Mark’s Guzzi repays his remedial efforts by making a big, oily mess on his drive
Norton on track, plus Bond-style oil slicks from our Moto Guzzi
Ihad been encouraged to awaken the T3 from its winter slumber by the first sunny spell of spring, and all was going well. Heading north up the A5 to see my Guzzi guru, Big Nige at NBS in Staffordshire (01889 271818), the bike was going strong.
Its last foray had ended in a breakdown due to an electrical problem, but having been hooked up to an Optimate all winter, the battery was fully juiced up. In what seemed like no time, the 70-mile trip to Nige’s was over, and he was soon working his way through the Guzzi’s charging system.
He went through the alternator – the rotor is often at fault in these cases, but it all checked out fine. I’ve learnt that, weirdly, the rotor is not permanently magnetised – energising current is supplied by the charge warning lamp circuit, so if the warning bulb is blown, the battery won’t get charged. My bulb was indeed blown, so Nige replaced it with a good one, but the battery was still being starved of juice.
Next step was to clean out all the contacts and crudded-up block connectors, but still the multimeter wasn’t registering any charge. After prodding all the relevant connections with multimeter prongs and swapping components, Nige deduced that the regulator/rectifier had to be the culprit. He’d have to order one and I’d have to pay a return visit to get it fitted. No problem – a ride up to Nige’s is never a chore, and he’d charged my battery up to give enough juice for the return journey.
The trip home would be easier, too, because Nige had tweaked the carbs so the engine was now idling happily without the need to rev it at a standstill. The only downside was the weather, which had turned to persistent rain, and an hour and a half later I parked up on my drive in need of a beer and a bath.
Having opened the garage doors, I turned back to the Guzzi to see a pool of oil under the engine – and my heart sank into my sodden boots. The beer and bath would have to wait – it was clear-up time. I looked down the road and realised I’d been very lucky – the trail of oil revealed that whatever caused it to
haemorrhage out of the engine had happened less than 20 yards from my front door. What if it had happened at 70mph on the A5?
After clearing up with detergent, and hosepipe, I hauled the bike up on the bench to have a look. The oil level was just above the minimum, so I topped it up, ran the engine, and was relieved to find it pumping out of one side of the cylinder head oil line. The rubber hose had perished and simply needed replacing. Phew! Much less serious than I’d expected. Time for that beer and bath. “Yes, they make quite a mess when they go, don’t they?” said Guy from Gutsibits when I ordered a new stainless steel braided oil line, crush washers and banjo bolts. Just over £60 in all, the bits arrived the day after I ordered them – replacing them was straightforward and solved the leaking issue.
But the Guzzi wasn’t finished yet. It seemed determined to thwart my efforts to fix it. There was smoke pouring from the exhausts, inducing fears of worn rings or bores. But the smoke was black – it was running rich and spluttering so much it was unrideable. “The choke cable’s probably jammed open,” advised Nige when I called him. It wasn’t, but I found one of the throttle cables was frayed at the twistgrip end, causing it to jam open intermittently. “That’ll do it,” said Nige.
Now the plan is to take the bike up to Nige’s in a van to get it properly checked over and sorted before I press it back into service this year – just in case it has any other little surprises up its sleeve…
ABOVE: The Guzzi doing a convincing impression of a grounded oil tanker
Big Nige’s charges are very reasonable. As for the T3? No charge...
BELOW: Connections were all OK, but the reg/rec was a goner
Over 4000 miles in three years, the T3 was Mark’s faithful friend till an M25 breakdown in 2017.
ABOVE: Grubby, perished old rubber hose and its braided stainless replacement