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Stelvio idling issues

MotoZA

Tuned and Synch'ed
Joined
May 9, 2015
Messages
34
Location
South Africa
Hi all,

Time for remote diagnostics/ideas/hints again, please...

My Stelvio NTX (MY2012) runs like a champ as soon as it's on the move, the engine runs smoothly, no surging, dropping, nothing like that. Basically, the bike pulls like train once on the go. BUT, as soon as the rev's drop to below about 2000 rpm (for example when stopping or at parking lot speeds), she will sometimes stall, or idle very rough, other times she'll idle fine. Very intermittent behaviour.

Mostly, the problem is that the bike won't idle constantly (cold or hot), the engine rev's surges up and down (between 1200 and 1600 rpm), sometimes it drops (misfires), I can both hear and feel this. I can see the stepper motor trying its best to get a constant idle (if I watch the throttle body tie-rod).

My throttle bodies are synced perfectly (to within 0.5 cm Hg with my CarbMate at 3500 rpm). TPS is 4.8 deg. I also know it cannot be unbalanced throttle bodies or incorrect TPS, since the bike runs so well once on the move. Throttle bodies are clean on the inside. The bike starts very easily. Spark plug wires/cords are fastened, I have the NGK plug caps installed. No ECU or Dashboard errors. I've never touched the sacred screw or tie-rod, and they've never been touched (the sacred screw has a small tack weld that is still intact; I assume this is done at the factory).

I've run different fuel maps (for other reasons, not sort out to idling), it makes no difference (I don't expect that it should), but even with the stock map and everything back to stock, I have the same idling issues.

Here is a confession of sorts that may point to my problem, both my air bleeds screws are closed. Why? Since the bike struggles to idle, the vacuum changes form left to right, so I have no idea which air bleed to adjust. I remember long ago when I first synced the throttle bodies, that the one air bleed was turned out quite a bit (the right hand throttle body), but at that stage I turned it in to get balance at idle. I also used to idle quite high (at about 1600 rpm). At the time I wanted to get things "as they should be".

In the past the bike used to idle OK (although high), but then it used to surge whilst on the go. I have the surging sorted now, but not the idling.

Any advice or ideas on what I should try next? Could it in fact be coil or spark plug (and caps or wires) related, or perhaps the stepper motor? I think it is the air bleed screw(s), but I'm not a trained mechanic and don't have much experience, so cannot say for sure. Also, I live a 1000 miles (literally) from the nearest Guzzi dealer, so that's not an option...

Thanks,
William
 

V700Steve

GT Reference
GT di Razza Pura
Joined
Dec 8, 2008
Messages
1,182
Location
Atlanta area, GA
It could be just dirty throttle bodies. Air bleed holes get cleaned too. Run fuel cleaner or use detergent fuel.
Both bleed screw can end up being closed depending on the balance.
If it's a 12'model it may have flat tappets, there is an issue also.
 

john zibell

Moderator
Staff member
GT di Razza Pura
Joined
Oct 28, 2008
Messages
8,511
Location
Huntsville, AL
Also clean up the stepper motor system. There is a supply line from the airbox and a good dose of carb cleaner may solve your problem.
 

MotoZA

Tuned and Synch'ed
Joined
May 9, 2015
Messages
34
Location
South Africa
Thanks Steve/John

To clean the throttle bodies and the stepper using carb cleaner, I have to remove the airbox, right?

How does one clean the air bleeds without removing the throttle bodies, or do they get cleaned automatically when spraying carb cleaner into the bodies?

All of this is done with the motor running, I presume?

I had a look at those throttle bodies, looks like a nightmare to remove them? Don't feel like doing that if it's not required.

Regards
 

john zibell

Moderator
Staff member
GT di Razza Pura
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Messages
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For the stepper, just remove the lid. There is a passage to the air supply line for the stepper. I haven't come across throttle bodies that were gummed up so I can't help you there. Spray some cleaner in and wait a minute or two. Then start the engine and spray more. It should free up the stepper to operate correctly. I've done this to several machines to cure the stalling issue they were having.
 

Kevin.NZ

High Miler
Joined
Jun 17, 2009
Messages
517
Location
Howick, Auckland, New Zealand.
Once you have done all the above re-balance again at tick-over and you may find the air bleeds will needs adjusting, from memory you leave the RH one closed and balance using the LH. There was a Technical Bulletin a while ago about cleaning the throttle bodies. I have a valve on the stepper motor on my Breva and operate it when the engine is warm and I find the revs drops about 150rpm. The clutch switch on my bike when operated raises the rpm about 150 , i believe it acts on the stepper motor. I don't notice it with the valve operated of course.
 

john zibell

Moderator
Staff member
GT di Razza Pura
Joined
Oct 28, 2008
Messages
8,511
Location
Huntsville, AL
Once you have done all the above re-balance again at tick-over and you may find the air bleeds will needs adjusting, from memory you leave the RH one closed and balance using the LH. There was a Technical Bulletin a while ago about cleaning the throttle bodies. I have a valve on the stepper motor on my Breva and operate it when the engine is warm and I find the revs drops about 150rpm. The clutch switch on my bike when operated raises the rpm about 150 , i believe it acts on the stepper motor. I don't notice it with the valve operated of course.


