|100,000+ Mile Guzzis
by Ed Milich
| Riding over a hundred thousand miles on one motorcycle requires a serious commitment to the bike. Over the course of such a distance, mufflers fall off, hoses leak, parts are swapped, and the rider discovers all sorts of useful information about his or her faithful mount. No matter how understressed and reliable a motorcycle's design is, a rider is bound to have mechanical failures and "issues" over such a long distance. Still, the fact that there are so many high mileage Guzzis on the road is testament to the excellence of their design.
I queried some high mileage Guzzi riders about their high mileage bikes, their riding habits, and their perspectives. Below are their responses.
|Do you have a single Guzzi that you've personally ridden for over 100,000 miles (160,000 km)? Send an email and we'll add you to the page.|
|1. Year, model and mileage of Guzzi?
2. Type of driving done (highway, backroads, etc.)?
3. Type of motor oil used?
4. Describe your maintenance routine as specifically as possible.
5. What major failures have occurred?
6. Any significant features of/additions to your bike?
7. As a high mileage rider, do you have any advice for other Guzzi riders?
|The Riders and The Bikes|
1973 V7 Sport
|Ed - Guzzimoto, what is the year, model and mileage of your Guzzi?
Guzzimoto - My bike is a 1973 V7 Sport, 300,000+miles. I purchased it from the second owner in 1978. The first owner had raced the bike before selling it to the second owner that had outfitted it with a Windjammer fairing and hard luggage before wrecking it while drunk. He repainted the tank and boxes but never put the bike back together. I bought it in pieces for $800.00 (American). Silver with black frame was the color scheme in 1978. In 1980-81 I painted the bike red with red frame, Lemans I seat, rear fender and fairing and supertrapp pipes, as seen in early photo. In 1983 I "cleaned out a ditch" going about 70 mph. It was at this point I went back to a stock configuration. I've changed the color scheme twice since then.
Ed - Guzzimoto, with as few words as possible, define your driving style.
Guzzimoto - Ed, the driving I do is mostly done on curvaceous mountain roads at a "breakneck pace". I've had twenty-eight speeding tickets, my license revoked twice and two citations for driving and speeding while my license was revoked***.
Ed - Type of motor oil used?
Guzzimoto - The motor oil... 20/50 Valvoline in the winter Straight 40 wt or 50 wt in the summer. Changed every 2,000 miles.
Ed - What major failures have occurred?
Guzzimoto - A broken piston ring at 275,000 (this was major) and a rear drive rebuild at about 250,000 (the splines on the input shaft vanished) and a failure to appear in court for driving while license was revoked*** I don't consider u-joints (2) a major failure but more or less deferred maintenance.
Ed - Any significant features or additions to your bike?
Guzzimoto - Last year a judge ordered me to put double disc brakes on the front. At that time I chose to ad round slide Del Ortos and Epco stainless steel pea-shooter smoke pipes. The pipes are absolutely ear-splitting.
Ed - Guzzimoto, as a high mileage rider, do you have any advice for other Guzzi riders?
Guzzimoto - Always, always, always wear clean underpants.
Ed - Guzzimoto, thanks for your time.
Guzzimoto - Regards to the Mrs.
After four short years, my Jackal has now given me over 100k (s)miles. It's lived a very good life so far (with many more to come)... and in the last year or so, going through significant transformation leaving only the frame, swingarm and tank near stock (sans paint). More details about the bike HERE.
1. 2000 Jackal, now well over 100k.
2. Primarily the backroads of the U.S., and for the last 3 years most of the Southwest U.S.
3. Strictly synthetic oils/lubes... primarily AMSOIL products including oil filter.
4. Motor oil changed between 5-6k, trans & final drive changed between 7.5-10k miles. Bike has had numerous modifications, but most of it's life was stock except open lid airbox with K&N filter, Stucchi 'H' pipe, and Bub mufflers. I credit most of the bikes life to the custom mapped Power Commander, which allows brilliantly accurate fuel mapping.
