Some servicing – 24 March 2016.

I’ve been busy with Rhino but that doesn’t mean I’ve been neglecting The Fire Bike. A week ago I noticed that I’d covered 3000Km since the last oil change so a quick service was in order.

Engine oil was changed and examined for any nasties and found to be surprisingly clean. The usual checks of cables were made and the clutch free play adjusted. The generator belt didn’t need adjustment and the spark plugs were in good condition.

This bike seems to have the noisiest valve gear of any Guzzi I’ve owned. I know “A noisy tappet is a happy tappet” but this is something else. I decided that a close check of the clearances was necessary. The usual adjustment procedure was employed and, to my surprise all were “spot on”.

My workshop manual gives 2 values for clearances. At the beginning it states 0.1mm inlet and 0.2mm exhaust but then has an update for later models of 0.15mm and 0.25mm. These are what I use as this update coincides with the change to Dellorto carbs which my bike has. I’m not going to reduce clearances as that way lays the route to a burnt valve.

My experience with old cars was that, after a high mileage, the face of the rocker can wear at the point where it contacts the valve stem. This means there is a hollow and setting gaps with feeler gauges will result in wider clearances because they can’t measure the true gap. So, I slackened everything right off and peered at the faces of the rockers – all good. I’ve no idea what is causing all the clatter. Initially I had put it down to the leg guards and fairing reflecting back the noise but a friend had commented on the mechanical noise after I rode past him the other day.

The other service task was to check the contact breaker gap and ignition timing. Before I could do this I needed to replace the missing distributor cap retaining clip. This had gone missing last summer and has been temporarily secured with a cable tie since then.


I ordered the replacement parts ages ago but they’ve stayed in their packet till now because the distributor needs to be turned to fit them and the timing would be lost.


In the next picture you can see the temporary screw and lock nut fitted at the 7 o’clock position.


Having removed the distributor cap, I slackened off the clamping screw after marking the position of the distributor with a permanent marker.


This gave me access to replace the fixing screws. My new replacements are stainless steel. Here’s new with the remaining old one which will be stashed on the bike as a spare. To be on the safe side, the threads of the new screws were treated to a spot of Loctite.


The distributor was lined up with the marks I made earlier, contact breaker gap and ignition timing checked, and the cap replaced.


Should be good for a while now.


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