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NOS parts

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pic. 1

 

nos2

pic. 2

NOS-New Old Stock-the Holy Grail for restorers and enthusiasts. It doesn't get any better than that. Or does it? There are at least two schools of thought on NOS parts (and at least two other meanings for the acronym, but I'm getting ahead of myself.) The late Jack Chester was of the opinion that, at least in some cases, there was a reason those bearing races, clutch fingers, valve guides or whatever had sat on the shelf for all those years: they were junk! NOS in this case means Nasty Old Stuff, or something like that. I can vouch for this: I have a scar on my left elbow that I owe, at least in part, to an NOS upper steering head bearing race that apparently hadn't been properly hardened!

But what if the parts are correctly made? Things like points and rotors. Just take them out of that original Autolite box and install them on your bike, right? Maybe not. I took the cap off my distributor (pic. 1) to see if I could get a picture or two to go with the "Paper or Plastic" story found elsewhere on the site. Things had gotten pretty grimy again inside the distributor, so I decided to clean it up and change out the points, cap and rotor with some of the NOS parts I'd been hoarding. The replacement insulator from the aforementioned story is clearly visible, even through the crud. (NOS in this context would mean Nearly Original Substitute!)

Once everything was out, it was clear I had made the right choice in changing out the points, rotor and cap. I'm amazed the bike ran as well as it did, given their condition (pic. 2):

So into the garage and dig out some of the goodies: NOS Autolite points and rotor and an aftermarket brown NOS cap. Perfect! Not quite. All of the contact surfaces were heavily oxidized and the contact button on the top of the rotor had actually rusted!
I started cleaning them before I realized I ought to take pictures, but you can still see the effects of all those years on the shelf. Both pictures are of the NOS rotor before it was cleaned; the others show the old points with the "new" ones, after cleaning.   


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So don't just reach over to the shelf for that NOS jewel and grab the wrenches! Check the parts out carefully to make sure you don't have any of the Nasty Old Stuff! Oh, the motor fired on the first kick and purred like a big happy cat ;-)