This article was originally printed in the Moto Guzzi National Owners Club monthly newsletter.

Tips for Guzzis - 2001/11, by Greg Field

Fall and winter are project time. Time to lube those splines and do all those other tasks you put off during prime riding season. In the spirit of the season, most of this month's tips describe small projects of the type you might want to get done while the snow is on the ground.

Better Breathing for Auto-Type Batteries

Automotive-type or lawn-tractor batteries work well in Guzzis and are cheaper than regular motorcycle-type batteries. Unfortunately these batteries lack a vent hose to route the corrosive battery gasses away from expensive motorcycle parts. In this tip, life member Andy Hill tells how to change all that:

When I took the Eldo project bike apart, there was a good deal of corrosion and loose paint in the battery area (frame, sidecovers, and tray), so I assumed that the battery, breathing through the caps like an old car's battery, was responsible. Battery gas is very corrosive, of course!

So, I dug through the pile of old hoses, fittings, and so on that I keep stored in a box, and came up with a "T" fitting and two elbows, approximately 1/4 inch in diameter.

Then, after drilling out the "slots" in the battery caps, I stuck the fittings in there. (If the fit is loose, J.B. weld secures 'em nicely.) I reinstalled the caps on the battery, connected a piece of hose from the elbows to the T, and a long hose from the remaining fitting on the T to the vicinity of the ground, near the rear tire.

I did this a couple of years ago, and so far, no corrosion! By the way, when you drill out the caps, make sure the plastic shrapnel is all cleaned out.

Make Your Own V7, Ambassador, and Eldorado Petcock Gaskets

Eventually, the stock petcocks begin to leak because the rubber gasket inside tears or wears out. Mine began dripping on the way home from the National in New Mexico a few years ago, so I tried to make my own gasket, it failed, and I replaced the petcock with a newer type I got form Moto International. There may be a better way, however, as explained here by Bruce Giller:

My experience with my homemade Viton gas petcock seals are that they have been working well for over a year in my Eldo (both petcocks have them). I punched them out of a 3/32-inch-thick sheet I got at a local supplier (

I was worried about any ripping or tearing that the rotor could cause, so I polished the rotor face on my smoothest whetstone and also rounded over the edges to remove any burrs that might be lurking. Then, I lubed the rotor with silicone grease.

After assembling everything, I turned the spring tension adjusting nut just until it stopped leaking and no more. There seems to be about 1.5 more turns left for future adjustments.

Check Your Quota's Rims

Several members of the internet correspondence list have indicated that cracks are beginning to show in the rear rims on their Quotas. Check yours just to be safe! This tip comes from Chuck McCullough:

On a recent Lake Superior circle tour (highly recommended, by the way), I noticed that the rear rim on my Quota was developing cracks in the built up area around some spokes. They were mostly 1/4 - 1/2 inch long, and some had extended onto the rim. I kept an eye on it throughout the ride but saw no further extension of the cracks. I haven't contacted the dealer with this story yet, but haven't rode the bike since I returned.

Yesterday, I posted this experience to the DSN Quota list and I have already received two other accounts of this happening. One was first hand, and the bike is in the shop awaiting a new rim. The other account was second hand and I haven't received additional details. All were on Tagasako rims.

Preventing "Swarf Attacks" on Your California III, EV, or Other with Flywheel Sensor

California III's and others have a magnetic sensor in the flywheel that can pick up enough metallic "swarf" that it makes the bike run badly. Check them once in a while, as suggested here by Dan Prunuske:

After measuring voltages, hooking up carb stix, adjusting, futzing, tuning, testing, etc., things were still not right. Hmm. Hey Dan, maybe you should check the flywheel sensor for swarf. Pulled it. Sure enough. Swarf rally and family reunion. Duuuuh! So, if you have a Cal/EV, along with making sure you have decent gas, air filter in decent shape, valves set right, fans ready, etc., check the stupid sensor for swarf before you start futzing with the EFI. I've noticed that this seems to happen most on new bikes. (This particular bike has 5500 miles on the clock.) Once the initial swarf attacks have been disinfected, the problem seems to diminish, but it's probably worth checking periodically. By the way, this does not seem to be a problem with the phase sensor mounted on the timing cover.

Reversing the Shift Pattern on V7s, Amassadors, and Eldorados

Don't like the "one-up, three (or four) down" shift pattern on your trusty old loop frame? David Washburn tells you how to reverse the pattern:

One of the endearing quirks of the loop frame Moto Guzzi is that it has a "racing" shift pattern: One up and four down. Eldorados are not known for their track-day prowess, so this is a curious fact.

Those of us who run modern Guzzis along with our loop frames have to remember which way to shift on which bike. After studying the mechanism I came to the conclusion that the pattern could easily be reversed by taking the shift actuating shaft (the part that the gearshift lever is attached to) and carefully grinding off the part that acts as a cam and welding it back on an inch or so closer to the heel and toe shift lever. The cam would then be on the left side of the short lever mounted to the transmission and it would shift one down and four up.

I mentioned my flash of brilliance to Dave Otis, owner of the Loop frame Internet list and webmaster of His reply? "Oh, I've always done that to my bikes. I don't want my sons to miss shifts because of the pattern."

Shoot, I thought I was really on to something there!

Grease Catcher for Sport 1100, Centauro, and V11 Sport U-Joints

The exposed u-joints on the spine-frame models need to be greased, but any excess is quickly thrown on the rear end of the bike. Howard Rhinehart tells how to prevent this mess:

The clever engineers at Guzzi are always thinking of ways to multitask. For instance, every time I lubricate the drive shaft on my '96 Sport 1100, I spend the next week rust proofing the swing arm as the extra

grease gets thrown out.

I have found that if I take a shoe box or an empty cereal box, I can cut a piece of cardboard about 5 inches by 10 inches and roll it around the shaft, then stuff it inside the round hole in the swing arm through which the drive shaft passes. It will "unroll" enough to hold itself in place inside the swing arm, with enough clearance so that it doesn't hit the U-joint.

If it does find its way into the rotating parts, it is not thick or stiff enough to cause any problems. By getting the length and position just right, it will cover the front U-joint and the middle slider joint as well. Then a few minutes on the nearest interstate will transfer most of the big blobs of grease from the drive shaft to the inside of the cardboard. Pull out and throw away the cardboard and I have just made my cleaning job about 90 percent easier.

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