Thursday, November 20, 2008

Blog appreciation

Forever ago I ran a survey on this blog with the following question:

HOW HELPFUL IS THIS BLOG TO A NEWBIE RESTORER?

46 people voted with these results:

45% Extremely
21% Very
10% Moderately
17% Mildly

I have removed the survey.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Moving on . . .

Howdy folks. I have a little work left on the SS180 and will post my notes along the way. There's not much and my readers know exactly what is left. I will also do a nice post for the final unveiling. Vespa deadline is March 8th so my wife can ride it on her birthday.

In the meantime I am beginning the restoration of my 1962 Lambretta TV 175.

If you're up for this again, I will document the entire process of restoring my Lambretta.

Let's do again!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

SS180 has its first visitor

The SS180 was pulled out of the garage today for the first time in many months to welcome and meet Hiro. It was a honor having Hiro come, especially considering that Hiro lives in Japan. Hiro brought a co-worker, Ted, with him. Ted is British and owned a Lambretta TV175 in the late sixties in England. Hiro owns a GS160. He has been following this blog and sharing advice since the beginning and has been a huge supporter of this scooter's restoration. Thank you Hiro for coming! (P.S. We just moved into this house and need to buy curtains so please don't think we're the bed sheet type of curtains people).
Prior to the unveiling of the VSC today, she's lived a hidden and secluded life beneath a bed sheet in a city of boxes and Rubber Maids. Those days are over. She is completely accessible now and awaits to be finished up and ridden.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Moving your scooter with your house

I'm a huge fan of Penske trucks when I make a move and I used one each time my family and I moved from coast to coast. On our move back West we rented a 26 ft truck (largest available) and a trailer for a car. We had to put all of our belongings in the truck, including three fully assembled scooters and my Lambretta in boxes. We had to leave a lot behind, some of value, but the scoots were priority. While I felt safer having the scooters in a covered truck for the 2,800 mile drive my big concern was the fact that there are NO tie down straps in these trucks. You are not allowed to change the truck in any way without it co$ting you.
Above, we're unloading the scooters in San Francisco. My original thought was to use three skids and strap the scooters to them and then strap them in place, but my father-in-law had a far superior idea.
He suggested that we buy a star wrench (like an allen wrench) and remove the screws from the floor and replace them with eye hooks, washers, a lock washer, and a nut -- all of which is a hair smaller than the threaded hole in the frame of the truck. It was so easy.


My father-in-law also built rear wheel chucks out of the scrap 2x4s from Home Depot. The idea being that there would be no forward/side movement of the rear end. We strapped down the scooters using Canyon Dancers around all three handle bars (my preferred method). This method worked very well.

Being anal, I kept the cowls and glove box of the SS180 wrapped up the cab of the truck with me for added safety.

This truck was the Vespa's home for nearly a week. Sadly, I forgot the camera to take a picture of the scooter our 10x25 ft storage unit as that was her temporary home for a few months.


Congrats to the blog . . . over 26,000 visits in one years ten months.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

SS180 has a new home

We bought a house with a garage in Oakland and the Vespa is already in the garage.  We move in this weekend.  It will be a while until I can give her my energy/time again to finish her off, but I aim to do a little here and a little there.  Sadly, I must say I didn't remember to take a picture of her in her temporary housing in storage.

More to follow.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Update: August 30, 2008

Readers,

Alive and healthy, BUT my life is stressfully nuts. My family and I are staying with my parents in SF. Our life is in storage -- including the Vespa VSC. I work in East Oakland and therefore commute. We are hunting to buy a house and get our own space and a garage for the Vespa in Oakland or Berkeley. Once we have that, I can work on the Vespa and finish it up, but as you know it is so damn close.

Honestly, I'd like to start my Lambretta too.

I haven't forgotten this blog and there will be some closure with the completion of the bike . . . thanx for your patience.

In the mean time, I hope this blog remains useful for you.

Best,

Jeremy

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Update

I am focusing on finding a job. I still need a few parts and then a place of our (my family) with a garage to wrap up the Vespa. I haven't forgotten it. I am a little burned out on it at the moment, because before moving I put 40-50 hours in a very short time. It is locked away in storage and the gas tank is coated in 2-stroke oil to prevent rust (remember I did not treat the inside of the gas tank).

Friday, July 4, 2008

Saving an SS180 from Asian Restoration

We've all heard the nightmares of "Asian Restorations." Come to think of it I only know ONE person who has a nice and safe Asian restoration.

Although, I must be honest . . . I have family in Vietnam (my wife's family) and I would love to go over there with some money and send her uncle (a local) to pick up an old TV175 S.3 I scouted out and yank the engine and keep the body, etc. (seeing as I have a spare TV motor) and I could make my wife a TV too.

Anyways, back to the point at hand . . . another SS180 restoration blog is alive and well thanx to Scooterchick Sam. A-freakin'men! to see an Asian scooter being saved, especially a VSC.

Please check out her SS180 and the issues she has to overcome. Click on Scooterissmo.

Thank you for the support and kind words Sam. I need the encouragement too.

Please leave comments for Sam and push her on. Lurking is cool, but we bloggers need feedback too.

4th of July Update

Happy 4th of July folks and 38th wedding anniversary to my parents!

Just a quick update . . . VSC is in storage. I am not doing much work on it until my wife and I get our own place in the Bay Area and I have garage to work on it in. There is very little left to do -- probably can be done in a total of 5 casual hours.

I am hunting for a job (I am an English teacher) and that is where much of my energy is going right now.

Regarding scooters . . . I have decided to begin to research and assemble a parts quote to begin restoring my 1962 Lambretta TV175. I will be blogging that restoration just as I have with my wife's Vespa, but I will be doing a lot more of the work on my own. You can begin to follow that blog, but it is moving slower than the Vespa's. Since I don't have the ability to work on the SS180, I figure I can do a lot of work on planning the TV's restoration from behind my computer.

