2009 Piaggio MP3 250 ie
Joined: 15 Feb 2022
Location: Dublin, CA
Yet another victim of the infamous tilt-lock monster...
Before I begin, I'd like to provide some background information.
I purchased a used 2009 Piaggio MP3 250ie (Ughetto) in January 2020 from a seller in the Washington DC area. The seller emphasized that the scooter had been sitting idle for several months. The weather in the mid-atlantic is not kind to vehicles: humid in the summers and snowy in the winters. In October of 2021, I found my scooter dropped to the ground when it was parked in a shopping center. There was significant cosmetic damage, though insurance took care of it. I moved to the San Francisco Bay area shortly after and decided to bring Ughetto with me.
Ughetto has been exhibiting a strange behavior whereby the dash/indicator/rear lights only work when the key is at a specific intermediate position in the ignition switch, see https://modernvespa.com/forum/topic181443. I mention this issue in case it is somehow related to the tilt-lock issue in this post.
This past May (2022), I started experiencing the 'mushy' tilt lock phenomenon described in https://modernvespa.com/forum/topic101212. Since I didn't use the tilt lock very often, I decided not to do anything about it. A few weeks after noticing the mushy tilt lock, I started occasionally getting five-second-long electronic beeps (not horn) separated by half-second pauses and the red tilt-lock warning light turning on. This, despite the tilt lock not being engaged. At first, the beeps and warning lights would occur once every couple of days and I could easily get them to turn off by turning the ignition off and back on. Double-tapping the tilt-lock switch did nothing because the tilt lock doesn't seem to be engaged to begin with.
Fast forward a few weeks, the five-second-long beeps and warning lights would come on more frequently, until one day they would come on every single time I turned Ughetto on. Also, on the dashboard, two signs appeared: one is a wrench, and the other looks like a timing belt.
Riding with the beeps was annoying, but something I could put up with for a few more days until I could look more into it. Then, one of those days, as I was riding, the engine started sputtering such that I could only achieve a very low maximum speed (RPMs were being limited). Luckily, I was on a side road and not too far from home, so I was able to ride back on the shoulder. Ignoring for a second how dangerous this was, you can imagine how comical I must have looked jolting at a maximum speed of approximately 15 miles per hour.
I decided to troubleshoot.
In one of the Italian forums, users indicate that if the warning sounds are electronic beeps (as opposed to the horn), then the issue is electrical, not hydraulic. Nevertheless, I still checked some hydraulic aspects of the tilt lock mechanism.
Battery – I tried disconnecting the battery overnight and reconnecting it, trickle-charging the battery, bringing in a new battery. No success. The voltage reading of the battery when the scooter is off is 12.78 V and, when it is on, the voltage is approximately 13.8 V.
Seat sensor - The seat sensor and its wiring seem to be intact, and I don't see any indicator lights on the dash that would indicate that the seat sensor isn't sensing someone is on the seat. I measured the resistance of the seat sensor with and without my weight on it and the readings were consistent with values provided in https://modernvespa.com/forum/topic52512.
Tilt-lock fluid - I reverse bled the tilt lock fluid with DOT4 brake fluid using two large fluid 'extractors' (syringes)—with one syringe I injected the new fluid through the bleeder nipples and with the second syringe I would remove the old liquid that was pushed up into the reservoir. I didn't have a vacuum pump, so I hope this method still did the job without introducing air into the system.
Tilt lock cable - I made sure there were no broken parts impeding the operation of the tilt lock cable, e.g., as discovered by one owner in https://modernvespa.com/forum/topic133779.
Speed sensors - I checked the speed sensors at the front wheels for dirt, there was little, and it was cleaned off. I followed the speed sensor cables and didn't notice any breaks or discontinuities; granted, most of the cables are inside protective housing and I didn't want to potentially break the housing by removing it.
Pressure sensor - I unplugged the pressure sensor and noticed some liquid in the connector, so I assumed that there was a leak. So, I replaced the pressure sensor with a new one. No luck.
Tilt lock assembly - I took apart the tilt lock assembly housing per the instructions in the official Piaggio 'Technical Note Evoluzioni MP3 – Fuoco'. I didn't find any broken pieces stuck in any of the mechanisms nor any signs of water having entered the housing. So, I put everything back together.
Tilt lock motor - While I had the tilt lock assembly disassembled, I connected the motor to a 12V source, and the motor turned.
In some posts, users suggested turning the potentiometer 3-4 turns counterclockwise and 3-4 turns clockwise. I did this, with no success. What I found confusing is that, in the Piaggio Technical Note to take apart the housing, they use the term 'potentiometer' to refer to the rotation sensor located on the other side of the tilt lock assembly from the motor.
After taking the tilt lock assembly apart, putting it back together, and reinstalling it, the beep is continuous (not 5-second beeps). Note, that the tilt lock has not been engaged since the problem started. Tapping the tilt lock switch to engage the tilt lock does nothing.
Some thoughts for more troubleshooting:
Replacing Park Control Computer (PCC)?
One user (Keith from Marietta, GA) in https://modernvespa.com/forum/topic139869 mentioned that it could be an 'intermittent pin' in the Park Control Computer (PCC) located behind the parking brake lever. Keith also mentions this in https://modernvespa.com/forum/topic142470. Keith mentioned that the PCC can go awry particular after a drop, which occurred to my Ughetto in October 2021. A YouTuber also found that replacing the PCC solved his tilt-lock issue (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgb4_LehsN4).
Users mentioned needing to update the firmware on these computers using the Piaggio PADS. Is this necessary if I were to change the PCC?
Given its price (~$150 used on eBay), I'm willing to try replacing the PCC if someone can attest to it being a plausible cause for my issue.
Antenna on the ignition switch
In https://modernvespa.com/forum/topic141079, user Maksor mentions that the antenna on the ignition switch could be defective or disconnected. Is this a possibility in my case?
Micro-switch on tilt-lock quadrant
In https://modernvespa.com/forum/topic141079, user jimc states that "the micro-switch on the tilt-lock quadrant may have come adrift perhaps? A dodgy connection into the parking ECU?" Someone says that the micro switch is the blue sensor on the tilt brake caliper. Is this a possibility?
2020 Liberty 150, 2020 MP3-500
Joined: 06 Oct 2020
I would fix the problem I can identify
The ignition switch, which is probably one of those "no user serviceable parts inside" situations...
You may have to glue it back together after repairing
Same for the PCC
Melted fuses & such more electrical gremlins
I use never seize or contact paste carefully applied to just the electrical mating surfaces of connectors
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