Wheel balancing, take 2 – 30 Jul 2016.

Having successfully balanced the wheels on The Fire Bike, I decided to go ahead and do the same for The Racing Rhino, my V7Sport. These weren’t balanced when the new tyres were fitted. A lot of what follows repeats stuff I’ve done before but I’ve got the time to set it out again!

I started with the front wheel which is the important one to balance. To get it off:

  • Put the bike on the centre stand.
  • Disconnect the front brake cables from the hubs by first loosening them at the brake lever end. This is to maintain the relative adjustment of each brake shoe.



  • Slacken the wheel spindle nut and loosen the clamp bolts in the fork lowers.


  • Jack up the bike under the sump so the front wheel is clear of the ground. I use the trolley jack I still have from my days of working on old cars.


  • Remove the spindle nut and withdraw the spindle.
  • Lower the wheel to the ground complete with the brake hubs.
  • Make a note of which way round the wheel goes to maintain the direction of tyre rotation and to match the brake drums with their shoes.

The wheel and its spindle can now go in my home-made balancing stand.



It was clear that the wheel did need some weights added so I gave the rim a clean then put it back in the stand. I marked the highest point of the rim and started to add weights with masking tape until the wheel was balanced. The wheel now stopped in a different place each time it was spun and would stay wherever it was put. It needed just 15g.


The area the weights would be stuck to was cleaned with cellulose thinners and the weights fixed permanently. The rims on the V7Sport are Borrani Record “Cross”. This means they are more deeply valanced than those fitted to my V7 700 and means that there is room to stick the weights to the inside of the valanced part.


The front wheel was refitted to the bike and the jack removed from under the engine.

Getting the back wheel out of the V7Sport is so much easier than doing the job on my loopframe V7. There are no panniers in the way and the rear mudguard hinges up so the wheel can be got out without the need to raise the bike or lean it on its side:

  • With the bike still on the centre stand.
  • Slacken and disconnect the brake cable from the brake hub.
  • Remove the brake torque arm.
  • Remove the wheel spindle nut.
  • Slacken the clamp bolt in the swing arm.
  • Undo the “thumb bolts” and raise the mudguard.


  • Remove the wheel spindle while holding the wheel and brake plate in place against the drive box. Note that there is a thick spacer washer on the spindle  between the swing arm and brake hub.


  • The wheel, together with the brake hub, can then be pulled off the drive splines on the bevel box, lowered to the ground and removed backward under the raised mudguard. Why aren’t more bikes fitted with hinged mudguards like this?


The wheel was then cleaned and balanced in the same way as before. It took a lot of weights (as did the rear wheel on the V7 700).

I must have over-greased the drive splines on the wheel before. The grease had been flung around inside the hub on the drive side and some had found its way out between the wheel and the bevel box. I had begun to think that the big seal in the bevel box was failing again but, no it’s grease. It’s sticky and doesn’t smell like gear oil at all.


I think the drive splines on the hub are showing some wear but are OK for now. I checked the spokes in this wheel, having had some loose ones in the past due to broken spoke nipples and couldn’t find any.

When it came to refitting the wheel, I cleaned the grease from the splines on the wheel and drive box then re-applied it but, more sparingly this time.

I haven’t added Oko sealant to the tyres on this bike yet ( as I did to The Fire Bike) but probably will do so soon.

5 Aug 2016 update: I have added the measured amount of Oko Puncture Safe to the tyres now.

  • Front 90/90-18 has 200ml.
  • Rear 100/90-18 has 225ml.

I went for a 10 mile test ride and got home after covering 80 miles.


Home made wheel balancer and tyre sealants – 28 Jul 2016.

Ever since buying my V7 700 I have been concerned about getting a puncture, particularly in the rear wheel. I’ve been carrying a spare tube but know it would be near impossible to replace it at the side of the road by myself. To do so the back of the bike needs to be raised a lot to allow the wheel to come out. Alternatively the tank and fairing have to come off and the bike leant on its side and the wheel removed that way. That’s all before fighting to get the tyre off and back on again. Since damaging my wrist I’ve not had any success with tyre changing at all.

