Goodbye Pepe

Posted in Life, Love and Scooting on October 26, 2012 by Jason

Tonight I sold my scooter and earlier I finished my last day with the mouse. I very quickly realized how much a part of me both of those things have become.

I have always wanted to work for Disney ever since I was a child. Most of the dreams included working as an animator but hey hoe who do you know who has gotten to live their whole dream out?

The beginning of this post was written almost a week ago but due to packing and life got put aside.

In one day I lost 2 things that have come to define me. My scooter and working for Disney. Strangely I’m not sure which of those I will miss more. Currently since I’m unemployed I would say the job but I’m not sure if that will last (the job being the thing I miss more not being unemployed). Pepe and I have had a rough relationship at times but I have grown to love that little scooter. I can truly say that I have never felt so connected with a vehicle before in my life.

Maybe it is because I have done most if not all the maintenance on my little scoot. Maybe it’s just because scooters are fun. Whatever the reason I know that some day I will own a scooter again and until that day I guess my blog has come to an end. Thanks for reading everyone.

Pepe Gets Stripped and Needs Head Part 2

Posted in Life, Love and Scooting on September 19, 2012 by Jason

So why wouldn’t it start after I put everything back together the way it was before I started? I had a few theories about that and sitting at work all day it really was the only thing I could think about. I had checked a couple things before I gave up and went to bed so I knew I was getting gas, spark and seemed to have plenty of compression as well which are the 3 things that I know will cause it not to start. My only thought was that maybe I hadn’t set the valve gap well since it was dark and I was tired so I decided that was the 1st place I would start.

The goal was simple, get the bike running well enough to get it to the shop on Monday and be able to work on it there. Saturday after work I didn’t feel like touching Pepe… I was tired and sore from the hours the night before and it was getting dark so I didn’t feel like messing around with flashlights again so I decided to put it off one more day. On Sunday morning I decided to head out after a light rain shower to give the valves a try. After checking and double checking the valves I did find that one was tight and the other was loose so it gave me hope that that very well could be the problem. After getting it put back together again I went ahead and tried to get it started again. The possessed evil lawn mower was back! Wow it was loud, after a few adjustments I was able to get the idle to somewhat behave and was fairly confident that I would be able to get Pepe to the shop so I shut of the bike and went back to relax with my wife until I could get her to follow me over to the scooter shop later that day.

The next part of the plan went on without much of a problem. The only problems were being very loud and my idle wasn’t calming down at stop signs so I had to keep shutting down at intersections so that the bike didn’t put too much strain on the belt. The important thing is that I made it safe and even found a new way to get there. Now all that was left was getting to the shop the next day to work on my bike and hopefully get everything up and running and back to normal. After a bit of research I did find that I should be able to use the EGR head with my non EGR bike as long as I blocked off that valve with a plate so that the compression wouldn’t escape through the little hole. I would say it would have been nice to know that before but it really wouldn’t have made a difference since I didn’t have any scrap metal, gaskets or bolts lying around so I still wouldn’t have been able to make it work. So I just needed to wait until the next day and I could start working on my bike again.

One thing I have to say is that working on a scooter in an actual shop is completely different to working on a scooter under a stairwell at my apartment. First of all there is the lighting which comes in very handy when trying to see what one is trying to do. The 2nd thing is the availability of power tools which allows you both to do things faster and to let your inner Tim Taylor out. The 3rd thing and probably the most helpful is having people around that you can ask questions to and be able to bounce ideas off of to check and see if you are doing something right or to help trouble shoot if things go wrong. With these 3 things working for me it was amazing how quickly I was able to get the scooter apart and back together again. And now yet again it is time to turn the key and see if Pepe will start. He starts right up and purrs more quietly than I have heard him for a very long time and that is saying something considering I was using the newly re-welded free flow exhaust. It was time for a test ride. I took Pepe for a quick spin around the neighborhoods and found that my acceleration and top speed were lacking and getting above 30mph was nearly impossible. After getting back to the shop I was able to find that I used the wrong intake spacer and was able to switch that out with the correct one easily enough. Another test ride later and everything was back to normal. So it may have not worked well on the first try and I may have had plenty of frustration and issues with getting Pepe on the road again this time but I do feel a sense of accomplishment both in fixing the problem and knowing the solution for the original problem and for quickly adapting to the problems that arose in the solution. There is a great sense of accomplishment to be had when fixing your own bike and recommend it to anyone who is up to the challenge.

