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California 1400 Engine Braking

Discussion in 'Cal 1400 8V' started by Jimmy, Mar 11, 2015.

  1. Jimmy

    Jimmy Just got it firing!

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    Hello to all and thank you Todd for giving us the opportunity to share the passion!

    After 15 years of sportbikes riding, mainly Japanese bikes, and with my newborn son in my hands, have finally decided to turn the page and discover my long time interest: Moto Guzzi.

    Have seen the California 1400 Custom... BEAUTIFUL!!!
    But initially got hesitant about the 320 kg and its maneuverability in my small country and dense traffic.

    Test ride suggested... Carried out... And without a single hesitation the deal was done!!! Finally a proud owner of a Guzzi!

    Enjoyed a 250 km ride a couple of days ago... Break in is still in progress... And thought to have your opinion on the following:

    Engine braking... Is it as efficient as with other engine configurations? Downshifting from 4th to 3rd or 3rd to 2nd, you can initially feel the braking but then around 2500 - 2000 rpm, with the throttle shut, the engine braking fades away and it's as if the throttle was opened... So you jump on the brakes to continue loosing speed... Feels like riding the brakes.

    Is this a common feeling with 1400 V Twin configuration, is it a kind of an ECU algorithm to avoid the engine knocking at low revs or is it a possible malfunction? Has anyone experienced this?

    Other than this, and till now, the Cali 1400 is a pleasure to ride. The engine's generosity is a pure pleasure, brakes are efficient for a bike's this size and maneuverability is just amazing...

    Thanks a lot for the feedback and wish you all safe rides!

    Regards!
     
  2. MJPTexas

    MJPTexas Cruisin' Guzzisti

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    Welcome to the group Jimmy. I'm sure you'll enjoy the big Cali.

    I just finished a four day 1,400 mile ride on mine. I noticed the engine braking on this trip because I spent some time going down several very long (several miles) and steep (up to 12% grades) on this trip. When I was completely off the throttle it almost seemed that the ECU would occasionally just cut everything to the engine and then occasionally the engine would come back to life. It was a bit of an odd sensation but never caused me any difficulty. In general engine braking is what you would expect on a big twin.
     
  3. Oz1200Guzzi

    Oz1200Guzzi High Miler

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    Jimmy,

    what you may be experiencing is the throttle body air injection system (I am pretty sure the 1400 engine has it - all the others do). On the smaller engines, this cuts in at 2600 RPM and adds/subtracts air into the throttle bodies to ensure even running. Above that the engine braking comes to the fore. If you had an open exhaust, you would hear it firing/backfiring through the exhaust.

    It just is - maybe time to pull the clutch?

    Oh welcome too.
     
  4. GTM®

    GTM® Administrator Staff Member GT di Razza Pura

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    I haven't (or thankfully had the need) to dig deep into a 1400 yet, but since I'm dealing with a slow return to idle on a C14 that I re-programmed for a lower idle, is still hanging. The parts breakdown doesn't show any type of air injection system per below, so this is an odd one. I'm wondering if the throttle-by-wire is coming into play, though the butterfly is still controlled by cable. I'll keep digging.

    C14-TB-INT.jpg
     
  5. Jimmy

    Jimmy Just got it firing!

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    Pleasure to hear from you all gents!

    MJPTexas, well a 1400 miles ride is just what I need!!! Would definitely be worth planning to visit the states again and enjoy such a trip with a Guzzi! Now you got me dreaming!

    And yes sir, engine braking is indeed what i was expecting from the Cali's V-twin... but it is exactly how you are describing it... as if the engine pulls in again on its own after showing a linear braking and deceleration initially.
    It is not really catastrophic... just a bit surprising. You see the traffic slowing down so you start downshifting and feel the deceleration without the need to use the brakes and then around 2500 rpm, it's as if the idle setting increases and settles there without touching the throttle with a slow return to idle. This is where we meet with Todd's note of a slow return to idle.

