Moto Guzzi 850 T Starter Relay Replacement With Old Guzzis, you've either replaced your starter or you're going to have to.

So my brand-new-to-me 850T spewed a choking smoke out from under the starter just after I bought it.  A call to Jim Barron at Rose Farm Classics gave me the info I needed.

Buy a starter at EME — Euro MotoElectrics they are awesome, and will be super helpful over the phone if needed.

Buy a new starter relay just about anywhere.  I got one like this:

  • 12V 30/40 Amp DC 5Pin Car SPDT Automotive Power Relay with Wires Harness Socket
Starter Relay for Tonti Frames

A quick check at “This old Tractor” on Greg Bender’s site gave me the wiring for the Relay:

850 T starter relay electrical connections

  • Relay terminal 30 – Brown wire from fuse box
  • Relay terminal 85 – White/black wire from handlebar mounted starter button
  • Relay terminal 86 – Brown wire from terminal 30
  • Relay terminal 87 – Red wire to starter solenoid

There’s so much good information on Greg Bender’s site — Go there and get lost in it.

The Best Alternator / Charging System Check I have ever found Thanks to J&P cycles blog

I’m reprinting this.  It is from J&P Cycles’ blog, about how to test your Harley’s charging system from end-to-end.  I haven’t seen anything better and I’m always looking…. See more goodness from J&P here.

  1. Battery Test: The battery needs to be a fully charged battery that has been load tested to ensure proper readings. If you are not working with a fully charged and functional battery, all other voltage tests will be incorrect. Most places like Auto Zone, Advance Auto, and Pep Boys will charge and test motorcycle batteries for free. Standing battery Voltage should be 12.5-13.2 DCV.
  2. Charging System Voltage Test: Start motorcycle, Measure DC Volts across the battery terminals (you should have a reading of approximately 13.2-15 DC Volts).
  3. Check Connections/Wires:Inspect the regulator/stator plug, and check the battery terminals for connection/corrosion. If everything seems to be in order, move on to number 4 below to determine if there’s a failed component.
  4. Stator Checks/Rotor Check:Each of the following tests isolate the stator & Rotor, If AC Output test Fails and Resistance Check, and Stator IB Test Pass then Rotor is at fault (Pull Primary covers and inspect rotor for damage).
  • AC Output Check:
  1. Unplug the regulator plug from the stator
  2. Start motorcycle and change Voltmeter to AC volts.
  3. Probe both stator wires with your meter leads.
  4. The motorcycle should be putting out approximately 18-20 ACV per 1,000 rpm. (Reading will vary depending on system, check service manual specification)
  5. Generic Specs:
  • 22 amp system produces about 19-26 VAC per 1,000 rpm
  • 32 amp system produces about 16-20 VAC per 1,000 rpm
  • 45 amp system produces about 19-26 VAC per 1,000 rpm
  • Stator Resistance Check:
  1. Switch your multi meter to Ohm x 1 scale.
  2. Probe each stator wires with meter leads and check resistance on meter.
  3. Resistance should be in the range of 0.1-0.5 Ohms. (Reading will vary depending on system, check service manual for specification)
  4. Generic Specs:
  • 22 amp system produces about 0.2 to 0.4 ohms
  • 32 amp system produces about 0.1 to 0.2 ohms
  • 45 amp system produces about 0.1 to 0.2 ohms
  • Stator IB test or Ground Check:
  1. Switch your multi meter to Ohm x 1 scale.
  2. Probe each stator wire with your positive lead on multi meter and the negative to ground.
  3. There should be no continuity to ground on either wire.
  4. If there is continuity to ground your stator is shorted to ground.
  1. Regulator Test: Each of the following tests isolates the regulator only, so if any of these tests fail, the regulator is at fault.
  • Identifying Wires:
  1. Battery Charge Lead– Wire going from regulator to battery positive.
  2. AC output leads– Wires coming from the Stator to regulator.
  3. Ground– Wire from Regulator to ground or regulator may be grounded via the physical bolting to chassis.
  • Regulator Ground Test: Insure the regulator body is grounded or grounding wire is fastened tight to a good ground (you should verify this by checking continuity from regulator body to chassis ground).
  • Fwd/Reverse Bias Test/Diode Test: This check is testing the Diode function to ensure it is regulating the AC current for the stator into DC Current.
  1. Switch multi meter to Diode Scale.
  2. Place your Multi meter positive lead on each AC output wire.
  3. Place your multi meter negative lead on the battery Charge wire.
  4. The meter should read voltage typically around .5 volts.
  5. Next, switch your multi meter leads putting the negative lead on the AC output wires and the Positive lead on the Battery Charge Wire.
  6. The reading should be Infinite.
  7. With your meter on the same setting, place your multi meter positive lead on the regulator ground wire or to the regulator directly, and then place your meter negative lead on the AC output leads.
  8. The meter should read voltage typically around .5 volts.
  9. Next, switch your multi meter leads putting the negative lead on the regulator ground and the Positive lead on the AC output wires.
  10. The reading should be Infinite.
  11. Note: Below is a table to show the readings:
Positive Lead Negative Lead Reading
AC output 1 Battery charge lead Voltage
AC output 2 Battery Charge Lead Voltage
Battery charge lead AC output 1
Battery charge lead AC output 2
Ground AC output 1 Voltage
Ground AC output 2 Voltage
AC output 1 Ground
AC output 2 Ground