I’ve had variable results with “Finilec” type foam in an aerosol as a get me home measure in the past but decided I would try a tyre sealant this time. I realise that these puncture sealants are less reliable when used in tubed tyres but, if it doesn’t seal the hole, it should at least slow down the leak. I have had a tyre go down very quickly when traveling at motorway speeds and it’s not an experience I want to repeat. I will still carry the tube so a garage can change it if the worst happens and I have to call on my breakdown/recovery insurance.

I bought enough Oko Puncture Free to do both my bikes. The instructions say that the wheels must be properly balanced before adding the sealant. This is not just because the goo in the tyres will prevent you from balancing the wheel after. If the tyre is out of balance the sealant will make this worse.

I have roughly balanced wheels before by clamping the wheel spindle and letting the wheel rotate on its bearings. This is not a good way of doing things as the drag of the grease in the bearings doesn’t let the wheel move freely enough. I looked around the internet at home made balancers and came up with this.


The two stands were made out of the wood I had in the workshop plus four skateboard bearings as recommended elsewhere on the web. I would have made the stand from metal but I had nothing suitable. I had to be accurate in getting the stands vertical and the two lots of bearings square to the stands and at the same height.


I’ve still got my friends bike lift in my workshop while he’s building his garage so I used this with my wooden adapter plate to get sufficient height to get the back wheel out. I’ll do the front first.


This is a remarkably steady arrangement and you’d have to be really clumsy to have the bike fall off sideways. I was more concerned that removing a wheel at one end could upset the balance forward or backwards. It turned out that I needn’t have worried but I stood my small lift under the back wheel when I worked at the front.


So, front wheel off first.

  • Disconnect front brake cable at hub.
  • I had to remove the sender for my additional push-bike speedometer.
  • Remove large axle nut and loosen the clamp bolts at the bottom of each fork leg.
  • Pull out the wheel spindle and lower the wheel and brake plate to the ground. It made me jump when the cover from the other side dropped on the floor with a clang. It always does that!

There is a washer on the spindle between the left hand fork leg and the brake hub.


Once the wheel was out I put it in my wheel balancer with its spindle.


I should have taken some pictures. The spindle turns very freely on the skateboard bearings. I spun the wheel a few times and it came to rest in a different place each time. It would also “stay put” in any position I put it. When the tyres were changed last year I was told the front had been balanced by removing half the weights that were originally on it. It seems that was true so the wheel was left as it was and refitted to the bike, retracing the steps taken to remove it.

Time to get the rear wheel off.

  • I removed the left pannier from the rack for access although I probably could have managed without doing so.
  • Remove nut and lock washer from brake torque rod at the brake hub and loosen the fixing at the swing arm end of the rod.
  • Disconnect the brake pull rod from the lever on the hub. I like to tie it to the rear shock-absorber.
  • Remove the big wheel spindle nut.
  • Loosen the spindle clamp bolt in the swing arm.
  • The torque rod can now be pulled off the brake hub.
  • I use a big bolt through the hole in the wheel spindle to turn it forwards and back while pulling it out. At the same time I hold the brake hub and wheel in place on the rear drive bevel box.


Once again there is a washer on the left side of the spindle between the swing arm and the brake hub.


  • Pull the wheel and brake hub together off the splines on the drive box and lower it to the floor.

The wheel was mounted in my wheel balancer which had now been modified by screwing the two halves to a large block of wood. It made things steadier and keeps the spindle in line better.


This wheel was not balanced and I could tell just by spinning it. I could feel the heavy part going round! The trouble was that the rim was too dirty to stick weights to and I would have to clean it first. Cleaning valanced Borrani rims has been one of my least favourite jobs. However, I think that may be a thing of the past! I used “Elbow Grease” and my “Sonic Scrubber” I bought from Aldi last year. The Elbow Grease is cheap and was recommended for the job by another owner of old Guzzis.