    Had that experience with a 2009 Kawasaki Z750 (inline four) and turned out to be an injection rail fault that was covered by a recall campaign later on. Don't think it's the same problem here but the effect is the same...

    OZ1200Guzzi... thank you too for your help and info! Agree about pulling the clutch... but it's that I'm still counting on engine braking at that stage, so pulling the clutch is a bit early.

    Anyways, explained the issue to the Guzzi technician here and he's on it too now... Will keep you posted about the possible explanations!

    And Todd, would highly appreciate any feedback from your side... so please do not hesitate to share any findings on the issue. Just for info, my Cali is still with the original mapping and idle setting.

    Sincerely thanking you all again for your help and look forward to hearing from you!

    Regards!
     
  6. kiwi dave

    kiwi dave GT Reference

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    Interesting comments. I am a great fan of engine braking, and modified all my 1200 Sports by including a pneumatic switch in the stepper motor air feed from the airbox, so I could increase engine braking once the engine was warmed up.

    But the 1400 doesn't have a stepper motor, or if it has I haven't found it. But nor have I felt the need to increase the engine braking, my 1400 is a joy to ride. Only modifications are Mistral carbon fibre mufflers and a factory ECU update. The latter cleaned up the response just coming off idle, but didn't fix the lumpy idle to my satisfaction.
     
  7. Jimmy

    Jimmy Just got it firing!

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    Kiwi Dave, glad to hear that you're enjoying the Cali!!!
    It is indeed a pleasure to ride! It's just around 2500 rpm that I feel a fading in the engine braking with a slow return to idle. Speaking of idle, at what rpm is it settling? Mine is around 1500 rpm. Is this a normal value?

    Well anyways, have been to the dealer today who's been very helpful and they're having another 1400 ready for me to test ride it... Will soon be able to compare...

    As for the ECU, they're also checking for any available updates...

    Will keep you posted.

    And the Mistrals are on my mind as a next step very soon to enjoy the 1400's symphony... Are you happy with it?

    Thanks again for the help!
     
  8. GTM®

    GTM® Administrator Staff Member GT di Razza Pura

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    Hard to say how accurate the tacho is, but it varies by air temp; 20-30ºC it is set to 1350 RPM as delivered. Colder temps raise the idle, and it drops down to 1200 RPM at 40ºC+ with a minimum of 1100 RPM at the hottest OAT.
     
  9. kiwi dave

    kiwi dave GT Reference

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    It may be difficult to truly appreciate the characteristics of the 1400 motor when it is so new. My bike has over 31,000 kM on the odometer, and like most Guzzis it didn't start to sing until over 20,000 kM was recorded.

    But to answer your question, yes I'm very happy with it and it is always my ride of choice. If only the horrible lumpy idle could be fixed, which I suspect may be induced with the traction control electronics. I'm tempted to temporary remove the HT lead on the "supplementary" spark plug (i.e. the one not in the centre) to see whether the idle is better. Just a bit gun shy, I've already caused the dreaded service triangle once, which I managed to correct. Nearest competent dealer with PADS is 150 kM away, a bit of a journey to make in the "limp" mode.
     
  10. Jimmy

    Jimmy Just got it firing!

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    Todd, thanks for the quick reply! Great help!

    And Kiwi Dave, I fully understand your concern!!! Wouldn't want to see the service triangle neither! But will check about the traction control effect on the lumpy idle... Still new to that stuff!
    As for the mileage point, had a chat with a Guzzisti who shares your opinion confirming that with more mileage comes the true appreciation of the engine... So, ride I shall do!!!

    And would you recommend the Mistrals?
    Have read the threads about the exhausts... My penchant goes for the Mistrals. How's your experience with it?

    Wishing you all a nice day!

    Thanks again and Regards.
     
  11. kiwi dave

    kiwi dave GT Reference

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    Yes, I'm happy with Mistrals. Other options are Agostini or GuzziTech (this site).
     
