Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Update for September

Quick update . . .

Life again has gotten the best of me . . . a new teaching job and a young family has me spread thin. No complaints though! As you know the clutch is 100% rebuilt. The layshaft (cush drive) is rebuilt and held together by hardware. I will remove one nut/bolt at a tie and replace with rivets. Once that is done I will put everything back together and test it again. If the problem is still there a new clutch it is.

In the meantime we have replaced our two Bajaj Chetaks, which I repaired and sold in July, with a new-to-me bone stock 1979 P200 with 82XX original miles on it.

I am quite smitten with it.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Barry Gwin's Vespa Clutch Compressor Tool

I called First Kick Scooters yesterday to see if they had a clutch compressor tool in stock. They did not, but I was told they just use a bolt with washers and nuts to compress clutches that come in their shop.

Then I called SF Scooter Centre and they had them in stock for $20. I stopped by to pick one up as opposed to risking damaging mine without the correct tool and Barry said, make your own. Don't buy this $20 one. He usually sells his Home Depot version ones for $5, but was all out. He drew up his design and sent me on my way.

It costs me $2.25 to make and I tested it in Home Depot and it worked great. Here's what I bought:
- 1/2 inch wing nut
- two 1/2 inch washes
- 1/2x3 inch carriage bolt

The idea is the taper on the carriage bolt is similar to the taper in the clutch. I made sure that my carriage bolt easily and freely turned so it would not score my taper in my clutch. So I guess in theory this is just like using washers, nuts, and a bolt, because my taper is not fitting the sleeve perfectly. I quickly compress, remove the circlip, and release the pressure in case this design puts undue pressure on the clutch since it is not pulling from the sleeve. I do know it is not in contact with the brass ring nut as it sits on the lip above it.

I hit Ace Hardware up yesterday, but they did not have large enough carriage bolts, so I used washers, nuts and a bolt and it worked fine if you're in a jam.

Homemade tool for the brass nut on the clutch

Thanks to Derek G. who transformed a deep socket on a lathe into this beautiful tool for me.
Derek said "The tool came out perfect. There is a .001 interference fit, so you have to push it onto the brass nuts, which keeps it tight. "

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Lessons learned from complete clutch rebuild

Not surprisingly, I learned that Tom G. was correct about why the needle bearings were binding. This evening I disassembled the clutch 100% (yet again) and with a few taps all of the oiled needle bearings fell out. Furthermore, they all we reinstalled very easily around the circumference of the race. There was no binding.
A couple things to note:
(1) The entire clutch was rebuilt when the engine was done. VSX parts were used with the exception of new needle bearings. I did not receive the original ones back from Christopher M. after the rebuild so I can not compare the sizes, but I do know I just bought 40 new ones from Scooters O and Gene M. successfully installed them in another SS180 that had a similar problem and now there is no grinding noise from the clutch.
(2) A trick for tightening the brass ring I learned from Tom G. is "Put backing plate down on wooden surface. Screw two sheetrock or other screws in place adjacent to the "ears of the backing plate. The screws keep the backing plate from turning. then you use the tool to unscrew the ring. Use just enough force to get the ring to turn. " I took another approach and used three small headless nails and lined them through both plates and turned the top plate so each locked against the nail and there was no movement. I then tightened the brass ring and could lift the clutch assembly off the wood base. Tom's idea may be smarter as it could be less stress on the two plates. I hadn't reread Tom's note and could not get my Sheetrock screws to fit the holes the nails did.
(3) For the brass ring there is no torque guide and it is unlikely to loosen since it is a reverse thread. I kept my hand directly above the socket (less torque) and tightened it down with one jab. Then I stopped. Brass is not that hard.
(4) What I did notice is that the NOS clutch springs (I point to the NOS ones in the slide show) I just purchased are noticeably taller than the VSX ones. Furthermore, they sit in the cups much more snugly. I wonder what difference, if any, that could cause. I did not receive the original ones back so I could not compare the difference in height or width.

The only question now is if the scoring wear on the bottom of the brass ring nut is acceptable or if it suggest that the needle bearings will eventually wear through enough for the brass ring to fail or to cause binding of the heads of the bearings at low RPMs -- hence the sound between neutral and first gear. I want to know this answer ASAP. Follow-up: spoke with Tom and he said that the ring has wear, but not truly scoring. He said their is nothing wrong with the brass ring as-is.

So . . .

