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I've already gotten a ton of great advice & wisdom from ya'll so I figured it was time to show some of the journey on this restoration.

Background - my partner has wanted a vespa for a long time and loves the classic styling. I figured this would be a solid choice for her upcoming birthday, but couldn't find one that seemed right. I started looking for restoration projects and found one in pieces in Santa Cruz and couldn't say no.

The seller literally had 4 orange crates stuffed with parts, a motor and a frame for a 1961 Sprint that was last titled in 1982 and had been stripped to bare metal about a decade ago. There was some rust but it seemed mostly complete so she came home with me.

Here's what I started with.
Box 1
Box 1
Box 2
Box 2
Box 3
Box 3
Box 4
Box 4
Frame
Frame
Motor
Motor
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Mostly complete and some completely new items (seat, rear shock, cables, floor runners) but there was quite a bit of rust on the floor pan. Plan was to tackle this first and build up on a clean paint job.

Project goals - Since this is going to be for someone who primarily wants safety and style, the original color is out and modern safety features for motorcycles are in. It will also be mostly for back country rides, not much about 45mph but as a safety factor I am planning on 60mph as a minimum.


Some fun rust / patch porn
Passenger side
Passenger side
Driver side
Driver side
Pan removal with 1st (of 3) upper patch attempt. Welding on this old sheetmetal is like trying to use a blowtorch on tissue paper!
Pan removal with 1st (of 3) upper patch attempt. Welding on this old sheetmetal is like trying to use a blowtorch on tissue paper!
Removed and light cleaning of tunnel
Removed and light cleaning of tunnel
Small patch added to tunnel bottom & ready for new floor!
Small patch added to tunnel bottom & ready for new floor!
Panel fitted and riveted to hold in place. After seeing how much these things rust I did a por-15 treatment on the tunnel and internals of the frame
Panel fitted and riveted to hold in place. After seeing how much these things rust I did a por-15 treatment on the tunnel and internals of the frame
Final mockup of upper patch panel - definitely should have just gotten the longer patch floor pan option, what a pain!
Final mockup of upper patch panel - definitely should have just gotten the longer patch floor pan option, what a pain!
After light filler and before prime - not 100% but clean and stable
After light filler and before prime - not 100% but clean and stable
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The cowls looked ok with fuzzy surface rust, but quickly became nightmares. I probably spent a full week with body hammer and dollies smoothing everything out.

Not pictured, welding up the frame cracks on the rear mudguard and filling extra holes on the legsheild.
Driver cowl - some surface rust removed
Driver cowl - some surface rust removed
Let the beating commence!
Let the beating commence!
Primer showed how far away I still was (sigh) drags hammer out again (/end sigh)
Primer showed how far away I still was (sigh) drags hammer out again (/end sigh)
After shot of the beating, skim coat and first prime - if at first you don't succeed!
After shot of the beating, skim coat and first prime - if at first you don't succeed!
Not sure if this is common, but both sides of the frame had decent dents. No idea how you'd make that happen but gave me lots of practice time with hammer / grind / skim!
Not sure if this is common, but both sides of the frame had decent dents. No idea how you'd make that happen but gave me lots of practice time with hammer / grind / skim!
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Finally - some real progress! Paint done, now to actually build everything up
Glossy!
Glossy!
Rear view with seat and rack mock-up
Rear view with seat and rack mock-up
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You're off to a great start. I like the green with the brown leather saddle.
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Great job reviving those boxes of mere project into a nice looking frame. Body work was a big improvement; replacing the floor was the way to go, too. In addition to the rivets, did you spot weld the seams at the floor/tunnel?
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Current state of project to-do list

Fab battery box
Finish headset wiring & main switch
Install speedo
Solder & mount rear brake switch
Mount battery box & electronics
Final wiring
Crimp legshield trim
Rivet floor rails
Route gas & oil lines (get 8mm gas line)
Finish tail light mounting
Install Gas tank & fuel lever
Install rack & seat
Mount cowls
Test & tune engine


Question

Is it worth it to add a front brake light switch and wire in parallel?
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brok3nr0b0t wrote:
You're off to a great start. I like the green with the brown leather saddle.
Thanks! My partner has an eye for colors - took a hot second at the paint store to find the right shade Laughing emoticon
zachyzach wrote:
Great job reviving those boxes of mere project into a nice looking frame. Body work was a big improvement; replacing the floor was the way to go, too. In addition to the rivets, did you spot weld the seams at the floor/tunnel?
Spot welded and also riveted along the tunnel every few inches. The tunnel edge was in pretty shabby shape so I wanted to give it as much stability as possible.
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plantguy wrote:

