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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Monday, June 26, 2006
The Vespa's not moving
Trying to get my gas tank paint issues is becoming a lower priority than before. I am afraid that I am going to have to go back in the engine. I spent some time doing everything I could on the outside of the case to fix the shifting problems I am having. I'm convinced it is something inside the case.

I worked on the rear hub to make sure it was tight. Someone on ScooterBBS told me that could cause the bike to drop out of fourth gear. Everything back there seems to be just fine. I don't think I could get it any tighter and there is no play with the wheel.

I then turned my attention again to the selector box. The shifting rod is as far in as it will go. I also put in a thicker gasket that moved the box out just enough to make sure the selector fits perfectly in the rocker. I can't find anything else that could be causing this. The gears change just find, but something inside the engine is pulling the scooter out of fourth - it will pop right back in, but who wants to go down the road popping in and out of fourth?

I've ordered more parts and will be going into the case when they get here. I plan to replace the gear shim and the shifting cross. While I am at it, I will replace the rear seal.

That's not all. I noticed that I started losing compression. Turns out that one of the studs for the cylinder was broken up near the nut! It was causing the gases to escape around the base of the cylinder. I've had to go ahead and purchase new studs as well.

So, right now, I can't even limp around in third gear. The scooter's engine is just about shot. I really need to get a new one. This is going to start driving me nuts!
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
So, what was Vespa up to yesterday?
In case you have not heard, Piaggio announced it is going public. You can do a Google News search and find it plastered everywhere. Here is one of the AP stories that appeared on the ABC News Website.
The move is a sign of Piaggio & C SpA's return to health after being rescued from the verge of collapse by Roberto Colaninno, the former Telecom Italia chief executive whose holding company Immsi SpA bought Piaggio in 2003 and brought the company to record sales in two years.

"The IPO is the conclusion of the rescue started at the end of 2003, and the result of agreements signed at the moment of the decision to save the company," Colaninno told reporters Tuesday after presenting the company's portfolio to potential investors. "We have a strong young boy who is now ready to walk on his own."
Anyone going to buy some international stock when the stock appears on the board?
So, what was I up to yesterday?
Yesterday was selector box day! I really dived in to see what could be going on with the fact that my scooter won't stay in fourth gear. Read all about it at

I also did some work on the Pixel Page. I am on track to launch it this week. Stay tuned and feel free to snatch up some pixels before the page goes public.
Monday, June 19, 2006
Another Vespa from a reader
Here are some neat pictures from Mike in Germany. He's been playing around with Vespas for 13 years now. He made my day when he wrote, "I loved reading through all your archived posts because it reminded me how I got my first Vespa at sixteen and how it influenced my life up to now." That is exactly what this site is all about!

Now, on to the important stuff...

These are pictures of Mike's PX125 - with just a few modifications. He says of the scoot and the European scooter scene, "Here in Europe you can see them almost everywhere and a lot of them are modified like mine. The only problem is that the younger generations prefere those 'plastic garbage cans' and will never experience riding a 'real' scooter."

This scoot has been modified with 177 cylinder, a bigger carb, gas pump, bigger wheels, drop bar steering, disc brake and a fully hydraulic clutch. Besides this beaut he has a Primavera 125, a 50 Special and a 50 Special N that he is currently modifying to mount a PX200 engine.

It was a trip to Europe that really got me interested enough in a vintage scooter to actually buy one. I understand what he is saying. I hope maybe someday I will have the knowledge to be able to pull off some of the tricks that Mike has done here.
Sunday, June 18, 2006
Where has Vespatude been?
Sorry there have been no posts for several days. Until Friday, I was unable to get Blogger (the blogging service I use) to connect to my Web site. So from about the 13th until then, I was unable to update the site. Things worked themselves out (though I don't know how) by Friday and I was able to post the entry I meant to put up on the 14th.

This weekend has been very busy and I didn't really have much to post about. I had hoped to take my tank to cphilip to have it bead blasted. Unfortunately, some other things came up during the day and I was unable to make it. That might not be a bad thing because now I may need to take the whole engine down there to him!

Friday things really started to go south. Not in a drastic way. The engine had compression and nothing seemed ready to explode on me. However, my gear situation started getting worse and worse. It seemed as though no matter what I did, it just degraded.

I discovered that one of the gear cable adjusters had broken off in the selector box casing. This is the second time that has happened. I assume it is because I have overtightened the cables and it put a strain on the threads. The next thing I discovered and what became my major problem was that both of the pinch bolts holding the cables in place were stripped. So, the cables were slipping something awful.

I had to park the bike and I ordered more of everything! I hope to get it all soon. Some of it I ordered from Scooterworks and the other from SCOMO. Wonder which one will get to me first?

Well, I'm back up and next week I hope to start making a splash with my "Penny-a-Pixel" engine restoration project. I also have some nice pictures to put up from a reader in Germany. All that and more as Vespatude gets back on line!
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Pixels for my Vespa page now ready
My pixel page for my new engine is ready to start taking on advertisers. Early next week I will start advertising it in earnest. However, it would be nice to have some pixels covered up before I start drawing too much attention to the project.

