A Hyperlink Junkie's Illustrated Field Guide
to the 1969 Triumph Bonneville
Most Recent Online Update: 16 May 2019
English wrenches are stamped with the diameter of the bolt, while American wrenches are stamped with measurement across the flats.
Some charts like the one here list 1/2" and up as 26tpi, while others list 1/2" and up as 20tpi, and still others list both 20 and 26tpi.
Speaking of the 'Right Stuff', I think I finally figured out how to get the stuff off! Gasoline and friction.
And speaking of sealing stuff up, should I be using a sealant on the splines for the engine and gearbox sprockets? Too late this year (2018).
BritBike.com "Heating Engine Cases & Other Parts"
For removal of tight or seized parts, heat is a big help. But for amateurs like myself, The big question is, how MUCH heat? And how to apply it?
Hermit.cc Percentage of Zinc Content for Popular Oils
Triumphrat.net Comments & recommendations (UK & US) on crankcase oil/ZDDP (zinc) and gearbox oil/yellow metals
BritBike.com Very informative synthetic oil thread
540ratblog "Motor Oil Engineering Test Data"
Britbike.com "Crankcase vent tube discharge question" TR7RVMan elucidates upon Triumph crankcase venting
Hemmings.com "Tech 101: Zinc in oil and its effects on older engines"
According to the article "Tech 101: Zinc in oil and its effects on older engines", modern oil manufacturers have reduced the amount of 'zinc' (actually ZDDP [zinc dialkyldithiophosphate] or ZDTP [zinc di-thiophosphate]) in their products for various reasons, including prolongation of the life of catalytic converters. When used in older (classic) car and motorcycle engines, the low-zinc products fail to provide sufficient protection against start-up engine wear.
I used a list showing the percentage of zinc content for popular oils to help select an oil with a higher zinc level for Bonnie. I've been using Shell Rotella 15W-40 since around 2014.
Oil-change at 1,000 mile intervals.
In 2011, at 43,000 miles, I fitted Bonnie with a Norton oil filter head, as diagrammed above.
The mounting bracket was milled by Robert St-Cyr, guided by Glenn "Phrog" Davidson's design, as brought to you by GABMA.
The oil tank connections and the oil pipe junction block pipes are all 1/4" OD. The connections on the Norton filter head are 3/8".
In 2018 I used 5/16" Gates Automatic Transmission Cooler Hose for the hoses connecting to the filter head. The 5/16" is a very tight fit on the 3/8" fittings, and somewhat loose on the 1/4" ones. Ok once clamped - no leaks after 1,000 mi.
I religiously change crankcase oil, oil filter, and primary chaincase oil at 1,000 mile intervals.
Filters I used with the Norton filter head satisfactorily include:
Although the following filters are said to be the same size and have the same thread and general characteristics as the Norton filter, most of them are not easy to find.
In May 2017 I purchased an oil filter adaptor from Colorado Norton Works The adaptor permits use of filters such as the ones below which are easier to find and less expensive.
The chaincase oil drains slowly because it needs to flow past the primary chain tension adjuster. The drip, drip, drip flow of oil even when it's hot takes hours so I usually give it all day or overnight.
After replacing the drain bolt, pour 350ml of 30w non-detergent oil into the inspection cap on top of the chaincase.
Warning! Tighten the drain bolt very carefully to avoid stripping threads in the soft aluminum case
MachineryLubrication.com "The Effects of EP Additives on Gearboxes"
Lucas oil representative 'Don't use our products with yellow metal' (2014)
Britbike.com "Bronze-friendly gear oil recommendation?"
Triumphrat.net Comments & recommendations (UK & US) on crankcase oil/ZDDP (zinc) and gearbox oil/yellow metals
Hermit.cc Hermit's In-progress gearbox oil/yellow metal experiment
There are conflicting opinions about the suitability of different gear oils for gearboxes with bronze thrust washers and bushings. Many, including myself, think GL5 oils are harmful due to their higher levels of sulphur, active and inactive.
On the other hand, many others say there's no problem with the modern GL5 oils. (See the discussion at this BritBike.com link just above)
Some oil companies claim their GL5 products are now safe because they've reduced active sulphur, which eats yellow metals, in favor of inactive sulphur, which is less harmful while still providing the protective coating and added protection of active sulphur. In my book, less harmful is not equal to not harmful.
Gear oils described in the following ways are said not to be yellow metal friendly -
My take is that when a Lucas Oil Products technical director says not to use their products where yellow metals are present (see link just above), I'm inclined to take him at his word.
Where my Bonnie is concerned, no GL5! Finding anything but GL5 or GL5/GL4, though, can actually be problematic if you live in the sticks the way I do. In Spring 2018 I could only find GL5 and GL4/GL5 products within a 40-mile radius, so I had to order a product from online.
From the Red Line description: "Less slippery low sulfur formula compatible with brass synchronizers". "Low sulphur". I'm wondering if there are no sulphur formulations that would still protect Bonnie's precious little gears. The quest continues.
For other gear oil recommendations (including many in UK) see this link above in TriumphRat.
There are three hex heads on the bottom of the gearbox: the 3/4" index plunger holder (57-2172); the 7/16BS (3/8W) drain plug with level tube (57-3851); and the 5/16" gearbox level plug (21-0543).
The level plug threads into the drain plug and together they are tucked just inside the frame member on the timing side. Since they are closer to the timing side I always removed and installed them from that side. However, access from that side is awkward due to the proximity of the frame, and recently I realized that it's actually easier to access them from the drive side.
To drain the oil, remove the drain bolt using a 7/16BS (3/8W) socket and a two or three inch extension to clear the frame. Remove carefully to avoid damage to the level tube extending above the drain bolt.
When replenishing the gearbox oil, replace the drain plug after removing the level plug and then add oil, slowly when approaching 500ml, until it overflows from the level plug.
Ideas on preventing oil leaks from
crankcase, primary chaincase, and gearbox drain bolts
BritBike.com " How to stop oil and gear box drain plug leaks?".
"When changing fork oil remove RHS top nut, remove LHS drain screw, doing opposites stops oil gushing out the top as the bike settles.Read that in the manual, after doing it wrong for years, this saves a lot of mess. I like to flush the old oil with a little kerosene to get the last of the muck out."
Use Murphy's Oil soap on the rubber parts.
Important that tank "hangs" well or wear will occur.
One would think that the rubber mounting would incur the wear, but after my first re-assembly there was wear and it was to the tank's mounting peg, not the rubber.
A comfortably loose configuration, adjusted by turning the "C" clamp mounting bracket, should work.
In case you ever need to know, HenryAnthony on Britbike.com forum informs us that the measurement between the barrels holding the rubber upper mounts is 4-1/4", and the measurement between the battery holder straps they bolt up to is 4-1/2".
Above video and article (suggested by Truckedup on TriumphRat.org) both explain pre-ignition and detonation and the difference between them. If I've got it right:
Things to beware of:
The workshop manual says before removing the engine to remove the two bottom bolts holding the front and rear frames together on the left-hand side. The first time I removed the engine, I removed the forward bolt's nut, which faces out and sticks out a bit, and pushed the bolt in and out of the way. I left the rear bolt that threads into the frame because it didn't seem to stick out much. After the engine was removed from the left side as per the manual, I couldn't see why removing either one was necessary, unless it's to drain water out of the frame: later when I removed the left, rear bolt, about a quarter of a cup of water came out.
The first two times I removed the engine (complete except for the rocker boxes) I used a rope sling to attach the engine to the chain hoist to assist in pulling the engine out of the frame. It worked better the first time than the second, when I raised the engine too high and got it hung upon the bracket on the frame. The ropes have to run on both sides of the frame otherwise the engine will be tilted while being guided into position. This can be seen in these photos: Removing engine using rope and chain hoist.
In 2018 I removed/installed the engine (twice!) using a floor jack to support the engine while I lifted it out manually, but only after all the transmission and clutch parts had been removed. Makes a good case for assembling the transmission and gearbox in the frame and not on the bench. Removing engine using floor jack & muscle
However the engine is pulled, it's probably better removing/reinstalling the rear/bottom engine mount stud first because the front/top stud has better access for fiddling around. Before inserting the studs through the frame I put a good dab of grease on their ends. Can't hurt.
** Note that the bottom bolts on both sides are supposed to have spacers (#7 page 5/ref 38). They are missing on Bonnie.
Do not succomb to a temptation to leave out the head steadies, they are essential components. Their absence can result in damage to your motorbike's frame and/or exhaust ports and exhaust pipes.
I introduced the engine rear end first from the left side. Inserted the front engine mount stud first and then the bottom one. Went up and down a couple of times on the come-along. I drove the stud through from the left-hand side and then used the kickstand as a lever to move the engine to line up the other end.
Fig.23 Oil Tank & Oil Lines
The oil pipes at the oil junction block (70-6930) are 5/16".
The first time I removed the oil lines from the oil junction block I found the job difficult - partly because the outer and inner gearbox covers weren't removed, but mostly because I lacked technique.
After loosening the clamps and sliding them out of the way, try these:
In desperation the first time I used the plastic mallet to rap against the pliers in order to loosen the flexible line. Not a good technique as the WS manual specifically warns against stressing the metal tubes.
Note Improperly installed oil lines can obviously result in catastrophic damage to an engine.
On Bonnie (NC00125) without an oil filter:
Or put another way, 'back to front and front to back.'
Bonnie's Norton oil filter head is installed in the return oil line as per the following diagram.
A 3/8" plastic tube (70-5375 Ref# 39 Fig.2 #7) connects the engine breather pipe stub (70-2724 Ref# 7 Fig.2 #7) just forward of the gearbox sprocket to Tee (70-5370) near the top of the oil tank. Also connected to the tee is the oil tank vent pipe ( 70-6356, Ref# 16 Fig.23 #7), and the oil breather vent tube (82-7353, Ref# 18 Fig.23 #7) which leads to the mayonnaise dispenser at the back of the rear fender.
The oil breather vent tube passes on the left side just above the indentation in rear fender.
The first clamp is fastened on the left-hand side beneath the left nut holding the strap on top of the fender between the two upper shock mounts.
Although Triumph made several changes to 650/750 oil pumps, all the pumps are interchangeable (John Healy).
Source: Britbike.com thread "Oil Pump Confusion Unit 650cc SOLVED!":
Dome nut - 15/16" wrench. Nut behind it - __?__.
I have on hand a custom made blanking plug from Walridge for the oil pressure switch that I'm not using on Bonnie. I have never installed it because of concern about whether or not its threads match those in the timing cover. I've read that the casing threads were, at one time, tapered. Putting an untapered plug into a tapered thread hole is said to possibly split the casing. See discussion above.
Fig.5 Cylinder Block
Fig.3 Tappet Guide Blocks
J.R. Engineering "Understanding Triumph Tappet Blocks and Pushrod Tubes" Complete rundown of tappet blocks & PRTs on Triumph models from 1945-1982
On his DVD, Hancox says to line up the hole in the blocks with the locator screw hole in the cylinder block, but doing it this way does not guarantee that the holes for the tappets will be parallel to the camshaft. It is a better idea to make the holes square to the camshaft - the screw holes will be lined up if the block is square to the camshaft.
