My turn to learn about wet sumping! - Triumph Forum: Triumph Rat Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-14-2019, 11:43 PM Thread Starter
Minitwins
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My turn to learn about wet sumping!

Hello all,

I've now put my first 60 miles on my 1979 T140E, and on tonight's ride I noticed that the left cylinder began to cutout during the ride. This same cylinder has had some smoke from the exhaust since I got it running a couple of weeks ago (other cylinder does not smoke). The bike has 4800 original miles on it and has been sitting in storage since 1983.

Once I got home tonight I performed a quick inspection for what I could and noted the following:
  • The OIF fill cap overflowed oil when I opened it to check level.
  • The left spark plug (new as of a couple weeks ago) was dark black and had wet oil on the threads. Plugs are NGK B8ES.
  • The right spark plug (also new) was also dark black but was not wet with oil.
  • I wan't able to drain the sump right away when I got home, but about 45 min after the ride I drained about 180 mL of oil from the sump. (more than the prescribed 100mL or less, not sure if that's even relevant since I didn't drain it right away or not...)

From the above, it would appear I'm experiencing wet dumping which in turn is fouling my plugs and causing them to cutout during the ride. My question is whether or not it could be from something as simple as an overfilled oil reservoir? In my old age I'm leaning more on notions that sometimes the simplest explanation might be correct, but would value the group's thoughts.

In case it helps, the only gas I've used so far has been 91 octane premium, non-oxygenated gas. (no ethanol) That gas pump isn't shared with any other grades of fuel, and is the highest octane, non-ethanol gas I have near me. (no sea foam or additives used)

Tomorrow I'll try some new spark plugs, I will ensure the reservoir isn't overfilled, and we'll see if the problem persists. Best case is that a properly filled reservoir won't contribute further issues otherwise I will need to dig deeper. Any experience from the group is appreciated.

Best,

TJ

TJ
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 03:43 AM
wol
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my initial thoughts -- your oil overflowed from the filler because it was overfilled - when cold the oil level a couple of inches below the filler should be OK
I would not yet be considering wet sumping - the amount in the sump can vary
if the black plugs continue i would look to the carb "chokes" possibly not seating (I assume you have Mk2 Amals)
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 04:25 AM
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Hi TJ,

Quote:
Originally Posted by tjsei View Post
The bike has 4800 original miles on it and has been sitting in storage since 1983.
the problem
What problem?

On this "first 60 miles", you revved it how high?

As a general rule, the twins' oil pumps don't allow wet-sumping; by 1979, the Co-op didn't generally make bikes that developed problems inside five thousand miles and what problem could've developed sitting in storage for thirty-six years (you have fitted new tyres and tubes)?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tjsei View Post
Plugs are NGK B8ES.
Wrong ones for a '79 T140E - they're equivalent to Champion N3, which is what were fitted originally to earlier T140V's and other twins.

Your bike was originally fitted with Champion N5's, NGK equivalent is B6E-something.

Note Champion and NGK heat ranges go in opposite directions - Champion, the lower the number the 'colder' the plug; NGK, the higher the number the 'colder' the plug.

I would strongly advise fitting better than NGK S-suffixed plugs - NGK B6EV or B6EVX - they have thin unobtanium/costalotium centre electrodes that cope better with the 'fuel' we're all flogged today and the fairly rudimentary carburation on these old heaps.

And go out and give the engine some revs. ... they aren't supposed to be chugged like Hardlys. The guy that's famous for owning Big D Triumph - Jack Wilson - advised Triumph owners to "ride it like you stole it" ...

Hth.

Regards,

Stuart

Last edited by StuartMac; 05-15-2019 at 04:28 AM.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 06:19 AM
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Do you park it on the centre stand or side stand? Leaving them on the sidestand overnight [or longer] can contribute to the left/primary side oiling up but should clear in a few minutes.
You need to do a compression test....on a warm to hot motor. Do a dry and then a wet one and see what the results are, this will tell you how healthy the motor is.
Personally I think a good long spirited ride would be a good idea - like others have said. If the bike has sat all that time, the motor may have a rings 'ring' in the bore and this needs removing.

