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Hi, newbie here. I hope this is the right forum for my problem which is on my newly acquired T140 V 1979 US spec Bonneville. First Brit bike I've owned and while I can spanner my Jap 2 strokes I am struggling with the old Triumph . So the bikes previous owner has has it since early 90's and it used to run fine. It has been laid up for probably 8 years and he told me it won't kick over because of an "oil lock" caused, I assume, by some of the oil from the oif tank getting into the sump. Initial research has resulted in my removing the rhs outer cover to look at the quadrant, spring, pinion etc, and they look ok. I wonder about the clutch as the action is heavy as, and the bike won't go into gear so far. I'd like to turn the crank to make sure the engine isn't seized, so what is the easiest way to do this? By the way I drained the sump and there was lots of oil but the kicker still wont move. Why would a stuck clutch stop the kicker from turning the engine if it's in neutral and can flreewheel? Do I need to take the clutch apart to clean it? I can see that this will be the first of many many questions in my quest to get the bike running.

Thanks in advance for any guidance you guys can offer.

Lee
 

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Hi, sort of posted in the wrong place, this page is for the Hinkley 'modern' bonnies, try the 'classic, vintage and veteran' on this forum, or here Classic Bike Forum - Index page . Are the clutch plates stuck? I will pull the clutch in and kick over my old brit bikes until the clutch if free, if they have been stood for a bit. Old brit bikes are odd, even the unit construction engines, like a '79 bonnie, have engine oil, gear box oil and primary drive oil, which are all separate! Don't put the wrong stuff in your primary or your clutch will just slip. Try draining all 3 to see the condition.
 

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I hope this is the right forum for my problem which is on my newly acquired T140 V 1979 US spec Bonneville. First Brit bike I've owned and while I can spanner my Jap 2 strokes I am struggling with the old Triumph
Hi Lee,
This is exactly the right place, you will be overwhelmed with advice (often conflicting😉).

The Japanese usually set things up with one way of assembling and one adjustment setting, Triumph (Meriden) on the other hand very generously gives you the opportunity to set everything up wrong.

A twin cylinder four stroke engine when stopped, will always have at least one valve open, this allows air into one cylinder, moisture in the air can over a long period allow rust to form on the bore, seizing the piston.
The clutch is famous for sticking together, even after a week of standing. They are usually easy to free off, but after all this time might need to be dismantled.

To see where your problem lies, I think that I would look inside the primary cover on the left of the bike, there should be oil inside to drain out, the gear lever and left footpeg need to be undone. Remove the screws or allen bolts that hold the cover on.
Inside is at the front is the alternator, the nut in the middle is attached directly to the crankshaft. If you remove the spark plugs you should be able to turn this backwards and forwards a little (4-5mm) so the triplex drive chain goes tight and loose at the top, if it moves the problem lies in the gearbox, if it does not the problem lies in the engine.

Regards
Peg.

Edit:
Just an additional note, if the cover is held on by screws, the JIS (Japanese Industrial Standard) screwdriver you have for your two strokes will slip. Also a Philips screwdriver common for diy woodscrews, etc. will slip.
If you want too be able to undo and tighten the screws without sliping and damaging the head you will need a pozi drive screwdriver. This will match the head of the bolt and allow you to undo the screws. As long as the previous owner has not damaged them by using the wrong screwdriver.
You metric spanners will be no good either, in 77 Triumph was using USA style threads and AF system bolt sizes.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you Quirkymart. I will go to the other forum as you suggest. In reply to your questions, I drained the gearbox oil which was like new, and drained the sump which contained more engine oil than I would have expected, and also there is nothing showing on the engine dipstick behind the tank. I haven't looked at the primary oil yet. How do I know if the clutch is stuck? The kickstart will not move the ratchet pinion. It just stops dead but everything looked ok with the gears.
 

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Read the excellent answer Peg gave you above, incidentally your primary and engine oil in your Triumph are the same. They were separate in the bikes from sixties and I still like them to be separate. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hi Peg, thanks for the informative reply. To update, have freed the kickstart by rocking the bike back n forth to get it into a gear. Once it had the kickstart works fine.
My next question is about the engine lube system. Oil in frame and supposedly a dry sump. I've already read on here that when stood oil gets past something and pools in the sump. I drained the sump and a lot came out, and there clearly isn't much in the frame tank. Before I put any in is there anything I should look at or does this sound normal?
And another question re petrol. I've had horrible experiences with varnished carbs and degraded fuel, even after just a couple of years sitting. So I've drained the tank and what I get is very yellow, not quite right smelling fuel (not as bad as some I've smelt). Will I get away with putting fresh in or should I clean the carbs first? Obviously I want to give old girl the best chance of starting but dont want to disturb anything unnecessarily.
 

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If it’s not been run for 8 yrs I would strip the carbs down for sure. The pilot jets clog easily and they really are simple to strip. They are also likely to be corroded inside. Brake cleaner and elbow grease will sort it.
 

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Welcome RedLee,

The pilot jets are tiny - getting them clear can take a bit of persistence! Be sure before you re-assemble that all the carb orifices are leading somewhere and carb cleaner blows right through. DAMHIKT!

IME, a blocked or partly blocked pilot jet will almost certainly be at the root of starting problems if everything else is OK.

Even if you can blow carb cleaner through a hole, it may still have enough of a blockage not to function properly.

Get the carbs well cleaned and it'll start easily enough - once you get the hang of that particular bike - and they all have their own starting likes and dislikes!

And just because the carbs were clean 6 months ago, does not mean that they are clean now.


There's loads of help on here to dig you out of holes.
 

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From what you wrote Red Lee, your ratchet mechanism is worn and is a culprit of your kick start problem.
 

