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Cali EV Timing Cover Oil Leak

No sooner had I repaired the fuel indicator and timing sensor leaks, it became apparent that I had another leak. Oil seem to be coming from the front-right of the engine and spreading under the sump as I rode along. It didn’t drip on the floor but it bugged me. I hoped it was the sump gasket so I replaced that and did an oil change. But it didn’t fix the problem. I searched Google and the forums – it wasn’t an uncommon problem but details for getting in there and fixing it were scanty. I spoke to a few bods – Peter Roper at Moto Moda, Mario at Thunderbikes in Perth, and Bill Finegan at Hpower (who lives up the road from me). They thought that I should be able to do it myself…gulp! After reading all I could and scanning the parts diagrams, I ordered from Thunderbikes a new timing cover gasket, an alternator seal and O-ring, two gaskets for the headers and new washers for the header nuts.

From the Guzzi/2001-2002evandtouringpartscatalog.pdf.

After removing the tank and battery to reduce weight, a neighbour and I pushed the big girl up onto the ramp.

To remove the main frame bolt which is passes through the bottom of the timing cover and the engine frame, I had to remove the exhaust headers, which meant removing the toe covers.

I supported the engine with a jack to take some weight off the frame, then used a short rod and tapped the frame bolt out. It came out easily.

Removed the alloy alternator cover which exposed the alternator. Three bolts held the stator on so removed this and swumg it out of the way, still attached to its electrical cable.

To undo the nut holding the alternator to the crankshaft, I first removed the rubber bung from the side of the engine and inserted a screwdriver in to flywheel teeth to stop the engine from rotating and tried to undo the nut. Nope, more leverage required so I used my Stilson pipe wrench as a breaker bar on my spanner…and she came undone smoothly. Some useful advice for all this came from Mike’s Machines.

The rotor slid off with a bit of a wiggle. It’s held to the crankshaft by a “key” for which the rotor has a slot to slide on (No. 10 in the lower parts diagram). I placed the rotor in the stator and cable-tied them to the crash bar.

No sign of oil, so the seals had done their job.
I used a small chisel and hammer to extract the key. The cover, spacer and seal (visible to the right) wouldn’t slide off with the key still there. Don’t lose the key!

Removing the cover was straight forward, too, though I had to move the horns and the voltage regulator/rectifier out of the way to allow access to the top screws. I noted that the four lower bolts were longer than the rest. The cover came off without drama, the seal sliding over the oily crank. I levered off the base, where it attached to the frame, with a screwdriver. What I didn’t foresee was the cupful of oil that drained out all over my bike lift!

The cause of my oil leak was immediately apparent. This was a relief because I was never certain of the reason for the leak.

I hit the old gasket with CRC Gasket Stripper and 10 minutes later it peeled off easily with a scraper.

The old seal proved difficult to remove and I was wary about damaging the surface. My el cheapo seal removal tool wasn’t up to the task and grappling with a screwdriver ruined the seal but it didn’t budge. It had been on there for 20 years or so. Down my street, Fritz serviced and repaired ride-on lawnmowers in his shed so I walked down there to see if he could help. Using a seal remover tool which looked similar to a one-fork claw hammer, he removed it with one swift movement.

I slipped the metal spacer off, picked out the O-ring and inserted the new one with a smear of silicon grease. It fits into the groove visible inside the spacer. It was simple to replace.

I cleaned both surfaces of the engine and timing cover and applied a thin smear of grease to them. Placed the new gasket on the engine, held in place by the grease smear.

The cover went back on smoothly; I had to tap the base with a rubber mallet to get it into the lower frame. I feared that the cover and frame holes might not line up so got down on my knees and eyeballed it. Perfick! I now eased the seal onto the spacer and slid the metal spacer and seal along the spindle and through the hole in the cover. Normally I would use an appropriate sized socket to seat the seal but none was deep enough go over the spindle to the seal, so I tapped the seal into place using a rod until it was completely and evenly fitted. Screwed the cover bolts back in then inserted the engine frame bolt and tapped that through with a hammer. No probs! Tightened them up (then realised that the frame bolt would need to be loosened to accommodate the toe cover supports).

A dab of grease, then I tapped the key into the spindle with a hammer. Lined up the rotor’s slot with the key, and she slipped on over the greased key and spindle like butter. Put the stator on and screwed it down. But I forgot the plastic spacer, which needed to go in before the stator due to the wiring, so undid the stator and slipped the black spacer in.

I inserted my screwdriver in on the flywheel teeth and tightened the nut holding the alternator to the crankshaft spindle, using my Stilson for extra leverage. On with the alloy cover. Job done! A few odds and ends to tidy up – horns, toe covers, exhaust headers, etc.

