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, April 30, 2006
Out of the frying pan...
Don't let the pictures fool you! Things are not all good in Vespaville.

At the time these pictures were taken (by my eight-year old daughter), the scooter still would not go into fourth gear (at least it wouldn't stay in fourth), "the clutch actuating pad was toast" (as Trace rightly deduced from the picture in a previous post), and the wiring to the side car was not working. Even though things were not working, I decided to go ahead and put the sidecar back on so I could take my little kids for a ride around the block like I had been promising them for weeks now. They had a blast even though I never got out of third (that is probably just as well because I wouldn't want to go fast with them anyway).

I even got the beautiful redhead in there! That was a major feat. Riding in a Vespa sidecar is not her speed. It was fun though to have her in there as we tooled around the neighborhood. I need to get her one of those Keiser helmets and big black googles... NOT!

So, where things stand now is I need to order the pad, some new cables (I broke one trying to adjust the gears, and I probably need to order a new shifting cross as well. I dread going back into that engine, but I don't know if I have another choice. If only I had the cash right now, I would buy a new engine...
Friday, April 28, 2006
Here you can see the rear end of the wasp. It seems to have stung me quite a few times here lately. This evening was no exception. If I'm not able to get out there soon and ride the thing, I am going to start thinking about the classifieds!

So, why did Heebie have his rearend in the air? Well, I noticed that the clutch handle was closing too freely and that the clutch was simply not engaging. I hiked up the rear of the bike and detached the shock. This allowed the engine to drop enough for me to get the rear wheel off and remove the clutch cover. This is what I found:

I'm still dealing with gear problems. I can adjust it enough to get the bike into all four gears. However, fourth gear is still giving me problems. As I am crusing in fourth, the bike begins to lurch as though it is dropping out of gear. I have driven with the cable connector cover off and I can see the selector jerking back and forth. I can't seem to adjust the cables enough to hold it.

My fear is that it is the cruciform. Does anyone out there have some advice on this one? Does this sound like something that happens because of the cable adjustments or does it sound like something in the gears themselves.

If only I had the cash right now to just get a new engine. That will be awhile. Oh, well, maybe I need to take some time off and back away from it.
Trying to get in gear
Last night was a frustrating night. I had ordered some new cables for my gears as well as a new headlight assembly, taillight assembly and a few other odds and ends. Everything arrived yesterday...

Taillight assembly - check (though it is plastic which was disapointing)
Headlight assembly - fail (though the invoice showed I ordered the correct part, I was sent an assembly for an Allstate)
Gear cables - check
Working gears - fail

I got the gears and at first I was thrilled. The gears were zipping through 1st, neutral, 2nd, 3rd and - rats it wasn't quite making it into 4th. So, I started playing around trying to adjust the gear cables. Now I can't get into 1st or 4th (well, I can, but not well enough). I'm going to have to play around with it again this evening. There as to be some simple secret to adjusting these things of which I am not aware.

Oh, Scooterworks is going to send me a new headlight assembly and then I will send them back this old one. The kind of torques me because they had me pay for the new assembly and they will refund the amount. But that means I'll have to pay shipping for their mistake - not to mention the hassle of the whole deal. They probably sent the thing by the slowest rate.
Thursday, April 27, 2006
From the comments
This comment came in yesterday with a good question:
I was thinking of an Indonesian/Veitnamese scooter also,as the prices are good, and it is getting hard to find anything here in North America in good shape. you never did mention whether you spoke with the company that originally sold the bike to you. Have they helped with any replacemant parts or have they washed their hands of you once they have your cash.
If you spend over $1500 for a scooter with a side car from Indonesia, you are spending too much money. By the time you pay for the shipping excetra, you will have spent over $2000. Then you will basically have to replace every part on the bike - perhaps even the engine. This will put you beyond $3000 and close to $4000. If you don't mind spending that...

I had some initial communication with the seller. He said he would pay for taking the bike to a shop to fix anything that was broken. The problem with these bikes is that they aren't necessarily broken, they are just very poor quality. If it isn't broken when you get it out of the box, it will be after you ride it for a bit.

IF you can find one of the Asian bikes and approach it that you are just buying a frame and try to pay that much for it, then I don't think it is so bad a deal. Just know going into it that you are going to have to get out the parts manual, call Scooterworks and start ordering all the parts to replace them. I mean, they use the wrong screws, most all of the threads on the screw holes are stripped. That is just one of the many things you will discover. It is almost like when they went to restore the bike the went through an old bin of parts and sorted out to find the ones they could use. You really do end up restoring the restoration.

