Timing a Tigress

Our Tigress was one of those ‘just needs cables and wiring hooked up’ – Yeah right!  Now we know why the job wasn,’t completed.  Some four years down the track we found that we had to disassemble the whole scooter and start again from a pile of bits.  Having located most of the missing parts, we are at the stage of having the electrics hooked up, just waiting for a clutch cable  to arrive from the UK, yet to add the fluids.  The problem that has manifested itself is that timing the Tigress is no simple matter.  My experience has been that where a distributor is involved it can basically be fitted two ways, one of which is wrong.  If it doesn;t start, they the other way.


However the Tigress seemingly has a tapered shaft onto which fits the cam (that opens and shuts the points) and that is able to be fitted in any one of 180 different ways!  I ventually worked out which side3 was the ‘nearside’ (thanks Triumpg for leaving this bit of information out of your service sheets!).  Having worked out top dead centre, I think I have got the cam mounted near enough, but I’d be interested in knowing if any of you have also had this experience, and can give me some ‘idiot-proof’ instructions on how to check that I have done correctly.  My ingition coils are seemingly stuffed and I am waiting on two new ones to arrive in the post.

While I love the scooter, and it looks great with its new white-wall tyres and canary yellow paint job, I’d have to say it is the worst motor scooter of motor bike (or even car) that I have ever worked on.  I reconditioned a 390cc engine for our 1959 Cadillac and reinstalled it back in the car no problems, and it started second attempt.  I’ve restored many bikes and cars over the years yet the Tigress has me beat at this stage.  Was the timing/electrics the reason why the Tigress got a bad name?

I’ve checked the alternator and that seems okay.  The rectifier is brand new and passes all the tests. plugs and leads are new, as are the points and condenser.  Presumably the new coils will give me spartk at the business end of the plugs, but unless it is timed correctly, I will be wasting my time.


Can anyone help?  I’d really appreciate benefitting from your knowledge.





  1. wessex-andy says:

    I’ve been having problems with my TS1 (175cc single) so have bought a rather dirty, seized engine to rebuild and then do a complete engine swap. You haven’t said whether yours is a 175cc single or a 250cc twin, but I agree with you about the timing because it’s a bitch of a job. It would have been so easy for the factory to mark TDC on the flywheel rim when at the design stage. I have an idea about how to mark the correct position which I will try when I reassemble my engine — if it works I’ll take some pictures and post them here.

    No written information seems to exist that tells us the angle we need to time the correct amount of advance. We only get an airy fairy sort of measurement that we have to measure down the bore to work out the timing. Mind you, my Lambretta is a bit similar, but at least we are told the distance from TDC to mark on the flywheel rim (and I was dumb enough to mark that on the wrong side of the TDC mark — stupid boy).

    Regarding your Cadillac mentioned above : I would have thought that a 390cc engine was a bit lightweight for such a big car???

    Regards, Andy

Speak Your Mind

Copyright: www.triumphscooters.com