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1991 Trophy 1200 starting problems

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  • chrisdross2010
    I m new to this forum so hi and thanks for reading this dribble. I have owned my 1991 Trophy from new, and because of work etc. I have not been able to ride
    Message 1 of 12 , Feb 19, 2013
      I'm new to this forum so hi and thanks for reading this dribble. I have owned my 1991 Trophy from new, and because of work etc. I have not been able to ride her as much as I would like (17000 miles) but even when she was new she had a few problems starting if left for a week or so. She will sometimes start on 3 cylinders,then with a cough and and pop the 4th will kick in. The battery is always fully charged before I even think of trying to start her (I have got to the point of jump starting with an extra battery each time) and if that fails the only way to get the old girl fired up is to change the plugs. Over the past 21 years I have changed over 20 sets of plugs and 9 battery's. What am I doing wrong or missing, any ideas would be much appreciated please? Thanks Chris.
    • gordon2xbbb
      Welcome, You lucky, lucky, lucky so and so....to have owned such a gorgeous machine from NEW ! I am BRG with envy !! 9 batteries in 21 years is not SO bad but
      Message 2 of 12 , Feb 19, 2013
        Welcome, You lucky, lucky, lucky so and so....to have owned such a gorgeous machine from NEW ! I am BRG with envy !!

        9 batteries in 21 years is not SO bad but 20 sets of plugs is somewhat extravagant - even for me!

        If you've let the bike stand for more than a day or so are you using the PRIME position of the Fuel Tap when you try the re-start?

        This is assuming your Filler Cap and Overfill/Drain vents are clear, the fuel tap is not gummed-up and you know how to obtain the PRIME position without breaking the Fuel tap knob. From ON press the the tap in slightly and turn 90 degrees (anti)counterclockwise..

        Other things to consider are the Clutch and Sidestand safety interlock switches and last but not least the KILL switch.

        Depending on the 'Wiring issue' some MkI's will not start with the sidestand DOWN (even in Neutral) others will...Sidestand switch sticking/intermittent contact.

        Similar with Clutch and KILL switch - they are both part of the Starting/Ignition Interlock system and need to be operating correctly.
        It is considered 'Good Practice' to start the bike with the Clutch Lever pulled in as this reduces the mechanical load on the starter system and prevents premature forward motion should there be a false Neutral indicated...
        FYI a proper Contact Cleaner aerosol is much better than WD40 at CLEANING and Lubricating the contacts... Contacts will become dirty/degraded with a surface patina if not used regularly (and that includes the KILL switch - so exercise/clean that one with the Ignition switched off)

        Fingers crossed more members will chip-in with their own favourite remedies but I think I've covered everything...There's always the FAQ's and Files sections to browse should my advice prove wanting

        Cheers
        Gordon
        2xBBB
        Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK






        --- In TriumphTrophy@yahoogroups.com, "chrisdross2010" <chris_niki@...> wrote:
        >
        > I'm new to this forum so hi and thanks for reading this dribble. I have owned my 1991 Trophy from new, and because of work etc. I have not been able to ride her as much as I would like (17000 miles) but even when she was new she had a few problems starting if left for a week or so. She will sometimes start on 3 cylinders,then with a cough and and pop the 4th will kick in. The battery is always fully charged before I even think of trying to start her (I have got to the point of jump starting with an extra battery each time) and if that fails the only way to get the old girl fired up is to change the plugs. Over the past 21 years I have changed over 20 sets of plugs and 9 battery's. What am I doing wrong or missing, any ideas would be much appreciated please? Thanks Chris.
        >
      • Ed Johnson
        Hi Chris; If you find the answer please let me know! If you want some suggestions just go to the search function of the message board and review some of my
        Message 3 of 12 , Feb 19, 2013
          Hi Chris;
              If you find the answer please let me know! If you want some suggestions just go to the search function of the message board and review some of my past posts. In addition to all that you have tried I have also changed coils, rebuilt the carbs twice, and gone through several sets of plugs and batteries. I am now about to attempt a fix borrowed from another forum that you can find here: http://katriders.com/vb/showthread.php?t=116991 I have also invested in an infrared thermometer so that I can see which cylinder is not firing when she does finally start on three. It seems to be #1 at this point but may also be subject to change. I've also found that once I've started her for the day my starting problems are over. Sometimes for several days providing I use the bike on a daily basis. Should I miss a day or two I am back to square one again. I too resort to jump starting her from another battery in my Honda Civic. If that fails I also start the Honda so that the voltage is a little higher and have yet to have that fail. Albeit on three cylinders but when she warms up the third will kick in. I sometimes even hit the road on three with the knowledge that the third will eventually kick in and I've yet to be disappointed but nothing is a given with this bike. :-[
              The problem "seems" to be low voltage to the coils, ignitor, or both. I can't be sure of all this yet as so far I've just recently discovered that even though I have 12.6 volts available at the battery only 8.5V is reaching the starting relay and that's before pushing the "Start" button. If that is an indication of the voltage at the coils and ignitor it is of course no wonder she wont start. However having said that it is only a guess on my part at this point! :-\ I have checked all wiring, cleaned all connectors, and tried vainly to track down where this voltage drop occurs yet it does. I have NOT checked the voltages at the coils and ignitor yet.  I recently learned that Triumph beefed up the alternator and wiring harness in '05 just before discontinuing the model. That is of course "hearsay" and I've no reason to doubt the source but have not verified this information yet.
              BTW: I have a picture of a '91 Trophy as my "Wallpaper" on my computer because I think it to be the most attractive of all the Trophies and would enjoy seeing a picture of yours.
          I hope this helps and keep us posted on your progress. There is more technology that CARES on this forum than you will find from any shop mechanic no matter how smart he thinks he is! Right now I'm thinking that the above link is going to lead me to the Holy Grail but time will tell. :-[
          Ed J. 2001Triumph Trophy BBBB
          On 2/19/2013 4:48 AM, chrisdross2010 wrote:
          I'm new to this forum so hi and thanks for reading this dribble. I have owned my 1991 Trophy from new, and because of work etc. I have not been able to ride her as much as I would like (17000 miles) but even when she was new she had a few problems starting if left for a week or so. She will sometimes start on 3 cylinders,then with a cough and and pop the 4th will kick in. The battery is always fully charged before I even think of trying to start her (I have got to the point of jump starting with an extra battery each time) and if that fails the only way to get the old girl fired up is to change the plugs. Over the past 21 years I have changed over 20 sets of plugs and 9 battery's. What am I doing wrong or missing, any ideas would be much appreciated please? Thanks Chris.
          
          
          
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        • gordon2xbbb
          Hi again Chris, Further to my earlier comments - I am assuming that your BBBB has been serviced on a regular basis...given it s limited running I hope you ve
          Message 4 of 12 , Feb 19, 2013
            Hi again Chris,

            Further to my earlier comments - I am assuming that your BBBB has been serviced on a regular basis...given it's limited running I hope you've not ignored such things as Valve Clearance Checks, Carb' Synchronisation, Idle speed, Mixture setting, Fuel and Vacuum lines and caps for cracks and kinks....

            Just thought somebody else would have mentioned these by now..

            Cheers
            Gordon
            2xBBB
            Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK

            --- In TriumphTrophy@yahoogroups.com, "chrisdross2010" <chris_niki@...> wrote:
            What am I doing wrong or missing, any ideas would be much appreciated please? Thanks Chris.
            >
          • a2
            you forgot water in the fuel....doh.... a2
            Message 5 of 12 , Feb 19, 2013
              you forgot water in the fuel....doh....
              a2