Due to the closeness of the tappet holes it is difficult to get them lined up perfectly - next time place a straight edge on the edge of the holes and it will be easier to get them properly lined up.
I had to have the guide blocks honed by a machinist before the exhaust tappets would ride up and down freely. Only did this after buying another exhaust guide block, so I have a spare.
Important: When replacing the tappets in the exhaust tappet guide block, it is essential that the flats on the exhaust tappets face outward as shown at right in order for them to be lubricated properly.
As per above, new guide blocks may need honing to obtain a proper fit for the tappets.
Removing old gasket material is an annoying job. Using a gasket remover product is probably a much better alternative than scraping with razor blades. Loctite makes two such products 1) Loctite 'paint remover', and 2) Loctite 790 'Chiselr Gasket Remover'. Afterwards clean the surfaces with acetone.
Before having a shop hone the cylinders, see these links for John Healy's tips on honing and 'dry' ring assembly. It's about getting a good break-in.
"Re: L F Harris Pistons/Rings" (honing cylinders)
Britbike.com "Dry ring installation"
After cylinders have been honed, wash them with detergent and hot water to remove all abrasive materials left behind. Dry with clean cloth and apply light coat of oil.
Can't get on the block nuts with a torque wrench, but using a 6-inch 12-point box wrench (1/2") to tighten them as hard as possible will approximate the proper torque of 35lbs.
Unquestionalably, the best-looking and longest-lasting finish for the cylinder block is powder coat. For tips on other products and surface prep see link above.
Fig.1 Connecting Rods
Triumph Service Bulletin #317 "Self-locking nuts on big ends" (as shown in #7).
To remove gudgeon pins, heat pistons to around 100C. In 2006 I used way too much heat, so in 2016 I monitored the temperature using the digital laser thermometer. Also in 2016, I first packed snow in plastic bags around the pistons to chill the gudgeon pins before heating the pistons.
In 2016 I was able to push the first pin most of the way out but it wouldn't quite make it all the way. I fashioned a little extractor tool out of a threaded rod, a 3/4" pipe nipple, a short piece of 1/2" copper pipe, and a couple of nuts. (Below, right).
Chill gudgeon pins and, if necessary, heat the pistons. In 2016 I only chilled the gudgeon pins and they slid quite easily through the pistons and the small ends. I thought this was too easy, but the WS-Manual says that's how they should go in.
Triumph Service Bulletin "Piston Ring Replacement"
Triumph Service Bulletin #323 "Piston Ring Gaps"
Installing rings is pretty straight forward - always from the top and be sure to observe correct order and cylinder for each ring.
Orient the oil scraper rings with their gaps at six o'clock, and the compression ring gaps at three o'clock and nine o'clock.
One advantage of using ring compressors is that the orientation of the ring gaps doesn't change during installation.
Fig.5 Cylinder Head
I think Bonnie's head has been very lightly skimmed, but I'm not sure. I have no way to measure its height, and anyway, published specs for that vary, as probably did the heads themselves.
With only a propane stove or propane torch for heating, I can't heat the entire gasket cherry red to plunge vertically in deep water. Instead, I anneal it section by section. This creates more surface oxidation.
John Healy says that removing surface oxidation left behind by annealing makes for a more professional-looking job. In 2016, the first time I annealed the head gasket, I scrubbed off the oxidation with copper cleaner (lots of work). After the second time I annealed the gasket I let it sit in vinegar overnight. Nearly all the oxidation turned to a brown 'fluff' that rinsed off easily, leaving the gasket 95% bright.
Before installing a head gasket, remove any burring from the head gasket. Burrs, it's said, can become hot spots and cause pre-detonation (pinging).
Apply either grease or Permatex copper to both sides of head gasket before installing. I used the Permatex copper during both head assemblies in 2016. Using a sealing agent will help prevent a) oil leaks, and b) compression leakage between the cylinders.
During 2014/2015 oil was leaking from somewhere on the top end and flowing down the rear of the cylinders, especially the drive side, until it wound up pooling on top of the gearbox.
When I re-assembled after Jan-Mar 2016 top end refresh that leak was gone, but it was replaced by an oil leak from the cylinder base. My last gasket had a bit of a tear on one side, and rather than wait for a new one, I'd used it anyway.
In June (69,575 mi.) I removed the head and cylinders a second time and used Coventry Spares gaskets (from Baxter) for the cylinder head and the rocker boxes (with wire).
Should also note that during first 2016 assembly I used Hypolar on base and rocker box gaskets. I wouldn't do that again. On the second assembly I used grease as I always had. Another option would be a sealant like Loctite 515.
Note: 3,000 miles later and no leaks to date - May 2017 (72,500).
For head bolts and spark plugs I think the anti-seize compound is a good idea. However, when it has been used, it's extremely important to thoroughly clean all threads before reassembly.
A method that works well is to first swab out the bolt holes with Q-tips and then fill them with kerosene. Then run bolts in and out, using a rag to mop up the kero and all the crud as they squeeze out. Repeat using brake cleaner.
Put new head bolts on Bonnie in 2016.
Torque figures given are for dry threads. One recommendation is reduce by 20% when wet. On Bonnie this would mean using 15lbs instead of 18, but I confess I do 18 (but not more) even when using anti-seize compound.
Hancox's method is to start with #1 and take them all right down to the end torque. I did that in 2006 and it worked ok, but I feel more confident doing an incremental 'round robin'. That is, tighten bolts 2-9 to 10 pounds, then to 15, and finally to 18 pounds.
The 1/4 inch rocker box bolts and the rocker box stud nuts are torqued to just 5 pounds. Be careful. Install bolts and nuts at least finger tight before torquing head bolts. Doesn't hurt to tighten these fasteners incrementally among themselves and in conjunction with the head bolts. In the end the three nuts can be loosened slightly and re-tightened to obtain an identical torque.
In 9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 order, back off head bolts by one flat one at a time and re-torque to specs. And always remember to re-adjust valve tappet clearances after re-torquing head bolts.
If you're ever tempted to try cleaning up a Triumph cylinder head with oven cleaner, think twice lest the head winds up looking this way. It took bead-blasting to remove the resulting corrosion.
There's no substitute for rags and q-tips and kerosene and brake cleaner and elbow grease.
Fig.5 Rocker Boxes
(See page B2 in workshop manual)
As per WS and Hanyes manuals, I used a 5/16" bolt ground to a taper at one end to help line up the flat and spring washers before inserting the spindles. With enough fiddling around they eventually go on.
If a spindle doesn't go quite all the way in it is probably due to the last set of washers (flat and spring) hanging up on the shoulder at that end. Move them around and tap lightly on the end of the spindle with plastic mallet. When everything is lined up it takes only a very light tap.
Because the Thackary spring washers could become fouled in the rocker arm notches and therefore block oil flow, Triumph reversed the position of the Thackary spring washers and the flat thrust washers .
Putting the Thackarys against the rocker box cases instead of the rockers is supposed to allow for a greater oil flow. However, the swap should only be made when using rocker shafts that have a lengthwise groove (my Bonnie's don't).
When placing the Thackary washers against the rocker box (the updated parts order) as opposed to against the rockers (the original order), the 3/8" flat washer has to be replaced by a 1/2" flat washer so it will clear the shoulder on the rocker shaft.
I tried the new assembly order once or twice and had trouble fitting the spindles so I went back to the #7 layout, as illustrated here. This ends well because Bonnie's shafts are not grooved.
Starting from TS, the original #7 layout as used by Bonnie:
The updated layout (NOT used by Bonnie):
When replacing the rocker shaft o-rings (ref#29 Fig.5 #7), don't use the 70-3253 listed in #7. Use updated, better fitting part 60-3548. And be sure it's Viton.
For what it's worth - special tool Z111, rocker spindle oil seal compressor, is available. I've never found it effective or helpful.
Not strictly necessary to remove the ignition coils, but man, do they ever shine with metal polish and elbow grease! After removing gas tank, torque stays, and the domed nuts and copper washers from the oil lines, gradually release the torque from and remove:
Two different pushrod tube designs were used between 1968 and 1973 on "B" range 650 machines:
Bonnie, a 1969 model year built in Oct 1968, has the one-piece design.
Oil leaks from the pushrod tubes are a perennial problem for many Triumph owners.
In 1971, Triumph specified a red, high-temperature o-ring (E111283) for use on top. They were supposed to resist the higher temperature between the exhaust PRT and the cylinder head. I tried the red o-rings twice and found that they crumbled pretty quickly both times.
Later, the 71-1283 o-ring became available in Viton, and Viton is the only way to go. On Bonnie I use 71-1283 o-rings in Viton top and bottom and they have never leaked appreciably. (Knock on wood).
The following table details the different PRT o-rings used between 1969 and 1971.
|#7 ('69)||'70 USA||'71 USA|
Triumph Service Bulletin 324 Pushrod tube oil seals
Pushrod tube oil seals were a modification introduced by Triumph around 1971. These oil seals are at the bottoms of the PRTs, between the PRTs and the tappet guide blocks.
For a better seal, the upgrade uses a square-sectioned sealing ring retained by a metal band (the "wedding band") at the base of intake and exhaust PRTs.
The square-sectioned sealing rings are commonly, but not always, white silicon. I've had black, sponge-like seals and they worked fine. These seals come in different thicknesses to enable adjustment of "the crush". (See section below).
Bonnie's been upgraded to the parts shown in Figure 4 of the Triumph '71 USA parts book.
When the head is sitting freely (loose bolts) on top of the cylinders and pushrod tubes with seals and gaskets in place, there should be between .030" and .040" gap - called the 'crush' - between the cylinder head and the head gasket.
Too much crush results in a poor seal and oil leaks, too little risks distorting the head when head bolts are torqued down.
The crush is adjusted by substituting different thicknesses of sealing rings. A thicker sealing ring holds the PRTs and the head higher and increases the crush. A thinner seal decreases the crush. For dimensions of sealing rings & o-rings see table below.
Install head with bolts 6,7,8,and 9 fitted evenly and lightly enough that the bottom seals and top o-rings are not being compressed. Then check for a suitable gap that is even all the way around.
Although one of Bonnie's pushrod tubes seats very tightly at the bottom and the other is relatively loose, they both seem to seal well to the tappet block once the head is bolted down and the sealing ring squashes out to the wedding ring.
Be sure to oil the top and bottom o-rings before assembly (sharp edges ahead). It's also ok and good to grease the top o-rings to help hold in place as well as lubricate.
In 2016, I used 'Right Stuff' on the top o-rings during first assembly. Upon disassembly 450 miles later, I picked the Right Stuff 'slime' out of the o-ring groove. No more 'Right Stuff' for me. Back to oil and grease.
When installing the head, it may go better to maneuver it into place from the rear, as opposed to from one side or the other.
Slight in & out adjustments (punch and ball peen) to the tabs at the top of the PRTs can sometimes ease installation or removal of the PRTs. Just be sure the tabs don't foul the pushrods when they are installed.
When adjusting for proper sealing ring crush, the following dimensions could be helpful.
