted this week.

November 1, 2016 The frame is painted and ready for the rebuild to continue. But, there's no room for another in-progress bike right now, so it is on hold. Until the Black Trident is sold.

November 5, 2016 Due to buying a massive lot of parts, there is no room to work on bikes! So, all rebuilds are on hold for a while.

December 24, 2016 The shop is cleared out enough now to actually work on bikes again. Hopefully, the Black Trident will be done and sold soon so there will be room for this bike.

January 14, 2017 Switched gears and decided to get the 1971 T120R finished and gone before finishing the other bikes.

March 18, 2017 The 1971 T120R is finished. It runs and rides great and will go on eBay soon if one of the local people interested doesn't buy it. It's all gloss black and is a 100% rebuild. It's not a perfect restore, it's a complete rebuild. I have $4614.46 in it plus LOTS of hours of time. I'll obviously never make a profit! The bike started and idled the first time I kicked it! It has a Tri-Spark electronic ignition and voltage regulator. One carb was NOS and one was like new. Both have been completely rebuilt with the modern float.
It took quite a while, but it sold for a decent price.

November 19, 2017 Many, many tangents.  Most importantly, I hurt my shoulder and have not got a lot done since.  I finally convinced a doctor to fix it so I'll have surgery sometime in December. I haven't done anything on this bike.   The Black Trident still needs 1-2 days to finish.  The 1970 Bonneville is still sitting.  My Norton 850 rider needs 1-2 days to finish; its front end is rebuilt and it needs a little more wiring and touch-up painting.  I rebuilt a guys BSA B25 and then later his oil pump gear failed and I'm rebuilding the engine again.  I have sold off a lot of the parts I bought and I have some room to work in the shop now.

December 31, 2017 The BSA B25 is done and gone. I had shoulder surgery earlier this month and have not been able to do much since.

July 4, 2024 Big update! After years of never getting around to this, I mentioned it on a forum a member expressed interested. I just wanted to recover my cost which he was happy with, but wives can be an issue especially with kids in college. So, I made him a deal. He takes the bike as a long-term project and builds it. When done, he can either buy me out or sell it in which case I get my cost and part of the profit. In the meantime, I help him with parts and he can use my sand blasting and powder coating equipment. I have way too many projects, so this is good for me and him. And, I'm really happy to get some shelf space back!

He picked the bike up today.

Burlen, the parent of the AMAL Carb Company     The AMAL Carb Company      Tri-Spark, inovative electrical products for the Vintage British Motorcycle      Wassell, the 70+ year old suppliers of British Motorcycle parts      cNw has become a leader in bringing new parts and improvements to the Norton motorcycle market.
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