You can see the real page here and go directly to the pixel purchasing page here. I'm also going to keep track here of the various businesses that I will be contacting. It will be interesting to see how many of them give me the time of day or just ignore me.

I don't have any grand ideas about how this will work. I've never done anything like this, so I don't know what to expect. However, I am going to give it a try.

One thing I am serious about is a need for a new engine. Whether this works or not, I've got to start making plans. I would appreciate you all buying some pixels to help me reach my goal.

Suggestions about the page are welcome...
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Is there an enclosed Vespa?
Today is my first day with rain since I decided to see how long I could go using my Vespa as my daily driver. As I headed off to work this morning it was a very soft rain. I put on my Lands End water resistant jacket. It is really cool. It folds up into a little pouch that fits great in my glovebox. I didn't cover my legs, though I did put a towel down between my feet to use later for wiping off water.

Things worked out pretty well. My legs really didn't get that wet - though I'm sure in a driving rain that wouldn't be the case. All in all I got to the office pretty dry. We'll see what happens for the rest of the day! I have to go vote in the primary election and also have a lunch appointment downtown. I'm glad its raining - I just hope it doesn't pour while I'm out there!

How do you stay dry when you ride? What are your wet time driving secrets?

It has now been more than a week since I started driving the Vespa everyday. Sunday was the only day I didn't drive. The whole family went to church together and then to a picnic. We couldn't all fit on the Vespa! Yesterday, I also had to use the Suburban to go get a sheet of plywood for a project. Had I tried to transport that on my Vespa, I would have gone airborne!

Oh, one final thing for this morning. I'm VERY close to having the engine pixel page completed! You can actually pre-purchase your pixel space now. I have not finished the error handling, so make sure you fill out the form completely. I'm getting excited!
Sunday, June 11, 2006
My Vespa needs to get blasted!
Well, I didn't get my pixel pages completed yesterday. I was trying to download the site to my machine so I could work on it in Dreamweaver. For some reason the connection kept dropping and it took FOREVER! I wasn't able to finish the code before I gave up and went to bed. I'll try again this evening.

I did find out that I am not supposed to be seeing weld marks on my gas tank. CPhilip in a town near by says he will bead blast it for me so we can see what's going on underneath that silver paint. I've just got to find a chance to get it down there to him and we can see where to go from there.

A new gas tank would set me back about $80 dollars. I may have to just limp through for awhile. The funds are a little low this summer. The beautiful red head isn't teaching and our cash flow always gets a little tight in the summer months - especially when I got socked with some big expenses in April. She has some projects she wants done around the house and discretionary income is going that way.

That is one of the reasons why I am starting up my new engine page. It would be awesome to be able to get that new engine in before September. By then I should even be able to put in a new tank while I am at it.
Saturday, June 10, 2006
A Vespa built for two
Yesterday was fun because I was able to take Child Two to a bus pickup for a trip to the zoo. It was on my way to work, so he just hopped up on the back seat with his little helmet and away we went. Granted, it was only several blocks on residential streets, but he seemed to enjoy it.

Nothing unusual about the rest of the day. The Vespa really has become pretty much a daily driver. I have not moved the Bimmer for about a week. I'm going to see just how far I can go...

Here is something that shows the not so good work done during the restoration. I'm going to have to redo the paint job on the gas tank. I'd like a little help from someone who knows. Do the tops of these tanks typically have welds on them?

If you look closely, you can see a seam that appears to be where the hinge was welded into the tank top. Of course, this isn't the smoothest part of the tank and the bondo - or whatever they were using - did not adhere. The fuel actually got up under the paint around the tank openning and began to bubble up the paint.

Don't know if this is something I can work with or do I just need to go ahead and get a new tank. If I do repaint it, I'm thinking of painting it matte black. I don't think I'll be able to find the body paint color.

I guess I'll have to start a "gas tank" pixel page when I finish with my engine one! That page, by the way, I hope to finish up and make active today.
Friday, June 09, 2006
My Vespa takes me through Day 4
I was able to get to work yesterday without any rain. Actually, it didn't rain at all yesterday. It turned out to be a beautiful day.

After lunch, I went to a meeting and the first five minutes of the meeting everyone was talking about my scooter and the various scooters they remember from their past. It seems most people I meet have some sort of scooter story. Most times it involves a Cushman or an Allstate.

I did have to switch over to the reserve as I was driving home after work. That really makes me wonder about the efficiency of the engine. Of course, my odometer isn't working, so I don't know how far I've driven the thing. It is another reason why I hope to be able to get a new engine before the summer is out.
Thursday, June 08, 2006
Three days and counting...
This morning I am heading into my fourth day of using the Vespa as my primary transportation. Nothing really big to write about. I rode the bike to work and used it to go to a meeting on the far side of the campus.