Also, for you total newbies I have another blog that offers great generic information for all scooterists as well as the Bajaj/Stella/P-Series crowd. The site is titled Bajaj Restoration, but it has nothing to do with restoring a Bajaj -- I just wanted to keep my blog names similar. Nonetheless, I believe it offers useful tips.

Have a Happy 4th!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Restoration 101 (it's all about the process)

I’m not going play it like I am an experienced restorer, because I am not. I don’t know dung compared to many. But I do know a thing or two about mistakes to avoid and “process”. Process is key in a successful restoration. In this post, I will tell you the process I wish I had taken. Please keep in mind that this is written for a newbie restorer, but I really hope that experienced restorers will chime in with comment.

Step 1:
You bought a beat up scoot and believe it is stock. Take a hundred pictures of all the details on the bike. You need to determine if it is worth restoring or it a mechanical rebuild is more appropriate. More often than not, a mechanical rebuild is the answer.

Step 2:
Research the hell out of your bike. Learn every detail you can about it. Collect color pictures, etc. Hang them up in your garage. Download the parts manual for free from Scooterhelp.com. Study it. Buy a Haynes manual. Study it. Keep this information in a well-organized binder or Blog it, like I did.

Step 3:
Assuming you are doing a full restoration . . . open up your parts manual and make photocopies of all of the diagram pages. Disassemble the bike according to the diagrams. First photograph the section you are taking apart each and every step of the way. Download these photos and put them in a folder on your computer that is named exactly the same as the diagram page. Then put the parts into a huge Ziploc bag with the extra copy of the parts diagram. With a Sharpie write the number of the parts diagram page on the outside of the Ziploc. Repeat until the entire bike is disassembled. Put all of the parts in huge Rubbermaid bins in numeric order. This process will save you when you create your parts list and when you put your bike back together.

Step 4:
The next is to create your parts list. Start with the first Ziploc bag of parts and determine if anything is damaged. Write the parts that you need on the diagram in the bag. Put together a spreadsheet of parts needed by diagram – this will help the scooter shop find you the correct part, because they use parts books too. Furthermore, make sure to keep all the original parts in the bag and do not remove them. When you get new parts that are not NOS (new old stock) you will want to compare them side-by-side and take detailed pictures of any differences. These photos will help the shop when you need to exchange parts and make sure you get the right parts.

Step 5:
Order your floor rail kit and all chrome accent pieces now if your stock parts are not usable. Once your bike is stripped down research your model and find out all the parts on the bike that will need to be stripped of paint, bodywork done, and then repainted. Count each item and check it off. Don’t strip by hand if you don’t need to. For all threaded part and items/areas you do not want medium blasted cover it in fiberglass tape to protect it and instruct the blaster to go easy around those parts.
While your bike is off at the medium blasters go buy PPG’s cleaner and conditioner for bare metal. This will prevent rust and allow you to work on your frame parts before primer. When you pick up your bike inspect it closely with cotton gloves. Keep your oily hand OFF IT. Rush it home and treat it with PPG. If you store in a dry place you can touch and handle it for 12 months before treating again or painting.

Step 6:
If you are going to have your nuts/bolts plated. Send those out now.

You should also begin cleaning your parts at this point. An inexpensive way is to fill up a 5-gallon bucket with gasoline. Buy the little copper and plastic scrub brushes from Harbor Freight when they are on sale for 51 cents for 3 brushes. Go outside to clean your parts. Run a fan so you are NOT breathing in the vapors. Don't smoke near by. Be safe and smart. You can soak the parts a little if you need to and build a mesh screen to dip or soak the parts in the bucket. Wear nitrile gloves to protect yourself. It may be best for you clean one diagram bag at a time so as not to mix parts up.

Do or have your bodywork done. Identified all holes that must be filled. This is where all your pictures come in to play. Once that is done use nuts/bolts to install your floor rail kit (minus the rubber) and leave it there as long as your can – a month or what have you. This will result in the metal remembering your floor of your scoot better. Also put on all chrome accent pieces temporarily. Does everything line up 100% perfectly? If not, right now is your last chance to fix it. Work with your body shop on this. You must be there and talking with them to inspect it is being done right. Do NOT rely on anyone to just “get it done correctly.” Invest yourself and your time too. Once that’s go ahead and have it sprayed.


Step 7:
While all this is happening you can be rebuilding your engine (and suspension) and you should also place your HUGE order for all of your parts. So they arrive just before you pick up your body of your scoot. Double-check all of your parts against the original ones to ensure they are correct. Some will not be. Put the new parts in the appropriate bags / diagrams and cross out that you have replaced them from on the diagram where you wrote you needed the part. It’s crazy how many parts did not make it to you. You will need to hunt those down now and order those.

Step 8:
Once you have the body parts back, make a super soft protective bed for them. Put your scooter on your workbench and lay it its side wrapped up in a blanket. Use nitrate or cotton gloves so you don’t leave oily hand all over the new paint. Now install:
- all the cables
- wire harness
- floor rail kit
- kick stand
- run everything that goes beneath the gas tank
The reason you install these things without the engine in and while the bike lies on its side is because it gives you easier access and hand ability of the bike. Trust me on this.

Step 9:
Now you can put the bike upright and install the engine and front suspension. Tape everything off with painters tape to protect metal on metal connections. After the tires are on stand the bike on its own two feet using the kick stand.

Step 10:
Go ahead and finish the bike up from here. As you empty each bag of parts use your digital picture file that aligns with it and put it back together just like you took it apart. If the red wire goes behind the blue wire when you took it apart then that is how you need to put it back together. Use your pictures – that’s why you took them. There is no need to spend an hour trying to figure something out when it only takes :30 seconds to take a pictures and :60 seconds to find and open the picture. Trust me there is a better way to spend those 58 minutes and 30 seconds. I wasted too much time!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Touch-up Paint

Howdy folks. I am in San Francisco now and I will try to catch up on my posts and put the last 2-4 hours in on the Vespa and have it done. I have already gone in to First kick scooters to introduce myself to David and to discuss parts I need. I don't need much. Before I left Pennsylvania, I had the final touch-up work done to the scoot.Ralph at K & K painted my wife's SS180 and also handled the touch-up. Besides all the areas I identified for touch-up he told me he found about another 100-150 spots he did touch-up work to to ensure the bike looked awesome. For all areas that the paint was chipped he filled it with multiple layers of black epoxy and once it was flush, he used touch-up paint. Then he wet-sanded it with extremely fine paper/ I over tightened some hardware and caused the paint to flex too much and he bridged those areas.

