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1961 VBB
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Hello everyone! I just purchased a 1961 VBB which needs to be completely restored. Engine was seized, I opened it up to find the crank completely rusted and some scoring in the cylinder head and piston. I have a couple questions. Is my crankcase salvageable, can I reuse it as is? What do you think about the rotary pad? I'm thinking of buying a new mazzuchelli crank, new piston and cylinder as well as bearing and seals. Also I have some scoring where the main drive gears sit…would anyone have an explanation as to why it's scored? Missing a spacer? Sorry for all the questions and I really appreciate the help.
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It does look to me like a lot of wear but it's hard to tell from the photos. Some lines on the rotary pad -- maybe a carb screw or other bit of metal fell into the engine and scored things up.

What do the crank webs look like? All scratched up too? Also the cases seem to still have some dirt or rust residue on the sealing face area. As you say, the crank was very rusty. Water got in there.

How do the gears look? Xmas tree? Clutch? Carb and carb box interior?

Suggest taking more photos and posting them up. Some members here know more specifically about case repair and can weigh in re: current condition and possible next moves for you.
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The damage to the rotary pad is ok and motor should run find with new parts. The damage is from crank moving and hitting the pad. It seemed the crank moved because the cush drive went bad and caused extra movement on the clutch side of crank. Prob a bad bearing and or shaft inside the cush drive. That caused the other scoring you mentioned on the inside of the cases. Replace the shaft and bearing when rebuilding the cush drive.
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Thank you for the replies. So here are the pictures of the engine before I started cleaning it.
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rowdyc wrote:
The damage to the rotary pad is ok and motor should run find with new parts. The damage is from crank moving and hitting the pad. It seemed the crank moved because the cush drive went bad and caused extra movement on the clutch side of crank. Prob a bad bearing and or shaft inside the cush drive. That caused the other scoring you mentioned on the inside of the cases. Replace the shaft and bearing when rebuilding the cush drive.
I didn't dismantle the Cush drive because I was planning on reusing it as is. The gears looked ok so I figured it was ok. One thing that bothered me when I opened the engine is that 0 oil came out of it so I'm assuming it was either emptied before storage or never filled. I noticed the nut at the other end of the Cush drive wasn't exactly there same as what it was in the manual. It's supposed to be a little bracket with a nut but I had 2 washers and a nut. Also I had no needle bearing at the other end of the shaft..instead I had a brass insert. Now I'm planning on converting back to original needle bearings. How can I check the wear of the shaft that you're talking about?

Thank you for the replies I really appreciate it!
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zachyzach wrote:
It does look to me like a lot of wear but it's hard to tell from the photos. Some lines on the rotary pad -- maybe a carb screw or other bit of metal fell into the engine and scored things up.

What do the crank webs look like? All scratched up too? Also the cases seem to still have some dirt or rust residue on the sealing face area. As you say, the crank was very rusty. Water got in there.

How do the gears look? Xmas tree? Clutch? Carb and carb box interior?

Suggest taking more photos and posting them up. Some members here know more specifically about case repair and can weigh in re: current condition and possible next moves for you.
The crank needs to absolutely be replaced because it's pitted in some areas so if I'm there I might as well replace cylinder and piston as well. I uploaded more pictures for you to see, I hope it helps.

Thanks so much,
Bruno
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I was interested in seeing pics of the crank, gears, cush drive and cases because of the story that they'd tell. Definitely replace that crank. Gears don't seem too bad but inspect the teeth and the cutouts in the center carefully for signs of wear. As for the cush, give it a shake while holding firmly and listen if it rattles. Cush rebuild kits are available if necessary if noisy to replace springs.

I'd clean cases and all internals til they gleam -- some pay $$ to get cases vapor blasted. Or just use gas/kerosene mix and tons of light scrubbing.

