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.

04 April 2016

oooooh yeah...

Time for bottom end assembly and shipping off the rest of the bike for powdercoating

28 March 2016


It's been awhile since there's been any major progress on here and there's a reason behind that. I'm still waiting for the engine case/covers/pan to get bactk from powdercoaing.

When I do stuff, I usually knock out things piece by piece, in a sequence. I hate starting multiple things at once because it's easy to get distracted and lose focus. The engine powdercoat is priority one, once I get that back, I'm going to drop off the frame and suspension bits for powdercoating, and while I wait for them, reassemble the bottom end so it's all done when the other stuff comes back and then I can really start putting stuff back together. Now I find myself with a bunch of crap in pieces and more questions/problems that need to be taken care of.

If you follow me on Instagram, you've probably seen some of these, but at least on here I can provide some more info.

First off, splines. The female rear drive splines were on backorder for awhile, but they finally came in. I like that Moto Guzzi splines are bolted and pressed (at least on the wheel hub) on, the male splines to the far right of the pic are BMW splines. If you want to replace final drive splines on a BMW your options are getting a specialist to weld and machine new splines on the old crown gear, replace the entire crown gear (and pinion gear because they must be replaced in a set), or do what I did and buy a replacement spline piece, where you need to get a machinist to cut out the old one from the crown gear with a lathe, then get the new one pressed and then welded into the crown gear and machined down, The BMW splines are on deck after this V7 build.

I also plan on getting the rear drive case powdercoated to match the engine. So, again, I've got parts strewn about while I wait for one thing to get back before I drop off the rest. I may do a write up on a rear drive rebuild. You don't see that many online and the ones you do see usually don't have pictures. This V7 drive might be a bad example though because it doesn't need re-shimming, which is the more tedious part of a rebuild, especially for Moto Guzzis. BMW final drive cases are marked with a +/- tolerance, as are the crown/pinion gear set, which takes the guess work out of shimming, these Guzzi ones seem to go by trial and error. I do have an Ambassador rear drive that I have to fully rebuild that does need a re-shim, so maybe the write up will involve that one.

More parts strewn about. I am probably going to write up something about fork rebuilding as well, but guess what, I'm getting the fork sliders powdercoated, so that's still in queue...

Here's something I don't need to wait on. I have to sand down and polish these original Borranis as someone in this bike's past wasn't easy on them with tire spoons/irons. There were digs and mars all over it, but they're cleaning up nicely. I'm doing this the hard way, but varying grits of sand paper before a final polish. It sucks, but it'll come out nice.

These were the tires that came off those rims. I joked on Instagram about selling them to Hipsters, but it turns out that some people actually do want old tires like this (I guess for display purposes?). That being said, if you want them, make me an offer, but please don't mount them and go riding.

One more thing. When I bought the V7 it didn't come with keys. I could've cheaped out and bought a generic automotive ignition switch, but MG Cycle sells a newer FIAT switch that was supposed to be a drop in replacement that allows you to retain the old metal securing ring. Well, the switch is obviously deeper than the old one, it's also wider and doesn't fit into the MG dash, and finally the machining of the threads is so poor, you can't retain the old metal ring without modification(notice how it tapers/gets wider the closer the threads get to the base of the switch). I haven't touched this since I made these discoveries, but the plan is to file down the indentations on the new switch and try to get it to at least fit the dash, then I'll worry about cleaning up the threads and trying to get the old ring to fit. If neither of those prove successful, the final resort will be to try and switch lock cylinders from the new switch to the old one. The depth of the new switch worries me and I'm thinking I'll likely find that this can't be accomplished either.

So that's that. Hopefully there will be better news later this week and things can start moving again.

05 March 2016

Parts Washer

I'll admit I'm pretty cheap FRUGAL when it comes to certain things. For years I was satisfied with brake cleaner and/or carb cleaner and elbow grease to clean stuff up. Having received the quote for powdercoating the engine case/sump/covers and realizing that 80% of the cost was going to for cleaning and prep, I began to reconsider my old ways.

As of today, I finally have a real parts washer in the shop

Bask in its Harbor Freight glory

I know this comes with a pump that is supposed to only work in water based degreasers, but about half the reviews I read claimed that solvent use not only worked, but has been working for years. That being said...

Frugality ensued again and I made my own solvent bath with 30% mineral spirits, 20% Jet A, and 50% ULSD

Pump worked fantastically, but we'll see how long it lasts.

Since I had a V700 final drive apart for a complete rebuild, why not test it out.

That's just after a few minutes soaking in the solvent, using the pump and hose, and then wiping off. No blasting, polishing, or sanding involved.

I don't know how I lived without this for so long...

22 February 2016

Guzzi V7 Updates...

Or lack thereof... Waiting on the following:

* Engine case/cover to be returned from powdercoat. Sacrilege, maybe, but it'll fit once the project is complete, I promise... Once that's back bottom end assembly commences

* Cylinder Nikasil plating. Still haven't done it, the budget went to powdercoat. Was referred to a closer place though, Powerseal USA. That's next.

* Splines! Had a little time to finally tear down the rear drive and check things out. Splines, of course were shot, expected damage on the crown and pinion gears, but both look good. Problem is replacement splines are backordered. I have another rear drive off of an Ambassador, but may bolt it on until I can source parts. Still need to attack the rear wheel hub splines.

* Frame + forks. Once the case gets back from coating, and I get the cylinders done, frame/swingarm/fork uppers go out.

I wish I could move quicker on some of this, but my current schedule really doesn't allow me much free time. March should be better.


31 January 2016

Stuff for sale: Moto Guzzi Wixom Fairing, Gasket Kit, etc.

Grab it now before it goes on ebay (contact for details:

SOLD SOLD SOLD Early MG Big Twin Wixom Fairing (V700, El Dorado, Ambassador). Rough, but usable, black with white pin stripes SOLD SOLD SOLD

Vintage, NOS V7 Sport (the original ones) complete gasket kit. Made in Italy

1967 Aermacchi Sprint 250 SS Generator. No brushes, untested

BMW /5 Flywheel, excellent shape with brand new BMW 10mm bolts .

25 January 2016

AMCA Neshaminy Valley Swap Meet 2016


20+ inches of snow in the area and I spent all day (and night) Saturday clearing it, just to be able to make it down to PA for the Swap Meet. This one is really one of the best in the area and something I look forward to every year. Unfortunately, only myself and about 9 other true believers felt that way and turned up (some nuts even drove down from Rochester!). That being said, the guys that showed up brought some killer stuff, the people that didn't make it down really missed out, big time...

Wound up only selling one piece (only 2 guys seemed interested in any European stuff), which didn't even cover the cost of the table spot, but half a day spent shooting the shit with other enthusiasts and buying some really great stuff was well worth the trip down. I felt bad for the AMCA Chapter as they definitely lost money with such a poor turnout, it really was a shame, but next year I'll be back and hopefully so will a lot more guys.

Why yes, that is a "Schorsch" Meier BMW Seat and a plunger frame solo seat. Yes, that really is the price. I don't have a seat for the 1957 R60 project I have and was on the fence about going with a bench seat or a solo, now I don't have to make a choice and can swap them out depending on what kind of ride I'm going on.

The plunger frame seat will require some slight modification of my 55-60 frame, but nothing crazy. Looks like I can source a brand new spring assembly for it from Germany for about $80

This helmet looked lonely. Had a ton of character and would look good next to the other display helmet I bought at the swap meets last year (as seen here)

Next on the winter swap meet circuit is the Cheap Thrills Show/47 Industries Unfinished Bike Show down in Asbury Park. I'll be splitting a table with 2 other guys, so I won't be bringing nearly as much as I usually bring. Honestly I'm debating bringing any BMW stuff at all since this looks like it's going to be a Chopper heavy show, we'll see...

23 December 2015

Back together again

Received a replacement clip for the timing chain master link yesterday and got everything installed.

I've heard a couple different styles of getting the fish clip on the master link. Snowbum says install at 2 o'clock on the cam sprocket, Matthew Parkhouse says he uses 10 o'clock. Personally, since I had the oil pan off anyway, I moved the chain where the masterlink is at about 7 o'clock, pretty much centered in front of one of the holes that go into the engine. Then I took needlenose pliers, lifted the clip into the hole area because it gives you way more room to work, hooked the center of the clip around the forward-most pin, then and let the clip hang (closed end of the pin must be at the front of the rotation with the open end trailing). Doing this in front of the hole makes gives you more room to work with the clip around the pins than trying to use tweezers or surgical tools and fitting between the crank case, obviously if the oil pan is still on the bike these holes should be plugged up and you won't be able to do it this way. Then I rotated the engine so the chain was at about 10 o'clock on the cam sprocket. Doing so allowed gravity to do the work of centering the fish clip right above the second pin. At this point all it took was a slight adjustment of position using a thin screwdriver, and then using that same screwdriver to press downward and get the clip over the pins. I've heard some people using magnetic screwdrivers to do the job, but I found that the magnetic tip was trying to pull the rearmost spacer off, so I switch to a non-magnetic, normal, thin screwdriver.

Today I got everything wrapped up and started the bike. It definitely idles/runs much quieter. Still need to dial in the timing, but since it's raining for the next week here, I'm in no rush.

19 December 2015

BMW Timing Chain con't

Finally got the parts I needed in from Germany. While inspecting the crank sprocket I decided that it didn't need to be replaced. The bike indicates approx. 44k miles and there wasn't a huge difference between the new part and old. That being said...

The tensioner was well worn. I didn't realize how dramatic it was going to be until I compared it with a new one. 

That tensioner was so shot that I decided to drop the oil pan and see if there were any plastic bits laying around, luckily there were none. Don't know where the pieces went since I only saw very, very tiny bits of pieces in my filter last oil change.

Before assembling the parts, I realized that the Iwis chain I got came with two E-clips instead of the older style fish clip. I've heard horror stories about the e-clips showing up in pans many miles down the road, so it looks like I'll be ordering the older style from Max BMW. Then it'll be time to get everything back together.

05 December 2015

BMW Timing Chain Inspection

The last oil change I did on the R90/6, I noticed some very small, black, plastic looking stuff inside the filter. I assumed this was from the timing chain tensioner as that's the only plastic coated component that could possibly make it into the engine, the timing chain did also appear to rattle and slap a little when the bike was at idle. I figured I'd turn the inspection into an Airhead Beemer Club tech day as the dis-assembly process and subsequent re-assembly is a little more advanced than typical Airhead maintenance. I ordered a new duplex timing chain, crank sprocket, and tensioner (and all the other bits like gaskets, washers, and tensioner spring) from Germany and they haven't arrived yet, so for now it's just the inspection.

Here's the process:

Remove the exhaust headers, I leave the mufflers in place. Some guys say to remove the front wheel and forks to give yourself more room to work, but I also leave them on. Set the left piston to TDC (that's the position the crank will be in for the entire process), and then loosen the rocker arms to remove the spring pressure from the right cylinder head against the camshaft, this will prevent it from rotating the cam while you're working. Next REMOVE THE BATTERY GROUND and only after this do you remove the front cover to access the charging and ignition systems. Failure to do so can result in a fried system from the cover shorting against the diode board. After disconnecting all the electrical connections on the alternator, remove the three mounting bolts on the alternator, and then remove it. To remove the alternator rotor, you'll need a special hardened bolt that threads into the crank and pulls the rotor from the tapered crank nose. Then remove the camshaft nut and remove the advance and points plate. Diode board is also pretty straightforward.

I thought I could get away without removing the starter cover and just use needlenose pliers to remove the wire going to the starter solenoid, but I wound up removing it anyway. That red wire on the bottom goes through the timing cover and connects to the diode board, obviously I took this pic after the diode board was already removed.

While removing the socket head screws and nuts, I managed to strip the head on the last one I had to remove. After about an hour spent drilling it out, I was finally ready to remove the timing cover and inspect the timing chain. To remove the cover you need to use a heat gun to heat up the cover around the crank nose where it's an interference fit against the bearing below it. After about 3-5 minutes of heating, lightly tap on the cover and remove it, it should come out very easily, if not then you need more heat. Once removed, this is what you'll see.

My timing chain had plenty of slack in it. Besides that, the chain tensioner was worn and missing pieces of the plastic coating (what was getting trapped in my oil filter, as seen in the pic below). If you plan on removing the chain for replacement, first remove the spring for the tensioner by removing the nut pictured at about 3 o'clock in the picture above. Next, remove the tensioner by removing the securing circlip and sliding it off its pin. Timing chain is removed by large bolt cutters (or a dremel if you're so equipped). Be sure to plug up all the holes that go into the case with rags so no metal can make its way down (I do this even before removing the circlip). Ensure you're still at TDC (OT "Obertotpunkt" on the flywheel). You can do this by, obviously, checking the inspection hole, and making sure the timing marks on the sprockets line up. The one for the cam should be directly above the keyway for the woodruff key (both should be pointing at 12 o'clock) and the one for the crank should be at 6 o'clock, lining up with the mark on the cam (woodruff key slot should be positioned at 9 o'clock).

I'm not sure I'll be replacing the crank sprocket and bearing just yet, the teeth appear to be in pretty good shape. Once the new one I ordered arrives I'll have to compare the teeth, if any wear is noted I'll just replace it so I don't have to go back in and do this again.