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Cali EV electrical gremlin

After servicing my “new” Cali EV back to a known “ground zero”, I had some weeks of smooth running. I decided to come down to the big smoke for a club meeting. It would be easier if I overnighted somewhere so I hit on Noddy and Trish for overnight digs. No probs. Plan was to arrive at Yarck late afternoon for the run with the Treasurer down to and from Collingwood.


My Cali EV on a run to the RAAF Wagga museum.

I loaded my toothbrush, razor and kimbies into the panniers and set off. I motored along; a beautiful day! I always feel like I’m going to a party when I’m on the Cali. I love the whole look and feel of her.

Occasionally, I sensed a slight hesitation. Imagination. Until I turned onto the Snow Road. There was definitely a hesitation in the EV’s engine. Things ran through my mind – plugs, leads, TPS, electric fuel petcock…? About the limit of my knowledge. The road was bit rough and one bump lifted me out of my seat and the engine paused momentarily. Ah ha!

I experimented by lifting off the seat and each time I did, the engine stopped. At Milawa, I chucked a U-ey. As I stood up waiting for traffic, the engine stopped. I pressed the starter. Nothing. I sat down and pressed the starter and she fired straight up. Well, at least I knew where to start looking!

At home, I lifted the seat and tool tray and examined the battery. There were several leads attached to each of the negative and positive battery posts. One of the positive leads had broken at the eyelet. I started the bike and could reproduce the symptoms by just touching the lead. I’d been fortunate that my weight on the seat had pressed the broken parts together and allowed me to get home. I followed the wire to the fuel pump which explained the hesitation I’d felt. My Cali is now 15 years old and the copper wires definitely have a “brittle” feel to them.

At my local “What-a-Load-of-Crap” auto store, I bought the requisite electrical gear and repaired the wire. I also adjusted the wire arrangement on the battery posts to reduce their contact with the tool tray when I was sitting down.

Moto Guzzi – making mechanics of riders since 1921. That’s often said in jest but it also implies that nimrods, like me, find Guzzis easy to problem-solve and work on.


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Mitta Mitta overnighter

The Guzzi club did a weekend run to Mitta Mitta and stayed overnight in the caravan park.  Roads were wet but I avoided the rain.  Fined up later and a perfectly clear, sunny autumn Sunday.  Had a barbie Saturday night and bacon and eggs in the morning, all cooked in the caravan park’s kitchen facilities.



Brian’s bike did a clutch cable as he arrived but someone had a spare for another model!  A bit of work and it was made to fit and he was set for the return run to Melbourne.



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Cali EV 40,000km Service

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I came into the shed and found an oil drip on the floor, under the drive-shaft. Further examination found oil under the rubber boot. What I thought was a drain hole in the swingarm was a small set screw holding the carrier bearing in place.


I suspected that the gearbox oil seal was leaking and sounded out a few members about removing the swingarm and replacing the seal. Robbo, the club technical officer, explained the process, which seemed pretty straightforward. The trickiest part was getting the driveshaft back onto the gearbox spline – but more tedious than tricky, though. At the Spag, I queried a few others. One suggested checking the oil levels in the gearbox and final drive.

Head smack! I should have done that first. On my Stone, I’d had the phenomenon of final drive oil migrating up the swingarm and dribbling out of the rubber plug in the right-hand chrome swingarm nut. On the Guzzi Exchange forum, Pete Roper had suggested putting a dab of silicon on the rubber bung and keeping an eye on the oil level. This I did, and hadn’t had any problems during the bike’s life. It kept the uni-joint lubricated, anyhow.

The gearbox oil level was fine. I placed a rag under the final drive and removed the level plug.

Remember those old gangster movies where Elliot Ness and the Untouchables raid the illicit booze cellars, smashing into the barrels with axes and sledge hammers? Remember how the booze cascades out in a fountain?

The oil spewed out of the final drive like a Texas blowout, overwhelming my pathetic rag and pooling over the floor. I ran around frantically looking for more rags to restrain the flood. That stuff stinks, doesn’t it?

Instead of 250ml in the rear drive, some clown had poured in 750ml (a “not unknown” amateur error when interpreting the owner’s manual “transmission” references). He must have been an ape, too, because when I tried to remove the top fill plug, I had to hang onto the EV’s pannier rack to stop the Cali rolling of the centre-stand and use all my leg-force against the spanner to undo it. Fortunately, the thread wasn’t stripped.
Since adding back 250ml, the drip has gone and the seals seem ok. Lesson learned: always do a full service when you buy a used bike.

