W/E 21st January 2022

Head out on the highway…

Found this looking through photos the other day and thought it would be good to open with a picture that shows the end goal. Can’t be sure when this was taken but that’s Catherine in the foreground so I’m thinking maybe 1992. Never did learn to play guitar bit like my talent in repairing motorcycles…


So the ambition was to get all the hydraulic systems working. Got off to a cracking start by shearing off a nipple! Should’ve used less force (smaller hammer) and more WD40 beforehand. Infact any WD40 would’ve been good and it would have slowed me down which is normally a good idea. If anything positive has come out of this it’s that I’m now tip-toeing around the bleed nipple for the clutch. Been soaking it a few days now and before we go further I intend to heat the case. If this is buggered up then we’re in trouble (well more trouble).

Xmas comes early!

In preparation to fix the brakes I ordered a pile of parts – the PS14 master cylinder kit is for the RGA Jota at a later date. I don’t think it needs replacing but these are rare so thought I’d get one so I don’t get stuck down the line. Even this isn’t absolutely correct but off some old BMW but I’m assured it’ll work. https://www.ducatipaddy.com/ has proved very helpful and is recommended.

I um’d and arh’d over washers and in the end took a trip to a local firm that does goodridge for racing cars. Turned out to be a mixed blessing as I got 59 washers for £5 and then was a bit wasteful with ’em when I started looking at the job.


I was pleased that the back brake bled up easily. I hadn’t replaced the master cylinder piston but it came back fine. I remembered that bleeding the rear brake could be a pain so did it on the bench to ensure the master cylinder flowed down to the calipher. I pumped the piston by pressing it with a hammer handle.

The calipher should be twin nipple but as that was scrap due to pin rattle that enlarged the holes I got out my new P08’s I had up in the loft. I bought these years back and was told they were destined for Norton Wankels. They looked the same but when it came to fitting the brake pads it turned out that the distance between the pads is 1mm narrower. Initially ‘Ducatipaddy’ thought they might be ‘shaved’ caliphers as fitted to the rear of a ’78 Ducati 900ss but turns out they’re just ‘odd’. I worried that maybe the pads would drag and I’d have to buy the shaved thinner pads but at the moment things look okay. This is good news as these thinner pads are not easily available now so what about 5 years time?

Brake hoses…

I’d used a double banjo on the rear brake and now turned to the front. First problem was getting the lines to run correctly before I started to bleed. The first and middle ends are from the hose originally fitted to the Jota. I screwed in the middle hose to the calipher and found that all those years ago I’d bought slightly different adapters. This meant one hose screwed in with one copper washer and another required 3! I then turned to the idea of running the lines I had for an RGS which had a concave end. Trouble is these are a bit short for a calipher infront of the forks so I’d need to mount them to the rear (like a 120 Jota or RGS/A) Not a big deal as the forks are RGS because the Jota originals were cracked. It makes no difference other than the wheel spindle goes in from the left.

A lot of calls were put into a friend with a Series Two which was helpful in making me slow down (I know could I be any slower…) and think this through. Originally the caliphers are infront of the forks and the rubber brake hoses fitted to solid brake lines that screwed into the caliphers. The solid lines were thin so fitted neatly past the forks into guides on the mudguard mount where they met the rubber hose. As was the thing back in the day folk installed braided hose all the way. The neat solution is to use banjo bolts run the line back up the fork though the hose guide then up into the splitter. This keeps the lines secure and away from the mudguard. I’d gone a different route 25 years ago and just screwed braided lines into the caliphers and threaded them back and up. If this is done properly I think it looks better – but it demands attention to detail which isn’t something I’m known for!

What a mess!

The picture above illustrates what can go wrong. Here we have a very nice Jota with some cowboy lines out front in the wind!

I wasn’t happy with the original lines but it struck me that they had worked just fine. This led me to looking at the ends and realising I had the ends the wrong way round. The end that goes into the ‘splitter’ doesn’t need a convex end. So the flat end goes here (with a copper washer) whereas the end with the convex end goes to the calipher and seals without a washer.

Wonky lines

So I’m going the ‘up and over route’. There’s still more work to do as you can see the nearside line needs training to route in an aesthetically pleasing way. The other thing of note is that by putting the line adjuster end into the calipher the height of this fixture helps throw the lines up to help clear the mudguard.

The discussions with Keith have convinced me that the practical fork gaiters need to go. https://classicandvintagesuspension.co.uk/products/ are able to provide both the hose wire guides along with the seal dust covers. Once the bits arrive I’ll update the front end.

Broken calipher mount

Anyone still awake might remember I mentioned I was running RGS forks. The reason for this was a chunk of the calipher mount broke off many years back. The calipher remained intact because the helicoil (which probably caused the bit to fall off) was still solid and couldn’t exit via the jaws of the mount. I wondered if it would be possible to repair this without welding (bodge it)?


Well I think the answer might be ‘yes’. As the helicoil was still tight I kneaded up a chunk of Quicksteel pressed it in and filed it to shape when solid. I put a bolt in the helicoil and turned it from time to time to ensure the thread was clean. I was also deliberately rough with the repair on the basis that I’d rather it fail before I fitted it to the bike.