The 5-minute Cable Job becomes a 5 Hour Clean Up! 1954 Morini Clutch Cable Install

The 175 Needed a new clutch cable.  The Previous owner had clipped it when they had made some changes to the engine, and it was time to get it hooked up and hopefully get it running soon.  I observed the receiver for the clutch cable here.

When the clutch is pulled, the receiver in its threaded silo pushes against the rod in the picture, and disengages the clutch over on the other side of the motor.  The cable was cut, so I had to renew that.  Also was missing a 5mm ball bearing for the rod to rotate against.

So I installed the cable and bolted the cover back on.  I couldn’t get the clutch to move, so I opened up the clutch basket-side of the engine to see if there was anything wrong.

That big round thang is the clutch basket.  The disc on the front should move outward when the clutch lever is pulled, letting the plates inside run free.

Not happening.

I took out the plates and inspected for gunk.  Found lotsa gunk.

So everything got cleaned up.  I hit the rusty spots with my wire brush attachment on my grinder (brass, fine, high speed, don’t want to mark that up!).  and cleaned everything thoroughly.  I carefully installed it EXACTLY the way that it was taken out, facings and discs all in the same place and pointing in the same direction.

Tested, and sure enough, the clutch was moving all nice a smooth, going in and out of gear and being a real gentleman.

Buttoned back up.

Time to build a battery box!



Sometimes the bear eats you… And then, sometime you eat the bear.

Owning a lot of old bikes give you a choice every morning that you want to go for a ride.  Which bike is up for the ride?  Which one is in the condition to take on the ride?  How long is the ride and how uncomfortable will it be (The Parilla I had would do 200 miles in a day no problem, I just don’t know if anyone could survive riding it that far)?  Do I have a passenger?

My current “go-to” bike is a Matchless 500cc.  I have it completely sorted.  It just runs beautifully, and starts quickly as long as I DO EXACTLY WHAT THE START PROTOCOL REQUIRES.

That is…

  • Fuel on.
  • Tickle carb until my thumb has a spot of gas on it
  • Open compression release and hold
  • Switch off
  • kick it over about 6-8 times to get all that wonderful gas in the combustion chamber
  • Close compression release
  • Switch on
  • With the bike on the centerstand, left foot on the peg and right foot on the kickstart lever, rotate the engine until it’s just before compression
  • Push down smoothly and quickly on the kickstarter
  • Bruise inner thigh on the oil sump cap
  • It should try to kick you over the handlebars.  If it doesn’t do that or it doesn’t start, repeat
  • It should start within three kicks.  If it doesn’t, you either skipped a step above or you should just start over

Seems like a lot of stuff, to remember, but when done correctly it only takes about 45 seconds.  I usually am on the road in 2 minutes after a short warm-up.

But then, every once in awhile, you are rolling down the road, big grin on your face, the big thumper slowly taking all the feeling out of the right side of your body, and…

clankity, clank…. clank….

Those of you with the sharpest of eyes will note that the exhaust bracket at the bottom of the pipe is broken.  This happened once before at the beginning of summer, and I welded it up.  This time it broke just past my weld — I cooled it too fast and it got brittle, or it was just crappy steel.  Doesn’t matter which at that moment, I had to get my understanding girlfriend/partner/partofmybrain and get a trailer to get home.  On retrospect I could have let it cool and used some bailing wire, but I didn’t have any bailing wire (now I do…)

90 lost minutes and a couple hours this weekend fabricating a bracket that is thicker, out of known metal…

You just, well, let that stuff go.  It’s a story to tell.

