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@daleb avatar
UTC

Enthusiast
'55 VL1
Joined: UTC
Posts: 79
Location: Omaha, NE
 
Enthusiast
@daleb avatar
'55 VL1
Joined: UTC
Posts: 79
Location: Omaha, NE
UTC quote
I'm starting to hear Roseanne Roseannadanna in my sleep these days, I swear. Been working to resurrect the VL1 for a few weeks now. I finally bit the bullet and installed a SIP ignition kit, which seems to work well. Starts reliably and all the lights work so much better than before. The tail and head lights were a dim glow at anything less than full throttle with the original 6v stator; now they're bright enough to actually be seen.

Had to rethink the handlebar switch, since the supply from the stator is different than it was. OK, got that done and all the fiddly bits of the switch back together finally.

Replaced the shift and clutch cables along the way, that's always good fun.

While I was working on it I'd had the engine running for a minute or two here and there while I checked the timing and wiring. I'd rigged up a 60cc syringe to the fuel line and poured in some fuel just to run it for a little bit at a time… seemed OK.

Now it's time for a test ride, or so I thought. It will idle rough for a little bit, then die. Finally determined that I think it's flooding, since it'll start fine with the throttle wide open. At half throttle or more it seems happy, but not below that. Probably the float needle valve not sealing. So, now I get to tear all that apart and see if it can be fixed with cleaning or if the ancient TA18 has worn out. I'd really rather not replace it if I don't have to. Just wish the freaking thing had revealed its problems while I still had the seats off and tank out… it's a real pain in the ass to pull that carb without dismantling things I just spent the entire morning putting back together.
@orwell84 avatar
UTC

Ossessionato
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Location: northern New York
 
Ossessionato
@orwell84 avatar
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Location: northern New York
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You're not kidding. For such basic engines, they sure can be have you going in circles before everything is right. Been at it for a couple years now.

The flow chart for Vespa troubleshooting is a spiral. Of course the gas tank has to come out again to fix a problem you didn't know was there before you installed it. Hang in there. You'll get it.
OP
@daleb avatar
UTC

Enthusiast
'55 VL1
Joined: UTC
Posts: 79
Location: Omaha, NE
 
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@daleb avatar
'55 VL1
Joined: UTC
Posts: 79
Location: Omaha, NE
UTC quote
Last night I got the carb loose and took off the top cover and pulled the jet. I cleaned out the jet and top needle seat with carb cleaner. I can feel a slight step worn into the needle with my fingernail. The question is... do I spend the $37 (after shipping) to buy a new one and hope that the seat isn't worn out, or the $112 for a new needle and bowl cover, or just replace the silly thing with a newer carb... somehow I suspect installing a new carb will end up being either quite expensive, a real pain in the ass, or both.

Or maybe I'm just barking up the wrong tree altogether. I've been running some 2% mix for testing (actually maybe just a bit over 2%). The original 1955 spec was 5% with motor oil. My plan was to run about 3% with full synthetic 2-stroke oil. I have to wonder if the slightly richer mixture from having less oil in the gas would make that much difference... if it does, I'll just run 5%. I've read that you don't need 5% with modern synthetic oils, but haven't read anything about needing to re-jet or anything.

Maybe I'll put it all back together, mix in some more oil, and see what that does. It wasn't flooding at idle like this before.
@chandlerman avatar
UTC

Lucky
76 Sprint V, 63 GL, 62 VBB, 05 Stella, 66 Smallstate, 79 P200E, 66 Lammy S3
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48 Days Since Last Explosion
 
Lucky
@chandlerman avatar
76 Sprint V, 63 GL, 62 VBB, 05 Stella, 66 Smallstate, 79 P200E, 66 Lammy S3
Joined: UTC
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Location: Nashville

48 Days Since Last Explosion
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If you can feel a lip in the needle, you need a new float needle. That's non-negotiable. You almost certainly don't need a new float chamber lid, though.

You probably want to polish your float needle seat, though. The method that I first learned from Voo doo is to get a bamboo skewer, chuck the pointy tip into your drill, and use that to polish it up. Between the two, your float will do its job well enough that the fuel tap is basically irrelevant if you leave it on.

I'm not sure how you're managing to spend $37 to replace that needle, though. Should be about $18 total from Scooter Mercato, $12 of which is shipping.

As to the question about oil mix ratio impacting the motor, think about it...you're talking about changing the fuel side, which is already 1/14th of the total mix, so by the time you changed the mix up enough to affect jetting, you're either going to seize (from lack of lubrication) or foul your plug (from excess oil).