At this point, I guess it makes sense to reassemble the bike and test it. If it works, wonderful! If it doesn't it's not hard to replace the clutch and I will need to buy a new one.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Will this clutch work or am I in need of a new one?

Tonight I went over to Derek G.'s house and worked on the cush drive and clutch. We have some concerns about the clutch which need to be answered before I proceed.

Concern #1: Note the ridges in the bottom of the brass nut. This suggests that the needle bearings have rubbed against the brass ring

Concern #2: When I removed the needle bearings many fell out with a gentle tap, but there is a corner where the bearings would not come out and would not roll smoothly, even when I pushed them. I really pushed hard on these bearings and there was no movement. It took some effort.

When staring straight on at the bearing entrance, you can see that the spacing is not equal around the circumference. This may or may not be the design of Vespa. I don't know. If you do know, please speak up. When I felt the inside of bearing house I could feel an area at the bottom and marginally against the wall that did not feel as smooth as the rest and I wondered if this could be causing the bearings to bind maybe. But when I bench tested it a long time ago I could see the bearings moving through the oil hole.

Concern #3: Another concern I had is that it appears that the needle bearings are too tall and the brass ring nut is resting against the heads of the needle bearings and NOT the clutch surface. If this is indeed true, that could be a big problem.

We did not have any machinist dye to test this theory, but that is a next step.

What we did do is to measure the original needle bearing length against the new needle bearing length and they are exactly the same. I wonder though, if my original needle bearings are indeed original. They look in way too good of shape for 10,000 miles on dirt farm roads. I don't remember seeing an invoice when the engine and clutch were rebuilt for needle bearings, but I could be wrong.
Does anyone know the exact length the needle bearing should be?

Follow-up August 10, 2011:
As a back up I found a used stock clutch for $200, which seems too high. I spoke with Steve at ScooterWest and he agreed.

I wrote my mentor Tom G. to give him an update and he recommends a new clutch:

Here is what I wrote:

What I do know is this (after speaking to Steve at ScooterWest):

(1) my brass ring is scored, likely from the bearings touching it.
The NOS ones are perfectly smooth on both sides.
I don't know if this is a problem.

(2) the needle bearings get jammed in one corner of the clutch and
will not come out unless I use a screw driver and push them hard
around the circumference of the race until they loosen up. I am
unable to put new need bearings into the race at the same area and
need to put them in and use a screw driver to move them around the
circumference until they are all installed. The head of the race is
not 100% even around. Some of it is tighter and does not allow the
needle bearings to be removed or installed. Maybe this is by design,
maybe it is not.

I do not know if this is a problem.

The potential concern here is there could be binding of the needle
bearings and maybe that is causing my grinding sound between neutral
and 1st gear *only* because of the lower RPMs.

I hear your advice and it makes sense to just finish putting
everything together and back into the bike.


Tom's response:

That's news to me.
If the needles are binding up, then I'd go with a completely new clutch, since you don't know where the problem is.
I would not buy a used clutch if you can afford a new one.
Either of the SIP ones look good to me. Slight preference for original type . .

Further thoughts:

Thx again Tom.

I did not disassemble the clutch before removing the needle bearings
this time. Corks and plates and springs were all in place.

Also, I forgot I needed to use the clutch removal tool and followed a
manual two screw driver approach and gave some mild pressure to the
clutch on two sides to free it a couple times and then remembered I
needed my clutch removal tool. So I guess it is possible that I bent
it and caused the binding, but then again the problem existed before I
removed the clutch.

I was able to remove the needed bearings with no effort in the past
and reinstall them with no effort when the clutch was disassembled

Could this cause a problem?

Or maybe this is not the problem and I just created a new one. I remember I had no problem reinstalling those needle bearings back in. I don't remember binding. I guess it doesn't matter now since there is binding.

Tom's response:

No way to tell if your prying caused the damage. I'd say unlikely, but conceivable. Also, there is NEVER any reason to remove the ring and needles without dismantling the clutch. That could EASILY have caused your binding problem. Take the clutch completely apart, then reassemble the needles and see if they bind.

Monday, August 8, 2011

New tools

I needed the air palm nailer that Tom G. recommended I buy. While at Harbor Freight I also picked up some other tools I knew I would need in the future. Note that Harbor Freight Tools are not quality tools and are not built to last, but rather if you have a few jobs that will require a limited amount of use over the years you'll be fine and won't beat the price. Non-mechanical tools will work out just fine for you in the long-run as well with more regular use. Copper brushes
for cleaning parts is a wise investment. The air gun impact wrench will be used ONLy for loosing super tight screws during disassembly.