5. Failures include 3 starters (water induced since I wash my bike so much, I hear), the transmission stack slid back and hit the rear cover (OEM mishap) due to a (speculated) improperly installed cir-clip. Failed voltage regulator. Disinegrated clutch was replaced under warranty at 67k miles. Other then that, the bike's been pretty much Bulletproof - Well, almost, see our 'Schrapnel Italia' Page.
6. See "Bikes of GuzziTech.com" for mods linked above.
7. Keep it well tuned. Don't sweat what you read on the internet... and as Ken Hand below says... "Ride'em"!!!
1984 California II;
|See an update on Dan's Cal II|
|1. 1984 California II, 248,000 miles
2. I hardly ever start without riding 100 miles or more. Mostly back
roads, lots of dirt roads. Never used to ride to work or short trips.
3. Kendall 20-50 (conventional)
4. Oil was changed every 2,000 miles. Even on trips. Tranny and rear end oil were changed every 6,000 miles along with engine filter. Dielectric grease was used on electric connections every year. Moly is used in tranny and rear end. In the engine, only the valves have been changed. The pistons, rings, etc. are all original. Tranny has never been into. It has the original rear end.
5. U-joint failed west of Ely, Nevada. Exciting. I?ve also been through several clutches. The lower rear shock mount (RH) failed in fatigue at 120,000 miles.
6. I converted to Lucas RITA ignition after the mechanical advance stopped working freely. Unlike the Dyna system, the Lucas system eliminates the mechanical advance. I changed out the exhaust to eliminate the upswept pipes. This allows me to remove the rear wheel without touching the exhaust. I only recently replaced the stock airbox with K&N filters. I did it more for ease of access than anything.
7. Don't worry about the little stuff. Just go ride it. I cruise in 4th as much as I do in 5th gear. Keep it between 4,000 and 4,500 rpm.
|1. 1993 SPIII 138,000 miles
2. All backroads!
3. Rotella 15-40
4. I change oil every 3,000 miles. I cxhange oil filter, transmission and differential oil and set the valves every 9,000 miles.
5. Voltage regulator and transmission return spring at 38,000 miles (2,000 miles from home- I rode it home to Missouri by clicking the shifter after each shift). I had the splines grind themselves away where the wheel mates up with the differential. (Use a good grease and keep it in there!) At 126,000, I put in rings and relined the clutch after the rear main seal leaked.The clutch was in great condition at 136,000. I put in a new u-joint and carrier bearing at 113,000 miles mostly as a precaution since the old ones seemed OK.
6. I have a set of driving lights mounted that I can flash on and off very easily to help people see me coming. Very important as the most common thing said after an accident is, "I did not see you."
I have a tank bag full of tools and carry a spare clutch cable (from a
Suzuki since I got 100,000+ plus miles from the other one) a throttle cable and a u-joint on long trips.
Oh, yes, if you want to know a secret...never give the bike any more than a quick hosing off once in a while. JB and a few others know this secret.
7. Change the oils and be very careful riding!
Richard Potter in Missouri
1971 Ambassador 203,000miles
California II 100,000 Miles
California II Full Dress 108,000 miles
1998 EV 123,000 Miles (and 6 weeks of warranty left)
|(note:Ken is from Texas, where they don't NEED no steenking questionnaires. Plus, he's not the type of guy who needs coercion to get him talking. Sooooo..I thought we'd just do Ken's entry in his own words. -ed the ed.)
