HELP! New (to me) Vespa suddenly leaking gas?!
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Enthusiast
2005 Vespa ET4 150
Joined: 17 Apr 2011
Posts: 58
Location: Overland Park, KS
Sat May 07, 2011 4:54 pm quote
Hi all...took the new Vespa for a trip to the store and out to look for extra helmets for the family today.

Came home, fixed dinner and when I opened the garage door after dinner, it reeked of gasoline. I went straight to the Vespa and there's a puddle of something on the floor of the garage and I can see something dripping on the left side of the bike.

I've backed it out of the garage, so now it's just leaking on the driveway, but I'm obviously very concerned about this. Is it even safe to drive it to a shop on Monday?

I'll try to get some pictures posted, but if anyone has ideas right off the bat, please let me know!

Thank you!
Enthusiast
2005 Vespa ET4 150
Joined: 17 Apr 2011
Posts: 58
Location: Overland Park, KS
Sat May 07, 2011 5:06 pm quote
Re: HELP! New (to me) Vespa suddenly leaking gas?!
Here are a few pictures I just took...one of the liquid dripping into the bucket I put underneath to try and keep it from leaking on the driveway. The others are where the drips are happening.

Any ideas?
JPJayhawk wrote:
Hi all...took the new Vespa for a trip to the store and out to look for extra helmets for the family today.

Came home, fixed dinner and when I opened the garage door after dinner, it reeked of gasoline. I went straight to the Vespa and there's a puddle of something on the floor of the garage and I can see something dripping on the left side of the bike.

I've backed it out of the garage, so now it's just leaking on the driveway, but I'm obviously very concerned about this. Is it even safe to drive it to a shop on Monday?

I'll try to get some pictures posted, but if anyone has ideas right off the bat, please let me know!

Thank you!


LeakingLiquid.jpg

LeakZoomedOut.jpg

Leak area.jpg

Leak area 2.jpg

World Traveler
2007 LX150 Daring Plum Leonardo Da Vespa
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Posts: 20344
Location: north shore oahu hawaii usa
Sat May 07, 2011 5:09 pm quote
Crack in the fuel line?
Enthusiast
2005 Vespa ET4 150
Joined: 17 Apr 2011
Posts: 58
Location: Overland Park, KS
Sat May 07, 2011 5:13 pm quote
I should also mention that I'm pretty inept when it comes to all things mechanical...especially vehicles.

Judy...saw your note about the cracked fuel line, but I have no idea how that might have happened. I haven't hit any major bumps or potholes that I can think of.

Have had this less than three weeks (and driven it for only two)...I'm going to be very unhappy if this ends up costing me 25% or more of what I paid for the scooter.

(For what it's worth, I totally trust the guy I bought this from. He's a youth pastor and just had it serviced before I bought it.)

I have also noticed that it only starts on the first try less than 1/3 of the time. Is that normal for an ET4?
World Traveler
2007 LX150 Daring Plum Leonardo Da Vespa
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Posts: 20344
Location: north shore oahu hawaii usa
Sat May 07, 2011 5:20 pm quote
I would guess it's just age. Rubber cracks and he probably didn't realize it himself. That said it should be an easy fix. I have no idea where to find them on the ET but i'm sure some one will chime in. Where's FABIO when we need him? It's a cheap DIY if i'm remembering right. Don't worry. The starting might be because it's not getting enough gas. I'm just using common sense. Not mechanically inclines but the symptoms would go together.
Enthusiast
2005 Vespa ET4 150
Joined: 17 Apr 2011
Posts: 58
Location: Overland Park, KS
Sat May 07, 2011 5:29 pm quote
After several tries, I was able to get it to start (while on the kickstand), but as soon as I eased off the throttle, the engine would cut out. Is that because I didn't have the clutch on? (Probably a stupid question, but as I said, I know very little about these things.)
World Traveler
2007 LX150 Daring Plum Leonardo Da Vespa
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Sat May 07, 2011 8:49 pm quote
Sounds like it isn't getting any gas.Sometimes you have just enough to start it but not enough to keep you going. Fabio Douglas is your man. Can you PM with your symptoms? I'll give him a head up also. I'm no mechanic but it i still don't think it's anything major. Don't worry.
Ossessionato
Vespa 2005 GT200 & Honda Metro
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Location: Honolulu
Sat May 07, 2011 9:02 pm quote
I'm not certain but are the consequences of an fuel overflow (overfilling) on the ET4 similar those models that are afflicted by same?

