Used MP3 500 - what to look for
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Member
GTV300, P2, VB1T, Lambretta TV200 & sidecar
Joined: 12 Sep 2017
Posts: 14
Location: UK
Wed Jan 08, 2020 5:42 am quote
Hi all

Going to look at a 2016 500, with 8000 miles on the clock - one owner with service history.

Anything in particular you would reccomend I look at / for?

Thanks in advance for any help you are able to provide - these bikes are obviously not cheap.
Hooked
Joined: 27 Oct 2016
Posts: 251
Location: England
Wed Jan 08, 2020 6:32 am quote
When riding, feel for a notch on the steering, should be dead center and could cost £600 to fix.
Hooked
2015 MP3 500 ie Business
Joined: 29 Oct 2019
Posts: 259
Location: Belgium
Wed Jan 08, 2020 8:01 am quote
Make sure the owner can provide legit proof that the first service (@600mi-1K km) was performed by a Piaggio MP3 dealer.

That is the single most important service that bike will need i.e. retorquing the head bearings and greasing them liberally.

Ditto for proof of the 6K mi/10K km) big service (head bearings checked and regreased, belt, rollers, sliding shoes, filters, fluids, etc.)

IF this was skipped/postponed/delayed, then skip purchase of said MP3
Veni, Vidi, Posti
2008 MP3 500, 2013 BV350, 2020 Vespa Sei Giorni
Joined: 13 Oct 2012
Posts: 8635
Location: Ashburn, Va. Home to the Internet
Wed Jan 08, 2020 10:54 am quote
sbaert wrote:
Make sure the owner can provide legit proof that the first service (@600mi-1K km) was performed by a Piaggio MP3 dealer.

That is the single most important service that bike will need i.e. retorquing the head bearings and greasing them liberally.

Ditto for proof of the 6K mi/10K km) big service (head bearings checked and regreased, belt, rollers, sliding shoes, filters, fluids, etc.)

IF this was skipped/postponed/delayed, then skip purchase of said MP3
600 mile service is change the oil engine and hub. Then a check list of stuff to look over. No re torquing of the head or head bearings, what ever they are
Hooked
2015 MP3 500 ie Business
Joined: 29 Oct 2019
Posts: 259
Location: Belgium
Wed Jan 08, 2020 12:07 pm quote
WEB-Tech wrote:
...

600 mile service is change the oil engine and hub. Then a check list of stuff to look over. No re torquing of the head or head bearings, what ever they are
Well smart guy, then you must know something that nobody else does. Without lubing the steering bearings on a very regular basis (and there are at least 6) on the MP3, you are guaranteed to get the dreaded steering notch problem that is the Achilles heel of every MP3 ever made.
Veni, Vidi, Posti
MP3 500, GTS 250 (both 2008 MY), 2012 Honda NC700 DCT
Joined: 02 Mar 2013
Posts: 6146
Location: Madison, Wisconsin
Wed Jan 08, 2020 3:44 pm quote
sbaert wrote:
WEB-Tech wrote:
...

600 mile service is change the oil engine and hub. Then a check list of stuff to look over. No re torquing of the head or head bearings, what ever they are
Well smart guy, then you must know something that nobody else does. Without lubing the steering bearings on a very regular basis (and there are at least 6) on the MP3, you are guaranteed to get the dreaded steering notch problem that is the Achilles heel of every MP3 ever made.
6?

Shoot.... Please do show me where the other two are that require lube...
Hooked
2015 MP3 500 ie Business
Joined: 29 Oct 2019
Posts: 259
Location: Belgium
Wed Jan 08, 2020 7:12 pm quote
Madison Sully wrote:
...

6?