I put 100K on my first Guzzi a `1971 Ambo. A big deal in 1974 so I bought a keg of beer to celebrate. One of my friends got carried away drinking my free beer and said if you put another 100K on it I'll buy another keg of beer. Well, George Miller was tight with the money and I like a challenge so I put another 100K on it. Yes, he did buy a keg of Bud. The Ambo is still sitting out in the barn with 203K on it. I had a bunch of Eldo's,a T-3, 3 differnt Converts, a G-5 and then a Cal 11. I put 99,999.4 on it and disconnected the speedo so people could see it turn over at the Italy, Texas get-to-gether. Bought another full dress Cal 11 with 8K and put another 100K on it. Bought a new Cal 3 and received an award from the Moto Guzzi dealer for putting the most miles on in one year under warranty--44,717. Ran it up to 144K and sold it. Bought my first '98EV Jan 7, l999, had 36,900 when aToyota pulled out in front of me coming home from the MO-KAN rally in Sept of '99. Bought another '98 EV the last day of the 3 year unlimited milage warranty on New Years Eve of '99. This one has 123,100 and has 6 weeks left under warranty.
|1. 1982 Moto Guzzi G5 I bought it new in 1983 from Lone Star Cycle Motive in Austin, TX. I think I paid $5000-5200 for it.It came with floorboards and big bars, but wasn't a 'real' LAPD model, as evidenced by the Shoei fairing that came with the bike.I don't know why or if Lone Star put it on, but it was a real POS.It slowly disintegrated over a period of about a year, and finally came off the bike in an exciting climax at about 70 mph whilst going down some backroad in Florida.Yowza.
2.Probably 75-85% of the riding on this bike was highways and backroads. Like I said, I got it in '83 (early). I broke it in quickly then took off for a 6 month ride. I lived on that bike while I tooled around the southeast and up the east coast. That was a bunch of miles right there.I had just quit my job as a roughneck, so I had plenty of money. Also, when I actually was living in a house, I never lived in town- so even to go to the grocery store was 15 miles.And my girlfriend of the time lived 40 miles away, yada yada. I'd take vacations on it to Del Rio and the Grand Canyon-if your destination is in West Texas, miles add up fast. Later, I moved to California for graduate school, and would drive the G5 from Bezerkeley to just south of Austin where my folks lived. That's about 1600-1800 miles one way (I usually did it non-stop, 26 hours start to finish, and this was before I ever heard of any iron butt rides).
3. Never been too concerned about that- mostly Castrol 20-50, since it was widely available, but would use anything in a pinch.
4. I was MUCH better about maintenance early on than I am now. But
generally: Set the valves every 2000 miles, and check the points and timing. Change the oil every other valve adjustment. Change the gear oil, oil filter (hated that part- still do) every spring and fall (In TX and CA I rode all "winter". About once a year, usually in the spring, take every available frame or pivoting bolt off and grease or anti-sieze it. At a minimum, the swingarm pivot bolts and the rear drive gear. Check the timing chain tension.
5. Only one, and it was my own stupid fault. I removed the speedo output gear for some idiot reason, but failed to remove the ball bearing that sits under it. Somehow, that bearing migrated into the tranny and fragged several gears. Buster Schlenfield sold me a new tranny for $150 and it's worked just fine ever since. Oh, I guess the rectifier circuit burned out too. That's not really major though.
Interestingly- I replaced the clutch fairly early (20-50,000 miles) and the timing chain. I don't know what it was about the replacement clutch, but it lasted forever- I took it out recently, and it still looked ok. I've gone through two cardan joints (the last one is a candidate for your website of italian shrapnel). I've always been pretty careful to maintain alignment of the rear end- both horizontal (pivot points) and vertical (with shocks). I think that makes a big difference in the lifespan of the Ujoints.
6.Ride... and don't EVER ride on bald tires.
Maintenance procedures are a kind of Zen experience. If you have the time, it's very relaxing to methodically go through and adjust, check, replace parts on a machine. It really helps if you have obsessive-compulsive tendencies.
Right now, my G5 is in pieces in my basement. It still ran, but was starting to make some bottom end noise, so I decided to rebuild it.
Actually, I decided I wanted another Guzzi, and this was a good excuse.
