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Discussion Starter #1
(2010 Triumph Speed Triple)

Hey,
So yesterday I tried to start the bike after 5 days of not riding it. (It's been pretty cold in the UK) but haven't had any issues starting her in the cold till now. Everything sounded fine in terms of the starter motor but would cut out/stop all electrics would stay on (new battery fitted about 6 months ago). I tried this for a while but kept doing the same until the battery was starting to give up, always felt like she was one crank from starting up. I eventually gave up and left her to charge on a trickle charger for about 12 hours.

In the morning I tried again, the cranking was noticeably stronger as I had drained the battery quite a bit from yesterday, but still cut out. At the second time of trying the starter motor started making an odd noise, which seemed faster than usual but the engine was still turning as I could see fumes out of the exhaust.
odd starter motor sound
I gave it one more shot and she started up, high revs (because of the cold) but a fairly noticeable knocking noise in time with the engine.
after starting
I thought this may have been from it being very cold and let her warm up. But knocking noise continued it seems to be coming from the front of the engine.
Close up of noise once warmed up
I engaged the clutch to see if there was an issue and she started to pull away normally so I would guess its not the sprag clutch?
I decided not to take her to work. She is due an oil change in approx 300 miles, and wasn't making any odd noises or acting weirdly before.

Does anyone know what this might be? :confused:
Thanks in advance
 

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Sorry to hear about this mate :(

...Everything sounded fine in terms of the starter motor but would cut out/stop all electrics would stay on...
Could you clarify? I'm probably being thick but I don't get what you're saying here.

Your first video sounds to me like a slow crank but I can't hear any rattling that sounds like a bad sprag. There's a high pitched whine right at the end of the video which sounds like the fuel pump to me. It's likely your battery was a bit low and didn't like the cold so wasn't cranking properly.

I engaged the clutch to see if there was an issue and she started to pull away normally so I would guess its not the sprag clutch?
I think you're getting the clutch and sprag clutch confused? The bike starting to pull off when in gear when you let the clutch out doesn't have anything to do with the sprag clutch, which only clutches the starter motor to the crankshaft for starting.

From the videos I can't hear anything wrong with your sprag clutch, this would be a horrible rattling/grinding when you press the starter but nothing after the bike is running.

To me, that tapping is more likely to be something to do with your cam chain. If it is to do with the cam chain, the noise will be much louder on the right side of the bike than the left (as you sit on it).

Have you checked your oil level?

When it was running, did you rev it at all? If so, did the tapping increase with the revs?

Will the bike start up normally now or does it still take a lot of attempts to start?

I would pull your cam cover and check the cams are properly timed and the cam chain is properly tensioned.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hi Rampant,

Thanks for the reply, and sorry for my ignorance, I'm obviously not very savy on the difference between clutch sprag clutch. But from what you described it doesn't seem to be the sprag clutch. - I've always had a fear of it as I've seen a lo of posts on it.
Could you clarify? I'm probably being thick but I don't get what you're saying here.
I've had battery problems in the past where the engine would crank and then there wouldn't be enough juice in the battery and would make a kind of buzzing sound. It was doing this on the first day it wouldn't start so that's why I put it to charge. It did the same thing first time I tried starting her. But then seemed to crank faster second time around (faster than what I am used to) and felt to me like it wasn't engaging the engine- but it did start after a very long crank.
That's when the rattling started.
To me, that tapping is more likely to be something to do with your cam chain. If it is to do with the cam chain, the noise will be much louder on the right side of the bike than the left (as you sit on it).
I will check tonight but I was standing on the right and it did sound quite loud.
Have you checked your oil level?
I checked about 200 miles ago, but will check again today when back home. Its due to an oil change, do you think the cold could affect how effective it is?
When it was running, did you rev it at all? If so, did the tapping increase with the revs?

Will the bike start up normally now or does it still take a lot of attempts to start?
I did rev it lightly once it had reached a decent operating temp and the tapping increased at the same rate as the engine rpm.
I also turned the bike off and fired it up again. It started without a problem, but it was warm by then. Would a timing issue or tensioning issue appear from one day to the next?

Thanks again for the advice.
 

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...the engine would crank and then there wouldn't be enough juice in the battery and would make a kind of buzzing sound
This is the textbook example of the sprag clutch slipping due to a low battery, this can lead to damage to your sprag clutch. I've never had a sprag fail myself so I'm only going on what I've read as well to be fair. You may have a damaged sprag clutch which caused your starting issues, but I think the tapping while running is not related, once the engine is running and you let go of the starter button the sprag clutch should disconnect and not cause any noise. I would inspect your sprag clutch as well to be on the safe side, sorry to change my mind lol.


I checked about 200 miles ago, but will check again today when back home. Its due to an oil change, do you think the cold could affect how effective it is?
If you checked 200 miles ago your oil level should be fine. The reason I asked is just in case you hadn't checked it for some time and it had gotten very low, possibly leading to a spun bearing. This is very very unlikely if you checked it recently.

Engines will clatter more when they are cold as all the metal shrinks, increasing gaps between components etc and reducing the lubricating effect of the oil until everything is warmed up. It shouldn't cause this level of tapping, nor should it persist after the engine is warm however.


... the tapping increased at the same rate as the engine rpm.
Cool, that probably rules out anything to do with the clutch or gearbox then.


It started without a problem, but it was warm by then.
Hmm, this is hard to interpret. The sprag could be fine, or everything could have warmed up and expanded enough to give it a damaged sprag a better grip for starting.