2.785 (Internet forum)
|Round o-rings||70-7310 (Buna-n) / 71-1283 (Viton)
ID=.987"/Nom 1" CS=.103"/Nom 3/32" OD=1.193"/Nom 1 3/16" Dash#120
|Square-sectioned sealing rings||
71-1190 Thick= .033" (Raber's)
70-3547 Thick= .093"/nominal 3/32" (.091 Raber's)
70-4752 Thick= .125"/nominal 1/8") (.123 Raber's)
70-1496 Thick=.1875"/nominal 3/16" (.177 Raber's)
Source: unless otherwise noted, dimensions are from John Healy's article 'Push Rod Tubes' in Vintage Bike Magazine.
I've used wire-reinforced (BCS and Walridge), plain paper (MAPCycle), and paper & metal sandwich Covseals (Baxter) for rocker boxes. Covseals made the best seal, followed by MAPCycle's plain paper. Wire-reinforced gaskets were my least favorite.
I used the Covseals dry as per included instructions. I have noticed some very slight weeping and after reading the BritBike.com post just above I think I will apply a little sealer to them the next time. There's also some very good advice about sealing PRTs in the same post.
I label the push rods with a marker when I remove them & replace in their same position. If I remember, else not. As I replace the push rods I examine them and, ideally, make note of anything special, such as wear to the cups.
When I tried using lightweight pushrods it was necessary to modify the rocker box gaskets to accommodate their larger diameter. After modification the gaskets no longer served to guide the pushrods to the rockers when fitting the rocker boxes, so I made a template to guide the pushrods, split it in two, taped it back together for assembly, and removed in two pieces when the rods were placed.
Fig.14 Engine Torque Stays
Hermit.cc Engine Torque Stay Fasteners.
Triumphrat.net StuartMac on assembling the engine torque stays
Vintage Bike Magazine John Healy: "Where is your valve seat?"
Britbike.com "Oversized valves fix deep seats?" A very educational thread!
YouTube Lunmad: Valve Clearance Adjustment
Note that in the video above, Lunmad uses a slightly unorthodox method to open valves for adjustment.
For example, instead of, as per the WS Manual, opening the DS exhaust valve (pushrod up, rocker down) to adjust the TS exhaust valve clearance, Lunmad closes the TS intake valve.
Tip When checking or adjusting valves with the gas tank on the bike, Lunmad's method makes it much easier to adjust the TS exhaust valve.
Install valves, springs, and retainers as per figure at right. Use red valve spring compressor and grease the split collets to help hold the first in place while inserting the second one.
I tend to err slightly towards extra clearance because it is better to have a bit too much than not quite enough. Too little clearance and the valve may not fully close (and therefore burn) when the engine is hot. Too much leads to 'hammering'.
Sound is an important guide while setting clearance (see 'clicks' below) and when evaluating results, engine running.
Far easier to adjust valves before reinstalling carburettors when they were previously removed. Otherwise, just remove gas tank and air filters.
Run adjustors in until they contact the valve stems and then back them off: ~1/8 turn for exhaust , and ~1/16 turn (half of 1/8) for intake.
A two-piece tappet adjuster tool makes it a little easier to control the stock square-headed adjusters, but ultimately I found that allen head adjusters work best. An allen key and a box-end wrench on the locking nuts has
In order to measure/adjust a valve's tappet clearance that valve must be closed. To position a valve in its closed position (tappet up), make the opposite valve fully open (tappet down).
Formally, I had difficulty getting consistent valve clearance measurements, probably due to inaccurate positioning of the valves. I've improved this in two ways: using the rear wheel instead of the kickstart lever to do the fine positioning, and by using a finger to gauge when a tappet has reached to lower limit of its travel.
So, to adjust the DS exhaust valve, make it closed by opening the TS exhaust valve as follows:
On adjusting the clearances:
When head has been removed and replaced, valve clearance needs to be re-adjusted several times due to gasket 'crush'.
YouTube Lunmad: Compression Test
Testing engine compression is a quick and easy way to determine an engine's general health with regards to valves, rings, and cylinders.
Five easy steps:
If compression is low, add small amount of oil to the cylinders and retest.
If valves are suspected, check to ensure no tappets are too tight, preventing valves from closing fully.
A sudden loss of engine compression can result from gas washing the pistons. In August of 2018, after sitting for ten days, the Bonnie seemed to give up all compression after the first kick. TR7RVMan on BritBike.com correctly diagnosed the problem and offered a solution which consisted of pouring a couple of tablespoons of oil down the plug holes, kicking over the engine several times with the plugs out to remove excess oil, replacing the plugs, and starting as usual. The method worked perfectly and normal compression was restored as soon as the bike started. And no problem during the following days.
|Year / Mileage||Cylinder||Opp Plug In||Opp Plug Out|
|2016/68,500mi - 3 heat cycles after top-end job||Left||120|
|Opp Plug In||With Oil|
|Opp Plug In||Opp Plug Out|
|2006/Frank's - After break-in||Left||165-170||-|
|2006/28,600mi - Right after top-end rebuild||Left||135||-|
Fig.6 Timing Cover
BritBike.com "Removing timing cover"
YouTube.com Lunmad: Ignition Timing
Note that the timing mark on Lunmad's 650 rotor corresponds to TDC. On Bonnie the timing mark corresponds to 38 degrees BTDC. As mentioned by Lunmad in the comments section, use the flywheel locator tool to determine which location the timing mark on your bike's rotor represents.
Contact Breaker Points Gap: .014-.015-.016"
Use a flywheel locator tool (OR timing pointer and rotor timing mark if the one on your rotor points to 38 degrees BTDC and not TDC) to locate 38 deg advance.
Use strobe on either cylinder for dynamic timing
It would probably be helpful to establish corresponding reference marks on the Pazon disk and the timing cover.
If the cover is installed on the chaincase before screws are inserted, mating the first screw to the threads in chaincase can be annoying. Easier to find the hole by inserting the top screw in the cover and fitting both together dangling from a Phillips screwdriver.
Use Metric M8 bolt threaded into rotor.
Used NGK for quite a while, but have returned to using Champion N3C (new Champion designation 801).
Plug gap: .025".
Interpreting NGK plug designations:
B= 14mm plug thread
7 = Temperature range
E = 19mm plug thread reach
S = Standard super copper core electrode
The higher the NGK number, the colder the plug
The lower the Champion number, the colder the plug
Fig.15 Exhaust System
I have Bonnie's original headers with crossover pipe in inventory, but I replaced them with non-crossover types on the bike.
When removing the exhaust header pipes and mufflers, remove them as a unit on each side. Simply remove or loosen the exhaust pipe clamps, the exhaust pipe engine bracket Phillips heads screws, and the muffler hanger bracket bolts.
When removing or replacing the exhaust pipes over the exhaust pipe adaptors (spigots), it's ok to hit them with a plastic mallet as long as you place a thick, folded rag over the pipes and don't go crazy.
The primary chaincase houses the transmission, which consists of the engine sprocket, the primary chain, and the clutch assembly. The transmission's job is to transfer energy from the engine sprocket to the gearbox mainshaft, the gear cluster, and subsequently to the gearbox sprocket and rear wheel.
See Lubrication Schedule, Primary Chaincase
If your primary chaincase cover is good and flat, try this tip: put gasket sealer on the side of the gasket that goes to the cover and grease the side that goes to the chaincase. Chances are that the next time you remove the cover the gasket will stay on the cover and you can re-use it upon re-assembly.
If you're having difficulty removing the chaincase cover, or keeping the gasket in place while putting it back on, have a look at this thread on BritBike.com:
BritBike.com 'Primary Case removal'
In order to adjust the primary chain tension, the oil must be drained from the primary chaincase, so it's only logical to check the tension at each oil change and adjust if necessary.
Note that excess tightness could wreak havoc with crankshaft bearing and/or clutch and/or mainshaft. Too loose and you'll begin hearing strange noises from the primary chaincase, with possibility of damage to stator or casing.
Side-by-Side photos illustrating Primary Chain Wear When adjusting 'slipper' becomes too arched replace the chain.
The clutch assembly, engine sprocket, and primary chain are removed simultaneously as one after slacking the chain and removing the stator and rotor.
Exploded figures with parts numbers and specs:
Rotor nut torque was about right, rotor pulled right off by hand. Once again, the 'self-locking' clutch nut not very tight. Will put the blue to it this time. Kickstart ratchet nut was good and tight, not excessively. Engine sprocket, clutch wheel/center all popped off easily with their respective tools.
Things looked pretty good this January when I tore apart the transmission and gearbox. The primary chaincase and clutch assembly were still quite clean. There was some gray (metal) in the gearbox.
Possibly some wear evident:
Things that were kind of loose:
In 2016 I began carefully tightening down the extractor tool and just as I was getting ready to stop and give it a whack with the brass hammer, the center popped off the () mainshaft. Not surprising as the taper on that shaft was very pitted.
The extractor tool only engages the clutch center threads by about a half-inch and in 2015 I stripped its threads.
When the replacement tool from MAPCycle arrived, I applied WD-40 to the clutch center and 'pre-stressed' it with the new extractor for a couple of days.
When it still wouldn't release, I tapped against the inside of the clutch center with an aluminum drift. Then I tried striking the "loaded" extractor tool with a brass hammer. Still nothing moved.
Finally, after researching BritBike Forum, I tried the air wrench. After about 20-30 seconds of gentle hammering at the wrench's lowest setting, the center released from the mainshaft.
That's when I saw that the main shaft/clutch hub key had sheared off length-wise. I also noted that the clutch hub had spun on the mainshaft.
Britbike.com John Healy: Thrust washer/clutch center compatibility
Britbike.com 'Unit 650 clutch thrust washer' Thrust washers, discussion of types & changes to size
Hermit.cc Early and late clutch centers/thrust washers
The original clutch center (57-1734) uses the 57-1735 thrust washer. Bonnie was upgraded in 2015 (65,000 miles) to use an upgraded thrust washer (57-3931) and clutch center (57-3929).
These parts are not mix-and-match as the inner diameter of the thrust washers are different.
Both thrust washers (57-1735 and 57-3931) are, or were, available in different materials:
The spec given for thrust washer thickness is .052/.054".
See Sprocket Alignment note just below.
Triumphrat Forum Peg's clutch plate adjustment method
The pressure plate should be adjusted so that it applies pressure evenly to the clutch plates and also so that it lifts evenly. Using a clutch pressure plate spring adjustment tool, adjust the three pressure plate spring adjustment nuts until the pressure plate is 'wobble-free' as it turns while depressing the kickstarter with the clutch handle held in. Also check to see that the pressure plate is lifting evenly all the way around as the clutch handle is pulled in.
Hope to make a standard with a pointer to assist in this operation the next time.
Pretty sure I over-tightened the clutch adjustment screws in 2014 and probably under-tightened them in 2015 (slipping?).
YouTube Raber's Tech Tips, Episode #1 - Triumph Unit Twin Clutch Pushrod Adjustment
As shown in Rabers' video just above:
If the 3-ball clutch rod operation mechanism develops a popping or clicking noise when pulling in the clutch lever it means the mechanism is out of its adjustment range. To correct the problem, follow the procedure just above to adjust the clutch operating mechanism.
Hermit.cc Stills, Rear View
Hermit.cc Gear Animation, Rear View (wait for it)
Hermit.cc Stills, Front View
Hermit.cc Gearshift lever & gear shift quadrant deflection from center
Hermit.cc Gear Animation, Front View (wait for it)
See Lubrication Schedule
Twice I failed to tighten the gear shift lever bolt sufficiently and lost the gear shifter. In 2003 the lever fell off about a week after being back on the road. I heard it hit the road and went back for it. In 2006 if fell off about 75 miles into the new season. When I realized it was gone I backtracked and found it on the shoulder two miles back.
