Mass is important

ER Classics Desktop 2022

Mass ... and not like a fat guy doing a bomb in the pool. But mass as in the story that 'stream' must be able to flow. From one battery pole to the other.

Mass: Then we are in the electricity corner

A wonderful world where classic lovers are still lucky enough to be able to see and follow threads instead of looking for the secrets of dead electronics in surprise. But electrical things are still tricky business for many of us.

Like New. Is kind of good

A top restored classic is of course ZGAN. But in his time even "new" was no guarantee for anything. In the background a couple of Italy lovers burst out in desperate howl. They run laps and bump their walls against their foreheads.

Someone once noticed that his brand-new Benelli Sei was horny when he sent to the right. When steering to the left, the indicators went on and smoke came out of the headlight. With my own Guzzi I just had to pull a handful of smoldering cables.

Check step by step

If there are electricity problems, first check whether the lamps in question are still good. Then check the fuses.

Subsequently, there may be wire breakage, insurmountable transitional resistances or a mass problem. In practice, one of the last things is often the case.

Easy to check

But checking the masses is nice and easy. So we start with that. There are a few things that are often the source of misery: the connection between the minus of the battery (with a few old British bicycles the +) and the headset. See if things work again if you make an improvised connection between the battery terminal and a blank piece of frame or block. If this is the case, you can simply make an extra connection between the battery and the frame with a braided mass cable, such as auto material shops that sell in a range of sizes.

The same story can be true for the voltage regulator.

Bad connections

For a number of motorcycles, the steering head and the steering head bearing provide (part of) the mass connection between the frame and fork. Steel balls embedded in thick fat are not the ideal conductors. Also look here again what happens when you make a good electrical connection between the headlight housing / front fork and the frame.

The classic in the photos is used almost daily and is more focused on effect than on beauty. The repair is done with available resources. Improvised and rude. But it works masterfully.

Then check the plug connections.

Internal corrosion causes resistance. And if a plug (block) looks like it has a nasty form of eczema, then that can be a clear reason for 'the power' to see such a connection as a lock with closed doors.

Buy a spray can with contact cleaner and / or try to clean the contacts mechanically. But that is usually a breeze. After-blowing with compressed air. And in the absence of a compressor, this can also be done with a spray can. You can find those kinds of spray cans at photo shops or if you are lucky at the Action.

A millennium-resistant mass connection between the frame and front fork



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  1. My BMW R1150R turned out to have a nice hic-up, despite Berliner Qualität. Suddenly the tachometer drops to zero and the charge light comes on. Engine just kept running. A fuse appeared to have blown. Ff a new one in it and it remained intact. Up to 2km away. Pats, again. Glowing glowing !!! A slightly heavier one remained intact. A 'selective short circuit'. Ai,… that was difficult to find. Eventually it turned out that cables in the cockpit were 'translucent' against the also thinly chromed plastic housing. So that made that 'selective' short circuit.
    The cables were neatly insulated and the inside of the housing covered with glass fiber tape. That will not go wrong. The problem was solved immediately. Even better, the original 4A fuse was not available. So just a 3A copy in it. It is still there, just like the glass tissue tape.
    Laying through and sanding cables against frame or bodywork is an ancient problem. So I always mount cables in a way that strictly prevents sagging. Fiberglass wallpaper does wonders here !!
    In the event of over-fuse and failure due to cables that have been worn blank, extinguishing a fire is often the last care that can be spent on a dear motor vehicle. Prevention is really better than an attempt to cure, read extinguishing. Trust me on my word.

  2. The name “Benelli” immediately puts a smile on my face… I had brought a Laverda 1981 to Brummen for specialist maintenance in 1000 and my brother was already on the seesaw to trade in his Suzuki 550. There, at Gerrit Eekhuis, was a Benelli 900 Sei, 6 carburettors and converted to Eekhuis specifications. He was “over” but Gerrit in principle did not want to trade in “Japs”. The wiring story and the “Lego-brick-like” buttons on the steering wheel + the poor headlight… it's like hearing Gerrit speak again. Wonderful guy, it's a pity that I could only go there for a year because the following year he died. The dealer sticker is still on the back of the Laverda because I still have it!

  3. In the photos with this article everything seems reasonably accessible. But a headlamp that is so full of wires that hardly a lamp fits in between, immediately gives an extra dimension to the fiddling. Before it is figured out which wire is for what purpose, after which it can only be concluded which wire is the culprit, and before this annoying wire is repaired with, finally, the handicap that everything has to fit in that headlight again. Yes it remains a lot of tinkering, but when everything works again and you come home driving, it still gives you a good feeling.

  4. Out new Alfa GTV had, stutter with every rain shower. After replacing the original ignition with an electronic one from Bosch, that problem was over. Just like the bad winter start. Italians and electronics….

    • Italians and electrical parts?
      I have a Lancia Fulvia coupe with Bosch starter and dinamo and they work great after the starter is overhauled. But the fan motor for the radiator and that for the heating are of Italian manufacture and revision vas not necessary. According to a purchase recommendation in a well-known German magazine, the total electrical system in these cars is very reliable! For this car I had an Alfa Giulietta Sprint coupe from 1964. This car had an original Lucas system with plus in mass. In this Alfa the wiring was very solid with thick wire and everything worked flawlessly after 50 years after the idiotic Lucas system was removed.
      A Guzzi V7 has Bosch parts just like old Laverdas. So do not simply blame the old Italian car or motorcycle for failing electrical parts, but mention "man and horse" by stating exactly what went wrong.

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