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#704570 - 08/10/17 10:38 pm Trident 4 speed gearbox  
Joined: Jun 2017
Posts: 10
T120Wicklow Offline
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T120Wicklow  Offline
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Ireland
Hello again - purely coincidentally, I now have two triples in my workshop, both belonging to friends. The first is a T160 that blew a composite head gasket. Thanks again for members' contributions and advice about the pillar bolts. The motor is back together again and waiting to be fired up, this time with a copper head gasket (and copper rocker box gaskets).

The latest arrival is a 1972 Triumph Trident 4-speed. When my friend arrived, he asked me to ride the bike and I could hardly get any gears, such was the force required to shift. This apparently was not an issue that arose before. This was when the engine was hot. I was then quite surprised to find that it selects gears with ease when stone cold. I've looked at the Parts Book and see that, apart from the leaf spring, it has the usual Triumph outer cover shift mechanism, camplate and quadrant.

I could begin by removing the outer cover, checking the spring pins and seeing if it will shift gears by shifting the quadrant directly, checking the mainshaft nut is tight, and proceeding from there. However, before I do this digging, I would like to know your thoughts on what is causing the very difficult shift when hot and not when cold. Maybe some of you have experienced this shifting problem, and if you have, how did you solve it? And if you haven't but have delved deeply into Triumph gearboxes over the years, your comments would be welcome!

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#704573 - 08/11/17 12:07 am Re: Trident 4 speed gearbox [Re: T120Wicklow]  
Joined: Jun 2017
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T120Wicklow Offline
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Ireland

#704574 - 08/11/17 12:20 am Re: Trident 4 speed gearbox [Re: T120Wicklow]  
Joined: May 2009
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Paul Sammut Offline
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Paul Sammut  Offline
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Posts: 263
Omaha, NE, USA
Hi,
you don't mention if the clutch lever becomes stiffer when the engine is hot - just that shifting becomes almost impossible. I had both problems develop in my T160 (i.e. 5 speed box) despite a new clutch plate. Very smooth action and easy changing of gears when cold, but needed massive effort to pull in the clutch lever and impossible to change once the engine was hot. Back to baseline action once it cooled down, again.
I stripped the clutch and looked carefully at all components and all looked well except subtle notching in the splines of the clutch hub (57-2580). I filed them down as well as I could and the problem recurred but much later than before. I've just received an NOS hub and will install it soon. Hopefully, that is the fix.
Cheers,
Paul.


Paul

'74 Commando
'75 T160 Trident
'15 R1200 GS Adv
'51 Vincent Rapide
#704613 - 08/11/17 12:10 pm Re: Trident 4 speed gearbox [Re: Paul Sammut]  
Joined: Jun 2017
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T120Wicklow Offline
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T120Wicklow  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2017
Posts: 10
Ireland
Hi Paul - the clutch lever effort does not increase when the engine is hot, just very difficult to shift at the gear pedal.

The big effort to change gear with either the engine off or running would seem to indicate that the clutch is not the primary culprit, but I could be wrong.

I will be able to delve more deeply next week and I will report back.

Thanks for your reply!

Dave

#704618 - 08/11/17 1:02 pm Re: Trident 4 speed gearbox [Re: T120Wicklow]  
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 391
edunham Online content
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edunham  Online Content
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Posts: 391
Ewing. NJ
Under the theory of try the easy things first, I would try adjusting the clutch before opening the transmission. It could be that as the engine gets hotter, you are losing lift on the clutch.

Ed from NJ

#704636 - 08/11/17 3:44 pm Re: Trident 4 speed gearbox [Re: T120Wicklow]  
Joined: Jan 2004
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DMadigan Offline
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DMadigan  Offline
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Posts: 3,395
ca, us
You should be able to clutchless shift, unload the gearbox with the throttle and shift. If not then the problem is probably not the clutch.

#704795 - 08/12/17 6:33 pm Re: Trident 4 speed gearbox [Re: T120Wicklow]  
Joined: Jun 2017
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T120Wicklow Offline
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T120Wicklow  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2017
Posts: 10
Ireland
Edunham and DMadigan - thank you. I will adjust the clutch first. I note that it has a spring and plunger conversion to the cam plate.

More on this when I manage to get some workshop time.

#705037 - 08/14/17 11:42 pm Re: Trident 4 speed gearbox [Re: T120Wicklow]  
Joined: Jun 2017
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T120Wicklow Offline
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T120Wicklow  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2017
Posts: 10
Ireland
Hi again guys - I am not sure if I have the clutch adjustment right.

After slackening the adjustment at the cable, I adjusted the clutch so that there is about 4 thou clearance between the large nut and the bearing behind it. At this point, the lever is very slack at the bar and the clutch release mechanism lifts just 15 thou as measured on the dial test indicator - not enough to disengage the clutch. When I adjust the clutch cable to the point where the clutch disengages fully, with the lever against the handlebar and with a small amount of slack in the cable, I measure the lift as 23 thou.

However, at this point, there is no clearance between the large nut and the bearing. I have to slacken the cable adjustment quite a bit to feel a lack of resistance when rotating the bearing and then the lift goes back to 15 thou. Is this normal or not?

I also notice that the T160 which is in the workshop at the moment has a much snappier clutch. I wonder if the T150's diaphragm spring has weakened over time? Is this something other owners have encountered?

I should also mention that this T150 has what looks like the stock alloy clutch lever and perch which is integral with the switch, and which gives less lever travel compared to the T160 beside it. The T160 has a separate chromed steel perch and lever mounted inboard of the switch (and it looks like it might have been added by a previous owner).

Any advice on what I should investigate next? I look forward to your comments.

Dave

#705077 - 08/15/17 4:37 am Re: Trident 4 speed gearbox [Re: T120Wicklow]  
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 3,395
DMadigan Offline
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DMadigan  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 3,395
ca, us
Search through posts for adjusting the clutch. Basically, slack off the cable then adjust the pullrod until it just turns with the motor with the clutch released. It will take a few attempts to find how much the nut will loose clearance to the lifter plate when the lock nut is tightened. Then adjust the cable. Forget setting the clearance of the large adjusting nut to a particular value. The nut and pullrod must turn with the motor. otherwise the bearing in the pressure plate will be turning all the time and the grease will eventually run out and seize the bearing putting the pullrod through the adjuster cover.
Some people replace the lever with one that has more cable travel (longer distance from pivot to cable) but it should work with the stock lever.
The T160 went to the separate inboard switch gear. One of the "over 200 improvements".

#705163 - 08/15/17 10:16 pm Re: Trident 4 speed gearbox [Re: DMadigan]  
Joined: Jun 2017
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T120Wicklow Offline
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T120Wicklow  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2017
Posts: 10
Ireland
OK, DM, thank you for that. It is reassuring to know that one only needs to ensure that the nut and pull rod just turn with the motor.

Ironically, the clutch and gearbox problems were not the reason my friend brought the bike to me. It was because it wasn't running right. But the aforementioned have to be fixed before I address the poor running. It is a common story with classic bikes...

#705174 - 08/16/17 12:47 am Re: Trident 4 speed gearbox [Re: T120Wicklow]  
Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 9,005
Stuart Online content
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Stuart  Online Content
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Scotland
Hi Dave,

Regrettably, the triple clutch is, and always has been, one of its most vexatious components mad - 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 dealers:- eek

.. 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. frown

.. '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 bigt with the larger distance, sick 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 ... facepalm

.. 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 ... facepalm 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. bigt

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. frown

Clutch adjustment - Several methods have been evolved of the years. The only one that definitely doesn't work laughing 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. bigt

Hth.

Regards,


Moderated by  Mike Carter 


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