It got the rim clean and I could have gone on to polish it with Solvol or something but, not on this bike. The wheel was put back in the balancer and weights were added to the rim, temporarily with masking tape, opposite the heavy spot until I was happy. It took a lot of weights. I was using stick on weights and, due to the rim profile, only 5 gram ones will fit. I used 11½ (57.5g) of these and the wheel balanced perfectly. I cleaned the area with thinners then fitted the weights properly.


I could have used spoke weights but, these are expensive and I didn’t know what sizes to buy. I think I’ll get some of these next time.

The wheel was refitted after re-greasing the drive splines then the brakes were reconnected and adjusted. I left the pannier off for the moment.

The whole purpose of the exercise was to be able to add sealant to the bikes’ tyres. The Oko web site gives the amount to put in each tyre.

  • Rear, 4.00×18 – 225ml.
  • Front, 100/90×18 – 225ml.

The bottles hold 500ml and are not marked that accurately . I used a syringe and some tubing cut from the Oko bottle. Getting the sealant in was easy.


  • Turn the wheel till the valve is at 4 o’clock and remove the valve core.
  • Add the measured amount.
  • DSCF2844-1

  • Blow the valve clear with compressed air and refit the valve core.
  • Inflate the tyre to the correct pressure.

I think I got the amounts right as I reckon there was 50ml left in the bottle.

The pannier was fitted to the bike which was then lowered to the floor.

I went for a short run on the bike. The instructions say to go gently for the first 4Km to distribute the sealant in the tyre. All felt good so I took the bike up to speed. The sealant had no adverse effect on the feel or handling of the bike that I could tell. However, I’m not a “riding god” and just ride what I’ve got!

Gearbox clutch-shaft oil seal replacement – 13 Jul 2016.

Having got access to the gearbox, it was now time to tackle the leak from its front end. Just to backtrack a little, before removing the gearbox I like to tie the clutch arm on the ‘box so it can’t swing about and get damaged. It also means the return spring can’t get lost either.


Once the nuts have been removed the gearbox can be pulled back off the engine. It needs to be pulled back squarely.


I transferred the gearbox to the workbench to take a look at what I’d got. It was clear where the leak was coming from. As I’d expected, the oil seal around the input (or clutch) shaft had failed. You can see where the oil has run down the front of the ‘box.


Luckily there is no sign of any oil getting to the clutch. If this seal fails or the rear crank seal fails on the engine you are usually (but not always) OK as the clutch itself is housed inside the flywheel away from the oil.

To reach the oil seal I had to remove the clutch hub which is held in place by a peg nut and a star lock washer. These can be problematic. The first thing to do is to find which slot in the nut has got a tag from the washer folded into it.


I abused a small screwdriver to start levering the tag clear. Then used a punch with a flat end to knock it back out of the way.

To undo the peg nut holding the splined hub you ideally need three Guzzi special tools. The first is a bracket you bolt the gearbox to so that it can’t move about. The second is a tool to fit the splines of the hub and hold it still (I keep meaning to pick up a worn out clutch plate to make one from). Finally you need a four-pronged socket to fit the hub nut.

Years ago I made a special socket by grinding a 30mm socket. It’s ugly but it works. To hold the hub nut still I used some rubber on the splines and a set of stilsons which are equally nasty.



The hub then just slides off the splined shaft. The back of the peg nut which goes against the hub is curved as is the lock washer. This is so you can reach a tag to bend it forward. Both nut and lock washer were in good condition so I could reuse them.


It seems that when I fitted the gearbox I broke one of my own rules. I would say that it’s worth replacing this seal whenever you have the box off because it takes so much work to reach it. However, I can see that this is still an old seal and, what is worse, I replaced the clutch hub and still left the old seal in place. This was just asking for trouble!

I also recognised some old damage I’d forgotten about. It’s very old (1970s), from before I owned the bike and is to the part of the gearbox where the seal fits. I don’t know what could have caused the wear but something appears to have let go in the clutch housing at some time. The oil seal itself has been rubbed as well.


I tried to get the old oil seal out by putting a self-tapping screw in it and levering on it but the screw just pulled out.


