A short update and the end of a chapter – 7 Dec 2014.

To reflect that this blog has become about more than just restoring Rhino, I’ve updated my “home” and “about” pages and the site title. I will have to do some work soon on the Tonti info page to include the American market bike frame numbers. I’m also compiling a list of English language magazine articles about the big block Tonti 750s and the loopframe bikes. I’ll add this to the site somehow and post links or copies of what I’ve got.

Well, I’ve still not been able to do any more to Rhino, the V7Sport. I’m pretty frustrated that my wrist hasn’t got back more than about 50% movement so far despite my and the physiotherapists’ best efforts. Maybe I’m expecting too much too soon. The accident was three months ago today. There’s no way I can ride as I can’t grip and turn a twistgrip far enough. I give it a go most days as an extra physio exercise!

V7 700.

I’m restricted to fairly light work so I’ve taken a look at the wiring on the V7 700. I think I’ve got 8 wiring diagrams for loopframe Guzzis but it’s none of them and it turns out to be a combination of 2. So I’ve made a drawing and now I understand what does what. The original wiring is all good but, whoever added the turn indicators was no expert, to say the least. When I took the headlamp off I found the flasher relay carefully covered in bubble wrap so that it couldn’t short anything out as it bounces about.


The wires to the switch on the bars is mains flex and the wiring to the rear indicators looks like speaker cable. The connections inside the headlamp shell are made by just twisting the cables together.


I think I’ll wire the winkers from scratch and put the flasher relay in the battery compartment as there’s not really enough room in the headlamp. I’ll also probably change the indicator switch so that the right hand mirror can clamp on a straight bit of the bars. At the moment it’s not very secure.

In addition to the wiring, I’ve re-glued the edge of the seat cover.


As the fuel tank was off, I looked at the taps and found that both will drain the tank to the bottom. So, there’s no reserve setting. It looks like this was normal. I’ll see if there is any way I can fit a standpipe to one of the taps to provide a “normal” position then use the other one for reserve. Otherwise I know I’ll get stuck.

I’ve also changed the rear light lens for one that lets the light through! The original had gone pale so was painted on the inside to make it more red. Worryingly there’s a receipt for work done by a motorcycle repair shop here in the UK which says they “repaired tail light lens” and “took for m.o.t.”


Finally, today I said goodbye to the S3. The new owner has already booked the frame in for straightening so hopefully it can then be rebuilt. I do hope so.


Back in the garage again – 20 Nov 2014.

(Sung to the tune of “Back in the high life again” by Steve Winwood).

I have managed to spend some time in the workshop but mainly working one-handed. Rhino’s friend has been sold and a deposit taken. The intention is that the bike will be rebuilt and in all likelihood will end up better than it was before the accident. It had been my intention to restore it at some time and it seems this may yet happen.

I have removed the front mudguard and its brackets and turned the fork stanchions through 180 degrees so that they now point forward and the wheel is clear of the engine and exhaust. The wheel turns but the tyre just scuffs the right hand fork lower at one point. It will, however, now be possible to move the bike. The S3 type seat has been fitted and boxes filled with whatever I can find toward producing a 750 engine.


Assessing the damage – Part 2 – 7 Nov 2014.

What’s good, what’s bad and what’s non-standard.

I’ve already described what the frame is like!

Forward of the steering head. This is obviously where the majority of the damage is so I have listed this separate to the rest.

Front wheel – the rim is bent and the front tyre will need to be replaced.
Brake disks – Left hand is broken. Right hand looks OK.
Front brake calipers – both look OK.
Top fork yoke – appears to be OK.
Lower fork yoke – the yoke itself looks alright but the steering stem which is pressed into it is likely to be bent.
Fork lowers – both OK.
Fork stations – both bent.
Fork internals, dampers springs etc – I assume the dampers are bent.
Front mudguard brackets – both look to be OK but are a bit rusty.
Front mudguard – has had it.
Brake line to front RH caliper, braided – crushed.
Brake line to front LH caliper is OK.
V7Sport handlebars fitted – both bent. RH is creased.
Modified Tommaselli headlamp brackets fitted. Both bent.
V7Sport chrome headlamp fitted – is scrap.
Aftermarket front indicators fitted – busted.
Grimeca front brake and master cylinder fitted – probably are ok.
Tommaselli 2C throttle – OK.
V7Sport start button and bracket fitted – OK.
Hydraulic brake light switch at lever – is leaking.
Stainless bar end mirror – dented.
Instruments and housing – are OK.
Clutch lever – OK
LH switchgear from a later Guzzi fitted – looks OK.
Steering damper and its gear – look OK.

