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My genuine Triumph parts book for 1981 models shows two different ID rocker spindle washers, 70-1575 (1/2" ID, 6 of [3 per rockerbox]) and 70-1330 (3/8" ID, 2 of [1 per rockerbox]), in addition to the Thackeray washers of which there are of course 4 (2 per rockerbox)

I've taken two pairs of rockerboxes to bits today and none have the 3/8" ID washers. These are late rockerboxes (breather stubs on the exhaust ones). Does anyone know whether this is a mistake in the parts book, or a mistake by me? And if the latter, please explain! Thanks in advance....

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Originally Posted by Tigernuts
My genuine Triumph parts book for 1981 models shows two different ID rocker spindle washers, 70-1575 (1/2" ID, 6 of [3 per rockerbox]) and 70-1330 (3/8" ID, 2 of [1 per rockerbox]), in addition to the Thackeray washers of which there are of course 4 (2 per rockerbox)

I've taken two pairs of rockerboxes to bits today and none have the 3/8" ID washers. These are late rockerboxes (breather stubs on the exhaust ones). Does anyone know whether this is a mistake in the parts book, or a mistake by me? And if the latter, please explain! Thanks in advance....
You should have 8 of the 1/2 inch ID washers and all of them should be fitted next to the rocker to direct oil onto the pushrods and valves via the slots in them with just the Thackeray washers on the outer ends.

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Hi TN,
With the earlier arrangement which had drillings in the rocker arms to channel oil to the pushrod cups, there were 0.5” ID washers against the 3 box surfaces, and one 0.375” ID washer clamped by the step of the shaft to the timing side of the box.
The Thackeray washers were directly against the rockers.

When the later arrangement (with undrilled rocker arms) was introduced, an alternative method of getting oil spray to the pushrod tip and valve tip was employed.

I will describe how this was intended, though it is important to realise that not all of the necessary measures were adopted or properly implemented from the get go.
There have been quite a few posts (including by John H) on this subject.

I would expect late versions to be fully compliant. It wouldn’t surprise me to find errors in some parts books, as Meriden themselves didn’t seem to be very sure about it for some years after it was introduced.

The full implementation would have involved a scrolled shaft (to allow sufficient flow), rockers with small internal chamfers in their ends (reservoirs for oil), small chopouts at those ends of the rockers (oil flingers), and plain 0.5” ID washers at the rocker ends (to contain the oil in the chamfers for flinging).

This arrangement dispenses with the 0.375” ID washer at the timing side end, and the Thackerays sit against the alloy walls of the box.

I do have doubts about the engineering in the last paragraph (particularly the small step of the shaft potentially digging into the alloy box), but in practice it seems to work ok.
Don was concerned about this as well, and spread the load by making a 0.375” ID washer that just fitted inside the Thackeray. He was also concerned by the (otherwise) slight movement of the shaft to the timing side (I’m not sure that is so important).

Hope this was the sort of thing you wanted!

Dave.

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The T140/TR7 I've worked on have the scrolled rocker shafts but none have had the correct washer or shim arrangement. I have bought a number of correct washers to replace the small ID ones and always arrange them as per the memo. On the 69-72 twins I do the same but as they don't have scrolled shafts I file a flat on them instead. I diamond file is perfect for that. I use the Thackeray springs against the alloy without any any issues. They don't really dig in at all from what I've seen.

I've picked up all of this from this Forum, it's a fantastic resource!

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Hi Tigernuts, The thackerys are flat springs as you know. My bike I bought new had the 3/8 washers from factory.

The springs were against rocker arms. I ran motor with valve covers off. Personally I doubt it makes a bit of difference on the later bikes with scrolled oil groove rocker shafts. I covered 36k miles with the original configuration. Basically zero wear on rocker shafts & bores of rocker arms. Keep in mind these bikes have the larger capacity oval port oil pumps so get higher feed & return volume (way more than Morgo even) so rockers get even more oil.

I ground the 3/8 washers down to 1/2' OD for 2 reasons. My shafts have taper at the 3/8 shoulder which allowed the spring to set slightly crooked on shaft. Also I wanted to keep the stock depth visually at left end of rocker box.

The washer also keeps the small radius at 3/8 step of shaft from abutting the sharp edge of bore of the 3/8 hole in box. My boxes were not chamfered here. Yours may be. The bore of washer is large enough to accommodate this small radius. Splitting hairs? I did what I felt was best practices. Does it really matter? Probably not.

