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 '09 tappet Query

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H-E-ROSS
Grignapoco
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PostSubject: '09 tappet Query   Thu Sep 17, 2015 8:38 pm

I have found varying information regarding the tappets on '09 8 valve Grisos.
I am considering the purchase of one, and I am concerned.
Has there been a recall on this model?
If parts are not changed, is failure imminent?
What is the general expense to have a dealer install a roller conversion kit?
Thanks in advance for your replies.
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beetle
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PostSubject: Re: '09 tappet Query   Thu Sep 17, 2015 8:53 pm

There is no 'recall' as such. If the bike has a documented service history from an authorized Guzzo dealer and the flat tappets fail, you may be able to get Guzzi to provide the kit free and you'll have to pay for your dealer to fix it.

If the bike's history is a grey area you may have to spring for the kit and the install. An 09 will likely need the 'C' kit, which requires the heads to be removed. The C kit can be made up from a B kit plus gaskets purchased separately to save a few bucks.

If the bike chuffs during idle or backfires through the throttle bodies, it may have already failed. Engines ridden for a long period during failure can destroy the big ends via swarf from the failing tappets.

The only way to know if the have begun to fail is to pull the cam boxes and inspect the tappets. That's a couple of hours of labour.

If the bike runs OK and the inspection can be done, factor in the cost of the upgrade as part of the deal. If it's a dealer sale, I'd be pushing to have the upgrade done. C kit costs about $1200.
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PostSubject: Re: '09 tappet Query   Thu Sep 17, 2015 9:21 pm

The cycle I am considering has very low mileage. I do not think there has been a failure. Are there higher mileage units out there that have had no failure? $1200. is for the kit alone? What is the time allowance to complete installation of the "C kit"? Is it a forgone conclusion to do this upgrade?
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Pete Roper
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PostSubject: Re: '09 tappet Query   Thu Sep 17, 2015 10:41 pm

There is the $64,000 question.

Unfortunately my experience and research would suggest that at the very least the likelihood of failure is very high. Perhaps I should explain again why I have changed my tune on this issue.

I'm a nearly 60 year old mechanic who runs his own Guzzi only business in a small rural town in Aistralia. I've been involved with Guzzi for almost forty years and unlike many of the older Guzzi owning crew I'm actually very enthusiastic about the company's current products and despite its issues, (Which now seem to have been addressed.) I think the 8V motor is an absolute gem. I was an 'Early Adopter' buying one of the very first 8V Grisos imported to Oz in 2008.

Right from the get-go there were reports coming in from parts of Europe of top end failures. I found this odd as I couldn't get mine to break and the only ones I did see that had broken had a tick-list of active fucktardery that had been inflicted on them by a variety of shops and shaved apes masquerading as 'Mechanics'! It was certainly impossible to sheet home the problems to a design issue.

By 2009 though the factory had changed the tappet material and design from a chilled cast iron component to a forged steel one with a DLC, (Diamond Like Carbon.) coating on the foot. This was supposed to be the answer to the problem that so far I was still skeptical of but I did get some failed tappets from another shop and took them in to the Australian Mint in Canberra which has one of the best metallurgical analysis labs in the Southern Hemisphere and got the failed parts tested on a Beakers machine. This DID reveal that the tappets were soft but when I eventually, after a prolonged wait as the importer 'Forgot' to send me my upgrade kit, fitted the upgraded parts to my bike I found on replacement that my original 'Soft' tappets were still  in perfect condition. Once again this pointed to there being a service and set-up issue rather than a chronic design fault and while everybody else in the world seemed to be thinking the sky was falling I steadfastly stuck to my guns and defended the product. After all, I couldn't get an engine to fail.

Continuing research and record keeping though showed that the failures were continuing, albeit at a reduced rate, and they were still far more prevalent in cooler climates but climates where people kept riding in winter when it was cold and wet but not so cold that people stopped riding at all in winter. Yes there were failures elsewhere but it was conspicuous that those circumstances led to a much higher number of failures.

A lot more data collection, pestering people and generally making myself a global, king sized, pain in the arse along with my own research using my own shitbox as a guinea-pig revealed that the 8V is grossly over-cooled! So much so that in cool damp weather it's virtually impossible to get the oil above 100*C for long enough to dessicate the water from combustion out of it! In cooler weather this will lead to large amounts of mayonnaise forming in the rocker covers and because of the angle of the cylinders it means that when the bike is parked this watery slime will drip down into the weirs the cam lobes and tappets run in. Without going into detail the results aren't good.

This alone though is unlikely to be the only source of the problem but it is certainly, I believe, a major contributory factor.

