My Triumph Tiger 800XC has had very annoying trouble idling reliably over the past year, and sometimes just plain stalls or won’t even start. It started while I was near Rome last year gulp.
Its been a bit hard to track down the problem or reproduce it, so I’ve held off taking it to Triumph in case they just spend hours looking at it and just say they can’t find anything. The bike being knocked over while parked overnight in Leicester 8 months ago didn’t help either (though this problem existed before then).
Eventually I took the bike to Jack Lilley a couple of weeks ago and explained everything I could to an engineer. Luckily the bike misbehaved infront of him. He reset the ECU, the bike started fine, and removed the GPS and foglight connections in case they were interfering. Jack Lilley only charged me 2/3 the price for the time they took. I offered to take the bike home to test it, but unfortunately this “fix” didn’t last long and the bike played up again.
I then took the bike down on Wednesday 3rd April again, and collected it yesterday. I’d heard the stepper motor on a few Tiger 800s had gone awry. Jason at Jack Lilley gave the bike a good investigation including cleaning the stepper motor and other bits. All seems to be working okay at the moment.
I went to collect the bike yesterday, and the time spent was nearly 3 hours at £177. gulp. To my great surprise, the service manager said they wouldn’t charge me at all for the work! Its apparently not a warranty they can claim on as they didn’t replace the stepper motor - just cleaned it. I was anticipating splitting the cost with them, say.
To be fair to me, I have had the bike serviced at Jack Lilley, including the rather large/expensive 12,000 mile service. I did tell them that the bike wasn’t idling then, and they promised to fix it. Naturally we all hoped it was just a filter or basic service element. If I’d known it could be as “simple” as a dirty stepper motor I’d have taken the bike back down there a long time ago.
Fingers crossed the bike stays reliable now
For future reference, the symptoms I had -
On ignition, the bike would randomly select and idle point - sometimes below 1,000rpm, sometimes above. If above 1,000rpm, when revved the bike’s rpms would only slowly recover back to idle. If below 1,000rpm, when revved the bike would then rev under the idle speed and slowly recover back up. Potentially when it revved under the idle speed it would just stall. Sometimes the idle speed would just be so low that the bike wouldn’t start at all.
Leaving the bike switched off for a couple of minutes would kick off its “faxing noise”, which I learned is the stepper motor doing its thing. Waiting for the noise to finish and restarting the bike would most likely take the bike into a new good or bad idling mode.
As advised by Jack Lilley, leaving the bike for 12minutes idling away, the bike would self-tune its ECU back to something “normal” and then behave a bit more reliably at the next restart - though not guaranteed, and if the bike wouldn’t even start/idle it was impossible to get it to idle for anything like 12 minutes at times.
Jason mentioned that putting thicker oil, like Castrol 15-50 may help stop the Tiger getting quite so hot when being ridden in warmer temperatures/countries. I’ve found it painfully hot to ride across Romania and Hungry a couple of years ago. Fingers crossed this tip will make a difference!