West and North (Canada incl. Dempster) - 1972 Moto Guzzi (Video added 08/08/2019)

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by nick949eldo, Jul 1, 2019.

  1. nick949eldo

    nick949eldo Long timer

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    All is not doom and gloom though. I did manage one remarkably effective fix involving a pair of channel-locks and some copper wire. For ages, the right-side exhaust pipe has been leaking where it joins the cylinder head. In their wisdom, Guzzi used a threaded collar that pulls the pipe into the head where a flange near the end of the pipe is supposed to seal against a round copper gasket. As you tighten the thread to get a seal, the gasket deforms, eventually turning flat and ineffective.

    I'd had just about enough of the popping and backfiring on deceleration - goodness, it's not a Harley - and I have Guzzi's dignity to uphold. After handing over some cash to Canadian Tire I wound a few rounds of copper wire between the flange and the pipe end, carefully inserted and locked down the pipe.....and magic, no more leaks. For now anyway. It's anyone's guess how long it will last, but at least now I have the materials to do it again.

    You may be asking yourself why any sane person would put themselves through an enormous trip, limping along from one Heath Robinson fix to the next. The short answer is, I enjoy it. It adds a little challenge to what would otherwise be just another long ride. I do sometimes find myself looking wistfully at immaculate full-dress cruisers as they glide effortlessly by (especially when I'm doing yet another road-side tweak), but then I turn the key, the old Eldorado fires up again sounding almost as it should, I throw my leg across, settle into my well worn seat, clunk into a gear and ride off happy.
    #61
  2. oldgrizz

    oldgrizz Long timer Supporter

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    Well done and well written.
    Sounds like you and the bike are old friends that help each other along the road of life.
    #62
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  3. nick949eldo

    nick949eldo Long timer

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    Once again the magic of Guzzi fanaticism and old-bike-love is keeping this rider moving forwards. I'm sitting (in a dentist's chair mind), surrounded by Laverda, Moroni, Guzzi and Ducati either ready for the road or in the process of becoming so. I have free access to a wonderful workshop, equipped with all kinds of stuff I wouldn't have the skill to use even if I could recognise what they were for.

    My trip across Edmonton was a rather harrowing experience, but I arrived here eventually, no thanks to yet more bucking and farting (the bike, not me). First things first though. That oil, which had been cludging up the Eldorado's crankcase for far too long is gone, replaced by exactly three litres of Shell's finest Rotella.

    The next job on the agenda was to fix my sagging pannier. Jim said 'We could weld it' and at first I thought he was joking. I should learn he's never joking. He's one of those guys that just gets stuff done. So, off with the bungees and the few remaining bolts holding the box to the bike. The main support strut had sheered inn half, so while I stood around like a spare part, not only did Jim weld it, he reinforced it so it shouldn't ever happen again.

    After that we - actually, he - blasted the plugs until they were spotless while I cleaned and gapped the points and investigated the distributor wires, cap annd rotor. All seemed fine, although when I pulled the wires the brass end for the No. 2 cylinder where it enters the cap was badly corroded. We don't understand this as they were new wires from the last time I was sponging in Jim's garage.

    Not surprisingly, when I cleaned it up and put everything back together, the bike started and idled as the manufacturers intended. Well, to be honest it might be a little noisier than they intended, but it sounds good to me.

    I'm killing time writing this while I await the postman. Jim had generously let me send the tyres here and the delivery date is supposed to be today. Since the current tyres are still good enough I'll just strap the new ones on the bike and take them home.

    DSCN6141.JPG

    If they do't arrive in today's mail, someone in Edmonton will be the recipient of two fine new Duro HF308s
    #63
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  4. euromotorcycles

    euromotorcycles Been here awhile

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    170
    Hi Nick,

    I was just put on your trail by a friend of yours Dave Woodman. Ya you are really pushing the old girl on those gravel roads. Any how I think it is time to adjust your valves, you can't properly tune a motorcycle if the valves are tight or to loose, you should always start there. You must have some spare valve cover gaskets if not get some from Jim.

    You have a safe trip back.