Engine, gearbox and rear drive.

850T4 engine is fitted. Mileage unknown but has done about 20,300 miles since I bought it in 2002. That’s about 10K in the V7Sport and another 10K in the S3. It has a steel timing gear set as per the earlier Tonti bikes with a modified oil pump gear so it will fit on a later oil pump shaft etc. I don’t know where this was produced as it was fitted to the original seized 750S3 engine when I bought the bike.

Alternator cover is dented and cracked. One fixing screw is snapped off in the timing case. It has been like that for the whole time I have had this engine. I have removed the cover and checked the alternator which seems fine.

Left hand rocker cover has some minor scuff damage. RH is OK.
Fins on cylinder heads and barrels are not damaged.
Although the exhaust has taken a knock, the fixing studs in the cylinder heads appear to be OK.
Rest of the engine is in the condition you would expect for its age.
Carbs are from the T4 and are fitted with flip chokes and still breathe through the original rubber air box.
Starter motor is fine.

Gearbox is the original and works.
Driveshaft and universal joint should be ok. UJ checked about a year ago.

Exhaust system.DSCF1033

Header pipes are T3 type and look to be undamaged.
Cross over pipe also T3 type.
Rear silencers are Busso – chrome is bad although they are nowhere near rusted through. LH one has a small dent.

Frame fittings.

Front crash bars – both scuffed but look straight.
Footrests and carriers – OK.
Gear linkage and pedal modified to take a rose joint – OK.
California style side stand and lower frame rail fitted. No ignition cut out – OK.
Centre stand and bracketry – OK
Battery tray – OK.
Rear brake lever and linkage – OK.
Rear grab handles are ok but chrome is not good.

Rear suspension.

Swing arm and bearings – OK.
Rear shocks are Koni dial-a-rides.

Rear brake.

Whole system appears to be sound. Braided brake lines fitted.

Rear wheel.

Is the original and is sound.
Pirelli Sport Demon tyre fitted in May 2014 and has done about 1200 miles.


Fuel tank is the original. There is a scratch to the LH side which has gone through the paint and dented it. The Guzzi badges are held on with double sided tape as the original mountings are gone. Fuel taps are OK.
The side panels are original and have some paint damage. Original badges fitted.
The seat that goes with the bike is not that shown in previous pictures but is the original S3 type and is tatty.
Rear mudguard is original type as is tail lamp and bracket.



Rectifier and fuse box are behind RH side panel as per original.
Ignition coils are with the relays behind the LH panel and not under the tank.
Ignition switch and holder are ok.
Still running points ignition system.
A one-off wiring loom was made up to match the non-original parts fitted and layout (no kill switch etc).
There are no rear indicators as these were part of the rack destroyed by the storage company.

There are some parts that can go with the bike if they’re wanted.DSCF1036

The original lower frame rail but no stand.
Grills for the side panels. Bought but never fitted.
Pair of Silentium “shark gill” silencers. I was going to have these coated black for this bike as per original. There is a modified T3 type cross over to allow these to be fitted to T3 headers but it’s a bit rusty.
The original VK-series main engine case. I was going to rebuild the T3 engine with this case to get back the original S3 engine number.
There are also S3 cylinders and pistons and various other engine parts but no crank, main bearings or camshaft. No flywheel or clutch.
Chain driven timing set originally in the T4 engine.
Original S3 carbs.