If yes, you could have fueil in your air filter box which needs to be dried out. The wet filter (foam) get saturated and cuts off air flow to your carburoator and you'll have problem with difficult start / stalling.
Enthusiast
2005 Vespa ET4 150
Joined: 17 Apr 2011
Posts: 58
Location: Overland Park, KS
Sat May 07, 2011 9:17 pm quote
Excellent question, but I don't know the answer.

There has been overflow both times I've filled up (about 11 days ago and just this Friday afternoon)...today was the first time I'd ridden it since I filled it up on my way home Friday evening.

I do wish I could figure out why the auto-shutoff doesn't kick in when filling up the scooter.
TB wrote:
I'm not certain but are the consequences of an fuel overflow (overfilling) on the ET4 similar those models that are afflicted by same?

If yes, you could have fueil in your air filter box which needs to be dried out. The wet filter (foam) get saturated and cuts off air flow to your carburoator and you'll have problem with difficult start / stalling.
Rock Star
Aprila Sportcity Cube 300, Triumph ST3R
Joined: 27 Oct 2006
Posts: 8517
Location: London
Sat May 07, 2011 11:50 pm quote
JPJayhawk wrote:
There has been overflow both times I've filled up (about 11 days ago and just this Friday afternoon)...today was the first time I'd ridden it since I filled it up on my way home Friday evening.

I do wish I could figure out why the auto-shutoff doesn't kick in when filling up the scooter.
And there we have our answer for the non-starting and the gas dripping out of the air filter side. You have overfilled your scooter and gas has gone from the evap system into your air filter.

You should probably remove your evap system and have a look at how to fill up

FAQ: How can I avoid overflowing the gas tank?
Evap System Removal for QUASAR & LEADER Engines
Scooter Pimp
----------Vespa PX125--------- -------Vespa Primavera------- ---------Vespa ET4 125--------
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Posts: 2555
Location: Staffordshire - England
Sun May 08, 2011 6:47 am quote
.

Hi JPJ

I got to this thread too late.... it looks like the good guys on this site got to you first

I hope this solves it for you.

The only other experience I can pass on to you is when the fuel pipe split on my scoot, had to replace it (total cost about GBP3.00) but its quite inexpensive and easy to replace.

I think you will solve your problem by following the advice given by the other MVers, but if not then try to trace where the fuel is coming from, remember fuel flows downwards so if you can trace it to its highest point then your can find the source easily.

Hopefully you have already solved your problem, but please post back if you need any further help

Fabio

(PS.. Thanks Judy for the PM)
.
Enthusiast
2005 Vespa ET4 150
Joined: 17 Apr 2011
Posts: 58
Location: Overland Park, KS
Sun May 08, 2011 7:33 am quote
Thanks DougL and Fabio...I have to say I'm feeling VERY intimidated by those instructions.

And, of course, it's Mother's Day here in the U.S., so me spending the morning tinkering with this is not an option.

But here's my big question...is there anything I can do quickly and easily (remove something maybe?) that will prevent any real damage as it sits there all day?

Also, if I can get it to start again, is it safe to drive to the shop if I determine I'm not up for this task on my own?

Thanks so much for your help! I love MV!
Ossessionato
Joined: 27 Jun 2008
Posts: 3587

Sun May 08, 2011 7:37 am quote
Just keep a bucket underneath to catch the gunk that's coming out of the airbox. You can probably ride it to the repair shop but it may stumble or stall depending on how dirty your air filter was before it became saturated with gas. It's an easy job to remove, clean and reassemble the air filter but if you're not inclined to do it yourself, let it dry out for a couple of days and then, take it to the shop.
Ossessionato
2009 GTV 244, 2005 BMW F652 CS, 2001 ET4 150
Joined: 28 Aug 2009
Posts: 2379
Location: Chicago, IL
Sun May 08, 2011 7:44 am quote
If it is leaking that much, you most likely need to replace the fuel tap, also known as a petcock.

It is at the base of the fuel tank, and cuts off the flow of fuel when the engine is not running. It operates by opening and closing a diaphragm by vacuum. If you remove the fuel line from the carb and more than a few drips come out, the diaphragm inside the petcock has failed.

