Needle & Jet - Update

Twin Pots

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Like me, and I suspect many others, I always like to hear the end of the story, so here it is. Some may remember I was having what appeared to be a plug oiling problem with a recently purchased 1967 Bonneville. Plugs needed cleaning every 150-200km due to misfire or complete plug failure on one cylinder, always the right. My biggest fear of course being it was oil from the bore or valve guides. Good engineering practice always suggest start with the easy things first. So I did. After extensive research I decided to replace the needles and needle jets in my Concentric carbs. I also changed from NGK to Champion spark plugs (not actually available in Australia) and for no other reason than I always used Champion in the UK. I can now report a failure free distance so far covered of 2600 kms without removing the plugs, even to check them. It has become an experiment now not to remove the plugs until they next misbehave. The Triumph has become my Sunday bike covering between 200 - 300 km every Sunday. It starts, runs and idles without any problem. It uses the original points set up and has never missed a beat. I normally cruise at 90 kph to 100 kph simply to be gentle on the engine but wind it up and its surprisingly fast and smooth. Just have to remember that unlike my FJR, I have to twist the throttle almost twice as much to achieve fully open! Still no oil drips and yes, there is still oil inside, I checked. The new gearbox spring in the outer casing I replaced did the job and I now have four gears again. A nice simple cheap repair. I used a new gasket and just copperslip grease rather than sealant so as to avoid damaging the seal should I need to remove it in the future. No oil leaks from this either. Recently started using 98 octane fuel and it does seem to like it. For the moment at least I have a solid reliable bike that I would happily use for everyday transport just as Triumph originally intended.
 

Greyfell

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Rocky

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triumph david

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(y) :), Now that's is the way it should be.
 

CarlS

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That is good to hear. Thank you for the update. TUP TUP
 

Nortony

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Just our of curiosity next time you have a chance perform a compression test on both cylinders, and check that the NGK plugs are what’s spec’ed for you bike. Certainly adjusting the needle height and utilizing the right needle jets will make a difference on the bike running rich or lean, but if it was running rich before the spark plug switch it should have appeared on both cylinders. Did you swap the plugs from side to side and still get and oily plug only on the right side?
If it was the left side one could assume it might be due to the bike sitting on the side stand, but that’s not the case and you say you ride it weekly. In any case it appears that your problem has been solved, my suggestions are for other members of the forum as well as for any future related issues you might have. Good luck
 

rodsridin

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Thanks for the followup report.
 

Twin Pots

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Just our of curiosity next time you have a chance perform a compression test on both cylinders, and check that the NGK plugs are what’s spec’ed for you bike. Certainly adjusting the needle height and utilizing the right needle jets will make a difference on the bike running rich or lean, but if it was running rich before the spark plug switch it should have appeared on both cylinders. Did you swap the plugs from side to side and still get and oily plug only on the right side?
If it was the left side one could assume it might be due to the bike sitting on the side stand, but that’s not the case and you say you ride it weekly. In any case it appears that your problem has been solved, my suggestions are for other members of the forum as well as for any future related issues you might have. Good luck
Hi N, thanks for your interest. At the beginning of my original post on plug problems I did investigate the items you suggested. The NGK plugs were correct and I experimented up and down on the heat range slightly to no effect. I invested in a compression tester and both sides were identical. It was always the right plug that misfired first and looked oily (or wet). Due to the new needles and jets curing the problem I can only guess that there was a difference in the needle jet wear on the right side. The old needles and jets were the same but as is always the case with an unknown history of servicing maybe only one was replaced at some time or they just simply wore out slightly differently. All I know is I did a lot of research with the conclusion that many old Triumph mechanics swore by the importance of the needles and jets being in tip top condition. Sadly no information on how long they last but I suppose if your bike misbehaves look to changing the needles and jets first and as pair (this is my suggestion as it is almost impossible to determine wear on the needle taper). I can imagine the needle constantly rubbing in the jet causes significant wear quite quickly and all of it in that all important first third throttle opening. No doubt if you rode everywhere at full throttle as many probably did back in the day this problem never showed itself. Me, I hardly go past third throttle now. Over 3100km now with no further plug problems. Apart from fitting Champion plugs, which I admit did not cure the problem, the only change made was the needles and jets. As the T shirt said "Change the Needles and Jets Stupid" (see original post).
 

