Help: First time Vespa Owner & First Oil Leak :)
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Member
1985 PK50S
Joined: 10 May 2021
Posts: 6
Location: USA / Germany
Mon May 10, 2021 4:15 am quote
Hi Everyone,

I just joined the forum after ending up here often with my google searches.

I am a first time Vespa owner since 1 week ago. I am from the USA originally, but am on a work assignment in Germany. Following some nice holidays in Italy, I grew really fond of the older 2 stroke Vespas and have been regularly searching for them. Last weekend, I finally brought home a 1985 PK50S with around 9000 km.

The scooter is generally in good condition - a bit of patina and bumps, but good character. The engine runs strong and it drives well. The owner recently put on a new carb, rims, and tires as well.

Since getting it home, I noticed a slow oil leak that left a few drops on the floor each day (regardless of running it or not). It's gearbox oil and does not smell of fuel.

I tried gently tightening the oil fill and drain plugs as well as the case bolts that I could access. No change to the leak though.

Upon cleaning up the engine to try to find the leak, I removed the gear selector cover and it was full of oil. With the cover removed, I can see the drops forming and falling bottom of the shaft and frayed cables now (see pics - yes, cables are ugly and on the list to replace too!).

My internet searches have not helped me figure out yet where the oil might be escaping from in the gear selector assembly. I saw in an exploded view there is an O-Ring further up the shaft going in to the crankcase.

Any advice how I should investigate this? Can I get to that O-Ring without having to split open the crankcase if that is the most likely culprit? Any other gaskets I should check?

I'm pretty comfortable with a wrench, but don't have a proper workbench or large set of tool on our overseas assignment here. So I can probably manage things that can be done with the engine still in the scooter by propping it up on some milk cartons, but engine removals or advanced activities I should probably trust to a local Vespa shop.

Thanks everyone and I am excited to join your community!

-Brandon

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Sergeant at Arms
Weird 80's Vespas & Cool Vintage Lambrettas
Joined: 21 Oct 2005
Posts: 8699
Location: The state of insanity, SoCal
Mon May 10, 2021 4:21 am quote
you cannot get to that o-ring without splitting the cases.

even then it's a whore of a job.

unless it's hemorrhaging, like, i dunno, ounces? i wouldn't worry about it.

some drips and drops, no worries. just check and keep it topped up my man.

-g
Enthusiast
PK50XL,PK100S,ET3
Joined: 26 Aug 2020
Posts: 54
Location: UK
Mon May 10, 2021 5:14 am quote
Quote:
even then it's a whore of a job
This is probably an understatement! Check and top up is the easiest bet. And maybe keep an eye out for a cheap second engine so you have something you can sort out and still have a running scooter.


With the cables, if they look in good condition apart from the ends, and are adjusted ok, maybe leave them for a bit until you've had a bit of practice with easier jobs. they too fall into 'not much fun to do' category.
Member
1985 PK50S
Joined: 10 May 2021
Posts: 6
Location: USA / Germany
Mon May 10, 2021 7:14 am quote
Thanks for the feedback!
Sounds like I should just enjoy it for a bit and then plan for a motor teardown sometime in the future to replace all the seals / gaskets.
Member
1985 PK50S
Joined: 10 May 2021
Posts: 6
Location: USA / Germany
Tue May 11, 2021 11:15 pm quote
Another question

Last night I took apart the rear hub after noticing oil on the inside of the rear wheel rim. Sure enough, there was oil in the brake housing so I will replace the oil seal and rear hub gasket in there after giving it a good clean.

Now I'm debating opening the clutch casing while I'm already this far along. I don't know if the clutch has ever been replaced on this bike (and don't know how to tell if it is good or bad by feel). The previous owner had it 5 years and did not have the clutch serviced. So I'm wondering if I should just go ahead and replace it as well as the gasket for the casing.

From what I've seen online, it doesn't appear that a clutch job is too difficult on the old 50cc engine. Any feedback though from someone that's actually done it? Is it a good preventative maintenance activity to do since I've gone this far already?

