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#704442 - 08/09/17 5:18 pm Bonnie burning oil  
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John Blackburn Offline
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Malaga, Spain
Hello there,

Can anyone tell me the main reason why my 1972 Bonnie should start burning oil, it was OK until recently & it started to smoke on both exhausts & sooting up the spark plugs. It starts well still & runs OK but then when it gets warm it starts to burn oil. It was running on multigrade oil as recommended in the Triumph manual & a friend recommended I try a straight 40 grade. I used Castrol XXL & it still burns oil. Next question is: If I need to take the head off, which I think is likely, can I do this without removing the engine? Thank you in anticipation, John

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#704456 - 08/09/17 6:55 pm Re: Bonnie burning oil [Re: John Blackburn]  
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desco Online content
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Bishop, Calif.
Yes you can remove the head without pulling the engine.

http://vintagebikemagazine.com/links/parts-books/

Print out the parts book and pick up a shop manual, you're going to need it.
Probably rings or guides, maybe both. You might need a rebore. Don't know where you are going to get anything in Spain.
Try some 20w50 rated for 4 stroke motorcycles. Not cars.
Good luck.


1968 T120R
1972 T120RV
Any advice given is without a warranty expressed or implied.
#704457 - 08/09/17 6:57 pm Re: Bonnie burning oil [Re: John Blackburn]  
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HawaiianTiger Online content
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Maui Hawaii
You may have loosened head bolts. I would try to re-torque them before I did anything else. (followed by re-setting valve clearances.)
But you may have the top end off anyway to upgrade what is a recurring problem with those bikes. It is easily accomplished with the engine in place.

Cheers,
Bill


Bikes
1974 Commando
1985 Honda Nighthawk 650
1957 Thunderbird/T110 "Flying Tiger"
Antique Fans: Loads of Emersons (Two six wingers) plus gyros and orbiters.
#704485 - 08/10/17 2:19 am Re: Bonnie burning oil [Re: John Blackburn]  
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RF Whatley Online content
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North Georgia, USA
All Triumph twins burn oil to some extent.

First insure that the engine is not "oil wet sumping". Carefully clean around the sump drain plug. When all is spotless, pull the plug and drain the contents into a clean container. Measure the results, which should be around 200cc. It's not an exact number, but you don't want to be higher than 300cc.

If the oil level is high, then you need to clean your oil pump and consider adding an oil filter to the return oil lines.

If the sump oil level is normal and the bike is running well, then continue to ride it with 20W50 until something serious happens that makes you take the top end apart. Besides, no sane person takes apart a motorcycle in the middle of summer !

bigt


Don't hide 'em, Ride 'em !!

RF Whatley
Cornelia, GA

"Shop Boy" at Rodi British Bikes
#704489 - 08/10/17 3:29 am Re: Bonnie burning oil [Re: John Blackburn]  
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JubeePrince Offline
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Back on the mainland!
+1 what Bill said.

The 'recurring problem' is too-small washers under the four inner head bolts inside rocker boxes. You need to replace the washers with the larger ones used on the outer head bolts (82-2184).

The smaller washers can malformed the alloy when the engine gets to temperature and then you end up with loose inner head bolts and oil in the combustion chamber.

Steve


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

"The paying customer is always right."

Fitting round pegs into square holes since 1961...
#704533 - 08/10/17 3:50 pm Re: Bonnie burning oil [Re: desco]  
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John Blackburn Offline
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Malaga, Spain
Thank you all for the input, Desco, Hawaiian Tiger, RF Whatley & Jubee Prince, All sounds very interesting. How dare you assume that I am sane Mr.Whatley, I cannot possibly be, I have a British Bike! Besides, it is too damn hot to ride during July & August here, we have been in the 40's Celsius up to 112 degrees F. Certainly too hot to do anything other than drink beer.
I have a genuine Triumph workshop manual so no problem there. I have a good supplier in the UK who ships stuff to me within a week.
It sounds like I may not have to dismantle it completely from what I'm picking up from you guys, the too small washer situation sounds interesting, also the wet sumping.
As soon as the temperature drops a little (about 20 degrees C) I will get onto it. It will be a couple of weeks I guess, so watch this space, I will report back.
Thanks once again. John

#704544 - 08/10/17 7:01 pm Re: Bonnie burning oil [Re: John Blackburn]  
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Dibnah Online content
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Buy another bike John, you can then ride whilst the T120 is resting.

