It’s not all plain sailing – 30 May 2014.

I left you last time with the completed engine and gearbox on my bench. The two went together easily.

A V-twin Guzzi is built around its engine and gearbox. It’s not like other bikes where you complete a rolling chassis then shoehorn in the engine. This means the engine needs to be put where you want the finished bike to end up. There is a special Guzzi stand for the purpose. My arrangement is almost as good. I use a scissor lift with a home made plywood and steel adapter which fits the sump of the bike. It’s designed in such a way that the V7Sport engine is supported on its sump screws and the later 750S3 engine is supported on the sump fins. The adapter can’t slide about as there are studs sticking out of the base which locate in holes in the jack.

I prepared myself for the job of transferring the lump from the “mucky” bench to my lifting bike bench. At a pinch I can lift the engine and ‘box but not far and not for long. The trick was to slide the engine from the bench onto the jack.

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Then slide the whole shebang onto the bike bench. No lifting and no ricked back. Of course, I could have just lifted the engine into place then fitted the gearbox after!

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I still needed to refit the distributor. It’s important to do this now as you can’t fit the distributor past the top frame rail later. The distributor contains a set of points for each cylinder. You want the right hand set at the top. These are mounted to the backplate in the dizzy. The left hand set are toward the bottom and are mounted on a moveable plate. I adjusted the points gaps before fitting the lot to the engine. The gap on a V7Sport is 0.37 to 0.43mm, so 0.4mm it is then. Later bikes are set slightly wider. To fit the distributor first turn the flywheel till the “D” mark is in the hole in the bell housing while holding your finger over the plug hole. I do this by engaging a gear then turning the lot with a splined tool on the gearbox output. It’s the middle one of these and is a length of driveshaft sleeve welded to a spanner.

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The flywheel needs to turn anticlockwise, as you look at it from the gearbox side. You can fit the alternator and use the centre bolt of that to turn the lump. It’s clockwise looking from the front. Anyway, you get the “D” mark (TDC on the right cylinder) lined up. It needs to be the compression stroke so you should feel air pressure from the spark plug hole. If not, it needs to go around again. Then carry on turning till the next mark lines up in the bell housing hole. It’s not much further on. This is the static timing mark and is when the right hand set of points should begin to open which is when spark is generated. So, turn the centre of the dizzy so that the RH points are about to open and hold it there. The centre shaft with the cam on has a cut out. Keep the position of the cam relative to the points and insert distributor with the cut out at about 9 O’clock. As you do this the centre shaft will turn and the notch should end up at about 11 O’clock.

Fit the clamp that holds the dizzy in place but don’t tighten it up. It goes below the distributor. I then roughly set the static timing. I will leave doing it properly until the bike is nearly complete and there is power to run an indicator light. The engine’s at the static timing point for the RH cylinder so turn the distributor till the points are just beginning to open. Now you can lock the distributor in place. Turn the engine as before until the mark past the “S” appears in the bell housing hole and adjust the LH points. This time adjust the moveable plate. Often there is not enough adjustment to be able to get the LH cylinder timed properly once the RH side has been done. Remove the adjustment plate and file it so there is.

It should wind up like this.

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Now there is a bit of a problem. I am missing a couple of silly little bits. There should be two rubber/plastic blocks that the wires exit the distributor through. They go in a hole each side where I’m pointing with a screwdriver in the picture below.

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I’ve got enough bits to build more than one distributor but none of these. They don’t seem to be available anywhere seperately. Never mind. I’m itching to start building the frame up around the engine.

I lay out all the parts I need to fit the bottom frame rails and centre stand etc only to find this.

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When I unwrap the centre stand brackets they’re both left hand ones! I had bought these many years ago when I stole the originals to build up the S3. The packets show the correct part numbers and state that one is SX and the other DX. I can’t get any further for now.

I decided to have a look at the original V7Sport ignition switch/steering lock that arrived from Italy this morning. I keep an eye on ebay for hard to find parts like this. Turns out it’s not the right part and I think the seller new this. Here is the old switch on the left and the so-called new old stock one on the right.

