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Cali III Cafe Project

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MisterB View Drop Down
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    Posted: 22 Sep 2016 at 11:32
Four years ago, I decided I needed a new project to keep me busy over the winter. Having considered many options I settled on a Tonti framed, carb model Guzzi. Early Lemans were already too expensive, even the boring touring models were getting expensive, except for one model that seemed to be overlooked by the classic mob.
The California Mk3.. it didn't have the looks of the earlier models, but was the last model to have carbs and the classic Tonti Frame. It also came with 18inch alloy rims and stainless spokes from the factory, a big bonus as far as I was concerned. Other folks had the same idea, and a few were being converted to Café racers or LeMans replicas, by fitting the LM lower frame rails and a LM tank.

I found my Cali one cold winters day, owned by a chap who races Guzzis. He'd made a start on converting the bike, but decided to sell as he didn't have the time to complete it. I couldn't hear it running, but it came with the all important LM frame rails and tank, and the documentation showed it had been used recently.. so I brought it home.

A previous owner had painted everything black badly.. very badly


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MisterB View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MisterB Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Sep 2016 at 11:34
The plan was to strip the bike down, get the frame powder coated, clean and polish everything, hopefully the motor wouldn't need much work.. rebuild it with minimum wiring, a single seat, a few upgrades here and there. such as delinking the brakes, braided hoses, make it lighter....and ride it. The engine in the Cali is tuned for torque rather than HP like the Lemans.. should make for a good everyday bike.

First step, strip the bike and lift the frame off the engine, a lot easier than lifting the engine from the frame. I took lots of photos along the way of every cable, wire, pipe, nut and bolt, all worthwhile when it comes time to put it all back together..

The LM tank and seat unit had a nice paint job, but on the bike the rounded seat didn't really match the angular tank, while the seat looked a bit too narrow to sit comfortably over the seat rails.

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MisterB View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MisterB Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Sep 2016 at 11:40
With the engine out of the frame, I could make a start on the long tedious job of scraping off the old paint, polishing the alloy and replacing all old the fasteners with new stainless ones..

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MisterB Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Sep 2016 at 11:47
Turning to the frame, the rear shock mounts were damaged, so had to grind them out, make new ones and get them welded into the frame..While the frame was being welded, I also took the chance to cut off a lot of tabs, I went a bit far, as later I wished I had kept a few of them  :sad:

With that problem solved, I decided to save money an paint the frame myself. I made a start with the swing arm, it turned out ok, just using rattle can smooth hammerite, but it took so long to do, I gave in and had the frame powder coated. Which was my next mistake. I'd normally use Triple S over in Yorkshire, but its half a day's drive in awful traffic, so I went to a local place who had been recommended to me. Well, I got the frame back and I wasn't impressed..

My typical technical drawing ...
 
 
Its handy to have a friend who know what he's doing and own a lathe and miller Smile
 
 
 
 
 
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MisterB View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MisterB Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Sep 2016 at 11:51
The powder coaters hadn't protected the (new) head races when they blasted the frame, so they were scrap, while they also hadn't bothered to mask the frame number plate or the various threaded holes in the frame. Not such a big problem, except for the swing arm pivot adjuster threads, which I didn't have a tap for. Fortunately, a local machine shop I sometimes use (we'll hear of this place again later) had the right tap and let me use it for the cost of a packet of choc digestives.. a fair exchange  :thumb:
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MisterB Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Sep 2016 at 11:58
My first new part order.. Tarrozi rear sets, and a pair of alloy bell mouths .. so much for practical..

Well, one thing you cant avoid with these old bikes is polishing old alloy and cleaning up rusty parts. So best get started..

One thing I like about the Guzzi is that it comes apart so easily, with no tricky assemblies or special tools required.

These are the front disc spacers/mounts, they polished up ok, I didn't spent too much time on these, as I didn't want to build an over restored show bike, but a usable road bike ..

The fork tops were looking very tired, so I skimmed them in my mates big old lathe and filed and polished the sides by hand..

Multiply the work in those fork tops by the rest of the bike, and it takes hundreds of hours..but that's ok, keeps me occupied..

I cleaned up the wheels and discs and fitted new Bridgestones, the previous owner had even sprayed the spokes and hubs black, and try as I might I couldn't get all the old paint off the hubs with the spokes in the way. Oh well, its not supposed to be a show bike I told myself, but still, it annoyed me more than I'd admit, as I have to have my bikes as good as I can manage, and leaving those hubs in such a state wasn't really good enough, as indeed was the very average powder coating on the frame.
 
 
 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MisterB Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Sep 2016 at 12:03
After far too many hours cleaning the engine cases, painting the barrels and replacing most of its fasteners with shiny new stainless, finally it was time to lift the frame back on the engine, I managed it on my own and didn't even scratch the powder coat..

