Moto-Guzzi Rebuild Update 10

When we left off I needed to remove the base gasket from the cylinder. I hate removing gaskets, it’s always a huge pain in the ass. So I hit up my friend who does a lot of motorcycle repair and asked him for some tips. He said “get some gasket remover spray, it’s a life saver.” So I started looking around.

No one in town seems to stock it. Not NAPA, not O’Reilly’s, not AutoZone, no one. Which seems odd for a large city. So I had to order some from Amazon and wait a few days.

When it arrived I went out to the garage and started working on the base gasket. It was really stuck. The spray certainly made it easier, but it still took multiple applications and careful work with a razor blade to get it off.

I also cleaned most of the carbon off the piston and out of the combustion chamber in the head. Here are the parts, ready for reassembly.

Clean. Mostly.

After getting those all cleaned up, I made sure that the gasket surface on the crank case was clean, and then started putting it back together. Step one was to put the piston back on the piston rod and goop it up with assembly lube. Sticky, yet slippery stuff.

Slippery mess.

Then I had to figure out how to compress the rings to get them back into the cylinder. I had purchased a special “take apart” ring compressor and tried to use it, but it didn’t really fit between the studs sticking out of the crank case and try as I might, I could not make it work for me.

Neat, but didn’t work.

In the past, when assembling other motorcycles I had used a strip of brass and a large hose clamp. I found a hose clamp that was big enough, but I have no idea what happened to the piece of brass I used to have. So I cut a strip of plastic from a take-out container and tried using that.

After several very frustrating attempts and failures I gave up on that idea and went to the hardware store to buy a strip of 1/32″ thick brass 1″ wide by 12″ long. After that it was dinner time, so I quit for the day.

The next day after work I took the strip of brass and added some bends to it so there would be bumps the cylinder sleeve could push against.

Home made ring compressor.

I put some more lube on the piston and on the brass strip, clamped it around the piston and got the cylinder on at the first attempt! Great success!

Rings compressed.
Cylinder over the rings!
Fully seated.

After cleaning up the mess made by the assembly lube, the head gasket and head were installed along with the rocker carrier bracket. I torqued down the nuts for the head bolts and then the rocker assembly was the reverse of disassembly (as they say in the manuals.)

I adjusted the valves and installed the cover with a new gasket and there you go! I also installed the chrome tip-over guard/trim piece that the previous owner had removed. We’ll see if I decide I like it or not.

Back together.

That pretty much took up Wednesday after work. Thursday I adjusted the valves on the other cylinder and replaced the cover gasket, reassembled some more stuff, and re-mounted the throttle bodies.

I also cleaned off the exterior of the oil pan. I really wish I had taken a picture of it before I cleaned it, but I forgot. Suffice to say, it was black with oil and dirt. After that it was time to be done for the evening.

Friday I replaced a couple of old, hard oil vent tubes and installed the air box (which has never been an easy job on any motorcycle I’ve ever owned, including this one,) and the oil pan.

Air box.
Clean oil pan.

Today (Saturday) I finished up the rest of the reassembly. I installed the exhaust pipes, the fuel tank (another pain in the ass job – there is a fuel return hose at the front of the tank with a 19mm nut that is almost impossible to get started and difficult to even get a wrench on,) and the battery (yet another hassle – it sits down in the frame and has side posts that are hard to reach.)

But the best news is that after connecting the battery I pulled the spark plug wires and cranked it a few time to get some oil distributed, then I put the spark plug wires back on and it fired right up!

That’s what I’m talking about! After letting it run for a minute or so I shut it off and installed the seat, the left side cover and some trim panels by the gas tank.

It’s all done now except for a couple of trim screws and a spacer (which I’m still waiting for,) and reattaching the sidecar. After the sidecar is reattached I need to bleed the brake caliper on the sidecar wheel to flush the old fluid out and then it will be done! (Unless the sidecar wheel needs brake pads.)

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