02 January 2017

New sites

It's been awhile since I've posted on here, but that doesn't mean stuff hasn't been going on. I've been using Instagram significantly more (sometimes it's just easier) and made a facebook page for the business aspect.

You can access my Instagram HERE
and the Facebook page HERE

You'll find them updated on a much more consistent basis. This page will be more geared to instructional posts and major builds.

18 October 2016

1971 Ambassador Cannibalization

Picked up a 1971 Ambassador super cheap. I needed some parts from this for the V700, every else is just icing on the cake, let's explore!

Heads off, aside from broken fins on the left one and some silty material, the heads were pretty rust free and in great shape. Cylinders are locked and very much shot.

Only very light surface rust in the timing chest

Carbs disassembled and were sold within hours

4-speed transmission innards. Crusty, but some parts are salvageable

Timing gears cleaned up nicely

Connecting rod bolts look pretty good too. Threads aren't stretched either

Oil pump hardware and assembly are in great shape

Lifters obviously need a resurfacing, cam doesn't look hopeless, we'll see how it cleans up

Crankshaft in decent shape. Some discoloration and pitting on the rod journal between where the bearings ride. I actually took this to my machinist to get it reground and polished and he said I'd be wasting my time. The surfaces that come into contact with the bearings all mic'd in spec, oddly enough.

Sludge trap plug removed, cleaning threads before cleaning sludge trap itself

There was supposed to be less than 20k miles on this bike, sludge trap was totally plugged up.

Rods don't look too bad

 Neither do the bearing shells


No damage or sludge build up inside the case

Sealing surface look good, the rest needs a serious cleaning

The small studs on both sides of the case are pretty rusty. I'm going to replace them all on both sides

So now that everything's apart. I really don't know what I'm going to do with the engine. It's a pretty decent base to make a nice engine. Really, once the crank is cleaned up a little better and I replace the bearing shells in the rods, slapping some Gilardoni cylinder/piston kits on this would give someone a nice engine. Then again, maybe I'll just slap the bottom end back together and sell it as a project. We'll see...

More V700 engine and transmission stuff

At this point, the mechanicals of the build are completely done. Engine rebuilt, cylinders stripped of their perfect chrome lining and replated with Nikasil, new rings, blah blah. Transmission was inspected and resealed, and rear drive has been rebuilt with new splines.

My picture taking has been spotty during the last couple months, so use your imagination to fill in the blanks

2 nearly brand new chrome lined cylinders going out

2 freshly plated Nikasil cylinders come back

New clutch going in. I have a homemade tool that I used to use to compress the pressure plate and align the clutch splines, but Clauss Studios made a Polyurethane tool for 10 bucks or so that's way lighter and does the job great. Only works on early splines, but for the price you can't beat it.

Transmission reassembled, resealed, and painted instead of powdercoated. Matches the case pretty well.

17 April 2016

Moto Guzzi V700 / Ambassador /Eldorado Rear / Final Drive Rebuild

Really this is only half a rebuild as the pinion didn't need any re-shimming and was in great shape. That being said, I haven't found any rebuilds with pictures that cover the early stuff, and I do some things a little differently than others, so hopefully this will prove helpful. I cut my teeth on vintage BMWs so it's only natural that this procedure involves extensive use of the freezer and a heat gun.

Follow these steps at your own discretion and use your head and the proper PPE. I'm not responsible for anyone hurting themselves or ruining their drive.

The rear drive in pieces. Note, I removed the large outer bearing from the flange prior to reassembly. Also note that I installed studs into drive where it formerly would bolt onto the swingarm.

First, we have the replacement drive splines. You'll need to put the inner needle bearing race onto the splines. I perform this by freezing the splines for about 5-10 minutes, then heating the bearing race with a heat gun to the point that you'll need welding (or other thick) gloves to pick it up, you don't have to go crazy. Once it's hot, remove the splines from the freezer and drop the race right on, you shouldn't even need to drive it on, it should just fall right into place.

