Saturday, March 29, 2008

Quirky grommets

Just an FYI . . .

Lesson 1:
I am not sure the SS180 requires a "fuel line grommet in air box (113060)". Though talking with David at First Kick Scooters I've learned. . . on most largeframes there is a hole at the bottom of the airbox for the fuel line to go up through (at an angle) to the carb banjo bolt.
I have not found that hole on my SS.

Lesson 2:
The "throttle/choke grommet (48171)" is exactly the same as the "wire harness / frame grommet" so make sure that you order QTY: 2 of one of them. They are the same part with two different names. Note that the spark plug is just in enough for the photo. It is not all the way in. You can see the throttle/choke grommet below.

I believe the wire harness drops through this hole and connects to the HT coil. I need a grommet to go here -- pictured below:

Lessons Learned:
David, from First Kick, just emailed me:
"Jeremy, I talked to the mechanic and he said that someone drilled that hole. It is not suppose to be there." -David

Follow-up from David: 
"Rene from Canada said that the 1st series SS180 did have two holes for the cables and wires." This may apply to some of you, but I own a later SS180.

This is a comment that Paul B. posted, but needs to be on the front page so that you all read it, because it is VERY helpful:
1. No, there is no fuel line grommet for the air box on the SS. The fuel line never enters the airbox like many Vespas; the GS 160/SS180 air filter housing assembly sits ON TOP of the carb.
2. ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY, remove that spark plug wire end cap. The clearance between the SS engine cowl and the spark plug is WAY small. The first time your wife hits a good bump in the road, BAM, that cap will come up with the engine and slam the underside of the cowl and put a nice dent in it. Only use the factory item (looks like a bobby pin sort of)with the original soft metal cover. I've seen so many SS's with this damage!
3. The hole you are pointing to is homemade and should have been filled during the restoration. The harness comes through from in the body to the engine area through the throttle cable/choke cable/HARNESS grommet.
Paul B.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Great USA shops to do biz with

I have become a bit of a snob this far into the restoration process (regarding parts) and I have done a lot of business with different companies and many of them have been great for odds and ends. Danell at Scooter Parts Direct is awesome and they do have some NOS parts. ScooterWorks gets stuff out the door fast. After hunting for a crank for over two months, Garner saved me. Nice guy. Scomo, when it was Scomo, told me which after market parts to avoid and urged me to reuse all I could, because of the poor quality of parts. The list goes on . . .

But at the end of my restoration I have come to a conclusion, that I hope that many new restorers start from. I do 95% of my business only with shops that were licensed by Vespa to officially restore and work on vintage Vespas. These shops know there stuff like few in the business and they tend to have the most NOS parts in the business. If you ask, they will help you keep your bike period correct and hand check all parts for quality for you (they did for me).

Motorsport Scooters -- ask for Steve
Both David and Mic told me that these guys are very knowledgeable and Steve is. Orders ship out that day. Parts cost a little more from time to time, but on the flip side it's guaranteed to be high quality and you don't have to worry about receiving crap. Another important thing is that Steve ALWAYS had 99% of the parts in stock that I needed.

First Kick Scooters -- ask for David
David is knowledgeable as well and a very honest and upfront guy. Order go out within 24 hours and he will spend time with you on the phone to help you out if you have questions. He hand checks the parts and will not ship you junk. First Kick has good prices.

Scooter Shop -- ask for Mic
Mic is a good and honest guy. He is also one of the more knowledgeable people I have spoken with. He is detailed oriented with your parts and does have a bit of NOS available.

Bottom line is many of the after market parts that available are garbage and that is all many shops can get. The Indian-rubber is poorer quality and is made from Bajaj-molds; therefore it does not fit your Italian Vespa correctly. That is just one example. Maybe many of the new Vespa restorers don't mind this as much as I do, but then again I am becoming pretty snobby and probably can tell you if something looks out of place externally on an SS180. Hell, there are minor things out of place on our SS180 and I had to come to terms with.

If you share the same view on this stuff as I do, I recommend buying from these three guys from the start. You can find lots of good parts from other companies and I urge you to do so (see SPD's "NOS" section online) and buy as you find, but for bulk orders or small parts you can't do wrong working with three.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Final price for bike

Budget Update: What's spent so far?

To date, here's what's been spent on the SS180 restoration:

$3,734 -- Services and parts
$123 -- Cables, steering column bearings, wire harness, etc.
$12.50 -- Powder coat rear shock spring
$55 -- Reassembly parts ordered
$18 -- three tire inner tubes from B&B Yamaha in Lancaster, PA.
$25 -- hardware, spark plugs, oil
$105 -- Grommets order #1 plus more
$55 -- Grommets order #2 plus more
$35 -- Grommets order #3 plus more
$91 -- Rubber, chrome, and more
$16 -- Red indicator light from Greg Clauss (Clauss Studios)
$4 -- Trasmission oil and hardware from B & B Yamaha, Lancaster PA

$100 -- Final grommets

Roughly, we've spent a total of $4,365.00 so far. This includes the price of the scooter and everything since day one.

There may be some small odds and ends to finish this bike, but as far as know it won't be above $4,400 -- which is a fair price for a restored SS180.

Diary of a restoration

Email between Ted and me . . . a diary view of the restoration.


Excellent! You should be receiving another shipment very soon – possibly on Tues or Weds.

1) Glad that those two shipments arrived so quickly. I will photograph the items when I see you on Weds.