Question

Is it worth it to add a front brake light switch and wire in parallel?
Good question. I've been debating that for the past year on both my Allstate and VB1 (both have hydro disc brakes). It would be easy enough to wire up, but i don't really want to see wires coming off of my front brake master cylinder. At least with manual brakes you can use a hidden inline front brake switch off of a P series (i have no idea if the older Vespas had a front brake light switch). 95% of the time while i'm at a standstill waiting for a red light to turn green, my foot won't be on the rear brake pedal (hydro brake PX200)...my finger is most all the time on the front brake. So for myself, i think i'll install a front brake on both my projects as a safety feature. And on most all of my vintage Vespas i have wired up my rear brake lights to strobe while braking.
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whodatschrome wrote:
95% of the time while i'm at a standstill waiting for a red light to turn green, my foot won't be on the rear brake pedal (hydro brake PX200)...my finger is most all the time on the front brake.
That's how I ride too, much appreciate the input!

Think I'll give it a go, I already need to route the SIP Speedo cable and fender light.
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That's an amazing recovery! It's always awesome to see the remains of a project that never got past the teardown stage brought back to life!

As to brake light switches...my 76 Sprint has both front & rear brake light switches, as do both Stellas. None of my 60's bikes do--just the foot brake.

I run LED lights, so it was easy to get a brake light that pulses when it lights. I don't know how much it really helps, but it does make me feel minimally safer if I think about it.
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Not your first body work rodeo apparently…

Super impressive.

Gonna be a beaut.
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plantguy wrote:
Spot welded and also riveted along the tunnel every few inches. The tunnel edge was in pretty shabby shape so I wanted to give it as much stability as possible.
I meant to ask about this earlier. Why would you not plug weld over riveting?

I assumed the rivets were just to help fix the legshield in place prior to welding, like a high-strength Cleco.
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charlieman22 wrote:
Gonna be a beaut.
Thanks CM! I'm suggesting your go-fast orange for the next project
chandlerman wrote:
I meant to ask about this earlier. Why would you not plug weld over riveting?

I assumed the rivets were just to help fix the legshield in place prior to welding, like a high-strength Cleco.
Good question - I didn't want to rivet beyond placement. The combo of the metal thickness (repair panel) and the rust-damage was causing crazy burn through (In hindsight I should have played with the stick welder here). Also the edge of the tunnel was separating in a few places. that I wanted to sandwich down but I didn't want to edge weld the whole seam so settled on the compromise path. A few of the plug welds worked, but just riveted it equally on both sides for symmetry.
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Gotcha. I was especially curious since your overall build skillset doesn't have a bodge vibe, so they seemed a little out of place amidst what is overall really nice work
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Definitely don't want to boge something together!

I assumed all the repair panels were of decent quality, but very under-enthused by these. I also love the aluminum-bodied 60s race cars so I figured a small homage was fitting for the Italian styling

I also filled in the center stand holes (crazy rusty) and mounted a SIP side stand for a bit more "mod" stagger.
Close up of rivet & side stand
Close up of rivet & side stand
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whodatschrome wrote:
Good question. I've been debating that for the past year on both my Allstate and VB1 (both have hydro disc brakes). It would be easy enough to wire up, but i don't really want to see wires coming off of my front brake master cylinder. At least with manual brakes you can use a hidden inline front brake switch off of a P series (i have no idea if the older Vespas had a front brake light switch). 95% of the time while i'm at a standstill waiting for a red light to turn green, my foot won't be on the rear brake pedal (hydro brake PX200)...my finger is most all the time on the front brake. So for myself, i think i'll install a front brake on both my projects as a safety feature. And on most all of my vintage Vespas i have wired up my rear brake lights to strobe while braking.
I use front brake majority of time, if safety is a priority I would say a switch is worth it.
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Front brake switch fabbed & wired up. Definitely a challenge to find the "pull" angles and suitable mounting surfaces.

Angle brackets work for v1 but will need future refinement, wiring was pretty straightforward once I stared at it for a few hours. The rear brake switch is a "shutter" which connects the circuit once the pedal is pushed and the shut / closed position is released. The front switch is an "opener" which is normally not connected and only completes the circuit when the plunger is pulled out. As long as these two switches are wired in parallel, the brake light will get power when either of them complete the circuit.

