Triumph 650 History Lesson

Well, here is some history on the Triumph 650 project I’ve post some pictures of. It all started by purchasing an incomplete, non-running engine on ebay back in 2002. It was delivered the day before Chad and Jenny’s wedding, so I didn’t have any time to play with it for several days, which drove me nuts!

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I started tearing it down, and found that it was a rusty, dirty, sludgy mess.

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If you’re building a Triumph engine, then the cam gear puller pictured is an absolute must! I ordered up some brand new pistons, and cylinders, and all of the bushings and bearings for the engine and transmission.

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One thing I’ve learned over the years is to keep things organized. Not that I always heed my own advice, but this time I did… Mom, are you proud? Haha!

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I tried my hand at polishing the aluminum intake… it worked… sort of. I don’t think I’ll try doing that again, unless I have to. It took a really long time, made quite the mess, and wasn’t really much fun. Also, it didn’t work so well…

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I bought a frame and little mustang gas tank on ebay, from a guy in Florida… the frame was cool, but it was gobbed up with bondo. The front end is a CBR600 setup, which I adapted to work with the triumph frame.

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Man, what an ugly beast! When I first put this together, I wasn’t sure what I had gotten myself into… I got the engine cases back from the bead blaster, and spent about a week cleaning them in soap and water, with a gun cleaning kit… it’s amazing how much junk gets in the oil passages!

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I also bought a rim, and spokes at work, and a sportster hub at a swap meet. The spoke wrench was a freebie that a vendor sent to us to see if we wanted to sell… I believe we didn’t… and the reason is because it didn’t work so well…

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I did a mockup of the bike with an 18″ Honda read wheel and the partially clean engine to see what it would feel/look like. Look at the gap between the top of the fork sliders and the bottom of the triple tree in the next photos. I shortened the forks about 3″ to keep the stance with the new 21″ front wheel. I was feeling pretty good about the bike at this point.

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Oh my lord was there gunk behind this plug in the crank! If you’re ever rebuilding one of these, be CERTAIN to pull this plug. Ish.

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I bought some lopey-er cams off ebay, here are the new and old ones.

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You can never keep your build area clean enough! The red is not blood, but red loctite.

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Another must have when building one of these, is an engine stand like this one. I bought it for about $45 plus shipping. It made assembly so much easier!

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This is why I bought new cylinders… the old ones were really rusty, crusty, and pitted in the bores. I would have had to sleeve them, and the cost was almost as much as new ones.

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Installing the new pistons, cylinders, and pushrod tubes. It’s really handy to have two ring compressors when doing this type of engine…

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Now this, this is a mean looking bike. Despite Pete’s best efforts to make it look cheesy. Haha!
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…to be continued…


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