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Triumph 3SW


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My name is Pawel ( eng. Paul) and I am a new forum member from Poland.
I have two Triumphs 3S from 1940.
Probably both were sent to Russia with the help of Lend Lease and served in the Polish army in Russia. Because they were not entirely original, so I decided to restore them to the specifications from 1940. One will be the version of 3S de Luxe, and the other in the colors of Polish Air Forces in Great Britain.
I would like to ask for help in rebuilding and finding motorcycle numbers in the contract numbers.


Second (military):
frame number: TL 17954
engine number: 28675
Contract number: C5108.
I started the topic in the "Introductions & Welcomes" section and now I'm moving him on the advice of "No Signals" to "Motorcycles" section.
I will be grateful for all comments and help.
Edited by pawelcen
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I present my bike, their photos and history.
I bought a military for part 20 years ago. He was an endless chopper project.
It has a folding motor made of two different halves, but luckily they fit together and are in the axis. The left half with the numbers was burned out, maybe hit with a bullet and repaired. So these numbers may be from another motorcycle.
The frame has readable numbers and in two places.


burned engine.jpg

Frame number military.jpg

military engine number.jpg

military .jpeg

20200501 Rear wheel Triumph 3S.jpg

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Thought i would add this Exchange that ended up on the introductions section ..

Hi Pawel

Frame TL17954 this bikes engine appears to have suffered another common fate in that somebody tried to emulate the post war polished engine cases and has tried to remove the large and distinctive Triumph  war time stamps ..

These stamps are deep and pleasingly most have survived ..but I am sure that the individual who tried to remove these would have been deeply frustrated.

.he has clearly wanted to retain the engine number and letter s but the rest have been substantially removed ...Contract c5108 is visible .

It's curious This engine appears to feature a similar overstep to the other with a large 7 remaining ....

there are professional  techniques to recover removed numbers but those are costly and from what I can see there is enough to correctly identify this engine ...

Again with The Frame you should have the lugs for the field stand clips either on the frame or at least t he weld scars from them ..

great to see more 3sw being identified ..could I suggest you add then to the triumph register at WDTriumph.com

Please share more photos as you restore them




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my previous comments were made prior to you releasing the full photo of the engine casing .which as you show is heavily damaged and you believe has suffered fire damage .... I don't have any experience of fire damaged engines but you can clearly see the abrasion marks where the numbers have been polished out .

as indicated this case has a clear contract stamp  visible and this does appear to correlate with contra Contract 5108

I don't believe this is the matching number for the frame but have been interested in the fact you have 2 early triumph 3sw. bikes with the casing from a 3rd ..I considered buying an 3sw  engine  from contract c7162 a number of years back and have always been interested in the bikes in Poland but

Their is historical evidence to support the issue of Triumphs to the free polish forces in the UK .but you suggest these were lend lease to the Soviet union issued to the polish army ..I am curious do you have any historical documents that has prompted this theory.

I am doing some research to see if triumph out bikes into the land lease programme







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In terms of provenance, I think it's necessary to research how or when these could have been delivered.  British Lend-Lease to Russia didn't start until October 1941. It would seem unlikely, bearing in mind the great shortage of vehicles after the Fall of France that these Triumphs made in early to mid 1940 would have been kept in store for over a year.


The alternatives would seem to me that they were captured by Germany in 1940 and maybe used together in an area that became part of the Eastern Block...maybe an airfield or base depot etc.

They could well have been used by Polish formations in the UK but in general most units were re-equipped for the campaign in NW Europe and four-year old obsolete motorcycles for which 21st Army Group carried no spare parts are not likely to have been taken.

Perhaps more likely is that they formed part of the UNRRA convoy or shipment to Poland during 1945 / 1946. It has certainly been documented that Royal Enfields arrived there by this means. The Triumphs could then have been rebuilt machines used for escorting UN food distribution convoys etc.

I do think by the way that the damage to the crankcase half looks to be typical of an engine left standing on damp alkaline ground. It has simply rotted.

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Thank you for your interest.
The military model was originally an endless chopper project. The frame was converted to a wide rear wheel. Tank mount adapted to the small drop type. And the seat was like a cowboy with fringes.
The frame has been returned to the original. I had a second bike as a sample, so there was no problem(photo).
Anchor plate were damaged. I had to make a tool to produce external sheets (photo).
Mudguards are unfortunately from India, but I couldn't buy the original ones.
The engine was only suitable for general renovation. Inside were parts from around the world, but not from Triumph. From France I have original a piston, cylinder, connecting rod. Crankpin big end I was able to buy NOS from Egipt. :) 

The crankcase halves are not matching numbers. Fortunately, they are in the axis and fit. The left half of the engine was damaged and I must repair. Welding would cause deformations and I chose the technology used in the shipbuilding industry. It is gluing cracked engine housings.
The pictures show that some elements were made of aluminum and glued to the housing.