              --- In TriumphTrophy@yahoogroups.com, "gordon2xbbb" <gordon.smith29@...> wrote:
              >
              > Hi again Chris,
              >
              > Further to my earlier comments - I am assuming that your BBBB has been serviced on a regular basis...given it's limited running I hope you've not ignored such things as Valve Clearance Checks, Carb' Synchronisation, Idle speed, Mixture setting, Fuel and Vacuum lines and caps for cracks and kinks....
              >
              > Just thought somebody else would have mentioned these by now..
              >
              > Cheers
              > Gordon
              > 2xBBB
              > Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK
              >
              > --- In TriumphTrophy@yahoogroups.com, "chrisdross2010" <chris_niki@> wrote:
              > What am I doing wrong or missing, any ideas would be much appreciated please? Thanks Chris.
              > >
              >
            • chrisdross2010
              Thanks for the info from everyone, just a note the bike has been regularly serviced every year, all bits done that should, plus new carb floats last year. The
              Message 6 of 12 , Feb 19, 2013
                Thanks for the info from everyone, just a note the bike has been regularly serviced every year, all bits done that should, plus new carb floats last year. The she has always been a so and so to start if she is left for a day or 2 and a real b***h if she's left for a week. I'll look at double checking all the bits mentioned by everyone to make sure I haven't missed anything and let you know. many thanks all. Cheers Chris.
              • simonbernard10
                ... I have an identical problem with my 1979 CB900. If left for a day or so it fires up ok, though usually on 3 cylinders with the 4th chiming in when the
                Message 7 of 12 , Feb 19, 2013
                  --- In TriumphTrophy@yahoogroups.com, "chrisdross2010" <chris_niki@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > I'm new to this forum so hi and thanks for reading this dribble. I have owned my 1991 Trophy from new, and because of work etc. I have not been able to ride her as much as I would like (17000 miles) but even when she was new she had a few problems starting if left for a week or so. She will sometimes start on 3 cylinders,then with a cough and and pop the 4th will kick in. The battery is always fully charged before I even think of trying to start her (I have got to the point of jump starting with an extra battery each time) and if that fails the only way to get the old girl fired up is to change the plugs. Over the past 21 years I have changed over 20 sets of plugs and 9 battery's. What am I doing wrong or missing, any ideas would be much appreciated please? Thanks Chris.
                  >
                  I have an identical problem with my 1979 CB900. If left for a day or so it fires up ok, though usually on 3 cylinders with the 4th chiming in when the engine has warmed a tad. I've come to the conclusion that it is probably a combination of poor fuel these days and a lack of compression when the oil drains down from the cylinder walls, making it harder for the engine to draw in the fuel-air mix.
                  It was the hassle of starting the Honda that led me to purchase my 2001 900 Trophy, which, thankfully, starts on the button.
                  Strangely, My old Suzuki Gt750 (two stroke triple) started 3rd kick after 10 years of idleness!!
                • Greg
                  Hi Chris, Last thing first. Your not riding it enough, less than a 1000 miles per year. So I m not going to assume the bike has had regular scheduled
                  Message 8 of 12 , Feb 19, 2013
                    Hi Chris, Last thing first. Your not riding it enough, less than a 1000 miles per year. So I'm not going to assume the bike has had regular scheduled maintenance.
                    Rubber gets old, dries out and cracks. Van and I fixed his 1200 BRG when we changed the float assembly o-rings and float bowl gaskets. While you have the float assembly out, check to see if the little brass jet is still inside the float assembly. Ed Johnson has a good story about this. It not, you will wonder what is the little brass jet doing rattling around the bottom of the float bowl.
                    Let us know how it progresses.
                    Greg Andrews
                    '96 900 BRG
                    93,000 smiles

                    "chrisdross2010" wrote:
                    I have owned my 1991 Trophy from new... (17000 miles) but even when she was new she had a few problems starting if left for a week or so. She will sometimes start on 3 cylinders,then with a cough and and pop the 4th will kick in.... Over the past 21 years I have changed over 20 sets of plugs and 9 battery's.
                    What am I doing wrong?
                    Thanks Chris.
                  • Samuel Crider
                    Ed, If I were you I d rip out all of the cables between the battery and starter. Mabee the salt air combined with battery acid has attacked the copper. Replace
                    Message 9 of 12 , Feb 19, 2013

                      Ed,

                      If I were you I'd rip out all of the cables between the battery and starter. Mabee the salt air combined with battery acid has attacked the copper. Replace them with a slightly larger gauge of welding cable. Replace the relay and pull the starter and polish the entire mating face and attachment bolt threads. Same goes for the ground between the battery and the frame. If this doesn't produce the desired results. Then either the starter or battery or both are at fault.

                      As for the charging system I'd certainly set the output voltage higher. I've yet to attempt this but it may require another regulator. Then once you accomplish that feat you should also again replace the battery.

                      Actually, after further thought reverse the order of the above paragraphs.

                      Samuel
                      96 BBBB PB
                      New Orleans

                      On Feb 19, 2013 5:25 PM, "chrisdross2010" <chris_niki@...> wrote:
                      Thanks for the info from everyone, just a note the bike has been regularly serviced every year, all bits done that should, plus new carb floats last year. The she has always been a so and so to start if she is left for a day or 2 and a real b***h if she's left for a week. I'll look at double checking all the bits mentioned by everyone to make sure I haven't missed anything and let you know. many thanks all. Cheers Chris.



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                    • Greg
                      Hi Ed, Electronics have always been a sort of mystery to me. I can follow a schematic, but soon as the current goes into a relay or junction box the mystery
                      Message 10 of 12 , Feb 20, 2013
                        Hi Ed,
                        Electronics have always been a sort of mystery to me. I can follow a schematic, but soon as the current goes into a relay or junction box the mystery begins. As you know I am no stranger to working on our bikes, but me taking out the battery box hasn't been done in a few years. That is where the positive cable is hidden and doesn't it go directly to the starter relay?

                        I think Samuel has a good point. Try replacing the the positive cable from the battery to the starter relay. Cheap fix. I grew up in Southern California and rust was a rarity on cars except those from the beach, Malibu and such. Salt air is tough on electrics.