This is the deepest I’ve been into an engine. I was impressed with the simple design and construction of the Guzzi engine. I suspect that it’s a 2-hour job for a skilled mechanic. I took 4 days!

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Cali EV Fuel Indicator Leak and Timing Sensor Leak

I’d noticed an occasional petrol smell around the Cali. One day while cleaning it, I detected a slight sheen on the cable coming from the fuel-level indicator where it exits the tank near the fuel solenoid. I put up with it for a few weeks but it developed into a slight drip, so time to do something.

In addition, the timing sensor in front of the left-hand cylinder had been weeping for some time, a not uncommon occurrence. I searched the Moto Guzzi forums for information, of which there was plenty, and got stuck into it.

Firstly I had to drain the tank of 15L of petrol, then remove it from the bike. I pumped it out into a 20L container – man that’s heavy, which you don’t appreciate when it’s in the bike. Removing the tank is fairly straightforward; undo the retaining bolt under the seat, pull the tank back off its locating bungs, unplug the electrical cables to the solenoid and fuel-level indicator (it helps to prop up the tank with a block of wood to do this), undo the hose to the fuel solenoid, undo the hose to the pressure regulator at the front, lift the tank up and remove the overflow hose underneath, and carry said tank to somewhere soft where it won’t get scratched.

I’d never removed the fuel-level indicator before. It unscrewed easily and I extracted it.

After 20 years, there was a fair bit of grit on it and the union which brushed off easily. It didn’t look like rust. But now I was bit concerned about the fuel solenoid, too, so I undid and extracted that.

This was gritless! Beats me. The solenoid union nut is is designed to screw into the tank with a normal RH thread AND screw down the fitting at the same time with a LH thread to draw it up tight. I couldn’t get it to work properly until I’d removed the black cable-tie which held the electrical lead in place. A dab of grease on the tank thread and it screwed back in like a charm.

I eased the rubber boot away from the fuel-level sensor and squeezed some Threebond 1211 around the electrical wires exiting the base. The label says that it isn’t recommended for petrol, but they say that breaking the speed limit isn’t recommended, too, don’t they?! But it is OK with oil, and I’d bought it to fix the timing sensor leak. (The leak is also possible from the threaded join and some have found a slight split in the tank).

The timing sensor can leak where the sensor is screwed to the engine block, or out of the sensor itself. I extracted the sensor and found that the cable was grotty with oil and gunk, suggesting that oil was leaking out through the cable join. Cleaned it up with degreaser and then with methylated spirits. It has a spacer to ensure the correct positioning in order to read the crank rotations and an O-ring. Reinstalled these to the sensor then applied Threebond to the base-plate spacer, coated the area where the cable exited, and screwed it back onto the engine.

I poured some fuel into the tank and left it overnight. No leak. I smeared some rubber grease onto the locating bungs and eased the tank back on – the grease makes the job much easier – and reconnected cables and fuel hoses.

A week later and few hundred kays, all seem ship shape and Bristol fashion.

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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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Run to Whitfield

A lovely spring morning for a run down to Whitfield. I had search to do in the cemetery for findagrave.com, just the excuse to to kick the Cali EV into action. It’s about a 90 minute cruise down there, along the King Valley, past all the vineyards. Everywhere was green from the recent good rain. Edi Cutting, where we hold the Spaghetti Rally, was full of campers and caravans due to the school holidays. The King River was running strongly.

I parked at the cemetery and strode along the rows of headstones but couldn’t find my man. There were a lot of unmarked graves and no cemetery key to locate gravesites.

The cemetery dates from the goldrushes in the mid-1800s and as goldfields cemeteries go, this one was grassed and attractive.

Headed back home, intending to stop at INeeta Cafe in Moyhu, which makes excellent coffee and cakes. Alas it was closed. The state government had declared the day before the AFL Grand Final a public holiday but few small businesses can afford the staff penalty rates so many of them don’t open – Catch 22!

Home for afternoon tea. Go Demons!

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The Absurdity of Climate Hysteria

reality

The author is a grape farmer and wine maker, and a close observer of climate.

It is widely asserted that grape vintages are nowadays earlier, due to hotter summers. I reject that assertion. Winters are warmer than in the past. Not summers. The earlier start to a longer growing season and enhanced availability of CO2 enhances photosynthetic capacity. It improves efficiency in the use of scarce water by the grape vine. This very likely accounts for the earlier time of ripening. In addition, when the ripening month has been in February, the warmest month, and it occurs in January, the maturation period is cooler than hitherto, an advantage.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology’s maintains that Australia’s climate has warmed on average by 1.44 ± 0.24 °C since national records began in 1910. But this statistic is the result of averaging monthly data that gives equal weight to autumn, winter, spring…

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Run to Yabba

I had a request to photograph a headstone at Yabba Cemetery. Well, firstly I had to find it because I’d never heard of the place. The cemetery is located on the eastern bank of the Mitta Mitta River, just south of Tallangatta in north-eastern Victoria. It’s a locality, not a town.

