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Water in my primary chain case #786507 10/07/19 10:36 pm
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MikeinBiddeford Offline OP
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There is water in my primary chain case. I can tell by the way the oil looks. I looks more like regular coffee. Before I rebuilt the engine last winter I had a water problem in there too.
I ran it last week and got it nice and warmed up and then I took the inspection cover off in hopes that the water would evaporate.
But more importantly, I'd like to know how the water is getting in there in the first place. The bike sits in a garage. And second, How do I stop it from happening again?

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Re: Water in my primary chain case [Re: MikeinBiddeford] #786518 10/08/19 12:37 am
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Being in Maine, you have some pretty extreme temperature swings, especially in the spring and fall. Condensation is probably the culprit. need to find a storage place with a bit more 'climate control'

Steve


'77 T140J
"Vintage Bike". What's in your garage?

"The paying customer is always right."

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Re: Water in my primary chain case [Re: MikeinBiddeford] #786521 10/08/19 1:05 am
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Short rides and high humidity = water. Look at the water dripping out of a car tailpipe after a short ride.


1968 T120R
1972 T120RV
Any advice given is without a warranty expressed or implied.
Re: Water in my primary chain case [Re: MikeinBiddeford] #786523 10/08/19 1:20 am
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Yep, you need to move to more temperate climate. Oh, best check the gearbox. They're rather notorious for collecting water, too, with some detrimental effects.
Cheers,
Bill


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1985 Honda Nighthawk 650
1957 Thunderbird/T110 "Black Tiger"
Antique Fans: Loads of Emersons (Two six wingers) plus gyros and orbiters.
Re: Water in my primary chain case [Re: MikeinBiddeford] #786538 10/08/19 2:38 am
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Which model? If you have inspection caps with the breather hole or the engine breaths through the primary then that is the entry point. The seal from the crank and behind the clutch have a single lip. When the primary heats up the air expands and contracts when cools. The lip faces inward to keep the oil in so it has less restriction to keep anything coming in.
Triples have a small hole in the upper front of the gearbox cover for breathing. I am not sure if the twins are the same but that is one point that water gets into the gearbox.

Re: Water in my primary chain case [Re: MikeinBiddeford] #786551 10/08/19 8:24 am
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Hi Mike, What year & model bike do you have?

Primary breather models have a huge propensity for condensation to collect in primary from normal combustion blow by as well as normal condensation from temperature changes, adding up to huge amount of water in some cases. Short trip riding is the worst. Water settles to bottom under oil so it doesn't evaporate. Often takes running motor for a few hours to evaporate the water. Triumph was aware of this early on. I guess they figured it was better than the spitting of oil the earlier system did.

This can cause severe rusting of parts in primary case. I've worked on a few where even the roller bearings in basket rusted solid. Everything needed replacing. Was ridden only a few miles to work & back, plus owner never once changed primary oil....

I have never seen water build up like this in a '69 or older primary.

I've seen water in the lower outer trans cover often in both '69 & older models as well as primary breather unit 650 & 750 twins. About the same amount & it's common to see rust on the shifter parts in outer cover. Also the right main shaft bearing I've seen rust in. I've seen this in bikes never washed or ridden in rain. I do mostly 60+ miles rides & still I see moisture down there. It doesn't seem to get hot enough to fully evaporate. I have no experience with pre unit.

'69 & older unit 650 transmission has vent hole drilled in the outer trans cover just above the gear shift shaft in front of the top front stud for the U plate that holds plungers. This just goes to the atmosphere with no real protection, but I've not seen rain water enter, but spraying water up the hollow of outer cover where oil feed lines go will put water into vent hole. Primary case vents through clutch push rod bore into trans.

'70 & later primary breather bikes this vent hole was eliminated & the trans now vents through clutch rod bore into primary. Primary vents out top rear of primary.

If spraying water behind trans cover, water can also enter by the shift quadrant gear pivot shaft on right foot shift models. This is a common source of leak/seeping.

as was stated, any of the screw in covers that aren't sealed will leak as well as water running down clutch cable. I've seen water in so many bikes that never get wet it has to be all from condensation.
Don


1973 Tiger 750
Re: Water in my primary chain case [Re: MikeinBiddeford] #786559 10/08/19 11:28 am
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Changing the oil sounds like a sensible option.