Lowboyjim

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thanks for the infoi have had this problem before and was flustrated, its no wonder it happens ,the needle's are hard tread the numbers, I have a stash of old jets needles etc. , im gonna order some needles and jets, amal now recommends the same setupfor a lot of the t120s most of the rebuild stuff for the motors pistons and cams etc are the same , in the 60s triumph changed cams and pistons a lot, off the subject I read a book that was fantastic if your a triumph buff,its tales of meridian by Hughie hancox -a factory employee from the early fiftys to its closing he worked in all the departments and was a renound restorer sadly he has passed a few years back I bought 3 of his tapes on rebuilding triumphs . he was very informative and theres some funny tales in there too jim krist lowboy
 

Rocky

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I have that Hancox book TUP
 

Twin Pots

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thanks for the infoi have had this problem before and was flustrated, its no wonder it happens ,the needle's are hard tread the numbers, I have a stash of old jets needles etc. , im gonna order some needles and jets, amal now recommends the same setupfor a lot of the t120s most of the rebuild stuff for the motors pistons and cams etc are the same , in the 60s triumph changed cams and pistons a lot, off the subject I read a book that was fantastic if your a triumph buff,its tales of meridian by Hughie hancox -a factory employee from the early fiftys to its closing he worked in all the departments and was a renound restorer sadly he has passed a few years back I bought 3 of his tapes on rebuilding triumphs . he was very informative and theres some funny tales in there too jim krist lowboy
Hi LB, pleased my experience helped. Is this not the purpose of a great forum like this? Save a lot of time and money if we can learn from each other. I guess the problem is that these days we just take it for granted that bikes and cars are built to be almost service free and run forever. That just wasn't a concept even considered back then. No way you could sell a new Triumph such as mine today. The service intervals on all the different items would be considered ridiculous to put it mildly. Funny how things work out. To me it's these very things that make owning the Triumph such fun. Like the sound of that book, will look into getting a copy. I see you have a 1960 T120, very nice. My first Triumph when I was 17 was a pre unit Thunderbird. Would love another pre unit but hard to get hold of here. From memory I originally had 180 needle jets fitted. I bought new 190's as this seems to be the correct ones for my 67 T120 fitted with Concentrics. The needles used across the triumph range at that time appear to be all the same. I think it's the one with the two small grooves at the top for identification.
 

Twin Pots

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Hi to all those who have read the Hancox books. There are two books available and I was wondering which is the best or do you all have both books?
 

Rocky

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I have only the one, Triumph Motorcycles & Tales From The Meriden Factory.
 

Lowboyjim

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Hi LB, pleased my experience helped. Is this not the purpose of a great forum like this? Save a lot of time and money if we can learn from each other. I guess the problem is that these days we just take it for granted that bikes and cars are built to be almost service free and run forever. That just wasn't a concept even considered back then. No way you could sell a new Triumph such as mine today. The service intervals on all the different items would be considered ridiculous to put it mildly. Funny how things work out. To me it's these very things that make owning the Triumph such fun. Like the sound of that book, will look into getting a copy. I see you have a 1960 T120, very nice. My first Triumph when I was 17 was a pre unit Thunderbird. Would love another pre unit but hard to get hold of here. From memory I originally had 180 needle jets fitted. I bought new 190's as this seems to be the correct ones for my 67 T120 fitted with Concentrics. The needles used across the triumph range at that time appear to be all the same. I think it's the one with the two small grooves at the top for identification.
2pots- I do not hace a 1960 t120 , I have a 56 6t a 57 tr6 and a 59 bonni, I restored all 3 I love these pre units , I had a 55 t110 a real beauty I got it from guy returning from the army to raise a family it had 300 dollars in chrome and painted a beautifull metallic blue, I was young and foolish and didn't keep it, that was in 1960 , 8 years ago or so I had a 2nd chance not far from here a guy was selling a 56 thunderbird that he couldn't get running , it was painted stock 55 colors and had a new magneto -in 56 the t110's were the 55 color he didn't know the difference and painted it 55 color, it had a bunch a wrong stuff on it , tr6 seat and fender with 9 to one pistons and thecrank was never rebalanced- your hands would buzz for a hour after a 3o mi ride. I got it home and cleaned the 930 carb they had on it , kicked it a hundred times and every once in a while it would fart. I went to bed that nite and lay there thinking how lucky I was to have another bike so close to the one I had in 1960. and remembered parking it at a bar and pranksters would switch the plug leads and it would fart once in a while, I fell asleep grinning I was in the shop early that morning switched the wires and got a couple a purrs and bang she started, I rode it and didled with it 2 years and tore it down , powder coated the frame got the correct fenders and had them painted to match the tank, did a sludge trap up rebuild on the motor with 7 to one pistons and the correct amal 376 carb , it realy should have a SU but I don't know anything about them. the buzzing went away- to the average triumph guys eye it looks like a 55t110 only the vin # 6T gives it away my other 2 pre units the 57 and 59 were advertised locally by a widow I paid considerable for them as far as preunits goes but the 59 bonni is very rare and the 57 almost as rare, they were in terrible shape- rusted and unreconizeable. some time I will post some pictures of them if this site will allow ,they had sat in a barn since 1966 and I think thru a flood once I have restored them both. the 57 wheels had to be trashed but the 59's were green but no pits and cleaned up nicely and if you don't ride it in the rain stay that way , the originals in this shape are worth more than reproductions . sorry I got carried away here hey I did attach 4 pics these are my canvases
 

