Go Back   ADVrider > Bikes > Old's Cool
User Name
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 08-16-2013, 11:22 AM   #1
Lucky 7 OP
Gnarly Adventurer
Lucky 7's Avatar
Joined: Oct 2011
Location: Denver
Oddometer: 175
Time to grow my moustache, the garage smells like Guzzi.

As I've watched my 20's come and go (and my 30's seem to be following suit), I've become more aware of the neglected mental life list created by a younger me. Of course, it's been an ever changing, evolving list, but the big ones have been there from the beginning. Time, work, and life have busied me elsewhere, but lately I've been attempting to refocus my attentions to things that have been in my dreams for years and decades. Something like this:

1. Design and build my own house
2. Rebuild an old car
3. Become a boxer
4. Sleep naked with a girl
5. Rebuild an old motorcycle
6. Speak something other than English
7. Own a Testarossa

Of course, there's more, but those are some big ones. As it turns out, boyhood Gavin actually wanted to do some cool stuff...with the exception of number 7 which, although shallow and childish, would still be truly awesome for adult Gavin. Seriously, who else grew up in the 80s? A red Testarossa was the stuff of boyhood legend. I may never own one, but I ain't dead yet. :)

Well, with a few exceptions, I haven't done much to dent that list. We've spent the last 8 years gutting and remodeling our old Victorian house, so that has to count for something on number 1, but the others have been largely ignored. No more! My wife and I are learning Spanish (donde esta mi Testarossa?) and, the whole reason I'm writing this, I'm elbows deep into number 5. Sweet!

For years I'd looked at old bikes and dreamed of stripping them to the nuts, but for reasons unknown, the Guzzi Eldorado was the one that finally cemented in my brain as THE BIKE. I remember the day I was looking at photos of panheads online and then all of a sudden there it was...the Eldorado. I hadn't ever seen one before, but I just knew. It was the sexiest, ugliest, most fantastic motorcycle I'd ever seen. From that moment, it was just a matter of getting a garage built and my house finished before I knew I could start this project. Once I sold the KTM from my trip last year (link), it was time. In March, I came across a '72 Eldo Police on Craigs in Portland and decided to pull the trigger. It was blowing oil and apparently not running (well? at all?), so the price was hard to pass up, even though I couldn't see it in person. I had a buddy check it out in person and started working on shipping.

A long week later, it showed up:

Here's what I was working with from the seller. It looked in alright shape and since I was planning on a full restoration, the seal and electrical issues he mentioned didn't bother me much.

Out of the truck and into the garage with the help of John, my TAT riding mate (and a 2x10):

Before I did anything, I needed to know how she rode. I bought the bike without ever even sitting on one, after all. A new battery got some of the lights going, and a good while rewiring the starter got me crank over. Now...why won't it start? Oh yeah! It's an old bike, duh, I bet the fuel is turned off. Fuel on, a few other minor repairs and she fired up in a cloud of smoke. After some rough idling, she smoothed out and begged for a ride. The sloppiest gearbox I've ever encountered gave me fits before I finally found first and figured out how to use the rocker shifter, but I got there eventually. Now it was time for some road! I took a few easy laps around the block to make sure I knew what the hell I was doing, then it was out for a spin. The engine settled into a lopey grumble, the suspension ate up the road, and I was cruising. This bike is fantastic. After 15 or so miles I turned her back toward home and as luck would have it, it stalled out and wouldn't start again a few blocks from my house. A long push uphill had it back in my garage. Maybe bad gas left in the tank? Maybe vapor lock? I'm not certain, but the next morning I charged up the battery and it fired right up again. Something to be figured out on the other side of the rebuild. It blew oil like a bastard and the controls were so corroded that I could barely operate half of it, but I was already in love with it.

With a test run in the can, it was time to start stripping it! For the record, I've never done anything like this before, so I have a crash course in motorcycles in front of me. A few days a week I'm a bicycle mechanic, but that knowledge is going to run out quick once I get near the combustion elements. Also, I tend toward creativity over expense, so watch out for interesting (read: inadvisable) uses of my existing tools to accomplish my tasks. :)

To be continued...

Lucky 7 screwed with this post 08-17-2013 at 11:19 AM
Lucky 7 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-16-2013, 11:31 AM   #2
Desmo's my dog
DesmoDog's Avatar
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: Michigan, USA
Oddometer: 715
I'd suggest buying a shop manual and a digital camera. Take pictures of everything before you start, from multiple angles, more pictures as you go, and more as you put it back together. You'll have no idea which pictures you're going to refer back to so take more than you than you need.

And don't even start pulling it apart until you have at least one service manual, and a parts manual is nice to have too.