However it weakened the seal enough to be able to put a small screwdriver in the hole and lever it out that way. I noticed there is some damage to the face where the seal sits. It looks like a little triangle. I think it should be fine and won’t cause any problems. In the photo it looks neat enough to be supposed to be there.


That wear to the “boss” on the front of the gearbox caused me a bit of a problem. Normally you would knock the new oil seal in until it is level with the surface. However the surface is now crooked. I measured the depth of the housing to the outer race of the bearing with my calipers.

9.87mm at 12 o’clock.
9.74mm at 3 o’clock.
10.17mm at 6 o’clock.
9.64mm at 9 o’clock.

I made a mistake with my first attempt. I set the seal in square but too deep so that it was partially recessed. Of course it was ruined taking it back out again. I had bought two seals which was lucky. The second time I carefully tapped the seal in until it was flush at the 6 o’clock position. This meant the seal was standing a little proud elsewhere but it was secure. To check that it was actually in square, I held a small steel rule across its face and slid the clutch hub onto the splined shaft to check the back of that was also flat on the rule. I tested it at different angles and I had got it right.


When I oiled and slid the clutch hub partially into the seal I could see that the witness mark from the old seal also lined up well. The hub was pushed on properly and the locking washer inserted. It locates in a slot in the shaft.


That peg nut was tightened by hand then some means was needed to lock the hub again. I didn’t resort to the stilsons this time. Instead I used a piece of wood and a small scrap of metal to jam the splines.


I can’t find any torque figure for this nut so just did it up as tight as I could manage and then bent a tab of the lock washer forward.


I had intended to change the oil seal at the output end of the gearbox as well while I had it on the bench. They are both the same and is why I had bought two seals but, now I haven’t got one spare. There was no sign of any leak from the back of the ‘box so I decided to refit it as it was. At least if this seal fails it can be reached just by taking the wheel and swing arm off rather than having to dismantle the whole bike or crab the frame.

Before refitting the gearbox I remove the rubber blanking plug that you use when timing the engine, from the side of the gearbox. You also need to have a long-handled screwdriver handy. I get the ‘box on the mounting studs and, if the clutch hub doesn’t slide into the driven plates I can turn the hub a touch with the screwdriver through the hole until it goes together. I find that easier than having the ‘box in gear and turning the output shaft.

Un-crabbing the frame!

This is basically the reverse of the dismantling process (but you might swear in different places). There are a few things to remember;

  • Leave the final tightening of the frame/footrest bracket bolts, front and rear engine bolts, the lower crashbar mountings, and the screws holding the plate under the battery to the gearbox until they are all in place and screwed home.
  • Adjust the swing arm bearings so there is no slack but they do not bind. The pins should project from the frame by the same amount on each side (7.1mm both sides in my case) before fitting the lock nuts.
  • Take the opportunity to grease the splines on the back of the gearbox, the driveshaft, its sleeve and the bevel box as you refit them.
  • Leave the final tightening of the four nuts holding the bevel box to the swing arm until after you’ve got the rear wheel in and the axle tightened. this is to make sure the axle is properly aligned and can be removed and inserted easily.
  • Grease the splines between the rear wheel and drive box.
  • Also grease the bushes that hold the gearchange crossover shaft in the lower frame rails.
  • Adjust the rear brake cable.
  • Adjust the front brake cables at the lever to keep the two front brake drums synchronised.

The reassembly took a little longer than the dismantling because I spent some time cleaning the exhaust system and putting it together with silicone sealant. My experiment with this was a success so I’ve done it again. The only problem is that you have to leave the exhaust and sealant for 24 hours before running the engine.


As it happened it was two days before I could get back to working on the bike. Today I removed it from the bench and re-did the carb synchronising just in case! There was no gear oil leak and this afternoon I went for a quick 50 mile ride. All seems fine.

Before going out I had removed some of the blueing from the exhaust header. I don’t use commercial chrome cleaners usually as they can damage/remove the chrome surface. However I tried a little this time. I didn’t try to get rid of all the discolouration but just reduced it. The blueing didn’t reappear during the ride but I’ll just have to see how it goes.


“Crabbing the frame” – 7 Jul 2016.

