Help! Can't get my "new" 1970 Bonnie started.

Discussion in 'Old's Cool' started by kirkmoon, Dec 22, 2006.

  1. kirkmoon

    kirkmoon Making up for lost youth

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    I got my 1970 Bonnie delivered this past weekend from the guy I bought it from in Arkansas. Bike is beautiful. Love everything about it except......

    I can't get it started. Bike came with an empty gas tank, but the seller indicated that it was running fine and should start with gas after a kick or two. No dice.

    Sent a message to the seller, but he hasn't gotten back in touch with me. I called a local vintage Brit Bike place and they are booked solid and can't take the bike in to look at it.

    Any experts in old Triumphs out there to offer some advice on how to get this thing fired up?

    I have done the following:

    1) Filled gas tank with premium gas
    2) Opened both petcocks
    3) Pushed the ticklers on both Amal Concentric carbs until gas came out
    4) Turned on the choke
    5) Turned on the ignition key
    6) Tried to kick start

    Nothing. Not even a hint of ignition.

    I then:

    1) Checked the battery. Seemed to be OK.
    2) Just to be safe, put the battery on a charger overnight. Voltage in AM 12.78
    3) Checked for sparks at each plug - sparks definitely present on both sides
    4) Air coming out of plug holes smells like it has gas in it, so I don't think that there is an obvious fueling problem (at least not a blockage)
    5) Plugs looked a little wet. Seemed to be a combo of oil and gas. Dried them off and put them back in.

    Tried to kick start numerous times again following the above routine.

    Nothing. At all.

    Tried bump starting the bike by running it down the hill in front of my house and popping the clutch in second gear several times.

    Engine turns over passively, but not even a hint of ignition.

    Have tried all of the above with the choke open, closed and partly open and with the throttle closed, partly open, and full open. Doesn't seem to make a difference.

    Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.

    Frustrated in Frisco :waysad
    #1
  2. Renazco

    Renazco Formerly AKA Boejangles

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    Try firing the bike with the plugs out, clean plugs and spark hole again.
    #2
  3. Squanto!

    Squanto! Long timer Supporter

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    Sounds like its runs just like my 68 TR6! Sounds like you may have flooded it a little too much. Clean out the cylinders and try again but don't tickle the carbs until you see gas come out. Just 3 to 5 tickles should do.
    #3
  4. kirkmoon

    kirkmoon Making up for lost youth

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    Thanks guys. I'll give it whirl.
    #4
  5. alimey4u2

    alimey4u2 Been here awhile

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    Ensure the plug is firing on the cylinder that is on the compression stroke & not the exhaust stroke.....:evil
    #5
  6. Solo Lobo

    Solo Lobo airhead or nothing Supporter

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    Mine took some "kick technique evolution" on my part to get it to start initially..... swing it up to and just barely past compression, return the kicker to the top of the stroke and go for it!
    #6
  7. kirkmoon

    kirkmoon Making up for lost youth

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    Thanks. I think I've tried that. I have an XR650R that can be a bit of a bitch to kick start and have learned most of the tricks. I was hoping that the Triumph Twin would be easier. I don't think that this is a kick technique failure, especially since I can't bump start it either.
    #7
  8. KneeDrachen

    KneeDrachen Long timer

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    Prince of Darkness strikes again?




    :hide
    #8
  9. kirkmoon

    kirkmoon Making up for lost youth

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    Could be. I found a little pool of oil under the bike this morning as well. :lol3
    #9
  10. KneeDrachen

    KneeDrachen Long timer

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    glad to see you're taking it in stride, in all seriousness i was thinking and did some web searching...it all hinted at being flooded from over tickling the carbs....i don't know much about brit iron at all but it seems that the tickling is extremely sensitive from what i read. have you dried everything out and cranked it over? i'm the last person to give advice, just passing along what i've read.
    #10
  11. kz1

    kz1 Been here awhile

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    You can try to open the throttle part way when kicking it over. Also, you could spray a little starting fluid in each hole and then try to kick it over. I would do this with my Norton each spring to get it going. You might also check the points. Make sure they are clean and gapped correctly. Spray a little electric cleaning fluid on them, and then use a business card or note card to pull through them and clean them off. If it fires with the starting fluid, and the points look ok, it is probably in the carbs. If you still do not get it to fire with the starting fluid, it is probably electrical.
    #11
  12. KL5A

    KL5A Bugs are the new black

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    I'm going to suggest an entirely new battery. 12.78 is marginal if the bike is equipped with the Boyer box. This is a BTDT thing for me, I had the same exact scenario with my BSA. Wet plugs that would fire outside the cylinders, good compression, kicked myself to exhaustion. Put in a new battery and it fired right up!

    I'm also going to suggest new plugs. See if you can find NGK's.
    #12
  13. kirkmoon

    kirkmoon Making up for lost youth

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    Thanks guys. You are all terrific. I think that I have probably flooded the damned thing. Will check and clean the points. I will look for a new battery and plugs too. Can't hurt.

    Noob question: what the hell do the ticklers actually do? Put gas directly into the venturi?

    p.s. KL5A - I love your avatar. I have always loved that poster.
    #13
  14. KL5A

    KL5A Bugs are the new black

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    The "ticklers" push the floats down, letting the carbs overfill with gas, enriching the mixture a bit at startup. If overdone, they can flood the snot out of the engine, again, BTDT. :rolleyes If it isn't too horribly dusty in your area, you might consider leaving the plugs out while you chase down a battery and plugs....

    I put a gel cell in my FrankenBeezer, basically you need voltage more than current. I started my FB using 12 AA nihm's in a battery pack from Radio Shack, but I can turn my headlights off on my bike.
    #14
  15. Rad

    Rad Done riding

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    Kirk

    Put the thing on a trailer or in a truck and drive down to San Jose and see Ken Armann. Just show up, he loves shit like that

    http://www.kenarmann.com/
    #15
  16. Vince

    Vince Long timer

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    I never used the choke,just the ticklers
    #16
  17. lynnsabcs

    lynnsabcs Searching for Stella

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    If you don't already know about it, britbike.com has a very helpful forum and list of topics to search thru to learn more about the uniqueness of the British Motorcyle.

    The starting fluid works for me. Also good advice about the battery if you have a Boyers or other brand of ignition in place of the points. Buying the TDC tool really helps in setting timing if you have points and keep them.

    Lynn
    1972 Triumph 120R Bonneville
    #17
  18. kirkmoon

    kirkmoon Making up for lost youth

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    Sweet. Thanks Rad. He will be my backup if I can't get the thing fired up after I dry it out.
    #18
  19. kirkmoon

    kirkmoon Making up for lost youth

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    Thanks for the tip on the BritBike forum. Looks great.

    I still have points, but will almost certainly be swapping them out for the Boyer Electronic Ignition in the near future.
    #19
  20. kirkmoon

    kirkmoon Making up for lost youth

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    Thanks. I'll give this a try.
    #20