1954 Moto Morini cleanup nearing completion Paint has such nice patina I just couldn't do an out-and-out restoration

I purchased this Moto Morini last winter from a very nice gentleman in Charlottesville, NC. It was running before he took it apart to fix a couple of things, and I bought it site unseen with another Morini. This one is a 1954 Turismo. So far I’ve put new 19″ tires on it, re-did a bunch of chrome, and left the paint alone. I’m slowly getting it back together and in running condition and hope to have it on the road in a couple of weeks.

This is my first Morini. I have a friend in the area that thinks they are the best thing since the first motorcycle was ever invented, and I have to agree it looks like it has real potential. The bike itself is a sweet design, and I haven’t really been that interested in any motorbike as much as this one since I sold my Parilla 250. I look forward to getting it back on the road.

Moto Morini 175 on Stand
Moto Morini 175 on Stand

My philosophy on this “restoration” is to keep the paint original wherever it has decals or bodywork. I’ve re-painted the black frame and re-chromed most of the shiny bits, and given the aluminum a decent, but not completely wiping out all the marks, polish. If anything on the bike is broken I’ll fix it, and if anything on the bike is rusted too much I’ll wire brush it and shine it up. I love working on the small bikes because they don’t weigh a bunch and you can muscle them onto a lift or even up on a dirtbike stand to get what you need accomplished.

A dirt bike stand is always a great way to hold small bikes.
A dirt bike stand is always a great way to hold small bikes.

I’m in the midst of rewiring right now. It’s just an interesting bike, I’m thrilled that it uses a generator/coil setup instead of a magneto. I do enjoy the lightness of the magneto setup, but I also like the clean power that the generator produces, it’s easy on bulbs. Funny thing on this one, it doesn’t have a brake light setup. Just a running light. I plan to fix that if I start riding it a great deal.

More to come on this one. In the mean time, enjoy the pix.

Michigan Moto Guzzi Rally Live with the V7 Classic

3:31– packing up, getting ready to leave soon. Too many delays trying to get out of town. I haven’t chosen a route yet. Guess I’ll just wing it, take 94 to the 31, head north and see if I meet up with some other folks.

4:19. On the road. Goodbye pic

6:30- Sawyer, Michigan, for water at a T/A truckstop

8:30-Holland. Got gas-42mpg. Pretty steady 80 mph cruise. Saw a little faster. Decided to take the “easy” way up through Grand Rapids. Checked the mileage to Interlochen, looks like I was about 100 off of my estimate for distance. Don’t know if I’ll make the rally tonight, the Sun’s down.

9:50-Checked into the Holiday Inn in Big Rapids. Temperature had dropped into the 50’s. Saw a couple of ex-deer on the roadside as well. Time change makes it actually an hour later. Beer and burger. I’ll hit the sack and get an early start for tomorrow morning. Continue reading Michigan Moto Guzzi Rally Live with the V7 Classic

Moto Guzzi V7 Classic — Second Week and 800 Miles on the Clock

This is the second review of my ongoing ownership of a 2009 Moto Guzzi V7 Classic. For the first part of the review, click here.

My second week of ownership of my V7 started with a rain day on a Saturday.  It rained so hard that I decided that I wasn’t going to ride until Sunday, where I would make a nice loop going to the Full Moon Cafe on Highway 41, then riding up to the Sly Fox Inn in Wheaton, Wisconsin before taking a bunch of back roads to my home in Oak Park.

It’s a nice loop to make.   The route involved a ride up the 294 towards Milwaukee and then dropping off at Deerfield road for the rest of the ride North on Highway 41.  After hanging out with the other 50-60 riders that show up there on Sundays, I planned a trip up to the Sly Fox where Vintage riders meet for Brunch and tire kicking.  Then the ride home involves skirting the lakes along the Wisconsin/Illinois border and then dropping down into Arlington for a jaunt down the 355/290 and home.  I think it’s about 200 miles or so.

I’ve ridden the bike just close to 800 miles now.    Continue reading Moto Guzzi V7 Classic — Second Week and 800 Miles on the Clock

Moto Guzzi V7 Classic Owner's Review — The First Week and Before

And so it was, upon the demise of my 1200 Sport and State Farm Insurance completely taking care of me, I took a hard look at what and how I would be riding over the next couple of years.  The 1200 was a great bike and I fully expected to replace it.  I purchased it because I wanted it for the long distance tours I had planned to get to this year and the next few.

I realized that my new job and just-outside-the-city lifestyle really meant that for the next couple of years, 99+ percent of my riding would be within a 150mi radius, with many, many days of riding through the streets of Chicago at 30-ish miles per hour.  This is not the venue, mission or best possible circumstances with which to operate a 1200 Sport.  This mustang needs road.  I need a bike that is a better choice for these distances, light on its feet and able to make me grin while I tackle the third-world roads of Chicago and surrounding cities.