I grew up in the 80s too, but nothing beats a Lamborgihni Miura for dream cars IMHO...
DesmoDog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-16-2013, 12:06 PM   #3
Beastly Adventurer
Joined: Feb 2007
Location: England. Somewhere on the Canal.
Oddometer: 3,696
good luck with the project, everything you need to know is in the following link, including the shop manuals to download...

And why not join our little forum registery too...

England-Kev is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-16-2013, 01:07 PM   #4
Lucky 7 OP
Gnarly Adventurer
Lucky 7's Avatar
Joined: Oct 2011
Location: Denver
Oddometer: 175
Thanks guys. Greg's webpage has been invaluable. So far, I've tried to read up on whatever part well in advance and take notes of anything major that I wouldn't have thought of. Then I actually work on that part a few weeks later and force myself to figure it out. It's nice to know the service manual or Greg's webpage is there if I get stuck, but it's really fun to do as much as I can by myself.

Diving in:
 photo IMG_0213_zps9b0b04ad.jpg

This mount will have to go, it put a big dent in the fender after some big fork compression somewhere along the line:
 photo IMG_0211_zps59913a14.jpg

Lot's and lots of photos are taken. Many notes jotted. The bike gets smaller and the piles grow bigger.
 photo IMG_0216_zpsd7952ac4.jpg

Yuck. Be gone you foul, ill-wired rat's nest. Whoever did this wiring was unqualified to do so. Not many of the electrical devices worked.
 photo IMG_0225_zpscd2bc7e9.jpg

Syri-Dog wonders why I'm destroying my new motorcycle.
 photo IMG_0226_zps25b9b001.jpg

Fork comes off, swingarm is next.
 photo IMG_0229_zpsefc28933.jpg
Lucky 7 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-16-2013, 01:08 PM   #5
Lucky 7 OP
Gnarly Adventurer
Lucky 7's Avatar
Joined: Oct 2011
Location: Denver
Oddometer: 175
Originally Posted by danedg View Post
How's that #4 thing going?
I do what I can.
Lucky 7 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-16-2013, 01:23 PM   #6
Rob Farmer
Beastly Adventurer
Rob Farmer's Avatar
Joined: Aug 2002
Location: Loughborough, Leicestershire. England
Oddometer: 5,821
Good luck wit6h number 4 Though I suspect it's slipping further down the list. The only people impressed by old bikes are old folk and saddos like us
Rob Farmer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-16-2013, 01:55 PM   #7
Joined: Mar 2008
Location: Nelson New Zealand
Oddometer: 3,737
I agree with Desmo dog about taking lots of pics. Everything always seems so logical & straightforward when taking the bike apart, Doesn't take much to put a part the wrong way around, still being a bike mechanic you'd be pretty up with that side of it.
I like the way you described it as sexy ugly - that's why I love guzzis & airheads.

BTW I tried #4 once. it was gooooood.
Padmei is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-16-2013, 06:34 PM   #8
Beastly Adventurer
Joined: Jan 2010
Location: Inverary, Ontario, Canada
Oddometer: 1,048
Chrome bores?

LuckyZ - just cos no one else has mentioned it yet, I will. Chrome bores? Check it out before you get in too far.

Beyond the Coffee Shop: Riding 1970's Moto Guzzis in Northern Canada (Kindle Book) Buy it - it's cheap and good! All my adventures and disasters in one place.
nick949eldo is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-16-2013, 06:48 PM   #9
Joined: Oct 2007
Location: Western MD
Oddometer: 721
Another good source of information/support group/shoulder to cry on:
'69 Guzzi Ambassador,'77 Yamaha XT500,
'88 Ducati Paso, '91 ATK 604
'94 MZ Silver Star, '96 CCM 350
MZRider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-17-2013, 11:18 AM   #10
Lucky 7 OP
Gnarly Adventurer
Lucky 7's Avatar
Joined: Oct 2011
Location: Denver
Oddometer: 175
Good old chrome bores. I haven't had a chance to pull the cylinders yet, but I'm planning on just doing a Gilardoni kit on it. It has 66,000 on the clock, so it seems like a smart move. I've been holding off on ordering the kit just to make sure that my factory jugs weren't bored/relined at some point. No need to waste money after all, but I have a feeling that I'll end up doing new ones.

As of right now, the engine is sitting on my work bench waiting to be torn down. Parts are back from powdercoat and I should have everything back from chrome soon. Then I'm planning to hang as much as I can back on the frame just to clear up my bench for the engine overhaul. I'll probably get into the engine in the next few weeks.

