Thursday, 26 June 2014

Headlight wiring

Pics for future reference.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Poor quality Indian light switches

I'm fed up with changing light switches on my Series 2 Lambretta, but it seems I can't buy one anywhere that isn't one of those crappy Indian ones. All the other Lambretta models seem to be catered for by more expensive and quality items, but not the Series 2. This week I tried to fit a new switch after my previous one failed, but it broke while I was fitting it - the purple wire fell out. Another hour wasted.

Thursday, 19 June 2014


Broke down on the way to MOT. This is the problem with SORN'd vehicles - there's no opportunity to test-drive them before you actually drive them to the MOT station.

Anyway, what happened here was entirely my fault - it later dawned on me that I'd underfilled the cooling system because I didn't even look at the expansion tank and made no attempt to turn the engine over to eliminate air locks after filling.

No damage, only to my pride.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Rear fender and struts

Made some struts for the Honda today. Pretty pleased with the way they turned out. I used 8mm OD / 6mm ID stainless pipe and a Draper Mini Tube Pipe Bender which is supposedly only to be used with thin-wall copper plumbing pipe but it handled the 1mm wall stainless admirably. At each end of the pipes I created a flat piece in a vice and then drilled a hole through.

At the front-most end of the plastic fender (£15 off ebay) I fitted some aluminium cable straps originally destined for my Lambretta and used them to mount it to the swingarm.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Side-mount number plate

Managed to find the time to rig up the number plate on the side of the Honda.

I did this using an off-the-shelf all-in-one number plate/tail/brake light with holder which I chopped up a bit and mounted to the chain cover using stainless socket button screws with allen heads, with nylock nuts on the underside.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Forks refurbished

I rigged up a rather ridiculous trolley for the Honda to enable me to remove the forks and wheels with ease.

Having done this, I stripped the forks to replace the top seals and oil, and also chopped 50mm off the spacers to make it sit a little lower. While the trolley was in place I also took the opportunity to remove the rear wheel and get rid of the solid wheel covers.

As you can see here I still haven't chopped off the rear of the frame.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Silentblock wide bush engine mounts - limited space for carburettor

While I'm busy blogging I thought I'd share a picture of my engine mount and how it physically contacts both my Jetex 22mm carburettor and my fast flow fuel tap. There literally isn't any room to spare between them.

I've done over 1000km with this setup and my early concerns about whether engine movement might cause some problems have come to nothing. Of course the carb moves with the engine and its mounts, but the fuel tap obviously doesn't.

Replacing inlet manifold gasket

The most frustrating thing about replacing the inlet manifold gasket on a Lambretta (or mine at least) is that you have to drop the engine off its mount in order to take the manifold off its studs. Another 5mm and we'd be clear. Alas, this lack of space makes what could be a 15 minute job into at least an hour job fraught with potential complications.

On the bright side, we don't need much of a drop so there's no need to disconnect any cables or electrics. Once my engine was removed my engine still sat happily in place and could be cajoled most easily by dragging the scooter from side to side by grabbing the footboard mount. When pulling the frame this way toward the carb side it makes the engine drop enough so that the manifold can just be squeezed over the longer stud.

During all this I did have a trolley jack placed just beneath the cowl in case it decided to drop some more. This was also going to help me move the engine back into place when finished.

I scraped the old gasket off the manifold and the cylinder, being very careful indeed not to drop anything into the cylinder. With the new one in place I squeezed the manifold back over its studs. Previously I'd been using spring washers but after some reading and observation I figured that a crinkle (wavy) washer would be better due to limited space on the studs protruding above the manifold. I didn't have the right size crinkle washer so I made my own! I just took a normal washer and hammered it while held in a vice. Not pretty, but effective.

Jetex carburettor - sticking float

After fixing my inlet manifold gasket I stumbled into another problem. The engine wouldn't start, and then I noticed fuel flooding out of the carb onto the floor. The problem was an apparently commonplace sticking float. It wasn't sticking on the housing, but simply wasn't moving very freely on the pivot pin.

I considered removing the pin and float and sanding the float a little on the hinged faces, as per some ideas on the Lambretta forums. First of all though I though I'd get some WD40 into it and let it stand for a while. This did the trick - the float now falls freely under gravity and rises with the 'tide'.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Inlet manifold worked loose, gasket fail

So I've been using the scoot happily for a long time now with little bother, typically once a week getting to work in Bristol. It must be over two years of reliable starting and riding in all weathers - hot, cold, wet and dry. The only thing I've been having to stay on top of is a very slow loss of air from the rear wheel and regular disintegration of my air hose regardless of whether I buy Indian or Italian. Regular oil checks have revealed no noticeable oil loss through leak or burn. MOT's have gone without a hitch.

All good then, until a few weeks ago when midway through my journey home from work it started running rough - not idling without throttle, and low on power. A test ride the next day revealed that the engine would race frighteningly fast with choke on, and die without it. This is symptomatic of air getting into the cylinder not via the carb.

Then it went cold. Then it snowed:

Finally today the snow has gone and basking in 8 degrees warmth I was able to take a look at what's going on. The inlet manifold has become loose and part of the gasket disintegrated, allowing air ingress. With the choke on this had the effect of a wide open throttle.

So now I need to drop the engine by a few cm's (again) to get the manifold off, replace the gasket, and fit it back with some nylock nuts and wavy washers. Tight. And hopefully this time it'll stay on!