Amateur Loctite enthusiast.
Re: Water in my primary chain case [Re: MikeinBiddeford] #786585 10/08/19 6:00 pm
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Combustion gases are around 13% water
I suspect even if the crank main is sealed
some amount of blow-by gets puffed into the primary where
This moisture then has a good opportunity to condense .
Rather than pass through as vapor .


if the bike is stored under a roof ... but has water condensed on the outside metal surfaces during Cold Storage
unless the primary is hermetically sealed [Linked Image from thesevenworlds.files.wordpress.com]
water will condense on the inside too

.

Re: Water in my primary chain case [Re: MikeinBiddeford] #786592 10/08/19 9:35 pm
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So what you all are saying is there has not been a way to stop this?
Is the solution; drain it after intermittent use?

Re: Water in my primary chain case [Re: MikeinBiddeford] #786594 10/08/19 9:45 pm
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If you're not going to move to warmer conditions, then the bike should be kept in a climate controlled environment where it cannot fall below the dew point. The dew point is the temperature where the moisture condenses out of the atmosphere onto whatever is convenient, like the inside of your bike.
We rarely reach dew point here in Hawaii, even with relative humidity of greater than 50% average.
Cheers,
Bill


Bikes
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1985 Honda Nighthawk 650
1957 Thunderbird/T110 "Black Tiger"
Antique Fans: Loads of Emersons (Two six wingers) plus gyros and orbiters.
Re: Water in my primary chain case [Re: MikeinBiddeford] #786597 10/08/19 10:31 pm
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Have you told us which year and model the bike is?

All Triumph twins can suffer this to an extent, but the breather arrangement post 1970 in which all combustion blow-by passes through the chaincase makes them particularly prone.

Re: Water in my primary chain case [Re: MikeinBiddeford] #786609 10/09/19 1:19 am
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...hello; I decided to enter the conversation due to I live in a very humid place; included the room where the bikes are. Almost all the year with more than 85% of humidity and cold; plus rain. Similar to Scotland I guess.
I really use the bikes; however; (the pre unit is parked since the car hits me an year ago, due to no more spark from the Hunt magneto. Very possibly due to the humidity but I still cannot solved it so I dedicated to rebuild the 79 that was the crushed one)
I have been cut on several big rains with this Bonneville 79 that I have since March 2018. I put about 8000kms and no any condensation inside the primary (I opened it several times; to change stuff there; last time few weeks ago after arrived from Argentina---1300km--)
No condensation inside the first part of the gbox.
I am not optimistic as the Triumph manual that says to change the gbox oil every 9000km!; so I changed 3 times in these 8000km and always good too.
Possibly is due to this rotary pump that for some reason let the oil drain so couple of times I had 700cc!! in the primary...other times seems that I have plenty of oil there but the pump pumps it very fast to the reservoir. May be all that do not let the water stay for too long? Like cleaning always?

However, the pre unit is prone to condensation and the primaries are pretty poor with those poor gaskets and the water really enter there. I barely put oil there due to leaks all over so mostly I have been riding oil less there but is hot inside there.


No condensation in my other 79 project. At one point I decided to tear it apart all the NEW rebuilt engine to see if has some rust inside due to long time on the bench but all perfectly clean and good.

Re: Water in my primary chain case [Re: MikeinBiddeford] #786610 10/09/19 1:37 am
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It is a 1971 TR6C

Re: Water in my primary chain case [Re: MikeinBiddeford] #786614 10/09/19 2:02 am
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Hi Mike, You could siphon the oil out of primary & refill with new oil (150cc) before storage. That's about as best you can do.

Or ride the bike several hours before parking for the year.