Shoot.... Please do show me where the other two are that require lube...
Steering column shaft (upper & lower bearings)

2009-Piaggio-Mp3-500-Steering-Column-Stem-Shaft-_1.jpg

09-10-Piaggio-Mp3-400-Oem-Steering-Stem-Tube.jpg

Ossessionato
Gilera Fuoco 500ie
Joined: 11 Oct 2009
Posts: 4202
Location: Netherlands Olst
Wed Jan 08, 2020 11:50 pm quote
and tell everybody how you wanna lube those


you need to take everything apart to get access

Those aren't load bearing bearings will last 60 or more thousend km's even without grease

last weekend a customer came in with a 250 from 09 always standing out side and nearly 80.000km just put some WB40 in it and it turned smootly again
Veni, Vidi, Posti
2008 MP3 500, 2013 BV350, 2020 Vespa Sei Giorni
Joined: 13 Oct 2012
Posts: 8635
Location: Ashburn, Va. Home to the Internet
Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:48 am quote
sbaert wrote:
WEB-Tech wrote:
...

600 mile service is change the oil engine and hub. Then a check list of stuff to look over. No re torquing of the head or head bearings, what ever they are
Well smart guy, then you must know something that nobody else does. Without lubing the steering bearings on a very regular basis (and there are at least 6) on the MP3, you are guaranteed to get the dreaded steering notch problem that is the Achilles heel of every MP3 ever made.
Oh you mean Steering Head Bearing? No that doesn't need service. But you are right the fork bearings do need greasing.
Ossessionato
2016 MP3/500 Sport ABS, 2009 MP3/250, 2012 GTS Super 300ie
Joined: 08 Jul 2011
Posts: 4295
Location: Marietta, GA
Thu Jan 09, 2020 6:37 am quote
Re: Used MP3 500 - what to look for
Gage wrote:
Hi all

Going to look at a 2016 500, with 8000 miles on the clock - one owner with service history.

Anything in particular you would reccomend I look at / for?

Thanks in advance for any help you are able to provide - these bikes are obviously not cheap.
Check the Air Filter Box, see if it has signs of "Oil Blow" also the bubbles.

Keith,
Marietta, GA
Hooked
2015 MP3 500 ie Business
Joined: 29 Oct 2019
Posts: 259
Location: Belgium
Thu Jan 09, 2020 9:25 am quote
Maksor wrote:
...
last weekend a customer came in with a 250 from 09 always standing out side and nearly 80.000km just put some WB40 in it and it turned smootly again
That is the penny wise, pound foolish solution.

WD-40 is a useless and hopelessly outdated product, except for removing old stickers. It is not a grease or a lubricant. At best it is a water displacer.

Sure removing the steering column is a bit of work, but if Piaggio had spent the extra 2 seconds and 2 cents to lube everything properly using a top quality grease we wouldn't be having this conversation.

No bearing has ever failed from having too much grease.
Enthusiast
BV250, BV500
Joined: 10 Mar 2018
Posts: 75
Location: SFBay
Thu Jan 09, 2020 9:56 am quote
If any vehicle required me to take apart the steering system to relube the bearings every 10K kilometers, I wouldn't ever want to own it. That's just ridiculous in 2020. The maintenance schedule you propose is more appropriate for a 1920 vehicle.
Hooked
2015 MP3 500 ie Business
Joined: 29 Oct 2019
Posts: 259
Location: Belgium
Thu Jan 09, 2020 10:25 am quote
Lubing the steering column is a one time deal. It is the 4 fork bearings that require to be lubed at least every 10K km. I do mine every 5K km.

Again, IF Piaggio had spent the time and used a good quality permanent lube this wouldn't even be a point of discussion.

The first time I lubed my fork bearings (even after the 1K Piaggio service) at 5K km, it took a entire cartridge of grease to fill up the forks entirely until grease appeared from all 4 bearings.
Ossessionato
2016 MP3/500 Sport ABS, 2009 MP3/250, 2012 GTS Super 300ie
Joined: 08 Jul 2011
Posts: 4295
Location: Marietta, GA
Thu Jan 09, 2020 11:01 am quote
sbaert wrote:
Lubing the steering column is a one time deal. It is the 4 fork bearings that require to be lubed at least every 10K km. I do mine every 5K km.

