"Restored" Vespa 150 Vietnamese Imported Disaster

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"Restored" Vespa 150 Vietnamese Imported Disaster

Postby Areomyst » Sat Jun 16, 2012 8:37 pm

So! I've handled a few of these, and after the last poorly restored Vespa that came to me from Veitnam, I swore to never do another one. I had an appointment set up with the owner, and he was driving from 3+ hours away. When the bike landed here, we discussed what it was, and both the owner and myself being really stubborn dudes, decided to tackle the project anyway - despite my knowing more or less what to expect.

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Boy, what a pretty one! They sure know how to polish 'em up, I have to give them that.

At this point in time, the bike has about 500 miles on it. The scooter was ordered from Veitnam with the option of electric start. Those of you who know vintage Vespas, know that any of these engines that have electric start have cases that are built to support the torque and stress of a starter motor turning the engine over. Instead of using cases that were made for it, they cut a hole in the cases and just installed a starter. You can see in the photos below, that the electric starter system they used didn't last long... They ended up shipping a whole different engine due to this. See below:
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Then there's this un-safe bracket holding the rear shock to the engine. Kind of scary really - it has bent under normal use, and I feel it is a big safety concern. The bracket spaces the shock out far enough so they can fit the starter. I wonder if the bike didn't originally have 8" wheels, as the suspension is quite sloppy. I'll look into that a little more later.

So because of the cracked case, the company sent the owner of the scooter a freshly "rebuilt" engine. Due to past history, I opted to take the engine apart before we installed it - just to be safe. I wanted to make sure that there were no odd surprises waiting for us in there.

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Here's the cylinder head. It looks like someone was aiming for a higher compression ratio at some point? I'm not really sure what was going on here, but that's what was on the new engine.

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I took the head off the old engine, and it wasn't modified.

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"The more a man learns, the more he realizes how little he knows."

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Postby Areomyst » Sat Jun 16, 2012 8:37 pm

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Better the evil you know than the one you don't. Upon further teardown, we found new crankshaft bearings! Cool! But... They did absolutely zero clean-up of the cases. Furthermore, the rotary pad (inlet port) was repaired, and it's actually a damned good repair job. See the machined area around the intake port? That had to be welded up and then machined down to the correct size. I have tried to do this before, and the attempt was futile. Why do all that, but not clean all the crap out of the cases? Sigh...

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It looks like the crank was re-ground. Other signs on the crank show me that it's not a new crankshaft, but I find it interesting that this was possibly ground down. Perhaps the pad around the inlet port was larger, and touching the crank, so the crank had to be fixed to compensate? If so, that's going to make my plans for a new crank kind of difficult.

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All the Veitnamese imported Vespas that I have worked on lack needle bearings in the small end of the conrod. They all have some odd brass bushing pressed into the conrod instead of a bearing. The first one that I did (years ago) seized up after a 4 mile ride!

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The clutch side bearing is supposed to have two small steel pieces that are bolted in the threaded holes you see just at the OD of the crank. Instead, they have this weird piece of metal pressed in there. Another "what in the world?" type thing.

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But hey, it came with a cool pipe!

After seeing the "new" engine I wanted to see if there was anything we could salvage from the old engine, perhaps take two and make one usable one, thus saving cost for the owner. Here is what I found in that engine:
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Huh!

So, I've got a grocery list of parts to order up, and this project is likely to spend the better part of a month in the shop. Buyer beware! That shiny Vespa that you see on Ebay for a price that's too good to be true, probably is too good to be true.

If I get some time, I'll share some of the others.

~Josh
"The more a man learns, the more he realizes how little he knows."

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vietbodge

Postby Areomyst » Sat Jun 16, 2012 9:53 pm

"The more a man learns, the more he realizes how little he knows."

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Postby zombie » Sun Jun 17, 2012 12:46 am

It's a pure case of "you get what you pay for". You can not sue them because they are out of US jurisdiction, and the Buyer is the importer. (part of the purchase agreement) While I do empathize for the buyer, the entire fault is purely on him/her for failing to do the research.
Did anyone see the "South Park" episode where Apples "user agreement" went unread? Of course I feel bad for the owner but you can not buy a Rolls Royce on Ebay, and expect it to be 100% correct. READ READ READ...
There are Hundreds of sites touting the pitfalls of Viet. Vespas
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I don't use the choke. I warm my fuel in a spoon, and inject it into the vacuum line.

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Postby Enviromoto » Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:10 am

Your a better man than most Josh. I know no one (including myself) with the skill or patience to tackle such a job. You could really make a killing doing this as a side business.

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Postby zombie » Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:11 pm

That's what Ive said as well. He Will end up in a brick building in the middle of Charlotte. 5 guys (from the forum) working with him. Renting/importing/repairing/RACING! Welcome to the future boys!
Hick it J!
Addicted to 2 stroke 50cc:

I don't use the choke. I warm my fuel in a spoon, and inject it into the vacuum line.

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Postby zombie » Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:12 pm

Oh!!! Watch out Rich. The kids coming...
Addicted to 2 stroke 50cc:

I don't use the choke. I warm my fuel in a spoon, and inject it into the vacuum line.

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Postby zombie » Mon Jul 23, 2012 10:38 pm

What ever became of this bike? 2 into one for the engine?
Addicted to 2 stroke 50cc:

I don't use the choke. I warm my fuel in a spoon, and inject it into the vacuum line.

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Postby SLOWRIDER » Tue Jul 24, 2012 1:28 am

It's the same over here with Lambretta.
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Postby zombie » Tue Jul 24, 2012 2:07 am

I heard the same in the Philippines with Dio's. Japan/Taiwan dumped shipping containers full of them there.
Addicted to 2 stroke 50cc:

I don't use the choke. I warm my fuel in a spoon, and inject it into the vacuum line.

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Postby Areomyst » Tue Jul 24, 2012 2:55 am

zombie wrote:What ever became of this bike? 2 into one for the engine?


Parts are in, the bike should be together this week if I don't hit any outrageous snags. Both the owner and I knew it was going to hang out here for a while. Every time I get one in I think that I'll never touch another one. Then I do another one. Heh.
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Postby SLOWRIDER » Tue Jul 24, 2012 6:07 am

That cylinder head looks like it was hand carved.
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Postby Areomyst » Tue Jul 24, 2012 6:46 am

SLOWRIDER wrote:That cylinder head looks like it was hand carved.


Yeah, it's a real class act huh?

~Josh
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Postby zombie » Tue Jul 24, 2012 4:41 pm

I imagine they are assembled by anyone that can identify a hammer from a screwdriver. Well... we all have to make a living.
I'm certain the owner will love the bike once you have it sorted out.
Addicted to 2 stroke 50cc:

I don't use the choke. I warm my fuel in a spoon, and inject it into the vacuum line.

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Postby Areomyst » Tue Aug 07, 2012 1:00 pm

I vowed once to never take one of these in again.

Well, I have made several parts orders and absolutely NONE of the parts are fitting this scooter. The seals are all different. The crank (ordered a Mazzuchelli - one of the best!) doesn't fit at all, and so on, and so forth. What an impossible headache.

I think it's time that I renew my vow, and stick to it with unwavering resolve.

After this, I don't ever ever ever want to tangle with a Vietnamese restored scooter again. In my life. The End. I need blood pressure medicine.

~Josh
"The more a man learns, the more he realizes how little he knows."


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