Featured Project Bike Resto/build: Triumphant Return

Discussion in 'Builds & Projects' started by Notchback5liter, Nov 17, 2023.

  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  1. Notchback5liter

    Nov 17, 2023
    Elyria, Ohio
    Howdy everyone!

    I recently picked up a 1997 Triumph Trident 900 as a project to work on with the kids (4 boys). While this is my first 'project' bike since I was in my 20s, I have had a couple project bikes and a few other 'daily driver' bikes. My buddy taught me how to ride on his black and red Trident, then I bought is Sprint ST and had a Speed Triple for a short period of time.

    My good friend who got me hooked on bikes had been watching this ad for a while and recently he told me it was a super cheap price. I got it for a song and even if it wasn't salvageable, I can part it out for more than I paid and move onto the next potential project.

    And away we go...!

    She doesn't look too bad and I've ridden worse...


    My tiny human loves it!

    Trident 2.jpg

    Somehow, my friend/neighbor bought a CB750 Nighthawk from the same seller.

    Trident 3.jpg

    Trident 4.jpg

    Trident 5.jpg

    Trident 6.jpg
    • Like Like x 10
  2. Notchback5liter

    Nov 17, 2023
    Elyria, Ohio
    #2 Notchback5liter, Nov 17, 2023
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2023
    We pressure washed the bikes and they look marginally better. I'll be storing my buddys bike while he makes room in his garage.

    First thing I did was hook up a jump box to see if she'd crank. No dice. We'll come back to this later...

    Next, checked the condition of the tank. Ope. Not too good....

    Trident 8.jpg

    Crud. I dropped my favorite flashlight for work into the tank...

    Trident 9.jpg

    We proceeded to tear the body work and tank off to try to remove the flash light... The bottom of the tank made me wish we didn't, however, thankful that we never tried to put gas in her.

    Trident 10.jpg
    The fuel valve/petcock came right off in my hand... On the plus side of things, retrieving my flashlight got easier!

    Trident 11.jpg

    Trident 12.jpg

    The oil was way overfilled, thin and reeks of fuel.

    Trident Oil.jpg

    As she sits now... I've adjusted my plan of attack. With the tank being rotted through, I'll be watching for a tank to pop up online and ordered a test tank. The bike won't even try to crank. No clicks. No nothing. I used a jump box for the time being and checked for power to the ignition switch and it was present. The switch has continuity as well. The starter switch on the other hand is only getting 2.4 volts and drops to 1.2 v under load. Obviously, I have a wiring problem or a bad connection somewhere. I hosed the contacts out with electrical contact cleaner, sprayed them with silicon and buttoned the housing back up.

    I need to get my hands on a service manual to see what that circuit looks like and will likely be checking the clutch switch and see if it has a sidestand switch. This weekend, I'm planning on cleaning her up more with the panels removed to make wrench easier (and cleaner), pulling the spark plugs to check the condition of the bores and if I can get her to spin, the compression.

    Trident 13.jpg
    • Like Like x 11
  3. Notchback5liter

    Nov 17, 2023
    Elyria, Ohio
    The good kind of carbs!

    I gave my notice early this week and my current employer opted to sever ties today, so I took the time to tinker!


    I unbolted everything within the airbox, carbs and intake... I'll need new carb to cylinder boots, however, the intake ports look suspiciously clean (consistent with the carbs leaking into the cylinders).

    Trident intake port.jpg

    My intent in taking all of this apart this early in the process was planning for the worst. If I need to yank the motor, I'm 75% there. Plus, it gives me direct access to the starter to see if she's getting juice and then back track to find out where I'm losing power. These intake ports give me hope and I'm tempted to pull the head for a minor port/polish on the heads.

    As she sits tonight...

    • Like Like x 9
  4. Notchback5liter

    Nov 17, 2023
    Elyria, Ohio
    Made some good progress this morning/afternoon. I started digging into the wiring and electrical bits to see why the starter wasn't doing it's thing.


    The starter relay is completely corroded at the terminals and inside. It'll need a new relay and pigtail. Same with the starter solenoid. I jumped it and it would not crank.


