Scooter Upkeep, Part 2

Well, finally some follow-up for you guys. Thanks again everyone for the tips, tricks and advice.

Over the past little while, parts have filtered in and this morning that last little bit came together.

On my last post, you may have read that I was going to leave the clutch in and worry about it later. Maybe you didn’t read it though, because I just read it and it’s not in there. What am I thinking?

Well the clutch came out since it’s not much more work once the rear end is all apart. Look closely in this picture and you might see where a clutch would hide amongst the 36 years of grime, oil slop, exhaust condensation and other unknown detritus:

I did a lot of scraping and cleaning to make sure all the loose stuff was knocked free and clear of the cover before I opened it. Somehow I managed to not pull the entire lump and give it a good scrubbing, even though it clearly needs it.

Perhaps I’m used to motorcycle parts prices, specifically BMW and KTM, but the kit and tools to rebuild the clutch were dirt cheap. I got stumped briefly by the wire retaining clip that holds the disc that covers the clutch nut on, but thankfully I figured it out before breaking or bending it. The clutch rebuild itself went so quickly I forgot to take pictures. The clutch compressor tool is slick. I’m gonna keep that around, even if it is another 36 years until I use it again.

Here’s the clutch installed and ready to go:

I gave the clutch cover a thurough cleaning and marveled at it’s simple engineering to get oil on the brass button. I made sure the vent worked properly and didn’t even get all three of the bolts tightened down before I realized that I forgot to put the brass button back in.

The rest of the assembly was just cleaning the old parts and installing the new ones:

I love the details of old machinery:

I got talked into some fancy-ass synthetic 30w gear oil. It’s supposed to make the scoot shift better and all that stuff. For the life of me though, all my fancy funnels and hoses and proven-over-time methods of getting oil into their proper places couldn’t help me here. I had to fabricate something new. I love it!

This morning, I finally get home from work and get a chance to run over to a local machinist. I got references for this guy from some of my VW friends and he said he could do my out-of-round front hub so that brakes wouldn’t shudder. His garage is one of those places… Shavings on the ground, mills, lathes, drill presses and other stuff I’ve never seen before surrounded by engine blocks, con rods, heads, crank shafts and buckets of old burnt valves. He tells me “it wasn’t too bad but it’s perfect now.” I shell out $20 for a 36 year old front hub that has been cleaned and turned to the point where it might pass for new, go home pop it on, make some minor adjustments and set up for a test ride.

I took a couple spins around the neighborhood to bed the brake shoes and see if I needed to adjust the clutch. Let me say, it shifts like a dream. I don’t know if it’s just because of the clutch work or some of it is the new oil, but I have to say that I don’t even remember it being so good… and I’ve been riding this scooter off-and-on since 1985. The new brake shoes and turned hub on the front give me linear lever action and improved stopping power without all the shudder that used to accompany the typical front-end-dive. And the rear? Well, no oil where it shouldn’t be yet.

I gave it good wash and scrubbed off all of my greasy fingerprints then propped it back up on the stand for a quick wax. There are sections on this bike that still shine like new, it’s too bad it’s seen some fairly poor care along the way, there’s no way to clean up a lot of the rust.

Scooter Upkeep, Part 1

Okay so here’s some on today’s work, and the (hopefully) short stories that put it in perspective.

Knowing I was going to be under the lowest bike I own, I fashioned a workstand, strapped the centerstand, put the rear end of the scoot in my homemade axle-stand for one of my other bikes and strapped it to the table on the back side.


Starting where I had been asking questions I removed the rear wheel and hub. Immediately upon removing the hub, oil started running out. Okay…. there’s a lot of oil in there. I’m pretty sure there’s not supposed to be that much… So I’m out of order, and go ’round the other side and drain the gearbox.


Okay, now I’m thinking that really is too much oil. It looks like it’s green. The 2-smoke oil is green.

Question time:
1. What the hell is it doing here? If I overfilled my oil tank, is it possible that it gravity fed while unused into the crankcase and got pushed past the seal into the clutch and gearbox? My Haynes manual is woefully vague and the illustrations show a seal between the engine case and clutch. I suppose that it could also mean that the seal between the case halves could be bad?
2. What’s the harm in buttoning it all back up and finding out if this is a chronic problem vs. a one time thing?

