Stories

The Jonah Diaries: Part 3

Sumpin’s wrong

What follows, in this and subsequent posts, is basically the story of my own biker ineptitude, heavily laced with the quirks of running an old bike/s. And of buying cheap gear. All mixed in with having shoddy mates and the idea that I might actually be cursed with bad luck.

In previous posts we’ve learned that I can’t stick a seat to race fairings without it blowing off into a truck driver’s windscreen. (I made the truck bit up, I’m actually clueless as to when and where the foam left the bike being trailered to a track day).

We know that I can’t really be trusted to fit fairly simple stuff like rear sets without the gearbox breaking, somehow.

And we know that I really shouldn’t be attempting to replace that gearbox myself with virtually no mechanical skills. But hey, life’s an adventure, in for a penny, in for a pound.

In the last post, I finished up by revealing a potential issue with the sump case. In fact, the issue is not strictly speaking with the sump case (although there is a concern) but with Triumph’s own official Service Manual – the one the dealers use to make sure they are looking after your bike properly, I might add.

I’ll come back to that. First, it’s time for a massive deviation from my crappy attempts at maintaining bikes on the cheap. It’s time for someone else to be the Jonah in this blog.

Total pole

Mike (a biking buddy), B&B’s Paul and myself had booked ourselves in for our first track day at Cadwell Park. Paul and I were to travel up from London to meet Mike, who was coming over from Manchester, at a pub with its own campsite, about a mile from the track.

Knackered after the ride up, we had a few beers first, before realising the sun wasn’t hanging around so we’d better get the tent up. The tent which Mike had brought.

We rolled out the fly sheet and the outer sheet, before laying out the pegs, ready for the poles to go in.

“Where are the poles, Mike?’ asked Paul.

Even in the semi-darkness, it was clearly visible the blood was draining from Mike’s face.

“You’re a fucking plum.”

“No, he’s a complete pole.”

Nobody actually seemed surprised. Mike already had form, trying to burn down my tent at the previous year’s TT (I’ll save that for another time).

You don’t need to know the range or quality of insults that followed for the next 15 minutes. If I say we were a good three-hour ride from home and we really didn’t want to miss the chance to ride what everyone knows is one of the UK’s best tracks for bikes, then you’ll appreciate the standard of slagging-off was platinum level.

Glamping tent
It’s better than a pokey little three-man tent, I suppose

Luckily the pub’s landlord, the completely epic Ian of the Three Horseshoes in Goulceby, sauntered over, clearly impressed by our expressive gestures, body language and, well, language.

He pointed to the large canvas dome tent on the other side of the field, that he was preparing for a wedding that weekend. “You can have that.”

Looking inside we found a double bed, airbed, heater, sheepskins – in fact, everything you need for a proper Autumn’s night glamping kip.

Ian took pity and let us have the tent for a song. The guy is a proper, proper gent, also knocking up a hot meal for all three of us. Including Mike the pole.

The least I can do is hope to drive bookings for his pub and campsite by hoping Google searches will find these words: “Places to stay near Cadwell Park race circuit”, and that anyone who needs great beer, delicious food, safe storage of their bikes and decent showers etc. should click on this link. Ian’s staff are a great laugh too.

To this day, Mike still feels he actually did us a favour by forgetting to pack his tent poles. He has a point.

Getting back to the Daytona…

To avoid any confusion if you’ve read my previous posts, the Daytona is still in the shed at this point.

So I’d had to use my old road-going SV650S. On road tyres that were at least three years old, on the wettest track I’d ever seen (aquaplaning was a distinct possibility). ‘The Mountain’ defeated the bike, which could only wheelspin up Cadwell Park’s hill.

I’m. Not. Doing. That. Again.

Ever.

But I’ll be back at Cadwell as soon as I can. The track is everything they say it is, and it’s with good reason that most track day riders I meet put it second only to Brand’s GP circuit.

And it wasn’t all grim. Mike doesn’t have his own one-piece leathers so he borrowed my old ones. That are two sizes smaller than him.

The pic below, before the rain started, is as upright as he got all day. Every time he got off his Street Triple the paddock was in stitches.

Man in tight motorcycle racing suit
Idiot in a one-piece two sizes too small

Seriously, get back to the Daytona…

Anyhow, back to the gearbox on the Daytona. I’d got quite far, working on stripping down the bike to get at the gearbox, but the sump had me stumped. The Triumph Service Manual for the T595/955i showed around 13 bolts. But the sump wouldn’t come off.

I tried everything, thinking the sump gasket had basically stuck everything together. This is where the people who shouted to themselves, ‘No! Don’t do it!’ in the Jonah Diaries Part 2 are utterly justified.

I took a palette knife to the sump. I’ll say that again. I took a hardened palette knife, and I tried to prise the sump away from the engine casing. I am a Jonah.

Broken gear cog in sump
Pretty sure those bits are not meant to be in the bottom of the sump

The sump seal isn’t damaged. But I have potentially weakened that seal by damaging the casing near it. It’s not worth the risk, I know, so I’m now looking at a replacement sump of anywhere from £20 to £90…

Haynes manual to the rescue

The sump still didn’t budge though. In desperation, having not, for once, found the answer on YouTube, I turned to the dreaded Haynes manual for Triples.

Dreaded because everyone knows they are ‘useless’ and give you bad information.

Not so.

The Haynes manual pointed out three bolts, hidden within the central part of the sump casing invisible to human eye. Three bolts that were not even mentioned in THE OFFICIAL TRIUMPH SERVICE MANUAL, FFS!!!

Too right I’m shouting. Not only am I £20-90 down (my fault completely for being a twat) but I’ve already lost half a day trying to sort the problem. And time, believe me, is something I can’t afford to lose, having too little of it.

So again, in the spirit of being helpful, here’s something for those inevitable Google searches by other owners: “remove sump Triumph Daytona T595 955i” There are more bolts than the OFFICIAL TRIUMPH SERVICE MANUAL  shows. The extra bolts are around the oil filter opening.

Incredible. I’m now an authority, in my head, on Triumph Speed Triple sump removal.

If only I were an expert on removing fork seals without them exploding in your face, nearly blinding you.

That’s for next time.

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The Author

Ian Malone

Ian Malone

Ian is the Editor and a co-founder of Biker & Bike.

He is obsessed about bikes to the point that he often starts conversations with new people by saying, "Please don't get me onto the subject of bikes. We'll be here all day."

Inevitably, the next question asked is nearly always, "What bike have you got, then?"

He's 'down' to three bikes at the moment:

'97 Triumph Daytona T595
'11 Triumph Tiger 800
'13 Triumph Speed Triple R

He's not even a huge Triumph fan, it just turns out that's how the stable is filled at the moment.

Having been on every continent except Antartica (as long as Cuba kind-of qualifies as South America) he is a big fan of travelling. However, to his deep but hopefully not eternal shame, he's only ever explored Europe on two-wheels and only started doing this a few years ago.

His main mission now is to explore as much of the world on two wheels as possible, at the same time as trying out as many new motorcycling experiences as he can and go on to inspire other bikers to do the same.