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Thunderbird Twin - Technical Talk Technical talk for the big Thunderbird twin

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Old 11-26-2012, 04:09 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Storm Spark Plugs

Iam new here and just acquired a T-Bird Storm. I,ve tried everything to find the spark plugs. Dealer says come see him for maintenance ; so I bought the OEM manual but it does not reference the plugs or where to find them ! I imagine that they are under the gas tank --- do I have to dismantle the bike to remove the plugs ? The manual does say that the plugs should be checked , at a price of $120.00 for a book , I was really wondering why it made no mention of how to get to them.
Somebody please give me a hand and explain where the plugs are and how to get them out----the easiest way . Thanks in advance !..
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Old 11-26-2012, 06:14 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Sorry to have to tell you this, but yes, they are a real pain to remove and the tank has to come off. The good news is at 12k mine were like new. Chances are replacing them at anything under 25k probably is a waste of time.

It took me almost 2 hours to get to them ! There are 4 in case you weren't aware, and the coils are in the plug caps that go onto them. Taking the tank off and getting past all the crap under there to get to them is just one PITA. The other is getting them out with frame members in the way. It's a bit torturous the 1st time, but thankfully it's not often necassary. Just remove the tank and from that point on you'll figure the rest out. It's really simple, it's just time consuming and one of those jobs where you have to be a contortionist to work out. You also have to pull hard sometimes to get the coils off to get to them. And the plug holes are deep. Once the coil is removed and you unscrewed the plug, use the coil cap to click onto the plug to pull it out.

I wish NGK make a iridium plug for it but they don't have them in out heat range. I know some others do tho, so you might want to consider those, as iridium lasts nearly forever. I used them in my speedmaster and they never did wear at all as long as i had them, many 1000's of miles.

Oh, and congrats and welcome !

Last edited by dazco; 11-26-2012 at 06:33 PM.
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Old 11-26-2012, 08:03 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thank you , dazco ! Your info is exactly what I was looking for !
Some pieces of engineering , these Triumphs ! Triumph was most likley ashamed to publish all that in their shop manual-----I switched over from H.D. recently because they were getting difficult to service with the constant changing from one ignition system to another ; however I think Triumph has them beat in-so-far as questionable engineering !
Thanks again for the full explanation on the plugs ! Probably saved me a "potful" of money not to mention some scraped up knuckles and a "whole mess" of time and frustration !..........
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Old 11-26-2012, 08:25 PM   #4 (permalink)
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The reason the bike is designed with some hard to service things like this is all about one of triumph's high priority design considerations when making this bike. They have said that a big priority was clean lines, and it's obvious they put that over serviceability in some cases. But I think they certainly accomplished what they set out to do.
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Old 11-30-2012, 01:15 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I changed my plugs at 24k. They still looked good and all 4 had an even tan/gray color. It will be almost impossible to get them out and back in without the right tools. I ended up using an 18mm deep well socket and I added a magnet to it to hold the plug, an extension and a universal joint. I used a ratchet handle to get them out and in and also a torque wrench. I don't remember the torque spec but it's in the book. The gap, according to the book is 0.9mm but that didn't work on my bike. After I did it the first time my check engine light came on and it would not idle correctly and throttle response below 2000rpm was not good. Above about 2000 it ran correctly but the light stayed on. I pulled it apart to see if I left something loose but everything was ok. I put in another set gapped at .9 and same problem. I saved the old plugs and checked that gap and they were at 0.75mm. I tried another set at 0.8 and the light went out but it still didn't run right. One more set at 0.7 and now it's right again. I had no idea that 0.2mm difference could make such a difference but it did on my bike. These plugs at .7 have been in for about 3000 miles with no problems. Assuming no future problems I'll put at least 30000 on this set before I change them again.
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Old 11-30-2012, 03:54 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I would wager it wasn't the gap that was your issue. You said the engine light went on. Then finally went out and it ran right. But i would bet it was because while moving things around trying to get to them you moved one of the map sensor hoses loose. Mine came off when i did the plugs and the light went on, bike ran badly, and i had to replace the hose onto it's nipple. But if you moved it enough to cause even a slight leak that would cause bad running and engine light. Then when you went back in and re-gapped again the hose got pushed back on enough to run right. They come off VERY easily when you are under there.

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Originally Posted by b1rdman View Post
I changed my plugs at 24k. They still looked good and all 4 had an even tan/gray color. It will be almost impossible to get them out and back in without the right tools. I ended up using an 18mm deep well socket and I added a magnet to it to hold the plug, an extension and a universal joint. I used a ratchet handle to get them out and in and also a torque wrench. I don't remember the torque spec but it's in the book. The gap, according to the book is 0.9mm but that didn't work on my bike. After I did it the first time my check engine light came on and it would not idle correctly and throttle response below 2000rpm was not good. Above about 2000 it ran correctly but the light stayed on. I pulled it apart to see if I left something loose but everything was ok. I put in another set gapped at .9 and same problem. I saved the old plugs and checked that gap and they were at 0.75mm. I tried another set at 0.8 and the light went out but it still didn't run right. One more set at 0.7 and now it's right again. I had no idea that 0.2mm difference could make such a difference but it did on my bike. These plugs at .7 have been in for about 3000 miles with no problems. Assuming no future problems I'll put at least 30000 on this set before I change them again.
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Old 11-30-2012, 05:10 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Tip for getting the plugs out and the new ones in. I have changed the plugs on several Lexus V-6 engines that are notorious for hard to reach deep well installations. Loosen the plug with your ratchet-deepwell socket and remove wrench. Use a 12" piece of clear flexible plastic tubing that slips tightly over the end of the spark plug. Unscrew the plug and lift it out.

Take the new plug and attach it onto the plastic tube. Add a dab of anti-seize and screw the new plug into the threads until finger tight. Simply pull off the tube and use your ratchet-socket to tighten to spec.

This method prevents misalignment and cross threading of the new plug back into the hole as the tube will simply spin on the end of the plug if it encounters too much resistance.
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Old 11-30-2012, 06:31 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I didn't say the light finally went off when I was running a .9 gap. I checked the map hoses and that was not the problem. I'm aware of the 3 heat/cool cycle procedure and the adaptive capabilty of the ECU when changing parts, altitude, gas, or whatever and the fact that the light will go out when it does not sense a problem. I didn't know for several days and more than 3 heat cycles and a couple hundred miles why the light was staying on. Changing the gap to .8 caused it to go out and changing to .7 made it run correctly. I wish I could have found a loose wire or hose, that would have made more sense. I'm curious if anyone else has changed their plugs and what gap they use.
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Old 11-30-2012, 09:05 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Well, then i dunno what it is but I can't see how changing the plug gap could throw the management light. Makes no sense.
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