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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I picked up a 95 T-bird last summer. It's been running way rich since I first got it. I took it to the local dealer in Ottawa, ON, spent $700, and got it back worse than when I dropped it off. Long story.. Anyway, I tried a bunch of stuff to see if I could straighten out the problem myself. Well, much $ spent, many hours of tinkering, and reading this forum for ideas.. and still no true success. ( I know I'm not giving much detail.. this part is just the background story...)

Eventually late last summer, it started having a bit of dificulty starting... then one day, it wouldn't start at all. Being a beginner at all of this.. I kept tinkering trying to find the problem, and with all my attempts to fire it up.. I've worn out the starter.

Since then, I found someone on ebay parting out a T-bird. I bought the Ingitor, Starter Motor, and front break master cylinder. Not sure if the Ignitor is part of my ignition problem, but for $100, I figured I should just grab it. ( I actually now think the electrical problem may be a live ground somewhere.. the inline fuse was all oxydized )

So.. I'm in the process of changing out the starter motor, and trying to find the source of my ignition problem. I've got the carbs off, and am about to drain the coolant so I can get the old starter off. Once I've got the new starter in, is it OK to crank the engine with the carbs off? Just wondering because I want to make sure I've done that part properly before putting too much back together.

Once I've done that, I'll pull one of the spark plugs to make sure I'm actually getting a good spark.. I'm sure I'll be asking for lots of help as I go.. Thanks in advance.
 

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Hiya Ian,

Sorry to hear of your mechanical woes. $700 seems like a huge amount of money to spend without getting the bike running right.

I'm a relative novice at working on Triumphs myself but I'm sure you'll have someone post with some more technical know-how.

It is okay to turn the engine over without the carbs attached. Just make sure no dirt/grit gets drawn into the cylinders as the engine is turning over. If you have spark the next stop would probably be the carbs (after re-filling the coolant).

First check is there fuel coming from the tank to the carbs. If not you may need to clean/replace your fuel-tap.
Clean the float bowls, jets and in-line duck-bill filter where your fuel-line goes into the carbs. There are a good few threads about this with some good info.
What size jets are in the carbs at the moment?

Trying to locate the problem can be difficult but the more info you have, the easier it becomes. I had a lot of problems trying to get my own t-Bird going over the last few weeks but thanks to the help of the folks on this forum it's up and running well now.

Best of luck with it.

Mark
 

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Ian, what are the symptoms of the "worn out starter"?
 

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Ian, what are the symptoms of the "worn out starter"?

Mick has an important point. As you have probably read in the threads herein, the 95 T-Bird had issues with the weak sprag starter clutch. It is highly prone to failure if you overrun the starter. Are you hearing a loud clacking noise, as if something is hitting on the engine? If so, you may be in for a major rebuild.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks Guys!

First off, I'll take a recording of what the starter sounds like, before I pull it out. I figure posting a link to a video will be way better than trying to describe the sound. That said, it's definitely not a loud clacking sound.

So.. what did I get for $700? They were supposed to clean and balance the carbs, and try to sort our the mixture problem. In the process, they said that one of the ignition coils was bad, and one of the caps on the carbs was warped, and need to be replaced. (they messed up the parts order.. so they had the bike for three weeks) Even after that, they still couldn't get it corrected.

I got really tired of not having my bike, so I gave up on the dealership. It was ridable, just rich and didn't run well at slow speeds. The mechanic suggested that I might try putting in new floats, and try some pods instead of the stock airbox.

After reading a bunch of stuff, I ordered up three new Nology coils, three new floats (and all the carb gaskets), and a set of Emgo Pod filters. (That was on top of the $ I spent at the dealership)

Put in the new floats, popped on the pods and coils, and it ran much better at slow speeds, but would drag real bad around half throtle. So I put the original airbox back on... Back to square one.. Untill one day.. She wouldn't start. I'll keep you all posted. I should be able to get some time to work on it this weekend.
 