    So we did what would tell us what was going on without anything else in the circuit. We used a jumper box and you could feel the starter at least try to work...


    And then we removed the starter... It's doing fine.

    I removed the two outer plugs to see what I could determine...

    1118-5Bore.jpg 118-6Bore2.jpg

    Thar be rust in ye bores!

    With the two easiest plugs removed, I wanted to see if the engine would turn over by hand. Then, removed the left side cover, but didn't find a nut to turn.


    The engine is ready to drop with the exception of the left peg and shifter.


    We took a break to look at the service manual and check on the smoker...

    • Like Like x 9
  5. sprintdave

    sprintdave Nurse,he's out of bed again

    May 25, 2014
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. Notchback5liter

    Nov 17, 2023
    Elyria, Ohio
    #6 Notchback5liter, Nov 19, 2023
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2023
    Yes! Thanks for the link!

    I got back to and dropped the motor last night. The right side engine cover revealed a nut that let us try to turn the motor over. No luck.

    We pulled the cam cover and it doesn't look terrible. I plan to remove the head today and see just how bad the bores are. If salvageable and the engine turns freely with the sleeves out, I'll either hone these and get some 750 pistons or get new sleeves and pistons

    View attachment IMG_20231118_173618_924.jpg

    View attachment IMG_20231118_173618_868.jpg

    View attachment IMG_20231118_173618_906.jpg
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. Markus

    Markus Crème de la Crème

    Oct 28, 2020
    What a project! I hope you will be able to manage it! ;)
    • Agree Agree x 3
  8. Adie P

    Adie P Crème de la Crème

    Jul 7, 2018
    Nice!! The Trident is a really great bike to own and ride. I've got 3 of them, one of which - the 900 - I've had from new in 1992. You'll find it quite difficult to get oem parts, unfortunately, so start scouring the classifieds for anything original. There are a couple of specialist suppliers here in the UK, the best known of which is


    They have manuals too, including, I think, electronic versions but the Haynes manual should, I think, be fairly easily obtainable over there.


    You've got quite a formidable task ahead of you but it should be very rewarding and it will definitely be good to follow your progress.

    Good luck!
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 2
  9. Notchback5liter

    Nov 17, 2023
    Elyria, Ohio
    Adie, thanks! I've been in the automotive service industry for 22 years and tinkered for a few before that! If I can rebuild a GM 3.6 with 3 timing chains, I'm hoping for the best on this! I'm actually headed out to the garage now to try and split the case to see how bad it is. I boogered the nut for the crank trigger, but that's not the end of the world.

    Whelp, I got the head off yesterday! I broke one socket on a headbolt.


    Here's the recap! The timing chain tensioner was completely extended.


    The cams are out and the cam journals are looking pretty clean!

    I've seen worse bores in junkyard car engines... I'm hopeful we can save her. I put some penetrating oil in the bores...

    • Like Like x 8
  10. Notchback5liter

    Nov 17, 2023
    Elyria, Ohio
    I had some time today, so I tore back into the engine. I pulled the case bolts from the top side, inverted the engine and pulled the sump off, then set upon pulled the lower crankcase bolts from the bottom side.


    I carefully split the cases...

    The steel parts have seen better days, but it's mostly surface rust. I should be able to just wire wheel the rust off those parts.

    The rod and main bearing look like they were run with coolant exposure as they are washed, but the journals look fine and there's no scoring to either...


    This picture is interesting. The alternator idler just fell off when I pulled the transmission mainshaft/clutch basket (Note the splines but no splined shaft), but we'll come back to that...


    This is the gear and bolt that fell out/off of that last picture. This likely has been overtorqued (look at the spiral pattern on the sheared portion) and I'm willing to bet that this motor did not run when it was parked.


    The sleeves just pushed out when the caps were removed from the rods.


    • Like Like x 7
  11. Notchback5liter

    Nov 17, 2023
    Elyria, Ohio
    Apparently, I can only upload ten pictures per posted but wanted to get these last ones in...


