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This is my first proper post to the HUBB and of course I've got a few questions. I'm now the proud owner of a 3AJ Tenere that I collected yesterday and having had a baptism of heavy rain on the M1 at ungodly o'clock this morning (see my blog Special Needs Donkey for further details) I've got a few questions about the bike that I'd like to bounce off you fine folks. It's a long time since I've had to do any work on my own bike so my mechanical and electrical knowledge is limited but I consider it all part of the overland experience and I'm keen to pick up as many skills as required.
My Tenere doesn't like water. Had an embarrassing (or character building depending on how you look at it) incident on the M1 last night, the bike just cut out and refused to start until the rain had stopped for a couple of hours. After an encounter with the Highways Agency and a pleasantly surprising encounter with the police I managed to get the bike home. I'm assuming that the problem is either on the HT system or on the fuel/air system. My guess is electrical. Apart from checking/changing the coil/HT lead, is there anything I can do? If it's fuel/air, apart from checking/chainging the air filter, fuel lines etc, what should I be looking for?
It's not very fast. OK, I wasn't expecting GSXR1100 performance but flat out at 110 Km/h in the slow lane (even though the engine was only running at 4K RPM) is a little less than I expected. I don't think the gearing is at fault, could this be fuel/air or electrical also?
Fuel consumption yesterday was very heavy. I got 280 Km from 22L of fuel. This may well be due to me having the throttle full open trying to keep up with traffic but again, does it suggest a fuel/air problem?
Finally (for now), what's the craic with the two fuel taps? Do I need to use both of them all the time or is one of them "spare"?
Thanks in advance for any comments, I'm headed for South America sometime in December. Quit my job, bought the bike, I just need to organise, urm, everything else now. Hopefully see some of you out there.
I think youre problem is water in the electric components around the plug/coil area. Clean connections, use dielectric grease, and perhaps electricians tape around the coil"wire" down to the plug, to make sure the connections to the plugcap is waterproof. Also make sure that the plugcap is sealing against the plug, so water cant enter.
As for the 2 fueltaps, its so you can get every drop out of the bike, so you dont have a couple of liters fuel in one of the wings which you cant use. But yes, you can just hook up one of them if you want to.
As for top speed. Youre bike is generating the maximum amount of torque around 5500rpm as i recall, so at 4000rpm, it just cant accelerate with the "heavy" gearing. Mine (2003 xt600e) runs 4000rpm at 100km/h with stock gearing 15-45, that should be better for you. So try to change gearing, im sure it will help. Mine runs about 130km/h-ish flat out, it was faster once, but thats many kilometers ago =)
I usually dont exceed 100km/h anyway, so its okay for me. Usually im cruising around at 80-90km/h. I dont like the interstate too much, but go there from time to time when I have to. But theese bikes shine on the secondary roads
Congrats on the bike, f*ck work im going on a ride.
Like Jens said dielectric grease will ensure the water stays out but check your connections for corosion before you apply it. I had my loom off the bike & dipped the connectors in an acidid solution to get the grime off them, some of the connectors were still not very good so i extracted them from the connector & cleaned them with some wet & dry.
The arrow is how you get them out, push down on the tab & tug the wire gently backwards out of the connector block.
Kedo sell these connectors & the blocks if you manage to screw either up, i wouldn't bother trying to do this with the loom on the bike, its only a 15min job to revove the wiring & then you can check everything in detail on the bench.
Good stuff here about the connectors, but don't ignore the 25000 volts, or thereabouts, on the HT side of things. I agree with you to check that out. In the rain that is where I have had problems with old wiring; if the insulation is broken down with aging then the 25K volts will find another route other than to your spark plug.
...It's not very fast. OK, I wasn't expecting GSXR1100 performance but flat out at 110 Km/h in the slow lane (even though the engine was only running at 4K RPM) is a little less than I expected. I don't think the gearing is at fault, could this be fuel/air or electrical also?
Remainds me of a trip to Spain on a KLR650 in 2002. Fantastic run through france, over the pyrenese, on the best bike imaginable for the journey at the time.
Before being deposited back in blighty at 1am via Newhaven on a frigid February night..
M25 and M1 freezing cold - I think I stopped at every services on the way north all at 65mph flat out in the headwind.. Oh joy! lol
Many thanks for all your comments. An electrical strip down it is then followed by a dose of dielectric grease. I'm going to pick up a spare ignition coil and regulator/rectifier while I'm at it. It can't hurt to have spares.
Unfortunately, I'm not going to be able to do the work for another couple of weeks as I'm working away from home but I only have three more weeks of work left and then I'm hitting the road just as soon as I can organise everything.
I've owned a 3AJ Tenere for 12 years and am currently 13 months into an Alaska to Ushuaia trip. Currently in Chile. I like your choice of bike!
Your fuel consumption does seem very high to me. On a quite heavily loaded bike, I am getting 12 miles per litre cruising at about 65 mph.
Also the top speed you quoted does seem a little bit low. Perhaps you need to rev it harder through the gears to get a better top speed? My rev counter is currently broken (!) so I can't quote rpm, but I change into 5th gear at 60 mph. Any lower than that and it seems hard on the engine/transmission. Personally, I wouldn't alter the gearing, as you are likely to find yourself on fast roads on occasions, and you don't want to be reving too high. I would clean the air filter and set the valve clearances. I would also do an engine compression test to see how worn the engine is.
As others have said, your cutting out in the rain is probably a problem on the HT side. First off, are the rubber seals on the plug caps still soft and sealing? Changing the cap is cheap (if you use an NGK plug cap) and easy.
