Small Frame Fun

One of my friends picked up a 1974 Vespa Primavera with almost no miles on it from a guy in Alabama and had it shipped out via It’s a nice bike with very little body damage, almost no paint damage and from what he was told it ran well. The interesting part is that it did run well- with the choke out. It didn’t idle too well though and after a little bit of time trying to sort it he was convinced that it had an air leak. He did the simple stuff like rebuilding the carburetor and replacing the flywheel-side seal, but the problem persisted. It would die, or it would idle way, way to fast.

After pulling the engine, he brought it in and we took it to the workroom to tackle the clutch-side seal, which if you know small frames, means you know the case halves have to be separated to get in there.

Also discovered was the completely shredded rubber bumper that broke off and got chewed up by the gears. It was the top-out bumper for the kick starter, to keep it from smacking the case at the top end of it’s travel.

The rewarding part of a job like this, besides everything working like it should when you fire it up for the first time, is finding the proverbial smoking gun. When you’re looking for a bad air leak and you suspect a bad seal, it’s really nice to find something like this:

After a thorough clean up and replacement of all the gaskets and seals, we were able to button up the engine in a reasonable amount of time. Less than I thought, and much less than the owner did. Installation should happen in the next couple of days and we’ll know whether we got it then.

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