Tbird Engine Noise And Belt Drive Issues

dazco

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Interesting. That sounds like a very possible reason for the knock but i have a hard time believing they couldn't just retool for a piston with a different pin location after spending years of development on this bike. Second, the notion or issues with emissions complacency sound even more suspicious due to the following. In the second model year of the Tbird triumph removed the air injection from the model from that year on because they said the emissions were so low it was not needed and the bike easily met the regs w/o it. Now granted, the regs keep changing but when a bike is THAT good as emissions go i can't see them being too polluting after a 9 year run and still without air injection that if true they certainly would have put back in in the later years of the model. So if i had to wager i would be that was company BS to save face for the real reason(s) which are likely poor sales and.or the knocking issue, both of which knowing triumph they would never cop to.
 

Slingshot

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If you are in an area where the Triumph Tigers are going to be displayed https://www.fortheadventure.com/ feel free to talk to the dude driving the monster truck. Then LMK what you think.
 

dazco

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I;d never get there. The nearest dealer is now about 30-40 miles away after mine stopped being a triumph dealer. But i did just have to go to one for a part and had a conversation with the parts guy and he said the main reason was lack of sales and he told me about what his shop noticed. He said when the TB arrived in mid 09 they sold very well until the storm came out, then sales went totally down the tubes. He said no idea why that was but he said they couldn't give them away at that point. Seems odd since the storm gave you a 1700 stock. All i can think is maybe people didn;t like the Tbird in blacked out form. Can't think of anything else than that. The initial birds were very different looking with chromes and gloss colors while the storm was all blacked out with black of flat black tanks. To my eye the original colors with chrome look a lot better, maybe i'm in the majority there. Not sure why else it stopped selling. But i do still thing the fact triumph has had a lot of customers complaining abut that noise and many had thier top ends warranteed only to have them start it again after 500 miles. I'm pretty sure that wasn't the only reason it was discontinued but i'd wager it contributed.
 

AZCactus

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Hi Guys-
My Bird doesn't have clacks, knocks or shivers lol ...she runs great (big bore 1700), a fantastic motor! Cheers.
 

Fred Flynn

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Slingshot,
My research into the noise led me to the same conclusion. It's a basic design feature that exists in all Thunderbird engines; that being the geometry between the wrist pin, the rings, and the crankshaft develops a thrust angle that causes the piston to "tilt" when the cylinder fires, making the skirt slap the cylinder wall. The concerns would be that the skirt begins to wear causing metal shavings that lead to crank bearing failure: not too likely since the pistons are cast aluminum. Or that the skirt fails, breaks off and "lets all the smoke out"; again not likely since the skirt is quite short. Longer piston skirts would help quell the noise, but don't resolve the issue and are limited by the crank throw. And the bigger bore of the 1700 exacerbates the issue, which is why you don't notice it as much in the early Thunderbird 1600's. So the piston/sleeve rebuild is not a fix, at most a band-aid if you can get pistons with longer skirts. Real fix is going to involve a serious re-engineering. Maybe another reason Triumph decided to discontinue the engine.

Figure I'd be better off buying a low mile 1600 motor and putting it on the shelf for the day the motor gives up.
 

Slingshot

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"Answer was the wrist pin was in the wrong position (either to high/low) causing it to rock at certain PRM's under slight load"
Agree with you, one would think a slight rocking motion would result in metal shavings/some catastrophic failure. One would also think with modern CAD/CAM any issues such as that would be avoided....even with the short stroke. It is just that "Perfect Storm" moment of RPM under a slight load this occurs/does in my experience. Octane, different weight lubricants including oil stabilizers have not made a difference in my bike. Not an automotive engineer nor pretend to be......I'd like to see a company like Wiseco have a go at it to rule it out......or just simply say it can't be done with the existing engine.....like you say a serious re-engineering.

