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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I'm a newbie here having just bought this bike from a guy on-line.
The seller assured me that the bike "runs great and starts easy". When I went to his house to get the bike, he was unable to get it started right away. He said that "sometimes it takes one kick, sometimes it takes twenty".
Sheesh, I prefer to get my aerobic exercise in other ways. ;)
After finally starting, I shut it off and couldn't get it started. Even he struggled to start it. He suggested that I not turn it off until I got it home so that I could "learn how to kickstart". Well, in the case of motorcycle mechanical issues, perhaps I really DID just fall off the turnip truck. But, this bike doesn't "start easy" in anyone's interpretation of the term "easy".
Anyway, I gave him the benefit of the doubt, and elected to take the 2 hour ride home. 10 minutes into the ride, the left cylinder sputtered, motorcycle surged ahead and back as left kicked in and out, and finally ran only on right cylinder,(I rode this way for 30 miles - trying to get it home!!). Then it started stalling like it's out of gas. Did this 4 or 5 times with 2-5 minute riding time on one cylinder in between. The wife was following me, so we put it in the truck and drove it home. I've taken it to a local shop.
I won't bore you with all the comments of the seller, but to sum up, he feels it's my "inexperience and lack of mechanical knowledge" that caused this (huh?) and "the bike has always run fine for him with no problems".
I have read through a lot of the VERY informative posts by the knowledgeable folks here. Thanks for taking the time to post all the great info here on this forum. I think I understand some of the issues that could be causing the problem.
The seller is now saying that he hoped that I didn't "damage the bike by riding a long distance on one cylinder". He's setting the stage to relieve himself of any liability.
My question is (you must be saying, FINALLY, by now), can the 30-45 minutes of riding on one cylinder (flat, central FL roads) cause damage?
Thanks in advance for your help.
The 10 minutes or so that it ran was a BLAST. Hoping to experience more of the same in the very near future.
Perhaps my next thread will be talking about enjoying the ride in the FL sun. :)
Tom
 

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Long story short, no way.

You can run it on one cyclinder forever provided the running cylinder doesn't detonate (ping).
 

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Rough running

Bet you a dollar it's bad gas!
Drain the old gas, put new in with some "seafoam" and give her a go.
The rough running could also be due to the bike just needing a tuneup.
Due to the age of the bike though, and the likelihood that the owner may have not ridden it in quite a while and it had been stored for a time, would make me think that gas is probably the culprit.
If the new gas doesn't do the trick, get yourself a Haynes manual and learn how to set points and clean plugs.
79 they were still crossed controls, right? I mean shift right brake left?
Careful with that......
 

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May be a minor issue as others have stated. And I can't give you any constructive advice.

My issue is that this A-hole who sold it to you, told you that the bike was pretty much A-ok. That means more than a 10 min. ride!

So you get dropped off or, however you got there, a bus, train, whatever..expecting your horse will get you home.

And it's f'd up! I don't know you but, I'd want to shoot the SOB.;)
 

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As much as I wanted it to work, the Seafoam didn't really fix anything for me. With a bike that may have been sitting, you might have to pull the carbs and clean them with gumout and a pin. Its actually easy and fun. Don't forget the emulsion tubes, they are what the needles go down into. They get crapped up and you can't make it run right. Hopefully, when you take the carbs apart, everything is there and in correctly. If you have never done it, you might want to take it to a shop, but I always just do mine by common sense.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks!

koifarm, shift is left and brake is right on this one.

Guys, I really appreciate your replies. Very helpful.

08 T-100, my favorite comment of the seller is "I described the bike accurately. I just didn't anticipate that someone with little mechanical ability or experience would buy it".
OK, so you folks with experience and ability, would you still want to have to work on it within 10 minutes of leaving the seller's driveway?
If he had said, "needs some work" or "may take 20 kicks" or "misses on one cylinder sometimes", then I could have made an informed decision as to whether or not to buy. You guys may have said what the hell, sounds like an easy fix, I'll go for it. I would have to think about it with my limited ability at this point. but, I wasn't afforded the opportunity to make that choice. The seller has indicated to me that I should know there would be problems with an older bike and I should also know how to fix it before I considered buying. I can understand that there may be issues in the future owning a vintage bike. But, I didn't expect to have to inherit existing issues without knowledge of those issues prior to purchase.

