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1966 Vespa 150 Super


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Oh, you definitely should. There are so many ways you can sell the idea to Julz. It's small and won't take up much room, it'll be easier on fuel than the van, and you can take her on summer rides to check out new cafes, scarf flying out behind. In fact, a cute Vespa will be much easier to sell to her than Triumphs, which in my experience mostly get attention from little boys and old men.


The worst that can happen is that she'll want one too.

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I'm well aware of their foibles Chris.  In fact, as an import, it's probably worse than most.  


But it'll be lucky to get more than 10 clicks from home, and wont be expected to get over 50.  I've done the fast bike thing in my younger years.


If I was richer I'd buy a 60's Bonneville to go with the cars, but I've always had a soft spot for wasps, and this one's a good enough deal to make it a no brainer.


It'll have faults and foibles, and that will just give me a chance to add to my skillset.  And maybe it'll be bad enough that I need to microsquirt it...


Yep, I'll reget it at times.  Like most of my automobiles.


Oh, and for the first time ever, when I quietly brought up the possability of yet another member of the family fleet, management was firmly, (and surprisingly) in favour.  I dont care if it's a lemon, it's my chance to get a bike into the garage again.  



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If I was richer I'd buy a 60's Bonneville to go with the cars, but I've always had a soft spot for wasps, and this one's a good enough deal to make it a no brainer.





Triumph made scooters. I had the loan of a 250cc for a few days in the early '70s. IIRC, it was an evil beast.



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And she's made it.


Currently hiding in Alan's factory while I move things around in the garage at home.




Took her for a spin around the private factory estate, she seems quite well behaved for a 50 year old. Started 3rd crank in the cold, lights all work, brakes and gearbox seem fine. Needs a new horn and some love for the cutoff switch.


The real challenge is the paperwork to register her. I need a copy of the import certificate, and the guvvmint department that deal with it communicate only in writing, with 3 to 4 week targets as their gazzetted reply timelines.







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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Having been laid up with manflu and not able hook around on this for a few days, I decided that todays short booked day at the Dropzone presented me with the ideal day to take it for a good long run and get back in daylight.  


Its normaly a 50 minute drive via the freeways, and google maps claimed a time of just over an hour via the back roads.  Thats for cars doing the speed limit.




So I gave myself double the time, and headed off while it was stil dark.


Despite 6 layers on top, and three below decks, both of which included "Windstoppers", it was icily cold.  Fun, but bloody freezing.  The fun stopped in the last 1/4 of the trip which was on 100knph roads, with traffic all around, and a completly frozen body on a scoot that wont and shouldn't push past 85 on its best day in it's current form.



1.5 clicks short of the DZ, one of the young punks from the club captured me as he flashed by in his nice warm sedan.  Ambient temp at that point was 3 degrees, riding time 85 minutes, under 2 minutes to go.






Had a great day though.  My cousin, who's had some dark times of late came down and I got to take him up for a bit of high speed stress relief.




The day turned out to be a long one, and it was pretty exciting for the first 35 minutes of the trip home nnegotiating an Aussie highway in the dark on a scoot built 50 years ago that was never planned to go fast enough, with fairly anemic lights and 10 inch wheels.  The traffic was interesting, the wildlife moreso - first time an errant possum has almost tipped me over in the dark.


I was pretty happy to get the iceberg called Craig home.


Fun day.

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  • 1 year later...

A little report a year and a bit later.

What a fun toy, and what a good learning tool.  Being a south east asian resto, she's a bit of a showbag (shiny on the outside, but lots of shit to be found inside).

Has it broken down - yep, spectacularly!  But it's never not got me home.

2 flat tyres - fixed roadside with spares or tubes

Burnt out sparkplug - changed roadside for a spare - turned out the one in it was a long series, should be short - no wonder it died, happy it didn't hit the piston.

Points went bad - this was a real challenge, had to nurse it home with about 10 stops in 15km's, bitch of a trip.  I spent most of a week chasing down the problems, then remembered I like modern solutions to old automobiles foibles.  So I shelled out for a Vespatronic unit - pretty much a Megajolt for 2 strokes.  Awesome upgrade, starts and runs first kick warm, 2nd kick cold.

