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Starting after 15 years

Home Forums TR3OC Members Forum Starting after 15 years

This topic contains 11 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Graham Redrup 9 months, 2 weeks ago.

  • Author
  • #6072



    I am looking some advice as to precautions I need to take before I try to start a T160 that I think has not been run for about 15 years. I’ve done the obvious of cleaning/replaced all the filters and removed and cleaned the oil talk and changed the engine, gearbox and primary oils. Carbs stripped and cleaned. Very good cold compression (kick start turn over only).

    I have just joined but seem to recall reading something on the forum regarding a document someone had prepared that covered this topic – however I can’t find it. Thanks

  • #6073
    Kerrin Gautrey
    Kerrin Gautrey

    I think the article you are asking about was called ” Awakening the sleeping beast” & was written by Phil Pick. Unfortunately Phils website seems to have disappeared but try posting a request for the article on the TR3OC Facebook page & someone may be able to find you a copy.


  • #6074


    Hi Antony

    Try the search option and you’ll find old threads on the subject I’m pretty sure. ..also maybe Google “waking the beast”. ..I read it not long ago when I started to restore my t160 ..hope this helps

    Regards Kev

  • #6075


    Thanks both Kevin and Kerrin for the quick responses. I have now found that document thank you – very informative.

    As the bike has been stood for so long and the document suggests introducing oil to the crankcases via the primary drive, I am thinking I should now clean that out to avoid introducing shock absorber fragments into the crankcases (I only changed the oil). I’ve not stripped anything off the engine other than the carbs – should I be concerned about cleaning out the oil ways in the crankcases- I would rather not!


  • #6076
    Kerrin Gautrey
    Kerrin Gautrey

    I wouldn’t bother with cleaning out the oilways but emptying out the oil cooler & rinsing it clean with petrol, thinners or brake cleaner is good. Also, on first starting the engine run the return hose into a container, when you see clean oil coming through you know you’ve flushed pretty much all the old oil out of the system. Keep an eye on the oil level in the tank while you’re doing this!  At that point stop the engine & reconnect the hose.

    Instead of adding oil through the primary I would add a litre through the triangular plate in the timing cove. Don’t forget  the 350ml needed for the primary, it doesn’t like being run dry. Once you’ve got it running & put a few miles on it to get it hot you can drain the primary & that will bring out any debris, not that there should be any if it’s in good condition.


  • #6077


    Thanks for that. I’ll do as you suggest. Not sure what state the shock absorber rubbers will be in but I will probably need to replace them.


  • #6080

    Martin Rawson

    Tony I would use a cheap 10-40 as a flushing oil and drop it after a 10 mile run. Then go onto a 20-50 fully synthetic which will bring up the insides of the engine like new and give the engine what it deserves. The alternative is 20-50 Mineral Oil and change as per manual.


    • #6081
      Kerrin Gautrey
      Kerrin Gautrey

      I agree with Martin. Initially use some cheap 10-40 & take it for a gentle run, but long enough to get everything warm. Then dump the oil & replace it with something decent.

  • #6083


    Thank you both,

    Sound idea, but now I’m thinking what is the best type of oil to use longer term! I’ve not owned a 160 since I was a lad when they were nearly new and then I just used GTX or Duckhams, but oils have changed so much since then. I’ve got a good idea what to use in a seventies twin but the triple engine has a proper filter, dry clutch and no sludge trap so the optimum oil is likely to be different.

    I’ll have a search through the forum and maybe post a separate question about oil then.

    Thanks again




  • #6517
    Al Walker
    Al Walker

    Anthony, what oil did you settle on in the end?

    I remember an oil thread some years back on the Norton owners website… it kicked off into an award winning forum post.

    Some had the opinion that they had old bikes with old tolerances.. so just stuck whatever in and changed it regularly, another made it back from Europe running on an emergency fix of straight vegetable oil for 2,000 miles, and some felt like their bikes loved them more when they had to re-mortgage the house for premium quality oils.

    I have just started using Valvoline VR1 Racing 20W 50. Its not a synthetic but they say a “highly refined” oil… Dunno what that means but I liked the silver bottle… The bike’s definitely going faster now than it does when using cheap oils… 😉

    • #6523


      Hi Al,

      I’ve still not decided what to use longer term. As suggested previously, I have removed and flushed out the oil cooler (it was filthy) and same with the oil tank and I have put some old school oil (Halfords 20w50) in it with the intention of using it just as a flushing oil, but I’ve yet to run the engine. I like the idea of using a modern synthetic oil of the correct grade. The detergents should prevent sludge build up and the filter deal with any debris. On that point are there different qualities of oil filters available – any makes recommended or to be avoided. (I’ve fitted an EMGO but happy to use something else after the initial flushing run).


  • #6526

    Graham Redrup

    Hi Tony, Everyone has their own views on which oil to use & why, I use a fully synthetic 10/40 with a high zinc content as this helps prolong the life of camshafts which can be a weak point on our engines. I use a 10/40 due to when cold starting with 20/50 the oil pressure went off the clock, when excessive it will lift the oil filter off its seating hence allowing anything through, when the engine is hot I still have excellent oil pressure, and at tickover it settles to 30 pounds.

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