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The new one has three wires, the original has four. It has three key positions, the original has four. The lock part doesn’t retract far enough so will not release the steering or, possibly worse, could lock the steering while the bike is being ridden. The big give away is the pair of keys for the lock. They have a cloverleaf on and there is evidence that the words “Alfa Romeo” have been filed off. I am most dis-chuffed.

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So a case has been filed with ebay to return the switch and recover my money. At the moment the seller looks like he will play nicely.

I’ve been on to the chaps at Gutsibits in Huddersfield and they have found me the stand bracket I need. They can’t help with the sealing blocks for the dizzy. I’ll try the UK Guzzi forums and if I have no luck I’ll take the ones off the S3 and copy them somehow.

Be back soon.

Retracing my steps – Part 2 – 23 May 2014.

You get nothing for months then two posts on the same day. This is basically how to change a Guzzi clutch on a big block motor.

I’ve mentioned before somewhere that I hadn’t used the correct 10.9 high tensile bolts to mount the massive Guzzi flywheel on the end of the crank. With “softer” bolts it is apparently not unknown for these to shear. I don’t fancy this much as I’ll be sittin’ atop this heavy spinning lump.

Before I got started I changed the rear crankshaft oil seal as I couldn’t remember if I did it before and it’s one of those if-you-can-see-it-change-it items. I got it started in place then pulled it in the rest of the way using a threaded rod in the back end of the crank and my biggest (50mm I think) socket. I’ve never used this socket from a cheapo set, which I bought to get the size to remove a car wheel bearing, for anything else. It just happens to be chamfered enough on the inside to clear the end of the crankshaft.

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Next I locked the flywheel with my trusty dexion tool (more of this later) and fitted the proper strength bolts with new schnorr washers.

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I refitted the clutch springs and the pressure plate in its correct alignment then winched it down with my home made tool arrangement. It’s that (M12x1.25 I think) threaded rod in the back of the crank again. This time I use the clutch hub from the gearbox, a piece from a car clutch tool that fits inside that, a big washer and a nut like this

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This allows me to get the driven plates and the intermediate plate in without it hanging up on anything and getting bent. ‘Tis a well known way of doing things without the factory tools.

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Before I could finish off, I decided to take a file to the teeth on the starter ring gear. The V7Sport was produced with a lightweight(ish) starter motor without a solenoid. It flings the pinion forward into mesh with the ring gear and is well known for causing damage to its teeth. Rhino’s had fairly minor damage despite having had the original destructive starter motor right up till now. A small part of each tooth has gone and there were some raised burrs. A happy hour was spent filing and listening to 6 Music while I tidied things up a bit. Hopefully this will be the end of the wear to the teeth as I have bought a second hand pre-engaged Bosch starter to use from now on.

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So the ring gear is back on (new schnorr washers again) and the clutch is pretty much complete. You can see my trusty dexion tool again. The first time I did a Guzzi clutch I cut and filed a profile so that, when it’s mounted on two studs with various large nuts as spacers, its teeth engage with those on the ring gear and everything is locked so you can do the bolts up.

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The tool can come out and the centre for the clutch goes into the pressure plate.

December 2014 update; A warning – I have realised that I have got the clutch driven plates in back to front. The central boss sticks out from one side of the plates and should face back toward the gearbox. I’ve got the flat side showing. I’ll have to go in here again and swap the plates around!

The remaining job was to put the clutch hub back on the gearbox. I got a new hub as the old one was showing some pretty bad wear to the splines. V7Sports have no cush drive in the back wheel and are hard on their transmissions in general with shocks transferred all the way to the clutch components. Here’s the old and the new. I don’t need to label them!

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If/when the time comes for a clutch replacement I’ll change everything for the updated “deep splined” clutch components but, for now, I’ll stay with the old style as I have new clutch plates etc anyway.

The clutch hub is held by a peg nut and lock washer. To do this up you can bash it round with a punch, use the special Guzzi tool or do like I did many years ago and make something from a 30mm socket. Rough and ready but it has worked for me several times.