You may or may not be aware of the famous 5th gear issue. I won't repeat the wisdom on this topic. There's lots about it on the HUBB if you do a search. If you've got a Mark 2 3AJ it's less of a concern than a Mark 1 or previous models, I believe. The Mark 1 had a black engine, the Mark 2 a silver engine.
As for spare parts, I think you're very wise to take a rectifier/regulator with you. I've had two fail on me in 10 years. The original fitted to this bike is very small and I presume heat eventually kills it. Later XT600e's had ones with cooling fins added, but they won't physically fit in the original position on a 3AJ. You could always fit one under the tail piece behind the saddle, extending the wires to reach. This has worked fine for me. Actually, now I think about it, it wasn't as simple as all that! I think I had to swap the positions of the wires in the plastic housing to suit the different regulator - so just be aware of that!
Other spares I would take:
If you suspension isn't top notch, then take chain rollers (inner and outer). I chewed through several sets of these on the first overland trip from UK to Australia. Now I have a good suspension set up and no problems here in 30,000 miles.
The Tenere was never imported into South, Central or North America (as far as I can work out). There are some grey imports, but Yamaha dealers only seem to have Tenere spares that are common to XT600e's. So you can get oil filters, sprockets etc, but not control cables (which are longer than on the XTe) So, I carry spare clutch and throttle cables.
I also carry spare brake and clutch levers, a CDI unit, ignition coil with HT lead, plug cap, wheel bearings, spare inner tubes and brake pads. The front brake pads do not seem to be common to any other bike imported into this region.
Hope this helps. Good luck with all the prep. I think it's the most difficult part of overlanding!
Check your air filter, mine got soaked during my first rainy ride due to a missing part under my seat that was designed to prevent water from the rear wheel from spraying up into the airbox. Duct tape and a piece of plastic bottle fixed it.
If the bike is slow you need to check the carbs and drive train.
Do a full clean and tune of the carbs, and replace the air filter.
Check that the sprockets and chain are in good shape and properly adjusted.
Are the front and rear sprockets stock? Tires?
Check how many teeth on each sprocket.
Smaller - front sprocket = more acceleration, less top speed
Larger - rear sprocket = more acceleration, less top speed
Shorter - rear tire = more acceleration, less top speed
Larger - front sprocket = more top speed, less acceleration
Smaller - rear sprocket = less acceleration, more top speed
Taller - rear tire = more top speed, less acceleration
Standard chain is of pitch size 520 (5/8” x ¼”) 110, 46 tooth rear sprocket, 15 tooth front sprocket.
A bigger frontsproclet (or smaller rear) doesnt automaticly give you more top speed. If the bike pulls stockgearing to redline, then yes, you might be able to go faster with a slightly higher gearing.
If the bike is too heavy geared, it will go a lot slower as it wont be able to pull 5th gear decently.
My bike wont go as fast with 16-45 as it does with stock 15-45, I guess it depends
Stock gearing should give you around 100km/h indicated at 4000rpm in 5th gear, depending on tiresize and all. This goes for year 1990 and up. Some of the older bikes had other gearing from the factory.
Good choice of bike.
I have a '91 registered Tenere.
When you get it sorted it will be your best friend.
For the Oct bank holiday end I headed to Presteigne in Wales on my XT.
Pissing rain and gale force winds made the trip across the Welsh Valleys all the more enjoyable.
She still does 400+ kms to a full tank.
The clock turned 100,000kms passing a line of trucks up a hill on the motorway,flat out racing to make a ferry.
A fitting moment to see the clock returns to zero.
The last time there were all zeros on the clock ,she was embarking on her maiden journey heading out on a road that could lead anywhere in the world.
That what was going through my mind, passing the trucks, and they are the kind of moments you can look forward to on a truly brilliant motorcycle.
Hi Folks, many thanks for all your comments so far. I've had to put off my big trip until the new year while waiting for a dental appointment (human maintenance is so much more frustrating than motorcycle maintenance).
So, another quick question; the air filter appears to be new and has been heavily oiled. I tried running the bike with the air filter removed and there was a slight but noticable difference in performance. How much oil should there be on the filter? How do I remove any excess? Assuming the attachment works, there should be a picture of the spark plug, it looks a little rich to me, what do you folks think?
Anyway, apart from a few niggles the bike seems to be doing well. I had a bit of a rattle that in a panic I thought was the cam chain, it turned out to be the screen. Got my luggage fitted now, still need to fit the scott oiler and one or two minor jobs to do.
Hopefully see some of you out on the road in the new year.
hi there plug looks good mate the firing bits are a nice light tan colour , my 1985 43f does not like a over oiled air filter , hicups at 4000 rpm as seid gently mop up the eccess oil with a rag / paper toweling . zigzag
Im now on my 3th 3AJ tenere and I love it..
Im busy with a rebuild and hope to have it finished this summer..
fuel must be about 400 km on a tank, depending on your wrist.. 460 was my maximum..
my first 2 bikes were standard and had (I think) 15/ 43, because my current bike is somewhat "bigger" (yes still a 3AJ) Ive opt for a larger rear sprocket, 45 or 46, coming to think of it, it might even be 47..
I did had problems with my first 3AJ, because it was standing outside in rain and all sorts of crappy weather..
keep an eye on the coil & lead/ sp-plug cover..
other than that do you regular maintenance and you should have no problems, the 3AJ, specially the one's build after '91 are the last bunch..
these were mostly red/ orange white and have a slightly larger oil-cooler.
my bike as it is now:
have a fairing of a WR450rallyraid waiting to fit it..
but loads of small things need to be done first..
and.. still looking for a complete 3TB/ 4PT engine...
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