Triumph Service Bulletin #329 "Third gear ratio and selector forks modifications"
Triumph Service Bulletin #8-59 "1969 650s jumping out of 2nd/3rd gears"
Triumph Service Bulletin Trouble-shooting excerpt: "Improper Upshift, Third Gear"
Britbike.com "Gear selection malfunctions after gearbox overhaul" The thread I started on Bonnie's shifting problem
Britbike.com "69 Bonneville jumping out of gear"
Britbike.com "T120 unit gearbox problem"
Britbike.com "Gear Lever movement" Faulty gear selection thread
Britbike.com "Gear shifter hangs up when down shifting" Don packs a lot of good advice about diagnosing gearbox problems into this post
VintageBikeMagazine.com John Healy: 4/5-speed gearbox conversion Inc. photos comparing 4- & 5-speed components
YouTube Lunmad: Gearbox Video
The problem of jumping out of 1st gear plagued Bonnie for over two years. Eventually I came to view the problem as being with down-shifting more than popping out of gear. That's when I began to suspect the gear change quadrant.
When I finally replaced the gear change quadrant in June of 2016, it fixed the problem straight away. The old gear change quadrant hadn't traveled far enough when down-shifting, leaving 1st (and sometimes 2nd and 3rd) gears selected incompletely. The downshift travel of the new unit from Baxter traveled about 3/32" further than the original.
With the new gear change quadrant installed in the outer cover, I fitted a degree wheel to it to observe how far the gear change quadrant deflected from center when the gearshift lever was moved to the up and down-shifting positions. The up and down-shift deflections were nearly identical: 19 degrees for upshift, and 19-1/2 degrees for downshift.
Fig.9 Gearbox outer cover
Some say an outer gearbox cover gasket can cure certain gearbox problems, but it did nothing for Bonnie. Since fixing Bonnie's gearbox I've used no gasket because she didn't come with one and it's not necessary for sealing - Hylomar or other sealant will take care of that.
If removed, be sure to replace the tapered pin from the rear with the kickstart lever in the upright position. That is, the nut should face forward or it will foul the footrest.
WS Man Section D1, page D3
Fig.9 Gearbox inner cover
Although the manual doesn't give any spec, there seems to be a consensus on Britbike.com that layshaft end play should be around .005". By general agreement, it's not critical as long as there is some.
Can't see myself using either of these, but just in case, for future reference: two possible methods to gauge end play.
Be sure to give the gearbox sprocket a good inspection for tooth wear and for 'hooking' of the teeth.
The gearbox casing holds two bearings:
I've read that these bearings can be difficult to remove, but in 2016 they both came out very easily without even heating the case.
From the primary chaincase side, I used a five-inch long 3/8" drive extension to drive out the layshaft closed end needle roller bearing (57-1606). Access to the bottom portion of this bearing is blocked by the primary chaincase, but I used the extension to tap on the bearing's top, left, and right hand sides. The bearing moved a little with each blow and it took less than a dozen shots before the bearing exited into the gearbox (and across the shop).
The mainshaft high gear bearing (50-0448) is driven out from the inside of the gearbox. I used a 1/2" drive extension and a 1 1/16" deep well socket. Again, the bearing moved easily with each solid blow and it took about ten hits to remove it entirely.
The first two times I replaced gearbox bearings I did it 'Hughie Hancox style': a torch and a hammer with drift. In 2018 this method wasn't working for me at all, and after scrapping the DS needle bearing I enlisted the help of Bob St-Cyr. After watching Bob press them in using a 50-ton industrial hydraulic press I am converted - no more bludgeoning bearings for me!
In order to press in the DS needle bearing I made a wooden base for engine on the primary side: Engine Base
When heating up the gearbox casing I used the non-contact infrared thermometer to take the guesswork out of attaining a 200 degree temperature evenly.
An indispensable trick was to use the old mainshaft as a "stick" to line up the large mainshaft bearing (57-0448) squarely with it's housing in the gearbox casing ( Photo). Once it was started squarely I used a large, heavy drift against the outer race to drive home the bearing ( mainshaft bearing housing and drifts).
Don't forget to fit the circlip.
High gear bearing oil seal, open side to the bearing - tap it all around (like 25-30 times) with a ball peen hammer (beat the sucker in!).
The specially shouldered drift I had made for layshaft needle bearing 57-1606 wasn't exactly right to automatically ensure the bearing's correct protrusion (.073-.078") above the gearbox casing, but I went slowly a little bit at a time and it worked out.
I marked the position of the thrust washer locating peg on the casing with a permanent marker to make it easier to align the matching hole in the thrust washer while installing the mainshaft.
Insure that the bearing lip is below the face of the bronze thrust washer.
Hermit.cc Side-by-Side Comparisons of Three Methods: WSManual, Hughie Hancox, & Haynes
Hermit.cc Hughie Hancox Method: Step-by-Step with Photos
I've experimented with using several methods to assemble and install the gear cluster. In my experience Hughie Hancox's method is hands down the easiest, surest, and fastest way to do the job.
Whatever method you use, keep in mind that on many models, including the '69 T120, the hole for the shifter forks shaft is drilled right through the case and, if left un-sealed, may become a source for leaking gearbox oil. I've used Permatex Black and Hylomar with good results. Others recommend Loctite.
The layshaft thrust washers are another potential problem area. For starters, don't forget to include them in your assembly. During my first gearbox reassembly I left out the drive side thrust washer and had to take everything out and start over. I know others who have done the same.
The other important thing about the layshaft thrust washers is to be sure they are well installed over their locating pegs and that they don't fall off during assembly. A good smear of heavy grease helps.
During my first gearbox adventure I ended up reinstalling the gear cluster five times, and the transmission twice. The first time I put the cluster in it took just under two hours. The fifth time it took less than three minutes.
In 2015 I tried three different ways to install the gear cluster. I found the WS Manual method (see Method 3, below) of installing the gear cluster as a unit to be the easiest. I made one variation, and that was to index the quadrant and camplate in 1st gear and not in the neutral between 2nd and 3rd as suggested by the WS Manual (see Indexing Camplate & Quadrant below.
In 2016 I used Hughie Hancox's DVD method after making a couple of dry runs and seeing how easy it was. The one deviation I made was that I did not pre-install the mainshaft and kickstarter assy in the inner cover the way Hancox does on the CD. Instead I inserted the mainshaft by itself before putting on the inner cover and then the kickstarter parts.
The next time I'd be inclined to try the pre-assembly method simply to avoid having to torque the kickstarter nut (45lbs) from the right side while trying to hold down the brake on the left side. With pre- assembly, the nut can be torqued (45lbs) while the shaft is held in a vise.
When I re-assembled the gears for the fourth and final time I used the method shown in the WS Manual, i.e. introducing both mainshaft and layshaft with all their parts and the shifting arms as a unit. With enough patience it does work. While the WS Manual shows the mechanic inserting the entire assembly without the rod upon which the shifter arms travel, I achieved assembly with the rod inserted through both shifting arms.
When inserting the cluster, first tip the cluster clockwise a bit to get the roller on the mainshaft gear shifter into the camplate. Then, going in further, tip the cluster counter-clockwise to get the layshaft gear shifter's roller into the camplate. The last time I did it the whole thing took less than three minutes.
Hancox assembles the layshaft, layshaft gears, and mainshaft gears in situ before inserting the mainshaft, already installed in the inner cover, through the mainshaft gears.
As already mentioned, I find this method best of all and I've laid it out, step-by-step, with photo illustrations for those interested.
The thrust washers at either end of the layshaft are held stationary by hardened steel locator pegs in the casing that match holes in the thrust washers. Stuff happens and the pegs get ground down. Here are some descriptions of the problem with details on replacing damaged pegs.
When the Bonnie's locating peg for the DS thrust washer became damaged, I took the engine to Bob St-Cyr and he fabricated a jig which he used to drill anew hole for a replacement peg. Hermit.cc "Locating peg repair"
Hermit.cc "Camplate & Quadrant Indexing" Three methods, complete descriptions & photo illustrations
Indexing the gearbox camplate and quadrant ensures that when the inner cover is pushed on, the camplate gears and quadrant gears mesh in the correct position relative to each other.
Indexing can be accomplished with the camplate set in any one of three positions:
For complete details and photo illustrations, click on the "Camplate & Quadrant Indexing" link just above.
Note: On machines with a Norton oil filter head on the downtube, be sure to install the lower forward engine mounting bolt through the back of the inner cover before putting the cover in place. If not, the filter's mounting bracket prevents installation of the bolt from the back, and if the bolt is installed head out, the protruding portion of the bolt on the inside will interfere with the oil lines.
Triumphrat.net "T100R gearbox assembly sealant"
I've had good luck sealing inner and outer covers using Hylomar Blue. Hylomar never hardens so it's easy to pull off the covers later. Excess Hylomar also cleans up easily, a rag and friction removes most of it and metal polish takes off whatever residue is left in a jiffy.
When securing the gas tank, I always begin by tightening the rear mount first. If the front nuts are started first it makes the gas tank lift up in back. I think that's why on so many bikes the threads in the frame for the rear tank mount are stripped. That happened to my brand new 1966 Bonneville, and both of the used Bonnies I've bought came with stripped threads.
Now I use a large tie-wrap over the tank's rear mounting tab (bolt and all rubber parts in place) and through the sidecar mounting hole. Again, I begin with the tie-wrap in back and then proceed to tighten the front mounts.
The front tank mounting stud on Bonnie's timing side came loose once. Leon Goldick of Montreal, who made such a great paint job on Bonnie's tank did the repair and touch-up.
The question often comes up, what to do with the gas tank over the winter season? I confess that I usually get around to draining the tank by February and then leave it empty, but this is not the greatest strategy, especially with ethanol fuel which attracts moisture - the better to rust the inside of the tank. See the link "How to protect the petrol tank" just above for a discussion of what guys do with their tanks in the winter.
After reading all the way through this TriumphRat fuel line thread I've decided to switch from classic look reinforced plastic lines to rubber hose for reasons of safety. The plastic lines frequently leak, and in case of a fire they melt, adding gas to the fuel.
When removing carburettors it is only necessary to disconnect the fuel lines from the gas taps. The carbs can then both be removed as a unit without disturbing the rest of the fuel line connections. Likewise, when tearing down the carbs, one can simply unscrew both banjo bolts and remove them and the fuel lines as a unit.
The brass gas tap fuel line connectors shouldn't be so tight that they can can't be loosened by a few light raps with two or three fingers on a wrench. Avoiding over-tightening prevents the gas tap from turning and possibly breaking the seal to the tank.