All that being said, I am glad I have my scoot. It really has become more my own since I can basically say I have restored it myself - all except for the paint job (which is pretty good, I must say).
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
This is causing me gas...
When I posted the below entry this morning, it was still dark outside. The early morning light revealed a large moist spot under the Vespa. My small fuel leak was not so small anymore.

Right now, the tank is sitting there draining the fuel back into a fuel can. I've got to get that spring washer fixed and then try to get the switch rod back in the frame without causing a leak.

Tomorrow the new parts will arrive. Hopefully I will be able to get the tank back in at the same time that I replace the cables, etc. Then the time will come to attach the side car. One of the interesting things I will have to do is rewire the side car lamp.

Then we'll just see what else breaks!
Up and running!
Wow, what a feeling! Heebie is up and running. The gremlins seem to be pretty much worked out in the electrical system. The only annoying thing right now is the small leak in the fuel system. I think I can fix that as well. However, what a relief to finally have all my lights working!

Yesterday I drove the scooter to work. Of course, it is only about a mile from my house. Nearly everytime I started it during the day, it started on the first kick.

I drove to a nearby Arby's to have lunch with my Worthwhile partner and our sales manager. As I drove through the lunchtime traffic I could feel people's eyes on the scoot. Sitting inside I was able to look out and see the people stop and walk around the scooter to check it out.

That is a definite difference between a vintage Vespa and some of the newer ones (or other newer scooters or mopeds); you even get "respect" from the Harley riders. I almost always get a nod or a wave from those guys and gals. When I first got the scooter, I figured those riders would kind of chuckle at me - or even laugh. What I have found is that motorcycle enthusiasts of all stripes are drawn to the vintage bike. It's cool!

When I got home from work I went immediately to fix the switch. I think I have it. I also altered the front lamp housing to allow me to burn the traditional bulb as well as a halogen car type bulb. In the picture above, I'm burning the car headlight.

I've ordered some cables and other stuff from Scooterworks. It should be here tomorrow and I plan to replace the gear cables, both the front and rear light housings (they are beginning to show their age), and some other minor odds and ends. Then my next project will be the side car.

I think the weather man is calling for rain today. Don't know if I'll get to ride... but the weekend is supposed to be beautiful. I'm not complaining. We need the rain.
Monday, April 24, 2006
Closer, getting closer!

I have found the issue. It was/is the switch. There were several connectors in the switch that were not touching when they were engaged. I was able to adjust the connector for the rear and brake lights. It is working consistently. I even had the main lamp working there for a bit. I went out to restart the bike and take a picture of the front lamp and it stopped working. It was too dark to try to fix it, so it will have to wait until tomorrow. There is even a chance that I blew the lamp.

Hey, but I'm a happy man! At least I now know exactly what the issue is!

Not only that but the bike is really running so much better. The front fork is much more smooth. The engine is great and starts up even better than before. Besides some of the continuing problems, things are better than they were before I started this latest work.

We'll see what tomorrow brings...
Saturday, April 22, 2006
Still only the pilot light...
I spent a good amount of time on Heebie today. Some other things came up so it ends up not being enough to get it done. I am kind of stumped.

Here is where things stand:

- I have all the wiring in.
- The bike starts on the third kick nearly every time I have a cold start and starts on the first kick on a warm start.
- The horn works.
- The kill switch works.
- The pilot light works when the light switch is pushed to the far left. It will not work in any other position.
- None of the other lights work at any time. I have checked the lights to make sure they work. I have double-checked the wiring diagram and looked for possible shorts. None have been found at this point.

So, why? I have tested the wiring with a meter. I get current through every wire. The only really wierd thing (and I don't know if this is just a Vespa thing or what) is that the ground wire and the light wire seem to be connected. In other words, I will touch the meter to the a terminated end of a ground wire and then go to a positive wire and touch there - the meter moves. Now, in any other electrical system, I would say that means I have a short somewhere. Can anybody tell me how it works on a Vespa?

What could be going on here?

Not only that, but I have another problem. The gasket on the fuel tank valve switch seems to be leaking. I think there is a little curved washer that pushes the gasket to form a seal. Well, when I try to get the tank in the body, it will sometimes pull on the stem and compress that washer to the point where it isn't asserting enough pressure. When I go to close the valve gas just pours into the frame of the bike.