Some weeks later, the clock on the Cali EV clicked over 40,000km so I ran the big girl up onto the bike lifter and strapped her down. I wanted to do a full, post-purchase service: the tappets, plugs, engine oil and filter, air and fuel filters. (I’d like to do a throttle-body sync but don’t know how to – yet).


First job, drop the engine oil. I leaned on the ring spanner of my Honiton tool set – bought years ago from Andy Strapz, and a good piece of kit it is, too – to undo the sump plug but it didn’t move. I leaned on it some more. I put all my weight on it! I felt as if the whole bike and ramp would fall on me but it still didn’t smegging move! Who was this guy who treated machinery so?! Casting around for an extension, I spied my old Stilson pipe wrench, opened the jaws to fit over the Honiton spanner, and leaned on the extra 18 inches of leverage that it gave me. Slowly, slowly, the plug gave way and soon the oil was pouring out.


Righto. Drop the sump to access the oil filter. Fortunately, the sump screws were easily undone and the gasket came away in one piece. I took the sump over to the bench and placed a cup-type filter remover over the UFI. It wouldn’t budge. Gave it some berry and the cup slipped around the filter. OK. Tried another type of remover but still it wouldn’t budge. It was difficult to apply much force because the sump was hard to pin down. I took it outside to a wooden garden bench, jammed it into the seat corner with my knee, put my weight on it, and placed one of those three-pronged gadgets over the filter. I leaned into it. The filter began to crush and warp! Jaysus! Who was this guy?! I might have to zap some roofing screws into this bastard to get it off. I tried again, expecting to rip the filter off its base, but imperceptibly it started to move. I kept the pressure on and it slowly rotated off. I’ve changed a lot of oil filters in my life but I’ve never had one that tight. I spun on a new Ryco RMZ126 filter and a stainless-steel hose clamp, replaced the sump and gave her a belly-full of Penrite 15W-50 Diesel.

Now the rocker covers. The same, presumably, great galoot had smeared some indescribable glue-like crap on the gaskets so they remained attached to the metal as the covers came off. I tried removing them with a blade but eventually obtained some gasket remover to soften them. It was an hour’s work to scrape everything clean with a blade and kitchen scourer.


The tappets are supposed to be set at .10/.15mm. I could barely get a .10mm feeler blade into any of them! Smeggity smegging smeg! I cranked the engine over, looking for Sinistra and Dexter, checked TDC with my thumb and a straw, and reset the tappets to spec. New NGKs, new gaskets (with a smear of grease!) – goodo.


The fuel filter was a bastard, too, because some dozy bod at the factory had run the oil breather hoses either side of the filter, leaving no room to extract it! I detached one hose and ran it behind the filter, as it had been on my Cali Metal. Replaced the 15-year old fuel filter – obviously no one else had removed it – with much grumbling and cussing as petrol invariably leaked out over my engine, despite all the rags I’d jammed in there. New sealing washers, new air filter – job done.

Replaced the tank and, with a squeal from the fuel system, my pretty Rubenesque gal fired right up. I took her for a run up to Harrietville and back, the smell of petrol in my nostrils as it evaporated off the top of the engine. Checked – no leaks.

“She’s running like a dream, she’s final filter clean, with Amoco…” …well, you know the rest.


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Weekend to Dalwhinnie Winery

The Moto Guzzi Club of Victoria arranged a weekend run into western Victoria to visit the Quoin Hill Winery and the Dalwhinnie Winery – both owned by club members.  I decided to cut across the top of Victoria, via Shepparton, Elmore, Raywood, Bridgewater and Logan to overnight at St Arnaud.


By luck, I found La Cochon Rose motel in the centre of town.  Access to the motel units out the back was by riding though the old carriage archway.  So the Guzzi was parked off-street and out of sight.   And I was close to the pubs and restaurants.


La Cochon Rose


The carriageway entrance

The next morning, I moseyed down through Avoca – had a coffee – and onto Quoin Hill Winery at Waubra.  The rest of the club arrived soon after for lunch.

Quoin Hill collage

Then we sped along the Sunraysia Highway to Avoca and Moonambel.  This is quite a pleasant ride through the hills with plenty of sweepers.  We rode up to Dalwhinnie Winery for a tour of the cellar and for some bike pics…

Dalwhinnie collage

…before returning to our overnight stay, the Moonambel Resort Hotel.  Stuart had us all sorted out with rooms and bike parking.  A shower, or swim, and we were ferried back up to the winery for a BBQ and tasting session.

Dalwhinnie collage 2

To beat the forecast heat, I was on the road at 8.30am for the 400km run home, keeping an eye out for bloody kangaroos.

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About 1000km for the weekend on the Breva 1100.  She’s 10 years old, now, and running like a champ.

