Le Mans Mk 5 Swingarm

I dropped the rear wheel out the Le Mans to replace the wheel bearings (giving the bike a good once over) and the swingarm is suffering from a build up of surface rust (where the real wheel throws all the muck). So several questions:-

I’m used to removing small block swingarms but never done a big block before - how difficult is it? Guzziology seems to suggest it can be a difficult job.

Also, is it worth it? I have read the drive shaft carrier bearing can fail around 30K miles, and my bike has done 28k miles. So I am concerned I might have a looming problem - or is it just Internet rumour?

Lastly, does anyone know how good (or bad) Hammerite red is for a colour match (the bike is Guzzi red)?


If it’s a Tonti frame not very difficult. Good idea to check things, replace bits as necessary and regrease. Undo the locknuts and pivot pins and it virtually drops out ~ only thing I found is also need to remove the footrest carrier bolts and nuts else it won’t come out.

Take the F/D box and driveshaft off first (at risk of stating the bleedin’ obvious). Check also pivot bearings and grease.

I have repainted my swingarm with Hammerite.


I would always replace the bearing & UJ if I was taking the swinging arm off unless I knew beyond any doubt they are 100% OK. But then I had the UJ on my LMV go bang in a big way and it was not a nice riding experience !! Of course once you’ve replaced them you know their history so can be slightly more relaxed about it. I also fitted a grease nipple to the UJ section of the swinging arm so I could occasionally squirt a little oil in there to keep the UJ moist & lightly lubricated.

As for paint…Bailey Paints in Stroud did a colour match for my LMV about 10 years ago and might still have the recipe on file. (Back then the chap in there even recognized what bike the side panel had come from which was a nice surprise !!). The recipe might be filed by customer name (mine = Will Morgan) rather than by Guzzi or LMV. They will mix the paint on the spot & do aerosols too.

Thanks for the feedback.

The UJ bearing seems OK, but having now removed it I will replace it with new. Does anyone know the bearing number please? (Cheaper to buy SKF bearings than a Guzzi part). It does look like the UJ is shot so will have to put my hands deep in my pockets and replace it.


If you have a Haynes manual then the number is visible in the photo.
Not not bother replacing the circlip, nothing is going anywhere and the weight saving will make you faster :smiley: .
Split the shaft, the joining boot should be see through, if not clean out the dry rust which has accumulated.
Grease everything up before reaasembly not using LM but HM grease.
It is all easy, an afternoon the first time and then something to be done before going to the club meet that evening after that.
The shoxs are often the difficult bit if not been split before.

Thanks for the info, Ian. Really leave out the circlip? I can understand your logic - it’s got nowhere to go - just someone else has said “always replace with a new circlip”. It was a bu**er to get out so happy if it doesn’t need to go back in :smiley:

The advice was from Oliver at Oxford Motorcycle Enginneers in 1988.
The bearing is still in place.

Cool - works for me! Sorry - really dumb question - HM grease? Can I assume that’s High Melting point grease?

I’ve just had a quick look at Castols site and whilst they do something that looks similer I bought my tub in '88 and it is still going strong.
Best to ask someone slightly more up to date as there could easily be a better product available.
Paul Harris and Baldrick amongst others have always been free with their knowledge.


Thanks Chris, I was resonably certain but not 100%.

‘LM’ does not mean ‘low melting point’, it means it’s got Lithium in it. (But can’t find out what the ‘M’ stands for.) I use Castrol LM for everything and which is also suitable for high temperature. Was especially formulated for wheel bearings, says the blurbs. Anyway I’ve used this on my shaft splines with no subsequent problems. HM seems a mite OTT for this application, but just IMHO…

Thanks for that, why I wasn’t sure.
Someone in the trade advised Castrol H on the shaft and drive spines as less likely to fling off.
LM for bearings and general use though.

I think that there are several aspects that are harder to do than pulling the rear out of a small block. You’ve got a whole lot more fiddling pulling the rear wheel with that separate brake plate. You need to be aware of and use the cut outs in the rear disc to help facilitate this.

And agreed you need to unbolt and remove the drive box to make the rest of it easier, whereas it is lighter and easy enough to leave in place when removing and replacing a small block s/arm.

Plugging the UJ back in on reassembly can be a pita. Despite the fact that you will likely be Loctiting the UJ where it slides back into the carrier bearing you want to first plug the UJ into the gearbox output shaft. Then offer up the swinging arm and run a rod up the inside of it to align the free end of the UJ back into that carrier bearing. And it helps if you have it all up on a table and aren’t grubbing around on your hands and knees.

Having said all that I pull mine every year just for a look, and reglue the UJ into the bearing.

Yeah but no but, like many other things while it seems at first daunting, it gets easier with practice after a couple of goes… then you’re whizzing it off and back on again in an afternoon and without looking at the manual …

20 mins will get you in and out on a small block. Don’t even have to bother with the reading glasses.

Well as I assume that at some time I will have to I will bear that in mind.

I dismantled one end of the UJ last night after having soaked it in oil during the week.

The circlips were rusted in. Pushing out the end caps in a vice was extremely difficult. I then found a few roller pins (the ones inside the end cap bearing) stuck in some old grease inside the swingarm. 3 of the 4 end caps contained oil and one of the 3 appeared to lost some of its roller pins - presumably the ones fallen into the swingarm. 1 of the 4 end caps looked in good condition and had no oil ingress - I guess this leads to the view that soaking them in oil can extend their life???

The photos are not very clear but hopefully you can see the wear.

A new UJ for me then…


A classic case of “brinelling”, at one time replacement bearing/cap/spider kits were available, I believe Guzzi Overland used to do them, these days you are probably right to go for complete replacement. a touch of Moly Disulphide grease works a treat on UJs and splines.