I think that’s it. Although I won’t be held to the damage being limited to that shown above and, please note that, when I say that a part is OK that doesn’t mean it’s pristine. Just that it appears undamaged to me. Some parts are cosmetically challenged. This was a bike that was ridden and not a show bike.

As I have said before, I’m not going to rebuild this bike. I know it’s a shame as, although modified, it’s a classic and was actually nicer to ride than Rhino, the V7Sport. Despite this, I don’t have the finances to maintain three classic Guzzis so it’s best to try and pass this on to someone else. I’ll list it on the UK based Guzzi forums with a link to this post and the last one so people can see what’s what. Someone could be interested in rebuilding or making an S3 replica and might make a sensible offer. I know the value of secondhand Guzzi spares and, if I don’t get an offer, I’ll break it.

Assessing the damage – Part 1 – 5 Nov 2014.


A friend has lent me his bike jack so I can take a closer look at the S3. Rhino is occupying the bench. The big bungy strap is holding the stand out till I can reattach the springs.


First thing I did was to take the seat and fuel tank off so I could get a proper look at the frame. It’s a sorry sight and is definitely bent. The long frame rails from the steering head to the rear mudguard mount are both bent in front of the gussets above the carburetors.



The top frame rail is twisted which is why the ignition switch had moved to nearly touch the fuel tank.


General opinion on the Guzzi forums is that the frame could be straightened provided there are no creased tubes and I can’t find any. However it is well out of shape. I think the two frame rails which go down from the steering head to the front engine mounting bolt are bent as well.

I think that, although both the fork yokes look to be in one piece, the steering stem is probably bent as I can see the lower head bearing.


The front wheel had been pushed back to dent and crack the aluminium alternator cover. I removed it and found that the alternator itself looks to be ok.


This is a picture of the front wheel from the other side. You can see that it’s hard up against the exhaust header pipe.


So far as I can tell, no damage has been done to the exhaust mounting studs.

I’ve worked my way from front to back of the bike to see what is saveable and what is junk. I’ll post that soon. Then I’ll put it up for sale and, if anyone wants it, they can make me an offer. There are some other parts that can go with it.

My poor old friend – 21 Oct 2014.

This morning a full size articulated car transporter pulled up outside my house. All that was on it was my 750S3. It took some work to get it off the lorry as the front wheel doesn’t turn. I took a brake caliper off as it was on a broken disk but the wheel is too buckled and jammed on the mudguard to turn.

As if it wasn’t bust up enough, the salvage/transport company had broken the GIVI rack while they had it. They must have tried to lift the bike by the cast aluminium rack – plonkers! All the damage was to the front end till then.

The bike was left at the end of my (uphill) driveway so two friends were called upon to drag it to the workshop. The front wheel was strapped down to a trolley jack which was then pulled with a rope while the rest of us stopped it falling over. I say “us” but I didn’t do an awful lot. My arm is still in plaster. The cast comes off tomorrow, hopefully for good, then the real work begins getting the use and strength back in my right arm and wrist.

Here is the sad truth


The front wheel has ended up against the right hand exhaust header pipe so the forks are bent back and to the side. The impact has also turned the forks so hard that they have over-ridden the lock stop on the frame by bending it back.


The left hand front brake rotor has been smashed. The brake caliper has been tied up out of the way by me in an effort to free off the front wheel. There is no sign of the horn!


This side of the wheel shows the big dent in the Borrani valanced rim. I would think it takes quite a bit of force to bend one of those. What you can’t see is how buckled the wheel is. The tyre has stayed up.


Although the forks are bent, the yokes appear to have survived. I can’t tell for sure if the frame is straight without at least taking off the tank and I can’t do that at the moment. I need to examine the steering head. The ignition switch isn’t in the centre of the fuel tank cut out but I’m hoping that’s just because the tank is “on the huh” (that’s Suffolk for not straight).


The fuel tank has gained this scratch which has pushed the metal in. No idea what did it. The round mark is where the end of the handlebar grip was pushed on the tank. I moved it.