Wiring is progressing, complicated by the amalgamation of components and features I'm adding.

for V2 of the switch brackets, are there any good metal 3d printing services ya'll use these days? Lots of room to improve the angle / throw distance
Switches used - rear "shutter" with internal view & basic motorcycle "opener" style
Switches used - rear "shutter" with internal view & basic motorcycle "opener" style
Upper bracket mounted to mudguard - 2" angle provides the "almost" perfect placement. Cable used to help me trace the route.
Upper bracket mounted to mudguard - 2" angle provides the "almost" perfect placement. Cable used to help me trace the route.
Lower bracket mounted to pivot arm - needed the angle to provide a "down" force when the cable is pulled. Only need about 0.5"
Lower bracket mounted to pivot arm - needed the angle to provide a "down" force when the cable is pulled. Only need about 0.5"
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I was thinking one of these for a drum brake front brake light switch... https://beedspeed.com/products/cable-front-brake-light-switch-compression-type-j2-c3
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Ha, that would have been easier. Facepalm emoticon

This was the only type I found in stock locally so figured I'd make it work but maybe I'll scrap the v2 for a compression type. Probably wouldn't be hard to make something like this. Another reason for a mill / waterjet cutter!
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plantguy wrote:
Ha, that would have been easier. Facepalm emoticon

This was the only type I found in stock locally so figured I'd make it work but maybe I'll scrap the v2 for a compression type. Probably wouldn't be hard to make something like this. Another reason for a mill / waterjet cutter!
I'm sure that KLR 650 will eventually want its rear brake light switch back...
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Okay...a few questions and suggestions...

Why are you building the switch down on the fork? You could put a tiny little switch up on the front brake lever instead. That's how my SprintV does it and it works perfectly. No wiring or hardware in places it doesn't belong.

Sadly, the front brake light switch for my SprintV seems to be made of pure unobtanium, though there's no reason you couldn't fab up something similar pretty easily.

Lemme know if you want to see some pictures.
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Title reminded me of this... ROFL emoticon ROFL emoticon ROFL emoticon

As for the brake switch, there's an inline type used in T5s and PXs in some markets...
https://www.scooter-center.com/en/brake-light-switch-front-vespa-t5-125cc-9520107
Forum member supplied image with no explanatory text
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ah the old cable splitting inline front brake switch. thrown away on every build I do when I replace the front cable Laughing emoticon
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chandlerman wrote:
Okay...a few questions and suggestions...

Why are you building the switch down on the fork? You could put a tiny little switch up on the front brake lever instead. That's how my SprintV does it and it works perfectly. No wiring or hardware in places it doesn't belong.

Sadly, the front brake light switch for my SprintV seems to be made of pure unobtanium, though there's no reason you couldn't fab up something similar pretty easily.

Lemme know if you want to see some pictures.
Always appreciated, sometimes you'll even get logic in response!

There are a few reasons for me to not build off of the levers - the headset is pretty chock full of wires and there isn't a ton of room on the VBA, especially where the brake cable is routed. I also didn't want anything visible which eliminates external mounting near the lever.

I would love to see pics of your setup! I will definitely refine this going forward, most likely in a cable mounted setup to minimize brackets & alignments
SaFiS wrote:
As for the brake switch, there's an inline type used in T5s and PXs in some markets...
https://www.scooter-center.com/en/brake-light-switch-front-vespa-t5-125cc-9520107
Thanks for this! I need to continue investigating how those are mounted on the newer models (another great reason for another project beast).

Can't take credit for the title - the mods upped the "sexy level" for me
sdjohn wrote:
ah the old cable splitting inline front brake switch. thrown away on every build I do when I replace the front cable Laughing emoticon
This is great feedback - I assume this has to do with how it's mounted?

In my head if you could get a collar held in place somehow with wires on both sides and a brass bushing on the cable itself that would complete the circuit when moved. From a machining standpoint it would be pretty easy to do in aluminum and brass with a small lathe.

Next step - draw something up and see if the local makerspace has something suitable
dirt-bike style brake switch that I used - took it apart before installing to see how the internals worked.
dirt-bike style brake switch that I used - took it apart before installing to see how the internals worked.
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I ditch the cable splitting variety because front brake cables are sold as if they don't exist and because splitting the cable makes worse grab action on the front brake.
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Since I don't need to shift with the left foot I just relearned to keep my foot on the brake. Frees up the hands for a second.
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plantguy wrote:
I would love to see pics of your setup! I will definitely refine this going forward, most likely in a cable mounted setup to minimize brackets & alignments
Here's what the SprintV front brake switch looks like. Nothing fancy, but it works.
Forum member supplied image with no explanatory text
Forum member supplied image with no explanatory text
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chandlerman wrote:
Here's what the SprintV front brake switch looks like. Nothing fancy, but it works.
I can imagine a shutter brake switch "maybe" fitting under the headset.
Either a post like yours or a small angle like the VBC to activate it.
It'll take some drilling, etc.

