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Hinckley Classic Triples 885cc Classic Styled T3's: Legend, Thunderbird, Thunderbird Sport & Adventurer.

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Old 11-23-2012, 01:32 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Can't start my on '03 TBS

I attempted to start my 2003 Thunderbird sport the other day. It had been sitting for about 2 months, but at the beginning of those 2 months I had the carburetors cleaned. I put the key in, and it started up, though it was having a little difficulty. It wanted to choke itself out, and it did after about 2 minutes. I started it up again, and it started a little slower, but still wouldn't run without the choke off. Started up quite reluctantly a third time, then stalled out again, and after that it just plain wouldn't start. To me it felt fuel related, but as it started up fine, and the carburetors had just been cleaned, I want to doubt that. I next checked the spark, and it doesn't seem to be getting one now (which stumps me again as I may have actually witnessed the exact moment when something crapped out). I hooked the (new) battery up to a charger to recharge it after it's exhausting task of trying to start for the last 15 minutes, but seem to still not get a spark. Does that leave me with just the ignition coils as the culprit? Those had just gone out on my brothers bike and the thing I don't like is that they really need you to take it to the dealer to be sure it's the coil, but at $97 an hour labor, that really hurts the pocket. I haven't checked them with a multimeter yet, but that's my next step. Just thought I'd check here to see if anyone else had any ideas. Thanks.
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Old 11-23-2012, 02:00 PM   #2 (permalink)
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First, have the battery stress (load) tested.

A weak battery will have enough power to turn the starter, but will not have enough power to do that AND fire the ignition.


Only After you are sure that is absolute tip top then go on to troubleshoot the ignition system.

Pickup coil ignition sensor.


Coils , also all the wiring to and from the coils.

Igniter

those are in the order of price.
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Old 11-26-2012, 07:32 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I can't offer any advice, but I will say that the #3 coil on my '04 TBS died at ~12,000 miles. Took way too much time and money to figure out what the problem was, but once diagnosed, it's a very quick fix. Nology makes replacement coils that are plug and play with the stock lead wires. 30 minute job (if you're fast!) including tank removal, etc.

I'm running the OEM #s 1 and 2 coils with Nology on the #3. Seems to work just as well as it did when all 3 stock coils were operating, if not a little better. Still, I plan to get two more Nology, if only for continuity.

I had trouble finding the coil in stock when I needed it a while back. I called Nology and one of the owners put me in touch with Eddy, of Fast Eddy Sports. Actually ended up talking to him on the phone to verify everything. Really nice guy. Totally deserving of my business. Arrived in LA from Wisconsin in 3 days (free shipping).

http://www.fasteddysports.com/?page_id=3&category=574

Good luck with the fix!
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Old 11-27-2012, 08:17 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Have you verified the petcock is feeding fuel to the carbs? It sounds as if you ran out of gas. Open the drain in one of the float bowls and see what comes out. With the petcock on you should get a steady flow.
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Old 12-01-2012, 04:57 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I'll mention the problem I had with my '00 TBS a few weeks ago and you decide if it helps.

Had my '00 TBS serviced at a Tri dealer 3 weeks ago. Rode it home with no problems. Three days after the service, it hesitated slightly but did start. Stopped at a bike shop and when leaving it was harder to start. Rode a couple miles and decided to go back to have the battery checked. After shutting it off it WOULD NOT start. The dealer tried to use their battery boost but NOTHING. Bottom line? Bad starter. The Tri dealer who did the 13k service said they have replaced several starters on T-3 Triumphs, and TBS's in particular. They cannot get them from Triumph any longer but have a supplier who they can get one from who seems to be reliable.
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Old 12-01-2012, 05:18 PM   #6 (permalink)
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After a few years of hit and miss starting issues with my wife's 03 Tbird, I binned the OEM rubbish battery, and replaced it with a Westco AGM type. I also had the starter motor self destruct, so I fitted a reconditioned, warrantied unit, at a quarter of the price that Triumph wanted. The bike now starts first push of the button, even after the 6 month winter lay up.
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Old 12-01-2012, 05:19 PM   #7 (permalink)
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'00 starter trouble

I should have mentioned that the Triumph dealer told me the brushes were shot and the armature (probably from the brushes damage) was damaged. The service manager said there was rust in the starter, and that a broken o'ring may have allowed water inside.
I don't remember ever riding 'that' bike in the rain (usually day trips, and who plans a day trip on a rainy day). The bike is stored in a dry shed with a dry wood floor. None of my chromed bits hanging on the walls in that shed ever rust. I donno, really, what happened.
What I DO know is that I need to get my shop set back up so I can do work myself. These new Triumphs "96 Trophy-'00 TBS are NOT cheap if you take it to a dealer. Oh, the new starter (not a matching color, btw) is $225. If Triumph still had them, it would have been $600.
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Old 12-01-2012, 05:28 PM   #8 (permalink)
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'00 starter

MG....
The funny thing was that I NEVER had problems with the TBS starting. I would always full-choke it, and it woiuld fire instantly. Of course, thats if the battery was good, which I made sure it always was. This problem caught me by surprise.
The Trophy 900 has always wanted a strong battery to start quickly.
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Old 12-05-2012, 09:43 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WSC View Post
Have you verified the petcock is feeding fuel to the carbs? It sounds as if you ran out of gas. Open the drain in one of the float bowls and see what comes out. With the petcock on you should get a steady flow.
+1. I was pissed off when my bike wouldn't start a few weeks back. It had me stumped, until I flipped the petcock to reserve...
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Old 12-06-2012, 06:56 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Yea...that helps. The starter prob on my '00 TBS came out of nowhere. I did not want to hear that this was not a rare thing on a TBS. The svc manager said Triumph DOES NOT offer replacement starters. Maybe they will offer a kickstart update......
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