    Yves
    #64
  5. nick949eldo

    nick949eldo Long timer

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    Thanks Yves, she was humming along today with no signs of distress, but I'll take your advise and do them soon. Of course, I brought every Allen key except the one that fits the valve covers. Time for a quick trip to Canadian Tire...
    #65
  6. Diggers99

    Diggers99 Adventurer

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    As always a great write up and great pictures Nick. I feel like I'm there with you. Nice to read when we're in the middle of winter here.
    Cheers
    #66
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  7. Vince

    Vince Been here awhile

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    Oct 1, 2006
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    If that's Jim Bushman, I love his Laverda side stand kit.
    #67
  8. Rathlindri

    Rathlindri Guinness fan

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    "But....it continues to run and is happiest at a steady 100kph hour after hour." true for just about every big block Guzzi I have ridden. They feel totally unstressed and like they could go on forever at that speed
    #68
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  9. nick949eldo

    nick949eldo Long timer

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    Just a quick note from Tims in Dryden Ontario. I had a whoops moment in central Manitoba as, after misfiring for a bit, the bike suddenly died completely.

    One of the connector posts had rotted through leaving nothing to connect the wires back to. Whats a guy to do? Why, pull out the spare coil of course (you all carry one dont you?).

    I had a horrible feeling that I'd blown my alternator by connecting things backwards as the gen light is permantly on. Fortunately it is still charging. Ever eastwards.

    My coil fix... 20190717_102410.jpg
    #69
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  10. radmeister

    radmeister Been here awhile Supporter

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    duct tape. gotta love it. love this ride report even more.
    #70
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  11. wncstrada

    wncstrada Been here awhile

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    Western NC
    Great pictures and very well written. You know that bike so well. This hits home for me because my trip was cut short this year because of a loose connection I couldn't find. Thanks so much for this.
    #71
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  12. nick949eldo

    nick949eldo Long timer

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    Ah Yes- killing time waiting for the postman. Well the postman duly arrived at the normal time (about 12.30) bearing my two new Duros - not that I needed them any more. I hastily loaded them on the back of the bike, said my goodbyes and thanks to Jim and was soon fighting midday traffic on the Yellowhead through Edmonton. Fortunately that didn't last long, and with the bike running nicely we were humming East.

    There's not much good one can say for that kind of riding, other than you make time. With four wide lanes most of the time, it's a stress less and fast way to get across the prairies. At first, the weather was fine and as I looked out across those endless expanses it once again dawned on me that the prairies are actually rather enchanting. There's nothing spectacular, and even things of note are few and far between, but there's an awesomeness to the scale of the land and sky that has its own kind of magic. I stopped a couple of times to try and capture something of the landscape but it would take a more skillful photographer than me.

    DSCN6143.JPG

    I particularly like the Ukrainian Churches. I even left the highway to snap this one.

    DSCN6147.JPG

    I crossed the prairies in two hops, staying in Saskatoon and Portage La Prairie. I had hoped to go further the second day but if you've read above you'll already know that I encountered a little delay.

    Let me elaborate. The Eldorado had been misfiring from time to time. I'm tempted to say 'since time immemorial' but she does run well most of the time, despite the record here. I didn't really pay much attention since a dirty plug, some sparking at the points - a multitude of things can cause a misfire and they often clear themselves. But then she died with the empty whirring of pistons rushing up and down cylinders with no spark to power them. I hastily pulled over to the side and started a good look around, although I must admit, I'd been wondering about the coil for a while. But when I found this:

    DSCN6152.JPG

    and saw the condition of the corroded post it was supposed to be attached to my heart momentarily sank.

    I dug out my tools. The coil lies attached to the main frame rail beneath the tank. There was no space to fiddle with it without removing the tank, which meant removing the seat etc. arghhh. And even if I got at it, there was no guarantee that I could do anything with it. That terminal was all but gone.