Thanks for helping out the newbie...
Enthusiast
PK50XL,PK100S,ET3
Joined: 26 Aug 2020
Posts: 54
Location: UK
Wed May 12, 2021 12:46 am quote
Its not too bad a job and if you have the rear hub off for changing the seal then its not too much more to take the clutch cover off.

Having the proper tools for the job will make things easier too so get a clutch puller and compressor, and keep an eye out for the woodruff key falling into the engine.

For locking the gears for removing the clutch centre nut, a copper coin (2p in uk) works well but drill a hole in it and put it on a bit of string.

For the new plates and spring, surflex 3 plate and a polini spring were suggested to me and have worked well so far.

and new tabbed washer to replace the one you destroy removing the clutch.
Addicted
'64 Motovespa 150S (177) , '66 Allstate SF, '65 VBB, '66 180SS
Joined: 27 Mar 2013
Posts: 870
Location: S.Salem, NY
Wed May 12, 2021 2:25 am quote
".....but drill a hole in it and put it on a bit of string."
Do this !
Enthusiast
PK50XL,PK100S,ET3
Joined: 26 Aug 2020
Posts: 54
Location: UK
Wed May 12, 2021 7:50 am quote
I forgot to say as well, not sure if you need to take the tank and carb off and then undo the rear shock mount to swing the engine down a bit. I think the frame may get in the way of some of the clutch cover bolts if you dont.
Member
1985 PK50S
Joined: 10 May 2021
Posts: 6
Location: USA / Germany
Wed May 12, 2021 8:55 am quote
Thanks for the tips! I got in to the clutch casing now and am working on removing it.

Do I need to replace the steel plates too or just the cork ones? I saw you recommended just a set of Surflex friction plates. I'll need to order the clutch puller tool as well since I probably can't get it out without that tool. Same with the compression tool for rebuilding it.

Any tips to keep the woodruff key from falling in when I remove the clutch assembly??
Member
1985 PK50S
Joined: 10 May 2021
Posts: 6
Location: USA / Germany
Wed May 12, 2021 9:23 am quote
Well shit. My penny fell off the string and disappeared. Most likely in the bottom of the engine. Got any advice for how I start this recovery mission? I'll definitely stuff a rag or something below before I remove the clutch in case the woodruff key falls. It will be a couple days though as I need to wait for the puller tool to arrive.
Member
Joined: 02 Oct 2019
Posts: 45
Location: RI
Wed May 12, 2021 9:34 am quote
Probably a little late to the party now that you've begun to deposit money into your engine case, but the o-ring around the clutch lever wears easily and leads to drops of oil that occur after a ride. You need to remove the clutch cover to replace (or double up) this o-ring, but you can leave the clutch intact.

As for your clutch, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. I'm not sure how you've gone from fixing an oil leak to replacing your clutch.
Member
1985 PK50S
Joined: 10 May 2021
Posts: 6
Location: USA / Germany
Wed May 12, 2021 10:34 am quote
Well I guess it was my lucky penny. While looking in there with a flashlight to see if I could spot the penny, I noticed a small magnet on the back of the flashlight. Took it off, tied it to a string, and dropped it in the case - and grabbed the penny! Glad that's over with...



Ossessionato
73 & 74 Rally, 76 ET3, 80 P200, 06 PX150, 61 Ser 2, 65 Silver Special, 86 & 96 Elite 80s, 2015 HD Road Glide Special, 2011 Ural Tourist
Joined: 18 Jan 2012
Posts: 3943
Location: Oceanside, CA
Wed May 12, 2021 11:31 am quote
Good catch with the magnet!

As youíve learned, jam a rag down there as it can be fiddley when refitting the clutch. It can sometimes pull the woodruff key out of its notch.
Addicted
'64 Motovespa 150S (177) , '66 Allstate SF, '65 VBB, '66 180SS
Joined: 27 Mar 2013
Posts: 870
Location: S.Salem, NY
Wed May 12, 2021 11:49 am quote
Lucky you ! American coins are not magnetic.
Enthusiast
PK50XL,PK100S,ET3
Joined: 26 Aug 2020
Posts: 54
Location: UK
Thu May 13, 2021 12:49 am quote
The steels are cheap so maybe order them as well and then make a judgement call when you take it all apart.

Good job with finding the penny! Now you know what the string is for
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