Can you not ride in the early morning?

#704603 - 08/11/17 8:17 am Re: Bonnie burning oil [Re: John Blackburn]  
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tridentt150v Online content
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I'd also do a compression test on - it after you have tightened the head and done the valve clearances. Motor needs to be warm. Do a wet and a dry test. If you compression is low [under 100-110psi] but picks up to say 130-150psi when you squirt oil in the bore, then you know its rings/rebore time. But if it doesn't change much then its valves and guides.

#704605 - 08/11/17 8:34 am Re: Bonnie burning oil [Re: Dibnah]  
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John Blackburn Offline
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Malaga, Spain
I do have another bike Dibnah & I ride quite a lot, but with overnight lows of 30 degrees the last few weeks..............no chance! Will be on it soon tho' as the temperature will be dropping in the next couple of weeks. The Bonnie is an attempt to recapture my youth............silly old sod, it just means more work!
Thanks for the advice about a compression test tridentt150............more expense, I ain't got a compression tester. But yes, good idea. If it is valve guides, I have found a good old boy in the city who specialises in these things, rebores & such. Where is Great Southern Land, by the way............Oz?
Cheers!

#704790 - 08/12/17 6:19 pm Re: Bonnie burning oil [Re: John Blackburn]  
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RF Whatley Online content
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You're very welcome for the help.

Originally Posted by John Blackburn
I have a genuine Triumph workshop manual so no problem there. I have a good supplier in the UK who ships stuff to me within a week.


The repair with the new washers will not be in your workshop manual since that was a factory service bulletin notice AND most parts guys (no matter how nice) will not be aware of this requirement. As was said, it is very common for the 4 Allen bolt head studs to wallow out a large divot in the top of the cylinder head. The new washers are only slightly larger than stock, but do cure/prevent that issue. You should perform this update with the 4 new washers no matter what. That will stop the damage (present or future) to your non-replaceable cyl head.

bigt


Don't hide 'em, Ride 'em !!

RF Whatley
Cornelia, GA

"Shop Boy" at Rodi British Bikes
#704811 - 08/12/17 7:59 pm Re: Bonnie burning oil [Re: John Blackburn]  
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Dibnah Online content
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Originally Posted by John Blackburn
I do have another bike Dibnah & I ride quite a lot, but with overnight lows of 30 degrees the last few weeks..............no chance! Will be on it soon tho' as the temperature will be dropping in the next couple of weeks. The Bonnie is an attempt to recapture my youth............silly old sod, it just means more work!
Thanks for the advice about a compression test tridentt150............more expense, I ain't got a compression tester. But yes, good idea. If it is valve guides, I have found a good old boy in the city who specialises in these things, rebores & such. Where is Great Southern Land, by the way............Oz?
Cheers!


You could always spend your summers in the UK John, we had a day of solid rain last week and 13 degrees Celcius. 30 degrees is manageable with vented jacket and trews, but need to avoid traffic jams, or breaking down and having to push.

The attrition rate for my small and cost-effective fleet has been particularly high this year, currently running at 20% availability, but should be up to 80% with a good day's spannering.

#705227 - 08/16/17 6:42 pm Re: Bonnie burning oil [Re: Dibnah]  
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John Blackburn Offline
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Malaga, Spain
Spend my summers in the UK?................no way Pedro! When I said overnight lows of 30 degrees, the days are between 35 to 38............steamy! I would need water cooled jacket & trews.
Well, that's it.............compression tester ordered from Amazon at 30.00 Euros. Could not find the torque wrench & looked at the big stores in the city 108.00 Euros............Not a chance, so one of them arrives tomorrow from Amazon............another 30.00 Euros, it's eating away at my pension but I'm determined to get the Bonnie sorted before the cooler weather.................very soon. I just hope I don't have to remove the head, I'm getting lazy!

