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Triumph Tiger 900 (1994)

The engine starts fine and idles with choke. When I reduce choke and try throttle it just dies. Regardless of choke position, when I throttle, the engine dies. Thus, I cannot ride it at all.

After 5+ minutes it was already at operating temp, ambient outdoor temp was 4-6deg so I was a bit shocked by this.

The triple carbs were serviced 2019. I have had this 4 years and only managed 1000+kms every year (very poor for me).

I am loathe to accept a carb problem as the Triumph dealer charged me an arm and a leg to service them, but would a failed spark plug cause complete throttle death? Air filter?

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  • Check the carbs - is fuel quality a possible issue in your country / area?
    – Solar Mike
    Nov 15, 2021 at 9:24
  • Fuel should be OK. I have had no problems before, and even the previous carb problem (which I figured was probably a distorted needle in one of them) it was rideable but fuel-starved at lower revs. As stated, the carbs were serviced. I am an apartment dweller with no tools or space to work on the machine. If I return it to the dealer, it is unlikely I will see it before March as everything they do just drags on and on without any feedback from them. There is no other dealer in my vicinity (Bratislava) so I would have to get it picked up and taken to Vienna...which would be a real chore.
    – Hpoonis
    Nov 15, 2021 at 9:34
  • Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! Nov 15, 2021 at 10:08
  • Have you considered asking one of the non-Triumph motorcycle shops in Bratislava? Google brings up several contacts. Main dealers can have a terrible attitude. I suggest you visit some and try to talk to a mechanic, find out where their heads are, how enthusiastic. Also, good mecahnics often get a rep by word of mouth. Nov 15, 2021 at 13:44
  • I have but, stupid me, I have been a creature of habit and always sent my rides to authorised dealers, expecting them to have the best knowledge and resources to do the work. The main problem with this particular mob is that, I drop it in for the simplest of things and it takes at least 4 weeks to get anything done. It is usually 3-4 weeks before they acknowledge any emails, so I am a month down to begin with. This year I have only had a useable ride for 1 month. But I think that I shall have to figure out another plan.
    – Hpoonis
    Nov 15, 2021 at 18:25

4 Answers 4

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The triple carbs were serviced 2019. I have had this 4 years and only managed 1000+kms every year (very poor for me).

It's not always clear what "serviced" means. But for a bike this old the carbs surely needed a complete rebuild. Modern ethanol-containing fuels are very hard on carbs and riding only 1000 or so km/year means this thing sat around a LOT. So the fuel had plenty of time to separate out the ethanol which is quite corrosive and do its damage to your carbs.

First of all you need to assess what's damaged in the carbs. It may be as simple as to remove the "sludge" or "varnish" that collects in the bottom of the bowl and in the small passages. If it's worse than that you need to replace the damaged parts. After you're finished the carbs should look like new on the inside.

In the future you should drain the carb bowls when you are storing the bike. Many models have drain screws for this purpose. You might also consider storing it with ethanol-free (i.e. E0) fuel in the system. While it doesn't stay stable forever, it does last a lot longer than the E10 or E15 fuel that is commonly sold.

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  • That may be true. After I dropped it in there a couple of years back - for usual fluids, etc, they also replaced the airbox. To get at that they would have removed the carbs. When I picked it up it ran atrociously so I sent it back and that was when they informed me about "servicing" them. I suspect they damaged something removing them.
    – Hpoonis
    Nov 15, 2021 at 18:21
  • That's entirely possible. But the answer is the same except that I'll now say: "The carbs need to be rebuilt and/or installed PROPERLY." It seems you left that vital information out of your original question.
    – jwh20
    Nov 15, 2021 at 18:25
  • But again to reiterate... The problem you are describing is consistent with a CARBEURATION problem, not a sparkplug problem.
    – jwh20
    Nov 15, 2021 at 18:26
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Carbs have multiple fueling circuits. One circuit is for idle. Another is enrichment, which gives extra fuel when you twist the throttle. Another circuit gives it fuel while at a steady state above idle. The enrichment and/or the steady state circuits are not providing fuel to the engine. An internal combustion engine needs three basic things to run: air; fuel; ignition. You can pretty much eliminate air/ignition as culprits, since the bike runs at idle without issue. Neither of these things are going to (basically) change when you twist the throttle. The only thing left it can be is a fueling problem. While you don't want to believe there's an issue, I'd give it about a 98% probability that is exactly where the problem lies.

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  • It runs at idle only when the choke is open, down to ~1200rpm, below that it dies. Whatever the case, I dread getting this thing back to the trumpy dealer. Shoddy doesn't come into it. I think they dislike me as I don't speak Slovak.
    – Hpoonis
    Nov 15, 2021 at 10:21
  • You don't have to take it to a Triumph dealer. Find a mechanic you trust. I'll guarantee you there are people around who know this stuff and can do it faster and cheaper than a dealership (and just as good if not better). Talk to some of your fellow riders and see who they might recommend. Nov 15, 2021 at 10:38
  • You might also try running some carb cleaner through it. Might help. Nov 15, 2021 at 10:39
  • A local biker chum has steered me toward a local outfit that I have contacted. Thanks for all the info. It is a lesson learned. I'll make sure to run the engine regularly. This year has been particularly troublesome in terms of availability, so I just left it sitting, which is not normally the case.
    – Hpoonis
    Nov 17, 2021 at 9:12
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I had a similar issue but with an estate car: began driving fine but then I drove up hill and increased the revs and the car stalled, again and again. It turned out there was a small perforation in the fuel line that drew in air at higher rates with higher revs. This in turn created a starved air/fuel mix and stalled the engine.

Could this be your problem? It should be quick to check by rubbing soapy water on the fuel lines and checking for bubbles

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All of the above is good advice. As with RDavey, fuel lines age and crack. Look for seepage on the lines and where they fit over a fitting stub. Sometimes you can simply cut the end of the line and refit it. Be sure the clamp fits well.

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