79 T140E ignition switch - Triumph Forum: Triumph Rat Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-15-2019, 04:26 PM Thread Starter
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79 T140E ignition switch

Hi all,

I was fortunate enough to put on about 120 miles last weekend on my Bonneville (1979 T140E), but at one point was driving in very heavy rain that led to local flash flooding.

Everything ran fine during the rain, but I've noticed since then that the ignition switch is 'glitchy'. Some examples:
  • On position doesn't turn ignition or indicator lights on
  • Jiggle the switch to eventually get everything on.
  • Turn it off and everything but the headlights turn off (headlight stays on)
  • Eventually get the headlight to turn off by turning the ignition switch to the full left position

I assumed the key switch itself got water inside of it so I've been letting it dry out and even sprayed some silicone spray lube into the cylinder. Its been a cpl days and still happening. This is a new ignition switch, installed in March. I still have the original but I suspect it isn't highly reliable as I did find a scorched terminal this spring which led to its replacement.

Anyone have experience here? I'm content to just let it dry out a bit more, unless someone with experience says I need to start digging around in the connections inside the headlight cone (or elsewhere).

Again, I assume this had to do with finishing my ride in very heavy rain, but would appreciate any notes from the group!

TJ

TJ
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-15-2019, 04:47 PM
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Is there a rubber cover on the switch?
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-15-2019, 05:04 PM Thread Starter
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Yup, I always practice safe riding...

That said, the new cylinder sits just a bit taller and the rubber doesn't come all the way down to the bezel. There is a small gap about 1/4" where water could enter the bezel or switch.

TJ
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-15-2019, 05:37 PM
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Hi TJ,
It might be worth searching the forum for Stuartís advice on drilling these switches to let the water drain out, if they get flooded.
Regards
Peg.

The function of man is to live, not to exist. (Jack London)
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-15-2019, 05:43 PM Thread Starter
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Nice - thank you Peg. I'll look for that now, suggesting my issue isn't the first time it's come up on a T140.

TJ
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-15-2019, 05:43 PM
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Try an O ring on first. Then the cover?
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-15-2019, 06:20 PM
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Hi Tjsei, I just replaced my ignition switch on my 1980 Bonnie too (but haven't tested it in any weather yet, though it seems to have cured a number of poor connection issues that used to require wriggling the damn thing round a bit to make it work properly!).

If your switch is riding a bit high through the warning light binnacle cover, I think you have missed a bit in reassembly: there should be a 1/4 inch wide split flat ring or spacer around the switch barrel on the inside of the assembly, which would sit your switch down 1/4 inch and leave it nearly flush when the ignition switch retaining nut is tightened (and a very thin crinkly metal washer as a locking device I guess).

In the parts book it is on p. 89, ref no. 19 'Ignition Switch spacer', p/n. 97-4596, maker's part no: 143086 (I guess this is a Lucas p/n).

The rubber cap (p/n 60-4335) helps with that a bit too, but sounds like you've got that)

cheers, Pat

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-17-2019, 02:38 PM
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Hi TJ,

Quote:
Originally Posted by tjsei View Post
noticed since then that the ignition switch is 'glitchy'.
been a cpl days and still happening.
Problem with these switches is Lucas didn't really intend 'em for the location first NVT (on the T160 and electric-start Commando) and then the Co-op ('79-on twins have the T160 bits) used 'em.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tjsei View Post
This is a new ignition switch, installed in March.
As with almost anything sold new in a green box with "Lucas" on it under the "Genuine Lucas" banner, it's Wassell so ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by tjsei View Post
I still have the original
While the ignition switch in use might "dry out", I suggest it's got internal problems already and you could do with pre-empting its possible death by rebuilding the other switch, especially if it really is "original" (as opposed to an older replacement?).

Quote:
Originally Posted by DAVE M View Post
Is there a rubber cover on the switch?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tjsei View Post
the new cylinder sits just a bit taller and the rubber doesn't come all the way down to the bezel. There is a small gap about 1/4" where water could enter the bezel or switch.
This isn't clear:-

. In what way does "the new cylinder sits just a bit taller"?