Do you have a manual? I like: How to restore classic largeframe Vespa scooters by Mark Paxton. Also good rebuild tips out there on Youtube from scooterwest and in the Tech Tips parts of scooter mercato website.

It's easy to strip threads on cases and bolts etc so I often avoid using power drills with sockets in favor of old school tools and caution.
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The stuff for rebuilding the Cush drive usually comes in a rebuild kit. Might as well while you have it apart. Check the gear teeth but especially the slots on the inside where the shifting cross travels.
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bbuontempo wrote:
Cush drive wasn't exactly there same as what it was in the manual. It's supposed to be a little bracket with a nut but I had 2 washers and a nut. Also I had no needle bearing at the other end of the shaft..instead I had a brass insert.
The only time I've seen this type of work is on a bodge.
If it's easier to make a brass bushing then getting a set of needle bearing, your probable in a 3rd world country.

Got pics of the entire scooter?
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The allstates have brass bushings on the wrist pins. Go with needle bearings. Here is the story of my rebuild, if it helps.

VNB5 rebuild project
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Have you got pics of the whole bike you can share? Frame, cowls, wheels, front end.
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I think that at least some older Vespas had bronze wrist pin bushings too, not just AllState.
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rowdyc wrote:
The only time I've seen this type of work is on a bodge.
If it's easier to make a brass bushing then getting a set of needle bearing, your probable in a 3rd world country.

Got pics of the entire scooter?
So having dismantled this vespa I can almost say I'm 100% sure it was at some point in its life an Indian restoration. Now I know most people make this a big issue however I'm sandblasting the frame and making sure that all metal work is done correctly and if not it will be corrected. So far it seems that it's been well done but after sandblast I'll have a better idea. As for the engine I'm also going to rebuild it with Italian parts. My bike has 10 inch hubs which were upgraded and non original so I will also be changing the whole front form and rear hub to bring it back to original. Other than that I don't see why people are so against these Indonesian bikes not sure if it's just a stigma but at the end of the day it's a simple scooter there isn't much too it.
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zachyzach wrote:
Have you got pics of the whole bike you can share? Frame, cowls, wheels, front end.
Sure here they are
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V oodoo wrote:
I think that at least some older Vespas had bronze wrist pin bushings too, not just AllState.
My 1962 VBB's OG crank had a brass bushing on the little end/wrist pin.

Totally normal from the days when "ball bearings!" were a feature that manufacturers advertised on. We used to have the world's oldest drill press in the machine shop of a place I worked that had a big "Ball Bearings!" sticker on the side.
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bbuontempo wrote:
So having dismantled this vespa I can almost say I'm 100% sure it was at some point in its life an Indian restoration. Now I know most people make this a big issue however I'm sandblasting the frame and making sure that all metal work is done correctly and if not it will be corrected. So far it seems that it's been well done but after sandblast I'll have a better idea. As for the engine I'm also going to rebuild it with Italian parts. My bike has 10 inch hubs which were upgraded and non original so I will also be changing the whole front form and rear hub to bring it back to original. Other than that I don't see why people are so against these Indonesian bikes not sure if it's just a stigma but at the end of the day it's a simple scooter there isn't much too it.
Depends on what you find under all of that 25 year old bondo. Hopefully, its in reasonable nick. Fingers crossed. Mind telling us what you paid?
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bbuontempo wrote:
..... I don't see why people are so against these Indonesian bikes not sure if it's just a stigma but at the end of the day it's a simple scooter there isn't much too it.
How much research done on bodges and the time frame of being around these old bikes will provide a better idea of why people are so against Indonesian bikes. I don't know any type of old vehicle restored in Indonesia will be acceptable as A1 outside that country. Economic depressed 3rd world countries is not the ideal background for vehicle restorations. Can be ok to get someone from a to b but to sell for a profit as an export outside that country is another thing. Corners can/will be cut to get to the end results.

