Noise control?

I’m on my California Vintage: tappets of the left cylinder, exhaust side cannot be tuned. After few miles I’ve fixed the gap, they became noise again and the gap becomes huge! Â It’s not the rocker nor the pushrod so I’m digging deeper to reach the cam followers.Â
In the process I had to remove the exhaust and here is my question:
I’ve seen that in the pipe there is a bolt. I cannot see any reason for this bolt to exist if not to make the bike a bit noisier :smiling_imp:
Do you know if this is true?Â

I believe it’s to plug in a gas analyser during service.

Doesn’t sound good (sic), when I had similar it was a cam follower getting chewed away. Pushrod finally dropped off the rocker on a long trip so I had to be recovered home!

Cam followers are case hardened and if the hardened surface has worn away, the remainder disappears quickly.

Also lots of metal bits in the sump, scored follower guide in crankcase (which I managed to polish out with emery cloth), and worse, cam is fcuk-ed also so replacement camshaft needed.

Although I wouldn’t have thought a California Vintage would have enough wear yet to have this problem?

My Cali has done not even 5k miles!!!
In less than 100 miles from previous gap tuning, the gap has gone very high 0.5mm or even more!!Â
Since the bike is pretty new I decided to check what was the cause as soon as possible.Â
I hope it’ll do with just new followers.Â

Sorry the bolt is not meant for the noise, it would have been a kind of compensation for the disturb :slight_smile:Â

Definitely odd, so does need investigating. Another possiblity is pushrod shortening (?), also play between the rocker pivot pin and its bush can cause some extra clearance, but as you say wouldn’t have thought those were worn enough yet either.

Just had a thought ~ does it have hydraulic tappets?

Problee depends what year it is…

If it has, it must have a particular grade of engine oil, else they won’t work properly.

Flat tappet wear is one of the consequences of removing the ZDDP anti-scuff additive from modern oils but even so 5000 miles is a bit on the quick side.

She’s a 2010 model.

From a visual inspection both rocker and push-rods seem OK.
Yes, at both ends of the pus-rods I can see a different shade of colour where there is friction, but I can’t see or feel any groove.
Similarly for the ball-end of the rockers.
The rocker holder seems also OK, I couldn’t spot signs of wearing.
Considering the gaps I had to adjust (well above 1 mm summing them up) I would expect to see substantial marks.

I don’t think my bike has hydraulic tappets, I see a spring, a rocker and a push-rod for each valve and it seems all pretty “dry” to me.
but the secret of my success it to work on my motorbikes without mechanical knowledge, so I may well be wrong! :slight_smile:

I’ve been browsing a bit about the tappets problem and I’ve found it it’s a pretty common issue, especially with the V11. It’s always the left cylinder, exhaust side valve. exactly like mine. Culprit in the case of the V11 is a soft cam (a German company claims to have the kit to fix the issue).
I’ve been in touch with a Guzzi dealer and he told me that in his experience he’s never had to replace a cam in a “2 valve model” (I guess the V11 has 4 valves?) and that when he’s seen this problem it was the cam-follower.

Time to drain the oil and see if there is any metal particles in it, Â


Yes, and yes!

I use this now ~ only a little bit (works out as about 1% added to ‘classic’ mineral oil).

The tappets would be at the bottom of the pushrods not the top. Means cylinder off I’m afraid.
I agree with you doesn’t seem that the Vintage had hydraulic lifters. Anyway according to Internet …

I’m not convinced this is a tappet/follower problem. You adjust up and within just a couple of miles it’s all gone horribly wrong again?

That’s what he says ~ left exhaust only. Keeps going wider.

You can tell if it has hydraulic tappets - you can’t adjust them. :smiley:

Pretty much!
this is what happened:
in July I had her serviced, in preparation of an European trip that  I had to skip :frowning:
I do not know which oil has been used.
before the service I could hear a little noise from both head.
I bought the bike with 1500miles on the clock and basically no service history (no that you look for it which such a bike!)
about one month later instead of France I went to Wight. Tour was about 500/600 miles. between the service and the tour I probably did other 400/500 miles, let’s say about a total of 1000 miles in slightly more than one month and I could already hear the noise again. At the beginning to be honest I did not bothered with it, than it started to be quite loud and so I decided to tune the gap.
When I went to check the gap I put by mistake the 0.18 feeler and it went through very easily…but then I realised that the .20 was glued to the 0.18, so the gap was actually larger than 0.38! I did manage the get through 4 feelers, and then I stopped because I got scared, not because I measured the gap!
Fixed the gap I’ve used the bike for another  month or so and the noise came back.
I thought I did not tighten properly the bolt so I did restore the gap without worrying to much.
The weekend after I used the bike for the first time after the fix and I had a 100 mile trip. On the way home the noise started again. it was like it had been switched on: from nothing to loud in no time.
When I checked the bolts where tight and moving the rocker it was clear that the gap was huge again.

So, since the service the issue has presented with a rapidly increasing frequency…just like a piece that has lost its hardened shell and it’s now exposing its soft inside!

I would think the oil used for the service has caused this, but I’ve done a very limited amount of miles since the service (2500?) so it must have been a very been oil to cause this…or maybe it was not just the oil.

Anyway I’ll bear in mind your solution for when I’ve fixed the bike. Thanks

I also use this additive along with Millers ZSS 20w 50. I started using the ZDDP after stripping down and rebuilding the 40,000 mile engine. Literally the only worn parts were the cam followers (although I did replace the other moving parts for peace of mind)

I don’t believe that the ‘wrong’ oil is a contributing factor here. And personally I wouldn’t be putting additives into the oil on a sub 10k mile engine, I’d expect it still to be breaking in during this period. The evidence does seem to suggest a rapidly wearing component though. Either the clocked mileage is way lower than it actually has done (no service history), or there is a faulty part in there. I’ll be interested to hear what you find. Good luck.

Been reading this and I’d be pulling it apart and measuring all the bits. Sound like something is wearing or not set correctly. Â Have you had someone who knows what they are doing look at it?

These aren’t complicated engines so if it has to come apart it will be easy to sort. Â

One last thing have you been doing lots of short trips, as this will accelerate any wear and highlight suspect parts?

A colleague of mine is helping me. He’s good with this stuff, he knows a big deal of engines and how to work with them. His 70s better-than-new-ducati is the live proof of what I’m saying :slight_smile:

well…yes. Usually I commute with the bike, 4-5 miles each way. To be honest I try to take the long route as often as I can, but it does not sum up to many miles anyway. During weekends I can ride for longer. I knew that the California prefers long rides, but I never thought short trips would actually cause damage.

Anyway I’m currently 2 bolts away from removing the head, so by the weekend I should be able to check the followers (or at least I hope so!)