A quick introduction. I own a 1966 Triumph Trophy 650 (TR6R). It underwent a complete restoration by the PO before being garaged for almost 2 years. I bought it from the PO after he went through his old stuff and decided he had no time for the bike. I will try to post some pics as soon as I figure everything out with this board. Now, to the good stuff:
Well, I have been using this site for a long time, and finally have a decent technical question I can't find an answer to by simply searching. My clutch lever began acting up about a week ago. Every time I would pull the lever in, the clutch would disengage (mostly) but would then make a loud popping noise and the lever would not snap back when I released pressure from it. I pulled the side cover and had a look at the neat ball-bearing contraption that the lever actuates. When not being pressed on by the clutch pack rod that runs through the case, the lever would snap back into position when actuated.
After some more digging and general fiddling (including a fair amount of beer) I believe the problem is the return spring on the mechanism that the clutch lever actuates (no idea what it is actually called, and none of my manuals talk about it). I have not been able to remove the piece and break it down to check the spring, but wanted to come here and get some information from you guys (also needed to finally make an introduction after about 2 months of scouring the forum without posting).
Only thing I can find right now is a hydraulic replacement (but that retrofit would run me almost a grand to set up). I was hoping to be able to keep the stock cable mechanisms as I would like the bike to stay as original as possible. Any ideas for a fix from the crowd?
Firstly congrats on buying such a nice bike! From what you describe it sounds as if something is overstroking. Do a search on here for clutch adjustment and make sure everything is just as it should be. Nothing wrong with the standard set up so no need to go mucking about with hydraulics!
It sounds to me like the pushrod hasnīt been hardened and over time has eaten away the end(s), thereby getting a lot shorter than it should be. If the rod is too short it could ride on the edge of the hole itīs supposed to be in all the time and then suddenly snap and fall into place, thereby engaging the clutch again.. (The loud noise you hear) If you pull the rod and check the length of the rod youīd find out without having to pull off the primary cover. I would definitely check the length of the rod and check that itīs hardened in both ends. The spring effect in the ball bearing device probably isnīt enough to make the handle return without the pressure of the clutch plates from the other side. Iīm no expert, but this would sound logical to me. How many miles have you been riding this bike? I had the same problem on a pre-unit once, this was due to a rod not hardened.
And welcome to the forum by the way
Last edited by Ducknaldo; 03/24/099:21 pm.
******************* Run `em... ******************* 1969 T120
Rod gave you the correct answer. Due to the bedding in of the clutch, the clutch major adjustment needs to be reset. This should be done once a year as part of your regular tuning and adjustments.
The 1966 models did have issues with soft clutch push rods, but most of them were replaced under warranty. I would think that by now, even the ones they missed back then have all been taken out of service.
My clutch lever began acting up about a week ago. Every time I would pull the lever in, the clutch would disengage (mostly) but would then make a loud popping noise and the lever would not snap back when I released pressure from it.
That popping or clicking noise could be a symptom of wrong clutch lifter adjustment = Cable over-adjusted and pushrod adjuster screw under-adjusted.
Try the following:
Completely slacken the clutch cable.
Remove the adjuster access plug from the primary cover. Hold the position of the pushrod adjuster screw with a flat blade screwdriver while you loosen the adjuster locknut.
Unscrew the locknut a couple of turns, then carefully screw the adjuster inwards -until you feel a slight resistance.
Then, unscrew the adjuster by about a third to a half of a turn, and hold its position while you re-tighten the locknut.
When I first started noticing this issue, I had ridden the bike for only 11 miles since I first purchased the bike (all of which the bike appeared to function properly). I assume this 11 is basically the first eleven miles since the rebuild/shelving of the bike.
As for what I have done to try to diagnose the problem: First, I started by checking the cable tension at the lever, I slacked the line and then tightened it until I could get a full disengage (with the line slacked the lever would move the clutch pack but never fully disengage). Once I tightened the cable tension, I could get the disengage (it occurred roughly halfway through the lever travel) but the lever would travel farther resulting in the loud popping noise.
After that, I thought the pre-load on the clutch springs might be too high, so I went back and adjusted the pre-load according to the Haynes manual I have (though the process described didn't give me a warm fuzzy, I'm an engineer I need more exact guidance, hahaha). After adjusting the springs to their softest setting that would allow good engagement, the rod still made the popping noise.
This is the point I am at currently, I have both covers off the engine and had reset the spring pre-load and clutch rod engagement (with the screwdriver and locknut) along with the cable tension at the lever.
From your guys advice, I guess I need to revisit my settings and try to dial them in a bit better. Is there a more exact way to tell if the spring pre-load is too light or if the cable tension is too high? Other than a clutch dragging how can I tell if I have it right or wrong?
I had the same problem on a friend's 69 TR6 last week. I replaced clutch, worn inner hub parts, rubbers, push rod and it still made the popping noise. All the other usual suspects seemed in good shape. After many hours of aggravation, out of desperation,I substituted another pressure plate just because the spring cups seemed a tighter fit. This fixed the problem. However, I have never before heard of this causing the clutch popping noise and really don't understand how it could cause it.