So there we are inching forward. Let’s hope next time round hydraulics are sorted and we can move onto some mechanical mayhem!

Nick 🙂

W/E 9th January 2022

Back to black…

Happy New Year! We made it to 2022 hey? This is going to be the year my Jota finally makes it to the road…(that’s another new resolution wasted)!

Started the year by going back over the oil cooler which you can see is now in the process of being painted black. I’ve moved it into the kitchen as the cold temperature is messing with the finish. Anyways I thought it was all going to be plain sailing from here but I have found another issue.

Original, new, as supplied

I’m lucky to know a lot of folk who have years of Laverda experience and the same source that put me onto the Citroen oil cooler also warned me to check the bore of the engine union connector. Sure enough the bore is smaller. There’s a step in the bore so that one end is okay but you can see the end in the picture is significantly smaller. I’m advised that if this is too small then it may induce top end wear. Still I’ve recently met a man with a lathe so I’m not anticipating any problems getting it bored to the right size. It’s a cautionary tale though in that as soon as you step away from standard you must keep an eye on the details.

Motalia bolt

The last piece in the oil cooler jigsaw was the mounting bolt. It’s an unusual M7 item and I hunted around to get the best price. The problem is that while the bolt can be had from a motor factor for about £5 taxes and postage double this. I finally woke up to how ridiculous I was being wasting time over five quid when I spent so much on a motorcycle that hasn’t turned a wheel in maybe 20 years! I ended up getting a very nice stainless item from Motalia. It wasn’t cheap but now I have it I’m very pleased.

Clutch master cylinder

I’ve moved onto the brakes and hydraulics in my critical path analysis workflow. The front brake moves okay but the clutch was ‘stuck’. I remembered that you just have to put a pin into the end of the master cylinder and give it a tap and ‘hey presto’ it was apart. Aside from the nasty grease on the piston I could also see that the last time I’d overhauled this I hadn’t got the retaining ring in properly and this was in contact with the piston as it moved. It wasn’t a big deal but I think the inactivity meant this was what caused it to seize up. Thinking about it if I’d hit it with a hammer it would probably have unseized but hitting things with hammers is not what I do these days 😉

RGS gudgeon pin

Having got the master cylinder apart I didn’t want to make the same mistake with the retaining ring on reassembly. I did a bit of fishing on the internet and the LeClair Laverda Forum came up with a very helpful post http://laverdaforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/11278/Repair_Guide_Clutch_and_Brake_Master.pdf Now in this article the author suggests you find piece of tube that’ll go down the side of the piston so that when you tap (not hammer) the piston is slides down and locates the retaining ring. Where am I going to get a bit of tube of the correct size?

I was pleased with myself for not jumping in and for making a few calls. A very experienced owner passed on the tip to use a RGS gudgeon pin for the task – works a treat (even if you use a gudgeon pin that shows signs of seizure). The other advice was to press everything down so that the retaining ring was just up against its locating groove and then tap the top of the piston. I achieved this by pressing the gudgeon pin down on the piston with a lump hammer and then gently tapped the top of the lump hammer to snap it home.

Dump that spring?

I thought I might be on a roll and now be ready to plumb in the hydraulic clutch but first I’ve got to get some new ‘Goodridge’ copper washers. In the meantime I listened to the advice of the RGS gudgeon pin guy who said to remove the spring that can sit behind the slave cylinder piston. He recalled this was only put in following comments by roadtesters who claimed the clutch went ‘limp’. A friend with a Series 2 Jota also reported he didn’t have one and had never had a problem. What you can see from the case tho’ is that a locating plug is cast in the bottom of the slave cylinder.

Flat ball

The arguments not to put the spring in are that it’s solving a problem that doesn’t exist and that it can lead to a problem whereby the ball bearing in the back of the slave cylinder piston can be pressed against clutch pushrod and eventually get flattened. You can see this on my slave cylinder piston. Whatever the truth I’m going to leave my spring out and see how it goes…

Bit of a mess…

I moved on from the clutch to the brakes. The brake caliphers for this bike should have twin nipples and this is the case for the front. They need cleaning and possibly new seals but are okay. I had to ‘tap’ the rear master cylinder and clean it for it to operate. I have a seal kit but I’m going to try it first to see if it needs rebuilding. What I couldn’t find was the original rear calipher…but I found the remains of what I think I was using when it was last on the road… The picture shows a calipher in need of cleaning but whatever the pad retaining pins had rattled and worn out the housing. You can see that back in the day I fixed the problem of retaining the pins (they wriggle out and the pads literally fall out the bottom of the calipher) with an ‘R’ clip – job done! Luckily I have a brand new P08 (albeit single nipple) that I can use.

I’m getting closer every week now. I have to get new copper washers for all the hydraulics – I could have used the old ones but at 10p a pop I’ll wait for new. I’ve also ordered a set of pads and some rubber boots to cover the brake light switches to make sure the wiring looks tidy. With luck the next time I post I should be moving on to the starter motor, alternator and gears. What could possibly go wrong?

Nick 🙂