Well, the pistons are worn out- they rock 15 degrees or so on the connecting rods, but the bottom end looked ok. The Ujoint was shot, the cam had small pits in it, and the followers were pretty well worn. So, I've also included a pic of the engine as it sits now. It'll have new timing gears, new cam, new followers, new pushrods, new pistons (many of these parts from Raceco, ha, ha!). The list goes on- it's a new motor in an old case. I hope to have her back together by spring and she's going to be pulling my sidecar. I really want to buy an ?outsider' oil filter, so I don't have to drop the pan so often. Did I mention I hated that part?
|1. 1976 T-3, bought in April of 1998 with 31,000. Now has 170,000 miles. I have over 60,000 miles on a few other Guzzis as well since 1999.
2. All forms. From dirt roads in Alaska and the Yukon, back roads whenever possible and major freeway burns. My longest burn was 2200 miles in 36 hours. 2nd was 1760 miles in 32 hours. Plus many 1000 mile + runs. Year round, rain snow sleet and shine.
3. Anything on sale.
4. I change the oil every 3000-8000 miles. I last changed the filter about 30,000 miles ago, but I used to do so every 20,000 or so. I've set valves a few times. I change the ignition points after 100,000 miles. I check gear/final drive oil if I see any leaking. I inspect/change brake pads when they growl.
5. I blew a 30mm hole from the layshaft on the transmission. http://www.narma.org/jb/ra03-00/ra3-00a.htm It was repaired with JB Weld and is still fine. I had a clutch disk blow apart-made it 1400 miles on one disk. Went through 2 alternator rotors. I wore out the cylinders/pistons, replaced with used ones. Replaced the U-joint when I bought it. I now have 140k on the joint that's in it.
6. Uh... sort of.... Huge ammo cans for luggage. Eldo/Ambo fenders. Nice rock hard solo seat.
7. No advise. I'm not really a good role model. I use cheap oil, cheap tires, rarely wear a helmet, don't wash the bike, use 40watt car headlamps, prefer contact points, am lazy at maintenance, ride in snow and salt, hang at taverns, hate strobing headlights, am not much on waving and like working on motorcycles in my house.
I plan on doing more miles on loopframes from here on in.
|1. My first Guzzi was a 73 civilian Eldo purchased in 78. A friend had crashed this bike badly and it was a true 'total' wreck. Bent frame, bent wheels, burned up wiring harness, broken u-joint. I had ridden on the back of it once, but never drove it and had never heard of Guzzi except for this one. I thought that restoring would be a cheap way to get a full-sized bike. BAD logic. I made so many modifications during the restoration that I could have purchased other good bike for half the price. I spent 18 months in restoration, but I KNEW every bolt on it. I put 110,000 on this bike. I NEVER had to tow it home!Drove it three times from California to the National Rally in Kansas. Had it atop Pike's Peak. Eventually sold it to buy a modern EV Guzzi.After I purchased a '46 Guzzi single, the Eldorado was no longer a "Vintage"machine and no longer worth my efforts at preservation.
Now I have an EV, SPII, Centauro, Monza, and a SuperAlce. In 1993 I got hooked up with a vintage club from Vicenza, Italy for a southwest US tour. They made me an honorary club member and I have toured annually with them, Isle of Man, Switzerland, Italy, France, Germany, etc.They returned again to the US in 99 and will probably do so again in 04 or 05. Expect to do Spain next summer. All on vintage Guzzi singles.
2.This was a full dress touring Guzzi Wixom bags EZBerg and then Corbin double seats, Windjammer SS fairing, CB radio, converted to Police style floorboards, sidestand, and disk front end. Had a rear wheel rim laced at 5.10 X 16. Later I returned to original size at 18" and it performed MUCH MUCH better.Also had an automotive battery with side terminal connections, which was much cleaner.The Windjammer was excellent protection, but a bit heavy on the front end.
3. That bike always had 20-50 Castrol although I now use Mobil 1 on newer machines
4.I'm less anal than others.Oil about 3K, head torque and valve adjust about 12K.
5. This bike had a long series of clutch failures. The input hub would get angular grooves in it. I suspect the original transmission actually bent the bell housing in its big crash. I substituted another 74 transmission and it was better, but eventually still went back to the dreaded 'electric' clutch.