    Jimmy likes this.
  12. caliman

    caliman Tuned and Synch'ed

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    Don't forgetthe lafranconi exhaust. I have them on my custom and they sound awesome. And the fit is excellent, just like the originals.
     
  13. stephenm

    stephenm Cruisin' Guzzisti GT Contributor

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    +1.

    Stephen
     
  14. roadventure

    roadventure GT Reference GT Famiglia

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    If I remember correctly "Lafranconi" is stamped on the OEM mufflers so I would not be to surprised at a perfect fit from the aftermarket versions. ;)
     
  15. caliman

    caliman Tuned and Synch'ed

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    That is correct. Lafranconi and Moto Guzzi are embossed on the exhaust. If any cops pull me over I'll just show them that that they are factory exhaust and hopefully they will let me off. They aren't that loud that they should attract their attention anyway.
     
  16. John in PA

    John in PA Cruisin' Guzzisti GT Contributor

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    I also have odd engine braking performance on my 2016 Eldorado. Mistrals fitted, no other changes. When descending a grade with closed throttle, engine braking cuts on and off like a switch was thrown at precisely 3000 rpm's In fact, as you descend you can hear and feel engine braking cutting in and out as engine passes the 3000 rpm mark on the tach as speed increases/decreases. The same behavior is exhibited even with engine braking on the level, and cut-out is also at 3000 rpm every time, but it's easiest to demonstrate while descending a grade I also have occasionally experienced the incomplete closing of the throttle observed and threaded extensively elsewhere.

    Dose the suggested adjustment of the clutch micro-switch resolve either of these problems?

    Do all the Cali 1400's have the engine braking cut off at 3000 RPM?
     
  17. Loosy gussi

    Loosy gussi Tuned and Synch'ed

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    Seems to me we are mixing two different symptoms together. I went back & read about fhe hanging throttle. I wrote a reply where I also combined both symptoms. My understanding is that the hanging throttle is the condition when the engine rpms don't drop down completely to idle speed &" hang up" at a higher rpm than normal ,, replacing the clutch microswitch appears to have fixed that condition for me ( recommended by others on this site) .. the engine braking is a completely different symptom that mostly shows up when decending a downhill grade, and I get the same results as everyone on here which is engine braking drops off at 3000 rpm (while decending ) then seems to come on & off as I continue decending. I know that every one on here does not live around the mountains but on a long downhill I can really feel the engine braking going on & off below 3000 rpm. The way I avoid this is to keep the revs higher, even when decending. I have the fueling mods on my bike
     
  18. Eldo1400

    Eldo1400 Cruisin' Guzzisti

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    I haven't noticed this phenomenon, and I do a lot of engine braking with throttle closed. I'll keep an ear/ass out for it, but it isn't ringing a bell.
     
    John L likes this.
  19. Mrmerlin

    Mrmerlin Tuned and Synch'ed

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    after fitting Minstral pipes I have a lot of popping at 3000 RPM and below while decelerating in gear.
    From 3K and above no popping I could downshift at 5 K and close the throttle and she slows down with the engine the exhaust is quiet as soon as I reach 3000 RPM the pipes start popping all the way to idle its like a switch i have tried a richer ECU map and that has not done much to eliminate this issue.

    My Guess for the idle is, The lumpy idle may be programed into the injection/ ignition system to fire alternating cylinders so the engine shakes.

    As once the idle is over 1400 rpm it gets very smooth right up to redline ,
    someone with a ECU code reader could possible see this while on a dyno.
    I would be quite happy to get rid of the idle shake its not necessary for me.
     
  20. kiwi dave

    kiwi dave GT Reference

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    I reckon it's using the second offset spark plug to manage the crappy idle. I was considering removing the spark lead, but it's also used for traction control.

    Note that the second spark plug is only active at lower revs, I forget at what point it gets shut off.
     

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