Saturday, December 29, 2007

Broken emblem

The good news is my fender crest and "Vespa Super Sport" emblem are fully reusable. I just need to clean them up.

The bad news is my "Vespa SS" emblem, which goes on the legshield, has broken pegs on the back that attach to locking squares that hold them in place. It's a shame because the reproduction ones suck, I've heard. In an effort to save that emblem and reuse it I emailed Christopher M. and Tom G. Welding new pegs wouldn't work I don't think. I needed a creative idea.

Christopher offered a possible and great solution. I just need to confirm that it will not hurt the paint job at all, but seeing as it the goo goes on car paint I should be fine.

Here is what Christopher M. suggested:
"For the SS badge, what about just using the adhesive that's used to mount car emblems? You can get it at BAPS. Look out, though. It's nasty and stringy. A LITTLE goes a LONG way."

GS/SS Parts For Sale

Found this on in the "parts for sale" section. I am only posting it because the photo may prove useful for you readers:

Description: Here is a lot of mostly GS 160 parts left over from my restoration a couple of years ago. The swingarm is highly polished and looks great. I had an aluminum spot weld done where the brake cam connects to the body of the arm and it is stronger than new and you would never know it was there. I have additional pics if needed. I rebuilt 3 shocks and this is one of them. The other is on my bike and has never had a problem for 2 years so hopefully this one will hold like new also. I want to sell this as a lot before I do single stuff on Ebay so ask questions and make me an offer for the whole thing. I also have a fork (Bead blasted) and other misc that I might add to the lot if I can locate it before shipping.
Location Ohio

Round headlight models

I have a round headlight on my SS and have been having problems with the scoot shops finding the lens that goes in the hole above the speedo.

Tom G. told me that an "eye" / "lens" is what goes there, but the shops didn't know what I meant and did not have the part number I provided them.

I emailed Palmog, who then email Collin (who Palmog labeled as the one with "the most knowledge about an SS in the USA" -- a hell of a nice compliment about Collin").

Here's what Collin told me:

Hi Jeremy,
Hiro in Japan forwarded an email you sent to him regarding US spec later SS headset parts. A round light 1967 SS180 headset is going to be identical parts-wise to a non-battery US style Rally 180 headset. The "eye" part you are looking for is a colored gem that the high beam supposedly shines through (though it hardly works anyways). Greg Clauss from Clauss studios remakes them, they are super cheap.
Ps...the gems come in Red and Orange. I've seen red on all Rally 180's and late Super Sports.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Floor rail kit -- salvagable?

If you have to replace your floor rail kit you have two choices:
1) Authentic will cost you $65 Euro ($130 USA) at
2) Rally kit will cost you $39-49, but does not have the correct width and length to manufacturer's spec.

I was really hoping that I could reuse my floor rail kit and my legshield trim. My legshield trim is shot to hell. It looks like the bike had been laid down on one side. I will not be able to reshape the legshield trim and I am nervous that I can not reuse my stock floor rail kit.
The metal is very pliable and can be worked with somewhat. My rails do have nicks and scratches in them as you can see when you click on the photos to enlarge.
I suspect Eric planned on replacing the kit when he cut the rivets, but the bottom of the kit is in bad shape at a couple spots.
I suspect that if I cleaned them up and they were all shiny and pretty the eye would not focus on the imperfections, but then again we have a good chunk of change put into body work and paint and I wouldn't want my floor rail kit to give the hooptie effect to the finished scoot.
I really hate to replace parts because (1) new parts are not part of the scooter's soul and (2) it lowers the value of the bike when items are not original or intended for the specific model (yes, I do know the non-stock color of paint on our SS also lowered its value).
To put on a Rally floor rail kit would not bother my wife, the owner/rider of the SS180; therefore that is always an option.
The other consideration is the rubber for this floor rail kit is not sold any longer. I spoke with Claus Studios and for $128 I could have new floor rail rubber. I would need a NOS sample rubber for Claus Studios to replicate as well.

Here's the break down:
$80 for set-up (I would email all GS/SS owner to see if anyone would go in with me on this)
$8 per strip

This bike is intended to be a beautiful rider and not a museum piece; therefore spending $130 on the rubber or even the entire floor kit may not be logical for this restoration.

There are probably ten scooterists in the USA that would know the difference between the SS and Rally kits.

At this point, readers please comment below and let me know if what I have is reusable in your opinion and how you'd recommend cleaning it up.

Thank you.

From Christopher Markley:
"You'd be surprised at the evil that you can eliminate with judicious
application of several grades of sand paper followed by steel wool. A little
ting ting ting with some little jeweler's hammers, some cleaning and
polishing and you might be ok."

You can purchase the rubber from Scooter Works (Part#56779) or from Mauro Pascoli.

Ted's shop

The SS180 has had four homes since it was rescued from a an old farm. It's lived with Eric Hughes, me, at Christopher Markley's shop, and now Ted's shop.

