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#858868 09/19/21 10:04 pm
Joined: Jan 2006
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I was once taught about the shop technique referred to as an "Italian Tune-Up"

Take your poor-running bike out on the interstate and run it right up to redline through all the gears, then hold it wide open in top gear.

The bike either starts running right, or breaks.

If it starts running right, the tune-up is complete.

If it breaks, you fix it and it should run right after that.

If not, repeat till it runs right.

Same goes for noises and/or leaks you can't seem to fix.

It actually works!


GrandPaul (does not use emoticons)
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I grew up with the same advice from my dad. I last used it on a '93 BMW K1100 two weeks ago. It sat for 20 years, really nasty fuel. Fuel injectors removed and cleaned, new fuel pump/filter, tank cleaned. Ran fine after that, let it sit a week, running poorly on 3 cyls. One Italian tune up later so smoooooth, idles perfectly, gobs of power. Still a boring bike, just an excellent running one now.

Rusty


1967 A65 Lightning
1967 Moto Guzzi V7
1966? Royal Enfield Interceptor
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There is a bit of science behind it. In the days before fuel injection and high energy ignitions vehicles often ran a bit rich at low speeds. One that was driven at low speeds and mainly around town would eventually carbon up the combustion chamber including the spark plug. Getting the temperature and cylinder pressure up would literally burn the carbon out.
My dad was in the car business in the sixties. Every once in awhile he would take in a trade with low miles mainly used around town often from an elderly owner. Often times they stumbled and ran like crap. He would take them out on the highway and put the pedal to the metal. A big cloud of black smoke would pore out of the tailpipe. He would keep doing until the smoke was gone. They usually ran fine after that. He called it blowing the cobs out.

Last edited by htown70; 09/20/21 2:46 am.
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Honest officer, I was just "blowing out the cobs!" It was an "Italian tune up !". Hey, where are you taking my bike!?


1972 TR6RV
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Now that is funny, precisely the process my dad used to mention, in reference to his dad (my granddad), and his 49 Studebaker (the "which way is it going?" model Studebaker). Apparently he putted around town so slow it would carbon up, until he brought it to Dad for a "tuneup", and Dad would head out into the country, put it in second, and stand on it. He described (complete with sound effects) the stuttering and popping and bucking, and the chunks of carbon flying out the exhaust, until it ran well again. It definitely works on some old British bikes I have that burn a bit of oil and foul the plugs easily, too. Not so sure I would try that on an old Italian bike, though, not on my bevel 900 SS nor my 250 Mk 3 Ducatis--a set of plugs is probably cheaper.

And the "Italian" etymology might be replaced by whatever pejorative ethnic or geographic reference the speaker wishes to throw out there. I have heard this (and its cousin, the "loudly revving the engine in the driveway" method) also called Polish tuneup, Okie tuneup, hillbilly tuneup, or whatever. Apparently the term varies according to whatever part of the country you live in, and whatever other part of the country you wish to disrespect, LOL.

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That must have been in The Studebaker owner's manual... both my grandfather and father did exactly the same thing with their Studys (of the same rocket ship vintage). Sometimes Grandpa would throw in a little kerosene to really clean 'er out on the Iowa backroads.

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