Fig.31 Concentric 930
Amal "Hints & Tips for Amal Mk1 Carburettor"
Triumph Service Bulletin #2/73 "Checking & Adjusting the Amal Concentric Float"
VintageBikeMagazine.com John Healy: "Amal Concentric Carburettors" (2017)
Princeton.edu John Healy: "Tuning Your Carburettor" (2013)
Jba.bc.ca Jim Bush: "Bushman's Carb Tuning Secrets"
BritBike.com "Bonnie carb jetting help needed" (reading spark plugs w. illustrations)
Triumphbonneville120.co.uk "Amal manuals for Monobloc & Concentric (inc. Premier) carbs"
VictoryLibrary.com Jeffery Diamond: "Super-Tuning Amal Concentric" (Advertisement for booklet)
AmalCarb.co.uk "Notes on Rebuilding the Mark-1 Concentric Carburettor"
Junder.rhcloud.com Richard Whatley: "Leaking Amal Carburettors"
OldBritts.com "Amal Concentrics, How they Work and Tuning"
BritBike.com "Motor dies just as I take up throttle cable slack" Electrical or Carb? Informative thread
BritBike.com "Pin gauges for needle jets" Long, informative thread on needle jets
Triumphrat.net "Variations within the 930 Amal Concentrics" TR7RVMan describes Amal Mk1 & Premier differences
Triumphrat.net TR7RVMan offers some good tips on cleaning carbs
YouTube Raber's Tech Tips, Episode 6: Triumph 1971 T120 Bonneville Amal Carb O-ring Installation
The o-rings that fit between the carb body and the carb adapter (intake manifold) come in two sizes: one is thin
and the other is thick. The thick ones seem a little too large for the groove in the carb body, and the thin ones seem
a tiny bit too small.
When I got Bonnie from Frank Holmes he'd fitted her with thick ones and that's what I've always used. Stick 'em on with a couple dabs of grease and then carefully fit the carburettor to the studs on the adaptor. Then it's finger yoga putting on the rubbers, cupped washers, and nuts, all the while holding the carb ever so slightly off the adapter so the nuts will clear the casting around the ticklers. That o-ring didn't move did it?
Raber's made this excellent video in which Michael explains the thick and thin of it and shows us how to coax in the thick o-ring.
YouTube Raber's Episode #6 Video
What I learned from the video is that while the thick o-ring is used solo, the thin one is used in conjunction with an insulating block (E2968) and a joint washer (NA43A). As we see by the next table, Frank updated Bonnie's thin o-ring/insulation block setup to the solo, thicker o-ring (70-9711) introduced in 1970.
Hermit.cc Triumph 650 Carb to Carb Adapter O-rings, Insulating Blocks, & Joint Washers
The thick ring reduces engine heat transfer by creating an air gap, and Rabers' says another advantage is that the thicker o-ring reduces the chance of warping the carburettor flanges with uneven or over-torquing. I'm still going to be very cautious of over-tightening those nuts. I have read that there should be .040" to .060" space between the carb flanges and the adapters, and I have found that to be a reliable guide in actual practice.
The pilot jet (not removable) has a very small diameter and can easily become clogged. Difficulty starting and poor idling can be symptoms of a clogged pilot jet. See " Cleaning Pilot Jet" below.
Standard cutaway is 3. Bigger number=Larger Cutaway=Weaker Mixture.
The needle is notched to be adjustable up and down using a clip. Raising the needle enriches the mixture, lowering it makes it leaner.
Concentric needles are .0985" in diameter, and being made of steel, wear slowly, unlike the jets, which are made of soft brass and wear out more quickly.
The default position for a standard 3-notch needle is the middle notch.
I received needles from MAPCycle that had four notches. During 2016 winter teardown I found the left needle one groove higher than the right side. I set them both to second groove down from the top.
One way to check jet wear is with go and no-go pin gages. The correct gage sizes for a .106" jet would be .1058"(go) & .1062"(no-go).
I've read on BritBike.com that pin gages can be had for about $3 each on Amazon, but I was unable to find the required sizes there. I ended up contacting Vermont Gage directly and they directed me to their online "Distributer Finder". From there I contacted Russell Supply in Burlington, Vermont and they sent me the two pins with a convenient pin holder and all in a very nice secure case for $31 plus shipping. Very pleased with these - they've allowed me to accurately assess the condition of the jets in my collection. Many turned out to be quite worn, but some are still perfectly usable.
See link above to Britbike.com needle jet discussion.
WS Manual specifies size 220 main jets, but Bonnie has 190s installed. I don't run on the main jets so much any more.
|Main jet size||220||190|
|Needle position Up = richer||2||2 (middle)|
|Needle jet size||.106||.106|
|Idle speed adjustment screw||1 1/2 out|
|Idle air adjustment|
Screw out for leaner, in for richer
|2 1/4 - 2 1/2||1 1/4 - 1 1/2|
According to Bill Litant (BritIron mailing list), BSA made modifications to concentrics in mid-1969 to improve low and midrange performance. The correct parts match ups are:
|Needles||Needle Jet||Jet Holder|
|2 9/32" long|
One identifying ring
|11/16" long||3/4" long|
|2 21/32" long
Two identifying rings
I removed the chokes from Bonnie's original Amals and never installed them on the replacement Amals. I plugged the hole on top of the carbs with epoxy and it's held up for all the many years. Amal does make a blanking screw: Amal part number 4/137 (StuartMac).
If a carburettor is flooding frequently or, worst case, overflowing fuel, it is likely due to either the float not rising (float holed and filled with gas or hung up on the float bowl gasket) or the float needle not seating well (needle worn out or dirt lodged beneath it).
Triumphrat.net StuartMac's easy method to pinpoint float bowl problem
Another possibility is that the fuel level is simply adjusted too high. That adjustment can theoretically be made by lowering the float needle seat. Tricky, but here's the Triumph Service Bulletin to guide you:
Triumph Service Bulletin #2/73: "Checking & Adjusting the Amal Concentric Float"
On the other hand, it would be easier to replace plastic bowls with Amal 'stay-up' floats. In addition to being impervious to the effects of ethenol, 'Stay-ups' also have adjustable tangs holding the float needle in place and can be bent up or down.
Fuel leaks from the float bowl are sometimes the result of over-tightening the float bowl screws which causes the bowl to warp. If the leak occurs after changing the gasket, or after the bike has been sitting for a period of time with no fuel in the bowl, the leak may cure itself after the gasket has soaked and swelled up sufficiently to make a good seal. I have also stemmed this kind of leak with some Hylomar smeared on both sides of the gasket.
The official remedy is supposedly to flatten the float bowl by gently rubbing it on a sheet of very fine abrasive paper over a completely flat surface. Be aware, though, that removing an excessive amount of metal will affect the height of the float and float needle.
When refitting cable to air slide, don't try to compress the spring against the carb cover, away from the cable end. Instead, pinch the exposed (slack) wire cable with finger and thumb and push the cable (and spring) towards the bottom of the air slide until the cable pokes through the other side. So, compress the spring against the air slide, not the cover.
When installing the needle jet and it's clip - that's when to scrunch the spring up against the carb cover, gently hanging the bottom end over and outside the carb body while you drop in the needle and clip.
I've been using a guitar string to clear the idle jets, but some say this just pokes the dirt back upstream where gas will eventually wash it back down to the jets. John Healy says to use a#78 drill through the pilot air screw hole to pull the dirt out of the jet and downstream:
"Use a #78 (.016") drill mounted in a piece of hobby brass tubing works the best. If you twirl it between your thumb and fore finger as you offer it, it pulls the swarf downstream of the jet to be washed away by the flow of fuel."
The Workshop manual explains how to sync carburettors in Section B12 'Setting Twin Carbs' but forgets to mention final adjustment of cable adjusters.
The entire routine for adjusting low speed mixture, idle, and synchronizing:
It's a good idea to open the twist grip and then let it snap shut once or twice in between checking new synchronization settings for the cables.
See Amal Mk1 tuning links.
See Amal Mk1 tuning links.
The next two sections talk about "8-stroking". If you're not familiar with the term, John Healy describes it well on Britbike.com.
Gavin Eisler offers this sage tuning tip on Britbike.com: "At half throttle, if acceleration could be better, no 8-stroking, clean running but slow to pick up maybe spits back as the throttle is opened, that's lean at the needle jet or needle position, try lifting the needle one notch..."
See Amal Mk1 tuning links.
A plug chop is one way to determine the correct main jet size, but there is an alternative. If engine power is flat above 3/4 throttle in top gear, begin increasing the main jet by two sizes at a time until the engine '8-strokes', then go down two sizes. So, to check if installed main jet is correct size, put in a jet two sizes up. If the engine '8-strokes' above 3/4 throttle, the smaller jet is the correct size.
Loud banging from exhaust with no throttle and engine braking is a classic symptom of an exhaust pipe leak at the head. Triton Thrasher on Britbike.com
Softer 'popping' in the exhaust is an indication of running lean, either as a result of an out of adjustment air-screw adjustment or air leaking in between the intake manifold and the carburettor. Triton Thrasher on Britbike.com
If the air screw must be adjusted more than 1 1/2 turns out, it could mean that the air slide cutaway is too rich. John Healy on Britbike.com
"At half throttle, if acceleration could be better, no 8 stroking, clean running but slow to pick up maybe spits back as the throttle is opened, thats lean at the needle jet or needle position, try lifting the needle one notch..." Gavin Eisler on Britbike.com.
At full throttle, if the motor picks up a little when rolling off the throttle, the main jet is too lean. Gavin Eisler on Britbike.com.
"If it has points you can pretty much eliminate charging system issues, especially if it hasn't needed a battery charging... If it misfires unevenly or backfires out the exhaust it may be ignition, if it just bogs down more evenly or spits out the cabs it may be fuel/carb related" Truckedup on Triumphrat.net.
When using paper air filters, both air cleaners can be screwed on/off intact, but when using wire and gauze filters (thicker than the paper ones) the right-hand unit must assembled/disassembled in place due to interference from the foreword edge of the oil tank.
I prefer the wire gauze units because they are reusable.
I used to wash them in kerosene, but more recently I've been washing
them with hot water and dish washing detergent.
I like the idea of using a water-based degreaser and then rinsing in hot water, as suggested by Rod Rocket on Triumphrat.net.
Walridge.com Mike Partridge: Control Cable Tips
Tri-Cor Cables, England Cable Chart
Lube all cables with 10W oil (WS manual calls for the elusive 20W) Taping the spout of an oil squirter can to the cables gives good results.
Bonnie is using standard 43" cables for US bars.
New throttle cables. T.S. cable crosses to D.S. through frame and both cables pass through forks on the D.S.
New throttle cables: installed, they measure 42 3/4" (sleeving), or 45" (cable). These are for the new, low handlebars.
T.S. throttle cable crosses to D.S. through space in frame and then both cables pass to left of steering head and NOT through the hole in the headlamp bracket. Seems to give very good slide response.
Neither carburettor has any nipples between them and the cables at this time - perhaps when the new cables have stretched out.
Throttle cables installed without the former cross-over.
Both carburettors now have two nipples between the cables and the carburettors.
Throttle cables originally "crossed over", i.e. the outboard cable on the twist grip went to the D.S. carburettor.
Use oil and not grease to lubricate the twist grip. Grease is too thick and the throttle will 'hang'.
Currently the clutch cable makes an arc and passes through the space between the gas tank and the gas tank bracket on T.S. and resting just on top of the forward oil line acorn nut.
Formally passed to the left hand side through the triangle in the frame beneath tank to rear of coils
Fig.33 Speedometer and Tach
Parts Reference: #7, Fig.33 Page 73 (link just above).
