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At this point in time a firm friendship had built up between George and Steve Harmer at the Norfolk Motorcycle Museum and myself. I had started to help them on a voluntary basis and still do so. The museum has a loan exhibit of a Norton BRS that probably pre-dates 1920. This machine had been standing since 1928 with caster oil in the engine that had gone like resin. I removed the engine and petrol/oil tank from this machine and brought them home for cleaning and overhaul. Great care had to be taken in stripping this valuable machine. The caster oil had stuck everything solid, every screw, nut and bolt had to be eased undone with the aid of gentle heat. The valve timing had to be accurately measured before the camshafts were removed. The filthy state of this engine can be seen from the photograph.

BRS Engine

The cleaning of the engine was a slow job. Nothing except washing-up liquid and elbow grease seemed to work. Eventually when everything was cleaned up the engineering excellence of this remarkable engine was revealed. Some remedial work was necessary to the valve spring caps and to the decompressor lever.

BRS Engine

The engine was rebuilt and the valve timing reset. The BTH magneto was cleaned up, re-assembled and given a spin and gave a good spark after 72 years! The petrol and oil tanks were cleaned, the petrol taps, carburettor and oil hand pump cleaned.

BRS Engine
The engine and tanks were taken back to the museum and the bike rebuilt. Oil and petrol were introduced and the engine turned by means of an electric motor I had rigged up to the crankshaft pulley. Nothing happened at first so a teaspoon of petrol was introduced to the cylinder head primer and a second attempt made. The engine burst into life, I gave the oil pump too many pumps and filled the museum with blue smoke! Since then I have done more work on this machine, having remade the steering head bearings and sorted out the fork spindles and links which were damaged following an accident on the Acle straight in 1925.
BRS Engine

Tony's Story Part 4





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