Again, IF Piaggio had spent the time and used a good quality permanent lube this wouldn't even be a point of discussion.

The first time I lubed my fork bearings (even after the 1K Piaggio service) at 5K km, it took a entire cartridge of grease to fill up the forks entirely until grease appeared from all 4 bearings.
Same here on your comments, but I top mine off every winter.
It amounts to a few pumps...
Once I see it leaking out, I stop pumping.
During the summer months, I will get some leakage, but its not that bad.

Keith,
Marietta, gA
Veni, Vidi, Posti
MP3 500, GTS 250 (both 2008 MY), 2012 Honda NC700 DCT
Joined: 02 Mar 2013
Posts: 6146
Location: Madison, Wisconsin
Thu Jan 09, 2020 11:45 am quote
sbaert wrote:
Maksor wrote:
...
last weekend a customer came in with a 250 from 09 always standing out side and nearly 80.000km just put some WB40 in it and it turned smootly again
No bearing has ever failed from having too much grease.
This is actually false. The amount of grease installed in high RPM applications is metered accurately; it IS possible to put too much.

Maybe not steering columns, and yes, I'm being pedantic.
Veni, Vidi, Posti
2008 MP3 500, 2013 BV350, 2020 Vespa Sei Giorni
Joined: 13 Oct 2012
Posts: 8635
Location: Ashburn, Va. Home to the Internet
Fri Jan 10, 2020 5:59 am quote
sbaert wrote:
The first time I lubed my fork bearings (even after the 1K Piaggio service) at 5K km, it took a entire cartridge of grease to fill up the forks entirely until grease appeared from all 4 bearings.
That is because Piaggio greases the bearing before it's installed. Only reason you have to use so much grease when filling with a grease gun is you are filling the whole empty area of the steering tube.
Hooked
2015 MP3 500 ie Business
Joined: 29 Oct 2019
Posts: 259
Location: Belgium
Fri Jan 10, 2020 8:25 am quote
WEB-Tech wrote:
...

That is because Piaggio greases the bearing before it's installed. Only reason you have to use so much grease when filling with a grease gun is you are filling the whole empty area of the steering tube.
I am very well aware Piaggio greases the bearing before installation, and therein lies the problem. They use too little and use a subpar grease that deteriorates and hardens over time. Very similar to how the factory installed coolant loses all of its properties within 24 months resulting in muddy coolant systems if not flushed in time.

My steering column had practically zero grease on the lower bearing, and absolutely no grease at all at the upper bearing.

Filling the empty fork space with grease ensures that the bearings will never go dry or allow contaminants to enter the bearing. Essentially the extra volume grease lubricates the bearings continually.

As I said, oil and grease are cheap. Engines and transmissions are not.
Member
GTV300, P2, VB1T, Lambretta TV200 & sidecar
Joined: 12 Sep 2017
Posts: 14
Location: UK
Fri Jan 10, 2020 8:49 am quote
Thank you all very much. Just pulled the trigger, needs a belt and has 'the notch' which I showed the car dealer who had taken it in part exchange, meaning I got a lot of bike for what I paid.

Now to fix the notch and the belt!

Thanks again and ride safe

D0C3BEA0-8068-4880-B2AE-5A520E76A0A2.jpeg

Hooked
2015 MP3 500 ie Business
Joined: 29 Oct 2019
Posts: 259
Location: Belgium
Fri Jan 10, 2020 9:29 am quote
How many miles on that current generation MP3? The notch on such a newer bike is a dead giveaway that it very likely never got the critical service at 1K km (600 miles)

You will need at least the tool to losen the fork ring nuts, 2 new fork bearing kit sets, one for the left side and one for the right side. They may or may not be different part #s for the other side.