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Hi RedLee / everyone else, I first saw this post in the 'Air cooled twin talk' section hence my first post. I own brit bikes from the 20's 50' and 60's, so a '79 bonnie is well out of my knowledge, as proved by other responses. There have been some great replies, hope you get the bike running soon, and get to put a lot of smiles and miles on the bike. Please post pics of the bike as a classic triumph is always nice to see.
 

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Good choice on a 79
The carbs are better re jetted to "euro jetting" but work with what you have to get it going.
I would bin the fuel, add a bit of shell v power and swill it around to rinse the tank

If you have to replace the clutch plates, go for a 7 plate conversion. Use t120 springs. But don't worry now unless the clutch is toast. You have (probably) Lucas RITA ignition and need a good charge in the battery. Many of us use a mottobat glass mat battery

Chances are that your brakes are in need of work- the hoses only lasted 10 years
 

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Hi Lee,
You have posteda bit of conflicting information.
you say your bike is a T140V and also 1979.
79 should be a T140E.
The 79 T140E Bonnie was very different to the 78 T140V.
Including electronic ignition and completely different carburettors.
Can you confirm the Letters in the engine number.
Are the carburettors bolt on (mk1) or mounted on rubbers (mk2).

This will be important as the advice given to you will be very different, depending on the model you have.

Regards
Peg
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Hi guys. In answer to Peg, the bike is an E, with electronic ignition and Mk 2 Amals. Thanks for the clarification.
Dave, thanks for the advice re fuel. It's already been chucked, but the Shell v power is a good tip. The clutch seems ok, but I won't really know til it's running. Brake hoses are nice Goodridge all round and seem to work fine .Anyone got any advice on the load of oil in the sump and none in the frame situation? Thanks for all the advice so far
 

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The oil tends to heed gravity and falls from the OIF oil tank into the sump over time...the rate at which it does this is individual to each bike. Yours may do it in days or weeks...you will find out more as you own and use it.
I'd drain the sump [done], gearbox [done], primary [?], and oil tank [?] [remove the tank plate and clean the gauze filter/strainer. Consider installing a proper filter kit so time in the near future.
Definitely clean the carbies out, new AGM battery [Motobatt], and new spark plugs. I'd also think about replacing the fuse [they only have one]. The brake lines may need replacing soon, the fluid tends to soften the inside of the hose causing a dragging brake - think about going stainless braided. You won't know what sort of a clutch you have until you have ridden it for a few hundred miles with new oil etc.but as Dave said the 7 plate conversion is a good investment IF you have any problems. if you don't then its a happy life for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thank you Tridentt150v, it's reassuring that oil ends up in the sump normally after standing. Presumably with regular use it gets scavenged back into the tank? My jobs today are to clean the carbs and drain what's left in the frame tank. I'm a bit worried that the oil pump will cavitate if it isn't primed? The Haynes manual gives no guidance but a guy on utube suggested pouring half a cup down through the rocker cover. Incidentally the oil the previous owner used was Golden Film SAE 20W50. Is this ok or should it be straight 40 as in the Haynes? The oil I intend to use in the gearbox is EP90 unless...
I need to drain the primary today too. As for brake lines, they are already ss braided. Plugs look almost brand new and the battery has been on charge off the bike so we'll see. Watch this space. The bike is a stunner and I will post pics soon.
 

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i would not start that engine up anytime the crankcase has filled with oil. drain it out and put it back in the frame. A little too much in the cases will not hurt and will pump back. Being in the UK, you might want a 20/50 oil for air cooled engines and Morris oils do one. EP90 is fine and 500cc fills the gearbox. Primary oil, check to see if it has rubber mixed with it. that would indicate the clutch cush rubbers are failing. It will still run OK until you get around to replacing. Tyres, i would change both tyres and tubes due to the perishing and hardening of the rubber.
Oil pump does not need priming unless someone has fitted a Morgo rotary type.
 

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Hi Rambo. Ah, every answer leads to another question. Makes you realise how much you dont know! I will use the 20/50 in the engine, but what grade for the primary? Haynes says Castrolite 10W30. Just checking before I buy the wrong stuff...
 

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Hi Lee,
That is good news, 79 saw a huge jump in reliability.
The Mk 2’s are better carbs than the mk1’s but they still have their quirks.

The idle circuit meters the air, not the fuel, so idle richness adjustment is counterintuitive, screwing the adjuster in richens the mixture, opposite of what most people expect.

The pilot jets are buried deep in the float bowls, You need a good screwdriver to get to them deep in the bottom of a hole. They are not where they are shown in the spare parts book or service manual. Do not get them mixed up with the similar looking cold start jets.

The cold start enrichers will be in poor condition and leaking after 8 years sitting under spring pressure, unless the Previous owner had the sense to lift them before he laid the bike up. The original units have too high spring pressure that distorts the sealing rubbers, modern redesigned enrichers have much lighter springs and last a lot longer. I expect that you will need to replace them.

Your bike was put away just after Ethanol was added to UK fuels, fortunately there was still lots of regular fuel still available for a few years after it was introduced, so if you are lucky your bike was not left with the dreaded ethanol in the tank.

good luck
Peg.
 

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Hi Rambo. Ah, every answer leads to another question. Makes you realise how much you dont know! I will use the 20/50 in the engine, but what grade for the primary? Haynes says Castrolite 10W30. Just checking before I buy the wrong stuff...
The primary oil is shared with the engine oil so use your engine oil. These Triumphs seem happiest on 20/50 oil and most motorcycle specific makes will be fine. Using thinner oils, you might hear a lot more mechanical noises especially from the timing gears and primary when really hot. As others have suggested, put an oil filter on at some time.
 
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