I will be grateful for all comments and help


Left chopper, right original.JPG

after renovation .JPG

anchor plate.jpeg



in process I .jpg

in process II .jpg

after repair.jpg

after repair .jpg

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As for the origin, unfortunately I have no information.
Also, it seemed to me that the landlease rather wasn't. With landlease were mainly BSA B20 and American H-D WLA and Indian.  It is a bit strange that I bought both motorcycles not far from each other (80 km). They had to come from one source.
Military history is confirmed by this name plate and CEPiK record (central list of vehicles in Poland) that in 1946 it was sold by the army (communist, not the Polish Army in the west).
A lot of vehicles went to Poland after the war together with returning soldiers as private property.
As for the engine number (left side), it matches order C5108. But the frame number TL 17954 indicates that this is already outside this order. Order C5108 produced 3302 pieces of the 3SW model from frame number 14612. So the last one was probably number 17914. Unless other small models with the TL frame were also built at that time.

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The Ministry of Supply documentation for C5108 is incomplete and only refers to the initial order for 300 machines...But most contracts included an extra 10% spare frames and engines and 5% spare gearboxes. At this early stage of the war with frame numbers not 'married' to WD serial numbers, it seems likely that most manufacturers supplied frames from factory stocks and that these were numbered. This could mean that your frame was a spare part, or that there had been batches of spares taken from an earlier production sequence.  It's guesswork really.

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Question to "79x100": do you have more photos of motorcycles and soldiers of the Polish army?
Tomorrow I will be at the registration office and ask about the possibility of access to the source materials.
Do you think the TL17954 frame could be from order C5108?
Do you think I should turn green?

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Unfortunately, Pawel, I tend to classify my 'saved' motorcycle images by make and serial number rather than user...Unless I recall a photo,  it's difficult.

I think that 17954 'could' have fallen within C5108 or been an associated spare frame.  Orchard & Madden though state that the following contract C6128 ran from 17300 to 18299 but I haven't been able to trace their sources for this.

There is no doubt in my mind that all the motorcycles produced for the War Office during 1939 / 1940 were Khaki Green No.3


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Thank you very much.
I need to repaint the frame and wheels on green No. 3.
I will try to ask Orchard where this information is from. I got his signature book today.
Does this color match the RAL number?
Do you have to compose it?

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There is no paint code for KG3 (I mix my own but have no formula) But I sent an Exide battery to a guy which was painted by Arnaud the maker in his very good version of KG3. The recipient of the battery says he found a very good match for his Velocette. It's called Turtle.  I haven't seen it in the flesh but it could be a good starting point. 

  https://www.e-paint.co.uk/Colour_alternatives.asp?cRange=BS 4800/5252&cRef=10 B 25&metallic2=False

Here is one well known cheerful picture of a Polish rider.





Edited by Ron
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  • 4 weeks later...

I am asking for help with the reconstruction of the crankshaft.
As I mentioned, it was only half original. I bought the original connecting rod, crankpin and crankpin roller 1/4 ".
There is a clearance play of 7 mm between the connecting rod and the flywheel. Were there distance washers like in the photo? These are old from another engine I repaired 35 years ago. But I'm not sure if they are original?
I didn't find these washers in the spar parts catalog.
Best regards






s-l500 (1).jpg

Edited by pawelcen
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Pawel I've never seen anything like those washers fitted! Is there really 7mm (over 1/4") gap between the pin flange and flywheel?? Seems like the wrong pin to me?

I'm going to send your pictures with questions to a Triumph singles expert. Then I'll speak to him in a day or two.


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This is What Brian Tillin writes.

Hi Ron,

Something doesn't look right with the flywheel. The crankpin is governed by its taper and locating pin on the time side. I have never seen any washers, spacers or packing in any Triumph single crankpin. That kind of gap means that the crankpin taper does not seat deep enough in the flywheel. The only shims I ever use is behind the main bearings to centre the crank and rod. The con rod should have a bit of float but no more than say 0.015". It needs the float to stop wearing the bore on one side as is the centralising of the crankshaft. Sorry I'm waffling on a bit but I think either the flywheel or crankpin, probably crankpin are not suited. I would need it in front of me on the bench to really work out what's going on


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  • 4 weeks later...

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