Author The End Of The Road or a new beginning . . . . . .  (Read 38645 times)

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  • Online Javaman   gb

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    Online Javaman

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    The End Of The Road or a new beginning . . . . . .
    on: 23 August, 2023, 11:14:33 am
    23 August, 2023, 11:14:33 am
    My 20000-mile 2008 UK-registered Tiger was purchased new by me and apart from a dealer-fit TOR, HID headlight and Triumph Sprag/Starter upgrade, is totally stock. It has always been serviced regularly and ridden gently over the entirety of its summer-only miles.
    The bike would always start instantly from cold but two years ago, I noticed that it was requiring progressively more cranking before the engine would catch. This coincided with the switch to E10 and so I naively assumed this was the reason, despite the increased ethanol content not affecting either of my other two bikes . . .
    The last time I rode the bike was a 150-mile round trip to visit my mother and I rode in my normal manner, changing gear around 4-4500rpm and  remaining on or below 60mph – the bike returned 57.6mpg and so I had no suspicions it was running at anything other than at its very best and with nothing wrong . . . . except the prolonged crank on first start.
    The engine has been fired up twice since that ride – once to remove it from the garage onto my gravel driveway for a washdown and then again, an hour or two later to return it.
    I next attempted to start it about two weeks later and the starter motor engaged very briefly – for perhaps less than a second before there was a brief “phut” from one cylinder firing and the starter disengaged.  I tried again . . . this resulted in a very slow and laboured crank, followed by the sequence again cutting.
    So, my first reaction was to assume my 18-month old Yuasa YTX12-BS was dead, possibly due to stator failure but that said, at no time had my charge light ever come on whilst riding. I duly stuck the thing on my accumate and within 5 minutes, the charger had turned to green, indicating a fully charged battery.  I then load tested it on a carbon-pile load tester and it passed with flying colours before once again fully charging and continuing my investigations . . . .
    I attempted another start – same result . . . . a brief but laboured crank before the engine cut. This time, I kept the starter button pushed and weirdly, the starter sequence reset itself and it attempted a second, slow and laboured crank before cutting and then . . .a third attempt before I gave up. Normally, when this happens due to a low battery, you are required to switch off the ignition before turning back on and trying again but not in this instance. Very odd!!!??
    At this moment in time, my focus was on the slow and laboured crank of the engine and so I first set about investigating this.
    1.   I removed the plugs but surprisingly, the cranking speed didn’t improve at all and this made me suspect the starter was duff. This starter was new only 4000 miles ago as I decided to avoid the common sprag issues by upgrading as preventative maintenance and selling on my old Sprag clutch assembly.
    2.   I checked all wiring from the battery and in particular, cleaned and indeed polished the earth connectors to the crankcase . . . same result!!!
    3.   I next wired up the starter motor externally to a fully charged Yuasa YTZ14S and thus bypassed all the bikes internal electrics – again, even with the clutch pulled in neutral and with no plugs – a slow and laboured crank.
    At this point, I was considering possible options – I could have a duff starter motor but alternatively, a functioning starter which is straining against increased load whilst cranking the engine. I am aware that Tigers have struggled with cracked pistons in the past and perhaps if mine have gradually gone south, the lack of compression might explain the history of prolonged cranking but not maybe the laboured, slow cranking speeds. Perhaps a more severe failure of the piston lands could result in scoring of the bores and increased friction??
    I next removed the cover plate from the starter spindle and took a look. There was a light coating of oil on the inside of the cover and I wiped it clean but in so doing, noticed the tell-tale sign of grey metallic sludge on the cover – only trace amounts but definitely there. The gears all looked fine and with no evidence of excessive wear or broken teeth.  Was this sediment to be expected in a gear train which is only “splash lubed” and is not immersed in oil or was this evidence of excessive force being imparted through the starter gears??
    I replaced the plugs and hand cranked the engine via the inspection port on the right-hand end of the crankcase – I could barely detect any compression on any cylinder. I repeated the process on my 2000-mile Speed Triple RS – the difference was immediately obvious. I then used a digital torque adapter to measure the amount of torque required to turn over both engines with plugs installed. With none of the pistons under compression, both bikes were similar and the crankshaft could be made to initiate movement at around 7-10nm or thereabouts. However, when I then attempted to hand crank the engines several times at a reasonable speed, the difference between the two became more apparent.  The Tiger required 18-20nm of peak torque, whereas the Speed Triple required 55-60nm.  Furthermore, at the time, I didn’t have a compression tester and had been wasting time considering whether or not to buy a “leakdown” tester or a mere compression test gauge – I opted for the latter and when it arrived, removed the plugs again. Compression was 65,70,70 whilst turning the engine on the starter with the plugs removed. Whilst this was a cold engine and a somewhat laboured crank, these readings and previous findings are indicative of a serious loss of compression.
    These findings led me to wonder why would the cranking speed be laboured, if indeed the fault wasn’t caused by the starter motor. It is possible that blow-by gases during the cranking cycle could be affecting the ease with which the engine cranks at speed on the starter. There is clearly a crankcase ventilation pipe to the airbox but I am unaware as to how this would handle larger volumes of blow-by during cranking – it could just be the cause as certainly, hand cranking the engine produced no evidence of restriction.  Also, I am aware that my own peculiar variety of auto-resetting crankus interruptus similarly affected Sidewinder’s bike  whose camchain had skipped and who posted an extremely interesting thread in 2016 merely entitled “Starting Problem”.  It certainly morphed into much more than that and remains an extraordinarily interesting read.
    My plan is to forget about the starter for now and investigate this loss of compression.
    I will be removing the cam cover and first-off, my plan will be to inspect the cam timing as I am aware there have been rare instances of camchains jumping the sprockets. As an initial nod to this possibility, I removed the tensioner spring and checked the tensioner position – after 20,000 miles, it is currently sitting mid-travel and so the tension would appear not to be an issue at present.
    Thereafter, I will be looking at the valve clearances – these were last checked by me at 12000 miles and all were within tolerance – it is hard to believe the addition of a further 8000 miles could have caused an issue here but . . . . never say never – I will check!!!

