How to Remove the Triumph Sludge Trap Tube
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
sweet write up. I haven't attempted taking the sludge tube out yet, so this may be a dumb question. Are the threads for the sludge trap plug destroyed when you take out the sludge tube like this? If so, do you need to re-tap the hole for the tube cap?
tyler,kick ass write up !
thanks for taking the time (and pics)to show us how the infamous sludge trap is removed.i had a idea,but now i know.
no the threads are not harmed, here they are using the tap to thread into the tube itself, which is a slightly smaller i.d. than that threads for the plug.Are the threads for the sludge trap plug destroyed when you take out the sludge tube like this?
As Joel (image1) said, you are actually threading into the inside of the sludge tube, not harming the threads for the plug, which threads into the crank itself.
Great write up... although I will say ONE thing, and that is: after watching Wes unscrew one in two seconds using a high compressor air drive, next time I'm going to give that a try first. Ha! In fact, how do you guys remove the plug?
Last edited by Jethro; 03-09-2010 at 7:38 AM.
Wow, thanks for the how to Tyler! Great info. I'll be doing my BSA soon, so thanks!
thanks for the info. this is the kind of stuff i need to know about.