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1942 RN WNG restoration-Updated 08/04/2020

Posted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 5:09 pm
by alan.moore
NB Updated posts are at the end of Topic

Thought it was time I posted a few pics and info about the ongoing restoration of my 1942 Royal Navy WNG.

It was despatched on 17th September 1942 to the Royal Navy and has an Ariel 'service repair' engine BH692 which dates from April -June 1940.

It has undergone a 'back to metal' complete strip down and everything, apart from the headlamp, appeared to be original Ariel. The mudguards and petrol tank needed a bit of 'smoothing' with filler, due to them being pockmarked by rust which had already been removed before its previous paint job.

The Royal Navy machines (and RAF) came from the factory in the same colour as the 'Army' bikes, so no battleship grey. I have based the paint colour on the shade of Khaki found on the tank badges and remnants of original enamel paint found on the top fork yoke. The reason I say it was original paint is that it appeared to be factory applied stoved enamel, as the industrial paint stripper (which removed all other traces of paint just with its fumes) did not have much effect on it. I have used Rustoleum satin finish Combicolor applied with a spray gun. I know that originally the paint was a Matt finish, but Satin is much easier to clean, does not mark as easily as Matt and the initial 'out of the gun' sheen will die down after a year or so.

Wheel rims were really too far gone for my liking so new 'unplated' Central Wheels 'Ariel' rims (via Draganfly) and rustless spokes and nipples. Rims do not have the 3-1 spoke pattern of the originals (but this is what Central / Drags supply) and I had to juggle the choice of spoke lengths a bit but they laced up fine in the end.

Anyway enough talk, here is what you really want to see some pictures. I'll keep posting bits and pieces as I go along.

as bought 2.jpg
Machine as bought
as bought 2.jpg (229.46 KiB) Viewed 4541 times





Re: 1942 Royal Navy WNG restoration

Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 6:25 am
by nevhunter
That looks very close to the colour I found under black on an oil tank I had and it's been copied in acrylic lacquer rattle cans in Melbourne. I can find a tin and give anyone who might use it the details if required. it's now a repeatable formula with references. matt finish. Been used on 3 bikes so far, that I've been associated with. Will crocodile over some alkyd enamels if you put it on wet enough. Easy to touch up. that's the main advantage and with A WD bike you save a fortune on Painting and plating. Drongo's (An Australian word for village idiot) mistake it for BSA 's M 20. but worse could happen . Looking good. I prefer to put the gearbox in before the rear guard and wheel but you can build the box in the frame easy Don't forget the spacer between the engine plates for the long footrest stud . A top of bowl fuel feed option is OK too . How long before she is a runner? Nev

Re: 1942 Royal Navy WNG restoration-Colour

Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 2:10 pm
by alan.moore
I spent an age researching the correct colour as period photos tend to be all black and white and looking at any colour pics / sample colours on a computer screen does not show what the actual colour looks like. Seen loads painted in the later darker green Olive Drab which is not correct for '42.

I used RAL colors and by trial and error ended up with the following. These are 'units' not %

RAL 7008 40
RAL 8008 15
Matt black 1.5

Here's the match...frame mixed colour and top yoke original paint. The actual colour is a shade darker than the photo's and depending on the daylight can look brown or a khaki green.


Most of the big bits have been painted. Only issue with the Rustoleum paint is that it cures by oxidation and takes a couple of weeks to go hard enough to resist marking. After a month or so it is very tough. Still I am in no hurry. Should be done by end of August....maybe

Just starting to make some pannier frames when the metal arrives.


'42 RN WNG resto-Handlebars

Posted: Mon Jun 17, 2019 6:56 pm
by alan.moore
The handlebars that came with the bike were the proper 1 inch tapering to 7/8 inch but for some reason at sometime in their life they had been significantly shortened, probably due to being damaged. They were also bent rearwards slightly from the centre section. As we all know originals are like 'Hens Teeth' and no-one makes them anymore. I tried to make something out of what I had but was not satisfied with the outcome.

I found an old post from Roger Gwynn that gave the WNG bar dimensions as:
29 inch wide
3 1/2 inch pull back
2 1/4 inch rise

I bought a set of 7/8 inch bars from 'Armours' which were close, and importantly had sufficient length of straight section in the centre for the rubber mounting bracket. I ordered them 'unplated' as I intended to 'Copy Cadmium' plate them as that was the original finish.
29 " wide
4 1/2 " pull back
3 " rise

I used a piece of 1" OD steel conduit tube, sliced in half and then filed internally until it fitted around the centre section of the 7/8" bar. This was then plug welded to the bars and stitch welded along the seams (which was positioned to be out of view when mounted). This therefore provided a 1" external diameter for the handlebar rubber mountings.

All in all I think they turned out OK .






Re: 1942 RN WNG restoration-Updated 17/06 Handlebars

Posted: Tue Jun 18, 2019 12:47 am
by nevhunter
You need a screw inserted into the middle part to limit how far they can rotate down if they are a bit loose in the rubbers. Your "original" would have had that. Nev

Re: 1942 RN WNG restoration-Updated 17/06 Handlebars

Posted: Tue Jun 18, 2019 8:32 am
by simon.holyfield
nevhunter wrote:You need a screw inserted into the middle part to limit how far they can rotate down if they are a bit loose in the rubbers. You "original" would have had that. Nev

I have one in mine, though I have clamp-type top yoke. The screw is a 2BA round head.

Re: 1942 RN WNG restoration-Updated 17/06 Handlebars

Posted: Tue Jun 18, 2019 11:29 pm
by alan.moore
Yes to the 2Ba screw. I fitted one to the '39VH and also added a second one on the opposite side of the bars to stop them rotating forwards. I need to decide where the bars on the WNG are going to 'sit' before I start drilling so will be doing that after the tank, seat, footrests and levers are fitted

Re: 1942 RN WNG restoration-Updated 17/06 Handlebars

Posted: Wed Jun 19, 2019 1:24 am
by nevhunter
I think the screw is a cheese head. I will check if I can. It wasn't fitted to the earlier models 36 etc and they could just turn if you hit a big enough bump. The rubber mounts must have been a bit of a problem as the clamp type replaced them. The earlier tapered bars are a real work of art that probably came with the 1939 ISDT which it was based on even to retaining the" terrible" gearbox ratios.. The only change was the "field" stand, until they started using common parts with other (british) WD bikes like the universal seat with barrel springs and the under the seat switch and so on.. Nev

Re: 1942 RN WNG restoration-Updated 09/07 Pannier Frames

Posted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 7:19 pm
by alan.moore
Have now fabricated the pannier frames, a very enjoyable project. Total cost about £45.



I pressed the beads into the bottom plate using my hydraulic press. The die was a shallow piece of half round bar welded to a metal plate and the former a slot cut in a length of wood reinforced with a couple of bits of angle iron


The three vertical bars at the back of the frame are half round and I pressed the shape into flat strips using a piece of tube welded to a plate and a couple of V blocks as the former


Re: 1942 RN WNG restoration-Updated 16/07 Petrol Tank

Posted: Tue Jul 16, 2019 8:54 pm
by alan.moore
Removing the paint from the tank revealed a rather significantly rust pock marked outer surface and a few dents, one which had been lead filled.