Be aware, if you do not know how to bleed the tilt lock and ABS systems this is a job that should be left to a qualified MP3 repair shop.

Here is a pic of one kit (does one fork)

00156007705_hi.jpg

Veni, Vidi, Posti
2008 MP3 500, 2013 BV350, 2020 Vespa Sei Giorni
Joined: 13 Oct 2012
Posts: 8635
Location: Ashburn, Va. Home to the Internet
Fri Jan 10, 2020 9:50 am quote
Plug the brake lines on the forks when you pull them so you don't loose all the fluid. I didn't and it was a bitch getting all the air out of the calipers.
Member
GTS 250ie (2007)
Joined: 27 Feb 2020
Posts: 16
Location: Marin, California
Sat Feb 29, 2020 11:08 pm quote
Sorry to cut-in, just joined this week, like the discussion above hence my questions if allowed.

I also will check out a private pre-owned 2008 mp3 (14k miles) later this week. The second owner acquired 5-years ago with no record of (600 mile service) but had belt & tune-up done 2-years ago in an authorized shop and have not ridden much since.

I contacted the same shop above for inquiry, due to proprietary reasons, they can only tell me a simple oil change and safety check are required considering belt & tuned-up done before.

Btw, the shop has no conflict of interest and the current owner is unknown to my inquiry.

I recall, (sbaert) said, “If the first 600 mile service was skipped/postponed/delayed, then skip purchase”.

MP3 are rare especially in excellent conditions (to be seen) from private. I am at the cross road of the purchase, please advise. Thanks.

P.S.
Local deal has, 2016 mp3 500 sport, 800 miles, $6K firm, for reference. Maybe I should buy this one instead?
Veni, Vidi, Posti
MP3 500, GTS 250 (both 2008 MY), 2012 Honda NC700 DCT
Joined: 02 Mar 2013
Posts: 6146
Location: Madison, Wisconsin
Sun Mar 01, 2020 4:03 am quote
Rickshaw47 wrote:
Sorry to cut-in, just joined this week, like the discussion above hence my questions if allowed.

I also will check out a private pre-owned 2008 mp3 (14k miles) later this week. The second owner acquired 5-years ago with no record of (600 mile service) but had belt & tune-up done 2-years ago in an authorized shop and have not ridden much since.

I contacted the same shop above for inquiry, due to proprietary reasons, they can only tell me a simple oil change and safety check are required considering belt & tuned-up done before.

Btw, the shop has no conflict of interest and the current owner is unknown to my inquiry.

I recall, (sbaert) said, “If the first 600 mile service was skipped/postponed/delayed, then skip purchase”.

MP3 are rare especially in excellent conditions (to be seen) from private. I am at the cross road of the purchase, please advise. Thanks.

P.S.
Local deal has, 2016 mp3 500 sport, 800 miles, $6K firm, for reference. Maybe I should buy this one instead?
If the scooter has 14,000 miles on it, the 600 mile service is not something to worry about.
Hooked
2009 MP3 400, 2004 Honda ST1300
Joined: 11 Jun 2007
Posts: 251
Location: Sayre, PA
Sun Mar 01, 2020 4:35 am quote
If Gage is able to do his own wrenching then that shiny black one looks like a great deal. Most of the expense of a steering bearing job is the labor. A little fix up and that one's a showpiece.

Rickshaw, without pictures and more details you'll have to make the judgement call between your choices. A 2016 with way less miles is certainly going to have a mechanical advantage over a 2008 with 14k miles. i don't know that you've said what price the older one was going for.

I was never a big fan of the Fuoco front end styling. But that's a personal opinion.

As for the bearing greasing discussion: it also appears to me that there is very little in the way of a proper top and bottom seal to keep water and contaminants from getting in to the bearings. Unfortunate design choice, but it is what we have to deal with.
Member
GTS 250ie (2007)
Joined: 27 Feb 2020
Posts: 16
Location: Marin, California
Sun Mar 01, 2020 12:09 pm quote
Here are photos of pending purchase mp3, 14k miles, $4k, belt & tune-up done (2-years ago), excellent conditions, 2nd owner. Please advise. Thanks.