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Did they change your needle jets when they tried to make your T-bird to fly? Now when your carbs are on the table check your pilot jet, with magnifier glass , there might be gunk and look carefully those needle jets if they are like oval shape, then they are worn and need to replace.
 

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The dealer suggested pods??? :confused: That is a new one! I would seriously suspect the technical ability of this dealership. Every Triumph factory tech I have ever talked to has strongly discouraged against the use of pods. You can make them work, but it requires lots of tinkering with the jetting...
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
A glimmer of hope

Well I put in the "new" starter motor, refilled the coolant, ( had to drain it so I could get the coolant inlet hose out of the way.) and reattached the battery.

The good news is I got a spark. The bad news is that it was a very faint spark, and it only sparked intermittently, and then not at all. The other bad news is that the "new" starter doesn't sound a whole lot better than the last one.

At this point my hope is that the problem is with the battery.
 

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Hinkley triples

Well I put in the "new" starter motor, refilled the coolant, ( had to drain it so I could get the coolant inlet hose out of the way.) and reattached the battery.

The good news is I got a spark. The bad news is that it was a very faint spark, and it only sparked intermittently, and then not at all. The other bad news is that the "new" starter doesn't sound a whole lot better than the last one.

At this point my hope is that the problem is with the battery.
I had some ignition trouble with my 99 legend it would run like it had one or two cyl. not fireing. It was a bad guill coil. replaced it, didnt solve the problem of it shutting off or not starting at times. bike shop and manuel sujested timing check. did and it was ok, turned out it was the ignition switch. it must have overheated due to the coil,the contac was melted down in the plastic and wasn't getting a good conection. at times not at all. I pulled it apart filled the hole with liquid plastic and held the wire and contac in place untill it dried. Two years and still working. Did have to replace the other two GUILL coils with nology coils. I would check the timing,switch and coils for the firing. got stung by a shop. Then I purchased a manuel I work on my bike now.figured if I could rebuild a car or truck I should be able to do my bike...knock on wood.sofar sogood. good luck,hope you get it figured out soon.
 

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Starting Noise

As previously mentioned, the starter motors are not generally noisey. What is connected too them though, especially on your model, is! A sprag clutch connects the starter motor too the crankshaft, if this is worn it will make a metallic 'clacking' sound.
As for the advice to replace the carb. floats and airbox, what nonsense.
 

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Good connections are vital esp when cranking. Faint or no spark suggests there may be large volt drop somewhere. (& your starter sounds a bit slow..)

Connect a voltmeter across the battery while starting & see what volts you get. Mine drops to about 9V while cranking. Much lower than this & ignition will likely not work well. If you've reasonable volts at the battery, start looking for volt drops on forward from there, across fuse box, ignition switch etc. Check ground connections also. Note the coil 2dary (HT) grounds thru' the mount bolt sleeves to 'spring' captive nut fittings on the frame.

I've no experience of the sprag clutch issue, maybe others could tell you if that issue places greater load on the starter? which in turn would cause greater battery volt drop when cranking.

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Ignition Switch.. hmmm..

I had some ignition trouble with my 99 legend it would run like it had one or two cyl. not fireing. It was a bad guill coil. replaced it, didnt solve the problem of it shutting off or not starting at times. bike shop and manuel sujested timing check. did and it was ok, turned out it was the ignition switch. it must have overheated due to the coil,the contac was melted down in the plastic and wasn't getting a good conection. at times not at all. I pulled it apart filled the hole with liquid plastic and held the wire and contac in place untill it dried. Two years and still working. Did have to replace the other two GUILL coils with nology coils. I would check the timing,switch and coils for the firing. got stung by a shop. Then I purchased a manuel I work on my bike now.figured if I could rebuild a car or truck I should be able to do my bike...knock on wood.sofar sogood. good luck,hope you get it figured out soon.
Thanks for the suggestion regarding the ignition switch. That was actually the next thing I was going to check. I have used my multi-meter to check the resistance of the pickup coil, the ignition coils, and the side stand switch. They all seem OK. Well... the ignition coils don't match the specs in the Haynes manual, but I've got new Nology coils on there, which probaby accounts for the difference. ( I'm going to contact Nology to confirm exactly what readings I should be getting. )

So.. this is my list of things that I need to investigate next. 1. ignition switch. 2. Clutch switch 3. Battery Strength.

