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Old 07-31-2013, 11:34 PM   #1
fadingfastsd OP
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1971 Moto Guzzi Ambassador 750 Barn Find Resurrection & Questions

Just picked up a 71 Moto Guzzi Ambassador 750 last night, and I'm going to need some advice. I'll document the work on the bike here in this thread. I've been reading every Guzzi thread on Old's Cool I can find, but I'd really appreciate advice and input from you guys. I've had plenty of airheads and just about everything else, but this is my first Guzzi.

I picked this up originally just to flip, not intending to ride it for long. However, it's already growing on me. I've got a nice 85 BMW K100 for a commuter right now, and I'm thinking I might sell it and keep this once I get it going. I picked it up for $1400, which I think is a fair price given it's condition. It was literally sitting deep in a barn in Ramona, CA (North-East San Diego county, fairly rural area). Guy parked it in 2002, hasn't been moved since. Said he drove it in, and he put 20k miles on it himself over a couple years.

First off, here's some pics to get you started.

This is the link to my photo gallery. I will keep all pics here for this project:
https://plus.google.com/photos/11711...09476157280193

Bringing it home, just loaded up:




And finally got it back to my shop this morning. I hosed it down after soaking in S100.









Pulling it apart for cleaning:









and...a bug problem:



So anyways, I'm on to general cleaning first. Get all the bugs and spider webs off. Then I'll get a battery in it, turn it over and make sure the engines free. I'll be cleaning the carbs at the same time. Both are horrible gunked up and slides are stuck.

Now the main problem I'm aware of on this bike (reason the guy parked it) was that he said the rear hub splines are trashed. He said that there is a ton of slop in them. I'll post pictures of the rim hub and driveshaft hub splines tomorrow for input. They are definitely worn, but don't look 'trashed'.

Can I remove the splines from the rim hub? Or are they part of the rim hub itself. Does anybody have a set of splines for sale? Any tips on where to get these?

That's about it for now, I'll update on progress. I'm trying to keep learning as this is my first Guzzi!!
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Old 08-01-2013, 06:43 AM   #2
England-Kev
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Fantastic project, a little air and oil andbit looks good to go
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Old 08-01-2013, 07:05 AM   #3
lrutt
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better pop the heads and take a look at the bores. If still chrome then you are in for a set of Gils for about $1k. If you don't do that you will surely destroy the motor. with those original chrome bores, it's not a matter of if but when they flake.

Also check the WildGuzzi site, great bunch of guys there that will help out.
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Old 08-01-2013, 07:09 AM   #4
F_Sahms
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Nice find. It looks mostly complete.

I would advice against trying to crank it up without looking at the bores. These bikes had chrome cylinder plating that blisters and peels if left to sit. When you crank them up, the rings scrape flecks of that chrome into the (unfiltered) oil, which wreaks havoc on bearings, oil pump, etc.

Pop the heads and take a look.

The splines in the rear drive are replaceable, as are the splines in the wheel, but removing them from the wheel takes a ton of force. It may be easier to find a good used rear wheel if they are really that bad. Here are the parts:

http://www.mgcycle.com/product_info.php?products_id=708

http://www.mgcycle.com/product_info.php?products_id=293
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Old 08-01-2013, 08:16 AM   #5
sjc56
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Beside wild goose join yahoo loop frame forum.
http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/Loopframe_Guzzi/

Also always a lot of parts on EBAY.
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Old 08-01-2013, 08:42 AM   #6
east high
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That patina!
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Old 08-01-2013, 02:04 PM   #7
England-Kev
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Ok, my first bit of advice, I hope you take it...

listen to the guys on here.

that's it, they know so much between them, and offer the support freely. If I was closer I would buy them a beer.

Remove the heads before trying to turn it over, you really don't want to be pumping chrome around your engine.

and lastly, have fun, we are all here supporting you
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Old 08-01-2013, 02:27 PM   #8
Nessman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by England-Kev View Post
Ok, my first bit of advice, I hope you take it...

listen to the guys on here.

that's it, they know so much between them, and offer the support freely. If I was closer I would buy them a beer.

Remove the heads before trying to turn it over, you really don't want to be pumping chrome around your engine.

and lastly, have fun, we are all here supporting you
What Kev said, and I'd add that paint is easy, patina is hard. I love the way it looks now, a runner with that "character' would be special.

But that's just me.
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Old 08-02-2013, 05:50 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by east high View Post
That patina!
Yes! Despite my preference for the shiny, DO NOT mess with that patina!
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Old 08-02-2013, 01:10 PM   #10
fadingfastsd OP
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Thanks for the good replies guys. I've already joined Wild Guzzi, and the Loop Frame Yahoo group. Good information there, and especially on the ThisOldTractor site

Well, I'm really glad I took your advice. You guys are very helpful...and wise

I pulled the heads like you guys advised. And....it's worse than I thought. Much worse. The right side is filthy and carboned up. The left....is trashed.