Firing up the Breva 1100, I went up across Tunnel Gap Road, onto the Kiewa Highway to Tangambalanga. The Hume Dam was full and backing up into the feeder creeks and rivers.

The Mitta Mitta River being back-filled from Lake Hume.

The Mitta Mitta River flats were green and lush, but the north-facing slopes were already losing their colour as the grass was curing. An hour-and-a-half found me at the gate to the lane crossing pasture to the cemetery.

The entrance to Yabba Cemetery.

The day was warming up by now and there was a lot of heat and humidity coming off the pasture. A short walk took me to the cemetery. Someone was looking after the site because it had been recently mowed. A picturesque place to be buried, I thought, overlooking the river, flats and adjacent hills.

The Yabba Cemetery.

After a couple of slices of Jane’s date and walnut cake and a drink of water, I hit the frog and toad. Came back via the “cow pat highway” (Gundowering Road) and over the Tawonga Gap into Bright. Was held up by numerous road works, especially at Coral Bank.

Five hours from whoa to go.

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Breva 1100 Fuel Filter

As far as I can recall, the fuel filter was last changed a decade ago. I had Brad the Bike Boy change it when stories of the original plastic filter softening and bursting started appearing on the Guzzi forums. I had changed one before, in my wife’s Breva 750, so I had some idea of what to do.

I took the tank off and placed it upside down in a cardboard box, padded to prevent scratching. Undid screws and started to remove the pump.

The pump and filter came out without difficulty. Let it drain and took over to the bench to remove the filter.

Brad had used oetiker clamps when he’d installed the filter, which are definitely the best method. But I had obtained my new filter from Mario at Thunderbikes and he had supplied fuel hose clamps – oetiker clamps require special pliers to clamp them. The first oetiker clamp came off without drama but, as often is the way with the home mechanic, the second clamp put up more of a fight.

Noting the direction arrow on the filter, I fitted the new filter and clamps.

I inserted the fuel pump and filter back into the tank without drama and screwed it all back down, taking care to tighten the screws evenly. I went around the base several times, tightening each screw a little at a time to get it all uniformly seated.

The tank will be back on the bike in a few days time, after changing the oils and brake and clutch fluids.

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Breva 1100 Alternator Belt

The Breva is now up to 80,000km so I decided that it was time for a service. And since we are in partial lockdown due to Covid, I had plenty of time. The alternator belt was last replaced seven years ago, so now was the time to learn how to do it. I read everything I could on the Guzzi forums and ordered the belt from Mario at Thunderbikes in Perth.

First job, remove the fuel tank.

Then I put her on the bench and jacked her up so I didn’t have to scramble around on the floor.

Moved the oil cooler out of the way, and removed the alternator cover. A bit cramped getting the top screws out, but took my time.

Before I moved anything, I tested the belt tension with my fingers so I had an idea of where I was heading. I moved the coil out of the way to access the lock nut and screw. This tightens up against the alternator to tension the belt. There’re two bolts holding the alternator in position. One undid easily but the other refused to loosen. The nut at the rear was turning with the bolt. Eventually I inserted a spanner from above the left-hand cylinder onto the nut – there was just enough room and I had to get a workshop light to see what I was doing. This held the nut, and the bolt let go with a loud “crack”. (I would have liked to put some grease or CRC 5.56 on the bolt but access wasn’t possible.)

The alternator didn’t move enough to simply lift the belt off. I rotated the lower pulley crank shaft nut and wedged a screwdriver between the belt and the pulley, and she slipped right off. The belt was in good condition – I have seen photos of them being quite worn and shredding. For info, it was a Gates 4PK725, available everywhere. I replaced it with a Moto Guzzi belt, so we’ll see how it goes. The Gates was slightly smaller in diameter than the Guzzi belt and seemed more substantial.

The new belt slipped on with a turn of the crank shaft nut. Tightened up the belt by turning the tensioner screw and lock nut. I assessed the belt tension as I went – should be able to turn the belt 90 degrees the gurus reckon, and that’s how the original belt was when I tested it. Then tightened up the two alternator bolts, replaced the coil, belt cover and oil cooler – job done.

It took me two hours and I wasn’t hurrying.

It’s handy to have a variety of tools. I was continually changing from Allen keys to inhex ratchets, and so on. This el cheapo Kinchrome ratchet which I found in a “Sale” box was worth its weight in gold. Removal of the cover screw (up at 2 o’clock) would have been tedious without it.

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