Electric start T140, good or bad?

Fast Eddie

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A mate of mine wants an electric start T140.

I remember Tony and Martin at TMS telling me what a disaster they were. Sprags would fail (when not if) and if you were unlucky, sprag shrapnel being caught between timing gears could even split the cases.

They even converted brand new ‘Electro’ T140s to kick start (a mate of mine had one).

My question is, is this still the case? Or are modern sprags better in some way? Has anyone had an Electro T140 and do they have any feedback to share?
 

L.A.B.

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The early (1980) T140 starter drives were fragile. Later were more robust (apparently).
 

baz

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I've seen an advert for an electric start conversion for a t140
I think it was in the old bike mart
But I can't find anything about it on Google
When i get back from work I'll take a look just incase I imagined it!!!o_O
 
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Fast Eddie

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I've seen an advert for an electric start conversion for a t140
I think it was in the old bike mart
But I can't find anything about it on Google
When i get back from work I'll take a look just incase I imagined it!!!o_O
Yeah I’ve seen that, it’s Shropshire Classics, looks good, BUT it’s a £2.5k job !
It’s not for me, I’m asking for a mate who’s considering buying a T140ES.
 

baz

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Yeah I’ve seen that, it’s Shropshire Classics, looks good, BUT it’s a £2.5k job !
It’s not for me, I’m asking for a mate who’s considering buying a T140ES.
Hopefully someone will pipe up with real experience of one of these machines
Cheers
 

grandpaul

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I had a TSS with e-start and it worked great. Of course that was THE last model Triumph Meriden ever built, so I suppose they'd sorted it out by then.
 

Fast Eddie

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Yeah, I had a TSS, but some butcher removed all the e start stuff.

Oh yeah, that’d be me !!
 

998cc

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Yeah, I had a TSS, but some butcher removed all the e start stuff.

Oh yeah, that’d be me !!
Me too. My 1982 T140 ES was not running when it came to me because it had stripped pinions and had snapped the idler shaft. I reasoned that it was due to engine kickback being transferred backward through the sprag clutch and the gear reduction train. The case was a mess but repairable.

And the bike was only four years old at the time....

~998cc
 

Fast Eddie

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Me too. My 1982 T140 ES was not running when it came to me because it had stripped pinions and had snapped the idler shaft. I reasoned that it was due to engine kickback being transferred backward through the sprag clutch and the gear reduction train. The case was a mess but repairable.

And the bike was only four years old at the time....

~998cc
Blimey! Kinda confirms the horror stories.

I’m thinking that a Tri-Spark ign with its anti kick-back function would probably prevent that these days.
 

998cc

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Blimey! Kinda confirms the horror stories.

I’m thinking that a Tri-Spark ign with its anti kick-back function would probably prevent that these days.
Agreed.... but how long will it continue to function? Had the Norton Tri-spark for a year now, but after reading the horror stories, it's still in the box on the shelf. :confused:

~998cc
 

Fast Eddie

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Well, that’s another topic altogether innit ?!

Personally, I’m now on my 5th Tri Spark equipped bike and I have yet to experience a failure.
 

Chris

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Hi Eddie
I brought a couple of stripped bikes both had been damaged by sprags going pop.
Eventually (many years later) I sold the engine parts for a good profit. I assumed that problems had been resolved because people were keen & everyone who brought parts from me said parts were rare?
I have never looked at one since, are complete bikes rare?
Chris
 

Fast Eddie

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Not sure show rare they are Chris, I’d guess they’re rarer than they were cost many went bang and many were converted to kick only. And, the ageing population of bikes means there’s a growing interest in them apparently.

Not that it matters to my mate, he’s gone and bought a Harris built Tiger instead. Nice bike too actually.
 

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I would have really liked to have a "Harris built" Triumph; and I've ALWAYS been a Triumph guy, but do like many others too. Shame they were never sold over here ... and don't think I would want to bother with trying to import. Do wonder if any one has though ??? Cheers, Pat
 

Fast Eddie

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I would have really liked to have a "Harris built" Triumph; and I've ALWAYS been a Triumph guy, but do like many others too. Shame they were never sold over here ... and don't think I would want to bother with trying to import. Do wonder if any one has though ??? Cheers, Pat
I believe that Harris chose not to export to the US, I can’t recall if it was type approval issues (or whatever it’s called the US) or liability insurance, but it was one of those that was just deemed too expensive versus the predicted sales.

Don’t forget that even in the latter Meriden years, Triumph sales in the US had dropped off badly due in part to the pound / dollar rate making them very expensive, and the fact that the competition had basically left the old T140 sadly lacking.

Harris found this out too, sales of Harris Triumphs never met expectations. They only made around 1200 IIRC and Les Harris was left somewhat out of pocket by the whole exercise.
 
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The buyers who were left out of pocket by mechanical failures which Harris personally refused to put right, wouldn’t have had much sympathy for Harris being out of pocket.
 

Fast Eddie

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The buyers who were left out of pocket by mechanical failures which Harris personally refused to put right, wouldn’t have had much sympathy for Harris being out of pocket.
Yeah, I think there was some of that, but being ‘pre-internet’ I guess we didn’t hear what we would today...

I had one, the rear Paoli shocks lost their damping. When I removed them one quite literally fell in half!

I got zero response from Harris! I bought a seal kit from somewhere, but couldn’t even get info on type or quantity of oil from Harris.

Contrary to popular belief though, a few niggles aside, it was a cracking bike that put up admirably with an ignorant 18 year olds worst !
 
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