    I was able to push this shaft back into place from the opposite side, so it looks like the bolt is sheared off in the splined shaft. The splines should prevent any torsion to be applied to that bolt, so I still believe that it was over torqued. (That nut was from one of the rod caps) 1120-13.jpg

    At this point, I think I'll need to find someone with a parts washer for me to really clean it up and get an idea what's going on, but it looks really salvagable. Ideally, I would like to walnut blast the engine cases and repaint them. I should be able to get the broken bolt out of the alternator's splined shaft, put in a new timing chain, clean up all the rust, hone the cylinders, put new 750 pistons in there with new rod/main bearings and send it.

    • Like Like x 8
  12. Notchback5liter

    Nov 17, 2023
    Elyria, Ohio
    More updates! I started on thirds this week and the adjustment, combined with the holiday has been pretty taxing...

    I got my tool boxes home and used the opportunity to get a little more work done. I drove the piston/rod out of the centre cylinder sleeve. It's not terrible! I'm debating whether I want to try honing the existing sleeves and reringing or going with a used engine... The bore looks decent! I mean, other than the rust.

    I cleaned it out with some mineral spirits and the cross hatch is still visible.


    The piston has no significant scoring or wear, the wrist pin slop, though the rings are either stuck or collapsed. I suspect that they are stuck due to the sheer amount of corrosion. i'm hoping that a wire wheel to clean up with corrosion, then a good soak in a gallon of carb cleaner will break up any additional carbon and unstick the rings.

    I put the sleeve in the solution to see if the rust will come off. The vast majority came off within a few hours, leaving a black coating.


    I added some more solution, the second sleeve and turned up the amperage. I'll get more pics in the morning.

    • Like Like x 8
  13. joe mc donald


    Dec 26, 2014
    slough / burnham
    Welcome to the family. Quite a project you have there.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  14. Hello to all members!!
    I am delighted to be part of this community dedicated to our common love for motorcycles . Recently, I had a small confession with a work of art rather inatendue on the bodywork of my bike . You know, these mysterious graffiti that seem to appear overnight! I decided to tackle the problem and find a solution that will not hurt the painting of my bike

    . After some research and experimentation, I discovered a small Graffiti Cleaner that really worked wonders without causing any damage.

    I am curious to know if any of you have ever mentioned this kind of situation and what solutions you have exchanged. There seem to be little secrets between motorcycle enthusiasts, and I think it is the ideal place to share our asstuces and discover

    • Like Like x 1
    • Useful Useful x 1
  15. joe mc donald


    Dec 26, 2014
    slough / burnham
    Welcome to the family. Thanks for the tip. But do drop into the new comers section and let everyone know you have now joined us. Picture would be nice of your steed just hit the upload a file button. Look forward to more tips sharing.
  16. Notchback5liter

    Nov 17, 2023
    Elyria, Ohio
    This is why I could never be a social media sensation... I have the attention span of a squirrel!

    After I got the engine apart, I started comparing the cost of a minimal rebuild just covering what I needed (pistons, rings, gaskets, timing chain) and decided it probably wouldn't be cost effective.

    Updates will be slow since I'm a workaholic, my project car is broken (brakes), my daily driver is broken (rod knock), and my backup (stolen from my oldest needs a fuse box) are all down for the count.
    • Like Like x 2
  17. SuperDave156

    SuperDave156 Senior Member

    Dec 11, 2023
    Fascinating rebuild Notchback. I think you can get away with a hone and re-ring on that engine.
    Much worse than yours the rings had rusted into the bores in my long abandoned '64 Tiger 90 leaving deep grooves. I ball honed until the grooves kind of blended in. They were still there though. Very different engine admittedly but I ran that bike for 10 years with no problems and it was running 20 thou piston clearance (it's supposed to be 2 thou!). I'm doing it properly this time so it's being rebored. Keep going and report trials, tribulations and progress.
    • Like Like x 1
  18. QuadumphUK

    QuadumphUK Noble Member

    Aug 14, 2014
    Exciting project for you and your lads. Start them young and they won`t ever be bored. Tinkering on bikes is one of best things they can learn in life. Quality time for you all aswell. Watching this thread to see how it goes

Share This Page