I'm sorry to rant. I know things will work out and perhaps this will push me to learn more about the workings of this motorcycle. I tend to be lazy in my "advanced" years (53 - I remember when I thought 40 was old!):rolleyes:.

Again, I appreciate your assistance.
 

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New bike

You have to be kind of philosophical about buying a bike.
If you get a new one, few issues.
If you get a used one, it's anybodys guess what the bike has been through and you may have to be prepared to repair a few minor things.
It's all part of the buying process.
Treat it like a used car you purchased, drove home and it started to backfire and miss on a few cylinders. Same thing with the bike.
If I were you, unless I felt comfortable with digging into the bike with a repair manual in hand, cart it on over to the nearest bike shop that works on Trumpets and have em look it over, tell you what they recommend and have it done.
As in any purchase, let the buyer beware! You bought the bike, and now own it, forget what the guy said and just go ahead and get the bike looked at.
If you don't have a Triumph shop nearby, phone around and find a mechanic who has experience on one and take it there.
Good luck with the new bike, let us know what you find out what is causing the bike to run funny.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks koifarm. I already took it to a shop yesterday. I had planned on doing that anyway regardless if there were any obvious problems or not. So, it's all good. I would have foregone the danger of my wife and I struggling on the side of the road if I had known though. Should have just put it in the truck and taken it directly to the shop.
 

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'78 bonnie

Perhaps the Moderator will move this thread to the Cruisers and Classics section, where all the Pre-Hinkley folks hang out. That'll give you a better audience for suggestions.

I own a 78 bonnie. The first day I owned it I set out on a day trip. Long story short, I ended up hitchhiking home to get the car and trailer to fetch Bonnie back home. But I didn't give up!
I had a tank of fresh gas, but I had no tools. For several weeks thereafter, I cared extra spark plugs and changed them often.

I real good mechanic helped me find out that the biggest culprit were the worn valve guides that were letting oil into the cumbustion chamber and fouling my plugs.

I rebuilt the top end by having the cyclinder bored 40-over, new pistons and rings, new valve guides (maybe valves too) all new gaskets of course.

Whatever path this bike takes you down, in terms of repairs, it'll give you a satisfying grin to ride it and folks will stop in there tracks to check it out.

[other major issue I had with it was a cracked weld where the swingarm attaches to the OIF tube, allowing constant oil seepage.]

If it has a Boyer ignition, make sure the battery has full charge and coils are all good too. clean up the ground wire helps, too.

good luck
 

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Its been a long time since I owned my T140E, but I remember a problem when it ran on only one cylinder. If I remember correctly the bike had two coils, one for each cylinder located under the seat ......... one of those coils was bad. Just an idea.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well, not only am I mechanically inept, I don't even know which forum to post in.:D Sorry about that moderators!

Again, thanks for the info and tips folks. Should hear the diagnosis from the shop tomorrow. Sure am itching to ride.
 

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T140E has Lucas RITA electronic ignition; the primary windings of the two HT coils are in series, thus if it is running at all the ignition is working. It is possible that the secondary (HT) winding of a coil has failed, but I would think it much more likely that your problem is going to be fuel / carburettor related.

Take a look at the spark plugs, their colour will tell you lots about how the engine is running. Should be a light brown colour to the centre electrode. White means weak mixture, black & sooty means rich mixture. A common problem on the Amal Mk2 carbs is that the rubber tip on the plunger that seals off the cold starting jet hardens and leaks, then that cylinder runs rich and fouls the spark plug.

What spark plugs are fitted? Champion N5 are what you need, NGK equivalents just aint the same.
 
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