#705234 - 08/16/17 7:25 pm Re: Bonnie burning oil [Re: John Blackburn]  
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Dibnah Online content
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Winter on the Iberian peninsular, chase the spring up through France and into Scandinavia via the UK, chase the autumn back down to Southern Europe. Just need to find the wealthy woman of my dreams and it could happen!

Edit: that's not right. "run ahead of autumn ..."

Last edited by Dibnah; 08/16/17 7:28 pm.
#705485 - 08/19/17 5:31 pm Re: Bonnie burning oil [Re: RF Whatley]  
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John Blackburn Offline
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Sorry, RF Whately, missed this post the other day (I am not the best at these computer blog things), The torque wrench & compression tester that I ordered are waiting for collection on Monday, so, following your advice, I'll order the washers that same day. I'm guessing that the postage will cost more than the parts. I'm looking forward to this being the solution instead of valve guides, rings & things..............Happy Sunday!

#705761 - 08/22/17 11:13 am Re: Bonnie burning oil [Re: John Blackburn]  
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My mates 71 did something similar, turned out to be a head bolt that had a leak to the inlet manifold,, there was a tiny breakthrough in the port, a lot was spent before this was discovered, new rings guides etc.


71 Devimead A65 750
56 Norbsa 68 Longstroke A65
Cagiva Raptor 650
MZ TS 250
The poster formerly known as Pod
#706934 - 09/01/17 1:01 pm Re: Bonnie burning oil [Re: gavin eisler]  
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John Blackburn Offline
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I am still working up to it yet, I will have to sort it soon, but I will check out what you say Gavin when I start taking it to pieces. Cheers, John

#710612 - 10/05/17 3:35 pm Re: Bonnie burning oil [Re: John Blackburn]  
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John Blackburn Offline
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OK, I have now started the process of eliminating things, I bought a compression tester (a cheap Chinese jobby from t'internet) did a dry then wet test & the results were the same on both cylinders, a little bit low at 115 PSI, but that could be that the pressure guage is not accurate. It looks pretty promising to me, but who am I? I then measured the oil in the sump, it was 110 ml., so I'm guessing that it isn't wet sumping. So, next job is to torque down the head, don't fancy that much but I am a lazy beggar, so watch this space. It still starts & runs OK, the smoke is a little bit embarrassing, but who cares.

#710621 - 10/05/17 5:53 pm Re: Bonnie burning oil [Re: John Blackburn]  
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btour Online content
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Torque the head is fine, but be aware that if the inner head bolt washers are indeed too small then the thing is the problem will reoccur, and every time you retorque you make the situation worse because a divot forms under the too small washer. Eventually you would need to fix that divot, which is more involved. If you know that bike and the modification to the larger washer was never done, then you need to do it.

I would suggest you start with it. Rocker box may need a slight bit of whittling with a pen knife to fit back on. or not.

You will need to reanneal the copper head gasket. Probably will need new rocker box gaskets.


Bob, Lifetime bike: '71 T120R, bought in '71 at Ken Heanes, England.
#710714 - 10/06/17 5:04 pm Re: Bonnie burning oil [Re: John Blackburn]  
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Dibnah Online content
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Is the engine breathing OK? Vent holes from the crankcase to the primary chaincase on a 1972 bike? Big bore breather pipe out of the chaincase? I would be tempted to add more engine breathing before dismantling.

#710873 - 10/08/17 1:46 pm Re: Bonnie burning oil [Re: btour]  
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John Blackburn Offline
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I've got the washers, btour, just building up to taking the tank off again, probably do it this week. The bike seems to be breathing ok & has a fairly big bore breather from the chaincase, Dibnah, how can I check it is breathing well & how do I add extra breathing without too much hassle?