2) Since the gas tank did dribble a little bit, we can use the new seal that I ordered for the fuel tap. That will stop the leak.

3) How easy will be to remove the engine to install the floor rail kit at this point? My concern is with all the wires/cables run it will be impossible to get the engine out to add the last (most difficult) curve to the floor rail kit on the floor board of the scoot and get those rivets punches and air tool’d in.

4) Glad the oil will go in the tranny tonight. If possible, as you put in it in can you ask Ginger to snap a photo or two of you putting it in for my blog? (if you have the camera at home?)

5) Wire harness hole above the air box: This last shipment will include all of the rubbers you should needs, but I wonder if you already have the frame to wiring grommet so you can run the wiring through that hole? What does the parts catalog show? I suspect the diagram ought to clear up that item.

6) Did open the air box and see where that Air Box grommet is supposed to go?

7) What are the six machine screws for in the junction box? To lock the wires down in place? I have two junction boxes so one of them should have all of the screws in it still. Only one screw is use to mount it to the engine cases.

8) Please remember that I have the entire tail light housing and wiring and it was professionally painted. It is in the box of painted items that you have. All I need is a round lens and I will try to order that today. We will want to install the “Super Sport” badge before putting the light in.

9) This last shipment will include all of the rubbers you should needs, but I wonder if you already have the frame to wiring grommet so you can run the wiring through that hole?

10) I’m wondering if we should focus on the floor rail kit this weekend and then get it running next week? Did you look at the “how to install” page on the floor rail kit I sent you. This parts is supposed to be an ABSOLUTE NIGHTMARE I have been told. The floor rail kit is designed for a different bike and we have to shape it ourselves for the two outer strips. Worse yet, many paint jobs have been destroyed doing this. I am MOST nervous about this install – more so than any other part of the Vespa. Inside that pick print out of my blog is about 4 different articles (not in a row) about the floor rail kit and how to install. Some people heat up the floor rail and tape up the paint job with painter’s tape and then use screws to let the floor rail kit set in place for a solid week, before mounting it so it can take the shape of the bike.

I suspect you received your gloves from me J

Thanks. Everything sounds great and I hope I cleared everything up.

It may be wise (to very carefully) go through the painted box and see what items are in there in case a part accidentally made it in that box.


-----Original Message-----
From: Witmer, Ted
Sent: Tuesday, March 25, 2008 10:00 AM
To: Sutton, Jeremy
Subject: RE: Good morning


Wed is still good.

I received 2 shipments over the holidays.

1st was from CA and it was the little red indicator dot that goes into the speedo head.

2nd shipment consisted of:

choke throttle grommet
hook for center stand spring
fuel line grommet
grommet for steering lock
insulating sheath
speedo cable clamp (ferrel)

The oil will go in the tranny tonight and I would like to get the steering head on also.

The fuel tank assembly is in the tank and DOES NOT leak. The valve works; however, the gas just dribbled out. This may have been because I only had a small amount in the tank.

I figured out the grommets that go below the air box hose. The upper one is for the fuel line and the lower one is for the throttle and choke cables.

The upper hole that we thought was for the fuel line is for the wire harness – my best guess, anyway.

Once I get the choke cable end situated we should be OK with throttle/choke.

I have been looking for the small brass metric machine screws that fit in the electrical junction block. I only have 2 and should have 6. I went through all the boxes of spare parts to see if they were thrown in there – no luck.

I went to Lowes and Auto Zone – no luck on that but did find the tail light lens and housing for 9 bucks.

I think the screws are an M3 – very fine thread. I have one more source to try, yet.

My goal is to have this running by the end of the week. We are really close.


-----Original Message-----
From: Sutton, Jeremy
Sent: Tuesday, March 25, 2008 8:05 AM
To: Witmer, Ted
Subject: Good morning

Howdy Ted,

We still on for Weds. night?

It is possible that you will have the shipment I ordered on Friday in your Weds. mail.

I asked the most affordable place for a quote on Friday and spoke with them yesterday. They have not begun the quote. If it is not in my email when I get home today from work, I will order it from the most expensive place and have it ship out tomorrow. This will be the last of the pieces.

I did order a new seal for the fuel assembly.

Is there any other part that you identified me needing?

I spoke with a guy who is selling a complete 1979 running Vespa P200 for $800, but it was hit. He says it is fully restorable, but may or may not need a new fork or fender. If you & Ginger are interested, let me know and I can take a look at it with you. I bet he’d let it go for $700.


Clauss Studio's Indicator Light

A package arrived from Clauss Studio over the weekend:

- a red indicator light for the headset

Total: $16 with shipping

Final parts ordered today

I placed the final order ($100.03 including shipping) today (minus the speedo stuff which is being sent -- it will be a while though):

(80349) Piaggio Emblem

(90512) Wide Grey Rubber for Cowls

(85072) Black Center Mat

(56729) Saddle Lock

(3221) Fuel Line Straps QTY: 2

Legshield trim (Per Steve's recommendation I decided to use the P200 trim, which is much smaller than the Cupiccino aftermarket stuff and will look truer to the era, because of size and actual color, and hold up better in the long run, but it is ONE piece and the stock stuff was TWO.) Plus it should be easier to install. The other stuff is prone to rust and it is really bulky in girth and a bit awkward looking because of its size -- I have it on my Bajaj Chetak.

Extra hardware to mount rear badge QTY: 4

Hardware to mount center mat straps

Tractor tail light lens -- aftermarket