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Discussion Starter #1
Last year around March, I bought a 2004 Thunderbird Sport. I rode with it the entire summer. But at the latest rides it became more difficult to get the motor started (after that, it runs fine).
Now, after the winter break, It doesn't start at all. You hear the starter engine working, but no kick from the motor.
  • I charged and checked the battery, thats ok now.
  • I want to check the spark plugs, but I don't have a fitting wrench socket. I believe it needs a 18mm, correct? The outer diameter of my 18mm socket is too big to fit in the head. I will buy a new one, with outer diameter 25mm. I hope this will fit?
  • I am currently cleaning the carbs. There is one small piece, that is located underneath the main jet, protruding into the venturi. I don't know its's name nor function. But my question: how to place it back? It has a side with a smaller opening, and one side with a bigger opening.
Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
So I have cleaned the carbs. Don't think they were the issue, because they were pretty clean.

I found a fitting spark plug wrench. Was able to remove plug 1 and 3. Have to find a different type of socket for number 2. (What a pita!)
In the meanwhile, have a look at the two spark plugs. I notice three things
  • both look very different
  • they have some chalky residue. Is this from water? Or maybe from coolant?
  • number 3 looks very black with carbon residue. Has this carb been set too rich? Or can this be the result of an oil leak?
See the picture for both spark plugs.
I also made a short clip of number 3:



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It seems to me a very poorly maintained engine. :rolleyes:
You don't have on-board tools anymoreI I assume.
i use this:
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@ Or can this be the result of an oil leak?
valve clearance control and compression test not wrong either.

My advice clean everything well , adjust the carburetor put new spark plugs
in it, drive it and then check the spark plugs again. ( if it drives ?)

Is the picture of the spark plugs then good. Okay.
If not you have another problem.
But we do not assume that at first (hopefully)
 

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How much have you run the engine? Plugs are hard to diagnose if the engine hasn't been used normally recently. Without better pictures, and assuming the bike is being ridden regularly, I'd say you're too rich. Why is another question...
 

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Discussion Starter #8
First things first.
  • I will order a thin wall 18mm socket, so I can remove spark plug number 2
  • I will buy a new battery, as the old one is dead, I think. (I can charge it up to +13V overnight, but after running the start motor a few seconds it drops quickly under 11,5V)
Then I can put new spark plugs in and test everything.

In the meanwhile, I removed the 3 ignition coils to measure the resistance. (with Fluke 114)
All 3 measured 0.6 Ohm at primary. That seems ok.
But also all 3 measured "infinite" at secondary!!! All 3 coils broken at same time? That seems strange to me..

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What is the answer to WSC its question, very important.
How much have you run the engine? or not.

@ Is this from water? Or maybe from coolant?

What is the history, a barn find without roof.
The engine was always outside in the rain , cleaned with high pressure sprayer.

Maybe you don't know ?

A battery with 11.5 V during starting is a good value, above 10 everything is still reasonable , under 10 V bad 9,6 V dead.

I had a couple of weeks back someone with all 3 of them broken.
And all 3 good with me ( still says nothing under load) , no idea how that is possible ( he also had accidentally one Fluke) :oops: :sneaky:

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Only example photo broken ignition coil.

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Discussion Starter #10
I don't know the complete history of the bike. I bought it last year March. The bike had a place inside the owner's garage. It started and rode ok, back then.
I only changed oil and oil filter after acquiring the bike. I rode it the entire summer. But like I said before, at the end of the summer starting became more difficult. Last 2 rides, I almost gave up. During riding, I didn't noticed any problems.

Then I didn't rode the bike for 6 months.
I didn't connect any charger during that period. (My fault)

Now, I tried to start. The start motor was rotating. But the engine didn't fire, not even 1 puff.
After trying for several times, I measured the battery and it was way too low. So I charged it overnight. That looked ok. But after running the start motor for a few secs, the battery measured 11,5V. (measured after the start attempt, not during)
It even goes as low as 10V.
Recharging seems to go really fast. But voltage drops extreme quickly after starting. So I believe the battery is dead.

