Red River Triumph Club

Random Tips

Various Tips Collected from Around the Club and the Web


Did you ever have trouble starting a spark plug in its hole when working on a hot engine? A simple tool to keep your fingers away from hot metal components is a 6-8 inch piece of rubber hose. Slip it over the spark plug insulator and it not only works as an exten-sion, but it provides a good grip to aid in turning the plug.


Buried deep in the engine compartment of most cars built since 1973 is a canister full of charcoal. It’s the heart of a closed system that prevents carburetor and fuel tank gasoline vapors from entering the atmosphere. “So what?” You ask. Just that this system can cause problems you won’t be able to solve unless you’re aware of the systems existence. These conditions include gasoline smell, increased fuel consumption, rough idling, poor low-speed performance, and a collapsed fuel tank. If any of these problems crops up, check to see that the vacuum hoses attached to the canister are in good condition and that the canister itself hasn’t cracked. If the canister has been neglected, a filter in its base may have to be replaced. If there is no filter, the whole canister may need changing. Normal life for a non-filter type canister is 50,000 miles. Other things that can go wrong with this system can usually be uncovered with a pressure test.


Radiator: Check for coolant leakage at all seams. Vibration and pressure changes under normal driving conditions can produce leaks. Pressure Caps: Make sure the cap seals well, and that it is clean and free of sludge. Water Pump: To check the water pump, shut the engine off, grasp the fan blade, and “rock” the fan assembly to detect any additional movement of the pump impeller shaft. If the shaft is loose, look for coolant leakage. Hoses and clamps: Look for soft spots or hard and brittle hoses. Coolant may leak from these hoses. When replacing hoses, use only parts recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. Thermostat: If your vehicle has a temperature gauge, monitor the temperature readings while driving for a defective thermostat. Giving attention to these coolant system components now can save frustrating and costly trip interruptions, repairs, and engine dam-age.


To extend the time between rebuilds, soak the cork carburetor seals (the cork gland washers) in SAE 10 motor oil overnight. Then apply gas resistant, plumbers valve plug grease to them before installation. This will make the seals more pliable. They will then more easily conform to the spaces they occupy and will be more resistant to gasoline.


Often, the snaps surrounding the soft tops and tonneau covers are hard to engage and disengage. Merely putting a small amount of Vaseline on each stud on the car will make the snaps work surprisingly more easily.