Make sure when you pick up your bike from the painter that you bring an empty 35mm film canister and have them fill it up for you. It is air tight and you can keep paint in there for a very long time. Use tooth picks to create several tiny dots when doing touch-up work and use the layering technique. It may take 2-3 layers for your paint to be even where you did touch-up. Be patient and take your time.Regarding wax, I won't use it. My paint job is two-stage, meaning there is a clear coat on top; therefore, no water can get in and it's best to just use polish. Ralph uses Imperial Hand Glaze polish (pic above) and said a bottle like this will last me for life. I can use it as often as I like and heck, painters can even paint over it as opposed to wax, which much be thoroughly stripped off before any paint is applied.


Note: yup the Vespa dripped tranny oil out the breather. I emptied the excess oil and no more leak.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Moving Tomorrow

Not able to respond to comments or write posts for a little while. My family and I are moving to San Francisco (my home) tomorrow.

I will be back up and running on this blog once I am settled in.

Here's a quick moving tip . . . inside your truck remove the screws that hold the floor in (and save to put back in once you are done with the truck) and replace with eye-hooks. I used eight eye-hooks for three scooters. Worked great with NO modifications to my rented truck.

It''l be a trip from Harrisburg, PA to S.F., CA in the 26 foot truck towing a car, while my wife drives the other car with the dog in it. Big move.

Keep your fingers crossed all goes smoothly.

By the way, the paint touch-up looks amazing as does the bike of course.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Fuel tap assembly

First off, let me stress a mistake I made . . . I failed to test my fuel tap assembly for gas flow prior to ordering new seals. That was a mistake. My tap was thoroughly cleaned and seals were added, but at best it just dripped as opposed to gushed like it should. Click on the photo above to enlarge it and you will see that my fuel tap is beat up on the gas intake straw. Pictured above from bottom to top are: (1) the new standard non-sediment bowl tap, (2) the Indian reproduction tap, and (3) my original one. Most people I spoke with ALL recommended the non-sediment bowl style, but Tom G. I trust Tom G. 100% and I opted to buy a replacement with a sediment bowl, but I used the stock glass sediment bowl because it fit and seems more authentic to me.

It is "absolutely" vital that before the scoot company mails your new fuel tap that you ask them to wiggle the straw(s) and if there is any movement to get a new one or you will need to solder it.  I have heard that fuel taps are hit or miss.  

This is how my set-up looked before installation, minus the plastic catch-all pan pictured below which sits in the frame beneath the gas tank to capture any drips. I had to scrub it first. Note in the picture above that fuel tap almost looks stocks.  Make sure to install your fuel tap and set the tank up in a box vertically for over night to ensure that you do NOT have any leaks.
Inside the gas tank before I put the catch-all pan and the gas tank.  Note, that due to the fact that the gas flow works on gravity, I shortened the fuel line so it traveled "down hill" as much as possible.
To install the gas tank, let the fuel "On/Off" lever dangle almost vertically down until you can "roll" it through the frame. I failed to do this and in doing so broke the end of the fuel lever. What a pitiful shame.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Smallest Tire Jack

I've seen a handful of small and compact tire jacks on a variety of scooters, but none have been as small and light as the one I got with my Bajaj Chetak, which also works perfectly on my wife's VSC. We once bought a friend a jack from Bajaj for cheap as a thank you gift and he has used it with his P200 and a small square block of wood to add some extra height. It fits perfectly in your glove box.

Paul B., per your request I went outside and snapped this photo for you:

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Resolving oil leaks

Gotta tiny oil leak . . .

Ted overfilled the tranny oil he said and my engine developed a tiny leak. Ted believes that the small leak is due to the excess oil coming out or worst-case-scenario it's the rear hub seal has gone bad. When visiting the painter on Thursday a very small puddle had formed.

I emailed Christopher Markley and asked him for advice. This is what he told me:

"If it was way overfilled, it would have developed excess pressure and blown out the breather, and also could have blown out the hub seal. You can replace the hub seal easily if that's the problem. All Vespa engines leak some oil. The old joke about old motorcycles is the customer calls the garage and says, "Hey, I don't know what you did when my bike was in the shop, but it doesn't leak any oil anymore!" The mechanic screams, "Don't ride that bike, it must mean that the engine is bone dry!"

After you clean off the cases with denatured alcohol, blow some chalk dust on the cases all around. You can get this at Home Depot where they sell levels and plumb bobs. You can get the chalk dust in white or colors. After you've sprayed the chalk dust on the cases, it will be very easy to identify where an oil leak is coming from. It is very unlikely to be coming from between the case halves. The gasket and the gasket sealer usually prevents all but the tiniest weep from this joint. But good news -- if it is from there, you can just drain the oil bone dry, ultra-clean the case joint where it is leaking, and then get Yamabond gasket sealer in silver, and carefully apply it to the section of case mating area that is leaking, and voila, no more leak. If you apply it CAREFULLY, nobody will ever even see it."

Floor rail install slideshow

video
After installing my floor rails, I feel well prepared to give you the break down in a digest format, which I believe will provide you with the critical information needed so that you can confidently install your own floor rails with ease (or as easy as it can be for a newbie). Please leave a comment if I have left anything out.

Here's what I did:

1) Do your research. Start by reading and looking at the pictures on these two posts: research post and step-by-step install post. Make sure you read the comments left too.

2) Before your scooter goes to the paint shop you MUST buy and dry install your floor rail kit. Everything must line up perfectly before the body goes to paint.

If you buy a new floor rail kit, I highly recommend searching for a kit that has no holes punched in it and will also require you to cut it to length. Such a kit was made at one point in Canada and the Brit scoot shops sold it. There have to be more of these out there.

