Sadly my dear Triumph broke down again and forced me to miss last night’s ride. The engine has been overheating badly recently - I filled it up completely with oil in April at OMC, by Tuesday the oil tank was empty and needed a refill after breaking down, then the same thing happened last night. It has been stalling and running erratically and is only 4 years old.
Coolant level is fine, the temp gauge is near the top and the fan comes on - but having ridden for ten years on many different bikes This is the first time I have experienced this level of heat from the engine. There is no leakage, or mayonnaise on the oil dipstick, just my bike overheating and dying.
I am gutted as I was really keen to take the triumph to Scotland on Friday for our tour of the north. The trip would have been off completely if the lovely Ally had not stepped in with a deal on her Beemer. So it looks like I have a bike to ride there, but not dear KPao, who is on her last legs with some terminal disease and is unable to make the most of her lovely new tyres. When the bike works she is awesome and would have loved the roads, but it is just too risky right now.
I have experienced some really helpful and useful advice from the great folks on here, but need to get to the bottom of the issue and try and get a diagnosis, so any sh1t hot mechanical advice or experiences and solutions from Triumph owners welcome!
Part of the answer is in your question Hels, engines are not cooled by coolant alone, the oil also plays its part and when the oil level drops expect the engine temperature to rise. Note in extreme cases, if the engine temperature rises too high for too long the pistons or, cylinder bores or, big ends or, little ends or , something else could possible expand sufficiently to seize or partially seize the engine. Partial seizure can be recognised by a loss of power due to increased loading as the engine tightens.
I don’t know the oil capacity for your engine but you say the tank was completely empty, this reflects the amount of oil lost, note that’s lost not disappeared. You just need to investigate where it has gone. Assuming it took >1 litre of oil to refill that’s more than enough oil not to be missed which is good news in a way because there are not too many places the oil can go and the larger the quantity lost the easier it will be to trace.
If there are no visible signs of oil loss, no drips or patches of oil under the engine you can probably rule out an oil leak caused by gasket or seal failure, so …Check the oil is not being blown out through the crankcase breather, you can do this by examining the air filter and its housing which should be dry.Check the condition of the spark plugs, if the engine is burning oil one or more of the spark plugs will be of a black fouled appearance.Check the exhaust emissions, black or dark grey exhaust fumes will indicate the engine is burning oil.
Report back and we’ll take it from there.
This is very helpful - Art and all- you have given some great advice. I am going to Scotland tomorrow on a BMW not a TRiumph, but when I return on eve of 6th I will print out this thread and work through it with mechanical supervision. I will also look this evening.