6.NEVER worry about distance or if it will get you home. Learn to have a regular, intimate relationship with the machine.Inspect, adjust often, but most importantly RIDE. Especially on the old ones. They run forever and love LOOOONG days. Learn to take the secondary roads. Just hum along at moderate speeds to enjoy the sights and smells. It will do this forever.Funny, on big trips, the bike sounds and performs differently EVERY day.One day it sounds like its going to rattle apart.Next day it is clicking and humming like a sewing machine.
1995 California 1100
|1. 1995 California 1100. Bought new from Gene Jones in El Dorado, Ark. Currently has 130,500 on the clock.
2. I ride to work 98% of the time so the Cali is my normal mode of transportation year round.Two-up touring with my wife of 37 years, and a couple of trips to Baja Mexico. I like the backroads, further back the better, but not too rough if it's dirt. If I have to use the superslab, to make time or whatever, I don't like the big trucks passing me so that translates to 80 or 90 mph. I use the 87octane fuel most of the time but give it a tank of the higher octane in hot weather and staying ahead of the trucks.
3. I change the oil at 2,000 or 25 hundred and the filter every 5 the. oil change. I use 20W50 in summer and 10W40 in winter, Castrol or Mobil. Trans and final drive lube gets changed about every 20K.
4. I check valve clearance around 6 to 10 K, and lube rear wheel splines every tire change. Cables get a shot of lube whenever I think they need it and before every long trip.
5. This machine has been almost trouble free.The cylinder heads have never been off but I have been inside the transmission twice. The first was to replace a broken shifter return spring, and then to replace worn clutch shaft and coupling muff. The worn clutch shaft caused a rattle when idling in neutral. My riding habit of short shifting and getting into 5th gear by 50 mph probably contributed to the wear on this compensator mechanism.Had to replace the clutch cable at 62K and the second on is still doing the job. Replaced the front fork cartridges around 100k when it began to bottom out on bumps. Replaced the rear main engine oil seal when I found the first drop of oil leaked on my garage floor at around 110K. Timing chain, clutch and U-joint are original with no problem so far.
6. I have a Guzzi SP II fairing and cut down lowers for wind protection along with some home-made bits.The package works quite well and I think the factory would do well to offer that fairing as an option on the new bikes. The seat has been redone twice, the last time by Rich Maund and is a big improvement especially for the passenger section.
7. Advice to others to make the 6-digit figure??? Get a Guzzi and just keep on riding.
Wes Stephens, Pensacola, FL
MGNOC life member 433
1984 Lemans III
273580 km (170,000mi)
|1. 1984 Lemans 3, white in colour, 273,580 KM
2. This bike has done everything, its toured, play-raced, commuted and rallied, good on dirt roads, great on sweepers, at one stage doing 45,000 km a year. Now it manages 3000 to 5000km/year mainly up and down Mt. Glorious here in Brisbane, 150km round trip.
3. Have used several oils, Mobil 1, Mobil Racing 4 T, Castrol, GP 50 and currently Motorex power Synth 4T because I got a lot of it cheap.
4. After a very trying period of ownership (what didn?t go wrong/ break/ fail etc) where I was continually playing maintenance catch up, I eventually (after 8 yrs) gave into the inevitable and did a ground up rebuild. Now after 100,000 km and 8 yrs since the rebuild it still only requires oil and filter changes, tappet clearances and general maintenance which I do every 5,000 km.
At 5,000 km I?ve gotten into the habit of removing the final drive and drive shafts, cleaning them all up and re-greasing them.
At 20,000 KM or when ever the swing arm comes out I re-grease the uni joint. I modified this in 1988 (200,000km ago) with flush mounted grease nipples as I had 2 units fail due to a lack of grease when manufactured.
5. 2 uni joints, 2 fly wheels (1 alloy), 2 final drive pinion gears (this is why I clean and grease every 5000 k), 1 set of stripped timing gears and resulting bent valves push rods etc, 3 clutches old type (New type much better), 1 set of pistons and rings (very bad air filtration).