Very few things are absolute and there is a chance you got a safe bike. The route you're going is the best way when getting one of those things. Good luck and I hope it turns out well!
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My vbb had some good old American barnyard bodges; all the wiring on the outside of the frame. Access panel cut into the tunnel with a dull can opener, carriage bolt in the engine shock mount, dents pounded out with a claw hammer. Asia doesn't have a monopoly on bodging. What is worth fixing depends on where you are. In the UK, for example, they bring the rustiest VW buses back from the dead, stuff no one would touch in the US. We just have many more of them here, so it's just cheaper and easier to start with a better bus.
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bbuontempo wrote:
So having dismantled this vespa I can almost say I'm 100% sure it was at some point in its life an Indian restoration. Now I know most people make this a big issue however I'm sandblasting the frame and making sure that all metal work is done correctly and if not it will be corrected. So far it seems that it's been well done but after sandblast I'll have a better idea. As for the engine I'm also going to rebuild it with Italian parts. My bike has 10 inch hubs which were upgraded and non original so I will also be changing the whole front form and rear hub to bring it back to original. Other than that I don't see why people are so against these Indonesian bikes not sure if it's just a stigma but at the end of the day it's a simple scooter there isn't much too it.
I think the reason is imports from some Asian countries, have a reputation like a $99.00 Earl Scheib paint job. Slap filler in the holes, throw some cheap paint on to cover the holes and pass on to some poor unsuspecting sucker who doesn't know better. Why would you export good ones, you keep those for yourself. This happens in US also, it just happens they were imported from Asia by the boat load literally and like some used car lots now have a bad reputation.

My favorite bodge is one someone posted that front half was one year, rear another. Someone had cut and welded two different model year scooters together. They were cut in tunnel area and welded back together.
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Yawn.
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garncarz wrote:
The allstates have brass bushings on the wrist pins. Go with needle bearings. Here is the story of my rebuild, if it helps.

VNB5 rebuild project
Thank you will take a look
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rowdyc wrote:
How much research done on bodges and the time frame of being around these old bikes will provide a better idea of why people are so against Indonesian bikes. I don't know any type of old vehicle restored in Indonesia will be acceptable as A1 outside that country. Economic depressed 3rd world countries is not the ideal background for vehicle restorations. Can be ok to get someone from a to b but to sell for a profit as an export outside that country is another thing. Corners can/will be cut to get to the end results.

Very few things are absolute and there is a chance you got a safe bike. The route you're going is the best way when getting one of those things. Good luck and I hope it turns out well!
Thank you! Will post updates the minute it's completely blasted. Would you be able to tell me if these welds are factory or if they've been modified. I'm trying to convert back to an 8 inch fork and I want to make sure that the frame wasn't modified.
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garncarz wrote:
Depends on what you find under all of that 25 year old bondo. Hopefully, its in reasonable nick. Fingers crossed. Mind telling us what you paid?
So far it seems on but fingers crossed. I paid $1200 Canadian.
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There is nothing against Indo scoots that are built and operated in Indo itself. One of our most cherished members on here named Ebeth is a great guy and posts when he can. The problem is the ones that are built for export to deceive the unknowing buyer. Some are ok, most are money pits, and some border on dangerous to ride. There have been a few on here that the owner brought back from the brink of death. But the cost in time and money and usually not worth it.
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You will be ahead of yourself if you punt that machine and find yourself a Canadian market Vespa.

I guarantee that.
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I agree, I can only imagine what it looks like inside the tunnel, the caked on bondo tells me that whoever 'restored' this cared only about how it looked on the surface. There's a reason the motor died, and was never fixed when the PO realized what a mess he had.

Unless you can get it blasted free or cheap, or you just gotta know - save your money and move on.
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All of that with that fork tube is not right. The frame has been modified. Those pictures alone is why people stay away from bodges. Can it be fixed some way... prob. Can it be fixed right... less likely. Is it worth it... no. Those bougger welds on the top and the missing broken pieces on the bottom along with the bad welds underneath are good enough reasons to walk away from that frame. The rust requires at least a horn casting welded on properly and I'll bet 1 hundo that frame is bent after what ever accident it was in.

