Saturday, July 11, 2009

Red, white, blue

At AmeriVespa 2009 Lisa and I were lucky enough to see all three colors (I believe there were only three, but then again I did not verify via literature). All three bikes were restored.
The white one won and the blue one was runner-up. Both those bikes are owned by husband and wife.
I did not see any round headlight VSCs at the rally.
The restorations were beautiful. An anorak would find minor things to change, but I was impressed with how well the bikes were restored.
I love that they all have classic California license plates. I do wish Lisa's SS180 could have been there, because the British Racing Green would have made it stand out.It's so funny now that I am starting my second restoration and working out the minor kinks in this SS180 restore I am not pro-restoration. I say, keep it stock. Soak your rust bucket in a bath of EvapoRust (cheaper than paint and body), which will remove the rust, brighten your original paint, and then seal the metal so no rust will come in again. While the frame is being treated do a mechanical rebuild on the bike and put it back together. Make it road worthy. Seriously, an original bike is beautiful and it has earned its war scars. Most people don't go to plastic surgeons for scars when we get hurt, so why should our scoots? The only reason I am restored the VSC and am restoring the TV is because I bought both bikes in pieces and my TV is slightly mismatched. Other than that there's just no reason in my opinion.

Running poorly & electrical

The current problems are:
1) Electrical (switch is broken and tail light is wired wrong)
2) Bike is running poorly (kill switch was likely causing this)
3) Clutch not operating correctly
4) Scraping sound made when you walk or ride bike

The brand new switch should resolve issues 1 and 2.

I emailed Paul S. and asked him why a cracked/grounded horn switch would affect the bike and cause it to run poorly. I understand why is screwed up the electrical, which was one of the four problems with the scoot. Paul knew when I pulled up something was wrong with the way the bike was running and I wanted to know *exactly* why.

Response from Paul S.:

Well, I've ridden/worked on hundreds of Vespas at this point. It is pretty easy for me to hear when they are not running right. You should also be able to notice the difference with the new switch. It will be very obvious. When they are running well, they have a nice smooth idle. Yours was misfiring, and acting like it was dying. This can happen with poor igition or with poor carbueration. When you first rolled up, I thought you had an ignition problem. In a way you did. The kill switch was essentially "almost" on all the time. The broken switch made it so that the kill switch was just about engaged. That caused the igitition system to be working poorly. Once I pulled the switch off, the motor idled like a champ.

I should not have to pull the motor all the way apart to get at the clutch. I'll just have to pull off the rear hub and the clutch cover. Depending on the source of the scraping noise (when the scooter is rolling around), I may have to delve further inside the motor. I doubt it however. I suspect the scraping noise is coming from the rear brake backplate. The only way to be sure is to get it up on the lift. Luckily both of your issues are in the same area, so hopefully I can fix them both at the same time. Unfortunately I've been so busy with the family that I have had virtually no garage time in the past few weeks.

A special thanx to Paul for his expertise. He diagnosed the problems very quickly and was correct. If you remember in previous posts (years ago now) Christopher Markley said that the backplate scraped at the rear hub because it is either thicker with powder coat or it is missing a spacer, though when he looked in the parts diagram there was not an additional spacer.

Request from readers/SS180 owners: Besides the parts book diagram, does any one have pictures of their assembly of the rear hub / backplate showing all spacers and hardware for me to reference against? If so, please comment.

I have asked Paul to contact me when he knows he will be working on the bike so I can meet with him and learn from him. He is far more experienced than I am. He has a toddler, so his schedule is just like mine . . . around our toddlers.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Repro kill/horn switch

The reproduction kill/horn switch arrived yesterday. I ordered it from Danell at SPD. She told me that it is a quality reproduction piece in comparison to a lot of the not-so-good stuff available.
She also said that the back plate was thick and solid. This plate is split on half on my original, hence why I need this one.
I purchased this for $34 with a 10% discount. Most shops had it listed at $39, but I saw ScooterWorks had it at $25 and when I check again it was $35 or something.

It is my intention to re-use my original chrome cover for the switch if at all possible. Trying to preserve the soul of the bike as much as possible.

This is the first step in getting this bike diagnosed for (1) electrical issues and (2) not running correctly, Paul S. says. Since my original switch back plate is broken in half it is grounding it out.

It is super challenging to find NOS for this piece since all 1960s Vespas used it.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

amerivespa 2009

Note: the red, white, & blue SS180s. I will post pictures of them solo later. So sad the VSC was not with us.