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Author Topic: 1966 Triumph Bonneville restoration  (Read 15129 times)

Offline swan

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1966 Triumph Bonneville restoration
« on: Nov 15, 2015, 13:41:59 »
Finally! After several months of searching I have finally found and bought a 1966 Triumph 650 motorcycle. It is a twin carburetor T120R Bonneville, the fastest stock production motorcycle in its day. 

Stock 1966 Triumph Bonneville (export or US model)

(my new project)

My first motorcycle as an adult was a 1966 Triumph TR6 Trophy, which I sold after a brief summer fling with it and travelled to Europe with the money.  I always regretted selling that bike and I do not even have a photo of it nor do any of my friends. A few years ago I picked up a basket case 66 Bonneville with intentions of restoring it but my fate changed when I found my BSA Gold Star and sold the basket case to fund the Goldie’s restoration.

Earlier this year I aggressively searched for a 66 Triumph, not a restored version, but a basket case, bobber, chopper, barn find etc. so I could restore it myself. A decent 66 Triumph popped up on Indiana Craigslist and I spoke with a very nice man named Dan and I bought it for $1100. It just so happened I was going to central Illinois with a large truck the following week so I drove over to Indiana to pick up my bike in person. Dan is in his early 60’s and has had a lifelong love of motorcycles. He rides a Triumph T160, is restoring a 1967 TR6 along with an Indian chief. He sold this bike to help fund his Indian restoration. It is exactly what I wanted at a great price. It has been sitting unused since 1977.

The good news is it is a matching frame and motor serial number 1966 Bonneville with a title.  I have seen a lot less go for much more on Ebay recently. The motor and gear box turn freely, nearly all the black bits are included along with the correct original stainless fenders (mud guards), the one year only oil tank and front drum brake. Included, but not pictured, are the original tank badges, rear fender loop and exhaust pipes. The bad news is the seat and tank are incorrect for a 66 Bonneville, the center stand, headlight and ring, tail light, engine stays, carbs, pistons, push rod tubes and tachometer are missing. The wheel rims are crusty, one foot rest and the front fender stay are bent, the left side cover and oil tank have been chromed. Ugly handlebars, missing controls etc but to my eye it is the perfect start to my next winter project. I plan to have it ready to ride in the spring for her and my 50th birthdays.







On my long, windy drive back to Minnesota I thought about how I want to build this bike and decided to keep everything in factory stock US style condition with two exceptions which can easily be reversed. First, I’ll use the 3 Ĺ gallon tank and paint it as a 1966 TR6 Trophy with Pacific blue and white with a gold pinstripe complete with a parcel grid on top and secondly install a UK (home) market lower handlebar.  I do not like Triumph slimline tanks, which were introduced in 66, and believe the TR6 blue and white color combination is Triumph most beautiful bike of all time. However, I do not want the white and blue fenders of a TR6 because white is very difficult to keep clean, so I’ll polish the stainless steel fenders that came with my bike. So basically this will be a bone stock 66 Bonneville with a TR6 tank and lower UK handlebars. I’ll keep my eye out for a decent original slimline tank, paint with the correct white and grenedier red stripes, and store it if I ever chose to sell this bike (unlikely).
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(1966 TR6 tank, beautiful)

My goal.
I spent most of Friday and Saturday, examining the bike and breaking down the motor. I took my time, made notes, took many photographs, cleaned and examined everything, labeled and bagged all the parts and made a list of things to buy. I have the correct Triumph service tools, a hydraulic press, and an impact driver with Pozidrive bits so everything came apart easily.


I was pleasantly surprised to discover nobody has been in the lower end of this motor. The gear box and components are pristine!



The crankshaft, conrods, camshafts, tappets and main bearings are perfect. I will pull and clean the sludge trap this week and measure the conrod tolerences and replace what ever is suspect or out of factory specification. The primary is good except for the clutch basket which is on order. This is a low mileage bike that has been sitting for 40 years. The motor cases, cylinder head and rocker boxes were washed in my parts washer, rinsed with hot soapy water, scrubbed with Simple Green and a red 3M scrub pad for metal and then blasted with a combination of walnut shell and glass beads. The parts were then washed several times with hot soapy water and dried with compressed air, making sure to remove any leftover blast media. All will be sent to Green Tree Scooters tomorrow for vapor blasting.