Through extensive research I have learned that the Pascoli floor rail kit is no easier than the Rally kit to install so therefore I kept my Rally kit. My holes did not line up and if I could do it all over again I would have had the holes in body filled before having the bike painted and I would drill new holes to ensure everything fit (mark the new holes for the painter). When you hog out the holes in your rail they become much more oval shaped and this allows them to move during install.

3) If you floor rails do not line up flush with the floor board, use a hair dryer on the lowest setting to warm them. Now use a hook with rubber on it and screw it into a piece of wood for leverage and roll your floor rail to shape. Only apply pressure to the base, not the lip, of your floor rails or you will crush it If a gap still exists, leave the floor rails on so your body/paint guy can straighten your frame.

4) For the arch on the front of the floor rails put a propane camping bottle in your vice and clamp down. Now put a sock over your warm floor rail and GENTLY roll in the shape a tiny bit at a time; frequently checking so you don't curve it too much.

5) Make sure the end caps fit properly and that the rivet will not be at too much of an angle. Mine were and this cause the end caps to move slightly so a couple of them did not sit perfectly flush with the floor rail end.

6) File the mold off your end cap and polish it with Mother's Chrome Polish.

7) Examine each end cap and select each of the 12 ends in order to hide the blemishes of the file on the end cap. Number each end cap and end rail 1-12 so you remember which one goes where.

8) You will need to make two punches. Go to your local Harbor Freight Tools and spend a $1.67 for a 3-piece nail punch set on sale. Cut them back so the diameter is huge. For the "waffle" make a three cuts across in each direction with a hack saw. Then file them. Leave it waffle tips square -- don't angle them -- it won't look good. With the other punch (or bolt like I used) drill out a cone shape to slip into the end cap head to hold the rivet head it place while hand peening.

9) When the bike is back from the painter put a nice thick protective paper cover over your floor board. Double check all the holes line up. Now file out -- do NOT drill out -- the holes in your frame. Once they are cleaned out enough for the rivets to fit through seal the holes with an epoxy-based paint to protect your frame from rust. Let dry.

10) I opted to pop rivet my rails and to hand peen the 12 end caps only. I purchased all aluminum pop rivets. Pop rivet guns are cheap. Pop rivet the floor rails, but do NOT tighten them all the way or you will bend the rails. Only tighten them all the way after you have every hole pop riveted. Also, make sure the out rail rivets are flush against the body and not hung up on the outer lip. Many people prefer to use washers with pop rivets.

11) With a heavy flat weight press up against the bottom of the pop rivets and use a punch and a ball peen hammer (need a friend for this) to flatten the buttons left in the floor rails so the rubber will fit.

12) Fill up a big pot with warm water and soak your rubber. It will be more pliable and lubricated by the water to slide it it. Slide the rubber in place and leave about 1/2 inch on each side (you can get away with a little less). Over time your rubber will shrink and the excess will come in handy.

13) Start on the inner back end cap first in case you mess up. Put the end cap on and the rivet through. Cut the rivet just shy of a 1/2 inch. If you leave too much and you wack too much and too hard it will leave a dimple in your frame. Sadly, I have two.

14) Drill out a refridgerator magnet for the rivet end to go through.

15) Read up on "hand peening rivets", then practice, and watch this hand peening video.

16) After you hand peen the rivets come back with the waffle punch and have a friend hold the anchor against the rivet button and use a ball peen hammer (flat side) and give two good wacks. But be CAREFUL not to wack too hard or you will leave a dimple in your frame. I will need to take a macro shot of the waffled rivet(s) and post it. You can see it on the slide show at the top on the back bottom of the scoot.

ALTERNATIVE IDEA:If I did not have a rare bike, I would pop rivet the entire floor rail. I wonder if I use my yellow coned out punch, which fits inside of the end cap, that if I gently punched the head of the rivet if I could shape it into a button. I think I could, but it may not look perfect on every button . The secret would be to make a very tight little cone so it uses all of the excess aluminum in the head. I like how uniform pop rivets look, but I don't like the hole left in the donut. In a perfect world, all bikes would be blind riveted.

As usual, if you would like a specific photo posted please leave a comments and ask.


Next time:
If I were to this all over again I would use the pneumatic air chisel approach that Self Preservation Society posted on BBS and use rivets on everything. No pop rivets.

Rear brake switch & pedal install

video

Installing the rear brake switch and pedal are pretty straight forward as you can see in the slide show.

Note: If you are replacing your rear brake switch there are two things to keep in mind: (1) I was told that the after-market switches that cost $15 are crap and the color is off and the quality is shottie -- so buy $25 Piaggio brand and (2) there are two types of switches -- one is always connected at the terminals and the other is not. Notice that I ordered one that is always connected and my stock one is not. I need to exchange that part for the correct one.
Regarding the switch . . . here is the switch that I need to get now . . . 

"I spoke to the guys out at Scooterwest/Motorsports and came to the conclusion that the appropriate switch was the one that is often listed for large-frame, DC bikes. It makes sense, since that is the switch that is used for a VBB, and the VBB wiring harness is the closest to an original GS/SS wiring harness. I won't be able to tell you for another week how well it works out. Ah...here we go: brake switch via Motorsport Scooters is referred to as a 'Rear stop switch 125/150 Onwards GRAY', #181637, $14.00 - - Jen H."


Here's what I did:

1) I added the terminals to my new brake switch. The direction the wires enter on the new switch are different than how the entered on the old switch; therefore I had to guess on which wire goes where, but this is an easy fix for later. Make sure you run the wires through the seal first. Note that my new seal is black, not gray like the stock one.

2) Screw on the switch, but leave some play as you will need to adjust the switch once the pedal is on.

3) File down excess paint from the pedal stud and inside the locking pin canal until everything fits and moves freely.

4) Hand polish your brake pedal with a mild abrasive sponge. The white metal does not like Mother's Chrome Polish.

5) Connect your brake cable.

6) Put you pedal on the stud and push it all the way down. Now install your brake pedal lock pin from the top down. You will need a punch to gently tap it all the way down.