Like your idea of finding a 1600....and have never heard of the issue with that motor. My bigger fear at this point is not being able to find parts going forward. I'd probably stand to make more money parting it out than selling it.....value of these have gone by the wayside.
 

dazco

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The only thing i don't get is the randomness of it. Mine will go without the knock at all anywhere from days, weeks, and even months closing in on an entire year at one point. Then it will do it most of the time for days or weeks, tho usually only days before it "corrects itself". So if thats what it is i just don't understand that. If it were random in a way that had it knocking one day then quiet the next back and fourth never going more then a few day one way or the other, i could see it then. But to go weeks or months without it then at time with it for a week or more....that just doesn't seem to make sense if that what it is.
I have thought of selling mine and finding a low mile 1600 too tho.Actually found one a few months ago and considered it but i'm just not in a good place to do that right now. Mine has 70,000 mile anyways so i wouldn't mind a complete renewing. And i just may. Tho i really hate to lose any power. I'd likely put a set of 1700 cams in it as some have done. That should get very close. In any case, they have a new 1200 speed twin i would like to ride but even 9.25 years on this is still my dream bike ad the best bike i have ever had the pleasure to ride, that is when that damn noise ain't happening !
 

DaveM

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I know that engine noise is a bit thing for you as well and you don't do well with it. I am the opposite I like to hear some noise when I am riding.
 

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I like to hear exhaust noise myself(but not loud obnoxious noise), and "proper" mechanical sounds coming from my bike's engine.
When you hear noises that shouldn't be there, then that tends to take away from the riding enjoyment and adds some worries.
 

dazco

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I agree, i have no problem with NORMAL engine noise. You'd rally have to hear mine when it;s at it;s worse to understand and i really doubt anyone who did wouldn't have issues with it. Luckily i have made progress in keeping it at a minimum so it's not bad at all now. But you never know with this issue what tomorrow holds. But when it;s running it's best theres no bike i have ever owned that is in the same league. Thats probably why i've held onto it for 9.25 yeas so far. I'll likely never sell it with how little i;d get with 70,000 on it. It;s worth far more to me that what i'd get so may as well keep it and get a second more economical and easier to maintain bike and save the Tbird for the long rides.
 

Fizzlesticks6

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Bought a 2013 Tbird Storm used at the dealer a few weeks back. 23k miles, almost 24. They don't allow test rides so I threw into the deal that I'd buy it if they covered any issues I discovered in a reasonable amount of time. Drove it home and immediately noticed that under load between 2k and 3k rpm there was a clacking noise I've never heard before except maybe on an old Yamaha Virago I had back in the day. As the dealer had already made arrangements to do a valve adjust/check the following week I wasn't too concerned.
Filled up the gas tank and noticed the fuel gauge didn't budge either. Cycled properly during startup but always showed totally empty.
Rode the bike a total of about 40 miles and brought it back to the dealer two days early due to the above issues. They are replacing the cam chain and , "hope that fixes it". I've posted about this elsewhere on other threads so it may look familiar to some of you.
I've owned 32 motorcycles and loved the look of the Triumph, plus I never owned one. We'll see what happens when I get the bike back but in all honesty, I'll probably just sell it. I've read too much about this issue and it does not inspire confidence. I bought a liquid cooled bike to hear the exhaust, not the motor.
I have a 98 Honda Shadow Tourer 1100 that doesn't make a peep of noise and it's got 33k miles on it. Bought it since my Triumph is in the shop.
 

DaveM

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Strange they never let you ride it before you purchased it seeing it was already used.
 

Fizzlesticks6

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The really odd thing? They DO allow test rides of new bikes. Crazy.
 

DaveM

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I think they were trying to hide the problems that this bike had from you.
 

dazco

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I think they were trying to hide the problems that this bike had from you.
I have no doubt ! It's the only thing that makes sense. Luckily mine doesn't do it all the time, in fact it hasn't done it more then maybe 5% of the time in recent times. I used this injector cleaner that really brought my bike to life like no other additive i have ever used maybe 4 months or so ago, and since then the clacking noise has gone away for the most part. I think it is a sort of harmonic that happens only when the starts are aligned just right if u will. And ckleaning the injectors brought the bike back to a more optimal state in which that noise cannot happen easily. When it runs like it has been lately it's just a incredible bike like no other i have ever owned or ridden. Too bad triumph cruisers just don't sell because if they did i have zero doubt the Tbird issues would have been dealt with long ago and the bike would be one of the most sought after cruisers out there. Such a shame. The only possible silver lining is that there are rumors of a new cruiser to take it's place, and if true it will no doubt be free from the issues the Tbird had and will be even better in most respects the same way the air cooled bonnies and variants were much improved in the new water cooled lines. It's just a shame that so many people view a triumph cruiser as some sort of oddball like a ferarri van. To my way of thinking triumph makes the best cruisers.
 
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