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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just purchased my first Triumph a week ago Friday. It's a 1996 Sprint with about 36000 miles on it. The previous owner said he JUST put a new battery in it. It was running fine until Monday when it sputtered like it was running out of fuel and then quit on me. It had fuel. It did this 2 or 3 times.

When I started it the next day it ran rough right from the get-go. I drove it up the road and it quit on me. When it restarted I noticed that the clock had reset itself leading me to believe it is an electrical problem. When I got it home, I popped the seat to make sure the battery terminals had a good connection and I could hear the battery sizzling and it appeared to be bulging. I had the battery tested today at a local auto parts store and they said the battery is junk.

Since the battery is roughly 1 month old and has less than 1000 miles on it, I'm guessing regulator. That's just based upon what I've been reading. I don't claim to be a mechanic. Does this sound right? If so, what is the best route to go? New, used, reconditioned? Any and all input is greatly appreciated. Thanks a lot!

rick

--I did try to search on here for a solution and found some information on the newer Sprints, but nothing on the older ones. I have no idea how similar they would be. Thanks again.
 

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It could just be that the batttery was faulty. Nothing springs to mind as regards faults on the bike that would damage a battery, except a short or faulty switch of some kind that would drain it of power. But that would cause the bike to crank slowly of not at all. You don't say if you charged it, or not, when the bike started 'next day'?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for your reply. No, I did not charge it the next day. The bike would start, just run extremely rough, as if it was running out of gas. That's when I did some poking around on this forum and had the battery tested.
 

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Rick,

Do you have a volt meter? Take off the seat and start it up if you can get it to start and idle. Put the volt meter test leads directly on the battery terminals and test for voltage. At idle, you'd should be seeing something between 12-13 volts. Rev the engine a bit and get the RPM's up to about 2-3k. You should be seeing about 13.5-14.5v.

Write down the voltages you observe at different RPM's.

I suspect your regulator has failed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you N5XL. I do not have a meter but am going to pick one up here within the hour.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ok, I picked up a multimeter and charged the battery. With the ignition switch "off," it read 12.6v. With the ignition switch "on," it read 11.8v. I then started the bike and tested it at 3000 rpm and 2000 rpm and they both read 14.62v.

If I'm not mistaken, that's what they should be, correct? Maybe I do just need a new battery?

Thanks again, guys, for helping out.

rick
 

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Those are all good numbers Rick...I'm not seeing any problems. Maybe the "new" battery the previous owner put in wasn't so new after all.

So have you had any performance issues since you charged the battery?

You'll want to come back in a day or so and re-read the battery voltage before you start the bike up to see if the battery is holding 12.6 volts over time or if this value is dropping off.
 

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One more thing. Reading voltages is good as you can get a fairly accurate indication of major problems, but ideally you'd want to load test the battery to be sure (particularly since the alternator seems to be doing its job correctly). To do so, you'll need to charge the battery up fully and take it to a motorcycle shop so they can load test it....not sure an autoparts store sees enough motorcycle batteries to determine if they are good or not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I haven't had a chance to ride it since. I will try to get on it later tonight and see how it goes. If it seems like it's holding its charge, I'll try to find a local shop to test it. Thanks again for your help.

rick
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I ended up riding today. It happened again. I'm trying to figure out the conditions that cause it. The first time it happened was a good 50-60 miles into the ride. I slightly exceeded the speed limit momentarily to pass some vehicles, and when I slowed back down, it began to run rough. I ended up pulling over and checked the battery (brought the multimeter with me) and the battery seemed fine. I started back up and it ran fine.

I ended up catching the tail end of a group and rode their pace most of the way home (50-60 mph). As I turned off their route and pulled up a hill (a couple of miles long), the bike sputtered and shut off when I stopped at a stop sign. That was after a good hour or so running between 4000-4500 rpm.

I guess it wasn't the battery. Any ideas? Thanks again, guys.

rick
 

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if you are ok with all the voltages I would suspect fuel problems. First, check your vacum line to the fuel tap. I've heard that some go flat over time, as well it is very easy to crimp these against the frame, causing a loss of vacum to the tap (resulting in loss of fuel flow). Suggest you go thru the fuel tap as well and make sure that it flows when vacum is on it, and free flows when in the prime position. If there is no problem there then I would consider pulling the tap and looking to see if the screen is getting clogged from debris. Good luck on your search.
 

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All good suggestions by Bernie. The only other things I'd add would be to inspect the inline fuel filters for debris and check the "roll over valve", found in the fuel tank cap.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I actually do need to rebuild the petcock. It seems that it will only run on "prime." If I turn it to anything else, it will run out of fuel in a few miles.

How about ignition coils? I'm new to Triumphs, but I hear that these models had issues with them. It seems to happen only when warm, and after a couple of minutes, it will run fine again for a bit.
 

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I actually do need to rebuild the petcock. It seems that it will only run on "prime." If I turn it to anything else, it will run out of fuel in a few miles.
That could also be the vacuum line between carbs and petcock, but you probably knew that.

How about ignition coils? I'm new to Triumphs, but I hear that these models had issues with them. It seems to happen only when warm, and after a couple of minutes, it will run fine again for a bit.
Sounds like you're mixing up two different issues here; there are both ignition coil issues and a pickup coil issue. The ignition coil issue is usually a single cylinder dropping out at low revs, either all the time or in the wet. The crank position sensor (AKA pickup coil) issue kills the whole motor when it heats up, then works like nothing happened after it cools down.

Cheers,
-Kit
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Sounds like you're mixing up two different issues here; there are both ignition coil issues and a pickup coil issue. The ignition coil issue is usually a single cylinder dropping out at low revs, either all the time or in the wet. The crank position sensor (AKA pickup coil) issue kills the whole motor when it heats up, then works like nothing happened after it cools down.
Cheers,
-Kit
Thank you for clearing that up, sir. The difference between the pickup coil and the ignition coils, that is.

KitNYC in Austin, TX?!?! ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Is the pickup coil something you can buy separately? Besides the dealer and bike bandit, where can I find parts for my bike? Believe it or not, this is the newest bike I've owned!
 

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Care to guess where I lived before Austin? ;)

The pickup coil is about $80 from Bike Bandit or a dealer. That's about it for new, eBay can be a good source for used bits.

Cheers,
-Kit
 

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Your clue that the bike only runs on prime was left out earlier.....That leads me to believe that something is probably causing a blockage, or preventing flow. When in the prime position fuel flows freely whenever the float valve in the carb allows it. If something obstructs the flow, either clogs the line or a vacum is created (like by a clogged vent) then your engine will shut off. I'd start checking for something that would cause that, a collapsed line, a clogged filter, clogged screen in the tank, etc.

Like Kit said, the pickup sympton is usually where it dies immediately when warmed up, the runs ok when cool. Don't know if they show other symptoms, just dont have the expierence to say. Good luck diagnosing
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Just took it out for a quick run today. Should have been about 20 minutes but took closer to 30 because I had to let it sit.

Today was the first time my wife had been on the bike with me. It was running fine as we took off, then, 15 minutes or so into the ride, I accelerated a little quicker on a straight (had it up to 6k rpms is all), and the problem was back.

Does this info help anyone diagnosing fuel vs electric? Thanks, guys.
 
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