clean and ready for vapor blasting

All the hardware will be cleaned, bead blasted and sent out to be cadmium plated as it was originally. All the black bits will be stripped, primered and repainted with catalyzed black paint. My friend Skip will install new valves, guides and seats. Once all of this is done, I’ll start going clockwise, enjoy the ride and stay tuned…
« Last Edit: Nov 28, 2015, 09:24:44 by swan »
1966 Triton cafe, 1962 BSA Gold Star DBD34, and 1966 T120 Triumph Bonneville.
BSA Gold Star barn find restoration
1975 CB400F Cafe Racer build
1966 Triumph Bonnevile restoration

Offline unclerob

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Re: 1966 Triumph Bonneville restoration
« Reply #1 on: Nov 15, 2015, 14:17:31 »
Pleased to see you've started a new project! I read (and admired) your Gold Star build and looking forward to this one too....

Offline Rider52

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Re: 1966 Triumph Bonneville restoration
« Reply #2 on: Nov 15, 2015, 16:04:39 »
Great project. 1966 bikes are my favorites, I read somewhere they were the fastest most reliable of all the 60s models. I had a 66 Bonny when I was flirting with British bikes. It belonged to a Sailor who rode it between San Diego and Southern Missouri several times visiting his girlfriend. Well, the love interest faded, but he kept the bike for several years after getting out of the service. The oil tank and side cover were chromed in Mexico, but the rest was mostly stock. He took it apart, stored all the parts in cosmoline and kept it until 1980 when I bought it from him for $150. I put it together, rode it for a few months and sold it to a guy specifically looking for a 66 Bonny. Interesting enough, when I bought it the original owner had two tanks both painted dark metallic blue. One was the slimline and the other was a TR6 with the package tray. I also opted for the TR6 tank as I thought it had a classic look. Mine also had apehangers, which I changed to XS650 bars which I thought were close to the home market bends.   
« Last Edit: Nov 15, 2015, 16:07:27 by Rider52 »
Projects
74 Yamaha TX650
Sweep the Floor Project
3 Assorted Honda CL 72 scramblers in a million pieces
3 Harleys in constant state of sorrow and a Buell
1978 Yamaha Chappy 80 burning up the highway
Cut my motor in half Sportster to Shortster

Offline o1marc

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Re: 1966 Triumph Bonneville restoration
« Reply #3 on: Nov 15, 2015, 16:24:58 »
Even with the missing parts you did quite well for $1100, I'd have jumped on that myself. Looking forward to your build as I just  acquired a 70 Tiger. Unfortunately I paid nothing for it but it came with an ultimate price, the loss of my brother to a heart attack. I inherited 4 bikes, but the Tiger will get restored and be my DD till I die. I believe everything on mine is year correct with the exception of the drag bars. 1st bike I ever bought was a 67 500 Daytona in that blue and white paint scheme that I gave $400 for in 1972. Should have them here by the end of the year.



I'm seriously thinking about restoring everything to factory stock, but I will pull the wheels and front end and set it up with a Ceriani and Kimtabs with disc brakes.
« Last Edit: Nov 15, 2015, 16:30:05 by o1marc »

Offline yorkie350

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Re: 1966 Triumph Bonneville restoration
« Reply #4 on: Nov 15, 2015, 16:26:32 »
Great bit of British heritage there so jealous  :P  you got a real bargain too you would pay 3 times that here in UK look forward to ya progress n thread
Life's too short to go slow at anything !  unless your re-building ya ride !!

 cb350f '72 cafť racer 
 cb550f '78 Hailwood race rep

Offline o1marc

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Re: 1966 Triumph Bonneville restoration
« Reply #5 on: Nov 15, 2015, 16:38:11 »
Just looking at the pic of the white bike reminds me that the early Triumph 650's are one of the best looking bikes ever.

Offline VonYinzer

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Re: 1966 Triumph Bonneville restoration
« Reply #6 on: Nov 15, 2015, 19:40:48 »
Signing on. Not a huge Brit bike lover, but the quality of work you turn out is too good to miss. Keep the updates coming :)
Like a river that don't know where it's flowin'
I took a wrong turn and just kept goin'

Offline goldy

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Re: 1966 Triumph Bonneville restoration
« Reply #7 on: Nov 15, 2015, 19:58:50 »
I'm sure it's going to be great! Keep us posted!
1948 Norton ES2
1954 AJS 20B (project)
1956 Triumph TRW
1968 Triumph T100 special
1969 Norton Commando
1973 XL350 special

Offline swan

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Re: 1966 Triumph Bonneville restoration
« Reply #8 on: Nov 17, 2015, 10:45:33 »
Thanks all! I am very excited about this project, I've waiting a long time for this and it feels great to start a new motorcycle restoration just as the riding season here is ending.