Okay, so we’re at the hub.

I know I need a new one. With the scoot in gear I check for radial play in the splines. There is none. However, when I hold the hub a 3 and 9 then push on one side then the other, there’s play. Close inspection of the shaft reveals apparently slightly flattened splines at the inside end,and a grooved surface on the inner race of the bearing.


Matching grooves on the hub:


The transmission shaft has a little end-play, less than a 1/16th of an inch. Yet again, no reference in the Haynes manual. I’m sure that with the hub attached and torqued, it’s pulled to the wheel side.

Are you bored yet?

The brake pads were wet with oil and the braking surface glazed. I took some emery cloth to it just to see what would happen. It looks like it cleans up well, but I’m going to replace the hub anyway. Since I didn’t have the forethought to take the bike apart before buying some parts (I guess I’m optomistic then?) I have brake shoes and a seal, but no hub. Finishing up here will have to wait.

Hmmm. While I’m here…

Let’s see what the front end looks like. Mind you, I’ve been the only rider of this scoot since, um, 1985. Like I said before, it sat for a number of years before then, and it sat for a number of years in the 90′s. Once, a long time ago, I tried to take the front hub off to change the brake pads. It didn’t come off. I gave up. Since the first day I’ve ridden this bike, the front brakes have pulsed. That is, they act like they’re out of round, or something. They’re also grabby and cause a horrendous dive when used. (I’m pretty sure the dive is a trait of the Rally 200.) In my garage, from sometime in the late 90′s there’s a set of uninstalled brake shoes for the front of this thing. I’ll find ‘em and see if they’re any good.

With the front tire off and the hub soaking in PB Blaster, I put the gear puller on, apply some tension and start tapping lightly with a plastic hammer. Pop. Off it comes. It appears the front brake has really never been used. The hub still has machining marks on the braking surface and the pads are fat. I thought for a minute about taking the hub over to my buddies house and turning it on his lathe, but nah… I’ve got to buy a new rear hub, I’ll get a new front too.


While I’m here I’ll replace the brake pads. The axle shaft rotates smoothly and the seal looks good. This will wait.

Now off to the right side. Last week, while I was out cruising the countryside I discovered a fun little issue. The engine cuts out intermittantly upon compression of the rear suspension. Since we are in California, we all know that the suspension gets a workout even on the best roads. I stop, fiddle with the wires that run from the stator to the ignition module and successfully recreate the problem. In fact I was so successful that I almost had to call Boney-Wife and ask her to bring the truck. Luck was with me, and I managed to get the wires bent right to mostly eliminate the problem and I rode home, cutting short what was supposed to be a long-ish ride.


In 2002 I decided to come into The City (no, not Sacramento, San Francisco) for the King’s Classic. One of my co-workers drives a pickup. The plan is to meet him in Petaluma and toss the scoot into the truck, unload in SF and then be ready for the big ride on Saturday. At o’dark-thirty Friday morning I’m on the back roads to Petaluma when the headlight goes out. No problemo, I switch to the high-beam. It goes out a bit later. The tail light is out but the brake light still works. Blacked out in the country, very early in the morning, I get pulled over by the Sheriff two-blocks from the meet up. I’m let go with a warning, so long as I push it the rest of the way. So I do.

Saturday comes and I ride the rally, then cut out early from the BBQ and ride the back roads home to Sonoma.

A short while later I start inspecting the bike and realize that all the old wiring is dry and the insulation is flaking and chipping off. The bulbs were burning out instead of the fuses. Interesting. An internet search and a bunch of phone calls reveals that I cannot buy a harness for my bike. It’s apparently a 1 year model- a Rally 200 with the key under the seat instead of on the headset. (BTW- I saw another one just like it at the SF Scooter Centre yesterday.) Everyone tells me I’m outta luck so I carefully reverse-engineered the old harness, decided on the changes I would make, and built my own. It’s now a 12v AC bike. Buying a new, expensive, 6V battery somewhat regularly was getting old. So I eliminated it.

The only place where original wires exist(ed) are connected to the stator.


Easy fix:


Without a couple of new rubber boots I can’t finish the install. This will wait too.