So far as I can tell in parts books even the 1982 models still used the 3/8 washer. Notice the orientation in diagram is wrong from real life install. But what did factory actually do in later years on production line I don't know.

I'll say this, with the wear I saw on my rocker bores & shafts, they'd probably go 100000+ miles with the factory configuration.
Don


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Originally Posted by chainreaction
Originally Posted by Tigernuts
My genuine Triumph parts book for 1981 models shows two different ID rocker spindle washers, 70-1575 (1/2" ID, 6 of [3 per rockerbox]) and 70-1330 (3/8" ID, 2 of [1 per rockerbox]), in addition to the Thackeray washers of which there are of course 4 (2 per rockerbox)

I've taken two pairs of rockerboxes to bits today and none have the 3/8" ID washers. These are late rockerboxes (breather stubs on the exhaust ones). Does anyone know whether this is a mistake in the parts book, or a mistake by me? And if the latter, please explain! Thanks in advance....
You should have 8 of the 1/2 inch ID washers and all of them should be fitted next to the rocker to direct oil onto the pushrods and valves via the slots in them with just the Thackeray washers on the outer ends.

Thanks Chainreaction, this is what I found in all four of the rockerboxes I dismantled yesterday. A case of the parts book not being updated, by the look of it.


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Thanks Dave, and everyone else for your helpful replies. It seems this is another example of the parts book not having been updated. I couldn;t figure it out, because all washers seemed 'right', as in they fitted perfectly as they were assembled. The Thackeray washers were all incorrectly positioned (ie: not outboard of the washer & against the rockerbox housing). But in practice, it really doesn't seem to matter.

I have never found badly worn rocker spindles / rocker bores on any of the numerous T140s I've stripped, including even the most horrendously bodged examples (I bought a wreck once and found such horrors as valve springs without any bottom collars, plain bolts for the inner four head bolts and bolt heads glued into the corresponding holes on the rockerboxes, which had been fitted the wrong way round, and with the four locating dowels missing!). It seems that as long as there's some oil in the general area, it's enough. However, I will be reassembling these according to the book.


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Hi Tigernuts; the later parts books show the "new" way to put the washers.
By the way; I dismantled a few 78 and 79 engines and all had the "old" way...may be they never ever fitted this other way and remained in the theory; saying that; I rebuilt those rockers the "new way".

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Hi TN,
“I have never found badly worn rocker spindles / rocker bores on any of the numerous T140s I've stripped”

Provided there is adequate pressure in the rocker feed (I think the standard pressure is almost unmeasurable except by seeing how high the HOT oil rises above the rockers in a long vertical pipe) then the rocker to shaft interface will be adequately lubed.
Provided there hasn’t been a long term failure of the rocker feed, the shaft and internal surface of the rockers will last probably beyond a century, my own are at least 60 years old and only the adjuster pins have needed replacement.

I seem to remember 2 feet head being suggested, which is only ~0.75psi. Being a bit anal about such things, I have a spark plug cap clamped in the return line above the rocker take-off. This gives a hot oil head near to the roof of my shed, about 6 feet above the rockers, still only ~2.25psi. Whether it makes any real difference, who knows? But I feel warmer inside for having done it!

Bear in mind my setup is the early one with drilled rockers, I use all alloy pushrods, and I wanted to ensure the best supply to that interface.

The lubing of the rocker/shaft interface has never really been in doubt, it is ok with any setup. What changed with the new setup (without drilled rocker arms) was how to effectively deliver oil to the pushrod cups without the direct feed.

The solution was to allow oil to travel its usual course along the small clearance between rocker and shaft (preferably facilitated by a scrolled or relieved shaft, very important) to where it would collect in a small internal chamfer at the outward ends of the rockers, that forming a small chamber capped by the plain washer, from which the oil would be thrown by the rapid reciprocating motion via the notches all over the rocker box, in the vague direction of the pushrod cups.
These mods are all about that, otherwise those cups would not be lubed and would not survive very long.

So it is vital that the plain washers abut the rockers, the Thackerays cannot perform this function.

I guess drilling rocker arms was expensive, hence eliminating this saved money. I don’t believe for a moment that it was done for stronger arms.
The transition to the ultimate setup took some time, initially using a plain shaft (no good at all for the wider lubing of the components), then Meriden continued to assemble to the old design for years after the change. Eventually the scrolled shaft came along.

It doesn’t seem like a fully thought out or tested design change when originally introduced in the late 60’s, and I wonder if it really saved as much money as the bean counters suggested it would. I guess the main damage would have been in reputation, as premature wear of pushrod cups wouldn’t show up till after the 3 month warranty period.

