Aluminum in engine oil. Running lean?

zoltt140e

Member
Riding for 39 Years
Local time
Today, 00:53
Joined
Jun 28, 2020
Messages
14
Points
7
Age
55
Location
USA
My Ride
1978 T140E
1969 TR6R
Victory V92C
Hi all. I am new to this forum and trying to find some experienced people to help me sort through a problem. I have a 1978 Triumph T140E and noticed metal bits in the oil. I believe it is aluminum as nothing sticks to a magnet. I pulled the plugs and see metal specs on the top of both intake valves and pitting of both pistons. The pistons look very clean with almost no carbon buildup. The bike has 24k miles on it and glasspack mufflers so no back pressure. Having been told it looks like a lean fuel condition so I started by installing denso w31es 4062 in place of ngk b8es, ultrasonically cleaned the carbs and set the float heights to .060. With this change I still see aluminum in the oil but a slight bit more of carbon buildup (more like shading) on the piston and plugs. Current carb set up is #20 pilot jet, 2c3 needle, 105 needle jet, 200 main and #3 slide. I was thinking of installing #25 pilot, 2a1 needle and 106 pilot jet. It is that or new JRC carbs. I don't want to spend the money on either if this will not fix the aluminum in oil problem.

Thanks for any help
Zoltan
 

grandpaul

Old Bike Lover
Riding for 50 Years
Staff
Local time
Yesterday, 23:53
Joined
Apr 14, 2006
Messages
3,091
Points
272
Age
62
Location
Laredo
My Ride
Legend 900 Triple
Cases are aluminum, so if something broke and jammed on one of the whirly bits, it would eat at whatever case section it is adjacent to.

Sometimes, a pushrod can get perfectly jammed up in the rockerbox, so that it is still functional (pushing on the edge of the rocker arm), but begins to eat away at the rockerbox.

For any material to be scraped from the alloy head, it would likely be a bit of steel jammed up in a valve spring and scraping the valve pocket area.
 

zoltt140e

Member
Riding for 39 Years
Local time
Today, 00:53
Joined
Jun 28, 2020
Messages
14
Points
7
Age
55
Location
USA
My Ride
1978 T140E
1969 TR6R
Victory V92C
Cases are aluminum, so if something broke and jammed on one of the whirly bits, it would eat at whatever case section it is adjacent to.

Sometimes, a pushrod can get perfectly jammed up in the rockerbox, so that it is still functional (pushing on the edge of the rocker arm), but begins to eat away at the rockerbox.

For any material to be scraped from the alloy head, it would likely be a bit of steel jammed up in a valve spring and scraping the valve pocket area.
Interesting. I have had the head off in the past. I will pull the covers and have a look. Just wondering how the aluminum bits would get to the tops of the intake valve? hmmm back to the garage!

Zoltan
 

grandpaul

Old Bike Lover
Riding for 50 Years
Staff
Local time
Yesterday, 23:53
Joined
Apr 14, 2006
Messages
3,091
Points
272
Age
62
Location
Laredo
My Ride
Legend 900 Triple
It would have had to be running pretty badly to have been a very loose valve guide tearing up it's bore in the head, depositing shavings onto the valve.

You may have made some mistake last time you installed the head...
 

zoltt140e

Member
Riding for 39 Years
Local time
Today, 00:53
Joined
Jun 28, 2020
Messages
14
Points
7
Age
55
Location
USA
My Ride
1978 T140E
1969 TR6R
Victory V92C
It would have had to be running pretty badly to have been a very loose valve guide tearing up it's bore in the head, depositing shavings onto the valve.

You may have made some mistake last time you installed the head...
I pulled the covers and the pushrods look straight, even lined up in the gasket. I checked each pushrod for any movement when the valve was closed and all looks in order. While the covers were off I decided to check the clearances. It looks like the right cylinder that is running the leanest between the two valve clearances were off. I couldn't get a .006 on the exhaust or the .008 on the intake. I adjusted it. Next thing is to change the oil and take it out for a ride to see if there is any improvement. I am hoping the valves were kept off their seat causing a lean condition? Change of oil and a ride for another day. Thanks for the advice.

Regards,
Zoltan
 

zoltt140e

Member
Riding for 39 Years
Local time
Today, 00:53
Joined
Jun 28, 2020
Messages
14
Points
7
Age
55
Location
USA
My Ride
1978 T140E
1969 TR6R
Victory V92C
I pulled the covers and the pushrods look straight, even lined up in the gasket. I checked each pushrod for any movement when the valve was closed and all looks in order. While the covers were off I decided to check the clearances. It looks like the right cylinder that is running the leanest between the two valve clearances were off. I couldn't get a .006 on the exhaust or the .008 on the intake. I adjusted it. Next thing is to change the oil and take it out for a ride to see if there is any improvement. I am hoping the valves were kept off their seat causing a lean condition? Change of oil and a ride for another day. Thanks for the advice.

