This is the story of my '64 Vespa 150 - how it became mine and how it has given me a new vespatude.  I'll be recording the neat places I visit, the different things I do to make the Vespa my own, and - oh yeah - those reactions I get from both friends and strangers.

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Sunday, January 29, 2006
Two days running
I admit it. has not had many posts recently because I have been discouraged. I have come close to the point of just buying a new engine, but my budget can't take that right now. At the same time, Heebie has been very fussy and it just seemed like I would never get the bike to run.

Yesterday the beautiful redhead wondered if I was going to do any work on the Vespa. I could sense a little bit of veiled encouragement. Still, I didn't really want to do it. I was tired of disappointment. Why spend another afternoon just to end up frustrated?

I did stuff inside during the morning and after lunch I watched UNC beat Arizona. Not long after cheering the Heels to victory, I stuck my head out the door. Wow! It was almost like spring. Shoot, maybe it wouldn't be so bad to just go play around with the wiring.

It didn't appear that the new CDI unit was going to cooperate. The decision was made to go back to the old regulator and replace the connections that came with the unit when I received the Vespa. There done... Now try it again... Hey! It starts. The question is, will it keep running.

Whoa! Heebie seemed ready to go and we headed out of the drive onto the street. First... Second... Third... no hesitation... Fourth... here we go! I drove for several block and then into a parking lot to practice turns (a Vespa is no motorcycle - it does not have sharp turning radius and leaning into turns with leg shields can be an adventure!) for a bit.

Rats! In the parking lot the bike began to stall. I let it sit for just a moment and then started it again. It was firing on the second or third kick. I was able to ride for a short time and then the scooter would falter again. I made it home after stalling out about four times. It never failed, it would start up again on the second or third kick (with the choke open).

Back at home I did some more work on the wiring and then called it a day. It wasn't as frustrating as I thought it would be. I really felt I was making progress... though I wasn't exactly sure what I had done. I'm certain upgrading the wiring connections helped, but there was still an issue -- but at least the bike didn't die and not want to restart.

Today I went to church in the morning. Rain created a dreary prospect for the afternoon. Hopes that Heebie would receive some attention seemed to go out the window.

Lunch finished I changed my clothes and went outside. No rain. Just overcast and wet roads. I had always heard that Vespa's were great in these conditions because the leg shields kept the spray off your clothes. Hey, why not give it a test.

Heebie started up again on the second or third kick. He was idling quite happily as I coasted between the cars to get ready to shift into first. We were off. Again, the scooter launched and there we went! I only did a short ride around a couple of blocks. It seemed things were great and then... the same thing as before.

Oh well, it was raining anyway and I had to balance my bank accounts.

Sitting there downloading the information to Quicken, I was able to look out the front window. What was that? The sun was coming through the clouds and there was some blue sky. I heard Heebie calling!

Once again the scooter started up just great and we headed out. This time I was more ambitious. I set a course that would take me through Cleveland Park and on to Augusta Road. From Augusta Road I headed to the West End, Falls Park and then to Main Street. I made it all the way to the park before the bike stalled.

I discovered if I tried to start the bike immediately after the stall, it did not want to start as easily. If I let it sit for a bit, it would start right away. I also noticed that the longer I let the bike sit before starting it, the longer I could ride before needed to restart it again.

Hmmmmm, sure sounded like a fuel issue to me. I also noticed that when I would try to really wind the bike out when I got into the high end of each gear, the bike would want to stall. Finally in fourth when I would open the throttle, it would stall once again.

I made it home after multiple stalls and restarts. The great news was that unlike in times before, I could always restart and never had to push the bike. I also made experienced something that makes me think for sure I have a fuel flow problem.

I discovered that if the bike stalled while I was going down a hill I could just let off the throttle and coast for a little bit then the bike would sputter to life again. It happened consistently. I never noticed this before because I would always give up.

What I think is happening is that when I let the bike sit overnight, enough fuel feeds into the bowl that when I start it up the next time the bike runs great for a while on the fuel that has collected. As the fuel burns off and more fuel is needed from the tank, the engine starves. When I stop fuel flows into the bowl and there we go again... but it won't run as far because not as much fuel has collected.

The same thing happens coasting downhill. The question is, what is causing it? It would appear that there is a vacuum or something that kicks in at certain rpms. Checking the fuel line it seems to work just fine when I disconnect it. It has to have something to do with the engine running.

Anybody out there have any ideas? I'm certain that I am getting very close!

Sounds like your fuel filler cap isn't breathing. Check to see that it's got a clear breather passage. It's sounds like the cause of the problem, as it has to sit for a few minutes before it'll restart.

I agree with Mike. There is a breather hole on the gas cap. Sometimes, these get painted over and causes a vacuum in the tank as the fuel leaves the tank. Also check the carb float. I had a float that was rubbing on the inside of the bowl and it would stick intermittently. Check the gas cap first. Easiest things first. Good luck.

Hey guys, I posted the lastest "Can you believe it?" before reading your comments. You are exactly correct. It was the filler cap.

The problem is that this isn't an actual Vespa cap. It tightens down and locks - with a key. I think what I will need to do is order a new one.

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