All you need is 2% with a quality synthetic oil. If you're feeling paranoid and don't mind fouling plugs, you can run 3%. Use a B7 plug if you, as the heat will help stave off fouling.
@hibbert avatar
UTC

Molto Verboso
Vespa
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Location: California
 
Molto Verboso
@hibbert avatar
Vespa
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Location: California
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Careful with reducing the oil ratio on a 1955 it probably has a bushing at the gudgeon pin instead of a roller bearing that's why they call for 5%. Maybe go to 4% if good synthetic or upgrade the crank with a roller bearing on the wrist pin it will save money with less oil in the long run.
OP
@daleb avatar
UTC

Enthusiast
'55 VL1
Joined: UTC
Posts: 79
Location: Omaha, NE
 
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@daleb avatar
'55 VL1
Joined: UTC
Posts: 79
Location: Omaha, NE
UTC quote
chandlerman wrote:
I'm not sure how you're managing to spend $37 to replace that needle, though. Should be about $18 total from Scooter Mercato, $12 of which is shipping.
I'd love to know what part number you're looking at there. I couldn't find any trace of a float needle for a TA18 there. I found it at SIP and Scooterwest, but not SM.
@chandlerman avatar
UTC

Lucky
76 Sprint V, 63 GL, 62 VBB, 05 Stella, 66 Smallstate, 79 P200E, 66 Lammy S3
Joined: UTC
Posts: 9842
Location: Nashville

48 Days Since Last Explosion
 
Lucky
@chandlerman avatar
76 Sprint V, 63 GL, 62 VBB, 05 Stella, 66 Smallstate, 79 P200E, 66 Lammy S3
Joined: UTC
Posts: 9842
Location: Nashville

48 Days Since Last Explosion
UTC quote
DaleB wrote:
I'd love to know what part number you're looking at there. I couldn't find any trace of a float needle for a TA18 there. I found it at SIP and Scooterwest, but not SM.
I didn't realize you didn't have a non-SI carb, so my bad on that one.

As to oil mix, I ran my VBB with a bushing instead of a small end bearing for years at 2% with no issues. You need to do whatever you're comfortable with, though.
@garncarz avatar
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Molto Verboso
1964 Allstate Cruisaire, 2022 Husqvarna Vitpilen 401, 1972 Suzuki T500J
Joined: UTC
Posts: 1014
Location: York, PA (the intellectual center of the universe)
 
Molto Verboso
@garncarz avatar
1964 Allstate Cruisaire, 2022 Husqvarna Vitpilen 401, 1972 Suzuki T500J
Joined: UTC
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Location: York, PA (the intellectual center of the universe)
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But its always something......
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OP
@daleb avatar
UTC

Enthusiast
'55 VL1
Joined: UTC
Posts: 79
Location: Omaha, NE
 
Enthusiast
@daleb avatar
'55 VL1
Joined: UTC
Posts: 79
Location: Omaha, NE
UTC quote
The visions running through my head since Monday have most definitely NOT been of the sugarplum variety.

Today I mixed up a fresh batch of ethanol-free 91 octane with 4% synthetic oil and dumped it in the tank. Runs fine, idles fine, seems like it's all good. So was it the gas, or the oil mix, or the thorough re-cleaning of the carb? Who knows… or cares. If it continues to behave like it is now I'll take the win.

I don't really even seem to need the choke that I still can't seem to get connected to the choke lever. I bought the actual supposed correct wire from SIP - but it's about an inch short. I have to think there's supposed to be some sort of link or loop or something that connects it to the choke on the air box, but the parts catalog shows nothing of the sort. I'll probably rig up a short piece of safety wire, but that's a job for another day. I'd been just using some .041 safety wire since I got it running the first time anyway, but it was just kind of hand-wrapped around the choke lever. I'd like something better if I'm going to need the choke.

Now to get the gear selector cables adjusted so I can ride it. I'm kind of eager to see how much difference the added 10 degrees of advance and the new muffler make in its ability to haul my oversized carcass around.
OP
@daleb avatar
UTC

Enthusiast
'55 VL1
Joined: UTC
Posts: 79
Location: Omaha, NE
 
Enthusiast
@daleb avatar
'55 VL1
Joined: UTC
Posts: 79
Location: Omaha, NE
UTC quote
Update: Rode it. Came back, adjusted the shift cables so the selector is in the right place, in sync with the grip, and no play. Rode it again. It's wobblier than I remember, or maybe my tolerance for peril is lower than it was the last time I rode it on the street… it's probably been close to 15 years; the tags expired in '07. I can hold third gear most of the way up a hill, not much different than before but it's definitely a little more "peppy" than it was. Better throttle response and torque, it feels like. The only real changes are the SIP ignition and their exhaust with the expansion chamber.

There are a few little things to address, like the headlight rattling in the housing. I'd used an O-ring that crumbled when I took it apart, so gotta fix that. I've got working, visible head and tail lights now, though, even at idle. The AC horn still sounds like an injured bird of some sort though.

So it's fair to say that's all cheering me up today.
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