    Finally, if both the above prove fruitless, which is my expectation, I will end up here!!!!
    I will now be faced with checking the pistons and evaluating whether or not the bike is worth saving. I haven’t yet looked through the manual but clearly this is going to involve dropping out the engine, putting it on the bench, removing the cylinder head, liners and barrels etc so that I can assess the damage and cost for parts. I don’t want an exchange engine but I do want to save the bike. I guess we’re going to have to see where this takes us.
    Sadly, at the moment I am time-challenged but will commence this work later in the Autumn and over winter. I will resurrect this thread when work starts and annotate with updates, pictures and videos where appropriate
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  • Offline Freddy   au

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    Offline Freddy

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    Re: The End Of The Road or a new beginning . . . . . .
    Reply #1 on: 23 August, 2023, 11:53:35 pm
    23 August, 2023, 11:53:35 pm
    Well, that's a long sad story JM.   :005:

    Next step - remove the oil filter, cut it open and inspect the pleats for metal and report back.

    The slow cranking is rather odd though.
    Last Edit: 23 August, 2023, 11:55:20 pm by Freddy
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  • Online Javaman   gb

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    Online Javaman

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    Re: The End Of The Road or a new beginning . . . . . .
    Reply #2 on: 24 August, 2023, 01:48:52 am
    24 August, 2023, 01:48:52 am
    Thanks Freddy, I hadn’t thought of that.
    I will be draining the oil anyway before removing the engine and so it might reveal something of interest or . . . . . concern!! 😢

  • Offline Freddy   au

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    Offline Freddy

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    Re: The End Of The Road or a new beginning . . . . . .
    Reply #3 on: 24 August, 2023, 03:29:01 am
    24 August, 2023, 03:29:01 am
    It's the first thing to do when metal is suspected.   :031:

    No metal = no problem with crank bearings.   :001:

    You don't need to remove the engine to remove the liners & pistons (in that order).
    The best substitute for brains is ........what?

  • Online Javaman   gb

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    Online Javaman

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    Re: The End Of The Road or a new beginning . . . . . .
    Reply #4 on: 24 August, 2023, 07:53:19 am
    24 August, 2023, 07:53:19 am
    That’s reassuring to Know Freddy - As I said, I haven’t yet read through the relevant sections of the manual and simply assumed it will be an “engine out job”
    Maybe it won’t be as hard as I thought. . . .