Regards,
Zoltan
I don't know if weather and work will allow a test drive today after the tappet adjustment and oil change. It bothers me that I cannot see how aluminum can get from the intake valve, combustion chamber and exhaust into the oil. On the 1978 Bonneville can the primary oil get into the engine oil? I ask as the clutch is pretty well worn and definitely slips. I also have the aluminum bits in the primary oil. As a reference when I swirl the oil in the pan after draining it looks like fog but you can tell it's metal and then it settles to the bottom.

Regards,
Zoltan
 

Rudie

Staff
Local time
Today, 05:53
Joined
Jun 25, 2017
Messages
136
Points
27
Location
GB
My Ride
Several
On the 1978 Bonneville can the primary oil get into the engine oil?
The primary oil was not separate from the engine oil in any Triumph twin engine after late in the 1969 model year. That is why all 1970 and later manuals say to put the same oil in engine and primary.
 

grandpaul

Old Bike Lover
Riding for 50 Years
Staff
Local time
Yesterday, 23:53
Joined
Apr 14, 2006
Messages
3,091
Points
272
Age
62
Location
Laredo
My Ride
Legend 900 Triple
Your alternator may be scraping itself to death. An alternator death can get very ugly...

It is also possible someone has installed lightened alloy clutch plates in it, they wear out quickly...
 

zoltt140e

Member
Riding for 39 Years
Local time
Today, 00:53
Joined
Jun 28, 2020
Messages
14
Points
7
Age
55
Location
USA
My Ride
1978 T140E
1969 TR6R
Victory V92C
Your alternator may be scraping itself to death. An alternator death can get very ugly...

It is also possible someone has installed lightened alloy clutch plates in it, they wear out quickly...
Great info. That changes my focus as I have new clutch fiber and plates to install anyway. Off with the primary then!

Thanks
Zoltan
 

Rudie

Staff
Local time
Today, 05:53
Joined
Jun 25, 2017
Messages
136
Points
27
Location
GB
My Ride
Several
1978 Triumph T140E
metal bits in the oil. I believe it is aluminum as nothing sticks to a magnet.
I pulled the plugs and see metal specs on the top of both intake valves and pitting of both pistons. The pistons look very clean with almost no carbon buildup.
Current carb set up is
thinking of installing
I don't want to spend the money on either if this will not fix the aluminum in oil problem.
You will likely have to, and more; afaict, your bike has at least two separate problems, plus you have introduced at least one other:-

I started by installing denso w31es 4062 in place of ngk b8es,
These are both wrong:-

. A T140E was originally fitted with Champion N5 plugs. NGK B8ES is the equivalent of Champion N3 fitted to earlier Triumphs.

. ND W31ES are equivalent to a NGK 10 heat range so you've gone in completely the wrong direction, much too 'cold' for a standard engine.

If your bike's engine is standard, if not Champion N5, you require NGK B6ES or ND equivalent.

metal bits in the oil.
can the primary oil get into the engine oil? I ask as the clutch is pretty well worn and definitely slips. I also have the aluminum bits in the primary oil.
As primary and crankcase are connected in your bike's engine, you need to establish whether the something in the primary is the source of the metal in the oil, or the source is somewhere else in the engine.

Know that another reason for "metal bits in the oil" that do not stick to a magnet is the big-end bearings are in the process of destroying themselves. Basically, an oil pressure gauge connected in place of the warning switch in the timing cover will tell you if the oil pressure figures are what the workshop manual says they should be. However, any pressure gauge gauge fitted must have:-

. a 1/8"NPT (National Pipe Tapered) or NPS (National Pipe Straight) male thread - the timing cover is threaded NPS but NPT is more common;

. a flexible hose between male thread and gauge - you will need to be able to ride the bike to warm the engine thoroughly, the workshop manual pressures are for hot oil, cold oil pressures are higher; you will need to mount the gauge where you can see it when riding.