                        I also have an infrared thermometer, was it Bob who used it to help him turn the air screws? If one of the header pipes is 100 degrees different than the others that was the cylinder that got adjusted. What a great idea. Too bad exhaust gas sniffers are so expensive.

                        I have taken the eBay Mikuni's off and will do a strip down and soak. So the Keihin's are back on. I went up a notch in main jet size 120's to 122.5 It helped at the top end.
                        Greg


                        Ed Johnson wrote:
                        I have also invested in an infrared thermometer so that I can see which cylinder is not firing...
                        I've just recently discovered that even though I have 12.6 volts available at the battery only 8.5V is reaching the starting relay and that's before pushing the "Start" button.
                      • nigel_keating
                        Greg I agree, the diagrams are difficult to follow when relays are involved. Let me help try to clarify. The starter relay has nothing to do with the supply to
                        Message 11 of 12 , Feb 20, 2013
                          Greg I agree, the diagrams are difficult to follow when relays are involved. Let me help try to clarify. The starter relay has nothing to do with the supply to the starter. It merely disconnects the supply to the lights when you press the starter button. It is the solenoid that carries the current to the starter. The big lead from battery to starter is only interrupted by the solenoid. The solenoid is really a heavy duty relay in that a small load is required to pulls an electomagnet in which connects two big contacts together to energise the starter. Providing the solenoid is not clicking (which would indicate proper contact has not been made) the starter will get full battery voltage even if there are low voltages in other circuits as in eds case. The relay is not really part of the starter circuit but merely fed a supply from the low current side of the solenoid. Good luck with those carbs.

                          Cheers nigel
                          99 BBBB nwuk
                          Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

                          From: "Greg" <gandrews@...>
                          Sender: TriumphTrophy@yahoogroups.com
                          Date: Wed, 20 Feb 2013 11:39:39 -0000
                          To: <TriumphTrophy@yahoogroups.com>
                          ReplyTo: TriumphTrophy@yahoogroups.com
                          Subject: [TriumphTrophy] Re: 1991 Trophy 1200 starting problems

                           

                          Hi Ed,
                          Electronics have always been a sort of mystery to me. I can follow a schematic, but soon as the current goes into a relay or junction box the mystery begins. As you know I am no stranger to working on our bikes, but me taking out the battery box hasn't been done in a few years. That is where the positive cable is hidden and doesn't it go directly to the starter relay?

                          I think Samuel has a good point. Try replacing the the positive cable from the battery to the starter relay. Cheap fix. I grew up in Southern California and rust was a rarity on cars except those from the beach, Malibu and such. Salt air is tough on electrics.

                          I also have an infrared thermometer, was it Bob who used it to help him turn the air screws? If one of the header pipes is 100 degrees different than the others that was the cylinder that got adjusted. What a great idea. Too bad exhaust gas sniffers are so expensive.

                          I have taken the eBay Mikuni's off and will do a strip down and soak. So the Keihin's are back on. I went up a notch in main jet size 120's to 122.5 It helped at the top end.
                          Greg

                          Ed Johnson wrote:
                          I have also invested in an infrared thermometer so that I can see which cylinder is not firing...
                          I've just recently discovered that even though I have 12.6 volts available at the battery only 8.5V is reaching the starting relay and that's before pushing the "Start" button.

