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, July 16, 2006
My Vespa's new heart?
I have been given a price on an engine for my Vespa. I'm hoping this will work out. If it does, then I could have my Vespa up and running in about two weeks.

Here's the deal:

Rebuilt PX150E
DR 177cc cylinder kit
Sito + exhaust
Six month warranty

Price: $1140.00

I had been looking for a Pinasco kit, but they don't seem to be available. Anybody know where I could get one? I don't mind the DR kit, but if there is a Pinasco one out there...
Saturday, July 15, 2006
Catch up day
Today is catch up day at Vespatude. Things have been progressing, but I haven't had much time to sit down and give an update. I am encouraged and hope I will have my Vespa up and running sooner than I thought I would.

Right now I am waiting for a response from Chelsea at SCOMO. She may have a lead on an engine for me that would give me what I need at a much lower price than I thought I would have to pay. The downside is that she was supposed to give me the price a couple days ago. It is Saturday morning and I haven't gotten it yet. She says she is having some trouble finding one of the components and she would rather wait until she has everything to give me the price.

So, what is this engine? I went to ScooterBBS and contacted cphilip to get some advice on getting a 200cc engine. Phil was quick to respond that I probably didn't want a 200cc engine. The gearing would be too high for what I was looking for to pull my sidecar. He also felt that the power might be too much for the brakes.

He recommended that I go with a 125cc or 150cc engine and upgrade it with a 177cc kit. This would give me the lower gearing I need for the sidecar and also give me some decent top end speed - enough to stay up with traffic on Wade Hampton Blvd. but not so much that I might exceed the limits of the bike.

That is when I went to ScooterBBS to get some opinions on this approach. I got a variety of reponses. However, the bottom line appeared to be that for the money, Phil's approach would be the best option. It could potentially be half the price of what I would pay for a brand new Piaggio 200cc engine.

That is when Chelsea mentioned she had an engine that her head tech dude was using to train the newbies. It is a PX150E with a 24/24 carb, a Pinasco 177cc cylinder kit, and a Sito Plus exhaust. She seems to be having trouble getting her hands on the cylinder kit and that is what is slowing things down.

I'll just patiently wait. She knows I am hoping to get some word from her before I leave on vacation. Sure would be cool to give an update later today saying I heard back...
Monday, July 10, 2006
Here, engine, engine! Here, engine, engine!
I am now starting to search for the engine I will purchase when I finally get the money I need. The one thing I know I want to do is get a 200cc. Why? Well, since my scooter has a sidecar and I live in a hilly area, I need something with some mid-range power. I don't need to go real fast, but I do need a little more torque and pulling power. I think one like this one for American Scooter Center would work very well...

Now, this one is listed at $1700 on their site. They also offer custom 200cc engines that they build from Piaggio cases there at their shop. Those start at $1200. Scooter Parts Direct says they will have Piaggio engines in about 30 days. I haven't been given a price from them yet. SCOMO and Scooterworks are both out of stock on the 200cc engines. I was looking for an LML engine because I figure they will be less expensive, but everybody seems to be out of them right now.

What to do, what to do... The ASC custom engine sounds pretty good because you can have them build it specifically for the configuration of your bike. Hmmmmmm. Any advice? Oh, yeah, I'm not above asking for you all to buy some pixels so I can pay for this thing! Thanks to those who have already participated.
Thursday, July 06, 2006
I'm parking the Vespa.
I have had it. The scooter is such a frankenstein that I can't find the right parts and one thing breaks while I am trying to fix the last thing that broke. I will not work anymore on this engine. If I deal with it any longer, I will start the lose the joy I have had up to this point. For the first time, I am ticked off at this piece of Indonesian trash.

I am just going to have to let it sit until I can pull together enough money to buy a new engine. That is going to take a while...
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Be sure to sweat the little things
Okay, I couldn't help it. I had a break in things I needed to do and decided to see if I could get that cylinder off. Sure enough, I dropped the engine a little farther down on the pivot and I was able to slide the cylinder wall right off. This is what I found...

Thankfully, all of the fragments stayed in the piston ring grooves. I also checked the cylinder and found it is not pitted or scratched. Wow, did I get lucky. I'm glad I turned it off before something worse happened.

I just finished ordering two piston rings from SCOMO - Scooterworks was out of stock on the 57.8 mm rings that I need. Since I ordered it on a holiday, I don't know when I'll actually get the parts. Patience... it is one virtue that I have really been able to practice with this Vespa!

If only I had sweated the little things and made sure those piston rings were lined up correctly!
On and off again...
Yesterday, I took the engine apart; replaced the shifting cross, gears, gear tree shim, and cylinder studs; and checked the interior. I also got the engine back on the frame and started it up. I got down the road for a little bit and started hearing some thumping.

My heart sank. What if something came apart because I didn't put things together correctly. Could this be the end of my engine?

A new scooter friend - he just finished restoring a Baja - stopped by the house right as I was trying to figure out the problem. We took a look at it and he asked if I had lined up the piston rings. Ahhh, that is something I didn't think of.

Right now Heebie is sitting there with the cylinder half off the bike. I had thought I could take the cylinder off while the engine was still mounted in the frame. It can almost be done, but there is a small amount of the frame the blocks it from coming off. I'm hoping if I drop the engine a little more, I can do it. I really don't want to go through the pain of disconnecting all the cables, etc.

We'll see... I don't think I'll be finding out today. I plan to enjoy my Independence Day!
Saturday, July 01, 2006
The engine is off again
The Vespa has been sitting for several days under its cover. I could not do anything with it because the engine will not run. As I mentioned earlier, one of the studs broke and I could not get compression. So, last Saturday, I ordered some new studs as well as some other parts that I have been learning about. It is time to go back in...

I started to drop the engine about 10:15 this morning and had it in my basement with my mess cleaned up by 11:15. Boy, did I sweat buckets! Even though I was under the carport, the humidity caused me be get pretty warm. My glasses were sliding off my nose and everything was slippery.

Still, its done and I plan to take a break from it for the rest of the day. I'll do a little bit each night next week and maybe next weekend I'll have the issues resolved.


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