A couple of days ago I said how, while synchronising the carbs on my V7Sport, I noticed what appeared to be gearbox oil dripping from the bikes’ clutch housing. I had considered using an oil additive that claims to soften and swell oil seals to stop leaks but decided the gearbox would have to come off for the job to be done properly.

The engines and gearboxes of Tonti-framed Guzzis cannot be removed from a rolling bike. Instead the frame has removable lower rails so the main part of the frame can come off the power unit. Moto Guzzi tell you to do this by removing the frame and everything else from the engine/gearbox unit and then wheeling it away on the front wheel. Then the gearbox is then separated from the engine. I’m not sure who came up with the idea (possibly Pete Roper) but there is another way to access the clutch and gearbox without as much dismantling and with fewer bits ending up littered around the workshop. This has been termed “crabbing the frame” (although I always thought crabs moved sideways). It involves hinging the main frame upwards around the front engine bolt. I’ve used both methods in the past and find the “crabbing” method easiest when it comes to putting things back together and working alone. There’s still a lot of dismantling to do though.

I got the bike up on my lifting bench. The wooden platform is for me to stand on when putting the bike on the centre stand. Today I couldn’t do it! The bike kept sliding back instead of coming up on the stand. The wooden platform also allows me to put the bike on the side stand while I think about what to do next. I held the front wheel in the clamp, tied the front of the bike down then jacked under the sump until I could deploy the centre stand by hand. Then I let it down onto the stand and slackened off the wheel clamp. I need the bike on the main stand so I can get the rear wheel off later.


I drained the gearbox oil and left it for ages as it was cold. I measured how much came out. 670cc of the original 750cc. That’s over 10% lost in a very short period of time. I’ve still only done 540-odd miles and it hasn’t been leaking all the time!

To crab the frame;

    • Remove the fuel tank.
    • Battery out.
    • Remove the four front screws from the plate under the battery to the top of the gearbox.


    • Disconnect the front brakes. I slacken the cables at the lever and disconnect them from the dual pull adapter. This gives enough slack to remove them from the brake hub plates without altering the adjustment of the cables relative to each other.


    • Remove the front wheel. This needs to be done so the forks can move down when the rear of the frame is raised. I have to remove part of the bench wheel clamp (only two bolts) and jack the bike up a little higher to get the wheel out. I count how many turns of the jack screw it takes so I can lower it by the same amount after.
    • Remove the silencers.
    • Remove the exhaust crossover. I’m pleased to say that the silicone sealant I put on the joints worked and allowed them to come apart OK.
    • Remove the nuts, bolts and spacers from the exhaust header to frame P-clamps.


    • Remove the starter motor.
    • Remove the starter motor relay with its bracket.
    • Disconnect the rear brake cable from the brake back plate.
    • Disconnect the brake light switch wiring.
    • Remove the brake torque arm.
    • Remove the rear wheel.
    • Remove the right hand suspension unit. I remove it completely although this isn’t strictly necessary.
    • Remove the rear drive box from the swing arm – four nuts. I leave the driveshaft and connecting sleeve inside the swing arm if possible. If you don’t want to change the bevel box oil store it so the pinion is at the top so the oil won’t leak out. I also use some large nuts as spacers to secure the pinion when the box is off the bike.


    • Remove the brake and gearchange pedals.
    • Disconnect the gear linkage from the spline on the back of the gearbox and remove the gearchange cross shaft. I’m talking about the one that had the pedals at either end.
    • Support the wing arm and remove the left hand suspension unit. Again it could just be disconnected at the swing arm end.


At this point I like to reassure myself that what is left of the bike is good and stable on the bench. There’s not much weight on the centre stand and this will be folded up soon. I tie my bike down with ratchet straps on each side. They are made to sit down between the fins of the cylinder barrels so they can’t move. At the same time I make sure that they aren’t squashing any cables etc.