The petcock runs about $30 IIRC, and as others have mentioned, your fuel line should be replaced too, especially if it still has the original line.

It takes under an hour to replace both, but you must drain the fuel tank completely, and in addition, it can be tough to find hose clamps small enough at an auto parts store.
World Traveler
2007 LX150 Daring Plum Leonardo Da Vespa
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Sun May 08, 2011 8:15 am quote
TB good thinking. I didn't think of that because when i overfilled none came pouring out via my air box. JP might of really overfilled. I'd still check the lines and other bits as well. It's an older scooter and things deteriorate. Good luck. Thanks FAB
Enthusiast
2005 Vespa ET4 150
Joined: 17 Apr 2011
Posts: 58
Location: Overland Park, KS
Sun May 08, 2011 8:28 am quote
I don't think this is related and just happens to be on the same side as the leak. (This is at the bottom where the leaking gas was dripping over before dropping to the ground.)

To be honest, I'm not sure if it's a real crack or just a line in the paint.

The good news is, I just got it started and it's running (and stayed running at a stop). Now I'm waiting to see if it leaks again today.

I'm a little concerned about the crack and I also took a picture of the fuel line. It looks cracked too, but I didn't see any gas on the line directly last night.

Thanks all.

FuelLine.jpg

Crack.jpg

Moderaptor
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Sun May 08, 2011 8:33 am quote
That fuel line is toast.

The transmission case looks as thoughy it just has staining from the leak. Cleaning it would make this clear...
World Traveler
2007 LX150 Daring Plum Leonardo Da Vespa
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Sun May 08, 2011 8:35 am quote
It does look cracked to me. I don't know on the cracked tranny cover. I do know that gas will crack things if left in/on things over time. I overfilled my scooter and a few years later i saw my brake lens cover had cracked. Gas from my overfill probably went in there. Your leak might have been leaking for a while. I'm sure you can pick up a cheap tranny cover on Ebay or the for sale section here. Doesn't seem like major bucks to fix it. Good luck
Moderaptor
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Sun May 08, 2011 8:39 am quote
Gas won't crack aluminum.
Rock Star
Aprila Sportcity Cube 300, Triumph ST3R
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Location: London
Sun May 08, 2011 8:39 am quote
jimc wrote:
That fuel line is toast.
Agreed. It should be replaced. But it's not wet - however, this doesn't get filled with fuel until the fuel tap is opened by engine vacuum. That is the other pipe shown in the pic without the cracks. If you remove this from the black plastic manifold on the front of the engine and suck on it, fuel will flow, and you will see if the fuel line itself is leaking. I don't think that is an original Vespa fuel line, but I could be mistaken.
Enthusiast
2005 Vespa ET4 150
Joined: 17 Apr 2011
Posts: 58
Location: Overland Park, KS
Sun May 08, 2011 9:53 am quote
So I think it's clear that I need to replace the fuel line...but if I ride out again without doing anything else and it doesn't leak again, will everything eitel itself out?

I looked at the instructions for removing the evaporation kit and it looks to be beyond my skill set.
Enthusiast
2005 Vespa ET4 150
Joined: 17 Apr 2011
Posts: 58
Location: Overland Park, KS
Sun May 08, 2011 2:41 pm quote
So I just got home and looked at that "cracked" area again and for some reason there was this adhesive film on it.

The crack does look to still be there after removing this. (Wondering if I should have removed it, but it didn't look good on there at all.)

Any ideas where this might have come from?

I'm starting to feel like this particular ET4 is like an onion...I keep peeling back layer upon layer and finding one more thing after the other (and none of them particularly good so far).

Adhesive Film.jpg

Molto Verboso
'09 BV250, '02 ET2 '07 LX150
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Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Sun May 08, 2011 7:35 pm quote
I could not find what year your scoot is, but overall, I'd say don't get soured on the scoot yet....it's just a little repair needed, that's all. None of it should be much or very expensive; though the shop costs (labor) is why most of us at least try to do our own easy repairs and maintenance. But, admittedly, it 's not for everyone, either.

