1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Bringing My '79 Bonneville Special Back to Life

Discussion in 'Triumph (Classic)' started by Tulsaalva, Oct 14, 2007.

  1. L.A.B.

    L.A.B. Moderator VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2004
    If you are referring to the console warning lights, then I'd also check the console wiring if the fault isn't found in the headlamp shell?

    Just a wrong connection somewhere? As the main beam warning light should connect into the main beam Blue/White wire? Or the wire connections could be wrong at the headlamp bulb?

    Personally, I'd disconnect everything, and start reconnecting again from scratch, checking that each reconnected circuit worked as I went along.
     
  2. Tulsaalva

    Tulsaalva

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2007
    Okay. I have the electrics pretty-much sorted out. The headlight and pilot (bulb was burned out) are working. The blue warning light now only glows when the brights are on. The left turn signal works. The right doesn't.

    The bulbs are good; grounds are good, and I checked continuity on the plus wires.

    My bike is the "1979 Standard model" which I believe means that it is not electric start and the headlight does not come on with the ignition. There is a switch on the right handlebar offering "head" and "pilot." The headlight goes off when "Pilot" is selected but the pilot light stays on all the time. The dipper switch on the left handlebar works as it should.

    The wiring diagram shows a unit labeled "BFL Flasher Unit." It shows a LGN (Light green with a brown trace) wire coming out of one end and running through a connector to the turn signal switch. It shows two white wires coming out of the other end. One runs to the front brake light switch and the other runs to the rear brake light switch.

    When I first opened the headlight shell I found a round unit encased in rubber. The rubber has a loop intended to secure it to a metal clip inside the headlight shell. The rubber loop, however, is broken.

    There are two yellow wires exiting the unit. Each wire runs to a "Y" connection with a male connector on one upper arm of the "Y" and a female on the other. There is something loose inside the metal can of the unit, rattling about when it is shaken. It showed no continuity. Because of that, I decided the thing is kaput.

    LaNelle told me she doesn't carry them because her customers buy replacements at the auto parts store and adapt them to fit.

    So off I went to the auto parts store where I found quite a list of choices. I opted for one with two blade connectors that functions on heat rather than electronically. (US$2.50) I cut the yellow wires off the old unit, crimped on two female connectors and connected them to the new flasher unit. I now have continuity from wire to wire.

    I've fitted it as shown above but, of course, only have one wire coming from each terminal on the flasher unit. I could only connect it to one brake light switch. But the left turn signal works so I'm enthusiastic that I'm on the right track! :)


    Did I buy the wrong flasher unit? I could have gotten one with three blade fasteners.

    Why, pray tell, is the unit to be connected to the two brake light switches?

    Should I simply splice another lead onto one end in order to enable connection to both brake light switches?

    Why do electrics confuse me so thoroughly?

    :)
    Al
     
  3. L.A.B.

    L.A.B. Moderator VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2004
    8FL?


    Yes, that's correct, please read on.....


    White is the main power supply wire from the ignition switch, so the flasher unit doesn't rely on any connection to the brake light switches in order to function, they simply all get fed from the same power supply = the white wire.





    That is probably a common aftermarket replacement unit by the sound of it, as the 8FL is a small rectangular unit?



    = No.

    The original T140 flasher circuitry was designed as a 2 blade flasher unit system.
    You could modify it to work with a three blade flasher unit, but for simplicity's sake I recommend you keep the two blade setup, as there's absolutely nothing to be gained by converting it to a three blade setup.

    Study your wiring diagram and connect the two blade unit as it shows = white - in, LGN - out to h/bar switch, and follow the left and right side flasher wiring after it exits the switch, and check all connections.


    IMPORTANT

    The console warning light "TURN W/L" should connect directly between the two flasher circuits (left & right = GR & GW - see wiring diag.) as the warning light does not connect to ground in the normal way.


    .
     
  4. Tulsaalva

    Tulsaalva

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2007
    Looking closely with a magnifying glass, I believe it could be 8FL.


    Okay. I understand that now.



    I suspected the same. However, I removed the aftermarket unit entirely and removed the new flasher unit I made. The left turn signal still blinks. The right one does not.

    I've done that. I believe all wires are connected as shown in the diagram. I've even made sure that the wires going into multiple connectors enter and exit as shown in the wiring diagram. (For example, in the upper left-hand corner of the wiring diagram there is a connector with four GR wires. One comes from the right front turn signal, and goes to the right rear turn signal. The other comes from the Right terminal on the turn signal switch and continues on to the turn signal warning light.)

    I also believe the original 8FL unit is still in the circuit, almost certainly under the fuel tank or behind the air filter cover. If it were not there, surely the left turn signal would not blink as there is no longer a visible flasher unit installed. I've checked the workshop manual. I've found no mention of a flasher unit. It covers the removal of the turn signals only.


