Monthly Archives: November 2021

The Loneliness of the Home Guzzi Mechanic

After my trip to Tocumwal Aviation Museum, I was sitting on my shed stool checking the Breva’s engine oil when my eyes passed over the tank to the steering stem where I noticed a brake line chaffing against a sharp steel edge. As I moved the handlebars, a right turn dragged the line across the corner of the steel block.

I removed the windscreen and headlight to gain access to the area.

The line was, in fact, the clutch hydraulic line. The steel had cut through the outer layer of the line. I couldn’t see any purpose for the steel protrusion, though one lower down on the stem worked as the left-right steering stop. Perhaps the upper one was a vestigial from a previous Guzzi model and now functionless.

This was my error. Some years ago I’d removed the headlight to replace the globe. In ignorance, I’d pushed the headlight binnacle back into place without considering the routing of the clutch line and electrical cables. It was now clear to me that the lines should be moved to the right (as facing the bike) and that the headlight binnacle shape would hold them in position, away from the steering stem.

That’s why I like doing my own servicing. I have the chance to look things over and understand the logic of it all. Sure, I make a few mistakes but that’s all part of learning.

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Run to Tocumwal Aviation Museum

With Covid restrictions being lifted, I decided to fang the big Breva 1100 up to and over the border to Tocumwal. The new aviation museum was the drawcard. RAAF Station Tocumwal was established during WW2 to support Liberator B-24 heavy bombers and operational conversion.

Ran down the Snow Road towards Benalla then cut through miles of grain crops along the Benalla-Yarrawonga Road (C373) to the Murray River, the border of Victoria and New South Wales.

Crossed the Murray at Yarrawonga to Mulwala. Yarrawonga was chockas so thought I’d stop for a brew in Mulwala along the lake shore. But, alas, I couldn’t find anything resembling a coffee stop but saw a small sign to Tocumwal – had to chuck a U-ey because I went past it. This took me through a myriad of streets and onto a main road which I assumed went where I wanted. No signs!

Kept the sun off my right shoulder and rode for smegging miles without any sign or even a route name until I encountered Barooga and a sign to Tocumwal, my first indication that I was on the right track! At least the Breva has a big 22 litre tank!

On I went and had to chuck another U-ey because the (small) museum/airfield sign was right on the turnoff. Without any further signage, I meandered around and found the museum and café.

Needed a coffee by now but had to get though all the Covid check-in – the Victorian app can’t read the NSW app…what’s the matter with this frigging Federation!? And had a lovely ham/cheese/tomato sour dough sandwich and latte.

The museum had an interesting display of aircraft and story boards. A theatre ran a series of movie-tone newsreels from the ’30s to ’50s. There was a memorial wall to the men and women who had died at the airbase during WW2.

Backtracked out of the airfield to Barooga, where I crossed the Murray back into Victoria at Cobram. Fanged along to Yarrawonga. Gees, there’s a lot of houses gone up in these Murray River towns…and they’re all full of 4-wheel drives, boat and caravans. Where’s all the money come from?

Turned south for home but had a break along the way for a drink and an apple. Back home after seven hours.

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Cali EV Oil Leak

Walked into the shed one morning and spotted what looked like an oil leak at the front of the EV’s sump. No oil drip on the floor though. I cleaned it up with degreaser and kept using the bike and, sure enough, it kept sweating out – not enough to leave a drip.

I was concerned that it might be leaking out of the timing cover – a bigger job to fix. I consulted one of the bods in the MGCoV and we came to the joint conclusion that, with luck, it was the sump gasket.

Ran the big girl up on the ramp and and dropped the oil – she was due for her 55,000km oil change fortuitously – and removed the sump.

The gasket, which I’d reused from previous oil filter changes, was of a thin, plastic-type material. The new one, from Mario at Thunderbikes in Perth, was thicker and more fibrous.

Note the hose clamp around the new oil filter, which is nosed up against the pressure valve to ensure that the filter can’t loosen and spin off. That’s the theory anyway, and I’ve always done it.

I ran a thin smear of grease around the sump and the top of the gasket – it allows the sump to move around slightly as I insert the sump screws, and to seal the sump when tightened up. Filled her up with Penrite 15W50 Diesel.

I also changed the gearbox and rear drive oils as well, since the Cali hasn’t had a lot of use over the past two years due to Covid restrictions. (My Ford manual sez that less than 10,000kms per year is consider hard use for the engine oil.)

So she’s back on the road and time will tell if the problem is resolved – or if it is (gulp) the timing chest gasket.

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