7) Line up your brake pedal with your switch.

8) Connect your brake cable at the rear hub and the tension will cause you pedal to stand upright.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Headset reassembly

video

I enjoyed reassembling the headset. As you know I own a 1967 Vespa SS180 released in the USA. That means I have the round headset and my headset shares a lot of commonalities with the VSD (Rally 180). In the very early days of my restore ScooterWorks sold the headlight assembly for $25, which was 50% off. I bought it because the scoot didn't come with a headlight or I would have first tried to restore that.

Before I could reassemble my headset, I needed to get my head around the differences in 6V wiring a VSC and a VSD. As you can see from the links the pilot light is wired differently. My stock pilot light had a "gray" wire attached to it, as it should for a VSD. You'll note in the slideshow that I attached the blue, which is more similar to the VSC. That is the ONLY change I made.

Click on Hiro's detailed schematics for wiring.

Here's how I reassembled my headset:

1) I pulled my wires through the headset on the "switch" side.

2) With painter's tape I flagged each and every wire coming through my headset so I knew where everything was supposed to go.

3) I pulled the switch wires through the headset and pulled the through some excess tubing from the new wire harness was removes so I could get the wire harness to fit up through the frame and headset. Then I ran the wires through the back of the switch box.

4) Follow the switch schematics from Hiro on this blog for wiring your switch. Use a tiny flat head screw driver to loosen each terminal and then run the wire into the corresponding terminal and tighten it back down.

5) Polish your switch cover with Mothers or alike.

6) Now install the indicator light. I purchased a Clauss Studios reproduction indicator before I found my original. I chose to keep my original on the bike. Polish it.

7) The pilot bulb (which looks like a fuse) is held in place by the indicator light. My housing for the pilot bulb is missing a terminal/end point for the bulb; therefore I attached the black wire to the housing with a screw for the short run.

8) Hand screw in the pilot bulb and indicator light. Then use a wrench to "snug" it.

9) Next is the speedo. I have already replaced the speedo glass and bezel and sealed it shut so I gently twisted the white speedo bulb terminal, which holds the blue wire in place, until the white plastic unit popped free. I put the brand new blue wire in it and put the bulb back in and twisted it until it locked.

10) Then I tightened down the speedo by using a small flat head screw driver to hold it in place with the long screw, which you can reach from the base of your headset.

11) Finally the headset . . . I did not need the extension wire that came along with the brand new headlight, because I had a lot of spare, but I did need to cut off the terminal connectors and replace them with ones that would match the light. Easy to do, cheap, and I sealed with shrink tubing.

12) I assembled the light.

13) Then I used the screw mount set to lock the light housing into place. The mount set has a square-ish nut, a large hallow screw, and a tiny screw that goes into the hallow screw. Slide the nut in behind the housing and then lock the housing in place with the hallow nut.

14) The headlight bezel now needs to be slid into place. Take your time so as not to mar the paint. Once in place use the small nut to screw into the hallow nut. Be careful! Everything must be aligned perfectly. The small screws are not tough.

As always if you want to see a picture from the slide show at high res and full screen so you can see the detail, please just ask. This blog is here for you not me. I already did it and have pictures and documentation. This is for all the people who are hestitant to take on a restore or rebuild -- don't be. I am terribly far from an expert or experienced restorer, but I have learned a lot of credible information and I will be happy to give it all to any who ask./span>

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Tail Light Restoration

video
I kept my original tractor style tail light, which was used on the latter SS180s. My tail light was in good shape, minus a cracked OEM tail light (which can still be used, but looks out of place on a restored bike) and a some bends in the metal arms the license plate mounts to, but my paint/body shop guys took care of that.

Here's what I did:
1) I took apart the tail light.
2) I used painters tape to tape up the reflector and the entire wiring.
3) I hand stripped the paint with Aircraft Gel Stripper, because I was concerned that sand blasting would destroy it.
4) I had my body/paint shop take care of the housing.
5) I found new stainless hardware that was as close as possible to a match for the original.
6) I bought two new lenses. One was an Italian lens from a scoot shop and the other was from a tail light assembly sold as a kit from Lowes (for the same price as the scooter shop charged just for the lens). Neither were a 100% match, but Lowes was MUCH closer and only $6.
7) I ordered a new lens seal, but it came in black as opposed to grey (no one sees it).
8) I used a rubber replenisher (not a real word) to rejuvenate the seals I do have. The big fat circular gasket which goes between the light and housing frame I reused temporarily.
9) I purchased a matching "double filament" bulb.
10) I did the wiring to plug-n-play with the original light and used shrink tubing.
11) I mounted the light housing bracket.
12) I put the clear lens in place.
13) I put the seal between the bracket and light frame.
14) I put the bulb in.
15) I flipped the lens seal in reverse so the groove faces outward. I then put the seal in place.

Now that I had the seal in place I could not get the Italian lens to fit in. It was too big. It requires a different seal I believe. It lies flush with the housing, as opposed to how the original lens fit -- which was that it fit over the top and came over the edge. This is how the Lowes lens fits. It is bulkier like the original and that is why I decided to use it. It looks more stock and it fit naturally over the seal to boot.

16) With new stainless wood screws I installed the Lowes lens.

Note: the electrical diagram from Scooterhelp.com did not match the tractor style tail light; therefore I copied the way the wires were laid out on my stock wires from the original light and I made a guesstimate on placing the black wire based on the diagram. This is something I can very easily fix if need be and I left some excess wire if needed. This is where buying a complete bike comes in handy so you can just copy was what there before.

