Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Adventures of Replacing a Moto Guzzi Oil Pressure Switch—Part 1

I am documenting my recent experience in replacing an oil pressure switch gone bad on my 2012 Moto Guzzi Norge. I document this primarily for me as I feel myself inescapably approaching that time when I will no longer be able to keep such experiences in working memory.
I picture myself in a rocking chair on a porch somewhere using the latest portable computing device re-reading this blog entry and turning to the old crusty guy sitting next to me in his rocking chair and saying, “See this? I did that! I am a rockstar!
I also do this for fellow Guzzi riders, especially relatively new Guzzi owners like me, who encounter what at first seems to be straight forward problems that ultimately takes twists and turns and needs a little creativity to manage a solution.

The problem:

At the beginning of the summer during a commute home when it was particularly hot, while idling at a stoplight, I noticed the ‘check engine’ light flutter to life on the dash. I thought “Uh oh”, but when the stoplight turned green and I rev-ed the engine to take off, the check engine light promptly went out. By the time I got home I forgot about it. (A foreshadow of things to come? See 1st paragraph.) A few days later, under the same circumstances—hot day, engine idling—the check engine light came on again but this time accompanied with the 'oil can icon' showing on the dash panel. That kept my attention and when I got home and I went through the diagnostic settings to read the fault code: DSB 08, oil pressure fault. I felt a tightening around my throat.

Checking in with my long time Guzzi riding friend revealed he has a similar problem with his Grisso—something he had been ignoring for years! A little Internet research revealed numerous other Moto Guzzi owners with similar problems. And all under the same circumstances of high temperatures, low engine revs, either or both the check engine light and ‘oil can icon’ showing on the dash. I read only a rare few had actual oil pressure problems—e.g. oil pump failure—and I was very relieved. The switch is located on the top of the engine within the “V”. Replacement would require removing the fuel tank at a minimum which I assumed was rather involved (based on experiences with my previous Italian motorcycle) and so I was fully prepared to ignore the problem. 

Oil pressure switches are a common component of nearly all internal combustion engines. This relatively simple electrical switch informs the operator that oil pressure has dropped, ostensibly indicating an unsafe condition that needs to be remedied. When I removed the old switch on my Norge, I broke off the plastic housing which showed a simple metal “plunger” and a spring. Apparently, these Guzzi switches “fail” by giving a false reading of low pressure under conditions of high temperature when the engine is at low speeds like idling. The high temperature is probably a factor because that is when oil viscosity is at its lowest (water is a low viscosity fluid, syrup is a high viscosity fluid) and along with low engine speed is likely not “pushing” against the plunger with enough force to maintain electrical contact within the switch falsely indicating to the main ECU that the oil pressure is low.
For some reason, I forgot to take a photo of my oil pressure switch. It looked just like this one. The left end is where the electrical connector clipped on and the right end is where it screwed into the engine. Oil entered into the switch on this end.
Apparently, mine had another problem: It must have had a crack or hole somewhere on the plastic housing because the bike was leaking oil. I find oil leaks irritating. I couldn’t ignore this problem because not only was oil mist was making the under parts of my Norge unsightly, I was worried too much oil would spray onto the rear wheel making the bike unsafe. This needed to be fixed.
Something to do during the winter doldrums

To be continued…

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Ever-Frustrating Conversation About Riding Motorcycles

The Ever-Frustrating Conversation About Riding Motorcycles

This is a link to an article on Yahoo that every motorcyclist has had with a non-motorcyclist. It is indeed a frustrating conversation and it ends just like it does in the article.

This is a photo of my wife and granddaughter having fun. 

'via Blog this'

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Three motorcycle rides in August wrapped up in one post

Owing to a lot of things this very busy summer, we have not taken many motorcycle rides this year. Thinking about this too much only brings sadness. Thankfully, suffering from self diagnosed adult attention deficit disorder means I'll soon forget this sadness and be about my merry way. Below are photos and the routes of three local trips taken in August on my Moto Guzzi Norge (pronounced nor-jay in the country where Guzzis are made) and my wife's California Sidecar Goldwing trike.

The "green route" was taken on August 15th. Originally intending to head south to Yorktown we were beaten back by the traffic and ultimately ended up in Culpeper, VA at the Frost Cafe for a late lunch. The summer time traffic around here, especially that headed south or east (that is, towards the beaches) has become legendarily horrible. It's enough to make a person consider moving away.

On August 22nd, we rode the "red route." An approximate 200-mile ride to New Market, VA to eat lunch at the Southern Kitchen, apparently famous for its peanut soup (which, to me, doesn't sound that appealing).

Finally, on the 29th, we rode the "blue route" to Paw Paw, WV. The whole trip was a bit under 250 miles on one of the nicest weather days ever, much less a day in August.

Below are some photos in no particular order. On one of the trips, we ran into Cooter from the old Dukes of Hazzard TV show. He has a place near Sperryville.

The last photo show 9999 miles on the odometer...I pulled off the road to snap a photo.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

First significant motorcycle ride in 2015 - Home to Culpeper, VA

My wife & I rode our motorcycles from home to Culpeper, VA. Though overcast and many would say a bit cool in the upper 70os, I thought the weather was perfect. We stopped in at the Frost Cafe for lunch. My wife wandered up and down the streets looking for a bargain small enough to strap on the back of her bike, alas, none was found. :(

When we first arrived, we got tied up in some kind of protest that seemed on the verge of becoming a full on riot. A group of people almost overran our motorcycles, but the local police were there and kept everything under control and it turned out ok. I've never seen anything like it.

Other photos from today's ride:

(Changing the subject:) I don't want this to become a self fulfilling prophecy, but I've got a feeling this isn't going to be a banner riding season for putting miles on our bikes. We're getting a pretty late start this season, we normally have our 1st ride in May and sometimes even in April. The way our summer schedule is stacking up it looks like many weekends are already booked with activities: a family vacation, extended family get-together, stuff-at-work-I-can't-miss, etc. etc. Ah well, we'll make the best of it. :)

GPS stats from today's ride:
  • total distance: 105 miles
  • overall avg speed: 26 mph
  • moving avg speed: 44 mph
  • max speed: 68 mph
  • total time on the road: 4hrs 5min
  • moving time: 2hrs 23min
  • stopped time: 1hr 42min

Friday, January 30, 2015