Got money to burn and time to spend get it blasted and see the results of floor and rear end. But after seeing the front end I wouldn't care what the rest looks like. Or stop right there and use resources in something else as there are other options.

If you want another Canadian opinion contact forum member LynnB. He did whatever he could to unbodge his scoot. bodywork - over my head
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I think the tunnel in the 12th picture is scary. Maybe just the angle but it looks like all bondo. I would be afraid of getting hurt.
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rowdyc wrote:
All of that with that fork tube is not right. The frame has been modified. Those pictures alone is why people stay away from bodges. Can it be fixed some way... prob. Can it be fixed right... less likely. Is it worth it... no. Those bougger welds on the top and the missing broken pieces on the bottom along with the bad welds underneath are good enough reasons to walk away from that frame. The rust requires at least a horn casting welded on properly and I'll bet 1 hundo that frame is bent after what ever accident it was in.

Got money to burn and time to spend get it blasted and see the results of floor and rear end. But after seeing the front end I wouldn't care what the rest looks like. Or stop right there and use resources in something else as there are other options.

If you want another Canadian opinion contact forum member LynnB. He did whatever he could to unbodge his scoot. bodywork - over my head
Would you have pictures of what it's supposed to look like. I'm not worried about doing it right I just need a good reference. For the sandblasting I will do it myself so not an issue. I would need to know what the front tube and tunnel are supposed to look like. As for the horn casting it looks worse than it is but then again only sandblasting will bring out the defects.
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I'm going to join the chorus of those saying this bike can't be saved, or can't be saved without significant fabrication work.

Those bearing races and seats are trashed. The fork stop is trashed. The hornstop is trashed. The brake pedal pin is in the wrong place on the frame. There's more bondo than metal under the paint. Those engine cases are beat nearly to death.

I am looking forward to seeing what you find when you blast it, though, especially since it's not going to cost you anything but your time and whatever blasting media you can't recover.
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Before you sandblast, take an angle grinder with a wire wheel on it to anywhere that is lumpy on the bike and make it snow. Start with the top of the tunnel. You will find out pretty quickly.
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bbuontempo wrote:
Would you have pictures of what it's supposed to look like. I'm not worried about doing it right I just need a good reference. For the sandblasting I will do it myself so not an issue. I would need to know what the front tube and tunnel are supposed to look like. As for the horn casting it looks worse than it is but then again only sandblasting will bring out the defects.
Pics may give you an idea but that can't be repaired unless you know how to replace with a donor piece where the fork bearings resides. Do you know how to melt and reshape metal back to original specs so the bearings is in the right place aligned with top race? But if you wanna look how bad that thing is just google "vespa fork stop" to see pics of bearing area.

The top bearing race need repairing so google for pics of that and see where your race was broken and welded back wrong and out of shape.

The horncast is shot because in order to even attempt to repair that bottom fork tunnel (impossible) cast has to be removed. That rusty thing ain't going back on after removal....not the right way.

How bout making the brake pedal pin right. Common bodge characters but Lynnb sorta fixed that problem in the link I provided above.

How about all that bondo on top of tunnel? You think that's all metal there. Fixable but gonna need a donor piece to fix right. There's videos on how they repair it by bending and welding metal and then slapping bondo over it.

That's not a1961 anything but looking forward to seeing what's still left after blasting. Regardless of what you do, someone in this forum will try to assist. Don't take the news so bad. You're not the 1st or last person to buy a bodge with big plans but motor and frame are shit and other pieces are rusted and need replacing.

Good luck though!!!
⚠️ Last edited by rowdyc on UTC; edited 1 time
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^^^ Or a propane torch and a putty knife. Goodbye Bondo! Bleh emoticon
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