Fast forward to last year. Last winter around here, (One of the driest areas of the driest inhabited continent of earth.) we had a remarkably cool, wet winter. This year I've had nine tappet failures through my shop, (And currently have three bikes waiting for parts with no ETA,) including my own and Mark's, (Beetle's) both of which I know  both service history and useage of, (We both ride our bikes hard and have deliberately tried to ensure that our oil never stays cold enough for watery deposits to form.) and this, unfortunately, has led me to believe that my original belief was wrong and that there is a more serious underlying problem with the flat tappet design In this application! It isn't those two cases alone but the evidence seems now to point not only to the fact that the system was inadequate but also that since the early months of 2010 the engineers knew they were on a hiding to nothing becaus from the middle of 2010 the motors started to have shims added under the inlet, (And on some models exhaust.) valve springs, the only reason these would be added would be to compensate for the extra mass of the already designed but not yet produced cure, the roller tappet system. It was pre-emptive because they knew that down the line they were going to be having to replace a shitload of flat tappet top ends but by doing the shims early it would reduce the cost when the shit hit the fan.

The long and the short of it is that I now believe that failure of the flat tappets, while maybe not *Inevitable* is at a level of likelihood so high that it might as well be and it will also be connected on a sort of 'Bell Curve' of climate and riding conditions as to how soon it is likely to occur. Am I right? I don't know! As I freely admit I was wrong before but at least my observations were built on a lot of data and research rather than just running around screeching and panicking! Very Happy.

Exactly why and how the roller tappet top end manages to avoid some of the problems associated with the flat tappet design I have absolutely no idea! BUT, it has been standard fitment to all Cali1400's and all 1200 8V's since mid 2012 and I have yet to hear of a solitary failure, (And believe me, I keep my ear firmly to the ground on this because the first one that goes tits all the tearing of hair and rending of clothing will start all over again and the 8V Hate-a-thon will recommence among the beetle-browed and backwards!

Long and the short of it. If you are thinking of buying a flat tappet 8V, (And I would in a heartbeat still.)

1.) Make sure it has a full service history. This is very important, especially outside the USA, as unless you do, by an 'Authorised Dealer' you won't get the repair parts under warranty.

2.) Make sure the bike doesn't behave oddly, especially when cold. It should fire up on the button and immediately idle at 1200 RPM with no coughing, chuffing or needing for using the throttle to keep it running. When warm it should idle cleanly at 1200-1250 RPM.

3.) The 8V, especially the early A5 motored bikes, are noisy but the top end shouldn't sound like there is a rock crusher under the tappet covers!

If the PO knows nothing of the issues or denies there is a problem and it's just a myth? Be prepared to walk. It's  been front page news for seven years. If there is no service history immediately drop $2 grand off the asking price. Sorry for all of those who are thinking of dumping their flat tappet bikes because of the issue but this is the reality. If it's any consolation my own bike is worth squat because it's a previous 'A5 Flattie'. (Not that I'm selling!) but it's worth is smaller, even though it's been rollerised.

So, slowing the wind a bit. By all means buy a low mileage G8 Flattie, they're a great bike and with the info and advice and talent of the likes of Paul and Beetle here you can have a bike that will run superbly BUT you should factor in the cost of a roller conversion as it is EXTREMELY likely it will need one sooner or later, usually about the 30,000 km mark but it can be earlier or later, (Mine soldiered on until 90,000Km.).

I hope that gives you a bit of info and background. FWIW mid 2012 build was when the 1200's went to rollers. Anything after that you are golden.

Pete


Last edited by Pete Roper on Fri Sep 18, 2015 12:04 pm; edited 1 time in total
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beetle
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PostSubject: Re: '09 tappet Query   Thu Sep 17, 2015 11:13 pm

H-E-ROSS wrote:
The cycle I am considering has very low mileage. I do not think there has been a failure. Are there higher mileage units out there that have had no failure?

Pete's didn't go until 50,000 miles, so there could be a few. Mine were replaced at 15,000 miles, but they had only just started to wear, and there were no symptoms.


Quote :
$1200. is for the kit alone? What is the time allowance to complete installation of the "C kit"?

Mine was a B kit that didn't need the heads off, and it took about 2 hours. I'd imagine double that for the C kit with an experienced mechanic.


Quote :
Is it a forgone conclusion to do this upgrade?