MP3-01.jpg

MP3-02.jpg

MP3-03.jpg

MP3-04.jpg

Hooked
2009 MP3 400, 2004 Honda ST1300
Joined: 11 Jun 2007
Posts: 251
Location: Sayre, PA
Sun Mar 01, 2020 6:33 pm quote
As we continue to hijack this thread...

Top of the line Givi box, plus brake lights, plus top rack, plus back rest, is likely a $500 package. The saddle bags plus the tunnel bag are a few $100 more. Fancy hand guards...Taller windshield with the adjustable Vario vane on top... are also valuable add-ons.

Looks like a decent package for the price depending on mechanical condition.

14k on the engine is no big deal so long as it has had regular fluid changes, (oil and coolant), and has had the valves adjusted.

Wiggle the rear wheel to check for bearing issues. CVT transmission parts are wear items that get changed regularly. Worst case scenario you budget for a belt and rollers ($275 for a parts package?)

Lift the front and check the front wheels for any weirdness, Wheels bearings? Steering bearings? Tie rod? Brakes? Switches?

Figure on changing the brake fluid and the tilt lock fluid as part of the deal. And check to see that the tilt lock system is currently working.
Member
GTS 250ie (2007)
Joined: 27 Feb 2020
Posts: 16
Location: Marin, California
Sun Mar 01, 2020 7:31 pm quote
Thanks Pmatulew for your prompt & detail response, you have expensive taste & knowledge.
All other comments (+/-) are welcome and much appreciated.
I apologize for hijacking this thread out of desperation on this subject.
Will update as it unfolds on the pending purchase. Thanks.
Hooked
Joined: 06 Nov 2014
Posts: 297
Location: Uk rochdale
Mon Mar 02, 2020 12:58 am quote
personally if i were viewing any 400 or 500cc mp3 id pull the dipstick out and smell for petrol, they can have an issue with petrol mixing with the oil if only short local journeys.
Veni, Vidi, Posti
2008 MP3 500, 2013 BV350, 2020 Vespa Sei Giorni
Joined: 13 Oct 2012
Posts: 8635
Location: Ashburn, Va. Home to the Internet
Mon Mar 02, 2020 1:20 pm quote
buddyspudface wrote:
personally if i were viewing any 400 or 500cc mp3 id pull the dipstick out and smell for petrol, they can have an issue with petrol mixing with the oil if only short local journeys.
Never heard of that one.
Hooked
Piaggio MP3 500
Joined: 21 Nov 2017
Posts: 280
Location: Austin, TX
Tue Mar 03, 2020 7:16 am quote
There was a problem with the 460cc MASTER engine in Scarabeos and BV500's where the thermostat opened too soon, which made the engine run too cool at first, which caused the ECU to make the mixture too rich, and it was exacerbated by short trips where the engine never got warm enough to "boil" off the extra petrol vapor from the oil. The oil would eventually get enough petrol in it to degrade a plastic oil pump gear, which would then break under stress and cause the engine lose oil pressure. Which was bad news. The fix was to put in the correct thermostat.

This is true also to a limited extent in the 400 and 492 cc MASTER engines in the MP3, but they have the right thermostat from the factory. They still can have the same problem if their lives consist of short <5 minute runs, and yes, indeed, their oil smells like petrol if that's the case.
Hooked
Piaggio MP3 500
Joined: 21 Nov 2017
Posts: 280
Location: Austin, TX
Tue Mar 03, 2020 7:20 am quote
Oh, yeah, what to look for: open up the airbox and see if it's dripping with oil. There could be a little sheen because the air filter is oil-on-foam, but no big pools of it. If you open the airbox and oil goes everywhere, then RUN AWAY!
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