After removing the gearbox from the crankcase always replace Sealing washer (70-7351, Ref.# 33 - same part used for gas taps) as well as o-rings as required.
See speedometer cable below.
Unscrew tach drive plug and add grease after cleaning out as much old grease as possible. When plug is screwed in, excess grease will be expelled at cable connection to drive unit.
Formally I lubricated speedo and tach cables with light oil using a rag and avoiding the closest 6-8" to the speedo head.
However, Andy Hansen of Vintage British Cables advised me against using oil and recommends grease instead, because the oil can "corkscrew" its way up the inner cable and into the instrument.
After inspecting a new speedo cable I purchased from Andy I wasn't sure if it was adequately pre-lubricated as I could just barely detect a light coat of grease. I emailed Andy and he replied that his cables are indeed pre-lubricated and ready to install. This set off all kinds of bells and bright lights - I have been over-greasing the cables!
So, apply a very light coat of grease after unscrewing the collet beneath the speedo/tach head and withdrawing the inner cable. When replacing the cable be sure the ends are properly seated at both the speedometer gearbox and speedo head.
Using a grease gun with the appropriate fitting, periodically add grease to the gearbox.
Replaced Taiwanese Smith pattern with another Taiwanese Smith Pattern from MAPCycle 2014 when putting rebuilt speedo into service. Have original Smith gearbox on hand.
Fig.18 Handlebar mounting, steering damper
Fig.27 Handlebars, control levers, steering damper
BritishCycle.com (BCS) BCS's Handlebar Chart with Dimensions
For the handlebar shock-absorbing mounting to work properly, the parts must be installed in the correct order and with the hemispherical washers in the correct orientation, i.e. the hemispherical sides facing each other.
It is also important that the hemispherical washers have indents around their inner hole. The indents match the shoulders on the shanks of the eye bolts and if they are not present the eye bolts can be stressed to the point of breaking. (John Healy).
The correct order of the parts is listed below and shown in the figure to the right.
Safety Note: If the eyebolt makes
contact with the head lug, see
Triumph Service Bulletin #306: flexible handlebar mounting "Flexible Handlebar Mountings on 650s".
Use similar method to install new bushings.
One suggestion that pops up on forums for keeping handlebar grips on is hair spray. I tried hair spray once and quickly learned how dangerous that idea is. Hair spray seems to hold ok as long as everything is dry, but the moment there's the slightest amount of water around it becomes super-slippery - so slippery that light pressure from two fingers will slide a grip right off the bars.
The old school method was friction tape - not electricians' tape, but cloth tape. Wrap the tape on the bars and then smack the grip over the tape. But perhaps the best solution is THREE BOND Griplock #1501C. Pricey, but do you really want your handgrips to slide off while you're tooling down the road in a rain shower?
Fig.13 Swing arm, rear shocks
Triumphrat.net "Shock absorber replacements" inc. comments on Emgo, Hagon, Ikon, Fournales
Dealing with the split ring clips at the top is much easier with two sets of hands.
When replacing the shock absorbers, don't force the mounting bushings into place from the rear of the frame bracket or from directly beneath the mounting holes for the shocks. Instead, insert the bushings from beneath the spare hole in frame bracket and then slide them to the rear and into place. May need a few little plastic mallet taps, but you should not have to beat on them if you take the right approach.
Outside to inside, #7 shows bolt, plain flat washer, spring lock washer, plain nut.
Replaced with new units in 2013.
Ok for bushings to be pushed off-center apparently.
#7 shows only one shock absorber bolt, and it appears head out. On the brake side, however, I've put the nut on the outside on the bottom so the bolt doesn't scrape on the brake drum cover.
Fig.17 Front Forks
Hermit.cc Front Fork Components
YouTube Raber's Tech Tips, Episode #2 - Triumph 500 / 650 Front Axle Widths
YouTube Raber's Tech Tips, Episode #5 - 1967 Triumph TR6 Front Fork Disassembled
Note: Triumph used three different width axles: 1) pre-unit, 2) unit through '68, and 3) unit '69 on. This table shows the differences between earlier and later unit model forks and axles:
|Unit, pre-'69||Unit, '69-on|
|Fork Legs Center to Center||6-1/2"||6-3/4"|
|Axle Brake Plate Thread||20 tpi 3/4" BSC||20 tpi 3/4" UNEF (Extra Fine)|
1-1/16" AF a fair fit
or 5/8" BS
In 1969, only the TR6C came equipped with a steering damper. I found the dampers on my '66 Bonnevilles to be both useful and aesthetic so I retro-fitted one on Bonnie. Very good on bad roads and windy days, just be sure to loosen it when you get into town!
My theory is that wind affects a down-road trajectory not so much by its action on the bike, but on the upper body of the rider. The wind pushes the rider, whose shoulders move, and the motion is transmitted to the handlebars. The steering damper virtually eliminates the effect.
When I retro-fitted a damper to Bonnie I neglected to fit 'locating pin' 97-2107, which, I learned recently from TriumphDave's Britbike.com post, prevents the sleeve nut from being loosened so far that it falls off. Hats off to Dave, I'll soon have one on order.
The steering lock cylinder is held in place by a counter-sunk set-screw. The set-screw hole is covered over by a plug which must be dug out before removing the set-screw and lock cylinder.
Remove as a unit to maintain steering head bearings.
Remove separately to maintain forks - oil seals, etc.
I have replaced Bonnie's forks seals: May 2014/March 2007/May 2003.
With front forks removed as a unit.
When replacing front wheel and axle, the front forks should be aligned as follows.
Part numbers for cones & cups to replace loose bearings
Lowbrow Customs Tapered roller bearing conversion kit
Britbike.com CBS description of 2-piece drift for installing steering head bearings
(For refitting with forks, see Refitting Forks to Frame just above)
All Front & Rear Axle Retainers, Support Rings, and Dust Covers Illustrated
This photo shows the top and bottom sides of all grease retainers, dust covers, support rings, backing rings, and retaining rings on the front and rear wheel axles. It also includes dimensions, part numbers, and reference numbers.
Front Axle bearings, covers, rings, and retainers
This photo shows the orientation of all parts on the front axle, including the dust cover, retaining ring, support ring, grease retainer, bearings, and circlip.
Rear Axle bearings, grease retainers, and retaining and backing rings illustrated
This photo shows the assembly order of the rear axle bearings, grease retainers, retaining ring, backing ring, and speedometer gearbox.
Rear Axle nuts and distance pieces
A photo showing the assembly order of the rear axle inner and outer nuts and distance pieces.
Fig.19 Front Wheel
Triumphrat.net Replacing Rims - Devon vs Central
Hermit.cc Wheel Bearing Locking Ring Wrench
Hermit.cc Photo & Drawing: Front Wheel Axle Parts
[Replaced Bonnie's FWB May 2014 @60kmi (MAPCycle sealed bearings) & July 2007 @36kmi]
I disassembled the wheel and re-packed the bearings after cleaning them out with kerosene and compressed air.
The (cupped) grease retainer on the inside of the left-hand side was in backwards I think - the cavity was facing away from the bearing so I put both the retainers back with their cavities facing the bearing the way it appears to be in the parts manual.
Hermit.cc Front Brake Shoe Illustrated
VintageBrake.com Tips on renewing and tuning vintage motorcycle brakes
Britbike.com Stuart provides many details on various Triumph hub, anchor plate, & axle setups
When reassembling the brake, note that:
From the WS Manual evidently:
But as always, there's more to it than that.Triumphrat.net Rancidpegwoman, the Village Idiot, and others divulge their best brake tuning secrets
Triumphrat.net StuartMacs tips on fitting the front fender stays to forks
The front wheel and tire can be removed without disturbing the fender and fender braces if the tire is deflated somewhat
The front fender brackets (Ref.5 in Fig.26 Fenders ) fit on the lower fork legs pointing forward with the bottom angle projecting upwards.
The bolts (Ref.23) which fix the stays to the brackets face nuts out (Ref.24).
Figure 26 (#7) doesn't show how the forward and center stays (Ref.2 and Ref.3) fit onto the fender brackets (Ref.5). They should both be fixed to the outside of the fender brackets as shown here.
If the fixing bolts are hard to get through the stays and bracket, slacken the bolts holding the stays to the fender and then give the bolts a rap with the plastic mallet.
[The mounting hole for the bottom stay (Ref.4) in Bonnie's used replacement lower fork leg is threaded, so the bolt must be threaded in and out.]
Fig.20 Rear Wheel
Triumphrat.net Replacing Rims - Devon vs Central
Rear wheel must be raised (chain hoist or bike jack) for tire to clear fender when removing.
Install the chainguard first (loosely) and then install the wheel.
Putting self-locking nut (14-0702) on bolt (14-0113) fastening the front of the chainguard to the frame can be a huge pain. Try this:
The bolt head is pretty well held in place by the fender for this operation, it only needs held with a wrench for the final tightening, at which time it is more easily accessed when the side panel is removed.
Alternatively, jam small metal chisel between fender and frame mount to make room for nut, held in place with fingers while threading on nut as above.
Note: installing this bolt and nut has been easier the last few times - perhaps because the stainless fender has become more 'relaxed'.
When reinstalling the rear wheel the speedometer gearbox must be positioned so that the speedometer cable lines up straight with the swinging arm before tightening the inner axle nuts. This can be done with the wheel on the bike, but it requires a thin (3/4") wrench. I don't have such a wrench, so I align the speedo gearbox, center the brake shoes, and tighten the inner nuts before installing the wheel. Getting the speedo gearbox positioned correctly is pretty much trial-and-error.
The rear wheel brake shoes should be centered to the axle to prevent the brakes from 'pulsing'. To center the brake shoes, apply the brakes while tightening the inner axle nuts.
The inner axle nuts can be tightened with the wheel in place but it requires a very thin 3/4" wrench. Since I don't have such a wrench, I center the brake shoes and tighten the nuts on the workbench this way:
On my Bonnie this results in the wheel turning very stiffly on the rear axle, but the stiffness disappears as the wheel is rotated. I've read that too much binding can result in damage to the bearings and that a shim should be added to give more clearance over and above that provided by the spacers.
Brake torque stay (ref 11 page 37) should go on before the plate for passenger foot peg and muffler bracket.
Both ends of torque stay are supposed to use the same nuts (14-0304)(3/8W) and spring washers (PCW73A), but on Bonnie one is thicker front) and one is thinner (rear).
The "C"-clamp on the torque stay adjusts the bottom of the chainguard with respect to the tire and the chain. It must be fit so that it rests ON TOP of the chainguard bracket to allow for adjustment. Bit of a PITA, but fitting the nut and bolt with the passenger peg and mounting plate removed is much easier.
Hermit.cc Photo & Drawing of Rear Wheel Axle Parts
Hermit.cc Wheel Bearing Locking Ring Wrench
Replaced Bonnie's with sealed bearings from MAPCycle May 2014 60,000mi.
Rear Brake Shoes Illustrated
Shouldered end of the rear wheel spindle goes to T.S. Seerear axle photo and illustration.
