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Triumph SuperSports Triumph Four-Cylinder Enthusists: TT600, Speed4, and Daytona 600/650

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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-04-2004, 12:11 PM Thread Starter
Grand Prix 125
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 32
Hello All,

I am new to the Triumph brand and new to this message board. I just bought a new 2003 Speed Four and I am in the middle of the break in process. I have run across a few problems that seem fixable so far.

First of all, my dealer (Colonial Cycle Sports in Virginia) treated me very well even though I am a new customer. They don't advertise enough or have a web site, but they give very good custimer service.

The 2003 roulette green Speed Four was originally priced at $7,699, marked down to $6499, and marked down again to $5,999. They had an orange demo S4 with a Triumph carbon fiber can, and a test ride really sealed the deal. The fun factor on this bike was off the charts and the pipe was like music to my ears. I could barely contain myself after the test ride. I bought it for $5,999 (no setup or destination fees) and negotiated the Triumph carbon fiber exhaust can (and free installation/EFI remap) for an extra $230. The dealer said the can goes for about $400 retail. Installing it from the get go saved me lots of time and money. The carbon fiber can not only looks good and sounds great, but it is shorter and in much better proportion than the too long stock can.

So far I have run into a few problems that are fixable:

1. Gear shift lever too high. The left foot gear shift lever was set way too high for me and made it hard to up shift. To adjust this, you need to remove the set bolt on the lever with a 5mm Allen wrench, remove the lever, put it back on (set lower), and reinstall the set bolt.

2. Clutch lever too far away. The reach for the clutch lever was too long for my medium size hands. Adjusting the clutch lever/cable for more play is not the answer since the clutch engages so close to the grip. There was a gap between the left grip and switch housing, and another large gap between the switch housing and the clutch lever assembly. I slid the grip closer to the switch housing and then loosened the clutch lever assembly and slid it closer to the swtich housing. Now my fingers can grab the closer part of the clutch lever (thus shortening the reach). I can also wedge toll change inbetween the left grip and switch housing. I slid the front brake lever housing closer to the grip too. The front brake lever reach is adjustable, but counterintuitive: 1 is far from the grip, and 4 is close to the grip.

3. Unlubed clutch cable. The "L" shaped cable housing has a Teflon liner but there did not appear to be any lube. I lubed the cable with spray Chain Wax and lubed each end with grease. Remove excess grease to prevent dirt build up. The clutch seems to operate smoother. The clutch works best with very little free play.

4. Rear brake lever too high. I like the foot pedal lower than most people. This makes it easier to reach without lifting my foot off the peg and prevents over braking the rear tire. There is a 12mm lock nut below a 10 mm adjusting nut. The captive nut at the very bottom is not turned directly. There is then a plastic nut for readjustment of the brake light switch.

5. Rust in gas tank. There were a few spots of light rust inside the tank just below the opening. I will keep and eye on it. If a little paint around the opening flakes off, don't let it drop into the tank.

6. Blocked tank vent. My tank was not venting and either had pressure or vacuum on opening. The tank vent tube was kinked near the rear shock top bolt (bottom rear of tank on right side). I straightened it out, but it was still not venting. I removed the tube and found that the inline tip-over valve was working a little too well and would shut off with very little tilt. Also the short tube segment from the tank to the valve had a permanent fold from the kink. I replaced the long end of the tube on the tank without the short segment or tip over valve, but it was too short so I switched it with the longer overflow tube on the left. To reattach the vent tubes to the tank I had to loosen the front tank mounting bolt and remove the two rear tank mounting bolts. By loosening the front bolt, you lift the back of the tank two inches without stressing the front tank tab (if you take the front bolt all the way out, the tank could fall off!). This gave me enough room to attach the tubes under the rear of the tank without disconnecting the dreaded gas line connectors. Without proper venting you could end up with fuel starvation or an over worked fuel pump. To prevent gas spilling in an accident, the tip over valve should be left in place, but check to make sure it's vertical and the tube is not kinked every time the tank is moved.