Generally, provided the steering head is ok, the damage doesn’t look too severe and the bike is repairable. This really should be done if remotely possible as it’s a rare bike which is eminently usable. Having said that, at least the complete front end will need to be replaced.

I’ll take a look at the steering head and, if it’s good enough, I’ll probably sell the bike as a lump for someone else to rebuild. I’ve got some other bits that can go with it. I will only consider breaking it if the frame is so bad that it’s not repairable and that would be going some on a Tonti Guzzi. The vultures have already started circling but I will fight them off for now.

Too much excitement – 22 Sep 2014.

In my last post I was getting the S3 ready for my annual trip to the MGCGB V-twin Rally in Fordingbridge. I enjoyed this as always and much time was spent talking Guzzis with old and new friends. The bike behaved impeccably and the only downside was having to pack up in the rain then riding all the way home in some truly awful wet weather. Two fellow members of  MGCGB have agreed to me using photos they took of me and the bike. The importance of these will soon become clear.

Keith took this photo of yours truly on Rhino’s friend during the parade around Fordingbridge town on the Saturday.


This is a rather nice photo of the bike by my tent on the rally field. It was taken by Roy and posted on his excellent blog.


The problem came just two weeks later. It was warm and fine so I took a Sunday morning run down to the little harbour at Parog, Newport, Pembs as I do from time to time for coffee and a slice of cake. On the way home a car pulled out in front of me from a side turning with fairly predictable results. Police, Fire Brigade and Ambulance all attended and the road was partially blocked for a while. I broke my arm badly and during the following week had two operations on it when I gained some reinforcing metalwork. My other wrist took a bash as well so both hands were swollen badly for a while. Other than that, I’m generally scuffed and bruised and my chest hurts.

On the day there had been a lot of classic cars about for some sort of run. The car I hit was a Ford Escort RS2000 which is a shame as I like all sorts of classic machinery. Needless to say, the accident was not my fault but I’ve yet to hear the insurers view of the damage to the bike or what payments will be made, although I think pretty much everything from the steering head forward is bent. My insurance guarantees return of the salvage in the event of a total loss which I most likely will take up. Tonti framed Guzzis are phenomenally strong and this should only be a near death experience for Rhino’s friend.

The other down side is that I can’t get back to work on Rhino my V7Sport. That bike is sat on the bench waiting for my attention. I’ll write a little update about that later today hopefully but it’s hard work typing at the moment.


A service for Rhino’s friend – 20 Aug 2014.

As I said last time, what with one thing and another there’s been no more progress with Rhino. However, I’m off to the Moto Guzzi Club GB V-Twin Rally at Fordingbridge in Hampshire on Friday on my other bike, the 850 engined S3. The beast was more than due for a service and I thought I should do this first although there’s always the worry that something will get busted just before I need to set off!

Although servicing an old Guzzi seems straightforward enough to me I’ve decided to include this post as I realise that not everyone has been brought up on old engines. I’ve also come across people asking how to get the fork oil in more than once. I’ll also show how I adjust the valve clearances which is something I haven’t done so far.

Old oil is not good for you and, sadly for someone who likes old vehicles, I react badly to the stuff so I wear mechanics gloves if there’s a chance I’ll get any on me. They’re the knitted type with rubber palms and fingers.

First thing to do was to drain engine, gearbox and rear drive. I didn’t bother to run everything till it was hot enough to scold me. I just left it draining overnight. The funnel directs the gear oil to the tray.


Engine oil and filter change.

Next the sump has to come off to change the filter. I don’t do the filter at every oil change. It’s just not necessary. The bike does enough miles to warrant an oil change at least once a year and the filter gets done about every third change. The sump is held on by 18 allen bolts. There are 14 around the perimeter of the sump and 4 more amongst the fins underneath. These ones are often missed and tales of sumps being hit with mallets (and worse), before the discovery is made, are common. With the sump on the bench removal of the filter is easy enough. I generally give it a bit of a wipe then grip it with my rubber-gloved hand and it’ll come off. I have got a chain wrench but have never needed it. I then took the opportunity to clean out the sump and removed the wire gauze and cleaned that as well. On Rhino this gauze is all there is to filter the oil. I don’t like the idea of paraffin in my engine so I just wiped the sump out with loads of old rag but the gauze was cleaned in petrol then dried. There were no nasties in the oil. It was just black. No metal bits and nothing stuck to the magnetic sump plug either.


