Featured Paul Messenger's Stick Coils

Discussion in 'Thunderbird' started by Erling, Apr 26, 2022.

  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  1. Erling

    Erling Elite Member

    Dec 12, 2017
    1,091
    943
    Norway
    Apologies in advance, as this may appear like a paid commercial. It is not, I bought these parts with my well-deserved pension.

    Here’s my 1997 Thunderbird. I love it to bits, both to ride and to look at.

    [​IMG]

    This is our sixth season together and it is great on the open road. I have to admit though, that the engine has been a bit hesitant when starting up, and very dependent on the choke for the first couple of miles. In stop-and-go traffic it hasn’t exactly ran with confidence.

    It had just had a major carb clean when I got it. Still, the idle jets could perhaps do with a bit of extra service now for smoother running at low revs. That was my thought, anyway. Everywhere I read though, I notice that the original coils are an accident waiting to happen after all these years. Stick coils seem to be the way to go, to remove the risk of any high tension trouble in cables and connectors leading up to the spark plugs.

    So as a preventive maintenance, and a possibly better running engine as a bonus, I ordered a set of Paul Messenger’s stick coil kits this winter and installed it a couple of weeks ago. It was really plug and play.

    [​IMG]

    Boy, did they transform the old Bird! Now the engine runs strong and with confidence at start-up, I can close the choke after a minute or two, and no longer do I have to blip the throttle now and then in stop-and-go-traffic. The performance must be very close to how it was back in 1997. I may still replace the idle jets, but now I can wait until a thorough carb clean is again needed.

    So if you suspect your T300 may suffer from poor spark at low revs – Better Call Paul.

    20220415_155101.jpg
     
    • Like Like x 13
    • Useful Useful x 3
  2. joe mc donald

    Subscriber

    Dec 26, 2014
    13,693
    1,000
    slough / burnham
    Erling
    Great report. And happy its got sorted. Thanks for the report.
    Joe.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Like Like x 1
  3. t552

    t552 Senior Member

    Nov 17, 2014
    411
    113
    Bristol UK
    Glad to hear you are happy with my coil kits. Regards. Paul.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
    Subscriber

    Dec 3, 2018
    18,940
    1,000
    Tucson Arizona
    Glad your beloved Thunderbird is running like a top, @Erling! Nice report and good pics, too.

    "Better call Paul". I love that! :joy: We just finished watching the latest installment of--yep--Better Call Saul. ;):)
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. Petrol

    Petrol Well-Known Member

    Sep 18, 2016
    177
    93
    North Wilts.
    Any chance of a link ?
    [​IMG]

    This is our sixth season together and it is great on the open road. I have to admit though, that the engine has been a bit hesitant when starting up, and very dependent on the choke for the first couple of miles. In stop-and-go traffic it hasn’t exactly ran with confidence.

    It had just had a major carb clean when I got it. Still, the idle jets could perhaps do with a bit of extra service now for smoother running at low revs. That was my thought, anyway. Everywhere I read though, I notice that the original coils are an accident waiting to happen after all these years. Stick coils seem to be the way to go, to remove the risk of any high tension trouble in cables and connectors leading up to the spark plugs.

    So as a preventive maintenance, and a possibly better running engine as a bonus, I ordered a set of Paul Messenger’s stick coil kits this winter and installed it a couple of weeks ago. It was really plug and play.

    [​IMG]

    Boy, did they transform the old Bird! Now the engine runs strong and with confidence at start-up, I can close the choke after a minute or two, and no longer do I have to blip the throttle now and then in stop-and-go-traffic. The performance must be very close to how it was back in 1997. I may still replace the idle jets, but now I can wait until a thorough carb clean is again needed.

    So if you suspect your T300 may suffer from poor spark at low revs – Better Call Paul.

    View attachment 145957 [/QUOTE]
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Petrol

    Petrol Well-Known Member

    Sep 18, 2016
    177
    93
    North Wilts.
    Any chance of a link ?
     
    • Useful Useful x 1
  7. Erling

    Erling Elite Member

    Dec 12, 2017
    1,091
    943
    Norway
    I wouldn't know of any web page, sorry, but you could always send a PM to forum member @t552 if you want to get in touch. If you do a web search for <Paul Messenger stick coils> you'll find a load of info. They are also very favourably mentioned in David Clarke's recent book 'First Generation Hinckley Triumph (T300) Motorcycles'.
     