1 total engine rebuild, 1 gearbox rebuild, 3 final drive rebuilds, 1 replacement final drive housing, 1 starter motor rebuild, 1 alternator rotor rebuild (2 sets of brushes), centre stand cracked.
6. The engine has been rebuilt with 948cc pistons and cylinders, new big and small end bearings, balanced to suit.Front and rear crank bearings had no measurable wear (AFTER 185,000KM)
I have twin plugged the heads and fitted a mid range cam, flywheel and ring gear have been lightened and balanced. Dyna 3 ignition used since heads twin plugged. Chrome moly cam followers and push rods fitted during rebuild. Stucchi auto chain tensioner fitted to cam chain.
Hella head light and heavy wiring and dual relay replace the pitiful standard setup, heated hand grips cause I?m getting soft in my old age. A comfy seat fitted (first mod the bike got) and a Tomaselli quick action throttle. Switch gear from a Ducati Paso. Regulator is a Bosch RE 57.Air filters are Uni filter oiled foam. Exhaust system is Staintune, stainless steel. Brake lines are Teflon lined stainless steel, I highly recommend these. The aim of the rebuild was to exorcise the problems from the previous owner and the late Friday afternoon build quality, some of my own ineptitude and replace a lot of stuff that was just plain wearing/worn out. Was it financially a good decision? Well yes and no, yes its reliable now and goes well, no ill never get my money back, but that?s not the point, is it? The main aim was to achieve the reliability that I had heard Guzzis were capable of and I have achieved that.
7. Beware inept previous owners...
Regular maintenance, oil and filters, clean effective air filters, regular lubrication of cables, drive shafts and the universal joint. Fit a Dyna 3 ignition and a Stucchi auto cam chain tensioner. These two items reduce your work load immensely and improve rideability and reliability.
Bleed brakes every 6 months. Use an upper cylinder lubricant, It mightent help but it certainly won?t hurt and does seem to keep carbon buildup low and things cleaner around the rings and valves. Get on to your computer and search out the Guzzi sites, god I wish I had the info on these when I first started this odyssey. When in doubt lubricate.
|(1) 1982 V50III 308,000 miles (English ones!) 34,000 when purchased second hand.
(3) Not the cheapest, but near that end of the spectrum, multigrade SAE 15-40.
(4) Oh boy! Oil change between 5,000 - 8,000 miles, filter every other oil change. Gearbox oil every fourth engine change, rear drive oil change likewise - this is vital for the life of the drive box. Flush out carbs every month (please remember this machine has regularly done 1,200 - 1,500 miles per week). Used to check tappet clearances monthly, but so little changed I leave them alone for ten thousand plus, even then there is often nothing to change, perhaps half a thou on an intake valve. Valves must be changed at no higher than 60,000 mile intervals to avoid breakage. I believe that 45,000 is recommended. My first set broke at 107,000 miles, through ignorance. Second set were acclaimed to be stainless and I ran them long. They broke exactly the same mileage 107,000! Third set were from a second pair of heads and I had forgotten the previous mileage on them. They broke too! Current set have done 50,000 - they'll be out in ten!!
Valve seats have been changed to hardened type. Check oil level and tyre pressures daily. Air filter changed to washable foam, cleaned now and then (there are no deserts over here). Check generator brushes for wear monthly. Check and oil gear change pivots and linkages weekly, likewise brake pivots and linkage. Cable nipples and lever pivots oiled, nylon lined cables benefit from silicon lubricant monthly. Change brake fluid every six months. Check for wear of brake calipers - where the leading edge of the pads press against the caliper under braking, is a major point of wear. This can cause pads to 'lock on' slightly and give a notchy feel upon application. Always use Ferodo pads, replaced when worn out and I do mean WORN OUT. They are miserly thin.