I had a change of heart about the bevel box that I'd carefully prepped and painted months before. I had intended to paint the engine too, but didn't in the end, so now the painted bevel box stood out.. so I stripped it again.. pity as I'd done a nice job on that..
 
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A still summers day, ideal for painting the starter motor and a few brackets..

The bike came with this aftermarket alloy battery tray, which didn't fit. By the time I'd got it to fit, drilled it and bevelled all the mounting holes it would've been quicker to make one from scratch..

Cleaned and fitted the rear brake master cylinder, this usually activates the rear caliper AND one of the fronts too, but I've got rid of that and will run them delinked. The front master cylinder was damaged, so fitted one from a Yamaha R1, which should be big enough to work the front calipers.
 
 
 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MisterB Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Sep 2016 at 12:11
So that's about six months work so far, still lots to do, I'll post some more later, now its time for a well earned cuppa 
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Jim Mac View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jim Mac Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Sep 2016 at 13:02
wow,  great stuff, keep it coming
Norge 1200 GT 8v   T5 Polizia
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iceni View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote iceni Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Sep 2016 at 15:35
Interesting    Look forward to the next instalment.
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This is going to be a long winded build I'm afraid...
 
Now its time for the rear sets saga. I'd left them in their packaging till it was time to fit them. Checking all the parts, there seemed to be some missing..

And there were, quite a complex linkage for the gear change, a simple link rod for the rear brake and some kind of bush where the levers pivot through the frame rails. Since the kit was designed to fit a Lemans, I guess they assumed I already had these missing parts, as they'd be OE on a Lemans..

I checked the photos I'd taken of the Guzzi race bike owned by the previous owner, and saw I needed an extra linkage, which eventually came from a Guzzi breakers in France, thank god for the internet.

Need some kind of bush, where the rearsets pivot through the frame, a Guzzi dealer wanted £7 for each bush, sod that! I got mine for 0.79p from an online bearing shop..

On the brake side, I used a pair of stainless rose joints, measured how long the link rod needed to be, and went over to my mates workshop to make it.. this is about the limit of my machining skills..

Cut a piece of stainless rod, machine down each end and finally cut a thread for the rose joints. It looks a few mm too long, but can always shorten it if needed.
 
 

 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MisterB Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Sep 2016 at 15:57
Now its back to yet more polishing... the yolks and stanchions needed a days work.. I was going to polish out the casting seams too, but decided to get a life instead..

And the rocker covers, stainless downpipes, headlight brackets.. on and on, how I hate polishing stainless, its far worse to work with than alloy..


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MisterB Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Sep 2016 at 16:22
With the forks polished, I went to my mates bike shop and picked up a bottle of 15 weight fork oil and asked him to give me a price on a pair of Hagon shocks. I'd looked at various options for rear shocks, from cheap and cheerful Hagons through Ikons to Maxtons (£550 for a custom made pair), right up to Ohlins which are now over a grand for their basic set ! I did have a mint set of original Konis which were the right length, but the lower mounts were completely different, so couldn't use them.

At the bikeshop, I was asked if I'd considered a set by YSS ... who?? I was handed the catalogue to browse, and they didn't look bad at all, erm, but were they just some cheapo chinese copy?? Apparently not, they make components for some of the big name brands and are now being assembled in the UK to your spec. They'd sold a few already at the shop and had been impressed with the quality, the clincher was the price, less than the basic Hagons... so I ordered a pair, be here next week. Here's a link to the company.. http://www.yss.co.th/

They arrived soon enough, and despite the low price they looked to be good quality.. wasn't long before the Cali was back on its wheels at last..


That seat will have to go..  also the forks look too long, not sure why, but it gave me the chance to drop them and fit the clip ons above the top yoke. My damaged shoulder will thank me ..
 

Another problem I found was that the exhaust H pipe was cracked in several places, I common problem it seems. Well, this was supposed to be a budget build, so I welded them up, it didn't look too good, but I don't myself no one would see it anyway, still annoyed me though..
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MisterB Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Sep 2016 at 16:46
I was looking for alternate seat units.. I found this site,

http://www.raggededgeracing.com/22.html

which makes a typcial cafe racer-ish seat for Guzzis.. an easy option, but a bit boring, and not quite what I'm looking for. But they also do lots more too, including a Rickman copy, which having sketched out best as I could to see how it might look on the bike, I ordered, as I felt the more angular style of the Rickman seat unit would be a better match for the LM5 tank, a tank which isn't one of Guzzis finest. The seat arrived within a couple of weeks, its well made for the price, though the hump in the base may have to go..
 

At this time, the Guzzi went to my mates workshop to have its braided brake lines fitted. It was a bit out of sync, as I had wanted to sort out the exhaust system first, but he offered to collect the bike so off it went..

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