Well friends I’m sorry this has been such a long post but maybe that makes up for the fact that I haven’t posted much lately. Well be safe out there friends.

Pepe Gets Stripped and Needs Head

Posted in Life, Love and Scooting on September 16, 2012 by Jason

Well I’m sure you’re all aware by now that owning a Chinese scooter is not always fun and games. To be honest most of the time it isn’t that bad but when you have issues with the engine it can be a royal pain in the rear. I’ve had a reoccurring problem over the past few months of my exhaust being louder than it should be. At first I thought this was only being caused by the some of the welds on my performance muffler coming loose between the header pipe and the muffler its self which had been getting worse over the past month or so. That is when I decided to switch back to my stock exhaust along with getting a new exhaust gasket since I was pretty sure mine was toast.

This is truly where the new repair adventure started. I went ahead and ordered the parts since between holidays and work I wasn’t going to be able to make it to Wild Hogs Scooters during that time. So I ordered a new variator fan since mine got shredded when my last belt broke and the exhaust gasket. They arrived just before weekend so I was planning on getting that taken care of it then but then I couldn’t sleep so I decided to go out and work on it at about midnight. I removed the old exhaust which ended up being a bit easier than it should have been since I removed the bolts that hold the side pipe to the bike and touched one of the bolts that bolts into the head and it fell right out and the exhaust was free… needless to say this was a problem. With a bit of work I was able to get my stock exhaust to bolt back on and cinched up tight. I started the bike and it sounded super quiet once again.

This I thought was the end of my exhaust woes or at least the end until I got either a new free flow exhaust or got my old one re-welded… I was wrong. About 2 days after I was riding along and the bike went from super quiet to sounding like a possessed lawn mower. I tried to tighten the bolts once I got to where I was going but one of them snapped off leaving a good chunk of its self lodge in the head and not being able to tighten the other tight enough to without stripping it further than it already was. So I was left with a possessed lawn mower as a scooter which is not fun. Now don’t get me wrong I don’t mind having a bit more noise than stock coming out of the tail pipe. This is because of a couple reasons, if I make a bit of noise it’s easier to be noticed and generally less noise means less restriction which helps Pepe breath a bit and increases the power by a bit. All I knew was I didn’t want to go around sounding like a possessed lawn mower for long especially with the backfiring.

So it was time for a plan. Obviously the head of my scooter was stripped at the exhaust studs and I could only think of 2 ways to fix that. Either take it to a machine shop and have the holes re-threaded or get a new head. I did some research trying to find a place that would rethread the holes and came up empty or at least couldn’t find anywhere that worked around my schedule. So it sounded like a new head was in the plans so I headed to Wild Hogs to see if I could find a used head that was in good enough condition to do what I needed it to do. After a bit of time I had 2 heads in hand that I thought would work and was again planning to do some work over the weekend to exercise the demon possessed lawn mower.

The next day I was on my way home and the red and blue flashers of death pulled me over. The police officer decided that my little scoot was too loud and I was breaking some sort of law. Luckily he decided to let me off with a warning but I did find it a bit rich that I was being pulled over for the amount of noise my broken bike makes when I hear stock Harley Davidson motorcycles that are louder than I am when I’m not going through any exhaust. So the plans got moved up early. I needed to try and get the head replaced that night instead of waiting for the weekend and being able to take my time and have some daylight to work by.

