In The Shop: 1970 Moto Guzzi

Here’s a cool ride that recently found its way into our shop. A 1970 Moto Guzzi Ambassador with sidecar. The owner asked us if we would replace his fork seals. We talked him into also doing his neck bearings and races at this time. It was an easy sell as we pointed out that the original neck bearings were beat to death and actually trying to hold the steering in a straight forward position.

The front end came apart fairly easy considering it had never been disassembled. It had been together since the bike’s inception somewhere in Italy. When we had the fork tube assemblies out of the trees and on the bench, we found that we needed to order a specialty tool to complete the disassembly. The tool we purchased is a fork collar removal tool. You can get around not having this tool by using large channel locks, but there is a good chance that you will hurt the finished surface of the fork collars if you do.

Even with the specialty tool, we needed to use a propane torch to heat the area and get the fork collars on the move. This was the most challenging part of the fork rebuild. All of the fork components were cleaned thoroughly and reassembly was a breeze.

Although the bearings were slightly larger, with a longer inner race, the neck bearing replacement procedure was very similar to Harley Davidson. The upper bearing and dust shield were in your hand once the stem was dropped down through the neck.The lower bearing was removed by, 1st, breaking the bearing cage with a chisel to remove the cage and needle bearings. Then, we heated the inner race and tapped it off with a punch. After cleaning everything thoroughly, we installed a new lower dust shield and used our long collet to press against the inner race of the new bearing which was packed with fresh grease. The lower bearing was pressed until fully seated. Our JIMS, neck bearing, race remover was not used. It was too small, but the old races were easy removed with a long punch.

We installed new races and completed reassembly. The test ride was a blast for Bob. He likes to get as close as he can to the guide rails when I’m in a sidecar.

At least somebody’s having fun!

See Harley-Davidson Neck Bearing R&R and Fall Away in our detailed videos.
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