Actually, you balance with both air bypass screws closed. To balance idle, open the screw on the side with the greatest vacuum. Idle balance doesn't need to be perfect, just close. What really matters is the high RPM balance where you ride.
 

canuck1969

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May 31, 2012
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1,243
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Burlington, Ontario

MotoZA

Tuned and Synch'ed
Joined
May 9, 2015
Messages
34
Location
South Africa
I've been away for a while... I tried the method through the air box by lifting the lid only, but I can't see the exit point from the air box to the upside down "U-tube", so spraying throttle body cleaner in the U-tube is a shot in the dark. I'll have to remove the battery and battery holder and try again, will see if I can get to it this weekend.

More questions...

Question 1:
If I turn out the air bleed screws completely to remove them from the throttle bodies, am I going to struggle to put them back? Are there springs and small washers and what-not in there that will jump/fall out? This is in an attempt to clean properly, or is it a waste of time?

Question 2:
Is the area in the enclosed red rectangle the stepper motor? Refer to the picture below. Or what is that?
2019-10-03 11_50_53-Window.png
 

Hybal

Just got it firing!
Joined
May 23, 2015
Messages
6
Location
Czech Republic
Q#1: Im my opinion - waste of time to remove the screws from the body
Q#2: That should be Throttle position sensor. You ca find stepper motor in the middle of the body. Three air hoses are connected to the stepper.
 

MotoZA

Tuned and Synch'ed
Joined
May 9, 2015
Messages
34
Location
South Africa
Q#1: Im my opinion - waste of time to remove the screws from the body
Q#2: That should be Throttle position sensor. You ca find stepper motor in the middle of the body. Three air hoses are connected to the stepper.

Thanks, I should've looked in the parts manual. It is shown below as item 20, the "Min.regulation engine", part # 896540. Item 2 is the "Potentiometer", obviously the TPS (part #981010).
2019-10-03 14_01_32-Window.png

Does the stepper motor on a Stelvio operate a valve/needle/whatever? by means of rotation, or is it a linear actuator? Just curious.
 
Last edited:

MotoZA

Tuned and Synch'ed
Joined
May 9, 2015
Messages
34
Location
South Africa
Update...
Cleaned the stepper (idle control valve) with the bike idling as per suggestions above (I removed the air box in order to get right to the U-shaped rubber hose that goes from the air box to the stepper). No change.

Eventually decided/realised I've reached my limit of mechanic skills, so took it to a technician that came highly recommended. He diagnosed the following, and I think he is on to something:
When the bike idles and he places a finger on the the bottom of the butterfly shaft bush area on the RHS throttle body, the idling changes (also doesn't backfire nearly as much when rolling off the throttle). He suspects that the butterfly shafts and/or bushes are worn to such an extent that it's letting in air, affecting idling. Obviously he first wants to confirm his diagnosis, but I think he is most probably correct, since the idling issue has gradually become worse over time and in my mind it points to a wear issue (my bike has done just a bit over 60 000 km).

I'm curious to know if anybody else has come across this?
 

john zibell

Moderator
Staff member
GT di Razza Pura
Joined
Oct 28, 2008
Messages
8,511
Location
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I've observed this worn throttle shaft bushing issue with BMWs. I wouldn't be surprised if it could also happen with Guzzi throttle bodies.
 

MotoZA

Tuned and Synch'ed
Joined
May 9, 2015
Messages
34
Location
South Africa
So, my idling issue is finally sorted!

The specialist I took the bike to here in Cape Town (tunes/preps and also rides race bikes) took the throttle bodies off, noticed something odd and adjusted, wait for it... the sacred screw! He said my problem was wear related and he could adjust for it, but there's obviously a trick here that he clearly understands. He also did a TPI reset. The bike runs better or at least the same now than when I got it from the PO about 4 years ago. It fires up first time from cold, and almost immediately settles into a super smooth idle, no hunting or stalling/dying nonsense. Throttle response is smooth, bike pulls strongly. Bike also doesn't pop/back-fire nearly as much as it used to.

It's almost like having a new bike.

Thanks for all you advice.
 
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