There is no real answer I suppose.
Don


1973 Tiger 750
Re: Water in my primary chain case [Re: MikeinBiddeford] #786616 10/09/19 2:12 am
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Reverb--you use your bike virtually every day and often for long distances.
This gives the breathing system a good opportunity to drive off any condensation.
If you do short journeys in a cold humid environment then you are much more likely to get condensation within the engine.
HTH

Re: Water in my primary chain case [Re: Tridentman] #786795 10/11/19 1:45 pm
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"If you do short journeys in a cold humid environment then you are much more likely to get condensation within the engine." = Biddeford, Maine


'77 T140J
"Vintage Bike". What's in your garage?

"The paying customer is always right."

Fitting round pegs into square holes since 1961...
Re: Water in my primary chain case [Re: MikeinBiddeford] #786859 10/11/19 10:22 pm
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Thanks guys. It was not the response I was looking for. I was hoping for something like "Put a cork in the breather when you are done riding. It will blow off when you start it and be on the garage floor when you get back" or "Take the timing cover off after a ride and put an old light bulb under the primary for a day after a ride to dry things out a bit".
I was not looking for "Too bad. You're stuck."

Re: Water in my primary chain case [Re: MikeinBiddeford] #786902 10/12/19 2:58 pm
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Rob Harper Offline
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I'm afraid you're going to get that response a lot in dealing with a bike designed a loooong time ago. You might check where the alternator wire exits the primary, I've used a sealant to get it nice and tight. I have the same bike, incidentally

Re: Water in my primary chain case [Re: MikeinBiddeford] #787009 10/13/19 8:50 pm
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I took the primary cover off and removed all of the oil and put it back together with a fresh gasket and 350cc of oil. I kicked it over 6 times but didn't start it.
I'm going to get me one of these.

https://www.amazon.com/Instant-Imme...coffee+cup&qid=1570999193&sr=8-2

I'll plug it in and keep an eye on the temperature.
I will also put in a cup full of oil and see how hot the cup will get. The idea is to boil off any water but not cook the oil.
I'll report back when I know anything.

cheers
Mike in Biddeford

Re: Water in my primary chain case [Re: MikeinBiddeford] #787011 10/13/19 9:22 pm
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desco Online Happy
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You put in 200 cc's too much. The book is wrong. Unless you are a real manly man, you probably don't ride around Maine too much in the winter. Just pull the primary cover and leave it off. Drain the gearbox if you are worried about that.

http://gabma.us/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/storage.pdf


1968 T120R
1972 T120RV
Any advice given is without a warranty expressed or implied.
Re: Water in my primary chain case [Re: MikeinBiddeford] #787012 10/13/19 9:23 pm
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quinten Online Happy
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where are you planning to stick that thing ?

Here's a better silly idea .
[Linked Image from etrailer.com]
it uses peel and stick tape .
Stick it on the bottom of the primary cover .
it might stick and not be to ugly ... just remember to unplug and tuck the cord in
so it does not drag on the ground .
https://www.etrailer.com/Vehicle-He...A2JCa5QIVD9NkCh0E9AyTEAkYCiABEgLxtvD_BwE

Re: Water in my primary chain case [Re: MikeinBiddeford] #787013 10/13/19 9:31 pm
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http://gabma.us/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/milky_oil.pdf

The GAMBA site has a lot of good tech articles.


1968 T120R
1972 T120RV
Any advice given is without a warranty expressed or implied.
Re: Water in my primary chain case [Re: MikeinBiddeford] #787037 Yesterday at 05:17 AM
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reverb Offline
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...like TR7RVMan mentioned, is 150cc not 350cc. The oil is for the chain only; you never ever are in the need of so much oil there.

Re: Water in my primary chain case [Re: MikeinBiddeford] #787038 Yesterday at 06:00 AM
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On another tangent, how do you wash your bike? Those modern pressure washers cause all kinds of mayhem on new and old bikes.


3D TV: A format that lost a format war without even having an opponent.
Bikes: '69 T120 on average (1967 rolling frame and 1971 Bonnie engine) + '56 1/2 T110 on average (58 rolling frame - with 55 iron head engine)
Re: Water in my primary chain case [Re: MikeinBiddeford] #787043 Yesterday at 11:54 AM
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The shop manual says 350cc and the picture shows the oil up to the lower stator stud. So I'm going to stick with that.

No. I never power wash the bike. I wouldn't do that to the old girl.

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