Gear selection was more of a guess than a high milage hire car - throttle and clutch cables needed replacing.  30 minutes work and a huge improvement.

Passenger seat wasn't there when I got home one night.  Dho.  That lead to a major hunt, identify and replace afternoon, changing out plain nuts for nylocs or adding shakeproof washers.  New seat arrived in 5 days from India.

Went on a Vespa Club classic ride across town, with Julz on the back.  12kms in, the back wheel, ahem, came off.  This wasn't a fun moment, 2 up doing 45 in traffic.  Luckily, since the wheel is inside the wheel well formed by the rear compartments, it wedged inside and we kept it upright.  Turned out that the cassellated nut that hold it on had no split pin.  Borrowed a socket from a friendly truckie, did it up tight, rode to a hardware store, bought parts and a spanner, and finished the ride (after checking there was a split pin in the front wheel...).

Tune kept going weird because the carb kept coming loose.  There's two studs that hold the carb box and carb to the motor casing.  Front one was always tight, rear one kept coming loose.  Eventually I pulled it apart, only to find that the front stud had snapped at some point in the engine case, so it had been cut off short, and glued into the carb box.  Un wound it, removed the stub, loctited in new studs, and problem solved.

Sounds really bad, but most of this was in the 1st 4 months.  Of late, she's been as well behaves as any 50+ year old.

The local Vespa club are an interesting bunch.  They run all sorts of fun rides, are inviting and helpful, but they al look down their noses at any asian import, to the point that while they want the bike and rider to attend their events, they flat out wont allow her to be put on the club rego scheme (a $500 saving each year).

So I've called her Hanoi Jane.  Pretty to look at, a real goer, but hated by the establishment...

Yesterday was a 16 hour door to door workday at the Skydive club, home at 11pm after leaving at 7am.  Slept in today, then had a lovely day tooling a around on Hanoi Jane.  Headed out to Alan's workshop in the hills 40k's from home, where we spent a few hours commissioning his big CNC mill.   Then meandered home.  Her current foible is jumping out of gear at high revs.  Thats probably a new shifting cross, so an engine out, casing split full weekend of work is coming up.  Ahh well.


Here she is after getting home tonight.



Hanoi Jane.  What a ripper.







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  • 3 months later...

Have done a full rebuild of the motor post xmas - am having some fun trying to get it right.


Kinda pleasant working on something this petite for once.


After the build it was blowing lots of smoke - and there was gearbox oil in the cylinder


Turned out the crankcase gasket had bagged at a critical point, leading to the suck through and burn of gearbox oil, so another split and redo.


I had a seal I was a bit suss of but didn't want to change it out as it's a hard to get metal one, and I've only got the less good later ones available here in Oz.  So I took the risk on it and installed another case gasket.

Didn't want to go further without testing it.  Time to build a quick and dirty leak down tester

Found a chepo aneroid single hand sphygmomanometer on the net nearby, made up a plate with a bsp spigot, a rubber base and some grease.


And closed off the exhaust stub with a rubber chair foot, and a good clip


And then got out the suds


Nothing on the flywheel side,


But when I filled the clutch side bearing with oil, voila


I'm blowing bubbles, and will forever with that seal.  Drat.

Time for a new seal, and a other case gasket.  


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Before you go ripping it apart again, just a thought.....

Assuming it's a simple single lip seal, which way around is the seal fitted?   They are partly "pressure activated" and seal better one way than the other by design,  Basically, the side with the garter spring is intended to be the inside (or higher pressure side) and some leakage is to be expected.  Just thinking that as the crankcase on a two stroke might see intake vacuum sometimes the seal might be intentionally fitted the opposite way around...... though 0.4Bar shouldn't be a huge challenge.


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Wish that were true.  The seal in question...AB347079-C414-4041-88EB-1712ABC34CA3.jpeg

is inside the crankcase, lip faces in to seal in crankcase pressure.

Consensus is that I should have used some Loctite 603 around the perimeter.

6 Bar held for 6 minutes and you’re good to go apparently.

live and learn.


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