Hello Frank! Keith Ruff here from New Jersey. Thanks for posting my My First Guzzi - A Labor of Love and Patience article in the July issue of the MGNOC newsletter, as well as adding it to the features section of the website. Just wanted to send you an update on Patience, my 1971 Police Ambassador. Shortly after the article posted, Patience tried my patience again. I had a nice ride down to Wildwood, New Jersey, for a Roar to the Shore Rally weekend the 1st week in September, the old goose ran great. A few days later, I fired her up to take her to work. All was well until I climbed aboard and snapped the throttle - CLACK CLACK CLACK! WHAT IS THAT! Sounded like it threw a rod bearing, after only 6000 miles on the engine.
Back to the garage with her and off to work in the car. I made a few calls around to fellow owners trying to diagnose the problem. I pulled the oil pan and found the original oil dipstick that the Guzzi dealer said was missing when he removed the plug. Initially I though it was the cause, but upon inspecting the internals, everything looked like new and the rod bearings seemed fine. I then pulled the timing chest cover and all looked like new in there as well. At a loss for the source of the noise and a lack of time and knowledge to tear down the motor, I looked for a loop frame expert.
Back on the loopframe bulletin board, I posted a message asking for an expert mechanic. The response I received and the rest of this story is nothing short of amazing. A gentleman by the name of Andy Hill from Penn Yan, New York, had been following my two plus year mental anguish with Patience and offered to fix her free of charge, I had to pay only for parts and gas for his truck to/from his home to our meeting point, some three hours away from his home! Many posts followed promoting me to let Andy work his magic. How could I refuse such an offer, what a wise choice it was! Andy's plea was that it was not the bikes fault, that these were super reliable machines. He figured the problems were caused by the time it sat around during the last ten years, but what we found was most of the problems were the fault of the previous mechanics who worked on her.
I don't think I have ever met a nicer, more generous person in my lifetime. The time Andy spent working on Patience and things he did are absolutely amazing to me. Andy treated Patience as if he was the owner, and proceeded to inspect/repair everything on her. The engine/transmission were out of the bike twice, once to identify the noise and to completely disassemble and inspect every piece of the motor, the second time to re-fix a brand new leaking main seal that he had just replaced (go figure, happened to him once before on his Ambo too). The clattering noise turned out to be loose flywheel bolts, one bolt head had actually sheered off. New upgraded flywheel bolts were installed, and the tranny checked out. He noticed a loose bolt on the cam screw adjuster and tightened it up. While the motor was out, Andy made an additional support bracket for the generator to prevent the generator bracket from cracking, common on loop frames. Also, while the engine/transmission was out of the frame, he stripped the casings with a wire wheel and re-painted them with aluminum paint used by his local Guzzi dealer for refurbishing their Guzzis. Next, the front end was pretty much disassembled to inspect the fork springs, which seemed to be soft/sagging (he said they were like new except for the sagging). Andy added some PVC pre-load spacers to beef up the springs. He said she rides like a cat now, compared to his Ambo that runs like a hound dog. In addition, he re-packed the steering head bearings, which had 30 year old dried up hard grease. The rear spline was also checked and re-lubed, and the swing arm was checked and adjusted. A new, longer clutch cable was installed, new front main seal, and all other seals along the way during the motor disassembly-reassembly. All cables were lubed too. Valves, timing, and carbs were adjusted and readjusted during break in of the new head gaskets. The heads were re-torqued about 4 times during break in of the new head gaskets. Also, thanks to Andy's intuition, the carbsindeed were not right. Andy had posted a note to the loop frame board and also spoke to me about the throttle response not being crisp. Even after cleaning the carbs, replacing the idle jets with stock ones (Guzzi dealer installed a larger one to compensate for K&N air filters), and installing venturis and pod filters from Mark Ethridge at Moto Guzzi Classics, the throttle was better but "just not as crisp as it should be". Andy spent another afternoon checking out this problem and decided to totally tear down the carbs, do a thorough cleaning, and investigate. What he found was quite interesting. He changed out the main jets (Guzzi dealer had increased the size for the K&N's) for the stock size and found out that the accelerator pumps (that is what my Chilton book calls them) were installed upside down! Not sure who did this, either the Guzzi dealer or perhaps the previous owner. He also found some dried up seals, which were leaking and replaced those. As a result, the carbs have been cleaned and basically rebuilt, the carbs have been synchronized, and the "crisp throttle response" is dead on now. As Andy said, "sounds and runs like a Guzzi should now". A final carb, valve, and timing adjustment were administered and last re-torque of the heads and Patience is now officially finished. Much to Andy's dismay as he has "bonded" with Patience and made a place for her in his barn, she is ready for pickup.
Andy said Patience is now like a brand new motorcycle. He was amazed at how all of the internal components of the engine/transmission were in perfect like new condition, true to the 6000 miles on the odometer. Everything on Patience has now been inspected and replaced as necessary. Mechanically she is 100%, cosmetically she is very good and bears her 32 year old original paint and hand striping that is in good shape.
I can't thank Andy enough for all that he has done for Patience and myself. Throughout these short few weeks, I couldn't thank him enough for all he was doing, but he kept responding with don't you believe me when I tell you I appreciate you allowing me to work on your bike?
The first time I met Andy, I asked: I just don't understand. We know each other only by name from an online loop frame bulletin board, and you travel three hours from your home on your day off to meet me half way from my house, to pick up my motorcycle and travel three hours back to your home, to fix her free. I don't get it.
His response, I love to work on these bikes, it's a passion for me. When you learn to work on these bikes, you too will help out fellow owners. It's a Guzzi thing, we Guzzi owners have a close bond. Welcome to Moto Guzzi.
I wish to nominate Andy Hill for a 1st annual Guzzi Good Guy Award. He is amazingly giving and is the nicest guy I have ever met. People like Andy are hard to find, it's nice to know there are still people like him out there in this world, most of them own Moto Guzzi's!
`71 Police Ambassador - NJ