Just thoughts Dave.

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There's just a possibility that the mod was done to increase the overall flow down through the rocker, which ends up with greater flow to the followers - who knows?

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Originally Posted by Tigernuts
I have never found badly worn rocker spindles / rocker bores on any of the numerous T140s I've stripped...

Neither have I.

However, every engine that I've seen with some mileage and the rocker box was assembled incorrectly with the 3/8" thrust washer (and the machined rocker arms), had valve tips and valve adjusters that were cratered/damaged.

Quote from a post from John Healy (8/10/2020, punctuation altered):

Two points here: a. The washer against the side of the rocker arm and the attending scroll (actually a groove) on the rocker shaft was introduced with the triples (T150 and A75) in 1969. b. The rocker arms were cast by BSA in Birmingham with the intent of Triumph putting a groove in the T120 rocker shaft and swapping the Thackeray and flat washer around so the flat washer was against the rocker arm.

While the scroll on the T140 rocker arm was introduced with the T140 model year, and although it was shown in the parts books, placing the attending flat washer against the rocker arm was never put into production. This left the oil dribbling into the rocker box.

If you owned late 1969 T120 through 1972 model, and had a clear oil line feeding the rocker boxes, all you would see is some oil gurgling in the line and little, if any, oil flow. Crack the dome nuts on the end of the rocker shafts and oil flowed freely. If you examine rocker shafts in this period you would see shafts that were worn. Something you never saw when the oil flowed from the turned down section of the rocker shaft into the rocker arm feeding the pushrod cup. We saw a lot of valve guide wear and dished out valve tips. Those years the top end ran very dry.

The T140's are a little better with the scroll, but even with them to finish the job BSA started on the triples you need to place the flat washer next to the rocker ar
m.


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Steve


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Hi, On my next valve adjustment I'll start motor with valve covers off. I tried to make video & photo it last time. Vibration made it impossible for camera or phone camera to focus properly.

'73 Tiger. The oil volume is huge running down side of rocker box at each end of rocker arm. Even at idle. Oil just runs out end of rockers & straight down. Reving motor oil then runs on TOP of rocker arm towards adjuster & rocker ball. Then simply flies off. Hardly a drop gets on valve stem tip. Hardly any to rocker ball. But, I don't observe undue rocker ball wear at 36k miles. This was with thackery against rocker arm as factory installed it. Looked to me like oil ran out both ends equally.

I modified mine now to have flat washers both sides. Will be interesting to see if I can observe difference. My hunch is it won't matter. But we'll see.

I did very careful testing of stock valve adjusters, comparing to mushroom adjusters. The rolling action of mushroom is of course a myth. It has same radius as stock adjuster & slides on valve tip as stock adjuster exactly the same contact patch. Exactly!!

However.... many users swear it extends. valve stem tip life. It either has to be the metal is different. (I personally doubt it's much different). Or, the mushroom head collects oil mist & deposits it on contact face/stem tip. I feel it collects more oil. I'll check that also. Will be in about 500 more miles. That may take a month or so. Not much time to ride right now & I don't like to ride in rain.
Don


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Quote
I have never found badly worn rocker spindles / rocker bores on any of the numerous T140s I've stripped...

Do you want some realy worn rocker shafts out of 1969-1972 650 motors?

Up until the new rocker arm was introduced in 1969 the top end was getting a reasonable amount of oil (that is another discussion). Then the folks at Umberslade Hall (know by the Triumph workers as Slumberglade Hall) introduced the modified rocker shaft with a groove from end-to-end on the Triumph and BSA triples. This allowed oil to travel the full length of the shaft. Eliminating the drilled rocker arm's pushrod's arm making them easier (cheaper) to make. It also allowed them to deliver oil to other parts of the top end other than just the pushrod button.

This system required four things: a grooved shaft, deep chamfers on each end of the rocker, flat washers to keep the oil flowing around the chamfer and out the 2 grooves on the face of the bevel aiming the oil to areas thought to benefit from the change.

The oil flowed through the center of the shaft; delivered to the groove along the shaft, delivered to the annular cavity created by the chamfer and out the two slots on either end. The push rod end had a natural seal created by the flat washer against the casting in the middle of the rocker box. As designed there was to be a similar washer against the other end of the rocke arm (Like the one used on the triples and the one in question here).