7. Fuel line connector recall. My dealer sold me this bike without telling me about the recall. I assume I have the fragile connectors. It would have been nice to have the correct ones from the get go. I can see how they would be vulnerable to damage by laying the tank down on a hard surface or a clumsy reinstallation of the tank. Also, there are no instructions on tank removal in the owner's manual.

8. Worn swing arm guard. With only 300 miles, I have significant wear on the rubbery swing arm/chain guard, about 2-3mm deep grooves so far. I have a 42T rear sprocket so I assume I also have the 14T front sprocket. I think the main problem is a slight high spot on the swing arm. I wish there was an official recall. I hope I can convince the dealer to replace the sprockets with the 2004 15/45T set up. I will need a new (longer) chain, and a new swing arm guard too. I hope they don't say my chain is too loose or too tight, or say there is no recall or TSB on this issue. It would be a heck of a lot cheaper to replace the sprockets than a damaged swing arm.

9. Front fairing buzz. There was a slight buzz caused by a peg along the front left side of the instrument cluster contacting the black plastic liner inside the front mini fairing. I wedged a piece of Velcro at the contact point.

10. Rear shock top bolt. The rear shock top mounting bolt is too long and may contact wires on the right side. My wires were not in danger, but I put a rubber cap on the exposed threads just in case. This is how I found the kinked tank vent tube. The hose from the shock to the shock reservoir contacts these same wires, so I wedged a piece of foam in between.

11. Seat won't latch. I found that the seat doesn't latch unless the key is in the latch lock. Maybe this is a good thing to prevent locking your key under the seat. You are also supposed to leave the key in the gas cap when closing it (the manual says you can damage the gas cap if you don't).

12. Too much throttle play. The low end throttle and EFI is very abrupt. This is made worse if there is too much throttle play (or a poorly adjusted clutch cable). I tightening mine up with the in line throttle cable adjuster.

13. Oil leak. I had a minor oil leak with slow dripping along the left side of the oil pan. I tightened up the oil pan bolts (making sure not to over torque). So far so good, but it is rare to fix an oil leak this easily.

Don't get me wrong. I really like this bike. Plenty of power, awesome sound, street fighter looks, great brakes and handling, and good ergonomics. When I get the swing arm guard situation fixed, this may be my last motorcycle (i.e. it's definitely a keeper).


[ This message was edited by: WildRice on 2004-07-04 20:38 ]
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-04-2004, 11:29 PM
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Hey Mark, welcome aboard!

I am just finishing my break in and have a question for you... that winscreen buzzz, can you photo and post the location? I have a weird buzz at around 5k that is only at 5k and it's making me nuts.

As far as your question on removing the gast tank...

0) unplug battery
1) remove seat
2) three bolts, two under seat one in front by headset.
3) lift gently
4) unplug electrical
5) unplug tubes

Also, thanks to Jon (guy with the speedcarrot ) I purchased a cable from England to replace the lousy T part. Getting rid of the 90 degree elbow was the best thing I ever did for my bike.

Finally, I am in the same boat as you on the worn rubber chain thing. I called my dealer and triumph told them that it is at dealer discretion and that they have a 'kit' just for this. I assume the kit includes both front and rear sprockets as well as a new chain and guard. He ordered this for me - we'll see what happens next week. I'm tempted to keep the stock 13 tooth front and just go up in size on the rear to pick up some take off speed.

Good luck, and please post pix of that velcro fix.

post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-05-2004, 02:51 AM
Grand Prix 125
New Member
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: los angeles area
Posts: 22
congrats on your new bikes.

do a search for chain guard or swingarm guard and you'll find MANY posts on excessive wear and what some have had to do to get the dealer to repair them. Problem or reason it does that is stil suspect. Dealer will tell you to lower your rear end I think...which is BS since it changes the bikes handling and shouldnt be a solution.

many have had the rubber guard replaced several times in very low miles. no recall that I am aware of but dealers know its an issue.