Back to the dismantling;

    • The swing arm has to come off now. I undo the clip holding the rubber gaiter to the gearbox and try to pull it off the ‘box as much as I can. Then remove the lock-nuts from the pivot pins. Before taking the pins out I like to measure how far out they are (left – 7.12mm and right – 7.16mm). I also remove the rearmost nuts and bolts from the footrest bracket/frame joints. With the pivot pins out the swing arm should come off with the universal joint held by the support bearing inside.
    • I had to remove my K&N air filters.
    • Crashbar lower mounting where the frame joint is.


    • Now it’s time to disconnect all the cables , wires etc that might be pulled when the rear of the frame is lifted. The ones I found were;
        • Speedo cable at gearbox end.
        • Tacho cable at timing chest end.
        • Clutch cable at lever on gear box.
        • Engine and gearbox breather hoses.
        • Throttle cables at carbs. Don’t touch the adjusters!
        • Wire to oil pressure sender.
        • Disconnect both plug leads and push them back through the brackets holding them under the manifolds.


    • Loosen but do not remove the front engine mounting bolt.This is the one that holds the side stand bracket and will act as a hinge when the frame is lifted from the engine.


    • Remove the remaining bolts holding the footrest brackets on and joining the lower frame rails to the main frame.


You should now be able to pivot the frame around the front engine bolt. Have a piece of wood handy to put across the rocker boxes to keep it in position. I also put some wood under the back of the gearbox just in case although everything would have been fine without.


I found the frame wouldn’t move because the lower crashbar mountings were still blocking the holes. I had to remove the crashbars completely. I had hoped I wouldn’t have to do this as the nuts and bolts at the top are fiddly to get out and even harder to refit later. It all moved after the second attempt. I was still watching carefully to make sure nothing got snagged or pulled.



Once the frame was up I secured the front forks to the bench as a belt and braces measure.


More dismantling;

    • Now the rear engine/gearbox mounting bolt can come out.It’s the front one here.


    • Then pop in a couple of bolts, one each side to keep the centre stand mountings together.


    • Carefully fold the centre stand up by hand.
    • The lower frame rails complete with main stand can then be lowered out of the way.


I now had the necessary access to remove the gearbox and everything was steady on the bench.


With all the removed parts stored safely.


It took me about 4 hours to get to this stage including stopping to write notes and take photos. It could be quicker if you’re less worried about chipping the odd bit of paint!

Carburettor synchronising – 5 Jul 2016.

Having got the ignition timing right it was now time to balance The Racing Rhino’s carburettors.

I took the bike for a short run to get the engine properly warm so it would run properly without choke. On my return I parked the bike with the back end poking out of the garage door. It looked like it would rain but it never came.


Before getting started, I checked there was some free play in the throttle cables and slackened off the throttle damper so the twist grip would snap shut. I use the damper so I can make hand signals as the Rhino has no indicators fitted. I find it also eases the load on my damaged wrist.

The adapters for the gauges were fitted in place of the blanking plugs.


The gauges were placed on a stool beside the bike. The bike shakes too much to read them when they are balanced on the bike seat and they would probably fall off anyway.


My garage heater was set to blow cold air and aimed at the engine block.


I have a pair of Davida vacuum gauges given to me by a friend. I’ve been told many times that dial type gauges are impossible to use as the needles swing backward and forward. Not so with these. They give steady readings. I think they have some sort of damping built in.

Idle speed.

I started up the bike and let it idle. What I am aiming for is for the same reading on each gauge but I’m not interested in what the reading actually is. At the same time I’m looking for the idle speed to settle at something sensible. To begin with the left hand gauge was showing a higher vacuum which means it’s not working as hard as the right side. This is adjusted by turning the idle speed screw which is the big one with the spring behind it.


This screw must not be turned without opening the throttle a little to raise the slide off the screw. It is pointed and acts as the throttle stop. You risk damaging the slide, screw or both. Blip the throttle after each adjustment then let it settle back to idle. What you are doing with this adjustment is setting the two throttle slides to the same effective opening. Here my two gauges give the same reading.


To ensure my gauges are working properly I stopped the engine and swapped them over and checked to see if I still got the same readings. I did. Engine stopped again, I swapped the gauges back so I didn’t confuse my self with which was which.