If removing the brake cam lever ( Ref 32 Figure 20) from the brake cam post is difficult, try this:
When reassembling the brake, note that:
Over time, a Triumph rear brake pedal pivot becomes a loose fit. This would be an easy fix if Triumph had used a bushing there, but they didn't. Here's how one Triumphrat.net listee fixed the problem:
TriumphRat.net WOL: Sloppy Brake Pedal
With everything assembled, it's nearly impossible to splay the cotter pin that fastens the rear brake rod to the brake pedal lever: therefore, do it at one of these stages of disassembly:
Bracket fits inside the rear frame loop. See TBA photo.
Rear fender bracket on frame 1/2" bolts (same bolt used for oil bottle bracket).
Note that the two rear fender bracket mounting bolts (14-0113) (Ref 32 Figure 26) must be installed before putting on the fender.
Drive chain lubrication
Britbike.com New rear chain
Britbike.com Final drive chain
When working with the rear chain a short section of plastic rain gutter beneath keeps the chain and the floor clean.
As Burns points out in his article "Measuring Chain Wear" (link just above), chains don't stretch, they become longer due to the pins wearing an oblong pattern in the bushes.
When wear reaches the point where the chain is no longer a perfect match with sprocket teeth, wear to both sprockets is accelerated greatly.
There are differing opinions as to how much wear is acceptable before replacement is necessary - compare the workshop manual's guidance with that offered in the Burns article.
The workshop manual says to check wear this way:
That works out to 1-1/4" of wear on 100 links.
Burns, on the other hand, states that "Most chain manufacturers limit chain wear to approximately .006" per link." That works out to .6" wear per 100 links.
Which is right? I'm inclined towards the more stringent standard suggested by Burns for the simple reason that a new chain costs less than two sprockets and is a lot easier to change!
For asphalt riding I clean and lubricate every 1,000 miles when I change crankcase oil/filter and primary chaincase oil. When I'm mostly riding the gravel I drop down to 500 mile intervals. Works out to just over a half-dozen cleanings per season on average.
The used kerosene in the second container can be recycled many times. Within a few days the suspended sediment will have settled to the bottom and the clear kerosene on top can be gently poured off for the next cleaning.
Using a pot or pan, immerse clean chain in heavy (summer) chain saw bar oil overnight. Hang to drip-dry the next day and then wipe lightly with a clean rag before reinstalling.
Pull the clean chain back on with the old chain.
Upon returning from rides, apply bar oil to warm chain with the tip of a gear oil container through the chain inspection hole in the chainguard. But take care not to apply an excess of oil because it will find it's way into the rear wheel brake drum.
A great way to contain oil dripping off the chain is to place a short piece of old roof gutter below it. Excess oil drips are easily wiped off the gutter with a rag.
Dunlop Tire Tips
and Technical Specifications (PDF).
Britbike.com "Best tyres for nervous handling 1969 TR6C...." (tires & tire pressure)
Triumphrat.net "Tyres!!" (tire preference thread)
Modern versions of vintage tires are constructed of far better materials than the originals and the workshop manual's 18/20lbs air pressure spec is far too low.
The first several years I had Bonnie I used the WS manual's recommendation and always found that my front tires were cupping. Going to 30/32 pounds front and back eliminated the cupping.
Dunlop K-70, 3.25 x 19
Dunlop K-70, 4.00 x 18
Put valve stem to yellow dot.
Fig.13 Swinging Arm, Rear Shocks
When replacing the swinging arm, the large 15/16" nut (Ref 10) and tab washer (Ref 9) go on the DS, and the 7/8" bolt (Ref 8) head goes on the TS.
Was getting a bit of back-and-forth play (grab two loose ends and try to rotate swinging arm left or right) so I replaced the pivot bushes (ref 2) in 2014 (53,010 miles).
Don't be tempted to put the shocks on before the swinging arm because they'll just be in the way.
Like the first time, I had difficulties getting the bolt to thread into the frame on the drive side. But now I know the trick - after trying to push the swing arm this way and that way in an effort to get the threads to take I finally got the idea to use the impact screwdriver with a 9/16 BS or 7/8" socket. Tapped the driver with my plastic mallet while turning slowly and the bolt went right in no sweat!
Assembled 2 sleeve bushes (5/36) and spacer (6/36) with flanged washers and new o-rings, packing with grease as they went
Inserted the bolt, using a small diameter dowel to help line up the spacer and bushes.
Put the nut on loosely and used grease gun to fill until grease bled out both ends. Note\; I wouldn't put much pressure behind the grease because excess will have to be squeezed out the holes when the swing arm is inserted into the frame brackets.
Used plastic mallet (lightly) to position the arm and inserted the bolt. Likewise, played with other end a bit with the mallet and the bolt threaded into the frame bracket on the primary side.
I initially torqued the bolt (8/36) - 7/8" socket - to 50 pounds (the new torque wrench is fun!) but the swing arm was binding slightly so I backed off a tiny bit until it was free.
Use 15/16" socket for the nut (10/36).
Fig.12 Side stand
Easier to remove with stand folded against frame. Use 3/4" wrench to remove nut (faces out) and then give the bolt a rap to loosen up and start on its way out. Then open the stand and wiggle while pulling on the bolt. Slip the spring off after the bolt is removed.
Nut is up and out or it will be in the way of the spring.
Easiest way to get it on is to put the spring in place on the frame and the sidestand and then pull the sidestand into place.
Fig.12 Center stand
Britbike.com "Center stand spring"
Britbike.com "Installing a center stand spring"
Britbike.com "Bonneville center stand" (twisting)
Hermit.cc "Install Center Stand Spring Using String"
Hermit.cc Table: Triumph 650 Center Stands & Mounting Hardware
If the stand is off the bike the spring can be levered on using the stand.
If the stand is on the bike, see "Install Center Stand Spring Using String"
Fig.29 Passenger Footrest
Remove left-hand bracket to make it easier to access the bolt holding the chainguard "C" clamp to the torque stay.
Brackets need to be slack to insert bolt for rear footpegs from behind - best to pre-assemble.
The 23/34 bolt on the bottom is 5/8" used 1/2" socket.
The 21/34 bolt head is also 5/8", but its 21/34 nut is 11/16", spanner for the former and 1/2"socket for the latter.
Bonnie's frame and tinware have been powder coated, as well as the following parts:
Not powder coated:
Fig.24 Battery Carrier
Fig.23 Oil tank
Hermit.cc Battery Carrier/Oil Tank Mounting (2 photos)
Hermit.cc Battery Carrier (8 photos)
There may be better ones, but this order of assembly works ok
Regarding the next 4 steps: it's much easier to put the rubber spigots (82-6673) inside the battery holder straps and then push them onto the frame lugs then it is to put the spigots on the lugs and push the carrier straps over them.
See also: Oil Tank
Fig.25 Seat, side panel
To remove seat, first remove left side panel, then remove bolts for just one seat hinge and slip the other one off.
Installing seat latch: push latch part way through it's frame, insert spring and washer, then the rest of the way through. Keep spring and washer in place with right-angle pick while inserting cotter pin.
If your bike is blowing fuses, this trouble-shooting tip from John Healy will be a great help in tracking down the short: replace the fuse with a 12v light bulb and then begin disconnecting circuits one at a time. When the light goes out you're found the circuit which is shorted. Start looking for faults such as worn insulation or loose bare wires.
Fig.23 Battery Carrier/Oil Tank
Hermit.cc Battery Carrier/Oil Tank Mounting (2 photos)
Hermit.cc Battery Carrier (8 photos)
Motobatt.com " Motobatt (Triumph 650 search)"
Replacement battery should be a sealed, maintenance-free unit with a minimum 9Ah rating. Carrier inside dimensions: H x W x D.
|Koyo YTX-12-BS||5-1/8"||5-7/8"||3-5/16"||5 stars, but hard to find|
|Motobat AGM MB9U||13.6cm||13.3cm||7.6cm||12v/11aH $65US on Amazon|
|PowerStar PM9A-BS AGM||5-1/2"||5-1/4"||3.0"||12v/9aH $49.95US at LowBrow|
|PowerStar AGM PS-12-BS||5-1/8"||5-7/8"||3-3/8"|
Use 35 amp British fuse, or 15-17.5 amp US fuse (continuous slow-blow).
When I rewired with my homemade harness I fused both the positive and negative battery terminals. Effectively this is like having a spare fuse at all times.
While on a trip to the Green Mountains in 2015, I blew a fuse in the middle of nowhere when I turned on the ignition key while coasting down a steep hill in fourth gear. Bang! A big pop and the ignition was dead. No spare fuses with me - they got left at home on the workbench! I recovered by shorting together the fuse carrier leads for positive and putting the good fuse in the negative lead.
Jump to Battery Carrier section.
John Healy "Lucas Electrical Stator or Rotor Install Guidance" (PDF)
Britbike.com Stator Installation
If stator holes won't line up with the stator studs in the crankcase, or the rotor is off-center in the stator, do not be tempted to adjust the alignment by hammering on the studs. Doing so risks cracking the crankcase, best to do any bending with the studs removed and held in a bench vise. (See stator link above).
The way the Lucas rotor is constructed, it's possible for the rotor center to become loose from the outer part holding the magnets. This can be checked by tightening the rotor in place with the stator removed. Gripping the rotor with both hands, turn over the engine in both directions and feel whether there is any slipping movement. Rotors that have become loose cannot be repaired ordinarily, they must be replaced.
See note above on Tightening Rotor Nut.
When reinstalling the rotor, important to be sure there is sufficient clearance (.008"-.012") all the way around between it and the stator.
Here's a method often cited at the Britbike Forum:
With engine running and lights on, blip the throttle. If intensity of headlight does not increase with revs there is a problem somewhere in the charging system. This can also be verified by connecting a voltmeter across the battery terminals to see if voltage rises when revs do.
The alternator can be checked by connecting either a voltmeter (AC) or a 12 volt bulb across the alternator's disconnected leads and kicking over the engine.
Hermit.cc Original Wiring Harness - 2005
Hermit.cc New Repro Wiring Harness - 2006
The selenium rectifier and grounding straps have already been disconnected.
(See original and repro photo sets above)
Beneath gas tank. Tied about an inch to the rear from the "Y" (along with clutch cable) to upper tube through space in frame forward of the coils. Then tied again to upper tube just forward of the rear gas tank mount. Passes over the top of the rear loop into the battery area. (Photo)
Passes through the stanchions from the rear (Photo)
2006: Eliminated horn and integrated dip switch wiring into the Lucas lighting switch in the headlight shell (see wiring diagram above)
2006: Tied just above bottom side cover mounting stud and then falls to follows the frame member before looping to the switch.
Photo showing Bonnie's headlight shell wiring:
The headlight reflector unit (99-0686, or LUCAS 516798) is held in the headlight rim (99-0692, or LUCAS 553248) using fixing wires (99-683, or LUCAS 504665).YouTube.com Classic British Spares: "Installing & Removing Lucas Headlight Wire Clips"
Figure 35 Ign coils, Horn, Rectifier, Zener diode
TriumphRat.net Twin horn relay wiring 1970 T120R
I've replaced this switch three times on Bonnie. After installing new repro switches I've attempted to recondition the old ones by taking them apart and re-assembling. Never had any success, maybe you're more lucky than me.
The figure below shows the internal connections of the Lucas 35710 (99-0563) light switch in all three positions. See also this chart-style pin-out for the 35710.
