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

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

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. 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

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

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 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.

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.

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


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).

- 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)?

- 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:

Clip #2:

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!