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Old 07-13-2011, 11:06 AM   #1
dneuhaus
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Default 73 Triumph problems!

Hey there,

hope someone can help me out. I have a 73 Triumph Tiger 750. I was driving totally fine in the city for months and I took it on the highway, drove very well, then about 20 minutes at 100kmh it just died!
I pulled in the clutch to roll onto the shoulder and geared down to second gear and let go of the clutch to try to fire it back up, nothing. it turns over fine.
I kicked and kicked.

spark plugs were not black and not too light a brown, and weren't wet so I dont think it was flooded or anything.
Battery was at 12.55 volts, but corroded on BOTH terminals AND at the fuse...i disconnected it all and cleaned the contacts...still nothing.
had to tow it home, it sat for a few days but still won't start...not even hesitate to start. but the compression sounds good, it turns over.

when I prime it, fuels spills out momentarilly...

could it be fuel starvation? carb problem? what kind of problem could this be? why would the terminals be corroded.
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Old 07-13-2011, 11:10 AM   #2
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Have you actually checked it for spark? (i.e. pull a plug and grounded it to the engine)

This thing's old-enough, when was the last time you gapped the points?
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Old 07-13-2011, 11:11 AM   #3
dneuhaus
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I haven't...but can you explain a bit better how to do that?

do I just pull it out and hold it in my hand and see if it sparks? how do i ground it to the engine? I dont want to get electrocuted.

the points seem "Gapped" but im not an expert...theres no um like char, I havent been running it rich. could the gap be too big? its definately not blocked.

Last edited by dneuhaus : 07-13-2011 at 11:15 AM.
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Old 07-13-2011, 12:45 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by dneuhaus View Post
I haven't...but can you explain a bit better how to do that?

do I just pull it out and hold it in my hand and see if it sparks? how do i ground it to the engine? I dont want to get electrocuted.

the points seem "Gapped" but im not an expert...theres no um like char, I havent been running it rich. could the gap be too big? its definately not blocked.
Pull the plug, put it back in the boot (making certain it makes contact inside the boot), then just sort of "set" it against the engine, so the threaded metal-part makes contact with the engine. Crank (kick, whatever) and observe if there is a nice, fat spark across the plug electrodes.

You can hold it in your hand, but it's gonna hurt (unlikely to do more damage than teach you a lesson not to hold it in your hand, tho).

Yes, you can have too-big of a gap. I don't know exactly what the spec is for your bike, but typical numbers are between .008" and .015", depending on engine. A quick-and-dirty method is to gap them to a business or playing-card. If they're much more than that, it will likely run like poo, if at all. Double-check to see if the points are both clean and "square" to one-another. Make certain the felt "sponge" is oiled in the middle of the point-cam (or some are set up as a "wiper"). Points are a wear-item, you've got to keep after them for good performance.

This EXACT problem a friend of mine had with his '74 Guzzi - it just quit running. I checked the points, they were something like .048" - WAY too big for a reliable spark. The bigger the point gap = the bigger the spark inside the engine..... up to a point of diminishing returns.

If you can't seem to keep the dang things in-spec, I'd bet that Pertronix makes an "Electronic Points" conversion kit for your bike, fairly reasonably priced (haven't priced one in a bit, but usually under $100).

If you don't have a manual on this bike, WHY THE HELL NOT?

You need one.

Seriously.
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Last edited by The_AirHawk : 07-13-2011 at 12:52 PM. Reason: Added a bit of an explanation
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Old 07-13-2011, 01:01 PM   #5
dneuhaus
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Thanks man, I've got the Haynes.
Im gonna work on this tonight!

seems weird that it would run fine then just quit, wouldnt it run like crap for a while first?
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Old 07-13-2011, 01:16 PM   #6
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Thanks man, I've got the Haynes.
Im gonna work on this tonight!

seems weird that it would run fine then just quit, wouldnt it run like crap for a while first?
Justin bought the Guzzi; it ran just fine - rode it home & parked it. It wouldn't start after that. At all. For 6 months. He was telling me about it one day when I was over at his house (unrelated), and I pulled the point-cover & took a look - a few adjustments, and it ran, idled, rode just fine. Adjuster-screws were tight, points looked good (other than massive gap) - he hadn't so much as pointed a screwdriver at it (he's not exactly the "mechanical" type - WTF he bought a '70s Guzzi for, I dunno).

If the point-gap is OK, but still no spark - change the condenser (small capacitor, looks like a shiny-silver cylinder with a wire coming out of it going to the points). Older engines may not be "reliable" like today's stuff, but the things that break tend towards simple and easy to fix.

I just checked Pertronix's website - they don't have anything in their catalog, but you should consider giving them a call. They might be able to help you, I dunno. (I've only put them in cars - there's a bit less room in a moto for points)
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Old 07-13-2011, 03:15 PM   #7
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Do you know why the Brits drink warm beer?

They have Lucas refrigerators.

Welcome to the notorious world of Lucas electrics. They were noted for failures. AirHawk is steering you right. It's probably the points or a loose connection. The manual should have the steps to check the components. If you are going to keep it carry spares and always have a tool kit with you. Don't ask me how I know this.
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Old 07-13-2011, 06:39 PM   #8
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My ex-wife was a 73 model. Her headlights were dim, had a weak spark, hail damage & surface rust, so I traded her in.
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Old 07-14-2011, 08:04 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by seruzawa View Post
Do you know why the Brits drink warm beer?

They have Lucas refrigerators.

Welcome to the notorious world of Lucas electrics. They were noted for failures. AirHawk is steering you right. It's probably the points or a loose connection. The manual should have the steps to check the components. If you are going to keep it carry spares and always have a tool kit with you. Don't ask me how I know this.


With an average annual temperature of about 45 degrees you don't need a fridge.
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