Heading for paint touch up

Note: before reading this, please remember to NOT over tighten anything against your new paint job or you will cause a chip. Just snug it up. I overtightened the seat bolt pin and shipped the paint. I also over tightened the trim piece on my front fender and it caused a micro dent. Go easy on your paint!
On Monday evening, after the test drive, I prepped the scoot for paint touch-up. I used painters tape and a Sharpie to draw arrows to every possible nick I could find. I did this outside in the natural light to ensure I didn't miss anything at all. Florescent lights will lie to you.We threw a tarp over the scoot to protect it from the pebbles while traveling and rain. I always use Canyon Dancers to strap the bike down and also throw out all your ratchet style motorcycle straps -- they suck! Ted has pull straps that are so strong and hassle free to use.  I will be buying two sets of these shortly and will no longer strap down the back of my bike like I use too.We delivered the bike back to K & K and I walked the painter through everything in detail, but I miscommunicated with the painter when discussing the rivets. He agreed to put a epoxy prep paint beneath the tuck in my rivets to help avoid any future rust. He thought I meant to paint over my rivets too and he did on the right side of my leg shield. I visited him today, thursday, to point out two areas I forgot to label with painter's tape and explained that the rivets are to remain bare alumimun. He understood and said he would scrape off the epoxy.There are a couple points at which you can tell if your painter is the real McCoy or not and one of those times is touch-up. My painter knows his shit. For all the small nicks he will fill with a black epoxy (use black for darker colors, like British Racing Green) in several thin layers until it is flush, then he will paint with a mix of matching green he will create. With 2000+ grit wet sandpaper he will sand it and no one will unless (1) they are a professional painter themselves or (2) you knew exactly where the nick was.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

360 View of VSC

These pictures are from Sunday and more work was done on Monday, but you can see how crystal and deep the paint job is and how nice the bike looks overall.

video

If there is a specific photo from the slide show that you would like posted, please leave me a comment to that effect and I will post it.

Speedo restoration

I am a huge fan of the unmolested speedo on a fully restored bike. I purposedly left a couple "aged" items on the bike to show its history, and the speedo is the most noticable one.

video

I have a Rally 180 (VSD) style headset, which was produced on the latter USA released SS180s.

In the slideshow above I show you how to replace a broken face plate and seal your speedo up again.

Here's what you need to do:

1) Purchase a new bezel and face plate.  I purchased NOS from Scooter Shop.

2) The bezel is folded over the back of the speedo.  It seals it very well and compresses the gasket inside.  Without a doubt, the internals of the speedo were spotless and the cleanest part on my bike.

3) I used a tiny flat head screw driver to elevate the locking lip of the bezel.  If I had to reuse my original bezel this would have been a major pain in the butt, because the bezel was misshaped afterwards.

4) With the small screw driver break apart the old black gasket between the face place and metal speedo.

5) Now release the plate.

6) Clean ONLY the external and the area where the new seal will go. Use a mildly abrasive pad without chemicals.

7) Put a new seal on.

8) Clean and then put on the new face plate.

9) I chose not to fold over the brand new bezel, because I was scared I could damage it.  Instead I used a "gasket maker silicone" and sprayed it around the seal.  I then pressed the bezel back down over the top of it and put a heavy weight on it to compress it.  It sat for 24 hours.

10) Finally, I used the gasket maker again and sealed the gap between the lip of the bezel and the speedo itself.  Don't stress . . . you can wipe the silicone off with your thumb AFTER it dries for clean up. Let it dry - don't mess with it wet.

Remember that this is all facing downward, so if it rains or the bike gets washed I am more than safe since the bezel is filled with silicone.

If you would like a SPECIFIC picture from the slide show posted so you can view it as high resolution and HUGE on your screen, please leave me a comment and I will post it.



Odds and ends to tackle

TO PURCHASE:

With part numbers:
97570 - Clip for cables
84224 - Gas on/off lever
83139 - Tube for gas on/off lever (is this something I need to have special or can I use my own tube)
S. 8431 - Screws for fixing horn (qty: 4)
S. 8088 - Spring for fixing horn
97523 - Pin to secure (QTY: 2)
90528 (?) - Grommet to go around the glove box door

Without part numbers:
- 6v-.06W Speedo bulb (looks like a fuse) for a Rally speedo
- 6v-3W Pilot bulb for a Rally 180 headset
- Terminal connector for the pilot bulb where black wire connects to fuse looking bulb (I have one side, but am missing the other. I can provide a pix if necessary)
- Tail light grommet for outside of "Tractor" taillight – it does not go in with the lens. (It goes between the metal housing and bracket. I have pictures if needed.
- VSD Headlight bezel outer screw (goes inside the other screw) (Qty: 2)
- Speedo tip clamp to keep the cable slipping out of the lock nut at the front hub
- 3.5x10 innertube
- Spark plug connector (I have a new wire and old grommet, but my spark plug stands way too high!. Is it possible to get a ball-bearing locking kind that is EXTREMELY close to the head of spark plug so that it is not too high up and hitting the inside of the cowl).

QUESTIONS TO LOOK INTO IN:
- Does the carb need tuned? It stalled a bit.

- Why did the horn stop working? The kill switch didn't work. The tail light didn't work. What came loose?

- Do I have the rear brake pedal switch wired backwards? The wires still need to be clamped down.

- How should the spark plug wire be positioned?

- How should the wired harness be positioned around the engine.

- Why doesn't steering column lock work?

- Why doesn't headlight bulb fit inside my headlight (part# 114345 VSD headset)?

TO DOES:
- Reverse rims to be put on correctly.

- Confirm if rear brake switch should be open or closed, i.e. do I have the correct one?

**** Expect new posts soon.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Test Drive #1

Scoot was test ridden today and is loaded on the truck for delivery to the painter for touch-up tomorrow.

Clip #1:
video

Clip #2:
video

There are still some minor things to be done, including adjusting the carb a hair. But those things may need to wait until after we move back West (we leave in 15 days). So it looks like this blog is not done yet. I'm not saying goodbye until the scoot is 100% perfect.


I aim to post more about the reassembly and what is left to be done over the next couple weeks, but now I need to move my attention onto getting ready for the 3,000 mile move.

Torque settings

Today, I will torque all the nuts and bolts on the VSC.

Thank you to Hiro, who sent me the link to the following torque guide:

I've been told that the you can use the VSC info for torquing a P-Series too.
The Vespa Super-Sports Yahoo Group has a ton of good information on it. That is where the torque guide came from. Make sure to check the group out.