Everything started off fine. I’m no stranger to pulling the body panels and pulling apart the engine or at least down to the valve cover since I have done quite a few valve adjustments. Getting past the valve to pull off the head is somewhat new territory for me since I have only done that once. Once I got the head off the first thing I noticed was that the head that I got from the scooter shop was a version that had the EGR valve on it. What is an EGR valve? EGR stands for Exhaust Gas Re-circulator and basically allows the exhaust gasses to re-circulate to burn off all of the fuel so that it will burn more efficiently. That sounds all fine and dandy but I don’t have the tubing on my bike to do so and well from what I’ve heard it doesn’t work on scooters anyway. So I decided to go with the performance head that I also picked up from Wild Hogs a try since it did not have the hole for the EGR and let’s be honest I don’t mind having performance parts on my scooter. So I started piecing Pepe back together… this is where the first of the roadblocks got in my way. After putting the head in place I put the valve lifters into place and noticed that there was way too much play in the lifters. This is basically when I noticed that the performance head was thinner than the stock head and would not work but I didn’t really know why at the time. So on to the other head and more pulling things apart and putting things back together. By this time the sun was down and it was very dark. I don’t recommend working on a scooter’s engine in the dark. Luckily my trusty iPhone was there to help out with the flashlight app. Finally I got it all back together and was ready to try and start the bike… it didn’t start. By this time it was going on midnight and I didn’t have a vehicle unless I got it running so I had 2 choices. I could quit and call it a night or put everything back together the way I found it and hope I could get it started.

At this point I was frustrated to say the least. I had spent the better part of 5 hours wrenching on my bike with hand tools and low light just to have my bike be worse off than when I started the process. I’m not generally one to quit working on something just because the clock says it is time to go to bed. This is a trait that has been with me since I was very young. I remember after I broke my dad’s computer while he was on a business trip (I broke it trying to fix something else on but that’s another story and some would probably say that is still a trait that I display now). I remember sitting there trying to reinstall Windows 3.1 until about 5 am but that is another story completely and all of his spreadsheets were safe after I was done. So back to the bike I did go ahead and put everything back together the way it started… well kind of since there was no way any sort of tightening was going to happen with the exhaust bolts and tried to start it again. Now once again everything was back together and was ready to start it up… nada, zilch, zero, nothing… well nothing isn’t actually fair there was a tear of frustration and the starter was spinning it just wasn’t firing. Now I must be getting old because it was 2:30 am and I had had it. I went to bed defeated and sad.

To be continued

Scooters, Sneakers and Automobiles

Posted in Life, Love and Scooting on August 25, 2012 by Jason

You ever have one of those days where work is just the most boring thing ever and you can’t wait to just get out of work just for it to be over. Yesterday was one of those days. The monotony of work was bearing down on me and my mind was going numb and suddenly I receive a message from my lovely wife that I shouldn’t make any plans tonight. I know what you are thinking… oh well I didn’t think this was that kind of blog but bear with me I assure you it is not or at least not yet. A few moments later I see another message come through that I don’t have the time to read other than the subject and all I see is “Star Wars Celebration VI…” and I must say that I would rate myself as a bit of a geek so I start getting excited even though my first thought is that wait I didn’t think that there was anything going on after I got off work. So I finally got the chance to read the email and got even more excited because it was tickets for An Evening with Kevin Smith. Just in case you don’t know who Kevin Smith is, he is a director, writer, actor, comedian, blogger, podcaster, and much, much more than that. He has created such cult classics as Clerks, Mall Rats, and Chasing Amy as well as being a self proclaimed geek and lover of comics, Star Wars and just about everything that any geek cares about.

Needless to say this is all I could think about for the rest of the long work hours of the day. All I wanted to do was clock out on time and head down to the convention center to have a good laugh. The hours were dragging on and once I started getting close to the end of the day the fear of being stuck at work started getting greater and greater since the last few days I have not been able to clock out on time. The clock struck 5:30 and I was able to clock out and was out the door like a rocket. Once out the door the sun was shining, there was a nice calm breeze and I could feel the edges of my mouth curling up into a smile because I had plenty of time to act on the plan I have been formulating all day. Ride to a Miller’s Ale House, park, grab a quick bite and head to the Orange County Convention Center to see the show.