Mixture setting.

The mixture for each carb is adjusted using the lower partly recessed screws. Working on one carburettor at a time, I screw in the mixture screw until the engine begins to falter then back out to where smooth running begins again. Then I back the screw out a further ¼ turn to make sure the mixture is slightly rich. If the mixture is too lean the engine will run hot and damage can occur.

Once both mixture screws have been set, again with much blipping of the throttle, The idle speed needs to be checked and adjusted again. In my case this was because the idle speed had increased.

I let the engine rest for a bit while I made a cuppa. It had been running for a while on the centre stand by now and I thought it should be allowed to cool a little.

Throttle balance.

Now both carburettors are supplying fuel/air to the engine in the same amounts. They will also allow each cylinder to idle at the same rate. The third stage is to ensure that when the twist grip is turned both throttle slides begin to lift at exactly the same time.

Move the rubber covers from the throttle cable adjustment screws on the tops of the carbs ready. Now with the engine idling open the throttle a little bit. Not a great handful! both gauges should show a decrease in vacuum at the exact same time. If one gauge drops first it means that throttle slide is lifting first. This is adjusted by either loosening that carbs’ cable or tightening the one on the other side. The adjusters have lock-nuts so, using a pair of 8mm spanners release the lock-nut and wind the adjuster in or out.

In my case the right hand carb started to work first but I couldn’t slacken off its cable as there was no more adjustment available. I had to tighten the left one. Remember that it’s important that there is some slack in the throttle cables.

I took my time to get the adjustment right and was rewarded with the needles on the gauges moving together and by the same amount.

Possible reasons for the blue chrome.

One reason for all this tuning was to look at why just the right hand exhaust header has turned blue. In the past both headers have discoloured on my Guzzis by a similar amount. Chrome discolours because of heat. In my case I think this is due to a combination of factors.

  • The ignition was a little advanced on the right. This can make an engine run hot. The left may have been advanced as well but I couldn’t tell once I had adjusted the right hand contact breaker points timing.
  • At idle the right hand cylinder was set to run faster than the left.
  • The right hand side was working harder than the left as its carburettor  throttle slide was lifting first.

Just standing in the garage the bike does seem to sound crisper and appears to be running even better than before.

Something I didn’t want to find.

Unfortunately I can’t take it out for a test run. While tuning the carbs I noticed oil dripping from the slot beneath the flywheel where the engine casing and gearbox join.


I put a pan underneath to catch it as it was dripping quite heavily. I sniffed the oil. It’s from the gearbox. It’s Tuesday and I wanted to take the bike to the Llandovery Motorcycle Weekend on Saturday. It looks like I have my work cut out to get it fixed in time. I might end up going on The Fire Bike instead.

V7Sport ignition timing (again) – 4 Jul 2016.

Yes. It’s back to work on The Racing Rhino. In my last V7Sport post I described adding vacuum take off points to the inlet manifolds so that I could balance the carburettors. I’m chasing the cause of the blue right-hand exhaust header. Before I playing about with the carburettors all the rest of the engine tuning needs to have been done. I’ve checked valve clearances but need to check the contact breaker points gaps and ignition timing next. I wrote in February about doing this but have decided to repeat myself.

First you need to get access to the contact breaker points.

  • Disconnect the right hand fuel line from the tap.
  • Disconnect the fuel tank retaining strap.
  • Raise the rear of the fuel tank on a block. You need to do this to be able to get a screwdriver straight on the various screws later.
  • Remove the 2 screws holding the plastic cover on the points housing.



  • Remove the plug lead and take out the spark plugs. This is to make it easier to turn the engine over.
  • Remove the 4 screws securing the alternator cover so that the engine can be turned over with an Allen key in the rotor securing bolt. You can put the bike in gear instead and turn the engine that way, as I did last time.

This is what it’s like inside the contact breaker housing. Each cylinder has its own set of points and you can’t do the timing until you’re sure the points gaps are right.