I have to keep taking the tank out and putting the tension back in the washer. When I get it into the body without stressing the switch everything is okay. Problem is, you can't know every thing is okay until you start the thing up. I hate to buy a new valve because I just bought one.

Overall, things are doing well. This time I took the bike completely apart and had the opportunity to put it back together with knowledge of how things went last time. I was able to do a better job on some of those things. So, even though the wiring and the gas tank aren't where I want it, there was some success today.
Friday, April 21, 2006
No lights -- well there is one...
I got home from work today and watched the kids put on a circus in the back yard. I tried to pay attention but my mind kept going to the Vespa. Work went about an hour later than normal and there wasn't going to be much more light.

The headset is back on. All the wires are connected according to the diagram. Alas, the only light that lights up is the pilot light. Oh yeah, the horn works as well. It could be that I need to make sure all my bulbs are good. However, the feeling I'm getting is that something is not connected correctly.

Hopefully, I'll have some time to work on it tomorrow morning. Here's hopin'
Thursday, April 20, 2006
I got a spark!
I have finally gotten back to the Vespa. I ordered some parts. Had to wait to get them. Tried to find some time to install the parts. Spent some time working through the issues and then had to order more parts. I finally got the last part I needed yesterday. I jumped on it this evening. Wasn't able to finish before dark came, but I did make some major headway!

Here is the deal. Beyond a shadow of a doubt my stator is a PX series stator. The flywheel is a PX series flywheel. The flywheel shaft is a PX series shaft.

Now, the case as best I can tell is a VBB2 case. It does not appear that they took two halves (the original case and a PX case). I know this seems strange, but I'm almost certain they took the bearings and shaft a PX engine and put it in the VBB2 case.

What ends up being the problem then is that they were running this PX series stator into a VBB2 wiring harness. There was a mysterious (I think homemade) regulator. However, there was no CDI.

So, here is what I have added:

- New harness
- New stator (P Series)
- New regulator
- New CDI (P Series)

The harness from was one of the best things I did. I had built my own harness earlier. It simply was not up to the quality of the one I got from them.

Also, special thanks to Rob from He helped me pull it all together and hooked me up with the parts I needed. I think this is going to work.

All I have to do now is remount the fork, connect the harness to the headset bulbs, alter the harness to accept a connection to the side car light, get the gas tank back in the body, and make sure all the connections are secure. I'll be ready to start it up! I've already kicked it to see if I would get some spark. Yep, a nice strong spark!
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Somebody give me a big box!
Okay, I'm ready to ship this piece of Italian metal back to Indonesia! I have just spent the last two hours trying to pull a wiring harness through the body of the bike. Getting the old harness out was easy enough. I was even smart enough to pull a line through as I pull out the old wiring.

The problem is that I have a harness I purchased from It is a nice harness - all put together and all. However, the fact that it is all connected makes is very hard to pull through tight places.

First, I tried to pull it through without removing the front "fork." Not doing. In the process, my line disconnected from the harness. Arrrrggggghhhhh!

I then took the front fork off and started trying to fish a brake cable through the body to get it up to the fork. Man, that must be a SMALL hole in there! Finally, I got the cable through and even got the harness to the opening for the horn. However, it just is not wanting to fit all of those wires through the little opening at the base of the handlebar.

Probably tomorrow I'll give it a try and it will go right through...
Saturday, April 08, 2006
Asking forgiveness...
It has been quite awhile since I last posted an update at There have been multiple reasons. I went for nearly a week without riding the bike at all because of sickness and weather. The last couple of weeks have also been very, very busy!

However, I think the main reason I have not posted is because I was feeling overwhelmed.

Sometimes you realize you have bit off more than you can chew and you have built up expectations - in yourself and others - about what you can actually accomplish in living your life. That is how things have gotten with my Vespa.

I went looking for help and found it... LOTS OF IT. The problem is that I was starting to get overwhelmed with all the advice and offers to help. I really wanted to take advantage of it all, but the time just hasn't been there. Rather than being a source of fun and expanding my horizons by meeting new people, and Heebie became vehicles of guilt!

So, to all the new friends I have made. Thanks so much for your help! It isn't that I don't appreciate it and don't want to continue being a part of the scooter community. It is just that I'm going to have to do it on my own time frame. I still want to get together with the Esso B's and I'm very interested in learning about how other folks' scooter projects are coming. I'm going to just have to take my time...


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