Regrettably, the triple clutch is, and always has been, one of its most vexatious components
- enter "clutch" into a Search of this "Triples Forum" and it'll return many entries; enter "clutch" into the Triples On Line forum
search and you could be there a very long time reading all the threads; I was an early member
of the Trident & Rocket 3 Owners' Club in 1979 and the clutch was a perennial magazine filler ...
There are several things to check on any triple's clutch even before trying to adjust it:-
. Lever - '71-on, the distance between the centre of the lever pivot and the centre of the cable nipple was increased, from 7/8" pre-'71 to 1". Unfortunately, this has never been fully-understood by many owners and
.. The T160's clutch lever Triumph
part number is the same as the pre-'71 one; however, more significantly, the Amal
(original lever maker) part numbers are different; today, the lever supplied by dealers for the Triumph part number has 7/8"-centres.
.. '71-'74 T150 (and Rocket 3) original
"alloy clutch lever and perch which is integral with the switch" (with 1" centres) haven't been available for many years. What is available are levers and perches by two of the parts wholesalers that have different pivot-to-nipple centres - 7/8" and ~1-1/16"~1/18"; triple clutches are
with the larger distance,
with the smaller distance.
.. Similarly, if a T160 with chromed lever has clutch disengagement problems, and the lever has 7/8" pivot-to-nipple centres, several aftermarket chromed levers are available with 1-1/16"~1/18" centres.
.. Digressing slightly, 7/8" centres is best for the completely different clutch on twins.
. Cable - Original triple clutch cables had an outer with a nylon-lining and, since originals were used up, at least one company (Venhill in GB) has been supplying nylon-lined cables.
.. Trouble is, many owners and dealers don't know this, or choose to ignore both the BSA/Triumph and Venhill advice, which has always been Do Not Lubricate It With Mineral Oil Or You Bugger The Lining ...
.. Nevertheless, even if an owner follows the advice, as standard, the inner passes through the primary chaincase to reach the clutch adjustment compartment; the inner gets covered in engine oil being splashed around by the primary chain, which is drawn into the outer when the handlebar lever's pulled ...
I fixed this with the mod. the factories promised but never made - a tube from the chaincase adjuster to the adjustment compartment ... this also stops any oil weep down the outside of the chaincase from the adjuster.
There is absolutely no need for a standard triple's clutch pull to be heavy - on all my triples, I can operate the clutch lever with one finger several times (two fingers all day). I remove the cable from the bike, fit one of those common clamps over inner and outer at one end, attach the 'straw' of a WD40 can and use the aerosol pressure to blow through 'til all dirt and/or engine oil is blown out. Then I swap to an aerosol with PTFE or graphite and blow that through for a lubricant. I remove the clamp, hold the cable vertically clear of the ground; if the inner doesn't slide through the outer under its own weight, I replace and lube a new cable.
Whether the bike has 'low' or 'high' handlebars, I always use the longer US-market cable; with 'low' 'bars, I use the extra length to route the cable around the front of the frame steering head, so the desirable large-radius bend in the cable is maintained even when the steering's turned to 'full lock'.
When the cable is running freely, attach the handle bar end to the cable, pull hard on the other end while also pulling the handlebar lever. Here you're attempting to simulate the resistance of the clutch when the lever's pulled; reason is some lever faults (e.g. worn pivot) only manifest themselves when there's weight on the cable pulling on the lever.
Clutch adjustment - Several methods have been evolved of the years. The only one that definitely doesn't work
is the official BSA/Triumph one in the manuals
- that specifies 5 thou. clearance between "big nut" and clutch lever/bearing ...
New clutch lever/ramp with a different bearing, that keeps the big nut turning when the handlebar lever is pulled and obviates all the incantation and virgin-sacrificing before 'setting the big nut', are available both from Dave Madigan ("DMadigan" above) and Triples Unlimited