I did see a $20 blue colored mini air palm nailer to use for riveting and I think that would be a smarter choice. It is easier to hold and maybe control. Something to think about.

I hope to tackle the cush drive (aka layshaft) and clutch tomorrow night.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Planning for the layshaft rebuild

I contacted my mentor Tom G. and I asked him if there is anything special I need to consider when riveting and rebuilding the layshaft (cush drive aka Christmas Tree). I do not have a proper work bench nor vice yet, so I will head over to Paul S.'s house to borrow his late next week. Here is Tom's response:

Rebuilding a layshaft is not technically complicated, but in practice is not exactly child's play. Aside from the obvious (put the plate with the bulge in it on the correct side), you need to keep the plates firmly seated against the primary and cluster gears. To do this, assemble the whole unit with machine screws and bolts, and then remove one bolt at a time, substituting the rivet. You have to mash the rivet heads flat and firmly to hold the plates in place firmly. There are rivet presses that do this very nicely (but I don't have one). It is possible to just mash with a hammer, but this requires alot of care. I use a modified pneumatic brad driver (I put a bolt in the brad driver slot where the nails usually go, and drill a small locating dimple in the bolt head. The rivet tail seats nicely in the dimple. Then you just puch down on the brad driver, which is pressure activated, and the tool delivers hundreds of hammer blows in seconds, firmly collapsing the rivet. Just an idea. Good luck, Tom

I plan to buy an Air Palm Nailer and modify it for driving rivets and a vice.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Layshaft Disassembly

Quite over due and finally . . . I am back to working on the VSC and getting that clutch grind sound solved. The two prospective culprits for the sound are the layshaft or the clutch. Therefore, I will rebuild both since the engine is open and they are both out.

Prior to this project, I got both my wife's and my Bajaj Chetaks running again and then sold via Craigslist. Both bikes had been sitting for quite a while. My wife's bike's flywheel rivets sheared off and I replaced the flywheel, while my bike required a lot more trouble shooting to determine the problem from rebuilding the carb to installing a new spark plug resistor cap and spark plug. You can read about those repairs here. Now we are looking to buy a Vespa P200 for my daily rider.

I also had my 1962 Lambretta TV175's front fender repaired. You can read about that here.

Furthermore, if you are or know a teacher in public education, like myself, then you know how it feels to interview mid-summer for work every summer, because the economy is crap.

The layshaft disassembly went well and at close inspection, without surprise, Christopher M. did a great job rebuilding it when he rebuilt the engine only 15 miles ago. I felt bad tearing it down, but better safe than sorry. I bought a layshaft rebuild kit I will install.

You will note that the top plate is warped looking. According to Gene M. the only way to avoid that is to have a machine that installs all the rivets at once at the same time for even distribution. The small warping does not hurt the function.

The only pain in the butt was removing the rivets once I got the top and bottom plates off. It required a lot of drilling and Dremel grinding and patience. I was stressed I would grind the "seat" where the plate rests or the lip the plate rests against and twice, by accident, I hit it extremely lightly. I wish I had the attachment for the circular blade for my Dremel. That would have been best I think. I rarely need it and it costs quite a bit for the limited use I would give it.

Tomorrow I hope to rebuild the layshaft with new parts. Christopher M. did install a sealed bearing into the layshaft and I will remove one seal so the oil can get in there the way Vespa intended it to. In the mean time I am soaking my new corks for the clutch.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Gonna rebuild the clutch and cush drive

Here are the following parts I am ordering:

Part # / Description / Qty

**** Clutch ****

- 110633 / Clutch Springs / qty: 6 (uprated if available)

- Clutch steels and corks

- 18975 / Clutch Rollers (needle bearings) / qty: 40

- Tool to open the brass nut to replace needle bearings (no more screw
driver -- not safe to use to open)

Am I missing anything else for a full rebuild?

**** Cush Drive ****

77372 / Internal Spring / qty: 6

77373 / External Spring / qty: 6

S.5765 / Rivets / qty: 6

77371 / Internal Spring Retainer Plate / 1

77370 / Outer Ring Retainer Plate / 1

Am I missing anything else for a full rebuild? I have a brand new
bearing there.