I pulled the plugs and see metal specs on the top of both intake valves and pitting of both pistons. The pistons look very clean with almost no carbon buildup.
looks like a lean fuel condition
Current carb set up is #20 pilot jet, 2c3 needle, 105 needle jet, 200 main and #3 slide. I was thinking of installing #25 pilot, 2a1 needle and 106 pilot jet. It is that or new JRC carbs. I don't want to spend the money on either if this will not fix the aluminum in oil problem.
"the aluminum in oil problem" is unlikely to be caused by "metal specs on the top of both intake valves and pitting of both pistons", the latter is most likely caused by pre-ignition or detonation. While this might be a "lean ... condition" caused by the "glasspack mufflers" reducing exhaust back pressure, it can also be caused simply by the way some owners ride their old Triumphs. :( Regrettably, the combustion chamber is a poor shape for modern fuel and, especially if large throttle openings are used at relatively low engine rpm, it's relatively easy to induce especially detonation even if both induction and exhaust are standard.

Assuming the needle clip is in the in the needle's centre groove, the "Current carb set up" is about standard - that the pilot jet is smaller than original (it should be #25) is unlikely to be a factor in either pre-ignition or detonation. However, if you are checking for/trying to cure a "lean fuel condition", check the main jets/experiment with larger first, before fiddling with the needle and needle jet; any Amal tuning guide will confirm.

However, as your bike "has 24k miles on it", first thing I'd be checking for is excessive clearance between slides and bodies. Slides are replaceable so only worn bodies would be a reason for splashing out on brand-new carbs.

If slide-body clearances are within spec., next I'd replace needle jets (wearing items) and possibly needles, but with standard. If you believe you might want to test for a richer mixture because of the mufflers, add a pair of 220 main jets to your Amal order.

Because Amal suffers badly with fake parts sold online, buy either direct from Amal or, at worst, from a long-time bricks-'n'-mortar spares dealer.
 

zoltt140e

Member
Riding for 39 Years
Local time
Today, 00:53
Joined
Jun 28, 2020
Messages
14
Points
7
Age
55
Location
USA
My Ride
1978 T140E
1969 TR6R
Victory V92C
You will likely have to, and more; afaict, your bike has at least two separate problems, plus you have introduced at least one other:-


These are both wrong:-

. A T140E was originally fitted with Champion N5 plugs. NGK B8ES is the equivalent of Champion N3 fitted to earlier Triumphs.

. ND W31ES are equivalent to a NGK 10 heat range so you've gone in completely the wrong direction, much too 'cold' for a standard engine.

If your bike's engine is standard, if not Champion N5, you require NGK B6ES or ND equivalent.



As primary and crankcase are connected in your bike's engine, you need to establish whether the something in the primary is the source of the metal in the oil, or the source is somewhere else in the engine.

Know that another reason for "metal bits in the oil" that do not stick to a magnet is the big-end bearings are in the process of destroying themselves. Basically, an oil pressure gauge connected in place of the warning switch in the timing cover will tell you if the oil pressure figures are what the workshop manual says they should be. However, any pressure gauge gauge fitted must have:-

. a 1/8"NPT (National Pipe Tapered) or NPS (National Pipe Straight) male thread - the timing cover is threaded NPS but NPT is more common;

. a flexible hose between male thread and gauge - you will need to be able to ride the bike to warm the engine thoroughly, the workshop manual pressures are for hot oil, cold oil pressures are higher; you will need to mount the gauge where you can see it when riding.


"the aluminum in oil problem" is unlikely to be caused by "metal specs on the top of both intake valves and pitting of both pistons", the latter is most likely caused by pre-ignition or detonation. While this might be a "lean ... condition" caused by the "glasspack mufflers" reducing exhaust back pressure, it can also be caused simply by the way some owners ride their old Triumphs. :( Regrettably, the combustion chamber is a poor shape for modern fuel and, especially if large throttle openings are used at relatively low engine rpm, it's relatively easy to induce especially detonation even if both induction and exhaust are standard.

Assuming the needle clip is in the in the needle's centre groove, the "Current carb set up" is about standard - that the pilot jet is smaller than original (it should be #25) is unlikely to be a factor in either pre-ignition or detonation. However, if you are trying to cure a "lean fuel condition", why would you fiddle with the needle and needle jet without either checking for excessive wear or mentioning the main jet? Read any Amal tuning guide and you always fix the main jet first.

However, as your bike "has 24k miles on it", first thing I'd be checking for is excessive clearance between slides and bodies. Slides are replaceable so only worn bodies would be a reason for splashing out on brand-new carbs.

If slide-body clearances are within spec., next I'd replace needle jets (wearing items) and possibly needles, but with standard. If you believe you might want to test for a richer mixture because of the mufflers, add a pair of 220 main jets to your Amal order.