    Yes, the warning light is so connected and works flawlessly... when the left turn signal is selected, of course.
     
  5. L.A.B.

    L.A.B. Moderator VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2004
    As I believe you are now working from the '79-on (99-7059) manual? Look at section E14 ="Removing and replacing the flasher unit"

    As one signal side works but the other side does not, then the fault should be either at the handlebar switch itself, or after it, somewhere along the Green/White wire, or it could be the signal stem grounds, it would be sightly unusual to have both grounds fail together, but not impossible I suppose, but the warning lamp would also stop working as it would not be able to ground through the opposite signal circuit if there was no ground at all on the faulty side?
     
  6. Tulsaalva

    Tulsaalva

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2007
    Yes, I am working from the '79-on manual. I'll check E14! Thank you, Les! I've checked the grounds on all four signal units. They show good continuity. (.000) Now, I'm headed for the garage to find that pesky 8FL unit! My guess is I'll find a loose or dirty connection. Thanks again!

    Al
     
  7. Tulsaalva

    Tulsaalva

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2007
    Well, Les, E14 led me to the flasher unit, located behind the left side cover. From there I was able to follow the flow of the electricity. Beginning at the positive terminal of the battery, it flows to (but not through) the two brake light switches, to the flasher unit, to the turn signal switch, to either the left or right turn signals (depending on which is selected) and, through the frame of the bike, back to the negative terminal of the battery. As you pointed out, the turn signal warning light is powered by a wire from each of the GR and GW wire clusters, thus enabling it to work no matter which is selected.

    My guess is that both brake light switches are connected to the flasher unit for the sake of redundancy; if one fails, the other is available. Right?

    I have followed the entire system with my ohm meter, checking every wire and every connection. With each part disconnected, I get continuity everywhere except between the LGN wire and the GR wire (each connect to the turn signal switch) when the right turn signals are selected. There is continuity between the LGN wire and the GW wire when the left turn signals are selected.

    Therefore, I must have a broken turn signal switch. (The two blade fasteners on the turn signal flasher unit were fouled with oil and dirt but I was able to clean them thoroughly with brake cleaner.)

    So now I must learn about the turn signal switch. I haven't yet read the manual about it and won't take it apart until I learn how to repair it. Must the entire cluster of switches be replaced or is it possible to either repair or replace the turn signal switch on its own?

    As it is now, the bike is functional. I told Sixteen that he's free to ride it but he can only turn left. :) He grinned at me and stuck out his right arm, mimicking a right turn hand signal. Incidentally, he hasn't touched the BMW since the clutch plates were replaced on the Bonneville. I think the boy is a born biker!

    Thank you for all your help!

    Al
     
  8. L.A.B.

    L.A.B. Moderator VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2004
    Al,

    Good to hear that you have found the cause of the problem at last.

    Unfortunately, you won't find any instructions in the manual about switch repair, as they were meant to be replaced if they were faulty, however they can be repaired, but you need to take them apart carefully in a well-lit area that is clean and free from clutter! As small springs, tiny metal switch contacts and ball bearings can fly out - never to be seen again!

    And have a pair of young eyes and some nimble fingers handy!
     
  9. Tulsaalva

    Tulsaalva

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2007
    It sounds a lot like fixing Porsche power window switches.

    The one thing I don't have is young eyes. I do have a lighted magnifying glass that's intended for working on small objects.

    I found out today that the complete switch is available through LaNelle but costs $139.95. Apparently the upper and lower halves used to be available separately but she couldn't find them in her current catalogs.

    Maybe I can enlist Sixteen's young eyes and write instructions while we're doing it...

    I'll let you know what we decide.

    Do you have any further suggestions or warnings other than the above?

    Al
     
  10. L.A.B.

    L.A.B. Moderator VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2004
    Any new replacement switch units are very likely to be pattern items (probably from Sparx).

    The original switches are quite simple (OK = basic!!) things, they just have some fiddly spring-loaded parts that can fly out!

    As it is the turn signal switch you want to repair, you probably won't have to remove too many parts?

    So, FROM MEMORY = Inside the L/H switch unit, the turn signal switch lever is held captive on a plate fixed in position by 2 (or 3?) small cross-head screws?
    Under the plate you should find a small nylon block that holds the sliding contact against the (3) fixed contacts, which is moved by the switch lever?
    The block if I remember correctly, also acts as the (3 position...left-off-right) index, so contains a spring loaded ball bearing that clicks through three notches cast into the switch housing, and there could be a spring behind the sliding contact as well?
    There should also be a small mica board with three wires attached (soldered) one side, and three contacts on the other, that touch the sliding contact, this is, I suspect, where you will find the problem? Either a wire will have a bad joint or be broken, or the face of one or more of the contacts could be pitted, worn, dirty or corroded?
     