Repro editions of the Triumph ignition switch are notoriously prone to failure and the slightest weight of a key fob attached to the key is known to exacerbate the problem - leave your ignition key naked!
An intermittent ignition issue is frequently due to a defective ignition switch. If you're having an ignition problem, one of the first things to do is install a jumper lead from the battery to the coils, thus by-passing the ignition switch.
Note: Selenium rectifier replaced by Podtronics Rectifier/Voltage Regulator in 2015
Condensers eliminated by Pazon in 2014 (left wiring in place and all original condenser parts, brackets, covers, etc. are retained in inventory.
Had previously (2006, new harness) fabricated a custom bracket and moved condensers from original location to beneath gas tank. See photo below.
Often suspected that Bonnie's habit of firing on only one cylinder after encounters with water (car washes, rain storms) might originate here. Especially when the problem persisted after waterproofing the ignition wires' passageway through the timing case to the points.
Note that just because correct resistance readings are obtained for a coil does not mean that the coil is good. It may be arcing internally or its readings may change when the coil becomes warm.
Resistance readings for 6v coils:
Resistance readings for 12v coils:
Left Coil (DS)
Right Coil (TS)
2017: Replaced 6v TriCor coils with 6v Taiwanese units (76,000mi).
2014: Replaced 12v German ignition coils with 6v TriCor 'High Spark' coils during changeover to Pazon CDI.
20??: Replaced 12v Lucas coils with 12v German units during changeover to Pazon CDI.
(12v originals & German coils are in inventory, along with one good 6v TriCor.
Pazon PDF Installation, timing, and trouble-shooting
"This will tell you if the box or the sensor is the problem."
Podtronics: Instructions & Diagram
Podtronics.com Podtronics Home Page
Rectifier/Voltage Regulator Installing beneath battery carrier
First run (2 miles - Chemin Vallieres)
Second run (5 miles - Ayers Cliff)
Third run (28 miles - Tyson's Corner)
Fourth run (50 miles - Sherbrooke)
Fifth run (50 miles - Katevale,Magog,Gendron,GVille,Brown's Hill, Ayers Cliff)
High revving problem was due to such poor condition of o-ring for idle adjustment that the idle screw had no friction and just kept screwing itself in (higher revs) each time i adjusted it. A new o-ring fixed the problem right up.
Although cable friction was not to blame for high-revving, i nevertheless decided to eliminate the cable tie I'd put around upper member beneath gas tank to hold throttle cables as well as clutch cable tight to the frame. Without the tie they take a larger radius arc and seem more "relaxed".
Severe miss and dead battery due to
I corrected above and timed the engine first using Hancox's static method and then using the strobe. Running really well!
"The Bonnie Ref" is the result of my on-going amateur efforts to maintain and repair "Bonnie", my 1969 T120R Triumph Bonneville. Along the way I have benefitted tremendously from knowledge shared by fellow CVMG club members, the BritIron mailing list, and classic Triumph forums such as Britbike.com and Triumphrat.net.
I made my notes in HTML and used hyperlinks to organize and present them. Tired of blurry photos and confusing illustrations in workshop and repair manuals, I created many of my own using a digital camera and Fireworks 2.0 (I own it, it's mine - screw Adobe). Eventually I began including links to valuable and reliable info from outside sources.
I am not an expert by any definition, but I have assembled in one place a good deal of useful information about late 60s 650 Triumphs and made it easily accessible.
Corrections, suggestions, and comments are welcome: tmc at hermit.cc.
Bruce Miller (The Hermit)
1969 Triumph Bonneville T120R
The Triumph Meriden factory began production for new model years in August of the prior year. In October 1968, during the 1969 model year, Triumph changed to a new serial number system which used two letters to designate the month and year of production, and a 5-digit serial number, beginning at either 00100 or 00101, depending upon your source. So, in October of 1968, Bonnie was either the 24th or 25th twin produced by Triumph under the new system.
I purchased Bonnie from Frank Holmes at Frank's Brit-Barn in New Hampshire on June 28, 2003. Showing just over 14,000 miles on the clock. Very original condition, complete except for Windtone horns.
I've styled Bonnie to look more like the 1966 models I had'back in the day'. Mainly, fitted retro tank badges and stainless steel fenders, yanked the zenner diode out from beneath the headlight, added a steering damper, and dispensed with the exhaust balance tube. All original parts - tank badges, fenders, seat, exhaust & mufflers, handlebars, carburettors, points, etc. are conserved, so possible to restore to near-original condition.
adjust primary chain tension
air cleaners, installing
air screw o-ring
air slide (carb)
align rear wheel
alpha-Numeric part# conversion
Amal parts, '69 650s
annealing head gasket
axle retainers, rings, and dust covers
axle parts, front illustrated
axle parts, rear illustrated
Banjo bolts, orientation
battery carrier, reassembling
battery specs & replacements
Boyer Ignition trouble-shooting
brake light, switch
brake light, switch harness routing
brake, front - adjusting
brake, front - centering shoes
brake, front - reassembly
brake, front - removing
brake, front - replacing
brake pedal, D.S. engine mount, torque stay
brake pedal wear
brake, rear - centering shoes
brake, rear - disassembly
brake, rear - reassembly
brake shoe illustrations
brake torque stay
British standard threads
cable, speedometer - lubrication
cable, tach - lubrication
carburettor cables,air slide,spring
carburettor, cleaning idle jet
carburettor, concentric cross-section
carburettor, jet/needle/cut away
carburettor, leaking float bowl
carburettor, mid '69 BSA modification
carburettors, specs & settings
carburettors, removing as a unit
Amal tuning links
low speed & sync
center stand spring
center stands/mounting hardware
chain, checking wear
clutch assembly, removing
clutch assembly, replacing
clutch center/thrust washer compatibility
clutch operating mechanism "pops"
clutch pressure plate adjustment
clutch rod adjustment
compression, sudden loss of
contact breaker points gap
crankcase breather pipe
crankcase oil, changing
"crush", head and PRTs
cylinder base bolts, removing
cylinder block & tappet blocks
cylinder block, honing and replacing
cylinder block, painting
cylinder block, removing old gasket
cylinder head, cleaning
cylinder head "crush" and PRTs
cylinder head, removing old gasket
cylinder head bolts, leaking
cylinder head bolts, re-torquing
cylinder head bolts, torquing
distance pieces, rear axle
Electrical system wiring diagrams
Electrical wiring color codes
electrical, Pazon ignition schematic
electrical, Podtronics schematic & instructions
engine mounting plate fasteners
engine sprocket, align w duplex sprocket
float and float needle
footpegs and brackets, passenger
front forks, alignment
front forks, dismantling
front forks oil
front forks, remove as unit
front forks, remove legs separately
front forks seals, replacing
front wheel bearings
front wheel brake
front wheel brake shoes, illustrated
front wheel fender brackets/stays
fuel lines, plastic and safety
fuel lines, removing carbs with
fuel lines, removing connectors from gas taps
gaskets, removing old
gas tank, paint schemes
gas tank sealers/liners (link)
Gas taps, removing & replacing
Gas taps, sealing
gear cluster, installing into gearbox
gearbox problems - resources
gearbox assembly: three methods
gearbox, indexing camplate & quadrant
gearbox inner cover
gearbox inner cover, removing
gearbox inner cover, replacing
gearbox, jumping out of gear
gearbox, outer cover
gearbox outer cover, removing
gearbox outer cover, replacing
gearbox oil change
gearbox oil compatibility
gearbox, power transmission illustrated
gearbox, removing bearings from casing
gearbox, replacing bearings in casing
gearbox, replacing inner cover bearings
gearbox, sealing inner/outer covers
gearbox tear-down notes
General Shop Info
grease gun, mini
handlebars, shock absorber mounting
handlebars, removing bonded bushes
Head bolts, see Cylinder head bolts
head gasket, annealing & installing
headlight bulbs, breaking
headlight bulb LED/Halogen replacements headlight reflector/lense fixing wires
headlight shell wiring diagram
heating cases & other parts
heat insulation, carbs
horn/dimmer switch harness routing
idle screw o-ring
ignition coils, installing
ignition coils, replaced (Bonnie)
ignition coils, testing
ignition coil wiring connections
ignition switch connections
indexing gearbox camplate & quadrant
Issues, history of
kickstart lever tapered pin
layshaft end play, measuring
layshaft thrust washer locating pegs
Loctite products, stick form
Loctite, where to use (John Healy)
Lucas wiring color codes
mainshaft bearing, replacing in inner cover
mainshaft/layshaft bearings, removing
mainshaft/layshaft bearings, replacing
needle jet pin gages
O-Ring Sizing Chart
o-rings, carb to intake manifold
o-rings, dimensions for prt seals
o-rings, front fork dust excluder sleeve
o-rings, idle & air screws
o-ring & insulation block carb mounting
o-rings, push rod tubes
o-rings, swinging arm
o-rings, rocker arm spindles
o-rings, tach gear housing
oil, zinc content
oil breather line
oil, changing crankcase
oil leaks, drain bolts
oil pressure switch
oil pressure relief valve
oil seal, D.S. crankshaft
oil tank, reinstalling
parts lists, factory
parts lists, proprietary
Pazon Sure-Fire PDF
Pazon, schematic diagram
Pazon, setting timing with
pilot air screw
pin gage for needle jet
piston rings, gapping
piston rings, installing
piston rings, orientation
points, contact breaker gap
pressure plate, adjusting
Primary chaincase gasket
primary chain adjustment
primary chain wear (photos)
primary chaincase oil, changing
pushrods & rocker boxes, replacing
Pushrod Tubes (PRT)
pushrod tube o-rings
pushrod tube seals
pushrod tube o-ring & seal dimensions
pushrod tube seal "crush"
pushrod tube installation
rear wheel alignment
rear wheel bearings
rear wheel brakes
rear wheel brake shoes, illustration
rear wheel brake shoes, centering
rear wheel fender
rear wheel fender brackets
rear wheel, removing
rear wheel, replacing
removing old gaskets
rocker arm spindles
rocker arm spindle o-rings
rocker box gaskets
rocker box gaskets, lightweight pr mod
rocker boxes, remove
rocker boxes, replace
roller bearing conversion for steering neck
rotor, loose center
rotor installation guide
rotor nut, torqueing
rotor to stator clearance
selenium rectifier connections
serial numbers, 1950-1969
serial numbers, 1969-1983
shock absorbers, rear
Speedometer and Tachometer
speedometer gearbox lube
sprocket, gearbox - replacing
stanchion tubes, replacing
stator installation guide
stator to rotor clearance
switch, Lucas 35710 - wiring diagram
switch, brake light (rear)
tach cable, lubrication
tach drive gearbox, removing
tach drive gear, lubrication
Tappet guide blocks
Thackary spring washers
timing cover, removing (link)
timing, see Ignition timing
tires, Dunlop technical reference (PDF)
torque stays, engine
valve clearance, adjusting
valves, replace in head
wiring, Lucas color codes
Wiring diagrams, electrical system
wiring diagram, headlight shell
wiring harness, horn and dimmer switch
wiring harness, rear brake switch
wiring harness, removing (stock)
wiring harness, replacement in 2006
wiring harness, removing
wiring harness, routing
Workshop manuals, factory
zinc, in motor oil