Because Amal suffers badly with fake parts sold online, buy either direct from Amal or, at worst, from a long-time bricks-'n'-mortar spares dealer.
You guys hit a home run. Sure enough it looks like the stator and rotor are touching and the insulator at the back of the stator is worn through by the chain. The winding looks intact however. I am now worried about the serviceability of the stator as the inside insulator has a couple of cracks. The rotor is scratched and slightly worn but no cracks. I would appreciate your opinion on the stator.

Thanks
Zoltan20200630_181035.jpg20200630_180632.jpg20200630_163156.jpg20200630_163214_HDR.jpg
 

Rocky

Still Rocking
Riding for 28 Years
Administrator
Staff
Local time
Today, 01:53
Joined
Jan 28, 2006
Messages
18,386
Points
893
Age
82
Location
Halifax
First Name
Rocky
My Ride
2006 T100 Bonneville
Great that you found it TUP
 

Rudie

Staff
Local time
Today, 05:53
Joined
Jun 25, 2017
Messages
136
Points
27
Location
GB
My Ride
Several
opinion on the stator.
Toast. :( Looks like a new one too ...

You might get away without a new rotor but, if you put it back together with the old one and get a poor charge, toast rotor would have to be something to consider.

Quick check of parts books shows different part numbers for 650 duplex-primary-chain stator mounting studs and 750 triplex-primary-chain stator mounting studs. If the reason for the different part numbers is different lengths to clear the different-width chains, check the f**kwit who assembled your engine's primary didn't use shorter 650 stator mounting studs?
 

zoltt140e

Member
Riding for 39 Years
Local time
Today, 00:53
Joined
Jun 28, 2020
Messages
14
Points
7
Age
55
Location
USA
My Ride
1978 T140E
1969 TR6R
Victory V92C
I will probably err on the side of new rotor and stator. No sense going through all this work + new clutch only to have the pieces come apart at 6k rpm! Didn't the change in primary chains go from duplex to triplex? Looking at the chain width I would have thought it wouldn't even fit never mind run. The amount of insulator removed was not even the depth of a tiny flathead screwdriver. Off to google to find the parts, unless you guys have a recommended vendor.

Thanks
Zoltan
 

grandpaul

Old Bike Lover
Riding for 50 Years
Staff
Local time
Yesterday, 23:53
Joined
Apr 14, 2006
Messages
3,091
Points
272
Age
62
Location
Laredo
My Ride
Legend 900 Triple
You don't have the typical rotor-to-stator rubbing issue, so the aluminum shavings are still a mystery...

(wondering if a spacer got installed behind the primary drive sprocket in error?)

I believe your alternator parts are okay.
 

Rudie

Staff
Local time
Today, 05:53
Joined
Jun 25, 2017
Messages
136
Points
27
Location
GB
My Ride
Several
Off to google to find the parts, unless you guys have a recommended vendor.
Imho, look at the long-time bricks-'n'-mortar dealers first? Mitch Klempf, Baxter, MAP, British Cycle Supply, Walridge, etc.? Also, they should be able to tell you whether the stator mounting studs on your bike are wrong or right?

Also consider a more-powerful alternator? The original single phase alternator (RM21, 10.5A/120W at 5,000 rpm, 75% at 2,400 rpm) was feeble when it was new on your bike; forty plus years on, ime not fit for purpose, especially if you want/have to ride lights on in daylight and/or a better headlight at night? If US spares prices are the same as in the UK, you will find all alternator stators a similar price, so a high output three phase (RM24, 14.5A/180W at 5,000 rpm, 85% at 2,400 rpm) the same physical size as a RM21 starts to look better value? That said, an extra cost would be a three phase regulator/rectifier, Podtronics is another $50 but there are reliable cheap Chinese Shindengen knock-offs on eBay?

If you decide to go for a more powerful alternator, consider what the vendors call "Made In England" - a little more expensive (six pounds here) but the alternative is Wassell "Genuine Lucas" and their ... uh ... "quality control" ...?
 

zoltt140e

Member
Riding for 39 Years
Local time
Today, 00:53
Joined
Jun 28, 2020
Messages
14
Points
7
Age
55
Location
USA
My Ride
1978 T140E
1969 TR6R
Victory V92C
Imho, look at the long-time bricks-'n'-mortar dealers first? Mitch Klempf, Baxter, MAP, British Cycle Supply, Walridge, etc.? Also, they should be able to tell you whether the stator mounting studs on your bike are wrong or right?