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Twin Pots

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Triumph Bonneville 1967
FJR 1300 Yamaha
Thanks for the info LB. That Bonni will be worth a few bob (correct 60's UK terminology for expensive).
I also love the way you don't surround your houses with fencing. Its looks so much better. In the UK and here in Australia they put up ugly non matching fences everywhere, looks terrible.
 

CarlS

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2pots- I do not hace a 1960 t120 , I have a 56 6t a 57 tr6 and a 59 bonni, I restored all 3 I love these pre units , I had a 55 t110 a real beauty I got it from guy returning from the army to raise a family it had 300 dollars in chrome and painted a beautifull metallic blue, I was young and foolish and didn't keep it, that was in 1960 , 8 years ago or so I had a 2nd chance not far from here a guy was selling a 56 thunderbird that he couldn't get running , it was painted stock 55 colors and had a new magneto -in 56 the t110's were the 55 color he didn't know the difference and painted it 55 color, it had a bunch a wrong stuff on it , tr6 seat and fender with 9 to one pistons and thecrank was never rebalanced- your hands would buzz for a hour after a 3o mi ride. I got it home and cleaned the 930 carb they had on it , kicked it a hundred times and every once in a while it would fart. I went to bed that nite and lay there thinking how lucky I was to have another bike so close to the one I had in 1960. and remembered parking it at a bar and pranksters would switch the plug leads and it would fart once in a while, I fell asleep grinning I was in the shop early that morning switched the wires and got a couple a purrs and bang she started, I rode it and didled with it 2 years and tore it down , powder coated the frame got the correct fenders and had them painted to match the tank, did a sludge trap up rebuild on the motor with 7 to one pistons and the correct amal 376 carb , it realy should have a SU but I don't know anything about them. the buzzing went away- to the average triumph guys eye it looks like a 55t110 only the vin # 6T gives it away my other 2 pre units the 57 and 59 were advertised locally by a widow I paid considerable for them as far as preunits goes but the 59 bonni is very rare and the 57 almost as rare, they were in terrible shape- rusted and unreconizeable. some time I will post some pictures of them if this site will allow ,they had sat in a barn since 1966 and I think thru a flood once I have restored them both. the 57 wheels had to be trashed but the 59's were green but no pits and cleaned up nicely and if you don't ride it in the rain stay that way , the originals in this shape are worth more than reproductions . sorry I got carried away here hey I did attach 4 pics these are my canvases
Thanks for the pics. Fine looking bikes. You do great work! TUP
 

Lowboyjim

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Thanks for the pics. Fine looking bikes. You do great work! TUP
my next project is a 68 -I got the low end done and the frame powdercoated and ready for the motor , im finishing a 66t120r now then a pesky transmission on my 65, and I can get to the 68. my friend dusty coppage (passed ) won the Barstow to vegas desert race on a 68 or 69 tr6. jim
 
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