VSC NOS Parts List

Thank you Jen, from Vespa Super-Sports Yahoo Group, for putting together the most comprehensive SS180 parts list that I have seen yet.  It is still a work in progress Jen says. 

Per Jen's post:
"i started making up a list of parts,sorted by the original parts book table/#, system, category, description, original parts #, new parts # and possible source(s). it's a Google Doc, and I made it available to anyone to view. if you are looking for something particular, you can use the 'Sort' feature at the top of each column to sort it by whatever means you need. pretty nifty and could be a great resource when completed."

Keep an eye on this to see when it is complete. It is a must see resource for VSC owners.

Remember, I also have a pretty comprehensive parts list as an Excel file, which I am happy to email on request.  I have already given that list to two or three people.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

99% Complete

I am nearly complete with the reassembly. Some very minor work will be required after I move home (back West) to finish the bike up, but for now my goal is to get it to the painter on Tuesday for touch-up.Overall I am proud of my first restoration and I have learned so much (as my readers know)! The photo above does not show all the angles of the bike, so I shot a video of how the bike looks right now.
Tomorrow I will spend 3-4 hours finishing the bike up . . . torquing the hardware, adjusting the cables, hopefully test riding, and then loading onto the truck for tomorrow's delivery.

Thank you all . . . you have been with me each step of the way with over 15,300 visits to this blog since January 1, 2007.  Toast me folks . . . I am almost there!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Sneak Peek

It's the end of the day Saturday and here is what I have done so far.

video

The scoot must be completely put back together in two days. Monday evening it will be loaded onto the truck to go to the painter.

After I move back West I will have just a couple minor things to do, such as put the pilot bulb in the headset and replace the speedo bulb and such.

I aim to work tomorrow from 10 AM to 5 PM and try to finish up the bike as mush as possible. On Monday, I'd like to test ride it before loading it on the truck.

I feel very bonded to the scoot now!

Starting on Tuesday I aim to begin to add posts documenting the last steps of reassembly.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Junction Box

Wiring the junction box is a breeze if you do it like this...

Go to Radio Shack or what have you and buy (1) shrink tubing and (2) the smallest as possible connectors -- pictured below:

Note the larger ones.  They had tubing on them and I tried to install with those the first time and I had to cut the tubing off and crimp them vertically to get them to fit.  It was SLOPPY.  It is important that they are as small as possible in order for the junction box to close properly.  Plus it looks a lot nicer and who says that no one will ever see them -- you just did.


Cut a proper length of shrink tubing off and slide it onto your wire then crimp the connector on it.  Afterwards heat the shrink tubing so it constricts and protects the wires from coming into contact with anything other than the terminal you screw it into.

I could not find the original junction box screw since I purchased my bike disassembled, so I replaced it, but Home Depot does not sell metric galvanized hardware which I wish it did, because the stainless doesn't look good here.  Of course, that is an easy fix in the future.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Final stretch to completion

Here's a sneak peak of where I was two days ago . . .
The race is on to finish assembling the bike by Monday, May 26th.  On the 27th the bike is due to the paint shop for touch paint before I move back West on June 10th.  The bike is coming along quickly and smoothly.  I am working on it for about 3-4 hours per day.  I will continue to work on it on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.  I believe I will be able to complete the bike.  

Pictured above is the floor rail kit installed.  Note that the kick stand bolts will need the stamps on the heads ground off.  

Many posts to follow from Tuesday on.



Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Hand Peen Rivet

video
Sadly, this is a poor quality video taken from a digital still shot camera.  I don't own a high quality video camera that talks with my Mac -- so this video will have to suffice.

My goal is to introduce newbies to the art of hand peening rivets for the floor rail of your scooter.

The process goes like this:

Preparation: file the holes in the frame out with a circular hand file and coat the bare steel with a thin coat of paint so it does not rust in the future.

1) Drill a hole in a refridgator magnet to protect the paint around the rivet (thanx Tom G.)

2) Stick the rivet through and measure some where between a 1/8 to 1/4 inch (depending on the size of the hole the rivet goes through -- ie did you drill it out?) of visible the rivet and cut off the rest.  

3) Put pressure on the rivet head (anchor it) with a cone shape to preserve the "button" on the rivet head.  

4) Tap straight down on the rivet until it gets a little lip on it.

5) Now tap at a downward angle.  Walk around it 360 degrees.  It will mushroom.

6) Flatten it out again.  Steer the rivet if you need to move it in one direction or another.

7) Angle it again and "walk around the rivet".

-- Repeat, repeat, repeat! --

Once the rivet is compressed/expanded go ahead and leave a small mushroom.  Now take your waffle punch and give it one or two good wacks with the flat side of your ball peen hammer (do not use a larger/heavier hammer or you will dimple your frame).

Viola!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Cowl Installation

The cowl trim rubber was easy to install. You need to cut a "V" in the rubber around the peg at the front of the cowl to get the rubber to fit properly.
Once the cowls were on I was shocked to see how wide the scoot's butt was in comparison to some other scooters.  Note that the seat is NOT correct.  The flip is missing and I will have it added at a later date.  In the archive I did a big write-up about the seat and how upset I am over it.  That's an easy fix though.  The seat frame is original.  The seat is not installed.  I just put it on so my wife could see pictures of her bike.
Make sure you remove all rubber grommets before it gets painted. I found that the white grommets for the cowl pegs were still in my bike and I carefully drilled them out using a stepping system with the drill bits. When the grommet was thin enough I very carefully used the needle nose pliers to pull it all the way out before installing the new ones.  Beneath the engine cowl is a properly wired junction box.  A blog entry to follow on that.
I used Ariete rubber. I am not as happy with the trim pieces I bought long ago for the cowls and the front fender. I am not sure of the quality yet.  They are too shiny to look stock in my humble opinion.
It sure looks nice to see the scoot with cowls on, as-if progress is being made.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Hand Grips

Piece by piece the bike is coming together.  I am now able to work on some of the small odds and ends.  I recommend that you keep a small box of everything you aim to polish and clean on your restoration and take it inside when you are watching TV and such.  Polishing is tedious no-brain required work.  I wish I was not wasting my time with it at this point in the game.  I move back West in 26 days and my painter needs time to touch up the paint.  The bike was due in 3 days, but I bought myself an extra week.  I hope to have the bike no less than 95% complete if not 100% before it goes to the painter.