Now while the Triumph workers used those new rocker arms supplied by BSA (yes, BSA and their subsideries made a lot of parts for the Group), they never grooved the shaft or changed the location of the spring washer as it was designed and used on the triples.

What led to me looking into all this was a conversation I had with Don Hutchinson (the paint guy) on a trip from Boston to Vintage Motorcycle Days in Ohio. In the 1960's it was common to replace the herringbone oil line feeding the rocker boxes with clear plastic tubing. At some time in the conversation (it's a long day's ride) the question was asked why in the 1969-72 650 models you couldn't see copious amount of oil flowing through the clear tubing. Often it would just sit there and gurgle only to start flowing when a rocker shaft dome nut was cracked open.

Something was blocking the flow of oil! But what?

Finally the light came on at Marble Head (a small coast fishing village North of Boston) when they laid out the plans for the T140 and someone at Triumph decided the oil need a path to flow. A spiral groove was cut in the rocker shaft. Now you have to be aware that there was no love lost between the workers in Meriden and BSA. It was even worse with any engineering coming out of BSA's engineering department at Umberslade hall.

The flat washer goes up against the rocker arm on BOTH ends of the rocker. If you put the flat spring against the rocker arm the flat end finds its way into the groove changing where the oil is delivered. No, the flat spring washer does not damage the rocker box.

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Just to throw another data point out there: when I bought my Triumph it was built with the later notched rockers on the intake side and the earlier drilled rockers on the exhaust side. My motorcycle is a bit of a mutt. I wasn't even aware this was the case until I tore down the rocker boxes to replace the leaking o-ring on the spindle but I did notice that the inspection caps on the intake side were always "dry" (well, okay some very dark burned oil splatter) but the exhaust inspection caps had a little pool of oil that gathered in them.

Having read John Healy's post a while back about this, I went ahead and changed out the spindle for the later version (with the scroll) and rearranged the washers on the intake side. Now, I'm seeing some decent looking oil on all the valve inspection caps. That has to be a good thing, right? laugh

Noel

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I may be reading your words wrong, but the way I'm reading them, what you're saying makes no sense. You say the later notched rockers were on the inlet side, but the inlet side inspection caps were always dry (whereas the exhaust caps - which were on a rockerbox with the earlier drilled rockers - had little pools of il that had gathered in them). Then you say that when you changed it so that both rockerboxes have the scrolled spindles etc, it looks a lot better?


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So I put my glasses on and read Noel's post:
Quote
when I bought my Triumph it was built with the later notched rockers on the intake side and the earlier drilled rockers on the exhaust side. My motorcycle is a bit of a mutt.

Quote
I did notice that the inspection caps on the intake side were always "dry"

• Notched rockers are the discussion.
• The notched rockers were on the intake side.
• It would be the intake side that required you to change the washers and use a scrolled rocker shaft.

Quote
I went ahead and changed out the spindle for the later version (with the scroll) and rearranged the washers on the intake side.

• The reference was to spindle, and place the flat washer against the side of the rocker (ed.) on the intake side(singular - ed.).

Quote
Now, I'm seeing some decent looking oil on all the valve inspection caps. That has to be a good thing, right? laugh

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Right, I only changed to the scrolled spindle on the intake side (to go with the later, notched rockers) and left the exhaust rocker the way it was. I'm thinking that what was happening before the change is that any oil flow to the top end was exiting through the exhaust rockers and there was very little oil getting to the intake side.

After the change, there looks to be a better lubrication situation all around. At least I sleep a little better at night anyway...

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Yes, that does seem to make sense. A lot of the later Triumph (Brit bike in general) mechanics seem to be very similar to what we'd try out in our sheds to see if it works!


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I owned a 71 Bonnie for 17 years and rode it a lot, it was my main bike for those years. I knew about the different rocker set-up on the post 69 models but I never knew there was a problem with it. I did lots of things with the bike to (try to at least) improve power and reliability, but never gave the washer arrangement a second thought. I did experience squeeky exhaust valves and a loss of compression quite a few times. The remedy was always to block the oil return to force some oil into the rockers, so in hindsight I should have opened my mind and thought it through. To my mind it was caused by carbon build up on the valve stems, which was true, but didn't realize that more oil would possibly be beneficial.
When I first heard about it on here it made sense to me, and I now arrange the washers as they should be, and I file a narrow flat on the rocker shafts on the 69-72 models to encourage oil flow.
One thing though, the rockers and shafts on my 71 never wore out. I can only guess that they wore just enough to let more oil through to lube the rockers. The added oil drain from the rockers should help the cams and followers too.

SR

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