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In Search of Ned Kelly

Living in north-east Victoria, one is never far from historic locations associated with Ned Kelly and the gold rushes -the so-called “Kelly Country”.  So I fanged my Guzzi California EV down the roads to Greta, the one-time location of the Kelly family home.  Greta is not far from Glenrowan, the site of the famous siege and use of armour.


Ned Kelly was hanged at Old Melbourne Gaol in 1880 and buried in the yard.  In 2011, his and other executed prisoners remains were exhumed and Kelly’s were identified by matching mitochondrial DNA.  His remains were returned to his descendants who granted him his final wish to be buried near his mother.  The graves are unmarked to prevent looting by the idiots in our society.


It’s sad that the graves of the men Kelly murdered are not as well known.


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2016 Spaghetti Rally

Spent four days at the Moto Guzzi Club of Victoria‘s annual Spaghetti Rally at Edi Cutting.  The forecast was for fine weather after several weeks of heavy rain.  The King River had flooded a week or so earlier but the camp site had come up dry by the weekend.

Arrived on Thursday to help set up with JFerg and Steve.  The cold storage trailer, firewood, rubbish skip and port-a-loos arrived.  Went into Wangaratta on Friday morning with Ferg to buy the beer, bread, etc.  By 1pm my Cali EV was still the only bike on site!  But then we were inundated and by evening about 80 rally-goers and their bikes had rolled in.  Fridays have been getting progressively more popular.  We put the spit roast on about 1.30pm, aiming for a 6-ish feed.  It came out perfick!

Bikes rolled in all Saturday, so we ended up with about 190 people.  Riders came from Brisbane, Adelaide and Sydney.  Saturday night clipped along and the bar was kept busy.  We make a profit on the beer sales, but it’s sold at a price much cheaper than the pubs.  The spaghetti sauce, which the club had made on a  Saturday “Bol-a-thon” a month or so earlier, kept everyone fed.  The local scouts rolled up on Saturday and Sunday mornings and sold bacon and egg rolls for brekky.

The campsite cleared Sunday morning and I hung around to help with the clear up.  Home early Sunday arvo.

I’ve been keeping an eye on an oil leak.  Looks like the seal at the rear of the gearbox is leaking.  I’ll drop the bike into the local Guzzi dealer, Blacklocks, in Albury.



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Run to Hume Dam


Happy Valley, looking back at Mt Buffalo.


The Hume Dam arm near Tangambalanga.

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Breva 1100 60,000km Service

Over several days, I conducted the 60,000km service on my ’06 Breva 1100.

IMG_20160714_160225  IMG_20160718_114923

Before taking the tank off, make sure that you have a safe place to place it.  As usual, it took me some time and swearing to release the fuel line “quick” disconnect fitting.

The rocker cover gaskets were the originals – 10 years old.  This time, one tore as I removed the cover so I replace both of them with the new rubberised metal type.  Checked the tappets but no adjustment was need.

2016-07-18 11.49.02  IMG_20160718_124055

Changed all the fluids, the air and oil filter.  Ryco now make oil filters for motorcycles so, rather than use their Z418, which I’ve always used in my Breva and Cali, I installed their RMZ126.

Used Penrite’s fully synthetic 10W-60 oil for the engine, with its high zinc content for flat tappet engines, and their 80W-90 gear oil for the gearbox and rear drive.  Used some tin foil to direct the old oil into the container.

IMG_20160719_115727   IMG_20160719_115821

For the first time, I removed the suspension linkage and and regreased the roller bearings.  Fiddly bloody job, but quite straightforward.  Placed a jack under the swingarm to release the suspension tension, and the linkage came out easily.

IMG_20160720_113123  IMG_20160720_120656

I wanted to do the swingarm bearings, too, but piked out.  I spent some time cleaning every electrical terminal I could find with a wire brush until they shone like a spoon.

I also recently dowloaded the Guzzidiag software and obtained the cables from Lonelec to connect to the Breva’s ECU.  This allowed me to reset the TPS.  It has many other functions which I intend to investigate.


Gave the girl a thorough clean and now she’s all set for another 10,000km.


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Run to Milawa

After a life-changing experience – losing our home in a bushfire – I finally pulled the pin and retired.

Busy with a new home in a new town didn’t leave much time for motorcycling.  But we finally hit the road on some local rides before winter set in.




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Great Spring Run

The Chief and I went on the Moto Guzzi Club of Victoria’s annual Great Spring Run (to shake off the winter blues).

The club meets at the European Restaurant in Spring Street, Melbourne, then tracks out the the north-west to pick up the Geelong contingent.


This year we had lunch at the Radio Springs Hotel in Lyonville.

With a club record number of 41 bikes rolling in, the hotel did an excellent job of feeding everyone.





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