When rebuilding a Triumph motorcycle motor it is imperitive that you clean the sludge trap, which is a centrifigal filter that is inside the crank shaft. This collects all the impurities and 'sludge' from the motor, the only downside is that when it is clogged up, no oil gets to your crank journals and about 20 seconds later as you are cruising down the highway your motor seizes or a rod busts through your cases. Way to go Triumph Motor Co. The tube can be a total pain to remove if you don't know how to do it, this is an easy way to remove the sludge trap tube, it took me a total of about 5 mintues to do.
A nice sized tap for knocking sludge tubes out of cranks
You will need a nice sized tap for the job, something you may have to buy but this is good to use for any future motors you may be working on. A 3/8"-18 N.P.T. tap as pictured below works perfectly. It doesn't have to be Snap-On, get a cheaper one if this is soley going to be used for knocking sludge tubes out of cranks.
Clean out the sludge trap
This tap seats perfectly in the sludge tube, which is accessible once the factory punch mark is drilled and the sludge trap plug is backed out (a good candidate for a future tech article!). Put some cutting fluid or oil on the threads of the tap, then help seat it lightly with a couple taps from your trusty hammer. I did clean out the sludge trap part way, if it is really compacted you may need to dig out some of the gunk to let the tap thread it's way down inside.
Cut turn the tap
Go ahead and cut turn the tap, cutting threads into the inside of your sludge tube and making a nice tight fit. I would thread it in a good half inch, maybe more, you want the tube to come out, not to tear the threads out that you just made.
Now that your tap is threaded in, remove the locating bolt as pictured below, this holds your sludge trap tube in place correctly.
Use heat for faster result
A little heat never hurt anyone's feelings (I think this quote may be attributed to Wes White). I also turn the tap a couple more rotations once the locating bolt is out, as this breaks the tube free and lets it rotate, making it easier to drive out.
A side note, MAP gas is way faster and hotter than Propane gas torches. If you use the typical blue bottle propane, do yourself a favor and spend $40 on a nice MAP gas torch, it does a much more efficient job of heating up big hunks of metal.
Pop the sludge trap tube out
Simply clamp onto the square end of your tap with a pair of vice grips, and a couple abrupt thwacks with your hammer and the tube will drive up and out.
The sludge trap tube popped right out. This was at least half full of sticky, hard gunk. Not only that, but whoever put the tube in initially did it wrong, the tube was crushed and the locating bolt didn't make with it's hole. Just another verification on why it is important to rebuild your Triumph motor from the bottom up!
Check out other how to articles from us to modify your Triumph like a pro:
- HOW TO SHORTEN TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLE FORKS
- VIDEO: HOW TO REMOVE VALVES FROM A TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLE HEAD
- HOW TO MAKE A CUSTOM BRACKET - TRIUMPH HEAD STEADY TOP MOTOR MOUNT