I get to Pepe, put in the key, turn the ignition and it starts right up… thought it wasn’t going to start didn’t you. I was on my way and I could feel the excitement for the evening growing the further I went down the road. The weather was perfect for the ride and vehicles were even being more friendly than usual. Along I went tonight was going to be great and I was ready for some laughs and then it happened… the engine started revving with no power and I knew my scooter journey was over for the night. So if you are riding a scooter and the engine doesn’t die but you have no power and it just revs with no response but otherwise sounds fine that means that you have broken a belt. I coasted to a stop to try to figure out where I could safely put the scooter. I happened to be right next to the Nickelodeon Suites on I-Drive south so I pushed it into their parking lot (This part of the journey was about 5.3 miles from work with still another 8.7 miles to travel if I wanted to get to the show that starts in a little over an hour). I double checked with the security guard to make sure it was okay to leave Pepe behind and other than getting the obligatory they are not responsible for loss or damage but promised it would not be towed I left to start the 2nd part of my journey.

One of the things that the Orlando area is not known for is public transportation… this is mainly because it doesn’t exist except in small doses. So I started walking while using my phone to call out for help on Facebook, text and calls. The weather that I had been raving about earlier was quickly covering me in a layer of sweat. As I walk along I start to try to formulate a new plan, a plan that will get me there as quick as I can. The options that I ended up with were walk about 3 miles to the 1st bus stop on the I-Ride, hitchhike, call a taxi or get a hold of a friend or relative that can come get me. My first thought was to phone a friend… why not it worked on that TV show half the time problem was my wife was out because she had class that night, my parents live far enough away that I didn’t want to put them out, finally I found my brother who could be there a little after 7:00… show starts at 7:00… this could be worse since I’m not far away if I was in a car. My biggest fear was to have my wonderful wife spend the money on such a wonderful surprise and not be able to use it. So I moved to combine walking to a bus and meeting my brother when he was available.

I ended up walking about 4.9 miles before my brother was able to come get me and I have never been so happy to be in an air conditioned car before in my life. After a short 3.8 mile ride in the car I was at the Orange County Convention Center. By the time that I got into my seat I had missed about 30 minutes of the show. The next almost hour and a half was full of laughs and the perfect remedy for the last hour and a half of frustration. It wasn’t until the show was over that I remembered that Pepe had just stranded me and threatened to ruin a great evening.

Now it was time to find a way home… luckily right when I got out of the show I texted my lovely wife and she called right away to say she just got out of class. So I had her meet me at Miller’s Ale House for some apple juice (at least it looked like apple juice) and loaded fries to thank her for the good parts of the day.

Well that is the long and short of my adventure and I hope you enjoyed my pain and triumphs throughout. I must say that nothing makes you feel quite as out of shape as the day after walking almost 5 miles. Be safe out there friends and as always thanks for reading.

20120824-154700.jpg

Princess on Board

Posted in Life, Love and Scooting on August 15, 2012 by Jason

Last week I had the chance to be on vacation and also had the chance to choose between a car and a scooter for the whole week depending on need or want. My wife was off having an adventure in England for the Olympics and to enjoy time with her family and friends back home and I had the whole week to spend with my beautiful daughter.

I have grown very accustom to 85-90 mpg so I knew going into the week that it would be hard to break ties from Pepe II. This is also central Florida in the middle of the summer so having to navigate the tourists and rain storms wasn’t very high on my priorities either. I hadn’t counted on one variable though… my daughter loves being on the back of the scooter. Every time we were about to head out she would ask if she needed her helmet and if I said no she was sad. So the conversations went something like this:

Me: Alright get your shoes on we are going to Disney World

Daughter: Do I need my helmet?

Me: Not today

Daughter: Awww mann… why cant we take the scooter?

Somehow the scooter had trumped the fact that we were going to Disney World and that no longer made her excited to go. She of coarse got over that once we got to where we were going but it always caught me as funny at the time.

Pepe performed very well with the little one on the back and really my only complaint would be having a wiggly little girl on the back some times made it a bit hard to do tight corners. We had a lot of fun this last week with Pepe.

Be safe out there friends.