I write the date on the new filter even though I can’t see it! It’s a habit gained from servicing old cars. The filter that came out was marked 21/05/10 so had been in there longer than I had intended. Tightening the filter with the grippy glove is plenty tight enough. The sump gasket was still good. I like to use thick gaskets and give them a coating of grease so they come off without a fight. A little more grease was rubbed on and the sump refitted.

The engine oil was then added using an old washing up liquid bottle. The spout is just the right size to clamp on a piece of fuel hose which makes the job less messy.


I use 20W50 oil as per the original spec. The S3 engine is supposed to take 3.5 litres of oil and this time I got the whole amount in without over-filling. 3 plus a bit litres brought the level to maximum initially but I knew the filter etc would be empty so I removed the plug leads and spun the engine over on the starter till the oil light went out then waited a bit. then I topped it up again. You use the dipstick to check the oil level by just starting it in the threads not by screwing it right in.

Gearbox oil.

750cc of gear oil was added to the ‘box plus a titchy bit. This titchy bit seems to be needed to get the oil to start coming out of the ‘box’s level plug and then is lost. I suppose I could just add the 750cc and be done with it. The oil originally specified for the ‘box and rear drive was Hypoy SAE 90 which you are unlikely to find these days. I use an EP 80W90 which is what Guzzi now recommend.

Rear drive box.

When it comes to the rear drive box. I mix up 230cc of the gear oil with 20cc of Moly additive. Again this was the original spec and I see no reason to change. Some people say that the modern gear oils make the additive redundant but I won’t take the chance. I’ve had a pinion gear fail several years ago with a vague recollection that I left the additive out because I couldn’t find any at the time. When filling, I just add the measured amount. I don’t use the level plug on the drive box because it won’t allow you to get enough oil in. The reason, as I understand it, is that the level plug is only accurate if you have the swing arm itself absolutely level. When you have the bike on its centre stand and the shocks are at full drop the level hole is too low.

Fork oil change.

Then I turned my attention to the front fork oil. Unusually, Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF) is specified for old Guzzi front forks. They don’t need motorcycle fork oil as the dampers are self contained. The oil is just used to lubricate the innards. First the old oil has to come out. Drain plugs are situated at the rear of the fork legs.


If you just undo these likely nothing will come out as you need to remove the fork top plugs as well. Only do this one side at a time or the forks will collapse when both springs and dampers pop out of the top of the fork legs! On the S3 and the V7Sport start by removing the instrument console from the tops of the forks. Then the special bolts these mount on. Using a 32mm six-sided socket (12 point socket will slip) remove the fork top plug. This turns the damper inside the fork leg. This should be OK but, if you’re unlucky the assembly will unscrew from the bolt securing the bottom end to the fork slider. It’s not really much of a problem as you can probably screw it back on from the top but will then have to take the wheel out to tighten it up from below. If you are really, really unlucky the damper will come adrift from its extension that has the spring mounted on it and the whole lot will come apart. It shouldn’t as there’s a lock-nut but it does happen sometimes. This unfortunate situation means stripping and rebuilding the fork leg and is one reason not to do this the day before setting off on a trip. All went well for me so I must have done something right in a previous life. The oil that came out was still bright red and would probably have been ok but you don’t know this till you drain it.

Now to get the new oil in. With the drain plug back in complete with a new crush washer, ATF can be squirted in with a syringe down beside the top of the damper unit like this.


On the S3 each fork leg gets 70cc of ATF. I’ve no idea why as they look to be the same as those on the V7Sport which only get 50cc. Now the top plug can be replaced and the job repeated on the other side.