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 09:17 AM Thread Starter
Minitwins
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All music to my ears guys, since all of these solutions are easy to implement! So to recap on the advice so far:
  • Don't overfill the oil reservoir.
  • Update to the proper plugs.
  • Ride, ride, ride!

StuartMac, I've only revved up to about 5000 rpm so far. After that long in storage and with such low miles, I assumed I better take it easy for the first couple thousand miles and break in the engine gently. Also good to know that a problem like wet sumping is less likely on this model year, particularly with so few miles.

Trident, for short stops I'll use the side stand, but for parking overnight I do put it on the center stand.

Will report back with an update once I get some more miles on it! Thanks all!!

TJ

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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 01:36 PM Thread Starter
Minitwins
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So last night I checked the oil (halfway up the dipstick, not overfilled), popped in a couple of NGK B6ES plugs (couldn't find anyone that stocked the EV or EVX plugs StuartMac), and went for a quick ride.

All good at start of the ride, new plugs seemed to smooth out the engine throughout the range. About 20 min into the ride though, started cutting out again on one cylinder.

Drained another roughly 200 mL from the sump right after getting home (seems high but based on the group's thoughts from the other night and very low mileage on the bike I'll put the idea of wet dumping aside for now...).

The exhaust pipes are both heavily sooted. I've never cleaned them so before I get too crazy adjusting carbs I cleaned the pipes down to shiny chrome and we'll see if and how quickly it soots on the next ride. I'll plan to start playing with balancing carbs based on what I find there, but it suggests a rich mixture (I think). (each mixture screw is turned out just over 1.5 turns). The brand new B6ES plugs also sooted pretty black in a short 20 min ride.

Should I expect to have to reset my timing after going to a slightly hotter plug? I haven't checked it yet...

My other question to the group is around testing vacuum with Mk2 carbs. Another friend said to look for vacuum leaks as that will mess things up quickly. I can get a vacuum test kit easily enough, but am not sure where I would hook this up to test, and what the right range should be?

I did find what I believe is called the 'carb balance pipe' in between the head and where the rubbers mount for the carbs themselves. It looks to be a thick rubber tube roughly 1/4" ID and shaped like a U to connect both cylinders.
  • Is this the 'carb balance pipe'?
  • Is it a good place for testing vacuum?
  • If so, is there a test protocol anyone can offer?
  • Should that rubber pipe be a very snug fit? Mine is currently a loose fit, wondering if that might be causing a vacuum leak and need a replacement.
  • Are there supposed to be any restrictors in that rubber tube? Mine has none, can see daylight easily through it.

Best,

TJ

TJ
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 06:38 PM
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with regard to the sooting of plugs -- are you setting the "choke" correctly ?--- if you have a lever on the carb then this should be in the "up" position for normal running - if it is cable operated the lever on the bars should be set with the cable slack for normal running
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 08:46 PM
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An air leak would make it run lean....so I doubt that this is your main issue. The carb balance pipe [yes you found it] has no restriction but should be a good fit with no air leaks. I wouldn't worry too much about a vacuum test just yet, I doubt it will achieve anything. A hot compression test and/or a leak down however is needed. You don't have wet sumping, 200ml is nothing. No, changing plugs won't affect timing.

Question if you throttle on hard or rev it in the garage after a ride does it belch out black or blue smoke? Black is over fuelling, blue is burning oil. The MkII Amal's are a good carbie but [as others have said] the cold start enricher seal can go hard and lose their seal over time. This would mean your bike would run like it has the choke on all the time [but it is not a choke].

Try swapping the coils around and see if the problem swaps sides?
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(Where women blow and men chunder).

Last edited by tridentt150v; 05-17-2019 at 11:17 PM.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-18-2019, 03:58 AM
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Hi TJ,

Quote:
Originally Posted by tjsei View Post
couldn't find anyone that stocked the EV or EVX plugs
Have you tried http://www.ngksparkplugs.com/contact-us?

Hth.

Regards,

Stuart
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-18-2019, 02:03 PM
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Did you rebuild or check the carbs? The choke plungers may have perished
The balance tube should be tight and use clips

If I were you I would fit a Charlie's filter as overfilling the tank can cause oil to wash out part of the tube which is prone to surface rust and contaminate the oil.
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