Sunday, May 13, 2012

Becoming a Minor Vespa Mechanic

The day started simply enough -- time to remove the muffler from the Vespa, remove the rust that gathered during the winter, and apply several coats of new high temperature enamel.  A simple task after a morning ride to a local cafe.

A cup of tea before heading home for mechanical chores.  No hurry, no worries.

Sunday mornings are quiet, relaxed.  With Penn State in summer session the crowd is less intense on the weekends.

The plan was a leisurely ride home, a stop for fuel, and then to the exhaust system.  A perfect plan.  Perfect until I twisted the bolt off on the exhaust clamp.  The muffler is off but I need to drill out the remains of the bolt.  That means getting all the crap off the drill press.

While I have the scooter in mechanical limbo I'll change and balance the tires and install the new Vespa windscreen I have. 

It's always something when I take on these mechanical chores...


Charlie6 said...

Ah yes....Murphy is always around when it comes to wrenching. Good luck extracting that bolt remnant.


Redleg's Rides
Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner 

Bryce said...

A mechanic's work is never done.

Steve Williams said...

Charlie6 (Dom): Yeah, every time I think it's going to be an easy fix something happens...

Bryce: Sure seems like it!

Ronman said...

Nice to see I'm not the only one such things happen to. Although it's not nice that it happened to you, Steve.


The Original Steven H! said...

Id just get a new exhaust system probably do you good anyway. How do you balance your tires?

Marilyn Elmore said...

Steve, as I've aged...I've discovered every time (on average) I pick up a tool to do some "minor" maintenance, I end up having to play Mr. Goodwrench for more than I bargained. Something always goes awry. Guess one could say part and parcel when working on a 20 y/o machine.
I hate broke off bolts. I hate drilling them out/easy outs...oh you know. I just wanna ride!
I'm feelin' your pain here Steve. Yup. I am.

bobskoot said...


I envy you and your attempts to do your own DIY mechannical repairs. I think I would just buy another exhaust, but if it works and is only an appearance thing, I would leave it alone. I have come to embrace the "if it's not broke, don't fix" motto

I'm also interested in how you change your tires & balance them. Do you use the spoon, lever and grunt method of jumping on and off the tire carcass when mounting your tires ?

Riding the Wet Coast
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American Scooterist Blog said...

Liquid Wrench. Spray on the bolts, let it soak for twenty minutes, and ride the bike until hot. Repeat this for a couple days so that the LQ can really soak in. We tend to think most fasteners are #1 when they're probably fours or greater.

You won't lose anything by using the LQ before you get to the easy-out.

You reminded me to use some of that anti sieze the next time I have to get to something.

Best of luck to you


Steve Williams said...

Ronman: Thanks! Stuff happens though. Good that I'm learning to deal with it.

Steve Williams said...

The Original Steven H: I like the quiet character of the stock exhaust. When it finally dies I'll replace with the same. For now it just needs paint!

Steve Williams said...

Marilyn Elmore: I think there's a process I need to revisit about mechanical work. Slow but sure I'll get up to speed -- no more pain...

Steve Williams said...

bobskoot: I really want to become more fluent with the mechanical nature and workings of the Vespa. I am going to try and stay within my limits.

For the tires I bought a mini-tire changer from Harbor Freight and a balancer unit from Marc Parnes. You can see the tire change process HERE.

I'm hoping it's an easy process!

Steve Williams said...

Harv: I did the Liquid Wrench but not the heating and riding part. Still trying to get the bolt remains out of the clamp so I can reuse...

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Steve:

Mini tire changer from Harbor Freight? Installing your own windscreen? Pulling off the muffler? My, my... We are getting ambitious.

May I make a practical suggestion that will cost you a few hundred dollars (max) and eliminate busting your chops with the muffler ever again?

Remove the muffler... See if you can get the rust sand-blasted off of it. You'll need a smooth surface. Send the muffler to "Jet-Hot." Your choice of finishes are flat black, or a non-shiny silver. My recommendation is the flat black. The coating is porcelain and tougher than nails. And it will look great, precluding the need to ever do this again.

Fondest regards,
Twisted Roads