#710912 - 10/08/17 9:15 pm Re: Bonnie burning oil [Re: John Blackburn]  
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Stein Roger Online content
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If crankcase breathing is insufficient the engine needs attention. You just can’t cheat your way around that. Triumph engines have adequate breathing for most purposes.
IMHO.

#710917 - 10/08/17 9:44 pm Re: Bonnie burning oil [Re: John Blackburn]  
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HawaiianTiger Online content
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I find that there's usually a difference in compression readings from left to right. I think this is about normal. When they're low and the same as yours is, it could indicate leaking between the cylinders, which is what I think has been going on all along.

Something to think about.

Cheers,
Bill


Bikes
1974 Commando
1985 Honda Nighthawk 650
1957 Thunderbird/T110 "Flying Tiger"
Antique Fans: Loads of Emersons (Two six wingers) plus gyros and orbiters.
#710969 - 10/09/17 10:08 am Re: Bonnie burning oil [Re: John Blackburn]  
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Dibnah Online content
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Originally Posted by John Blackburn
Dibnah, how can I check it is breathing well & how do I add extra breathing without too much hassle?


Others on this board have far greater experience with Triumph twins than I do. Having said that, I would check the breather pipe outlet for pressure changes (stick finger over end), could also check how oil level varies in the primary chaincase to prove that the passageways between the chaincase and the crankcase are clear. My OIF bike fooled me (not difficult!). It transpires that it has a pre-OIF engine, hence no breather to the primary chaincase, although it does appear to have a connection between the crankcase and the primary chaincase. It does have the traditional crankcase breather venting somewhere in the region of the gearbox drive sprocket.

On modified Rover V8s, I've had success in reducing crankcase pressurisation by providing additional ventilation to the rocker box covers. I have experimented with providing additional vacuum, but this resulted in the oil being sucked into the inlet manifold at an alarming rate. Ooops.

Any changes you make should be easily reversible. I was going to suggest ventilated inspection caps to the rocker boxes, but these threads:

http://www.britbike.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=204418&page=1

http://www.britbike.com/ubb/bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=13;t=006850

suggest that particular modification may not work and could create issues. I personally would try it anyway, just to see what happens.

One man's cheat is another man's workaround!

#713828 - 11/04/17 3:16 pm Re: Bonnie burning oil [Re: John Blackburn]  
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John Blackburn Offline
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Hello, I'm back again, sorry I've not responded for some time but the computer went belly up, got it fixed & had it upgraded to windows 10.................what a nightmare. Anyway, back to important things, the Bonnie burning oil, thanks for all the input it has been extremely helpful. I finally got round to starting to strip the top end today (it was raining earlier) & I could not get the studs out that went through the rocker boxes, I thought that was weird as on this forum I was reliably informed that the top end could be operated upon with the engine in place. After much head scratching & scouring the internet I found out that I have the wrong head studs, I seem to have the early ones that would have cleared to pre OIF model frame tube. So, the long & short of it is that there is no means of torquing down the head with these studs as there is no direct contact with the head so the oil can quite happily run down the studs into the combustion chamber. I managed to speak with TMS in Nottingham on the phone just before they went home & I have sent them some photos & hopefully, they will have the correct means of fitting the cylinder head, I will speak again with them on Monday.
I guess that I have been fortunate in the past as previous bikes that I have owned have not been messed about with, but this one has had more cock ups than any others. The other thing is that living here I have nobody to lean on for help, so it is thanks to everybody that have communicated with me on the forum that I'm getting this old heap of iron sorted out. Spares are, luckily, fairly easy to come by but they have to be shipped from the UK.
Next thrilling episode next week

Cheers, John

#713832 - 11/04/17 3:33 pm Re: Bonnie burning oil [Re: John Blackburn]  
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btour Online content
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Hi John,

Oh my memory. I should remember this, since I thought of the fix. I went from 71 setup to 73. You will want to go from 72 to 73. This might be easier then mine. You will want to end up with the pillar bolts setup. It took Triumph those years to get there. Different thread forms and setup.


Bob, Lifetime bike: '71 T120R, bought in '71 at Ken Heanes, England.
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