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Old 08-23-2011, 08:40 AM   #1
bmwloco OP
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Moto Guzzi V700... points or electronic?

Spent this past Sunday trying to get my friend's 1969 Moto Guzzi V7 700cc up and running. He parked it two years ago and it sat in dry storage.

Battery was toast. Fixed that via Wally World. Good gas and a good charger in place. I figured we get it to start. But no. She wasn't getting in spark beyond the coil.

Two choices: replace plug wires, distributor, points for under $100 or throw $329 at Harpers for this:

http://www.harpermoto.com/index.php dispatch=products.view&product_id=69587

Any thoughts? Recommendations?

His bride to be has asked for it to be running so they can ride away on it after the wedding. I have until Oct. 8 to get it flying...
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Old 08-23-2011, 08:46 AM   #2
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How handy is your friend? Will you be tasked with adjusting points as he lives with the bike?
Before you buy anything check to see if the points are grounded.
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Old 08-23-2011, 09:28 AM   #3
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Stay with the points, you can trouble shoot that. And it's unlikely they are all bad so why replace them all???

Unless your friend is going to amass tens of thousands of miles a year, just how often will he have to grease the rub block and or adjust points. NOT MUCH. Electronics are NOT always the answer to a problem and points will always get you home.

Start with the basics, static time with an analog ohm meter, check the condensors. She'll start.
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Old 08-23-2011, 10:11 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lrutt View Post
Stay with the points, you can trouble shoot that. And it's unlikely they are all bad so why replace them all???

Unless your friend is going to amass tens of thousands of miles a year, just how often will he have to grease the rub block and or adjust points. NOT MUCH. Electronics are NOT always the answer to a problem and points will always get you home.

Start with the basics, static time with an analog ohm meter, check the condensors. She'll start.

Yup...find and fix the problem: less money gets used up for repairs, there's more $ left over for riding, and the Guzzi's new owner can begin the bonding process that way.


It's NOT a BMW, so throwing handfuls of money in a knee-jerk response isn't a good answer to anything.
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Old 08-23-2011, 01:10 PM   #5
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Stick with points, and make sure everything's hooked up correctly.

The timing marks are on the lower generator belt pulley, and can be off in two different locations, depending on how the last guy bolted the pully back on.
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Old 08-23-2011, 01:35 PM   #6
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yep, stick with the points. once adjusted, they will go a long ways before needing any attention. I rode a guzzi for years, checked the points once, all was good, never checked them again, and never replaced them.
everyone I know with any type of electronic ignition has nothing but problems with it.
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Old 08-23-2011, 03:41 PM   #7
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What everyone else said. The Harper's/Pertronix electronic ignition answers a question nobody really asked IMO. It's reliability record isn't all that good either - a customer had two failures in a matter of weeks. If you leave the key on for longer than a minute or so, the unit fries. That wasn't what killed his though - they just spontaneously decided to stop working.
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Old 08-24-2011, 05:13 AM   #8
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Points it is. I got new plug wires, new caps, new points and a couple spark plugs. We should be able to make her fly soon.

The old V700 has an interesting history. I scrubbed on it at 17, and after my friend tried for years to get it running well, we hauled it to Athens, GA in my Subaru Justy (two of us, the V700 and my 100lb Golden Retriever). I even got a speeding ticket on Hwy. 11 in SC.

John Hoffman of Cycle Specialties rebuilt the engine.

It currently has 17,000 miles on it.
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Old 08-24-2011, 08:49 AM   #9
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Sadly you guys are all wrong. Electronic is the way to go. All the guzzies I have owned have had the points replaced with either lucas rita or dyna electronics. The difference in starting, fuel economy and power is quite remarkable. I will say that I always keep the points with me on a long trip just in case.
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Old 08-24-2011, 09:11 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by manxkipper View Post
Sadly you guys are all wrong. Electronic is the way to go. All the guzzies I have owned have had the points replaced with either lucas rita or dyna electronics. The difference in starting, fuel economy and power is quite remarkable. I will say that I always keep the points with me on a long trip just in case.

How many of those were Loops with single points?
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Old 08-24-2011, 03:21 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by farmer fred View Post
How many of those were Loops with single points?
As any good attorney will tell you - know the answer before you ask the question! The answer is none as you were aware given my reference to the types of electronic ignitions in my post.

However should that make any difference? I have added electronic ignition to a number of single point ignition bikes in the past with positive results in each case.

Just stirring the pot!
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Old 08-24-2011, 03:56 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by manxkipper View Post
Sadly you guys are all wrong. Electronic is the way to go. All the guzzies I have owned have had the points replaced with either lucas rita or dyna electronics. The difference in starting, fuel economy and power is quite remarkable. I will say that I always keep the points with me on a long trip just in case.
Wrong or otherwise, the Guzzi isn't the OP's; it belongs to a friend...and what sort of a friend suggests investing in a handful of expensive new(er) tech bits that even you don't trust enough to leave the original parts at home.

Understanding the care & feeding of the Guzzi's ignition isn't tough, if you give it a try. There are even easy ways to increase the spark output, if you know how.

Points may have their faults, but in a large-bore low revving twin, they're a great solution to reliable spark timing. Simple.

I've never had any of my points-ignition bikes create problems that weren't owner-induced.

btw- points ignitions are also "electronics".
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Old 08-24-2011, 04:30 PM   #13
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Since a guzzi has only electric start, and since most electronic ignitions really need a good battery to start. points are much more forgiving in a low voltage situation. Bump starting will be more successfull that way.

I can't tell you how many times guys i ride with kick and kick their bikes with electronic ignitions and my good old points bikes start right up. Points are NOT hard to maintain on classic machinery unless you rack up tens of thousands of miles. Which most classics don't do.

No matter what though it would be smart to get the bike running with points to make sure all is well. Then if they wish, switch over. Only change one variable at a time when troubleshooting.
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Old 08-24-2011, 04:47 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by manxkipper View Post
As any good attorney will tell you - know the answer before you ask the question! The answer is none as you were aware given my reference to the types of electronic ignitions in my post.

However should that make any difference? I have added electronic ignition to a number of single point ignition bikes in the past with positive results in each case.

Just stirring the pot!
Well, the e-ignitions available for the bike in the OP number only one that I know of, and it's expensive, and the OEM ignition on a loop is pretty idiot-proof. Without experience with the particular ignition available, how can you issue a blanket recommendation?
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Old 08-24-2011, 06:08 PM   #15
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Points all the way. Many x-country trips on various old guzzis, sure the ei's never need adjusting but the only time i needed a tow was thanks to a fried dyna coil in the middle of no-where. Points on an old guzzi take only minutes to adjust and can be done with just a screwdriver in a pinch...as long as there's a gap they're ready to go

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