I replaced the special bolts that secure the top of the damper and mount the instruments with the stainless ones made for me by “Bunny” when I needed a set for Rhino. The originals were bent.

Valve adjustment (tappets).

The valve clearances should be checked regularly and adjusted as necessary with the engine cold. Old Guzzi valve gear should be rattly. If it’s not  the gaps are closed up and that way lays trouble! To get at the adjusters the rocker covers have to come off which is pretty easy as it’s just a matter of removing the allen screws and lifting the box off, especially if the gasket was greased last time so it’s not stuck. I always have a rag handy as there is usually a little oil spillage. Then take the bung from the hole in the bellhousing. Take the spark plugs out, put the bike in gear and turn the back wheel in the direction for forward travel watching for the “D” mark to come in to view. This is the Top Dead Centre setting for the right hand cylinder. Take a look at the rockers and see if they are slightly loose meaning that both valves are closed. If they are tight and a valve is open keep turning the back wheel till the “D” comes round again. Everything should now be free.


Get the feeler gauges and stack them so they make up 0.22mm which is the clearance we want. They should be a sliding fit between the face of the rocker and the valve stem. I found that the exhaust valve was still spot on but the inlet was a bit wide so I slackened off the adjuster lock nut and turned the adjuster in slightly till I got the sliding fit I needed. You hold the adjuster in place and tighten up the locknut. Then you check the gap again. For some reason it took me three goes to get it right this time.


I revived the gasket with some more grease then put the rocker box back on. be careful when tightening up the allen bolts. I use a standard length key for all but the top two so I can’t get carried away and strip the threads in the cylinder head. I have to use a 1/4 in socket drive to get to the top two screws but I’m very careful. When I got the bike (in bits) I had to helicoil one hole in each head due to this type of damage.

Next I transferred my attention to the other side. Same procedure but turn the back wheel till the “S” comes into view in the hole. This is the setting for the left hand cylinder. “Sinistra, destra, sinistra, destra” I seem to remember the Roman soldiers chanting as they marched along in an Asterix the Gaul book I read many, many years ago! Funny what you remember. Back at the job in hand I found these valves didn’t need adjusting. ‘Tis a good sign. If the clearances were closing up it might suggest that the valve seats were wearing.

Check and adjust spark plugs.

I know, nobody bothers anymore and plugs are routinely thrown away and replaced but, old habits die hard and I still clean and regap plugs. This time they were a nice colour indicating good combustion but even I could see they had reached the end of their life. So the new plugs I carry as spares were gapped to 0.6mm and fitted. The old ones were regapped as well ‘cos they’ll be the spares now.

I use NGK BP6ES plugs without the nipple thing on the top. The caps I use (also NGK) grip the exposed thread. I changed to this arrangement about a year after I put Rhino back on the road the last time and have carried it over to this bike. More than once, I’d be riding along when the bike would go onto one cylinder and the left hand plug lead would have come off and be banging me on the leg. Somehow the nipple thing would slowly unscrew and come off the plug. You’re  then faced with having to get the plug out of the hot engine at the side of the road because you need it to recover the part still (thankfully) being firmly gripped by the plug cap so you can put it all back together again.

Check and adjust the contact breakers.

I really should have done this but didn’t. The fuel tank is full and I need to at least raise this to do the points. Usually I take it off but full it’s heavy. I’ve had no sign of any ignition related problems and it was only about 2000 miles ago when they were last looked at. They don’t have to work very hard and, in all my Guzzi riding years, they have not caused any problems… yet, which is why I’ve stuck with them and not changed to some sort of electronic ignition.

Basically I’ve run out of time now so I checked for slackness in bearings (steering head, wheel and swing arm) and loose nuts/bolts. I had a look for any signs of frayed cables and would have lubricated them given more time. I checked the run of the wiring for any chafe points and all was OK. I had a wire rub through a couple of years back which caused a small fire and led to a ride on a recovery truck. The brakes are fine.

Then a quick run up the road to make sure it all still works and I noticed that the bulb in the speedo has called it a day. I’d not noticed this before as I rarely ride at night. It can wait.