. Is your bike using "rubber cover" 60-4335:-



... (with the moulded slot cut for the key) over the 97-4589 "Ignition switch nut"?

If so, the narrower diameter of the "Ignition switch nut" should be screwed down to the "Panel", that has the idiot lamps and covers the top of the "Switch box" between the speedo. 'n' tacho. The "rubber cover" fits over the wider uppermost part of the "Ignition switch nut" and a lip moulded inside the "rubber cover" keeps it over the "Ignition switch nut".

So I'm wondering what you're calling "the bezel" and where this "gap about 1/4" could be?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DAVE M View Post
Try an O ring on first.
This could do with some clarification - where's the O-ring supposed to go?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rancidpegwoman View Post
Stuart’s advice on drilling these switches to let the water drain out,
Drill a small hole in the terminals end of the switch, at what'll be the lowest point when the switch is mounted on the bike.

However, it should be additional to trying to prevent water getting into the switch. If your bike does have the 60-4335 Cover and 97-4589 Nut, there were better parts fitted '81-on:-

. 60-7335 Cover:-



. 97-7120 Nut (the "Cover" is retained by the Nut and clips over it when the ignition key is out of the switch):-



. 97-7123 Cap fits over the ignition key and clips over the "Nut" when the ignition key is in the switch):-



... if this has a problem, it's that the ignition key "Cap" is quite lumpy, doesn't sit well in a pocket; also, you have to make a hole in the "Cap" to match up to the hole in the key for a ring or whatever.

Nevertheless, hth.

Regards,

Stuart

Last edited by StuartMac; 08-19-2019 at 07:32 AM.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-17-2019, 03:15 PM
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The O ring was intended to fill the gap between what I think he is calling the bezel ( the centre dashboard console to me) and the rubber cover
If the OP has 't fitted the spacer that may account for the gap between the rubber cover and "bezel"

Ie the semi triangular idiot light part
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-19-2019, 08:45 AM
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Hi Dave,

Quote:
Originally Posted by DAVE M View Post
The O ring was intended to fill the gap between what I think he is calling the bezel ( the centre dashboard console to me) and the rubber cover
If the OP has 't fitted the spacer that may account for the gap between the rubber cover and "bezel"

Ie the semi triangular idiot light part


The details beside your posts don't say what year your bike is, so advance apologies if you already know the following ...

As standard on TJ's bike, with the Spacer (97-4586) mentioned by Pat fitted over the switch before it's inserted through the hole in what the parts book calls "Panel assy" (97-5000, the switch-'n'-idiot-lamps-box cover), the Nut (97-4589) should screw all the way down the protruding part of the switch to the Panel and the top of the switch/key slot should end up level with the top of the Nut. So, when the standard rubber Cover (60-4335) is fitted over the Nut, the Cover's thick moulded bottom edge should fit in the gap between the Panel and the wider part of the Nut, to retain the Cover over the Nut and switch key slot.

The Cover doesn't specifically seal to the Panel but, between it and the Nut's tight on the Panel, there isn't any place for water to get into certainly the switch; the only place that happens is thought the Cover key slot. How much water gets in there depends a lot on how close the Cover's sealing around the ignition key - I've seen Covers on T160's where the owner's allowed the key to wear the Cover slot into a big hole ... ... many years ago, it was suggested in either Triple Echo or TOL that the Cover should be replaced annually, to maintain as good a seal as possible around the key fitted, and also leave as small a gap as possible in the Cover when the key's out.

Absent TJ returning to answer my questions, I suspect his bike has some non-standard parts. Also, possibly the ignition switch he "installed in March" is protruding above the Nut; if so, then fitting the Cover over it and locating its bottom edge under the Nut will stretch even a new Cover's key slot open, rendering it useless for keeping any water out of the switch ...

However, hopefully TJ will post again soon (possibly with some pictures?) and we'll have a clearer understanding of any particular problems.

Hth.

Regards,

Stuart
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