    Just then a Harley roared by, geared down, turned around and joined me.
    "You OK?" said bearded Bill (I'll call him Bill - I didn't catch his name).
    "Yes. Thanks for stopping but I think I've got everything I need"

    As he's been slowing to join me I'd remembered the old coil in my bag of bits on the inside of the fairing. Assuming it was still good (and I'd never checked it) I could just unhook the wires from the under-tank one, find a temporary place for the new one, and carry on.

    So after a bit of fussing around and connecting the wires to the wrong places a couple of times, I Gorilla taped it to the side panel, turned the key, and miracle of miracles, the old Eldo roared to life. Rarely have I been so happy, especially since a monster thunderstorm was closing in fast.

    But my glee was short-lived. As I rode I noticed that the alternator light on the dash was now permanently on. Darn it - had I fried my alternator?

    I rode the few miles to Portage La Prairie where previously I'd had no intentions of staying, booked into a motel conveniently next door to Canadian Tire and pondered my options.

    How far can a guy ride just on the battery even if he turns the lights off? Not far enough was my guess. What if I bought a spare Lawn Tractor battery (yes, that's what's in the Eldo already)? How far would that take me? Again, I concluded only far enough to get really stuck.

    During that evening I did a more robust fix for the new coil and cruised the internet for any suggestions or help. I found one ray of hope. On the Scramblercycle web site (from whence I'd bought the alternator kit) there was a reference to some circumstances where the light would stay on even though the alternator continued to charge.

    OK I thought, I'll hang around until Canadian Tire is open in the morning and see if I can get someone to check my battery / alternator with a multi-meter.

    As I sat killing time in Tim's I did some more Googling about testing alternators. According to some folks, with the bike running, if you detach the battery ground wire and the bike continues to run, your alternator is good. I gave it a try. Not only did the bike continue to run, the revs actually dropped a little as I reattached the ground - indicating draw on the alternator. Whoopee!!!

    On the road again.............

    888kms later, mostly through rain and truck wash, I'm happily in Nipigon, Ontario, ready for the penultimate day.

    DSCN6156.JPG
    #72
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  13. Wa Ho Thuk

    Wa Ho Thuk Long timer

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    You're still my hero Nick :clap
    #73
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  14. nick949eldo

    nick949eldo Long timer

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    #74
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  15. PJPR01

    PJPR01 Paul R

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    Houston, Texas
    Well, this has been most entertaining...certainly enough material and hopefully pictures for another book to add to the collection. Always appreciate the dry humour and observations...keep it coming! Post some more pics here and on WG for us to enjoy!

    Cheers!
    #75
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  16. NCADV Rider

    NCADV Rider Adventurer

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    Sep 13, 2009
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    NC Piedmont
    Nick,

    I enjoyed your ride report so much I just finished reading Beyond the Coffee Shop. Hope you get to your case of beer for the month. You are motivating me to get my 1971 Honda CB450 out for some exercise.

    Keep on riding the old Moto Guzzi
    #76
  17. nick949eldo

    nick949eldo Long timer

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    That's wonderful -thanks. Those old Hondas are great machines. My eldest son's first ride after passing his m/c test was up the James Bay Road (with his old Dad) on a 1980 Cm400 we paid almost nothing for. It never skipped a beat.
    #77
  18. nick949eldo

    nick949eldo Long timer

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    Just a brief note tonight. It's appropriate that I should arrive back at Ken's in Webbwood Ontario with the bike bucking and farting, because that's the way it was when I left. This time it's just the exhaust leak again - theoretically now fixed again. It should get me home.

    One more day on the road until I sleep in my own bed. With any luck it will be minus the torrential rain I encountered north of Sault Ste Marie...
    #78
  19. fastredbike

    fastredbike back on the loose

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    640
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    Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada
    late to the party but happy to read about another of your adventures Nick. I don't often think about getting a Guzzi, but it happens every time I read your stuff - glad to hear there's another book coming! That zombie-riding bit is a perfect description of the second half of Ontario on my last ride west, working hard on breaking that habit. cheers
    #79
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  20. twowings

    twowings Comfortably Numb... Supporter

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    Looking forward to your autobiography with a list of all the bikes and rides you've taken through the years...you're a Canadian treasure!
    #80
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