Batteries are Important

Posted in Life, Love and Scooting on July 31, 2012 by Jason

It’s been a while since my last post… about 3 weeks 6 days according to the handy little time thing at the bottom but it’s been a) a busy 3 weeks and 6 days b) there haven’t been any scooter problems c) my daughter has been in town so I’ve had more important things to do d) all of the above. Those of you that answered D get a star for the day, those of you who answered anything else well you were kind of right.

Over the last couple of days especially in the morning I have had to kick start Pepe into working but it hadn’t seemed like a big deal since he kick started up easily and would run fine for the rest of the day.  Well yesterday I went out to try to start the scooter and couldn’t get it started. It would try for a second to start and then just stop trying. This was a new experience since usually when I would try to start and fail the turning of the starter had nothing to do with the problem. I knew it was battery related to say the least. This leaves one of 2 things to be the problem: The battery has gone bad or the charging system has gone bad. There is only one way to check this besides having the battery tested which I will try and do tomorrow and that is with a voltmeter. Unfortunately a voltmeter (or multimeter) is among the many tools I use to own back in the day when I had a garage but was abandoned when I moved to sunny Florida. 

For those of you who read this to get information on how to actually fix your scooter I will tell you how to do so: First remove the battery cover so that you can access the battery. Second while the scooter is off check the voltage of the battery which should show 12 volts any less and that shows you have a problem but you still wont know which one. Third start the scooter… (I know I know but my battery is dead how can I start my scooter. Try the kick starter, if that doesn’t work jump it with a car) now test the battery again with the engine running. If the voltage goes up it’s your battery, if the voltage goes down or is unchanged it is probably either your stator or your voltage regulator.

So thanks to my lovely wife I have a new battery and my scooter is running again. Lets hope it stays that way. Be safe out there my friends. 

What Ifs

Posted in Life, Love and Scooting on July 4, 2012 by Jason

Life is full of what ifs. What if I would have asked someone out, what if I would have gone to college at this place or for this instead of that, what if I didn’t eat that for dinner, and there are probably a billion different what ifs out there. Well lately I have been faced with a major what if in my life. Lately my wife and I have been talking about moving to New York City.

This is a big change from anything I have ever done in my life. Every time I have ever moved to a new city I have spent some time there. Now that being said I wasn’t an aficionado of that area every time. When I moved from Lima to Dayton Ohio I had at least been to the mall, visited there to go to sporting events, knew how to get from there to places I have been before and above all else liked the bits of it I have been to. Later I moved from Dayton back to Lima and honestly even though I was never going to have to go back there again I at least knew what I was getting into. Then I decided to move from Lima to central Florida that was a completely different story, I had been there plenty of times, I knew the good areas, the bad areas and before I arrived I had a job lined up.

Now New York City… I have never been, I’ve seen it on tv, I’ve read about it and I had thought about it but I have never thought I would live there. But why have I thought I would never live there. The cold is one… I’m not a big fan of winter. Crowds are probably my 2nd biggest fear and then with those 2 things it is mostly the unknown. Now what if it is the greatest opportunity I have ever had? When I moved to Central Florida it was to work for the mouse and that was basically it. In the pursuit of that I haven’t reached the goals I wanted but I have had some pretty amazing things happen. I have met some of the best friends I have ever had, I met my beautiful wife, was married here and started our life here together. Those are some pretty big unplanned events so what happens when we take a leap of faith and move somewhere that we have no basis of knowledge on? The one thing I know is ever since I moved down here to Florida I made a vow to not play the “what if” game any longer. I didn’t want to have to ask myself what if on any decision I made. This is impossible but I do my best to keep to my vow. So I guess long story short. I’m more scared about this potential and I emphasize potential move that I am about any move I have ever made before, but at the same time I am also more excited by it than I have ever been excited by a move before and that includes when I moved here to follow my dream. That’s the wonderful thing about dreams… they change and evolve ase we grow and see what is more important over time.

I’ll keep you all posted how it all turns out but thanks for listening even if it had nothing to do with scooters. Be safe out there.

%d bloggers like this: