16 August 2016

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.

17 April 2016

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

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.

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...