Fix that Guzzi part 1 Blog 130


Jan 15th to 21st in total (both parts)
As the title suggests the next two blogs are more bikey and technical than most as we took a few days out to fix the crack in the steering and modify a few other things. If this isn’t your thing you can skip to the Rotorua blog (coming soon) 

Last night I made a good start stripping down the front end, it’s not that hard a job on a naked bike but I have to remove the front box and it’s rack and associated wiring as it mounts on the forks. The handlebars, their crashbars and rubber mounts also have to be removed but by mid morning it’s all apart.
I expected the old headrace bearings to be metal puree but they are amazingly intact, on closer inspection the rollers have got visible flats on them the result of Mongolia’s relentless corrugations.
We got replacement headrace bearings from a shop in town yesterday, they are a common bearing and aren’t expensive so it would be silly not to change them while we have the opportunity.
Comparing the old and new yokes the new one is a lot “meatier” the clamp is almost twice the thick as ours. I wonder if there have been other problems with cracking and Guzzi have beefed up the design?
The reason I asked Doug for his help is that I knew I needed to open up the diameter of the yoke clamps slightly. When I built the forks I could not get 35mm diameter tube and had to settle for 1 3/8″ which is slightly bigger, a layer of powdercoating made it thicker still hence the need to open it out. (make the hole bigger). It’s only about 0.75mm difference but it’s enough to stop it fitting. When I built it first time I opened them out with an adjustable reaming tool but it was hard to keep it true and it didn’t make a very good job of it. Doug has a adjustable boring head for his mill and this is much more accurate. It’s a bit of work to set it up each time and requires a bit of patience to take the right amount off but it pays off and by mid afternoon I have the new bottom yoke fitting really nicely. Inspired by this I machine the top yoke out as well which reveals how out of round they actually were. I have to machine this one slightly oversize and shim it with some brass shim which Doug has in various sizes. I think that this is possibly what has caused the original clamp to crack as it was a bit gappy in places and put too much stress on it. No such problem this time and after knocking off the old bearings and replacing them we are ready to reassemble the headstock. Tea time stops play but later we grease and reassemble the yokes. That’s it for today but it has gone well and we are on target to get it back together by end of play tomorrow which is what I was aiming for. The other good thing about staying here is Hilary’s cooking, she is an excellent hostess and spoils us rotten. So much so that Dougs quips “I like having people to stay” as we are tucking into our roast dinner that night. It reminds us of my mum’s roasts which me miss, we used to enjoy them on a Sunday as she and my sister are also excellent cooks.
In the morning I carry on reassembly with Karen’s help and by lunchtime it’s back on its wheels. I manage to find a small piece of box the correct size and cut off a damaged section of the front rack. It’s only a small stubb where the lever guards slide on but it got bent in Kazakhstan and has been a wobbly fit ever since. It’s a good chance to fix it properly while the rack is off, either Doug’s welder is very good or my arc welding is improving as it looks neat and strong by the time I have finished. The afternoon is spent putting all the front rack and box back on and connecting up all the lights etc. By end of play it looks like our bike again, I finish up by making myself a new headrace adjustment spanner, my original one was far too flimsy and ineffectual. Karen has busied herself in between times changing the brake pads and other smaller maintenance jobs for me.
By the end of Sunday I am pleased with our progress but I am still trying to cram more things in whilst I have such a good workshop.
Don the guy we met near Kawhia suddenly turns up unexpectedly, he knows Jim Galt who came last night and has found out we are here.
It’s nice to see him again and we have a good chat before he leaves us to it, satisfied that we are alright.
Doug is an ex toolmaker and a very clever engineer so we are in good hands, initially I asked him to bore the yokes out for me. I was nervous of messing it up knowing that we probably wouldn’t find another set easily but he gave me the confidence to do it myself and it worked out well. He has an admirable mixture of patience and humility which makes him an excellent teacher and mentor, indeed he spent his later years before retiring as a crafts design and technology teacher something I am sure he was very good at. He showed us a display of some of his ex pupils work and it was of an incredibly high standard. Doug also told us with great pride (tempered with his usual modesty) about numerous youngsters who he steered in a creative direction when everyone else had already put them on the academic rubbish dump. It really turned some kids around finding something they were good at, Doug said kids are overflowing with ideas all he did was show them the techniques and then let them do the rest. It takes a special person to do this and it’s value is far beyond the actual pieces themselves, what they were also building is confidence, self esteem and hope. Everyone has different talents but not everyone gets the chance to try enough things to find theirs, it takes someone special like Doug to nurture peoples potential and let it flourish. He has several sucess stories of pupils he taught that were completely turned around by finding a direction in life, one went on to be an incredibly gifted bone carver and has florished ever since.

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