OUR CLAS­SICS

Mark’s Guzzi re­pays his re­me­dial ef­forts by mak­ing a big, oily mess on his drive

Classic Bike (UK) - - CONTENTS -

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

MARK HOLMES

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

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