Ted is a KTM-man or shall I say freak! He and wife ride and own a lot of bikes. Thanx Ted for taking in the VSC and helping with the reassembly.

Parts Order No. 1

For Christmas my family gave the SS180:
1) Cable set
2) MeCur rear shock spring
3) Wiring harness
4) Steering column upper and lower bearings
5) Rear shock dampener block
6) Patches for my riding coat

Total damage = $132.00 (that saved us from buying)

These items should get the reassembly started.

Replace Rim Studs

Stop! Don't bang out your old studs. They are welded in place with a tack weld. You will damage them on the way out. Try and reuse what you have first. My shop guy Ted was tapping one out for me to bring with me to the hardware store to buy stainless steel split washers and nuts and low and behold we stopped tapping out the stud right away after we made a little mess of the powder coat. Crap!

There are two important characteristics in a restorer: experience and patience. For what I lack in experience I try to make up for with patience. When hammering out a stud or some metal on your bike (other than body) ALWAYS use a block of wood or copper hammer (use a hammer with metal softer than what you are hitting) and save yourself from stripping threads or causing permanent damage. Take your time! Sometimes commonsense goes by the wayside when we get excited. Patience is a virtue and pays itself back time and time again.

Front Shock Rebuild Complete

A big thank you to my motorcycle buddy Ted for rebuilding my front shock. Ted is a high school guidance counselor now, but in a previous life he was a shop guy and does stuff the ol'skool way -- similar to Christopher Markley. The shock looks beautiful!
Ted followed the instructions on the rebuild I gave him from the Jets Scooter Club web page on how to rebuild a GS/SS front shock. See my previous post on rebuilding the front shock for more information.
I have looked high and low for this little rubber piece and have not found it. I will need to make one out of a dense rubber. It does not need to keep oil from dripping -- it just acts as a dampener.

I did not need to replace the rubber seal inside that is near impossible to find, but the good news is I have the one I purchased as a spare for the future.

Note: if you are looking to rebuild your GS/SS front shock . . . go check out "parts for sale" as there is a guy selling the front and rear shock already rebuilt.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Rear shock update

Replaced the rusty stock spring (rear shock) with a MeCur spring. Dropping it off at Christopher Markley's today to be powder coated black. Need to rebuild the rear shock so we can install the engine in the frame.

Powder coat cost = $12.50

Photo of rear shock stock is on Technica page #51. Click the page to enlarge. It's a good idea to study these photos from time to time when restoring an SS180 so you can remember what the finished bike should look like . . . for example had I revisited the photos I would have known where the junction box goes and I would not have thought something was missing . . . see previous post: "Engine - Missing Fastener?".

Wiring (without battery)

Thanx to Palmog for both the instructions below and a spare junction box, which he shipped to me from Japan, as I believe my junction box is in bad shape as I remember it being taped up in painter's tape like my High Tension Coil (or there is a slim chance that is in good shape and just taped together for storage purposes -- not to loose screws. I can't remember). We did upgrade our stock HT Coil, which the case cracked and broke, to a PX125 HT Coil. The idea being better spark and brighter lights.

Emailed from Palmog:

Hi Jeremy,

ok, then you have an AC bike with original wiring harness. Assuming so, we can use the wiring diagram for GS160 non-battery model here as a basic,

We need four terminal on the junction box as the figure shows. (dots on the junction box in the figure show the terminals) What we need to care is one thing and it is the connection on the HT coil. The PX125 HT coil has only one terminal for the hot (not grounded) AC terminal and we need to connect the wires colored red both from the stator and the junction box to the only terminal (terminal #2 on the figure) on the HT coil. (the terminal at the end of the wire from the junction box would be grounded when you push the kill switch)

Then you would need to connect the ground wire (which colored as black) to the metal body of the HT coil or on the motor case. I'm using the fixing nut of the HT coil as a terminal and connect both black wire from the stator and the junction box to the nut. In other words, the terminal #1 on the figure (original HT coil) is not exist on the PX125 HT coil but the fixing nut can be recognized as the terminal.

To summarize this, first on the junction box,
connection #1: Yellow wires (for tail/speedo/head lighting system) from the stator and wiring harness
connection #2: Sky blue wires (for the stop lamp) form the stator and wiring harness
connection #3: Green wires (for the horn) from the stator and wiring harness
connection #4: Red wires (for the ignition) from the stator/HT coil and wiring harness.

Second on the PX125 HT coil,
connection #5: Red wires from the stator/junction box. (it's your choice that where you connect each two on the HT coil or the junction box but you need at least one connection on each terminal)

Third on the PX125 HT coil fixing nut or the motor case,
connection #6: black wires from the stator/junction box.

Special note: thanx to Palmog, Tom G., Christopher Markley, and all the others that consistently share information with me. Many of my blog readers benefit from your knowledge and expertise.