Before you install your hand grips thoroughly clean the headset bars and you can even sand with very fine sand paper the rough or rust of it. Sand perpendicular to the grips so that grips grab better. You can heat the grips up in some hot (not boiling hot) water to make them more pliable. That was not necessary for me. Use a good and rubber friendly glue and bead it from the half way point back around the whole circumference. This way you will have little to no excess glue as the grip comes to the end. Once it's al the way on check to make sure that the logo is centered in Neutral on the clutch and idle on the throttle. Now working from the midway point to the inside corner work the grip like an accordion so it will stretch out properly . Repeat for the full length of the grip now.

Note: make sure that your throttle grip does not have glue on the inside end, because it needs to spin freely.

Transmission Oil


This is the easy way to install your transmission oil. Heck, it's an easy way to run anything through these bottles, since the caps are universal. Just make yourself a cap, tighten it on the bottle, and cut the bottom off of the bottle and you're good to go -- you have an excellent funnel now. Pore your tranny oil through your funnel and it's as easy as 1-2-3 and no clean up required.

Through the funnel was pored SAE 30 non-detergent oil.

Horn

A while back, before I was scooter shop snob and became a much more picky restorer, I ordered a horn gasket from Scooter Works. I know that Palmog ordered a gasket (from who I don't know) and the rubber was poor quality and actually ate away at his paint. I am going to keep a very close eye on this gasket to be safe.

When I look at the original gasket (pictured left) verses the new gasket (pictured right), I am bummed. They clearly look different. I need NOS for this. The stock one is much more intricate and pleasing to the eye-- not to mention the diameter is larger and fits 100% perfectly in the frame is was designed for. Luckily, this is something that is easy for me to replace later on.

Using a very mild abrasive pad I polished the rust off from behind the screw and made the horn shiny. I used compressed air to clean it out behind the horn grill. I decided not to sand the rust behind the grill too much because (1) I need to get the bike to the painter very soon for touch-up and (2) I didn't want to scratch up the exposed grill by reaching sand paper down there. I did use a tooth brush to clean off the surface rust.
If memory serves me correct, when sitting in front of the horn, I attached the white wire on the left and green on the right (pictured at the very top of this post). And I also covered the terminals in a protective connection grease, which will protect the terminals from the elements and also improve the electrical connection.

I used fine grit emery paper to clean up the pitted tops of the hardware for the horn, but I will replace the hardware to shiny stainless steel after I move back West this summer. I leave in early June. At this point, my take is I won't loose it if it's installed on the bike and if it's easy to replace late . . . then no big deal.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Sealants and Adhesives

I cleaned up and polished the emblems with a very mild abrasive pad, tooth brush, and Mother's Chrome polish.  They cleaned up well, but show their age in scratches and chips if you look very close and stare at it.  (They are plated, not chrome.  You can have them replated with excellent results, I've heard.)  I opted not to wet sand them as I worried it would dull them.  I used 3M's Plastic and Emblem Adhesive.  It is messy stuff (like a silicon that is usually liquidy) and it comes out fast -- so be CAREFUL.  You are to press it on, remove it for 10 to 15 minutes, and the reapply.  I did not do that because it was so messy.  I ran a fan on it all night to get air around.  I only had three studs on the back that were way to short to put the emblem on correctly, plus one hole was filled in my body.  So instead of drilling it, I chose to file it off and use the adhesive.  So "NOT" the purist technique.

I used a small file to clear out the two holes in the legshield to install the front emblem.  This photo is of the file on the floor rail, but it is of the same principal so I am showing you.  Don't drill stuff out.  It's messy and screws your paint.  Take your time and hand file EVERYTHING!  You will regret it if you don't.  I do.  Learn from my mistakes.


To install the gas tank cap seal I used another 3M product designed for seals and gaskets. It dries super fast and does a great job.

Things really came together on the bike last night. The headset is on and all the wiring is labeled. One recommendation I have for running the clutch and front break cables is to remove the inner cables and run them down starting from the headset. It's much easier that way. Pictured below you'll see blue painter's tape over the Vespa emblem, which holds it down flush to the frame while the 3M Adhesive dries.



Here's the next HOT items to tackle:
1) Determine why the gas tap flows so poorly and replace if needed.
2) Connect the electrical.

  

First Kick Bike

video
We made real progress yesterday and we were able to fire up the bike for the first time (with gas).  She ran great!  Christopher Markley rebuilt the engine and carb and it was pretty much tuned perfectly (no surprise).  Hearing the bike run was confidence-builder and an inspiration to continue on.

Sadly, the fuel tap assembly is clogged even though it has been cleaned with carb cleaner spray and blown out with pressured air.  It's on my list to fix or replace ASAP.  We used a make-shift gas tank.>

Make sure to tape up all stator wires before kick starting it. If your kill switch is not connected, just pull the spark plug to stop the bike.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Update: May 6, 2008

The painter wants the bike YESTERDAY for touch up, since we're moving June 9th, 2008. It's close, but not ready.

- Bike is on its two feet with kickstand installed
- Clutch and cable are fully installed
- Gas tank assembly is assembled and ready to be dropped into the bike
- Floor rails need to have end caps riveted
- Purchased a 5/8s at 3 inches SAE hex bolt to install the muffler
- Headset is ready to be installed

We aim to fire her up soon, but I think we need to finish the floor rail end caps first. We are burned out and feeling semi-negative after having a hour negative experience with the rivets. Firing her up will build our esteem and give us the confidence and inspiration we need to finish her up. We have over 20 hours invested in the floor rail kit and we are so bummed with what a pain in the butt it is and how insanely hard it is to get it 100% perfect. I am starting to think it will look great, but not be perfect now.