Curious, though...
Doesn't everyone combination/progression brake on a vintage Vespa?

OP:
Switch that side stand to the other side or that bike won't start.
Forum member supplied image with no explanatory text
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Why is this project called moist maker? I can't believe we left that alone other than the Friends thing….
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sdjohn wrote:
Why is this project called moist maker? I can't believe we left that alone other than the Friends thing….
I now call my Smallstate "The Moistmaker, " too. Because it'll make you piss yourself when you ride it.
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chandlerman wrote:
I now call my Smallstate "The Moistmaker, " too. Because it'll make you piss yourself when you ride it.
Now my brain has started working on something better to name your Smallstate that expresses this aspect of it. Moistmaker doesn't quite cover it.
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Ray8 wrote:
OP:
Switch that side stand to the other side or that bike won't start.
FYI, both Voodoo and i modify our sidestands to be on the right side of our Vespas. It makes the scooters very stable when compared to normally mounting them on the left side. I actually refuse to install a left side sidestand ever again...because i hate it when my scooters randomly fall over. Been there, done that...a few times.
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orwell84 wrote:
Now my brain has started working on something better to name your Smallstate that expresses this aspect of it. Moistmaker doesn't quite cover it.
Suicide Machine?
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Code brown? Razz emoticon
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qascooter wrote:
Code brown? Razz emoticon
It's too bad "Organ Donor-Mobile" doesn't roll off the tongue.
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UTC quote
Hey all - wiring is coming together. If ya'll don't like the left side-stand, you are going to hate everything else I'm dong Laughing emoticon

Questions / help needed. I am not able to get the motor to start and it appears to be spark-related. I replaced the CDI unit but it shows even less voltage at the plug.
greasy125 wrote:
you don't need to pull the flywheel to check the values-- though a visual check is important as well.

anyway... check resistance between green (not the kill switch wire, the other one) and white wire, should be 500 +/- 20 ohms.

check resistance between white and red wire, should be 110 +/- 5 ohms.
got nuthin? short circuit. got infinity? broken windings.

best,
-greasy
Using the previous wisdom stored herein, I measured the resistance off of the stator and got 450ohm between green & white, 119 between red & white.

This is close-ish to what Greasy posted, but is that enough to require a new / rewound stator? Would this be a potential cause for the low plug voltage?

Guidance much appreciated!
OP
@plantguy avatar
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61 VBA
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Location: Northern California
 
Enthusiast
@plantguy avatar
61 VBA
Joined: UTC
Posts: 84
Location: Northern California
UTC quote
Quick bump - anyone have thoughts on spotting a bad stator?

I have slightly lower resistance (450 vs 500ohm) between the green & white wires and no visible issues but I'm not getting spark. Did I manage to fry the stator somehow?
@chandlerman avatar
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Lucky
76 Sprint V, 63 GL, 62 VBB, 05 Stella, 66 Smallstate, 79 P200E, 66 Lammy S3
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Lucky
@chandlerman avatar
76 Sprint V, 63 GL, 62 VBB, 05 Stella, 66 Smallstate, 79 P200E, 66 Lammy S3
Joined: UTC
Posts: 9831
Location: Nashville

44 Days Since Last Explosion
UTC quote
I seriously doubt you fried the stator. They're pretty tough.

Remind us...did it ever have spark? I'd start by testing with a new plug, then confirming that you didn't accidentally pull the spark plug lead out of the coil or boot.

Also, test that the flywheel had good magnetism.

Are you on points or electronic ignition? I don't recall.
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@plantguy avatar
UTC

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61 VBA
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Location: Northern California
 
Enthusiast
@plantguy avatar
61 VBA
Joined: UTC
Posts: 84
Location: Northern California
UTC quote
chandlerman wrote:
I seriously doubt you fried the stator. They're pretty tough.

Remind us...did it ever have spark? I'd start by testing with a new plug, then confirming that you didn't accidentally pull the spark plug lead out of the coil or boot.

Also, test that the flywheel had good magnetism.

Are you on points or electronic ignition? I don't recall.
Thanks CM, that is comforting to hear!

Engine had existing stock electronic ignition on it (P200).

Had spark on stand, but couldn't get it to fire up - seemed weak but hard to measure. Visual test with a plug in the wire, out of the cylinder and grounded to case and could see spark

New plug, testing with both new and old cdi gives same results (nothing).

It's gotta be miswired, right? But there are only 3 wires to the cdi and pretty hard to get wrong. Is there anything else needed as a bare minimum to run?
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