  • Offline Freddy   au

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    Re: The End Of The Road or a new beginning . . . . . .
    Reply #5 on: 24 August, 2023, 08:49:43 am
    24 August, 2023, 08:49:43 am
    The slow cranking is a puzzle at this point.  Regarding low compression, my son Paul had trouble trying to get his 2008 Tiger to start after it had been parked for about a month.  It had next to no compression in 2 cyls, but it cranked over real well.  It turned out to be a build-up of carbon on the valve stems on the 2 cyls where the valves were not seated - moisture seemed to have expanded the carbon a tad, preventing the valves from fully closing.  It was also something Hamlin had reported on, from using ethanol fuel - which seems to be a higher content in USA than elsewhere.  The carbon was so bad on some engines, he said, that he would use a dental pick and scraper to remove the worst of it after removing the throttle body.  Cleaning the valves does not require removal of the head.

    Anyhow, just some info that may or may not assist in diagnosis.
    The best substitute for brains is ........what?

  • Offline Rhead   us

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    Re: The End Of The Road or a new beginning . . . . . .
    Reply #6 on: 24 August, 2023, 03:26:23 pm
    24 August, 2023, 03:26:23 pm
    fwiw  as some here might recall, I'm one of the first to have cracked pistons...all 3, two times, on my 2007. Working with Hamlins help, and putting pressure on Triumph to warrantee both rebuilds (all pistons, sleeves etc), got it fixed ( Brazilian tune and forged pistons)   In every one of the 2 instances, the same systems occurred. As the ring lands to cracked, at 3 to 5k miles, the bike started to use lots of oil, up to a quart of 15-50 every 600 miles or so. It also had oil in the airbox, and around the exhaust tip, choked anyone riding behind me, and actually cranked faster because of less compression, but would take longer to start. All of this started gradually and progressively got worse. Giving these facts, I doubt that this is your issue. I now have 225k miles on mine, no further issues.     
    Last Edit: 24 August, 2023, 03:28:28 pm by Rhead

  • Offline Mike_B   gb

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    Offline Mike_B

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    Re: The End Of The Road or a new beginning . . . . . .
    Reply #7 on: 24 August, 2023, 09:36:19 pm
    24 August, 2023, 09:36:19 pm
    Is it possible to pull the starter from your Speed Triple?  You don't say which model it is, but if it's a 1050 it might well just bolt on.   Could be an easy way of eliminating that from your enquiries.

    What units is that compression tester reading in?

    Also, how's the head gasket - any signs of failure there?

  • Offline gosling 1   us

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    Re: The End Of The Road or a new beginning . . . . . .
    Reply #8 on: 25 August, 2023, 02:41:56 pm
    25 August, 2023, 02:41:56 pm
    *Originally Posted by Mike_B [+]


    What units is that compression tester reading in?



    I was wondering that too, if it's PSI, 65/70/70 is a big problem.  I would,  if possible,  check the compression on a known healthy engine to verify the gauge.  Did you find oil in the air box? A leak down test would be a good idea too. The slow turn over is a bit of a mystery, other than a weak battery, you would expect it to spin over faster than normal not slower.
    Last Edit: 25 August, 2023, 02:50:35 pm by gosling 1
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  • Offline Megaross   gb

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    Offline Megaross

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    Re: The End Of The Road or a new beginning . . . . . .
    Reply #9 on: 31 August, 2023, 08:04:05 am
    31 August, 2023, 08:04:05 am
    Stick some ATF down the barrels, go down the pub, come back, crank it out, plugs back in.

    Then try again, if not, try a bump start - good aggressive one to get the engine hoofing round like a snake in a lathe.

    I suspect you may have washed your cylinders out or have sh#t on your valves, ATF will help - I had a bandit that had very similar issues.

    Sufficiently slow cranking can also affect the compression tester numbers, it's highly unlikely you'll lose compression on all 3 at once without a very noticeable cause.

    If you can bump it, there's your answer - starters ####, if not, load test batteries, if not, pull the starter and bench test it.


     



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