Also consider a more-powerful alternator? The original single phase alternator (RM21, 10.5A/120W at 5,000 rpm, 75% at 2,400 rpm) was feeble when it was new on your bike; forty plus years on, ime not fit for purpose, especially if you want/have to ride lights on in daylight and/or a better headlight at night? If US spares prices are the same as in the UK, you will find all alternator stators a similar price, so a high output three phase (RM24, 14.5A/180W at 5,000 rpm, 85% at 2,400 rpm) the same physical size as a RM21 starts to look better value? That said, an extra cost would be a three phase regulator/rectifier, Podtronics is another $50 but there are reliable cheap Chinese Shindengen knock-offs on eBay?

If you decide to go for a more powerful alternator, consider what the vendors call "Made In England" - a little more expensive (six pounds here) but the alternative is Wassell "Genuine Lucas" and their ... uh ... "quality control" ...?
Sounds like something to consider. I was thinking the insulator that is cracked between the magnets does it actually hold the magnets in place? Or are the magnets mounted to the ring that mounts to the studs?

Thanks
Zoltan
 

grandpaul

Old Bike Lover
Riding for 50 Years
Staff
Local time
Yesterday, 23:53
Joined
Apr 14, 2006
Messages
3,091
Points
272
Age
62
Location
Laredo
My Ride
Legend 900 Triple
Coils are held to the laminated steel plate
 
Last edited:

Rudie

Staff
Local time
Today, 05:53
Joined
Jun 25, 2017
Messages
136
Points
27
Location
GB
My Ride
Several
insulator that is cracked
magnets
Paul is thinking of some other component.

The only magnets in the alternator components are in the rotor. The six metal squares you can see in the inner circumference of the stator are the coil cores - a single phase Lucas stator has six coils of wire, each wound around an iron core, you can see one of the coils exposed at about the 5 o'clock position in:-



As each rotor magnet passes a stator coil, the magnetism induces electron movement in the coil's wire, electron movement is the basis of the electricity from the stator.

Because the six rotor magnets are arranged alternately with their North and South poles at the outer circumference of the rotor, the direction of the electron movement induced in a given coil alternates, depending whether a North or South magnetic pole happens to be passing that coil. Because the electron movement direction alternates, an alternator generates Alternating Current, aka "AC".

The baby-sick-colour stuff around most of the stator isn't really an "insulator" as such - before about the mid-1960's, Lucas stators didn't have it, the stator coil wires were visible. The baby-sick-colour stuff more just protects the stator coils from vibration, hot oil and any debris flying around in the primary.
 

zoltt140e

Member
Riding for 39 Years
Local time
Today, 00:53
Joined
Jun 28, 2020
Messages
14
Points
7
Age
55
Location
USA
My Ride
1978 T140E
1969 TR6R
Victory V92C
Paul is thinking of some other component.

The only magnets in the alternator components are in the rotor. The six metal squares you can see in the inner circumference of the stator are the coil cores - a single phase Lucas stator has six coils of wire, each wound around an iron core, you can see one of the coils exposed at about the 5 o'clock position in:-



As each rotor magnet passes a stator coil, the magnetism induces electron movement in the coil's wire, electron movement is the basis of the electricity from the stator.

Because the six rotor magnets are arranged alternately with their North and South poles at the outer circumference of the rotor, the direction of the electron movement induced in a given coil alternates, depending whether a North or South magnetic pole happens to be passing that coil. Because the electron movement direction alternates, an alternator generates Alternating Current, aka "AC".

The baby-sick-colour stuff around most of the stator isn't really an "insulator" as such - before about the mid-1960's, Lucas stators didn't have it, the stator coil wires were visible. The baby-sick-colour stuff more just protects the stator coils from vibration, hot oil and any debris flying around in the primary.
Great information! After disassembling the primary chain adjuster and clutch what a mess. There is bits of metal everywhere. The clutch hub puller tool doesn't go one more then a quarter to half turn and the threads look 'rough' so I ordered another tool. I want to pull every thing apart as the most metal I found was in the primary. I unintentionally mislead myself and you guys as when I gather these metal bits on a q tip and put them in the middle of a strong round magnet they stick. So it doesn't look to be aluminum unless I have multiple issues! Early on when I gently swirled the same magnet in the oil drained from the tank nothing appeared to stick to it. Now there is plenty. The metal clutch plates look burnt in places and there is not much fiber left on the other plates. The tangs on the plates look pretty chewed up. I am going to disassemble everything in the primary as I cleaned out some pretty big pieces from the thingy at the top of the primary that leads to the vent. I assume that is the drain to the engine sump? Yikes way too much shiny stuff for me. Grandpaul and Rude you made me look in places I didn't think. Thanks you may have saved a life (engine).

Zoltan
 
Premium

Support TriumphTalk by becoming a Premium Member.

 What You Get

Donate

 

 

Search

Top Bottom