                        • Ed Johnson
                          Thanks Nigel; You cleared this up much better than I could have. I have not made myself clear in my posts that the voltage drop is in the loom not to the
                          Message 12 of 12 , Feb 20, 2013
                            Thanks Nigel;
                                You cleared this up much better than I could have. I have not made myself clear in my posts that the voltage drop is in the loom not to the starter itself. As you describe, the relay which is really a solenoid connects the full voltage of the battery to the starter motor and it spins happily! The positive cable from the battery has two wires, The heavy cable that goes to the starter solenoid and another smaller wire that feeds + voltage into the rest of the components hooked to the loom or harness as it is called.
                                Unlike most American beasts I have worked on; Triumph feeds a + voltage to most components at all times. Then they rely on a grounding system to complete the circuit. American manufactures do just the opposite. [ In the old days anyway! :-[ ] They ground everything and then shoot a + voltage to whatever they want to operate. Having said that; Here is my problem (s): As I said, the voltage to spin the starter is fine. The voltage going through the loom drops a tremendous amount before getting to the critical areas of our bikes. As Gordon discovered for me, he is getting the same voltage at the relay contacts of the starter solenoid as he is from the battery! [ Being in the UK he also has the option of not turning on his headlights so he not even getting the voltage drop of the lights being on.] Big Brother in both places have decided that we are all a bunch of idiots who would not only be smart enough to turn on our headlights but also would try to start the engine while in gear without pulling the clutch and would also attempt to drive off with the side stand down. So to circumvent these mental failings from happening they ingeniously have created this web of "SAFETY FEATURES" that must all be their proper stead before the machines can operate. This is all well a good as long as everything works properly as those of us who are ignorant enough to ride motorcycles manage not to injure ourselves by our obvious lack of comment sense. [ Which these days I consider a contradiction of terms. :-) ] However! If a failure occurs anywhere in this spider web of inter connected paths to ground we wind up with the starter motor getting full voltage but the coils and ignitor that actually make the machine operate are forced to operate in less than ideal conditions which is where my quandary rears it's ugly head! This is all due to the "God's of Electrikory" who have injected the all too famous "intermittent" that has driven electronic trouble shooters to drink for many years. My bike will sometimes start with the clutch released while in neutral and sometimes it won't! Not a real big issue on my part as I feel the clutch SHOULD be released while starting to avoid spinning a lot parts about that are not require for the engine to merely start! But that's not the point! The point is that somewhere in this spiderweb of safety features I have an intermittent ground which I believe is reducing the available voltage to my coils, ignitor, or both! I chose the starter relay contacts to check first because they are handy to the battery. In all honesty I have not pulled the tank and checked the voltage at the coils [Which are new BTW] nor have I pulled the nose cone to check the voltage at the ignitor. Mainly because when my SO sees the shop covered with motorcycle parts again she will know there is something more awry and be even more fearful of my returning should I leave the yard on this much valued machine. O:-)
                                This doesn't even go into the fact that it is almost impossible to tell if a Trophy is flooded or starved for fuel when she doesn't start basically because by the time you crank her enough to find out she is not going to start, you have used up enough of the Cold Cranking Amps in the battery that the bike will turn over but may not fire the ignition.
                                I'll spare you the details of the vacuum operated fuel tap with the knob that turns but may not be turning anything and the vacuum line that may not be sucking!
                                So Yes Chris! There is INDEED a simple reason why your bike is hard to start. You just have to simply find it! :-\

                            The above was all written in jest and is not intended to offend anyone! Only to relieve my own frustration!
                                It is currently 62° and fair skies here in Florida and I must now decide whether to go for a ride [After I jump start it!] or tear the bike apart again! 8-)
                            Cheers!

                               
                            Ed J. 2001Triumph Trophy BBBB
                            On 2/20/2013 7:49 AM, nigelpk@... wrote:
                            Greg I agree, the diagrams are difficult to follow when relays are involved. Let me help try to clarify. The starter relay has nothing to do with the supply to the starter. It merely disconnects the supply to the lights when you press the starter button. It is the solenoid that carries the current to the starter. The big lead from battery to starter is only interrupted by the solenoid. The solenoid is really a heavy duty relay in that a small load is required to pulls an electomagnet in which connects two big contacts together to energise the starter. Providing the solenoid is not clicking (which would indicate proper contact has not been made) the starter will get full battery voltage even if there are low voltages in other circuits as in eds case. The relay is not really part of the starter circuit but merely fed a supply from the low current side of the solenoid. Good luck with those carbs.

                            Cheers nigel
                            99 BBBB nwuk
                            Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

                            From: "Greg" <gandrews@...>
                            Date: Wed, 20 Feb 2013 11:39:39 -0000
                            Subject: [TriumphTrophy] Re: 1991 Trophy 1200 starting problems

                             

                            Hi Ed,
                            Electronics have always been a sort of mystery to me. I can follow a schematic, but soon as the current goes into a relay or junction box the mystery begins. As you know I am no stranger to working on our bikes, but me taking out the battery box hasn't been done in a few years. That is where the positive cable is hidden and doesn't it go directly to the starter relay?

                            I think Samuel has a good point. Try replacing the the positive cable from the battery to the starter relay. Cheap fix. I grew up in Southern California and rust was a rarity on cars except those from the beach, Malibu and such. Salt air is tough on electrics.

                            I also have an infrared thermometer, was it Bob who used it to help him turn the air screws? If one of the header pipes is 100 degrees different than the others that was the cylinder that got adjusted. What a great idea. Too bad exhaust gas sniffers are so expensive.

                            I have taken the eBay Mikuni's off and will do a strip down and soak. So the Keihin's are back on. I went up a notch in main jet size 120's to 122.5 It helped at the top end.
                            Greg

                             
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