This is probably still a sweet, sweet, onion; don't panic!!
World Traveler
2007 LX150 Daring Plum Leonardo Da Vespa
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Mon May 09, 2011 8:59 am quote
JP don't worry the ET series is a great one. It's old and a few things have to be tweaked. It's just making sure you love it.
Enthusiast
2005 Vespa ET4 150
Joined: 17 Apr 2011
Posts: 58
Location: Overland Park, KS
Mon May 09, 2011 9:54 am quote
Thanks Judy. The leak seems to be gone and it started right up this morning.

I'm still going to clean the air filter (found some pretty straightforward instructions online that make me comfortable enough to give it a shot). I'll still probably take it to the shop to get the fuel line replaced though.

Thanks to everyone for helping me out and talking me down off the ledge!
Rock Star
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Mon May 09, 2011 10:32 am quote
Vespa cover all their transmission cases in clear plastic during shipping to protect them. Funny that it was still on after all this time.
Enthusiast
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Location: Overland Park, KS
Mon May 09, 2011 11:41 am quote
I'm just glad that's all it was, DougL. It was an odd shape and looked just right to be a crack with the gas and dirt it caught.
World Traveler
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Mon May 09, 2011 12:14 pm quote
JP from the pic it sure looked like a crack. Glad you got it all sorted out.
Enthusiast
2005 Vespa ET4 150
Joined: 17 Apr 2011
Posts: 58
Location: Overland Park, KS
Mon May 09, 2011 5:49 pm quote
Not out of the woods yet
So no leak at all after driving it to work today, but then after running a few errands after work (read: more miles than on the way to work) and bringing it home there was a very small puddle on the floor of the garage after going out to an evening event.

It smelled like gas, but looks more like oil.

My wife is not pleased with the garage smelling like gas, so it's out to the driveway for the Vespa tonight. (No rain in the forecast I don't believe.)

I'm going to take a couple more pictures and post them later to see if anyone has ideas.

Thanks all!
Veni, Vidi, Posti
2007 Vespa LX 190, 2011 LXV150ie, 2010 4T Stella 150
Joined: 26 Oct 2008
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Location: Annapolis, MD, USA
Mon May 09, 2011 6:07 pm quote
Re: Not out of the woods yet
JPJayhawk wrote:
So no leak at all after driving it to work today, but then after running a few errands after work (read: more miles than on the way to work) and bringing it home there was a very small puddle on the floor of the garage after going out to an evening event.

It smelled like gas, but looks more like oil.

My wife is not pleased with the garage smelling like gas, so it's out to the driveway for the Vespa tonight. (No rain in the forecast I don't believe.)

I'm going to take a couple more pictures and post them later to see if anyone has ideas.

Thanks all!
The foam filter element in the air filter is normally oiled to help it catch dust. If gas has gotten in there via the evaporative emissions system because of an overfill, it will likely wash out some of the oil, which may be what you are seeing. Also, if the scooter has been dropped or laid down on its left side, oil will get into the air filter box from the crankcase breather. If the scooter has a lot of miles on it and the piston rings are worn, some oil will also get blown out of the crandcase and into the air filter box.
Enthusiast
2005 Vespa ET4 150
Joined: 17 Apr 2011
Posts: 58
Location: Overland Park, KS
Mon May 09, 2011 6:17 pm quote
Thanks Silver Streak (love Annapolis by the way)...never laid down...hoping it's just the overflow still and not the piston problem you mentioned.

Does anyone have a ballpark idea of what a shop will charge me to clean up this mess?
Enthusiast
2005 Vespa ET4 150
Joined: 17 Apr 2011
Posts: 58
Location: Overland Park, KS
Mon May 09, 2011 7:19 pm quote
Re: Not out of the woods yet
Here's what today's "puddle" looks like...it's not much, but it still stinks.

I also took another picture of the grime and gunk that seems to be sitting on top of what I believe is the air filter case.

Thanks all.
JPJayhawk wrote:
So no leak at all after driving it to work today, but then after running a few errands after work (read: more miles than on the way to work) and bringing it home there was a very small puddle on the floor of the garage after going out to an evening event.

It smelled like gas, but looks more like oil.

My wife is not pleased with the garage smelling like gas, so it's out to the driveway for the Vespa tonight. (No rain in the forecast I don't believe.)

I'm going to take a couple more pictures and post them later to see if anyone has ideas.

Thanks all!