The top set are for the right cylinder and the lower set for the left. Start with the upper set of points which fire the right hand cylinder. Turn the engine forwards, that’s clockwise looking at the alternator, with your thumb over the plug hole checking for compression as the piston makes its way to the top of the stroke. Despite what the original Guzzi manual says, the points cam turns clockwise. keep turning until the top points are fully open. The gap should be 0.37 to 0.43mm so I reset them to 0.4mm using a feeler gauge. The gap is adjusted using the screws marked in my picture above.

The lower points gap is then checked/adjusted in a similar manner – compression stroke, points fully open etc. I found that both sets had closed up significantly. I’ve never had this happen before.

For an engine to work efficiently, the spark must be delivered at the correct time. That’s what ignition timing is about. I set timing statically. As I’ve already said, it’s very important that the points gaps are adjusted correctly first.

Pull the rubber bung out of the right hand side of the clutch bell-housing so you can see the marks on the flywheel edge.

You have to begin with the right hand cylinder again. Fit a bulb between the contact breaker spring and engine block. Turn the engine forwards until the right hand cylinder is on the compression stroke. As you look at the flywheel the teeth and marks will be moving upwards. Keep going till you get to the “D” mark (destra for right). This is TDC on that side.


Now you have to turn the engine the wrong way (teeth going downwards) until the next line comes into view. This is the static advance mark. Go slightly beyond it then back again to take up any backlash. Be careful when turning the engine the wrong way as the rotor bolt can come undone! It can be tightened again by jamming a screwdriver in the teeth on the flywheel to hold it still. At this point the bulb should (ignition on) come on as the points are just beginning to open. In my case the points had already opened. The timing was too advanced.

To adjust the timing of the right hand points you need to slacken the two bolts that clamp the contact breaker housing in place on the engine block. These two bolts are really hard to get at. There is a special tool to get at these bolts which makes the job easy but, in the past, I’ve managed to do without it just struggling with various 13mm spanners encouraged with a bit of swearing.

This time I took the easy way out. No one in the UK had the tool in stock and it’s expensive for what it is so I made my own. A 13mm combination spanner was sacrificed by being cut up and welded to some bar.


Using the proper tool it’s easy to undo those flippin’ screws!


Now, with the ignition switched on, I turned the housing until the light went out and then back again until it just came on. Then I did the bolts up again using my new tool. As a check I turned the engine over until the light came back on again. The correct mark lined up in the access hole.

To do the left hand side you turn the engine forward again till you get the “S” this time (sinistra for left). Then, like last time, back to the mark above, then back a bit more, then forward again to the mark to take up the backlash and reach the static timing point. With the bulb between the spring of the points set and earth the bulb should have just come on as the points start to open. Again mine needed some adjustment.

The timing for this set of points is adjusted by moving the sub-plate they are fixed to in the contact breaker housing. Again, I’ve shown the screws to loosen in the picture above. One of the screws is hidden under the wire. Move the plate till the bulb just lights then lock everything in place. Once again I checked the timing by turning the engine forward until the light came on and saw that the correct mark lined up.

Everything was then put back together and the engine started to make sure it would run.

One thing I was reminded of when I did this job was that all the screws in the contact breaker housing are quite damaged and it would be a good idea to replace them. The spare ones I have are no better.

Finally I gave that tool I made a couple of coats of paint before putting it away till next time. It made the job so easy that I would never try to do it again without.


The spark on the right being too advanced could have made the right hand cylinder run hot and contributed to the exhaust blueing.

Carb synchronising next.

Trailer towing – 1 Jul 2016.

This morning I hitched the trailer to The Fire Bike, my old Guzzi V7, and took to the roads. I’ve often heard it said but, “it was like it wasn’t there!” and the braking was fine. I had the opportunity to try it in the dry and the wet! The trailer was empty for my first attempt so that might have had something to do with it.



I’ll have to go in the loft soon to get all my camping gear out. I’ll then have another go with the trailer loaded.

I’m not sure how much wind to put in the trailer tyres. Maximum pressure is 37psi with a load of 175Kg per tyre. As the trailers’ maximum weight is 150Kg, that’s just 75Kg per wheel so I’ve gone with just 18psi for the moment.