**** Seals ****

Engine Gasket

Gear Selector Gasket

Rear hub seal

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Cush drive is okay

Chris B. inspected the cush drive today and gave it a clean bill of health, because he said "it's already been rebuilt. See the rivets that's not the manufacturer and the little bit of warping on the plate between the rivets is normal on a rebuild". He also dismantled the gears from the axle and inspected how it all fit together and confirmed the gears were installed correctly and were not rubbing. Everything looked good. Crap! At that point Chris recommended installing a new or tester clutch even though my clutch looks just great.

When Chris inspected the clutch and again today when he inspected the cush drive he commented, "it looks brand new." That combined with a rebuilt cush drive prompted me to call Christopher Markley and ask him if he rebuilt it. He has rebuilt so many of these and could not remember. He told me to check the parts invoices he gave me to be sure.

So I found a Scooter Works invoice he ordered back on 7/2006 and among the many items ordered I found:

1 Comp Clutch Kit -- VSX Surflex (item #CK4)

6 Spring, Cush Drive Inner (item #77372)

1 Plate, Spring Gear, Inner VSX (item #77371)

1 Plate, Spring Gear Outer VSX (item #77370)

6 Rivet, Spring Gear Assembly (item #S 05765)

1 Bearing, Spring Gear VSB, VSC (item #S 07153)

1 Lock Washer, Spring Gear NOS VSB,VSC (item # 58636)

From Scooter Parts Direct I placed an order on 11/2006 that included:

6 Spring, Spring Gear Outer (item #78853)

It seems all items for the cush drive were ordered on my dollar. So I regret not checking my paperwork to verify before I cracked the cases.

Besides Chris being right that everything looks brand new, I am not exactly sure what this could mean. Maybe after market products resulted in this sound. Research time.

I will post detailed photos before I put her back together.


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Dry test trouble shooting

I seeked help from Hiro and he gave me some good advice in terms of how to identify the grinding sound between neutral & 1st gear. Here are Hiro's suggestions:

"It is a good time to see if the gears mesh perfectly and how the noise can be generated by turning the motor by hand, shifting the gear through 1st to 4th from neutral. I am doubting the gears on the selecting rod installed with improper alignment. In case, the noise comes from the grind between the gears and shift cross. Assuming the noise can be heard during the acceleration with fully engaged clutch.

Once again, I will doubt the clutch unit if the half engaged clutch generates the noise.

I doubt the improper alignment between 1st and 2nd gear (which should have room for the neutral) or worn gears(both gears on the cush drive and the gear shift)/shift cross. I need to check if the gear cable adjustment and the condition of the waved (which align the gear location) dishes in the gear cable adjustment unit. There is a possibility that the peak(s) between the neutral position and the 1st position was worn badly and can not stay in the 1st position to grind inside the gear on shift unit."

Thank you Hiro!

Cush drive inspection

I will post a detailed photo up of my cush drive soon. I have noticed that the bearing which was replaced during the engine rebuilt is a sealed bearing and it is my understanding that the caged style bearing is preferred here. I will need to remove the seal around the bearing.

I have also noted that there is some warping on the top plate of the cush drive between the rivets and I wonder what kind of impact that could or not have with regards to the grinding sound.

Tom G. taught me the best way to test the cush drive:
"Shaking the cush is not a valid test. Hold the large gear in one hand and the cluster in the other hand. Now twist hard. If the big gear moves with relation to the cluster gear, then rebuild. If no movement, the assy is fine."

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Cush drive removal

I invested some time over the past few days to remove the cush drive. Here is a slideshow of the process:
My goal was to remove ONLY what I must and to leave as much of the engine in tact as possible. A huge thank you to Tom G., who mentored me through the process as well as Paul S., who helped me through some of the tactical steps.

It feels as if I have been blogging about scooter restoration for quite some time. In the beginning I couldn't find any that did it in detail and that's why I decided to document the details for others like me via a blog. Also, many blogs start the documentation process, but either the bike and or the blog never seem to reach completion. Today there are many more resources available for the newbie and novices online (or course the best are the experienced wrenchers), and I'd like to recommend two resources for you that have been trustworthy and around a lot longer than me. Here are two articles I used for this process . . . transmission removal from and brake shoes removal from Paul S.'s site

The next step is for me to inspect my cush drive and then rebuild it. I plan to do that work myself.