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Here is the hub back on and the tab of the lock washer bent up into a slot.

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I’ll be back soon!

Retracing my steps – Part 1 – 23 May 2014.

I built the engine for Rhino some years back using the crankshaft and main bearings from a seized engine. I got hold of some nearly new nickasil coated barrels with pistons and changed the big ends. However this was during a time when I wasn’t very well and I cut some corners. So this is the first of two posts on putting right my mistakes.

I remembered that, when it came to fitting the barrels, I hadn’t got the necessary O rings for the cylinder studs. So, I went to my stock on the shelf and fitted what looked right. I felt (rightly as it turned out) uneasy about this so the barrels had to come off. I started with the right hand cylinder. When I removed the cylinder head this is what I found.
 
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The piston is the wrong way round. The arrow on the piston should point forward so that the valve cut out corresponds with the inlet valve which is bigger than the exhaust. Luckily the engine had not been run but only turned over by hand when all had seemed ok. I carefully pulled the barrel off without letting the pistons go “donk” onto the mounting studs. The base gasket was broken and the O rings squeezed out over the top as they clearly had been too big. I heated the piston up with the hot air gun and managed to push the gudgeon pins out without having to resort to using heavy handed methods. I put the pin in the freezer, heated the piston again and swapped it round the right way. Barrels on with the correct O rings in the right places and

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That’s better. However, I made a basic error ordering parts. The head gasket should be like the old one above but it was like this

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The holes for the pushrod tunnels don’t line up. As soon as I plopped the gasket on I knew what was up. Early big block Guzzis have the holes closer to the cylinder bore than later ones. I think Guzzi relocated them to make room for the bigger bores of the proposed 1000 (949cc) engine. I have proper V7Sport barrels and heads. Replacement gaskets were ordered from Gutsibits and arrived in the post the following day.Threw the rest of it back together and here we are with the valves adjusted and almost ready for the other side.

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The O rings and gaskets were in the same state on the left side but at least the piston was the right way round this time.

I am still here, honest – 6 May 2014.

Despite having been released from doing DIY there has sadly not been a lot of progress with Rhino. So no pics this time.

I did go to the Stafford Classic Bike Show but didn’t buy much there. I got a secondhand later Bosch pre-engaged starter motor from Pete at Reboot Guzzi Spares. This will replace the original V7Sport type which was renowned for damaging the engine ring gear. It has worn the teeth on Rhino but not too badly.

I had a sneaky suspicion that I didn’t use the correct high tensile 10.9 bolts to attach the massive flywheel to the crankshaft when I rebuilt the engine a few years back. So I separated gearbox from engine and found this to be the case. I don’t want that 6 Kilo lump (flywheel, ring gear and clutch) to come adrift at 6000+ RPM beneath me so I’ll change them. I also saw that the splines on the clutch centre are beyond their best. I’d known this before but had decided to leave it due to lack of funds. However, I think I’ll change this now. Can’t say money’s no object but things are better than they were back then.

I have completed the mammoth task of going through everything, making a list of parts needed, work to be put out (chroming and the like) and searching the net for stuff. Most of the parts I need are available somewhere but, of course, at a price. Ordering has begun.

Today I dropped off the tank and tool boxes to be painted. They will be candy burgundy/dark cherry over a silver base. This, I have established, is how the original finish was achieved. It is unlikely that the colour will be a faithful reproduction of the original but it should be close. I haven’t been able to find a bike with the same finish in the UK. The colour was peculiar to V7Sports sent to the States. Other Guzzi models, although burgundy, were not the same. I’ve seen plenty of photos of original and refinished bikes and they all seem to be different. An issue is that the candy finish paint can appear to be anything between burgundy and light red depending on lighting conditions. I’ve been given two “exact” matches from restorers in the US which are very different!

In other news, I changed the rear tyre on the S3. I hadn’t done anything more meaty than a push bike tyre till now. All achieved without blood being spilled and very little cussing.