Quick question... Wouldn't a problem with the ignition switch, keep it from turning over at all? I'm just asking because when I have the ignition switch off, the starter doesn't even turn over.
 

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Thanks for the suggestion regarding the ignition switch. That was actually the next thing I was going to check. I have used my multi-meter to check the resistance of the pickup coil, the ignition coils, and the side stand switch. They all seem OK. Well... the ignition coils don't match the specs in the Haynes manual, but I've got new Nology coils on there, which probaby accounts for the difference. ( I'm going to contact Nology to confirm exactly what readings I should be getting. )

So.. this is my list of things that I need to investigate next. 1. ignition switch. 2. Clutch switch 3. Battery Strength.

Quick question... Wouldn't a problem with the ignition switch, keep it from turning over at all? I'm just asking because when I have the ignition switch off, the starter doesn't even turn over.
Poor contacts in the ignition switch might just get the starter solenoid to work but give a low voltage (already reduced thru' cranking) to the Igniter.

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Getting ahead of myself

I may be getting ahead of myself... but I am assuming I will get the electrical problem sorted. Looking forward to the carb stuff, I've got a real strong feeling that my problem is the needle jets. (thanks to suggestion from you guys, along with some other web surfing) There's a little play in the slides, which could be causing some serious wear on the needle jets.

To answer Proffa66's earlier question, no they didn't replace them when the dealer had it in the shop. I'll very likely be ordering up new needles and needle jets very soon. Any suggestions of a good online source for Mikuni needles and needle jets? I checked Bike Bandit and three needles, with the jets, and clips etc comes to $166 before tax and shipping. I know there's got to be a much better deal out there!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
"I know there's got to be a much better deal out there!"
There is, it's called Sudco.

http://www.sudco.com/
Thanks Jimbo,

The guys at Sudco referred me to their Canadian dealer. Which is great. Now I just need to make sure I'm ordering the right parts.

I know I can pull the needle jets out, and get some sort of part number off there, but I'm pretty sure I've got the factory pro needles, and so I'm not sure how to find out the info for the stock needles.

I figure I'll order up a selection of different main jets so I can have some options down the road. ( pods or just general tweaking ) If anyone can help me track down the correct part numbers for these Mikuni carbs of mine, I'd really appreciate it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Update

Just a quick update for those of you who have been following along and helping me out. (thanks.. by the way)

I put in a new battery.. and... I've got spark!! It's not a huge fat blue spark, but a spark none the less. I'll post up a video soon.

In the mean time, I've ordered new factory pro needle jets. I'm very hopeful that this will take care of my low speed hesitation / way too rich mixture problem. The existing needle jets have very obvious wear. The opening looks much more egg-like than round. I can't believe the guys at the dealership didn't pick up on that....

I'll let you know how she goes when the parts arrive. (Should be about a week)
 

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I just read through this post for the first time, and your starter sounds about as loud as mine. I would have said battery as well, only because mine sounded and acted exactly the same last spring, and a new agm battery cured things instantly. Glad that problem one is solved and you can move on to the other stuff. I think it is pathetic that most of today's young mechanics don't have a clue when it comes to old school carbureted bikes. If you don't have the time or aptitude to do your own wrenching, try to find a shop where there is an older mechanic who's "been there/done that". These bikes are relatively simple designs that any decent mechanic should be able to sort out. $700 - you should have paid them in shares of my retirement fund, as that is about what their efforts were worth:)
 
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