Left side:




The right side:




The rockers and pushrods look fine. Guys, I need some help. I'm on a pretty strict budget, and it would kill me to have to get rid of this bike. I'm on a mission to put this back on the road, and ride the crap out of it.

I can't afford to go with new cylinders, possibly replate them, but I've got to keep the cost down as much as possible, since I still have to fix the rear end splines.

Does anybody have a parts bike, or any source on cheaply priced good & useable used parts? I'm going to post in Classifieds on here, and start scouring eBay. If anybody has a lead on good used parts as CHEAP as posible, PLEASE, please let me know.

I can also offer trades for electrical parts (stators, regulators, etc) check out www.racetechelectric.com.

I'm going to keep working on the bike. Probably pull the engine today. More pics and updates coming soon.
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Old 08-02-2013, 02:06 PM   #11
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Aw - its just a little dirty.......that should clean right up.........

You could also try posting in the Want section of Classified on Wildguzzi - and keeping your eye on the For Sale stuff there too. Good parts come up at reasonable prices from time to time. Also, if you have a specific part you can't find, you can always try making a request directly to the (WG) forum. Its not really 'approved' practice, but most of the inmates there are more interested in helping get a bike back running than PC or feathering their pockets.

Good luck

Nick
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Old 08-02-2013, 02:14 PM   #12
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http://www.advrider.com/forums/showp...6&postcount=38

"I'm running vw-sourced iron liners and venolia pistons on my ambassador"

Heard of it, no experience wif it.

Sorry, an old Guzzi is like an onion. The more layers you peel back the more your eyes water...

There's a set on eBay but any stock Ambassador jug is a time bomb.
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Old 08-02-2013, 08:09 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nessman View Post
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showp...6&postcount=38

"I'm running vw-sourced iron liners and venolia pistons on my ambassador"

Heard of it, no experience wif it.

Sorry, an old Guzzi is like an onion. The more layers you peel back the more your eyes water...

There's a set on eBay but any stock Ambassador jug is a time bomb.
Every time I see a reference to "VW liners" I'm always a bit confused. What VW? In air-cooled VWs, there was no separate liner - the bore was in the cast-iron cylinder block with cooling fins. In water-cooled VWs, the pistons run in the bores machined into the cast-iron block.

I've heard of backyard engineers "back in the day" buying liners from companies such as LA Sleeve and then modifying VW pistons to work. Or LA Sleeves and Venolia (or other brand) pistons. Lots of work to save a few $$ and they never work as well as Nikasil plated cylinders.
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Old 08-03-2013, 12:46 AM   #14
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Well I got both cylinders off the bike today, and pulled both pistons. The right side (cleaner side) came off easily, no problems. The piston is carboned up as well, but not bad. The cylinder on this side looks just fine. The chrome plating is all completely intact, and perfectly flat. No scuff marks, scratches or gouges. Certainly no flaking or bubbling of the chrome plating. Is this one safe to use, or should I be wary of problems with the chrome even if it looks ok now? I'll put up a good picture of it next week. This piston also had a couple of the compression rings broken, just snapped clean in half. They basically fell out when I pulled the cylinder off.

I finally got the left (corroded) side off, but it was pretty difficult. The piston was completely rusted to the cylinder. The chrome plating had flaked off in big chunks. There was oxidation everywhere. To get the cylinder off I had turn the engine over to get the left side to TDC. Then I put wood blocks between the cylinder and engine block, and slowly turned the engine over from the nut on the front of the crank. It took some tapping with a mallet to break the rust loose, but the piston finally slid out. The rings are rusted completely solid to the piston. The cylinder is a mess, as is the piston.

The good news is the crankcase looks good. The crank turns freely. The con-rods have little play in them. It was stored with lots of oil, and it seems clean. The cam looks good and so do the pushrods.

So ultimately, I need to figure out my options for the top end to get this running as cheaply as possible. I need pistons, rings, and preferably cylinders and heads for this bike. The right side head is OK, but the left side is so corroded, I believe the valves will have to be replaced. In all your wise opinions, what is the absolute cheapest route to get the top end sorted and get this bike running? My priority is to get this bike going as a local cruiser. I can always tear it down for a full rebuild later on, but I can't afford to have this bike sitting around if it's not usable. However if the parts are just plain too expensive, I'll have to come to terms with selling this off as is, because I just can't get in too deep $-wise on this.
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We design, develop, and manufacture high power motorcycle stators, voltage regulators, and other charging system, electrical, and ignition components.
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Old 08-03-2013, 01:36 AM   #15
England-Kev
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No matter how you look at it, this project is going to cost you big bucks just to get running, I hate to say this, but someone needs to, I think the better option would be to break it for parts

As the bike stands, or stood when you bought it, there were loads of parts missing, so if you start adding up what needs to be found and bought just to put it back on the road, it aint going to be cheap. Let's face the truth here, even sorting out a running bike is not cheap.

Sorry if that is not what you wanted to hear.



Now it would be a different option if you had the time and the money to throw at it, with time and money it would be a great project.
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