    • Useful Useful x 1
  8. t552

    t552 Senior Member

    Nov 17, 2014
    411
    113
    Bristol UK
    #8 t552, Apr 30, 2022
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2022
    You found me.
    Message on here. Or email [email protected] or search me on facebook.
    There is a debys vid on them
    From 13.25 min in


    And here


    Cheers. Paul.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Havit

    Havit Admin
    Staff Member Subscriber

    Jul 17, 2015
    9,439
    800
    Carlow
    Hi Paul, I couldn't find stick coils for the 900 T bird,
    What is the code for them ?
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  10. t552

    t552 Senior Member

    Nov 17, 2014
    411
    113
    Bristol UK
    I only use brand new ones
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  11. stevehotshot

    stevehotshot New Member

    Oct 15, 2020
    5
    3
    Chirk
    [QUOTE="Erling.... Everywhere I read though, I notice that the original coils are an accident waiting to happen

    Hi Erling, could you please tell me more about the coils... I have a TBS that runs like a bag of....! Had the carbs apart twice and I fitted new slightly bigger pilot jets off ebay, advertised as a good upgrade... Symptoms are still same missing at lower revs and particularly when opening throttle... Slides? Your post led me to look on ebay and I saw a pickup coil. The seller described symptoms very similar to mine, and I figured if it IS ignition related then it could be main coils also... Still can't diagnose whether it's fuel or sparks.. My TBS is YR2000 and has done 36k, what is coil longevit.. Thanks

    [​IMG]

    This is our sixth season together and it is great on the open road. I have to admit though, that the engine has been a bit hesitant when starting up, and very dependent on the choke for the first couple of miles. In stop-and-go traffic it hasn’t exactly ran with confidence.

    It had just had a major carb clean when I got it. Still, the idle jets could perhaps do with a bit of extra service now for smoother running at low revs. That was my thought, anyway. Everywhere I read though, I notice that the original coils are an accident waiting to happen after all these years. Stick coils seem to be the way to go, to remove the risk of any high tension trouble in cables and connectors leading up to the spark plugs.

    So as a preventive maintenance, and a possibly better running engine as a bonus, I ordered a set of Paul Messenger’s stick coil kits this winter and installed it a couple of weeks ago. It was really plug and play.

    [​IMG]

    Boy, did they transform the old Bird! Now the engine runs strong and with confidence at start-up, I can close the choke after a minute or two, and no longer do I have to blip the throttle now and then in stop-and-go-traffic. The performance must be very close to how it was back in 1997. I may still replace the idle jets, but now I can wait until a thorough carb clean is again needed.

    So if you suspect your T300 may suffer from poor spark at low revs – Better Call Paul.

    View attachment 145957 [/QUOTE]
     
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Erling

    Erling Elite Member

    Dec 12, 2017
    1,091
    943
    Norway
    I’ll respond as best as I can, just don’t mistake me for a real expert. There are quite a few knowledgeable people around here and I trust that they will correct me if I’m too far off the mark.

    First, both carbs and coils on our bikes – if original and untouched – are getting a bit long in the teeth by now. Both can lead to rough and lumpy running. Once the carbs are on the bench and opened up it is reasonably easy to spot dirt and deposits and check for mechanical wear. You have done this twice, so the next thing is the ignition. Checking the electronics is not so straightforward, and if you – like me – start throwing parts at the problem, I found it best to start at the usual suspects.

    My understanding is that the coils are most likely to go first, then the crank position sensor (CPS) and lastly the ignition module. The CPS contains semi conductors that will fail gradually, and will particularly tend to act up after riding for a while – one early indication of failing semi conductors is that they will fail when hot and be fine after cooling down. It is also my understanding that the coils will deteriorate more by age than by mileage, which is probably why my low-mileage Tbird responded great to the new coils.

    If you suspect that one cylinder is worse than the others, you could experiment by moving the coils around and see if the problem follows one coil. But if they all are the original, now 22 year old coils that were never very good to begin with, you may want to go my route and simply replace them without further investigation. As I said, I looked at it as sensible preventive maintenance anyway.

    You can buy replacement coils identical to those you have, but the advantage of stick coils is that you get rid of all the inherent problems with getting 20-30,000 volts through cables and connectors to the spark plugs without any voltage drop. I never bothered to check, but I assume you might save a bob or two by doing your own research and find out which ones will work with our bikes. BUT: If you do this and get it wrong, you may end up frying your expensive and out-of-production ignition module. This is why I went with Paul Messenger’s kit even if I had to import it, and as an added bonus you also get the right grommets and a set of ready-made cables w/connectors.

    Good luck with whatever you do. You have a great bike, the most sought-after of the Thunderbird family, and it would be a pity if you can’t get it running right.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  13. stevehotshot

    stevehotshot New Member

    Oct 15, 2020
    5
    3
    Chirk
    Wow, thanks for great response, food for thought indeed.. Yes great bikes, I had a Legend a year old, round about 1999 and a Kawasaki zzr600, when I sold the Triumph the wife said I'd sold the wrong bike... I said I'd get another eventually and it would be the Sport.... (fell right into my trap)... Thanks again
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
Loading...
Similar Threads - Paul Messenger's Stick
  1. Dave49
    Replies:
    2
    Views:
    564
  2. tcbandituk
    Replies:
    7
    Views:
    561
  3. joe mc donald
    Replies:
    6
    Views:
    571

Share This Page