Quite a thorough list of issues there-great info. Thanks for posting it.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-05-2004, 10:25 AM Thread Starter
Grand Prix 125
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 32
Regarding the mini fairing buzz:

A photo will not show it well since all of the parts are black and the area is partially hidden. However, I can give you a more detailed description.

I found the buzz by thumping on the left side of the black plastic liner, which is sandwiched between the painted mini fairing and the instrument cluster. The demo S4 I rode had an even louder buzz, and it may have been from another source.

First, I removed the 4 small silver screws in the black plastic liner which allowed me to pull off the mini fairing (don't drop it!). This exposes more of the black plastic liner. On the left back side of the instrument cluster there is a peg-shaped protrusion that lightly contacts the black plastic liner. This was the cause of the buzz.

I partially loosened the bolt on the front left side of the plastic liner that attaches the liner to the instrument cluster. This gave me a little more room to fit a small piece of velcro at the contact point. A piece of foam cushion or stick-on felt would accomplish the same thing.

There are small rubber trim pieces along the rim of the plastic liner to prevent buzzing between the liner and mini fairing, check to make sure those are in place.

I retightened the left bolt, replaced the mini fairing, and replaced the four screws. Thumping on the liner showed that the buzz had been banished. Try not to overtighten fasteners in plastic, you don't want to crack the plastic.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-05-2004, 10:46 AM Thread Starter
Grand Prix 125
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 32
Regarding gas tank removal:
Someone said that it is better to reach under the tank to disconnect the fuel lines and the electrical connection BEFORE lifting the tank. It would also be a good idea to prepare a nice soft area to lay down the tank so that no weight is placed on the fragile, recalled, fuel line connectors. When lowering the tank back into place, you have to make sure not to crush the connectors on the tank between the tank and a shelf rear to the connection. There are also two hoses in the rear of the tank: right one has the tip-over valve that must be perfectly vertical with no kink in the hose, and the left one is an overflow drain hose. There are also rubber cushions (one on each side) between the tank and frame.

Regarding the clutch cable:
Please describe how elimination of the "L" bend effected the clutch action. After lubing, bringing the lever assemmbly closer to the grip, and adjusting for minimal play, my clutch works like a normal bike. The cable looks like a generic item, similar to those on Japanese bikes. I may measure the length of the cable on my S4 and try to find a longer, straight cable at my local bike shops. It is a good idea to have a spare anyway.

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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-05-2004, 11:36 AM
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Yup you got the tank removal thing right there, but as Will (moderator) says it is a good idea to remove the connectors (fuel & electric) by reaching in on the left before lifting the tank. Putting them back that way requires care as the metal catches on the fittings can slice the "O" rings if you don't put them back very straight. [ - don't ask how i know! ].

As regards the clutch cable I found that the freeplay disappeared as the clutch & engine got hot. When the freeplay disappeared the gearbox got ragged . I noticed that the standard clutch cable with the 90 bend did not have a smooth cable-run. It bends round the headlight mount & the steering head & then again at the cable-loop over the radiator. When I pulled the clutch in it flexed & twisted and when the bike was hot it flexed a lot more.
So I had a new one made up (details on this string)

.Clutch Cable

This is much much better and with the quick action throttle I think the gearbox is now as good as any Yamaha :-D and better than most Honda's. {Not as good as a Suzuki though they do make good gearboxes!! }.

IMHO overall the bike still rocks traffic or clear roads rain or shine 4krpm or 13k! And apart from a Hayabusa & an R1 I have not yet had any other bike get away from me!


