Category Archives: Maintenance


Starter motor

Following up from the “Very Long List” post. First task was take out the engine and gearbox, my favorite pass time!

The problem with the starter motor not engaging correctly quickly showed up when I tested it on the bench. The pinion gear wasn’t engaging fully, see the first video.

What should happen is this:

For those not familiar with the starter motor on an Aprilia it is a Marelli MCE 0.4/6R, mine is six volts, and is activated by pulling a lever under the dashboard then via a cable to another lever on the starter, none of those complicated electronic solenoids to fail, as long as the cable doesn’t break they are super reliable!

A close inspection and comparison with my spare unit reveled the cause of the problem. Someone in the past, not me, had soldered a copper button on to the contact unit and welded an extra bit onto the actuating lever, see the comparison with the spare motor. Simply put this didn’t allow the pinon gear to travel its full length and engage the ring gear correctly or sometimes not at all.

A simple job to remove the extra button, grind off the extra weld and I now have two working starter motors.


Pre Castlemaine 23

October every odd year means it’s time for the Australian Lancia Register’s Castlemaine Rally. This year it is number 23.

Lancia owners around the country are sweating in their garage performing last minute fixes, some small, others almost gargantuan.

This year I tried to avoid the last minute scramble, how organised am I? As mentioned in a previous post I’d overhauled the front brakes but after the last ALR run there was just a bit too much of a whine from the differential.

On the Narrywoolan* website you can read my two previous attempts to fix the problem. This time I entrusted the magic expertise of Mike The Three Wheeler to help me set it up correctly. Taking the whole back end out for the third time was fairly easy. Stripped everything down and got Mike over to help. Sorry I didn’t get any photos of what we did but using some gear marking paste, moving the pinion in and out and shifting the shims on the diff we seemed to get a much better pattern on the gears.

Diff 2015-033

Dropping the rear end. Simple job, remove hand brake cables, top hydraulic brake line on diff, fibre coupling on prop shaft and the four sub-frame bolts!

Diff 2015-058

Diff 2015-101

I took the opportunity to paint everything and clean up the André rear dampers.

Diff 2015-076

André damper with one broken friction disc. Got a new set from the UK, cleaned all the oil and grease off, applied a light smear of SKF LGHP2 grease.

Diff 2015-183

Mike recommended trying some Red Line Shockproof Gear Oil in the diff. Once everything was back in place and a few short runs everything seemed OK. However a longer 200km trip revealed some diff noise at highway speeds and, on return, a more than normal oil leak from the pinion shaft.

Diff 2015-103

The offending leaking pinion shaft.

Diff 2015-109

Even though there is an oil slinger and a modern lip seal it still leaks down the spline end of the shaft. Anyone have a better solution??

After some head scratching and consultation of the factory manual I decided to try some Penrite Gear Oil 140. It’s a mineral oil and the same 140EP spec as the original factory recommendation. Some further long test drives and the diff is now very quiet and the leak is just small. I’ve never been able to come up with a satisfactory solution to stop the leak in the early design of 1070’s diff. Lancia changed the design later in 1937 to incorporate a better system of seals.


Just to annoy me 2nd gear has become difficult to select when changing down from 3rd but it will have to stay that way for the time being. With less than 4 weeks before the rally I’m not going to risk swapping gearboxes as the spare, although all seems to be in excellent shape, has never been run.

From October 16 I’ll be posting a daily blog on the rally.


Summer fixes.

Not much has happened over the summer, the Aprilia has only had a few short outings and a few tweaks have been done.

Front Suspension Oil. The front left suspensions has a small ‘clunk’ if you grab the wheel and move it in and out. I had replaced the inner bush a few years back that fixed most of the problem but there was still a bit of a noise. This time I checked the wheel bearings, both were fine, them removed the bottom section with the spring to check if the bottom plug was worn, no problem there.

Taking off the bottom plug meant the oil from the top damper section needed to be refiled and any air forced out. I’d always used a 30W oil, recommended by someone in the past, but the manual and long term owners said just use engine oil, in this case 15W-40 mineral. Now the front end had always been a bit ‘light’ and not tracked that well, especially with just the driver. The heavier oil has transformed the whole thing! She sits on the road much better, handles bumps and dips and the steering has improved as well, R.T.F.M.!

Hand Pressure regulator. Another problem was the hand pressure regulator for the André Hydro Tele-Control rear shock absorbers gradually seized. The fix was simply to disassemble the unit and give it a through clean. For the fluid I’d always used the recommended mix of 70% water and 30% glycerine, however over the years the glycerine had gummed up the thread on the adjuster and the little ball valve on the bottom of the reservoir. Taking further advice we realised the glycerine is only there as an anti-freeze, something not really needed in my part of the universe, so from now on I will just top it up with distilled water.

Hand pressure regulator

Hand pressure regulator, after it had been cleaned.

AH adjuster

Inlet manifold drain. If you look at the TAV of the manifold you can see where I’ve circled there should be a drain at the bottom. This has always had brass plug. I had a 38-5209 but was missing a 38-5212 and the correct 4 mm copper tubing. Andrew provided a 38-5212 and I bought some tubing, bent and cut it to length and is now fitted. Most times when the engine is shut off a small dribble of petrol comes out the tube and there doesn’t seem to be any problems with engine performance, I’ll leave it connected for a while and see what happens.



Drain fitted to inlet manifold. Next time I’m under the car I’ll try to remember to get a better photo!

Accelerator Pedal Roller (38-63548). Lastly amongst a collection of Aprilia bits we bought from the UK was nos accelerator pedal roller. The old one had seized and worn badly on one side, the new one rotates freely and looks nice!

Old roller

Old accelerator roller.

new roller

New accelerator roller.


One person brake bleeder

This is my copy of our local Lancia Guru Peter Renou’s one person solution to brake bleeding. This will only work on Aprilias with Lockheed brakes, models with Sabif brakes have their own built in system.

You will need an air compressor, access to a lathe to turn up one fitting (there might be a standard air connection that could work), a metre of 10mm plastic tube, the correct fitting for you air compressor hose, two small hose clamps for the 10 mm hose and a lid that fits on the brake fluid reservoir, I found one off a paint stripper tin that had the same thread.

one man brake bleeder

one person brake bleeder

lid components

lid components

lid hose fitting

lid hose fitting

hose connection

hose connection

To Operate:

Check the fluid level in the brake fluid reservoir, top up if necessary. Screw the one person brake bleeder lid onto the reservoir, the top of the reservoir must be in good condition to get a good air tight seal.  Connect the air compressor hose. Set the air compressor to no more than 9 psi, or the pressure gauge needle just off the stop. Fit the correct size  tube to a brake bleed nipple, with the open end in a container to catch the fluid, slowly open the nipple and the brake fluid should slowly come through. Follow the normal procedure and wait until there are no more air bubbles in the fluid then close the nipple. You need to keep an eye on the fluid level in the reservoir, best to check after you’ve done each wheel. Do all four wheels and double check the pedal for the correct pressure.

Worked perfectly on my Aprilia. But please triple check the brake system on your car before you drive it.


brake bleeder

brake bleeder