Quick update: The crankshaft cases, cylinder head, rocker boxes etc were shipped to Green Tree Scooters for vapor blasting, new gasket set, seals, tab washers, bearings and more have arrived. I spent several hours yesterday literally going through every part in the factory parts manual and ordered every piece of hardware that was either missing or in poor condition. Once the hardware arrives, Iíll send everything (old and new) out to be cadmium plated so everything looks as it did when it left the factory.

I cleaned the crankshaft last night, removed the con rods and bearings. I was very pleasantly surprised to find the journals to be in standard spec, look really good and will need a simple light polish. The rods are good and within spec and although the main ball and roller bearings look, sound, and feel pretty good, I am going to replace them along with new, standard sized con rod shell bearings and con rod nuts. The sludge trap cap looked untouched and came off with heat, beeswax, Kroil, impact driver and a BF Hammer. The tube was surprisingly clean, further suggesting this is a low mileage bike. I pulled the tube via John Healyís tap and bolt method and then scrubbed the crank inside and out in the parts washer. I will install a new sludge trap and hex cap, new bearings etc and wait for my cases to come back next week or so to start going clockwise on the motor. Meanwhile, I am ordering more parts including new pistons, rings, UK made grey top seat, seat hinges, UK handlebar, grips, cables, Lucas head light and rim, rubber foot pegs etc.  I did well on Ebay this week too and bought the missing cast alloy tail light shell, engine stays and bolt set all for much lower then they usually sell. I still need to find a steering damper and the correct 1966 center stand for US models using 4.0 tires. OnwardsÖ.


« Last Edit: Nov 17, 2015, 11:15:13 by swan »
1966 Triton cafe, 1962 BSA Gold Star DBD34, and 1966 T120 Triumph Bonneville.
BSA Gold Star barn find restoration
1975 CB400F Cafe Racer build
1966 Triumph Bonnevile restoration

Offline swan

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Re: 1966 Triumph Bonneville restoration
« Reply #9 on: Nov 22, 2015, 13:22:23 »
Thanks all! Iím still going counterclockwiseÖ Had a good day in the shop yesterday and broke down my rolling chassis to the frame. I photographed, documented, cleaned and inspected all the hardware and parts. Some good news, some bad news, but overall I am pleased with what I have found.




FilthyÖ




All the the hardware, with the exception of two fork pinch bolts, is original and in good shape, despite the rust and dirt. No mutilated bolt heads or screws from the wrong tools.


Once I finish cleaning the frame and swing arm, Iíll put it a frame jig and test it for straightness, tweek if necessary, then finish breaking it down.


The front forks slide well, contained clean oil and should clean up well and the stations appear straight and can be re-used.

The back shocks are rough, but Iíll clean and break them down and then decide if I am going reuse them, replace the covers or replace them completely.



The hubs, brake pads, spokes, nipples are very good but it looks like Iíll need to replace the rims. They are straight and true, but too much chrome has flaked off in spots. It is cheaper to replace them then it is to have them rechromed. The wheel bearings looked great and the grease was very clean, indicating low miles and/or proper maintenance. The speedometer drive was empty, so Iíll need to buy a replacement.






I started the long process of cleaning, photographing and blasting all the hardware and black bits. I plan to burn a vacation day this week and spend it in the shop, drinking beer, listening to music and finish blasting the hardware and frame, remove the axles, tires, rims and spokes and to finish ordering missing and replacement parts. My kind of vacation.


My luck on eBay has continued and some of the missing parts have begun to arrive, including the cast alloy tail light holder.


A BritBike forum member has offered to sell me the correct tail light, steering damper and center stand at very reasonable prices. Once I finish cleaning and blasting all the hardware, Iíll do another hardware order to get the last of what I need then send it all out to be replated with cadmium. While that is out, Iíll have my crankshaft balanced to my new pistons and rings, paint the black bits and polish the covers.  My parts sent out for vapor blasting should be back this week as well so I can have Skip install new valve guides, seats and valves. Despite the fact winter is just starting, I am motivated to build this bike rather quickly and have it ready for the first day of riding this spring. Onwards...


 
1966 Triton cafe, 1962 BSA Gold Star DBD34, and 1966 T120 Triumph Bonneville.
BSA Gold Star barn find restoration
1975 CB400F Cafe Racer build
1966 Triumph Bonnevile restoration