[ This message was edited by: lcjohnny on 2004-07-05 10:39 ]
post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-05-2004, 02:38 PM
Posts: n/a
Hmm, I take delivery of my new 03 S4 on Tuesday. That is a daunting list of problems. If this bike is still in the crate, then is it safe to say it still has the recalled part? I suppose I'll have to get them to swap it out. Anyone have some more details on this?
post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-05-2004, 04:59 PM Thread Starter
Grand Prix 125
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 32
From what I can tell, the only recall involves the fuel line connectors on many Triumph models:

Triumph Motorcycles (America) Ltd.
Models: Triumph Daytona 955 Years: 1997-2004
Triumph Daytona T595 Years: 1997-2004
Triumph Speed Triple Years: 1997-2004
Triumph Speed Four Years: 2002-2004
Triumph Sprint RS Years: 2000-2004
Triumph Sprint ST Years: 1999-2004
Triumph Tiger Years: 1999-2004
Triumph TT600 Years: 2000-2003
Triumph Daytona 600 Year: 2004
Number Potentially Involved: 18,998
Dates of Manufacture: June 1996 September 2003
Defect: On certain motorcycles, the fuel connector linking each of the feed and return fuel hoses to the fuel pump mounting plate may fracture following in-service handling. Fuel could escape from the fractured body of the connector onto the engine or side of the bike. Fuel leakage in the presence of an ignition source could result in a fire.
Remedy: Dealers will replace the connector. The manufacturer has reported that owner notification is expected to begin during May 2004. Owners may contact Triumph at 1-678-854-2010.
[NHTSA Recall No. 04V156]

I would call them and insist that they install the new connectors before you pick up the bike. It seems like common sense not to sell a bike with a known (potentially explosive) defect, but that is what they did to me.

I have not had luck finding TSB's (technical service bulletins). The rear sprocket size is stamped on the rear sprocket (you don't have to count each rear tooth). Some late production 2003 S4's supposedly have the bigger 45T rear sprocket (with matching 15T front sprocket). Mine is an early 2003 S4 with the 14T/42T combo. If yours has a 45T sprocket, you are probably OK. If you have the 42T, you will eventually need the bigger sprockets and a longer chain. I doubt they will swap the sprockets on a brand new bike with no guard wear (unless a full recall is released).

I hope to convince my dealer to swap my sprockets, guard, and chain and also install the new fuel line connectors at the same time. In the mean time I am trying to leave the connectors alone (they get damaged when the tank is removed). It's a hassle, but otherwise the bike is a peach and is the funnest bike I have ever ridden. The mechanic (who I have known for years) says the S4's engine is bullet proof and very reliable.

Most of my problems were fixable adjustments and individual setup preferences. The slow oil drip I had along the left side of the oil pan has not reappeared after I tightened the oil pan bolts on that side. I did not expect to fix it so easily. These are small bolts with 8mm heads, and could be easily over torqued. The trick is to hold the near end of the socket wrench handle on small bolts to avoid getting too much leverage.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-05-2004, 09:02 PM
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Any chance that oil drip is coming from one of the tubes? I too had a drip - one drop per day, found at my commuter train parking spot. I spent some quality time underneath feeling around, wiping to look for stains, ultimately found that it dripped out of that little tube that is located in the same holder as the wiring for the kickstand shut off.


P.S. with due respect to Will and Jon (who probably have the better way to do it) here is what the factory sez about the tank:

(verbatim, page 8.70 technical manual)

1) Remove the seat and disconnect the battery negative (black) lead first.

2) Release the three fixings securing the fual tank to the frame.

3) Carefully raise the fuel tank and disconnect the electrical connections to the fuel pump plate and both fuel hoses.

4) Disconnect the breather hose from th eleft hand side of the tank and, if fitted, the evaporative connection from the right hand side.

5) The fuel tank can now be reoved from the motorcycle.
post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-05-2004, 09:09 PM
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Location: Chattanooga, TN
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Other Motorcycle: 2007 Triumph Bonneville
Question for WildRice: Regarding the buzz on the mini-fairing. The four small screws on the plastic liner....how did you remove those exactly? I see where the four screws on the liner would be, but they have plastic covers over them and I can't get them off. Without removing those bolts, I don't see any other way to dismantle the fairing. Were these bolts exposed on your bike? If not, how did you remove the plastic pegs that cover the screws, or am I completely looking at the wrong place.

This buzz is driving me insane...I gotta fix it.


- John
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