You already figured that I’m getting a Guzzi?  Well I looked hard at the Ducati 1000GT, the Triumph Bonneville and even considered a maxi-scoot.  I hit the forums and asked more and more about the V7C.  The more I heard from the people that actually owned it, the more I started warming up to the idea.  Finally, I read a Wall Street Journal Comparison of the Bonneville, Sportster and V7 Classic.

Me and my new V7 Classic 8.11.09
Me and my new V7 Classic 8.11.09

So I now own one  Continue reading Moto Guzzi V7 Classic Owner's Review — The First Week and Before

My Moto Guzzi 1200 Sport is no More…

July 19, 2009

It was a typical Wednesday as I left work just after 6 at WMS. My Birthday was coming up and I was wondering what Sheila had arranged for it, as we make a big deal out of birthdays in our house.  I was traveling one of my usual routes home.  I have about 6 routes that I take on a random basis.  I think  it’s safer to ride this way because you don’t get complacent at intersections and other traffic hazards.

I was about a mile away from my office in heavy traffic; I had just turned southbound on Kedzie, just above the Belmont intersection.  Traffic in the northbound lane was bumper-to-bumper.  A silver car was peeking its nose out, trying to turn out from School Street and into my lane. I chopped the throttle and covered my brake.  Just like that it darted out in front of me.  I hit the brakes but it was too late.  There was no place to go, so I added more rear brake and went sideways, laying the bike down and separating from it cleanly. Continue reading My Moto Guzzi 1200 Sport is no More…

Scoot vs Guzzi as a First Bike?

I’m a fan of your blog, from north of the border in cheesehead country. We’re about the same age, though I obviously started the family a little earlier, as my daughters are now 17 and 20.

And, given that, I’m now thinking about getting a 2-wheel vehicle for which I’m not the motor. I’ve be riding bicycles thousands of miles a year for 30 years. I’ve had the itch to get a motorcycle since I was, oh, 12 or so, when my brother had a Yamaha 60. Put it on hold while I either didn’t have the money or had young kids to think of. Now that I have money and pretty-much-grown kids, the motorized 2-wheeler itch is like a bad case of poison ivy.

My tastes run very classical – air cooled twins, round headlights. I’m very small – 5’6, 120 pounds. My riding will mostly be my 10-mile commute to downtown Milwaukee from the north shore, along Lake Drive, but I also plan to get out into the Wisconsin countryside to explore a little farther than I can typically get in a morning of cycling. Ever been to Holy Hill? The roads around it are to die for. I also have in mind riding out to Minnesota, where my older daughter is at college, once in a while.

So, I’m thinking the Vespa gts 250 (or new 300) would be great for commuting, the Breva 750 ideal for fun rides and travel, and maybe the Piaggio BV250 is the compromise.

The x-factor here is that my wife is adamantly opposed to the whole notion. She has a pretty deep, emotional, irrational association with motorcycles, and has stated flat-out she’ll never go near one. On our honeymoon we had a very good time ripping around Nice, France, on a scooter, so I’m not quite sure what happened over the last 23 years. Anyway, it’s possible that a scooter will be less traumatic, and on the motorcycle side, a V7 Classic will prompt less of a visceral response from its classic styling.

I’ve ridden the V7 Classic, Breva 750, and GTS250, and like them all. I like the Breva a little better than the V7, but obviously there’s little to distinguish between them. It’s obvious the scooter is the better commuter. But there’s also the image factor of pulling into the garage at work. The motorcycle has a huge advantage there, I won’t lie.

So, I’m looking for your thoughts on whether you think I’m on the right track, or am I missing something crucial?

Well Ted! Let’s look at the factors involved:

  • You live in Wisconsin and will store the bike in winter.
  • You haven’t really ridden a motorcycle before.  Fooled around, but haven’t gotten a license, etc.
  • You like the classic, retro look.
  • You’re not a huge guy
  • You have a 10 mile commute.
  • You want to ride in the country, possibly make a Minnesota trip, etc.
  • Your wife is not really into the whole thing whatsoever.
  • You’ve ridden Guzzis and Vespas
  • Your friends are gonna put a mark on you whether you ride a scoot or a bike.

I actually have some suggestions that will help you discover which one you might want to go with.  I’ve got my favorites here, but I’m going to go “pro-con” and let you decide. Continue reading Scoot vs Guzzi as a First Bike?