Day2Leak.jpg

GrimeGunk.jpg

World Traveler
2007 LX150 Daring Plum Leonardo Da Vespa
Joined: 02 Jul 2006
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Location: north shore oahu hawaii usa
Mon May 09, 2011 7:38 pm quote
Looks like it's coming from the air box as SS suggested. You can take the cover off the air box and there's a filter inside. Wash with some gentle soap and water, dry and then re-oil it so it's "sticky" not dripping in oil. Put it back in and your good to go If the filter is beyond cleaning their cheap. I just got a extra one from MotorSport and it was cheap I can even do this fix,even with my bum fingers. Not to worry it's just some little things that need to be done. Take a deep breath in and chant "this will be a cheap fix".

Last edited by judy on Tue May 10, 2011 9:38 am; edited 1 time in total
Enthusiast
2005 Vespa ET4 150
Joined: 17 Apr 2011
Posts: 58
Location: Overland Park, KS
Mon May 09, 2011 8:03 pm quote
Have I told you guys how much I love you for all the help you've given me already?!

Thanks for the reassurances, Judy.

I think I'm going to ride it again tomorrow to work and get the filter oil and then work on it Wednesday when it's going to be stormy here anyway.

I just hate to waste a day that I can be out riding!
Moderator
2006 LX150 "Amadora"
Joined: 01 Feb 2006
Posts: 7123

Tue May 10, 2011 5:16 am quote
JPJayhawk wrote:
Have I told you guys how much I love you for all the help you've given me already?!

Thanks for the reassurances, Judy.

I think I'm going to ride it again tomorrow to work and get the filter oil and then work on it Wednesday when it's going to be stormy here anyway.

I just hate to waste a day that I can be out riding!
The upside of all of this is that you've begun to learn some basic maintenance and repair of your Vespa. Many of us (me included) have gone down that same path. Soon, you'll be managing more maintenance/repairs than you thought possible. Good on you!
Enthusiast
2005 Vespa ET4 150
Joined: 17 Apr 2011
Posts: 58
Location: Overland Park, KS
Tue May 10, 2011 6:44 am quote
Thanks Michael...my scooter mentor/co-worker was in town today and in the office parking lot, he helped me take things apart a little bit and look at the air filter...it is pretty dirty, so I am going to replace it.

It wasn't super-easy, but it wasn't super difficult either. The good news is, he doesn't seem to be overly concerned either.

As a new owner, I'm probably going to be prone to fear the worse when every little thing goes wrong. I just need to cure myself of that.

It's going to be 97 here in KC today...a little warm, but I can't wait to ride it over to the scooter shop over the lunch hour.

Thanks again everyone!
Ossessionato
2010 GTS 300 Super
Joined: 25 Jul 2010
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Wed May 11, 2011 2:10 pm quote
JPJayhawk wrote:
my scooter mentor/co-worker was in town today
Was this my friend? If so, he's a wizard at figuring things out. I was hanging out in his garage Saturday watching in awe as he and one of our friends took apart his vintage Vespa trying to fix a few issues.

Dang! I wish I knew he was in town, I would have tried to convince him to run an errand for me

So, is everything all sorted out?
Enthusiast
2005 Vespa ET4 150
Joined: 17 Apr 2011
Posts: 58
Location: Overland Park, KS
Wed May 11, 2011 9:32 pm quote
ScootChef wrote:
JPJayhawk wrote:
my scooter mentor/co-worker was in town today
Was this my friend? If so, he's a wizard at figuring things out. I was hanging out in his garage Saturday watching in awe as he and one of our friends took apart his vintage Vespa trying to fix a few issues.

Dang! I wish I knew he was in town, I would have tried to convince him to run an errand for me

So, is everything all sorted out?
Yes it was, ScootChef...we pulled the air filter in the office parking lot and now know it needs to be cleaned. Now I just need to do it...probably this weekend.

What did you need from here in KC?
Ossessionato
2010 GTS 300 Super
Joined: 25 Jul 2010
Posts: 2406
Location: New York City, NY
Thu May 12, 2011 7:28 am quote
You'll feel better doing that fix on your own. It will lead to more confidence to do more maintenance. Pretty soon, you'll be a pro

I just needed some Valrhona chocolate. It's too hot to ship this time of the year unless you go overnight and overnight shipping from KC is just stupid expensive I think I'll head down one day next week to take care of it. Sounds like a good enough excuse to get out of town.
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