Next, insert the new splines into the crown gear. Again, this is accomplished with heat and freezing. Put the splines with the bearing race attached back into the freezer and heat the crown gear, again don't go crazy, this isn't a BMW and the tolerances aren't as insanely tight. Drop the heated crown gear right onto the spline piece, it should drop in easily and you'll have plenty of time to rotate the crown gear with ease to line up the bolt threads.

Now it's time to bolt it on. Some people replace the tab washers with 8mm Schnorr locking washers as it's two steel pieces bolting together, but there's nothing wrong with the tab washers, just a matter of ease of assembly. Use Blue Loctite on the M8x1.25 bolts and torque them to 31 ft/lbs. I used an impact gun to remove these bolts during disassembly, but I'm a stickler for torque settings so I used a torque wrench on reassembly. In order to hold everything in place while I torqued everything down properly, I wrapped rubber hose (in this case radiator hose that I cut in half) around the outer diameter of the splined flange (to protect the metal) and put it into a vice (not too tight, just enough that it won't move excessively while being torqued down).

Time for the large bearing to be installed on the crown gear/splined flange. Again, heat and cold are your friends, freeze the crown gear assembly and heat the bearing. I heated the bearing until the residual gear oil that degreasing didn't remove completely just began to smoke a little. When it's that hot it will, like everything else so far, drop right into place on the crown gear assembly. These pieces will have to go back into the freezer, but let everything cool down to room temperature before you go and do that. Go have a beer or take a cigarette break and once it's cooled down enough, put it into the freezer.

After about 10 minutes of letting the assembled crown gear shrink in the freezer, begin heating up the aluminum flange. Get it nice and hot then go grab the crown gear out of the freezer and set it down on the work bench, spline side facing up. Pick up the flange (using gloves of course) and set it squarely on top of the crown gear and position it over the bearing. If everything is heated and cooled correctly, this will require minimal to no force. Once it's on, double check that the bearing is seated squarely in the flange.

Let everything cool down to room temperature again. Once the temperature on both pieces has normalized, you can put in a new inner seal. You're now about 50% done with reassembly.

Next we go to the bare housing for the rear drive. We must insert the outer final drive seal. Unlike other seals, the flat side of this seal must be facing down when you press it in (so the back side of the seal where the spring retainer is kept should be facing you). It doesn't hurt to gently heat the rear drive housing, then oil the seal and use a socket to press the seal into place.

Once that seal is in, I press in the steel axle spacer into the rear drive housing. Again, light heat, cold housing, and it should tap in nice and easy.

Now that the smaller outer seal and axle spacer are in, drop the copper shim that goes between the seal and the needle bearing/race into place.

Once the copper shim is in place, again it's time to apply the hot and cold process. Freeze the outer bearing race and heat the rear drive housing. It should still be warm from the last heat application, but it isn't enough, get it hot enough so that you can't leave a finger on it for more than 10 seconds. When it's hot again and the bearing race is nice and cold, drop that in (it may need a few very light taps from a soft mallet, like plastic or brass at the most). Once in place, you can drop in the needle bearing cage.

After the needle bearing is in place, it's time to reinsert the locking plate. Simply lay the locking plate back into placel; the slotted side is secured by the rib in the housing, and the screw secures the plate against the bearing race. I use blue loctite here and once installed, I put additional punches in the plate to keep it in place.

At this point, it's time to put the gaskets and spacers on the crown gear aluminum flange. I grease both sides of the paper gasket, put it on, put the spacer in place, then grease both sides of the other paper gasket and apply it to the spacer. The grease should keep it in place and prevent the holes for the bolts sliding around when you insert the assembly into the housing.

Once the crown gear assembly is inserted, I insert the bolts and locking tabs (you don't want to use Schnorr washers here as the flange is aluminum) and tighten them down, but don't apply the specified torque yet.

Next I insert the pinion gear assembly (with new gasket and o-ring) into the housing and rotate the pinion gear to make sure nothing is binding up anywhere (note: I installed studs on my rear drive instead of bolting it on, this helps a little during this test as it prevents the pinion gear housing from rotating when you rotate the pinion).

Once this is confirmed, I torque down the crown gear assembly (in a star pattern) to 18 ft/lbs and then bend the locking tabs back into a locking position. Re-test the rear drive motion and test for free play.

Once that all checks out, it's time to fill the drive with 300ccs (approximately, you're filling until it begins to leak out of the level plug) of gear oil. Unlike the transmission, GL-5 is ok to use here instead of GL-4 as there aren't any brass or bronze bushings to get eaten up by the sulfur of GL-5. It should go without saying, but replace all crush washers on the drain plug, filler plug, and level plug on the rear drive before doing this.

And that's that. Make sure there aren't any obvious leaks and you're ready to go.

16 April 2016

Well that explains that...

I picked up Greg Field's Moto Guzzi Big Twins, mainly for picture reference and historical figures and came across this:

That explains why I had to contact Dellorto directly about my wacky accelerator pump versions of the SSI carbs that didn't match anything in the factory books. FYI, if anyone has this modification and needs replacement accelerator pump springs, feel free to contact me. It took three attempts at finding replacements (originals are NLA) with the right spring tension and I had to buy in bulk to get them.

13 April 2016

Moto Guzzi V7 / V700 bottom end assembly

Now that the engine case/covers are back from powdercoating, it's time to reassemble the bottom end. Still need to send out the cylinders for Nikasil plating, repair the generator bracket, then button up everything else on the engine, but here's the basic procedure for reassembly.

All new seals and gaskets. Case and all parts thoroughly degreased and cleaned.

Cam plug JB Welded (as per Greg Bender's ThisOldTractor site), this is a point of leakage that I'd rather deal with now then once it ruins the clutch.

Getting everything lined up, no I didn't reuse those tab washers, but they were cleaned in conjunction with everything else. I'm trying out a new assembly lube, this one made by Amsoil. It's interesting, the previous lubes I used were silver/grey and this one is red which helps a little in seeing the amount of coverage on the parts.

Front bearing flange installed. In lieu of tab washers, I used 0.88mm thick wave washers as per Moto Guzzi revisions.

Camshaft lubed up and ready for installation


New rear main seal, lubed around the outside.

This is a BMW rear main seal installation tool intended for use in conjunction with the crankshaft. This won't work on Guzzis since the rear crank face is proud of the bearing flange, and the center 12mm bolt area is proud of the face as well. I was able to use the tool by putting a 12mm bolt through the center of the tool and reinforcing the back of the bearing flange with a bar and then tightening it up and pulling the seal in.

Reinstalling oil tubes with new seals and crush washers prior to reinstalling crank.

Placing the case on wooden blocks in prep for the crankshaft install. The case needs to be raised as the front of the crank protrudes from the case by 3 or so inches.

Dropped in.

New seal held on with grease

Bottom bolts for the rear bearing flange with sealant. I used Permatex Ultra Grey.

Con-rod bearings lubed

Con-rods installed with new tab washers. NOTE: When installing the connecting rods, the oil holes must both be facing the right cylinder (when viewed from the clutch area), meaning the right connecting rod's oil hole should be facing down and to the right and the left connecting rod one should be facing right and up. The numbers stamped on the rods should be lined up with each other as well.

Oil pump finger tightened in place. The 9 o'clock and 12 o'clock bolts are the smaller bolts that secure the pump directly to the case, the 6 and 3 o'clock bolts are the longer ones that secure the oil pickup/filter screen to the oil pump/case. The bolt to the right side of the pump is also the shorter type and is the third bolt utilized in securing the pickup to the case.

Pickup in place, assembling strainer.

 Sump area buttoned up.

Timing gears reinstalled. The camshaft timing gear is very, very close to the front bearing flange bolt heads since I used the wave washers in lieu of the thinner tab washers. I didn't fully torque down the nut on the camshaft yet, but I'll need to measure clearance through an entire rotation of the cam once I do to ensure nothing is rubbing anywhere. If it is, I may have to retain the tab washer on the top two bolts solely for clearance purposes.