Would a timing issue or tensioning issue appear from one day to the next?
Probably not, but it may have happened during your last ride and you didn't notice. That said, a lot of attempted starts when very cold may have caused a cam to jump a tooth or something. I'm speculating at this point though :(
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hmm I hope its not the sprag clutch, but I guess I will have to check. The bike was staring up fine for the past 6-7 months. I hope I didn't damage it from trying to start it yesterday/today.

That said, a lot of attempted starts when very cold may have caused a cam to jump a tooth or something. I'm speculating at this point though :(
I had read this somewhere when searching earlier. Is there anything to look out for when I remove the cam cover?
 

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If the cam chain has jumped at all, when you line up the crankshaft with the TDC marker then the two arrows (not triangles!) on the cam shaft sprockets won't line up. If nothing has jumped, then both arrows should point directly at each other (example here).

It depends how handy you are as to whether you take it to a garage or not. Getting the starter covers off to look at the sprag clutch is easy (just undoing the bolts), but to actually get the sprag off is a little more involved. You may be able to put the bike in gear and use the back brake to lock it so you can undo the bolt holding on the sprag clutch. Getting the cam cover off is easy but you need to remove the fuel tank etc first. If you're not confident then take it to a garage :)

Not sure on starting it back up, it depends what's wrong so a bit of a chicken and egg situation. Is it far to your local garage? I'd also wait to see if anybody else on the forums has any ideas, I'm by no means an expert!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Getting the cam cover off is easy but you need to remove the fuel tank etc first. If you're not confident then take it to a garage :)
I'm fairly confident getting the cam cover off I've had to take the fuel tank off before. I just don't think I could fix it if there the arrows weren't lining up. I'm guessing I would I have to replace the gaskets when putting the cases back on?

Not sure on starting it back up, it depends what's wrong so a bit of a chicken and egg situation.
I'm really just hoping that it will start and fix itself :D:poop:
 

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If the timing is out all you do is pull the cam chain tensioner out and move the cams one tooth at a time into alignment. It's fiddly and time consuming but not hard. If you have a service manual (google is your friend!) it walks you through it, and if you check the stickies there are threads about doing the valve clearances which walk you through re-timing the cams.

Gaskets wise, I've never replaced a cam cover gasket and I've never had a problem. YMMV. The starter cover gaskets are 50/50, if they come off in one piece then I have reused them without issue, but if they come to pieces when you pull a cover then you'll need to replace them. They're only £5-10 each anyway so not too drastic.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for the info Rampant. So I got back today and checked the oil, the level is good. I decided to start her up. And she started just fine like she used to before, so I think I'm going to rule out the sprag clutch for now.

The knocking noise was still there as loud as before, but started to disappear after a little while, to the point where I couldn't hear it on idke. I couldn't tell if louder on the right of left side to be honest Noise from the left and then right.. When slightly opening the throttle I the knocking started to come back Knocking stopped at idle throttle makes it start again.

Wondering if it could be the tensioner that needs replacing?
 

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I had a similar knocking noise in my 99 project. I'm fixing other stuff I discovered while troubleshooting it, so I'm not 100% sure the cause. In my case the valve clearances were all way out, so I'd probably start by checking that on your bike. If you're pulling the valve cover to check the timing anyway, it's easy to do both.
 

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Ooh valve clearances are a good shout. If they're out then they can make an engine clatter, and also cause hard starting. I botched my valve clearances a few years ago and the bike wouldn't start at all!

@Trinity_1050 what mileage is your bike on?
 

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Thanks @stucknarut I guess will have to check the valve clearances. The bike is currently on 18,700 @Rampant

The bike started really well last night, and it was interesting that on idle the noise kind of went away only came back when touching the throttle.
 

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The noise is clearly louder and higher pitch on the right side to me.
Could it be as simple as the tensionner being between two teeth?

Not that you CAN'T remove the tensionner w/o removing the cam cover and the crank cover ans zip tie cam gears to the chain.
But you can remove the center nut and the spring then push w/ any rod and see whether a supplementary thrust would get it to the next tooth.
714772
 

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I imagine it's 18,700 miles as Trinity is based in the UK. If the service schedule has been followed then valves would have been checked at 12k.

I didn't know which way the valves were out did what, thanks fred :)
 

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Hi @fredsprint the bike is in miles, I bought it in Jan when it had 15,000miles and had a full service history. It was serviced just before it left the shop.
Not that you CAN'T remove the tensionner w/o removing the cam cover and the crank cover ans zip tie cam gears to the chain.
But you can remove the center nut and the spring then push w/ any rod and see whether a supplementary thrust would get it to the next tooth.
I may try removing the center nut like you suggested. Will I not have problems getting the spring back in?

I will try out the method on the video to see if I can locate where the sound is coming from.
 

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This is a pretty basic ratchet. A spring and a nut pushing on it plus the ratchet preventing the tensionner to move backward.

There is probably a copper or aluminum washer for the sealing.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks @fredsprint I will try this today when I get home. Am I looking for a click or a noise when pushing something in? I'll also measure the spring as apparently it need to be replaced if reduced significantly below 73.7mm.
 

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I never found indication regarding the spring minimal length. Where did you find it?
Note that because f=kL f being the force applied by (to) the spring, k being the spring constant and L the length by which the spring is reduced by the thrust, adding a few mm thick shim will increase the spring thrust. Should have the same diameter as the spring obviously. Preferably between the spring and the nut to be able to retrieve it easily. Might be a temporary solution.
Yes you may hear a click (in a silent environment) or not depending whether the ratchet steps abruptly or not.

I personally never changed a tensionner spring even on my 955 after 10 years and 60k kms
 
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