In my opinion, yes. All flat tappets will need to be replaced eventually. If I were to buy another flat tappet bike, I'd upgrade it immediately.
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Pete Roper
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PostSubject: Re: '09 tappet Query   Fri Sep 18, 2015 3:31 am

Or, you could read the much shorter and maybe less hubristic synopsis! Very Happy

Pete
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beetle
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PostSubject: Re: '09 tappet Query   Fri Sep 18, 2015 4:10 am

Yer, that was quite an essay. cheers
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Pete Roper
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PostSubject: Re: '09 tappet Query   Fri Sep 18, 2015 4:31 am

Sorry, I know I'm prone to ranting! Very Happy
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pkroupa
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PostSubject: Re: '09 tappet Query   Fri Sep 18, 2015 5:33 am

Thanks Pete, Beetle and others for all your info about tappets story. When I decide to buy a GRiSO - the A5 one. I already know that the failure can come and that was the reason why I made last service in Guzzi authorized service and after that i inspect my tappets. Now I'm waiting for time when Guzzi service take my motorbike for inspection and for documentation for process of getting free roller upgrade. I hope in next few days. All your help here on GRiSO Ghetto is very valuable for me. I like Marks maps and info about TB balance and other issues.
Petr
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H-E-ROSS
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PostSubject: Re: '09 tappet Query   Fri Sep 18, 2015 7:27 am

Thanks again! The persistence of old threads on the internet can make for a lot of conflicting information on a given subject. And while I know there may still be differing opinions on this subject; I think I have found sound advice. I will proceed with caution.
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hezovka
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PostSubject: Re: '09 tappet Query   Fri Sep 18, 2015 8:09 am

Thank you Pete. Maybe quite an essay, but it is worth of it and now even me understand what is it about.
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GHTE
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PostSubject: Re: '09 tappet Query   Fri Sep 18, 2015 10:07 pm

Pete, Do the 850 Grisos have similar "flat tappet" issues?
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beetle
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PostSubject: Re: '09 tappet Query   Fri Sep 18, 2015 10:38 pm

No. 850 is a pushrod jobbie.
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Pete Roper
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PostSubject: Re: '09 tappet Query   Fri Sep 18, 2015 10:43 pm

Nope. This only affects 1200 8V engines, A5, A8 and AA prefix manufactured between 2007 and through to 06/12ish.

Pete
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Siggy Javotnik
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PostSubject: Re: '09 tappet Query   Sat Sep 19, 2015 9:15 am

That was amazing, Pete! I live in a cold rainy place where we ride all winter, so your lengthy post was important to me! I really tried to find a used GRiSO in decent shape but couldn't, so ended up with my local shop's demo bike -- now I'm really glad I have the more recent tappet design. Thanks for taking your time to type up your experience!
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PostSubject: Re: '09 tappet Query   Sun Sep 20, 2015 2:12 am

Phew thanks Pete
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Grisonut
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PostSubject: Re: '09 tappet Query   Sun Sep 20, 2015 5:32 am

My 09 failed at 36.000 miles and I was pissed...not because of the failure itself but because I did everything properon order to avoid it happening.
The bike was recalled before I picked it up. The dealer is well known for being a good one and installed the "upgraded" tappets and the bike had 6 miles when I rode off.
Did all the maintenance myself diligently and it still shit the bed at 36K miles.
So I concluded that the flat tappet were a bad design despite what everybody said, included Pete and other professionals. I kept that thought to myself as I totally agreed with Pete at the time on the fact that I was in total
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PostSubject: Re: '09 tappet Query   Sun Sep 20, 2015 5:43 am

Sorry, I'm working out of a crappy tablet and it won't let me edit my post as I was not done with my message.

Anyway, was saying that I believed what Pete said, that early failures were prone on bikes in humid climate or wannabe dealers that didn't know how to correct the problem.
But then it started to happened on higher mileage well maintained bikes and then mine...I thus, changed my view on that and realized that it WILL fail no matter what.

So the task for you is to have that dealer rollerised the GRiSO before they sell it to you and just negotiate the asking price accordingly if possible, if not walk away.
Good luck Sir
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Pete Roper
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PostSubject: Re: '09 tappet Query   Sun Sep 20, 2015 5:49 am

Yup, there is a further underlying cause. As I said, I accept I was wrong. The thing is when confronted time and time again by machines that have either been poorly/inadequately maintained that fail whereas those that I knew were right didn't what was I supposed to think? Especially when the vast majority of the uber-conservative Guzzi owning demographic were hating on it simply because it was *New*. That attitude shits me to tears and is just plain stupid.

Pete
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PostSubject: Re: '09 tappet Query   Sun Sep 20, 2015 5:56 am

Agreed Pete...
The fact that you were wrong (and so was I) take nothing away from your input and contribution to the Guzzi brand.
Those that will strip all credits off your knowledge because of that, are simply douchebags so fuck 'em !!
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