Blood, Sweat and Confusion

On Friday I woke up, got ready and headed out to work just like any normal Friday. About half way there my beloved scooter starts cutting out. It was a strange feeling, it was like it just didn’t want to go faster than 15 mph. I pulled over to see if I could figure out a simple reason on why it was doing this and the short answer was no. I decided to go a little further since the hotel lot I was in was eyeing me like I was some sort of criminal so I made it about a quarter mile down the road fearing the whole way that I was causing permanent damage to my scoot.

I pulled into a shopping plaza lot and decided to let my bike cool down a bit to see if that was the issue. While it was cooling down I checked to see if I had oil, checked the air filter and did a few once arounds looking for the problem… I didn’t find anything. After letting my bike rest for about 15 minutes I decided to try again. The engine started with out any problem, I revved it up a bit and it seemed like it was working okay and then set off on my way threw the parking lot fearing the real road until I had figured out if the problem was solved or not. I made it about 30 feet before it starting cutting out again. I decided to go a bit further and pull into a McDonald’s since they have wifi and I needed to find answers.

Pulling into McDonald’s I found what I needed, or at least almost everything I needed. Refillable soda: check, free wifi: check, a quiet place to sit and think while I research: surprisingly still a check, a bathroom to counteract free soda refills: NO!!!! My plan was thwarted, not only did I not know if I would be able to get out of there on my own power but I also didn’t know how long I would be there. I had called into work to say I wouldn’t be making it since 10-15 mph would have got me there in about an hour and it was all ready 8:30 and work starts at 9:00. I haven’t covered this on the blog yet but those who know me know that I can down soda like a fish. This skill has nothing to do with bladder size which is a problem.

So the research begins. ScootDawg is where I start and after browsing I find that Greg is online who is one of the nicest people on the board and also one of the most knowledgable. I decide to personal message him instead of posting and ask if it is alright to call so I can get immediate answers. To my relief he agrees and I am on my way to answer town. After a brief talk with Greg I am relieved that he didn’t think that I had detonated my scooter (yes that is a technical term) and that it all sounds carburetor related. This was excellent news so I started my plan.

Since my scoot had cooled down for about an hour now I decided to try my luck again. Once again it started fine, revved fine and the only things that weren’t fine were my confidence and my pride. To my surprise it accelerated like a champ so I was off to start part one of the plan. I was off to Walmart to find some oil. Now Walmart generally has the oil I use and I went to a Walmart that I don’t generally go to but I can also say that it is one of the largest Walmarts I have ever seen. I get to the automotive section and start to look around and to my surprise they don’t have the oil I normally use. I leave feeling a bit perturbed and very confused by this but I don’t want to give up just yet so I pull out my phone and do a search for auto parts stores. I find a motorcycle store near by so I think that may just be the ticket. About a mile later I am staring at a rack of oils I have never heard of and trying to find a suitable replacement for the one that I normally use. No I have been using synthetic oil ever since I finished breaking the motor in and once you start using synthetic oils you should not use anything else. This store had one type that was 100% synthetic… it was 20 dollars!!!!!! I just stared at it trying to figure out if it was made of gold or something. I left without the oil and decided to find a synthetic car oil instead since any of the research I did didn’t seem to be able to tell me a good reason not to use car oil in my scooter and since it was the same weight I decided to go for it. So I have the oil and I’m on my way.

About 2 hours after I started this detour I finally was at my “Secret Garage” or at least that’s what I call it on Foursquare. I had texted the owner that I would be using the garage and hadn’t heard anything back which since she is a teacher that isn’t that surprising since picking up your phone in the middle of a class would probably invite them to do the same. There was still that feeling that what if she didn’t go to school today and I scare the living snot out of her. I ring the doorbell… wait… ring it again… wait and decide it’s safe. Walking threw the house I look up to see the 110 year old attach kitty… sleeping of course and make my way to the garage to pull my bike inside and get to work. On the to do list for the day is to check over the carburator, do an oil change, paint the bits of support metal for the exhaust so they don’t rust and change the cvt belt.

I start off by removing the plastics which I’m getting quite good at now. Since everything else is a bit too hot to work on I start by working on the carburator. I pull off the top of the carburator to double check the diaphragm to see if there are any rips in it. After checking it thoroughly I put it back together not seeing anything wrong with it. Since I had just purchased the carb not to long ago I was very happy with the fact that it wasn’t or at least doesn’t seem to be the problem.

With the carburator out of the way I moved on to work on changing the oil. When I drained the oil I noticed that it was a bit darker than it normally is but still was not thick at all. On my old bike I was changing it every time my odometer showed 1000 miles which I have now come to find out was closer to 621 miles since it was counting something closer to kilometers rather than miles. So I think due to the color of the oil I may start doing the oil changes a bit more frequently. While the oil is draining I went ahead to pull the support parts off of the exhaust to get them painted with high temperature paint to keep them from rusting.

Now it’s on to the CVT belt. I have never dealt with the CVT belt before and I was a bit scared by the idea of dealing with it. The CVT belt runs in conjunction with the clutch and the continuously variable transmission to act as gears on the scooter to make it go. I had purchased a new CVT belt the other week and since the belts that are installed on these bikes generally are pretty crappy I thought it might be good to replace it. In order to get the belt off you need to remove the CVT (that’s the one on the left). The only problem is in order to do that you need to have a impact wrench and well I just don’t have one of those. I had read that you could remove it in another way but wasn’t having any luck doing it that way. So I tried to do it without removing the CVT. This is done by squeezing the clutch to guide the belt to the center of the clutch (this is the position it would ride in when you are going faster). This makes it possible to slip the belt over the CVT and pull it off. The first time I did this I did not put anything in the CVT to keep it from shifting and the weights coming loose. I didn’t realize this happened when I first put it in and when I put it back together I couldn’t get over 20 mph again… I’m getting sick of that problem. The only way to line up the weights up is to get the CVT off. I tried another trick I had found online to take the CVT off and after bruising and cutting up my knuckles I succeeded. Once I had that off I was able to get into the CVT, get everything lined up and keep it all together while I got the belt back on and all tightened up. Once I had that back on I was able to go for another test and although better I could only get up to 30 mph.

By this time I had been dealing and working on my scooter for about 12 hours now, I had made some progress but I really didn’t know how to get it fixed completely. I made the decision to ride home and deal with it the next day. When I hit the road it started raining… a crappy end to a crappy day. I have never been so tired after a ditching work ever. I was only a little closer to figuring out the problem and unfortunately I was starting to doubt that I would ever figure it out.

After attempting to sleep in, which I failed at miserably, I started trying to figure out the new problem which sounds like the same problem I had when I started the day before but it was completely different. The day before the engine would cut out every time I went faster than it wanted to, now the engine sounded fine for the most part but wouldn’t go as fast as it should. A few other clues that I had were when I was decelerating I would hear the exhaust popping. This led me to believe I was having carburator issues. This could also have something to do with the fact that I had spent about 2 to 3 hours making sure the CVT and belt were on perfect. I decided to take a look at the carburator once again and took the top off where I found that when I had put it back together the day before I had placed the plastic piece that goes on top of the needle on upside down which was causing it to work improperly.

So to sum it all up I ended up causing a new problem while trying to figure out what was wrong with it in the first place. I believe the problem it was having in the first place could have been caused by excess heat which more regular oil changes should help solve but I won’t be sure until I have taken it for a nice long ride. I think I will try that tomorrow. The only thing that I have learned for sure is to double check everything that I have done if it isn’t working properly after I’m done.

Be safe out there friends.


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