1999 Speed Triple - knocking - Triumph Forum: Triumph Rat Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-20-2019, 12:44 AM Thread Starter
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1999 Speed Triple - knocking

I need some advice on a Speed Triple project bike, since I don't know them well. The PO had the sprag clutch problem and installed new rings around the same time he fixed it. Ever since, he was having trouble with the bike not starting when hot, and sold to me. I traced that to the CPS gap, he'd installed it with virtually no clearance. I set the gap to 1mm, refilled it with 3.5L of oil (Rotella T4 15W30, about 3/4 up the sight glass), and started it up for a test ride. It runs and seems to have decent power, but there's a knocking sound from the engine that gets worse at higher rpm. I don't know these bikes, but it doesn't sound good.

I pulled the valve cover to check that first. Left to right, on 1 the clearance is over .300mm. On 2, between .250-.279mm. On 3, .17mm on the left, .15 on the right. My Clymer manual says only one of those is in spec, so I will need to address that. I did hear some clatter from the left side, thinking maybe it was that loose #1 valve, but I've never had a loose valve cause knocking.

I found some stuff online saying low oil could cause noise, but I just filled it - unless I didn't add enough?

Other thoughts on what to check next? Let's assume the PO wasn't much of a wrench, because clearly he wasn't.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-21-2019, 03:23 AM
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Those clearances are certainly excessive (you only gave one set, presumably exhaust? what about intake valves?)
Can't say I've ever heard a Triumph motor with excessively loose clearances so not sure what that would sound like - as they wear they become tighter, so those must have been as result of a poor 'service' adjustment (wrong shims selected)
Impossible to determine from a description of the noise, as your definition of 'knocking' might be different from mine/others - but 'knocking' typically describes a con-rod end issue.

Re Oil level - one thing to be careful of, the level needs to be set with bike VERTICAL; 3.5 L for a replacement sounds pretty typical though. Ideally you fill the filter with oil before you screw it into place.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-21-2019, 10:41 AM Thread Starter
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You're right, forgot to include the intake side. They were all tight (<.10mm) except #2, which was around .25mm. So yeah, I will have to swap them around once I get the triumph valve tool.

The knocking seemed like it was coming from the middle front of the engine, and did sound a bit like rod knock. It seemed like it started a few minutes into the ride, and was worse on acceleration, but I can't be sure, once I noticed it I babied the bike home and shut it down to check the valves. I pulled the plugs and checked for slop by pushing on the top of the piston on the downstroke with a long hex wrench, didn't feel any give. If someone knows a more scientific way, I'm open to learn. Otherwise, once I get the valve tool and set the shims, I will see how everything sounds and go from there. I think the PO flashed the tune in his efforts to solve the hot start problem, so I guess I could flash that back to a stock tune too, maybe it's pre-ignition.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-21-2019, 12:15 PM
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Valve train noises tend to be more of a 'clicking' type of noise, 'knocking' would more indicate an end or crankshaft bearing

Quote:
Originally Posted by stucknarut View Post
.. I will have to swap them around once I get the triumph valve tool. ..
When you have that many to do, you would be as well forgetting the valve tool and pulling the cams.The tool is fine is just have a couple, but you have virtually all of them. This also gives you the opportunity to swap some of the shims around, limiting the number you need to finalize all the positions. (swapping around is a royal pain using the tool - it needs to be in one position, then moved to another then back again to the first one to swap in a shim - and you don't really know what you have till you get them all out! So pulling the cams in your case is going to be MUCH easier - you do have to contend with getting the timing right on re-assembly but that is not a big deal.
Those 25mm size shims are common incidentally, some Japanese bikes used that same diameter so they don't HAVE to come from a Triumph dealer.

Quote:
... once I noticed it I babied the bike home and shut it down to check the valves .. .
How long did you wait to check them? The engine has to be absolutely cold (overnight is going to best when you actually get to doing them).

Even though the valves clearly need to be done, I think I'd be trying to get to the bottom of the knocking noise before you do the valve clearances.

Maybe a video with good sound illustrating the noise would help others give opinion on it
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-21-2019, 01:22 PM Thread Starter
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Yep, cold engine when I checked them. Valves tighten up on a hot engine, mine are loose as a goose.

Thanks for the tip on the shims, the Triumph dealer is a good 45 minutes further away than the Honda dealer. Good point on pulling the cams, I wasn't thinking that one through. I will do the valves first and then see what strange noises are left, so I can rule out clatter and try to pinpoint the knock to one of the cylinders with a video. I can also check the timing chain and tensioner while I'm at it. And also take another look at the CPS, maybe the end was damaged by being so close to the rotor and it's missing occasionally? Though that's probably a reach, not much there but a magnet.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-21-2019, 04:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DEcosse View Post
...you would be as well forgetting the valve tool...
+1 to this. If you do decide to use it, be VERY CAREFUL when you screw it to a camshaft cap, they are made of cheese. I stripped a thread in one using a hex driver and had to helicoil it.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-21-2019, 06:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stucknarut View Post
Valves tighten up on a hot engine, mine are loose as a goose. .
I understand that and the inference was that if engine was still warm, that they would actually be even looser than you measured!
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-22-2019, 11:24 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DEcosse View Post
I understand that and the inference was that if engine was still warm, that they would actually be even looser than you measured!
Gotcha.

Ok, progress so far.

Cams off, and mic'd everything. At a minimum, it looks like I need 5 new shims, and a new cam chain tensioner, the spring is at 69mm vs a spec of 74. The tensioner blade looks ok from a quick visual check, no chips or cracks. The cam chain and cam followers are all within spec per the Haynes manual.

Unfortunately the cam journals are not. They're relatively smooth, no pitting on the cam lobes and the outboard journals are fine, but the Haynes manual spec on the others is 22.90-22.93mm, and mine are anywhere from 22.88 down to 22.75 (intake #1, very lightly scored and the worst by far).

What would you guys do? It's a 20yo, 55k bike, so I don't really want to drop a bunch of money on a new head/cylinders/holders. And I don't really want to buy a questionable pair from ebay. If someone has a spare matching set stashed away they'll never use, let me know, otherwise I'm inclined to just put it back together, run good oil, and adjust the valves religiously.

Thoughts? Anything else I should check while I'm at it?

Last edited by stucknarut; 10-23-2019 at 12:03 AM.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-23-2019, 03:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stucknarut View Post
G.. I'm inclined to just put it back together, run good oil, and adjust the valves religiously ...
I would concur
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