I also see some dried up leaks from coolant. That's probably another problem, I will post pictures later. (level is at minimum mark now)

I now measured the Gill coils exactly like in your pictures.
All three 0.6V at primary, infinite (OL) at secundairy. I know, after lots of reading this fantastic forum, the coils are a weak link in this bike, but I find it difficult to believe all 3 seized at the same time!

Here is a short clip. After recharing the battery over the night. It's a new spark plug at coil number 1.
Can you still have this spark with a broken coil???
 

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Okay Jan clearly.
if I have a coil with O.L then I have no spark. ( secundairy firing voltage)
I've never experienced it before all 3 broken at the same time!

The battery does indeed not have much power on the film.
The spark looks good as far as I can see.

You have the carburettor clean , soon new spark plug,s, new battery , fresh gasoline the current E10 petrol here in europe loses a lot of power, certainly without a stabilizer addition if it has stood still for a while.

A little contact spray in the safety switches will probably help to.

Indeed first wait and see if there is improvement.

There are other variables, starting became difficult.

Succes.
 

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I have seen coils that test that way and still work. I'm not sure if it indicates a problem or not. I'd be suspicious of it.

Sounds like the battery is past it's best-if-used-by date.

If your ignition switch is weak and your battery is weak you won't get a strong enough spark. Test the voltage at the coil hot side while cranking.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thank you both for all the help.
Parts are ordered. Now I need to be patient, so I can continue to try to solve the starting issue... :)


In the meanwhile, here are some pics of the cooling system.
I remember that I topped the coolant to the max mark after buying the bike, last years. Now the level dropped to the min mark.
I don't think this is normal...
The rubbers seem ok, not hard or broken. I see at almost every connection in the system some chalky coolant residue. Also on top of the reservoir. Is this a sign of overheating?

 

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I have 2 questions for you WSC:
1: How many volts should there be at least on the ignition coil to start ??

2:I read here sometimes a bridge from the plus battery to the plus ignition coil to go outside the ignition switch and then quickly unplug the cable if the engine does not will start yet.
Will this not harm the CDI unit – transistor ( mosfet) ?? you can do this without damage ??


Jan:
My experience is with the expansion tank is that the scale is not correct.
Myself always keep the bottom as maximum the rest wants to get out when it's hot. ( via the overflow hose)

@Is this a sign of overheating?
Maybe in the past ,I never seen it like this , I would clean it ,new coolant and reconnect everything properly ,and keep an eye on it.
Inspect the hard plastic of the expansion tank there can be small sheds in it without you seeing it ,is common for these to break.
 

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Maybe a tip.
Another experience I also have is that the brackets of the fuel tank come into contact with expansion tank ,In destroys it.
This is easily solved by removing a little from the brackets of petrol tank.
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I remember that I topped the coolant to the max mark after buying the bike, last years. Now the level dropped to the min mark.
I don't think this is normal...
The rubbers seem ok, not hard or broken. I see at almost every connection in the system some chalky coolant residue. Also on top of the reservoir. Is this a sign of overheating?
No, it means the water used in the cooling system has a lot of minerals in it. Drain it all out and replace it with fresh coolant and distilled water. Warm it up and tighten every hose clamp. You might need to replace the grommets on the cooling tank, but I'd wait as the tanks get a little fragile with age. Check the rear right side of the coolant tank for abrasion. I'd put a strip of duct tape on it to protect it..
 

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I have 2 questions for you WSC:
1: How many volts should there be at least on the ignition coil to start ??
It's not so much the value as the difference between the coils and the battery. You should see a very small difference. A big difference (more than about a volt) means the ignition switch is failing. (Any measurements should be made with a fully charged battery.)

2:I read here sometimes a bridge from the plus battery to the plus ignition coil to go outside the ignition switch and then quickly unplug the cable if the engine does not will start yet.
Will this not harm the CDI unit – transistor ( mosfet) ?? you can do this without damage ??
It shouldn't cause any damage. All you're doing is bypassing the ignition switch. Just make sure you get the right wire on the coils. There is one wire that is the same color on all three coils. That's the one you want. No need to "quickly unplug the cable if the engine does not will start yet".
 
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