I didn't get around to starting a thread sooner, but I'll keep posting my backlog photos and thoughts until I'm caught up. I have a feeling that inmate advice will come in handy around engine/tranny time.
Lucky 7 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-17-2013, 03:16 PM   #11
Rango's Avatar
Joined: Oct 2012
Location: Kingdom of Belgium
Oddometer: 1,201
Pagani Zonda for me.

Like your approach. Make it happen, I'll follow your progress
Moriunt omnes pauci vivunt
Rango is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2013, 07:54 AM   #12
Lucky 7 OP
Gnarly Adventurer
Lucky 7's Avatar
Joined: Oct 2011
Location: Denver
Oddometer: 175
At some point during the deconstruction phase of a project, I usually start feeling a bit despondent about what I've done. Generally I feel much better once I've done something in the 'reconstruction' department. With nothing but a pile of rusty parts for what used to be the bike, I decided on the dash for my first bit of forward progress.

The finish on the dash was in rough shape and the speedo was seized at about 60mph. None of the lights worked and I think the spotlight switch was the only one that did anything.

 photo IMG_0246_zps86f29c76.jpg

 photo IMG_0237_zps51543d6f.jpg

I decided to start with the speedo since it was the biggest unknown for me. Upon disassembly, I found that the magnet plates had come loose and were lodged together. It was fairly easy to get them unstuck and back to proper mounting positions, but I was left with a sprung speedo with no needle on it and no idea what position it needed to go back into. There had to be a way to figure this out...

 photo IMG_0239_zpsea40dfd5.jpg

 photo IMG_0240_zps4df3ccf2.jpg

Finally I decided on a power drill to spin the speedo while I timed how long it took for a mile to click over. Once I knew that number, some easy math told me how many equivalent mph my drill was spinning. With that, I just had to spin it back up with the drill and then place the needle on the spindle at the proper mph. Seems easy enough, but I'll be interested to see how well my theory works when I'm on the road. At test runs I'll need to have someone speed match me so I can get an idea of how right (or wrong) it really is. We'll see...

After that, I sprayed the speedo can and reinstalled the guts and the glass.

 photo IMG_0250_zpsf18ea7fd.jpg

 photo IMG_0251_zps0a2a90c1.jpg

Then I polished up the indicator lights on the buffer, they were pretty dull.

 photo IMG_0243_zpsc46e298a.jpg

much better:
 photo IMG_0245_zpsa253da1f.jpg

Then I started the polish on the actual dash unit.

 photo IMG_0249_zpsbc5af86f.jpg

With that done, I could get everything installed, including fresh new switches and newly polished indicator lights:

 photo IMG_0254_zps0bb2870c.jpg
Lucky 7 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2013, 08:03 AM   #13
Lucky 7 OP
Gnarly Adventurer
Lucky 7's Avatar
Joined: Oct 2011
Location: Denver
Oddometer: 175
Unfortunately, most of the light holder tubes on the back of the indicator lights were cracked and unusable. I couldn't find a replacement anywhere and no solution seemed to present itself after hours of combing the internet resources. Finally, I came across this product found at your local craft store or on Amazon:

 photo IMG_0259_zps24fbbb67.jpg

Cut to proper length and zipped lengthwise per the OEM tube, it was an unbelievably perfect fit. A quick tap snugged it down over the mounting nut and the side cut allows the lamp socket to be pulled out by hand while still holding tightly.

 photo IMG_0261_zpsb3ca0f75.jpg

Then it was just a matter of getting them all installed:

I ordered new lamp sockets from Greg at and picked up new pull switches from AutoZone. While I was emailing with Greg, I mentioned the brass tube solution and was flattered to find that he added the suggestion to the annals of thisoldtractor. Awesome!

Now the dash is up and running with working lights, a working (and lit) speedo, and all functional switches. Now I was starting to feel a little more productive.

From here it was on to the wheels and the dark horrors within...
Lucky 7 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2013, 08:37 AM   #14
bpeckm's Avatar
Joined: Apr 2008
Location: Road Island
Oddometer: 5,946
Hey.... I like this guy's style..... and he writes good, too!!

XS650 becomes a VT BackRoadRunner
Loving the 80ST
I love projects that take twice as much effort as should be needed. Should be an Airhead motto. (disston)
bpeckm is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2013, 01:09 PM   #15
Rango's Avatar
Joined: Oct 2012
Location: Kingdom of Belgium
Oddometer: 1,201
Birth of a Guzzi, part I - The Beginning

Way to go
Moriunt omnes pauci vivunt
Rango is offline   Reply With Quote


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump

Times are GMT -7.   It's 05:47 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2015