Last night we did get out the Suburban to take the family to church. I couldn't very well stick the whole family in the side car! Though I have seen some pictures with quite a few people crammed on one of those scooters.

Today could be interesting because the weatherman is calling for showers starting at around 7 a.m. and continuing until 9 a.m. I wonder if I'll get wet on my way to work...

I have been able to do a small amount of work on my fund raising idea for a new Vespa engine. I don't know how it is going to go over, but I figure "nothing ventured, nothing gained." You can see the concept here. I hope to have it fully operational by this weekend.
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Vespa Daily Driver: Day 2
Day two is now complete. First, it was off to work - which is only about a mile from my house. Then I swung by the ATM again to grab some cash for my next stop, a hair cut. Back to the house to wash my hair before heading back to the university office.

At lunch time, I was back to the bank - this time to deposit a check - and then it was off to the TWC office downtown and lunch. No more excursions after that. I parked the scooter at the office until time to go home for the day.

I got an email from my sister today. She was down in Key West last week. She spent a good amount of time just scooting around the island on a scooter. My guess it was one of the 50cc Elites. Those seem to be the ones that show up at most vacation destinations.

Finally, I should be able to give you all a sneak peek at my idea for getting a few bucks for my 200cc dream... look for that tomorrow.
Everyday Driver: Day 1
Yesterday, I used the Vespa as my transportation. My plan is to see how long I can go using the Vespa as my everyday driver. Work, the bank, and home again. The only negative thing that happened to me is that I got behind a guy in the drive through ATM line who didn't know what he was doing.

I sat there for what had to be 4 to 5 minutes waiting for him to finish his transaction. That wouldn't be so bad except he had bad rings or something because smoke was coming out his tail pipe. I couldn't back up because someone else was in line behind me. It's hard to hold your breath that long!

I'm still looking for a way to get a new engine. The confidence just isn't there for my beat up 150. My eyes are on a 200cc engine from SCOMO. Unfortunately, two things are holding me back 1) I don't have the money and 2) they are sold out. Maybe by the time I get the money (I am thinking up some novel ways to try to get it) the engines will be back in stock.
Sunday, June 04, 2006
If at first you don't succeed...
After doing some work on the Vespa, I decided to take it back out on the road. I wanted to take it on the same trip I took the Saturday before. On that day, I ended up pushing the bike about a fourth of the trip. Would that happen again?

Nope. Heebie ran great! Well, there were a couple of things, but nothing to bad. The muffler disconnected from the manifold. That was about a five to ten minute fix. It is a pain because you have to remove the bolt that holds the muffler to the engine swing arm before you can get the pipe connected. Because of the location of the bolt, most of the time is spent turning your wrench.

The other issue I have is the fourth gear. I still can't get the thing to stay in gear. It will shift into fourth and then slip out. This happens over and over. The only way I can keep it from slipping is to hold the shifting lever in place. The fact that it doesn't slip out when I do that tells me that it has got to be able to be fixed with an adjustment -- I just haven't been able to find that adjustment.

The final issue is an oil leak. I have a leak from the shifting box. I believe the gasket is messed up and so I have been losing oil. Hopefully, I will be able to just get a new one and that will be solved. However, that lead me to ask. Just exactly how much oil is supposed to go into that engine?
Saturday, June 03, 2006
The Vespa is on the road again
As I have struggled with getting my scooter up and going again, I have to stop and be thankful that it isn't as bad as it could be! I could be starting with what I saw on eBay the other day.

The scooter is in need of a lot of love! I can't tell if that is rust or a reddish paint. I went back to eBay to see if it sold (it was at $100 when I first saw it) but I couldn't find it anywhere. It must have gotten picked up by some lucky soul!

Here is the good news on my end. I have had some time to put into the bike over the last week -- couple minutes here and another couple minutes there. Heebie is back up and running! In some aspects, it seems to be running better than before.

One of the things that I found seemed to be causing issues is that the bearing surrounding the flywheel shaft has been added - I really believe it is a P series bearing set put in the VBB engine case. Anyway, it is not flush with the case. It makes a little knob. This means that the stator does not fit flush against the guides. If you tighten it too much on one side, it will raise on the other. At first I thought this was because the stator was warped. However, when I got a new stator and had the same issue, I figured that couldn't be the case.

Not only that, but the Indonesian guys had put in a combination of screws to hold the stator in place. While make adjustments the threads got stripped. I worked around this for a little while by using tap screws. Well, you can imagine that after unscrewing and screwing those things a couple of times you have shot the threads. I went to Home Depot and got a quarter inch thread repair kit and in about 10 minutes I had new threads and good screws sliding right in there.

This allowed me more control getting the stator secured. Because of the weird base, I did not force the stator down on one side or the other, but worked to make the stator even. Now the timing seems much better. The engine gives me a different sound than before.

I hope to get the thing back out on the road today and I'll report how it goes at the end of the day.


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