  11. Tulsaalva

    Tulsaalva

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2007
    Thanks, Les. I'm hoping to get the switch fixed this weekend. I also need to repair the trip meter and odometer on Nineteen's 944. It's a common problem with these cars. The cause is a nylon or plastic gear that breaks, especially if the reset is activated while the car is moving.

    Anyway, a new challenge has arisen with the Bonneville. I don't know if the symptoms are related or not but believe it is possible.

    1. The bike has gotten harder to start. While it has started on the first or second kick up until now, it took seven kicks yesterday. Sometimes it would almost start but would die.

    2. The bike died twice while Sixteen was riding it, both times when he was waiting at a traffic light to turn left with the left blinker activated.

    3. All lights on the bike brighten or dim in direct proportion to the RPMs of the engine, the higher the revs, the brighter the lights.

    4. On the way home after band practice last night, Sixteen switched to the high beam and it went out. I've not checked it yet but feel confident I'll find a melted high-beam filament.

    5. The bike no longer idles smoothly.

    I'd be most grateful for any hints. I've checked the '79-on manual and, frankly, don't understand the part about fault finding with the charging system.

    Thank you!!!

    Al
     
  12. L.A.B.

    L.A.B. Moderator VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2004
    That could point to it being a voltage regulation problem, - maybe the Zener diode is no longer functioning correctly? I presume that your '79 model has the three-phase lower output version RM24 alternator with the single Zener diode?

    If this is the case, and the voltage keeps rising with the revs, then the RITA box is going to be damaged if the voltage is going over 16V, so I'd try to find the problem before using the bike again if possible?

    It maybe worth considering changing over to a modern 3-phase regulator/rectifier unit, and removing the old Zener and rectifier, as those original electronic parts are now rather old, and they've gone through a reasonably long period of inactivity so they could be giving up, now they've been put back into service again?





    I'd check the system voltage, and if it is outside the limits given in the manual then I would concentrate on checking/eliminating the Zener first?
     
  13. Tulsaalva

    Tulsaalva

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2007
    Yes, we've parked the bike and won't ride it again until the problem is sorted out. I had realized, of course, that the regulation of the voltage is the problem.

    I always lean toward updating if it is an available answer to solving a problem. How does one change over to "a modern 3-phase regulator/rectifier unit"? Is that an item I need to get from LaNelle or one of the on-line Triumph parts dealers, or would it be available at the local automotive parts store?

    Since the Triumph made it home under its own power the last time it was ridden, can I assume the Rita is okay? I do have a spare, but it's as old as the one in the bike. It has never been used.

    Thanks, Les!

    Al
     
  14. L.A.B.

    L.A.B. Moderator VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2004
    Then I suggest your best option would be to fit a Podtronics or similar unit? They should be available from most British bike parts suppliers, and fitting one is fairly straightforward = disconnect/remove the old Zener and rectifier, and connect the Podtronic unit, which will have five wires, as your alternator should be a three-phase RM24 so you need a three-phase regulator/rectifier. So there will be three box wires that connect to either one of the stator output wires, as they are all AC, and a positive wire to the battery wire, and a negative to ground, as your '79 is Neg ground.

    Podtronics unit: http://members.aol.com/podtronics/powermod.htm

    Just carry on using the one that's fitted, I suppose, - but it's up to you?
     
  15. Tulsaalva

    Tulsaalva

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2007
    Thanks, Les! I'll order the three phase unit from Podtronics tomorrow. $59.95 seems reasonable. They're right next door in Texas.

    Al
     
  16. Tulsaalva

    Tulsaalva

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2007
    I exchanged emails with Bob of Podtronics who told me they don't sell to individuals and referred me to the website for a list of dealers and distributors. I recognized Domi Racer, a distributor that LaNelle buys from.

    I talked with LaNelle this morning. She told me everybody likes the Podtronics piece so well she keeps one in stock. She has the single phase unit but not the three phase one. She will order one from Domi Racer.

    Thanks for the help, Les!

    Al
     
  17. L.A.B.

    L.A.B. Moderator VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2004
    Al,

    I hope the Podtronics unit solves the problem but, in any case, please let us know how you get on?
     
  18. Tulsaalva

    Tulsaalva

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2007
    I will, indeed, Les! Thank you!

    Al
     
  19. Tulsaalva

    Tulsaalva

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2007
    Okay... The Podtronics came in and I've started installation.

    It's pretty straightforward. In the case of the Zener diode, however, there is no instruction on what to do with the wires. Shall I just remove the diode and leave the wires unconnected? The Podtronics unit only uses the wires of the rectifier.

    Al
     
  20. L.A.B.

    L.A.B. Moderator VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2004
    Yes, just make sure the Zener spade connector is isolated and cannot touch to ground, but don't separate the two(?) Brown/Blue(?) connector wires from each other.
     

Share This Page