Clean holes in brake discs monthly. Check for play in swing arm, wheel and steering bearings weekly. Front wheel bearings are the first to go, 20 - 25,000. Steering bearings replaced with taper roller type from Dave Degens. First set lasted 210,000miles. Second set due for replacement after 80,000. This I believe largely due to the increasing proliferation of 'speed humps' on urban streets as well as industrial areas. Swing arm bearings replaced once, rear wheel bearings last 'forever'. Rear drive shaft MUST be packed with grease every six weeks. This includes stuffing as much as can be in and around the UJ cross piece. This last act has given a complete lack of wear in the UJ. One shaft UJ, after 120,000 miles, was as snug and smooth as the day it was new. Sadly the same cannot be said of the splines of the shaft, especially the tail end. Even after regular greasing, after 120,000 the splines had worn away to just half a millimeter thick.
A similar and worse affliction of the V50 is the speedo drive. This little box of Veglia has gears which are made from a close relative of 'Play-Doh'. My seventh gave up last October. Haven't bothered replacing with another £54 piece of kids stuff (think I know how fast I am going after this sort of mileage on the same bike!). May get an electronic after market speedo some day. Make sure the clutch operating arm is free and oiled monthly (sod of a job). Fuse box - check that all fuse ends are clean and free of corrosion! Some very strange anomalies in the electric circuitry can be produced by dirty fuses!!
(5) Valve failure (3 times): This amounts to the valve head (usually the exhaust) breaking off of the stem and exploring other parts of the
engine. The last time it happened to me, I found the head resting in the rubber connecting piece to the carburetor (it had taken the inlet valve head out in it's wanderings and gone that way to have a look see. The inlet valve head was wedged into a cave it had been busy digging in the piston crown.
Clutch failure: To be exact, failure of the concentric shock absorber springs and their cages. The springs are held sandwiched between plates of spring steel. From new, some are not entirely tight in their captivity. When wear takes place through usage and vibration, they move, enlarging the space in which they are held. The movement increases the wear in and round the spring and of the spring itself ultimately breaking pieces off of the spring and the surrounding metal. A tell-tale sound of tinkling can occasionally be heard as if running over a piece of discarded car trim. This may also be accompanied by the loss of the timing bung and 'things' brushing the right leg, feeling like pieces of gravel flicked up from the road. This is caused by the flaying around in the clutch housing of small bits of steel, previously of spring or clutch, finding any soft place to penetrate in an attempt to escape the 6,000rpm blender. The bung is the first to go, after which they can brush past the leg on their way to freedom. Do not ride without protection of the right lower leg if your clutch is suspect. My last clutch failure was of the explosive type, where the aforementioned wear had caused the clutch friction plate to be forced apart by a quarter of an inch, leaving me with a clutch that would not disengage. The clutch housing and clutch looked like someone had let off several rounds of twelve bore at them. I got home with it though.
Cam chain tensioner failure: Almost not noticeable except for the rattle. (Wonderfully quiet after replacement!)
Generator failure: More often than not worn brushes, though rotor did Fail once. (Bosch).
Starter motor failure(3 times): Once due to broken braided copper connection between the field windings and solenoid (easily fixed once
detected), once through excessive wear of the bendix on the shaft causing pinion to jam on ring gear and once through a short in the field windings caused by a loose armature magnet, (all Bosch components - humph - to the 'Bosch').
Electrical failures: Once, due to wear of ignition switch contacts (all failed), several times due to corrosion of plated terminal blocks in
the harness, the penultimate weirdest where the headlight extinguished simultaneously to the engine cutting out when the brakes were applied, Caused by a dirty fuse. But the ultimate has to be receiving HT shocks from both handlebars whist feeding in the clutch doing full lock turns in wet weather. Picture the scene: Having pulled across the road into a driveway to make a delivery, I am back on the bike facing oncoming traffic. A gap appears in traffic and I feed out the clutch on full lock to do a 180 degree turn into the gap. Just as the clutch is almost out and I am half way through the manoeuvre, I get machine gun shocks up BOTH arms. Involuntary facial contortions follow. One is inclined to let go, but simply cannot -survival instinct and all that. A check of all circuitry around the coils found no insulation failure. The cause therefore is down the name on the tank. (It has been thus apportioned by a Guzzi guru).
