Moto Grand Prix
Main Motorcycle: 1973 Triumph TR7RV
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Pleasant Hill, CA USA
Other Motorcycle: 1964 Triumph Mountain Cub
Hi Orbweaver88, I don't know the service life of condenser. On my bike I'm still using ones I installed in 1976 6k miles or so. Same with points. Bike has 31600 miles on it now. Was in storage 34 years. They are still working ok. I get no undue burning of contact faces.
We always changed points & condensers as a set. But it was probably not needed. Running you'll see some sparking at points. Bad condenser allows too much sparking & points burning. If condenser is shorted to ground, you'll have no spark. How much sparking is too much? I really don't know. I've never pulled wire off condenser to compare. So if bike starts & runs you could leave old ones for now.
Lack of lube on rubbing block is #1 cause of points loss of spark by far. On short trips lube not so important as the rubbing block doesn't get that hot. On long rides the rubbing block over heats & wears quickly or melts unless well lubed. The felt blocks certainly help, but they really are not adequate at all. We do many rides where we ride 8 hrs solid with only fuel & restroom breaks. Maybe a very brief lunch stop side of road. This ride will wear poorly lubed rubbing block & it's not uncommon to see that until owner learns about points lube.
In the photo of points plate posted you see a 3 pointed oval logo on points. That is DAIICHI Japan. They make points & condensers for our bikes. Real original Lucas are no longer made. The Lucas you see sold are actually made by Daiichi. It has been said they actually made points branded Lucas back in the day, or Triumph installed Daiichi at factory. I have no idea if true or not.
The fit of Daiichi may not be as perfect as NOS Lucas, but I've used them on a few bikes & had good results. The key is lubing rubbing block of points & good enough surface on points cam, meaning not deeply grooved or rough that will sand rubbing block off. Generally grooving is caused from lack of lube at some point. The old fiber rubbing blocks would groove cams much more quickly if not well lubed.
If your cam is grooved polishing with 400 emory, finishing off with 800 or grey 3M emery pad would be advised. If too bad a replacement is needed. MARK EVERYTHING FIRST SO IT GOES TOGETHER SAME WAY! Take AAU apart & look at the slots in fly weights. The tend to wear flat spots with a sharp edge. This gives a notching effect on timing & can cause erratic running at slower speeds just off idle like in a parking lot or at red light if idle is slightly fast as it often needs to be. Polish these with 400 laid on a small file or strip of metal. You'll notice play in weight springs. Or almost play, feeling very weak. This is normal from new. However I find if you shorten spring a little about 1/2 the loop of one end of spring it makes bike run better. New springs from eBay are a crap shoot. Some heavy duty ones Triumph recommended are actually worse. I'm still working on how much to shorten springs to get full advance at 3500. Old posts by Mr. Pete are a good guide to start with if you want to persue better running. But get bike going for now.
In the photo of my points lube I'm using green Mallory cam lube. That is no longer made. Now I recommend Lubricam SL-2 cam lube. Easy to get on eBay. Few auto parts stores sell it. Put only 2 drops motor oil on felt blocks.
On as aside, if you have oil leaking into points cavity it tends to cause more burning of points. However even mildly oily points will often give enough spark for motor to run. Water/moisture on other hand will kill spark very quickly. Even riding in fog can cause lack of spark if it works it's way into points. In my mind the correct wire sleeve seal # 70-4707. It is tapered rubber sleeve pushed in from right side into timing cover. However.... if points plate is installed, you can split sleeve lengthwise & put in bore from left side putting sleeve in motor casting. I use a thin smear of silicon sealant with splitting & installing from left. Water thrown from front wheel or fog loves to follow wire into points.
Here's photo of my points. Notice my eccentric screws are not too good. I did that before I got smarter.