Nick - that is exactly where the clicking noise is coming from. It is the piece actuated by the lever, and I was able to verify that it was the culprit by removing the end plate, and leaning on the piece with a flat head screwdriver (to emulate the weight of the pushrod/clutch pack) and actuating the lever. It appears that towards the end of the lever pull, the piece occasionally leans to one side (doesn't ride evenly on the three ball bearings) causing the popping noise. I added an extra washer on the back side of the piece between the cotter pin and the spring to attempt to increase the return force and limit the distance the shaft can move. It has helped but not completely fixed the issue (I am not comfortable adding another washer though). There is no damage to the piece and any of its components, and after I cleaning it and reassembled everything, it still actuates the clutch properly.
I am going to continue to use the piece as is until it exhibits more problems, but for right now, it just appears to be the way that piece functions on my bike.
My 70 BSA cliks like that when you pull it in. at the lever. It doesn't bother me, and the clutch works superb.....when it breaks i'll do something different,And it won't break for a long time. It sounds like part the lifters ratteling, so when its running i don't hear it.
Bob S Street Rods, Kustom Kars,A BSA,Cushmans,H.Shadow ACE, Now a 2004 triumph america . "More than enough!!!!
I have been waiting for someone to come out and tell me to just follow the manual (or to use the search function like most do on other forums I am part of). I went by the manual initially and it didn't fix the problem, so for my own piece of mind I took everything apart, inspected it, cleaned it up, and put it back together (with minimal leftover parts, hahaha). It still makes the clicking noise, but everything is adjusted according to the Haynes manual I got from the PO when I bought the bike. I think it is just going to be a part of this particular bike. I am going to put some more miles on it and if it gets worse (or doesn't change) by the time another fluid change comes around, I will take the case back apart and check everything.
The only other thing I can think of is that I have the clutch springs improperly installed (the manual isn't very clear on how far down to screw the retaining nuts). But the clutch has positive engagement and releases completely with the lever pull (though with the click). I will put some more miles on it and make a call after that. Thanks to everyone for the feedback, and if anyone else has thoughts on it, please post. I appreciate it!
If it is the ramp mechanism that's making the noise, look to that end of matters.
What's the 'resting' position of the operating arm, when the clutch lever isn't being operated, if you look at the inside of the end cover? The Triumph service book shows it to be just above horizontal, on the right hand side, behind the kickstart return spring. You should be able to see the two slot-head mounting screws either side of one of the lobes where the bottom ball of the three sits.
If your cable inner is too short, or the cable is poorly adjusted and the resting position is pointing further up than this, it might be that you're going off the end of the travel in operating the lever.
Either that, or the centre pin is worn enough to mean that the operation of the lever drags the part up, rather than making it revolve and ramp up the ball bearings.
This is like a chinese restaurant: one from post one, two from post four...
The snap is caused by the ball coming out of its detent. The ball comes out of its detent because the arm is rotating too much. Check: a. if the detent is worn (rare but possible). b. the nut is coming off the kick starter end of the main shaft (common problem). c. the nut is coming off the clutch side of the main shaft (rare but possible). d. the clutch rod is worn and out of adjustment (more than likely just out of adjustment rather than worn). e. The three screws in back that hold the early shock absorber are coming loose. f. You didn't slacken the clutch cable adjuster when you adjusted the clutch rod (COMMON PROBLEM to someone new to this adjustment).
Given that all of the bits are tight it is easy to get rid of the click. Loosen the clutch cable adjuster at the handle bar so the clutch cable has plenty of free play. Adjust the clutch rod adjuster so that it is in full contact with the clutch rod (center of spring plate) and turn it in about a turn. This seats the three balls into the lowest point in the detents. Back the adjuster out until it has nil clearance on the rod and then back it out one full turn. Tighten nut... This is easiest to do with the cover off as you can insert the screw driver through the wrench. With the primary cover on I use a socket to hold the nut and insert the screw driver through it. I get the adjuster in position and while holding the adjuster with the screw driver I take up any slack in the nut turning the socket with my fingers. When I get it as tight as I can with my fingers I put a ratchet on the socket and hit the handle with a fairly large screw driver a couple of times to lock the nut.
Now the book says 1/2 turn, but most people (at least I do) use one full turn. If you do this properly there will be enough rotation so the arm will not reach the edge of the indent and snap. Don't forget to tighten the adjuster at the clutch lever leaving about 1/8" play. John
That is a very good answer from John Healy. The only tip I have is for tightening the locknut. What I do is to use a box spanner on it with a ring spanner that fits well on the outside of the other end. You can then tighten the nut with the screw driver still holding the slot in the adjuster.
John - Fantastic information, from that I see something I didn't pay particular attention to, thank you. I am a complete rookie when it comes to classic British bikes (though I own/owned vintage British cars) so I am still learning.
Thanks to everyone for the information and bearing with the newbie.
..one more item to check would be the bushing in the end of the mainshaft that keeps the rod centered on the thrust tab..if worn,or worn into abscence?,..you get the problem described as the rod will flex,the end wanders off tab center..uneven,or no lift?no return,pops et cet...
many thanks to john healy .i had the same problem with my 69 lightning .did the adjustment as per the manual except as john suggested turn the clutch rod in one turn to seat the ball bearings at their lowest point .fixed the click in 5 mins .brilliant