Gearchange return springs have broken twice. The original (?) was broken, though it changed ok, just a bit reluctant to return to centre after downward changes, then the replacement broke 8,000 miles later! Since then I changed one when the box was down 40,000m later hough it was not broken. Nothing since.
(6) So many I have forgotten some. Braided brake hoses; Piranha electronic inition (an absolute MUST. Bin the points a.s.a.p.) Dyna coils; taper roller steering head bearings; home made air filtration box with foam insert; modified oilway within rear drive box as per Dave Richardsons "Guzziology" to better feed forward pinion bearing; drilled crankshaft thrust bearing creating an reservoir for oil as per Dave Richardson again; altered wiring in headlight flasher to bring main beam on instead of dip; re-wiring of starter relay (DR again); insert relay for headlight dip and main along with a Xenon bulb (together they make daylight out of darkness at the same wattage); stainless pipes and exhaust; heated grips with monster handlebar muffs enable gloveless riding nearly all year (essential if you want to'feel' what's happening); Le-Mans II style handlebar fairing with extended upper screen. Other stuff, and topped off with my old luggage - early
SwagMan tank bags, throw over panniers, an old Craven Golden Arrow pannier as top box (scoot boot?) mounted on the pillion for better weight distribution, and the rattiest tank top bag you have ever seen (but as it still holds my waterproofs well enough, I'm not inclined to replace it).
Oh - and a road kill seat cover. Sheep. Cool.
(7) Change the terminal blocks in the wiring harness for good quality ones. Grease that shaft and UJ. Use electronic ignition. Ride safe, but RIDE! (And keep smiling!)
1979 SP1000 with 129,000 miles
Saint Louis, Missouri
1.1979 SP1000 129,000 Miles, purchased new in 1981 for $4,000 from Donelsonís Cycles. The speedo cable was broken for about 10 years, but 129,000 is whatís showing. In the 25 years that Iíve owned her, Iíve had an additional 20 or so street, dirt and touring bikes, but the Guzzi is the one Iíve always retained while swapping the others for an assortment of interesting but not enduring rides.
2. Most of my riding has been around town and weekend drives into the winding roads of rural Missouri. Iíve only done one big trip of 5000 miles, otherwise remaining mostly within Missouri. Iíll ride in most types of weather except snow and ice.
3. All sorts of oil, nothing all that special.
4. Mostly fix it when it breaks. Reset the valves when they interfere with listening to books on tape. Iíve become more fastidious in the last 2 years. It still looks a bit of a rat bike, but who can be bothered with polishing and washing?
5. One major destructo incident: the internal oil filterís seal blew out and I burned up my engine internals. Bike had about 10,000 miles on it. Swapped a dirt bike for a wrecked SP and swapped out the motors. Since then, Iíve had the spare bike for parts. Also replaced the alternator rotor and regulator, handlebar controls, fuel and oil lines, throttle, clutch, speedo and tach cables, valve guides on the right side only. I did swap the u-joint which was a little loose, and replaced the seals in the bevel box and transmission output, also the fork seals. Still running the original clutch.
6. In one of the SPís earlier incarnations, I installed rearsets and road like ricki-racer. Iíve since slowed down a little but regularly drag the floor boards and center stand tang on the left. Really erases the chicken strips when the rear wheel spins while sliding through a turn on the center stand tang. I may need taller rear shocks. Here are the mods: Bub sump, Dyna II ignition, K&N filters and air box eliminator, floor boards, Convert seat, barbacks and dogbone risers, wider handlebars, Krauser bags, big top box from Yamaha Venture, removed the lowers, crash bars, driving lights, very loud horns. Sewed my own tank bra which hides the piss-poor paint of that yearís guzzis.
7. Guzziís are fairly simple and 90% of the work can be done by a shade tree mechanic. If you get stuck or need help with diagnostics, go online and ask for help. And spend the $50.00 for Guzziology.
Saint Louis, Missouri
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