Friday, October 28, 2011


I was thinking about my scooter and thought I'd revisit the place it came from, Planet Vespa in Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam. Looking through the website, it reads like most restorers' websites in SE Asia, the standard of English is better, but the spiel is the same. Below is the list of things they do when they restore a scooter, taken from the website. In black is my feedback.

New component include: Typo, sre they meant components
- New cylinder head  No, it is newer than the cylinder though
- New piston  I have soft and probably hard seized the engine three times, the wear on the rings, piston and cylinder are inconsistent with each other, there is no way the piston was new. Having done some reading in the last few days and having measured the piston in order to get some new rings, I have discovered that I have a 3rd oversize piston at 57.4, the cylinder has been re-bored 3 times. Given it's a forty year old engine (disclaimer. I am in no doubt that this engine is a mix match of unknown origin, the serial numbers have been questioned before and lets face it, I could go to a hardware store and buy a set of number punches....what I do know is that it is a 3 port engine, so that is at least true to the model.)
- New rings  Possibly but highly unlikely, the fact that there were 0.1 shims in behind them has me doubting it. like I said the wear marks on them is inconsistent with the cylinder and the scoring on the piston.
- New Dell ‘Orto carburetor  This part is true, it is new. the jet sizes were wrong though,the idle jet was ok, the Main was way too small and the air bleed was too big, recipe to seize me thinks. oh that's right I did. these have since been rectified.
- New transmission (4 speed manual hand shift)  No idea as I haven't had any trouble with it, nor had to split the cases.....yet
- New condenser & ignition coil  nothing on the stator plate looked new, as it is a 12v upgrade, some have mentioned that it may be a P125 set up
- New installation of all wiring looms with 12v electrical upgrade  12v yes, new my arse, I have since replaced the lot save a couple of switches
- New steering head bushes and bearings  Don't know, everything feels solid and moves freely, time will tell
- New front and rear suspension  front shocker was exactly that, a shocker. The whole lot has been replaced, the rubbers were not even rubber, they were hard foam and the bush was hand cut from a pipe and not even the right length, it was obvious that it was new maybe 40 years ago. The rear well the spring looks ok, I haven't really given the whole set up a good look, I have ordered new top and bottom rubbers, the bottom one is old and cracked, the top, well I need to see a new one before I comment.
- New brakes  Again, unless they still make new asbestos shoes......front and back brakes replaced
- New stainless steel exhaust system  this is just a joke, no comment, unless other people order a SS exhaust that is, the one I got was old and although it was a functional stock exhaust I changed it for a Sito + and will never go back.
- New rubber hoses, seals and trimmings  where to start..the bellows did look new, its out there and proud so best it be new, the fuel hose was discoloured and hard as a rock, the trimmings around the tool box door, top of the tank and the air box were new, but I have since gotten rid of all three, I made a tank gasket, the toolbox lid didn't have one originally and the air box one was a pain in the A as it fell off every time I took the top off, it didn't seal anything anyway. As for the grommets where the hoses and cables run through the frame, some were wrong, most were old and the important one that runs through the bottom of the frame, with the cables and wiring, didn't have one at all and was eating away at everything that went through it slowly, new rubbers on the way
- New head and rear lights with new bulbs  FFS, there is no way any of this was new, the globes worked to start with but the substandard regulator died within weeks and so did the globes, I had to chip off some of the hard plastic on the underside of the rear cover so that the clear section was able to do it's job and light up the number plate. the rear light internals were crude and riveted together, the globe holders were dodgy and so was the wiring, The headlight internals were many years old, Noah had the same set up on the ark.....the upside was the glass was in fact glass. everything has been replaced.
- New Speedometer, hooray. yes this one is true.
- New Horn  True also, but not a Vespa horn and crudely screwed on, the back of it looked as though they hacksawed off something to get it in, but it worked, unlike the new one, but that's me being lazy.
- New Floor runners & rubber floor mat all appear new, but the lazy way they just riveted the runner ends and mat on instead of screws is a little less aesthetic the runner ends are the lowest quality available but what would you expect.
- New chrome stand. 
- New seating upholstery mounted on twin saddle  I opted for a bench seat as that is what the Veloces had, the upholstery was new but in twelve months the piping has started to come out. The seat frame is original, but has been painted, this paint crumbles and falls off all the time, just a matter of time before some of that crap ends up in the fuel tank and eventually me on the side of the road cleaning out the blocked jets.

- 3X new white wall tires with new inner tubes on 10 inch wheels* assume that the asterix is for extras to those who want something more. I didn't get white walls and I already had 10" wheels, the rims were stuffed, rusted, out of true, but they were shiny on the outside.....the tyres were new Kenda's not a bad tyre by most standards but I changed them out for Michelin S1s, I replaced the rims for new alloy ones, as for the tubes, they were far from new, the giveaway was the fact they were stuck to the rims and had been for some time, oh and the plethora of patch repairs gave it away too.
- New Chrome plated hubcaps*  not for me thanks they reek of tacky
- New kick starter pedal ahh nope, not new, not even the rubber bit on the end.
- New clutch and front brake levers  levers are new now since I replaced them, I had to replace the clutch arm o-ring, very early on in the piece, in fact it was my first repair. ok enough of the nostalgia, with untrained eyes I noticed that the little clutch drum thingy's that poke out the end, there's six of them I think, one or two of them were marked, one had a gouge out of it, the clutch cover was a mess internally too from memory, but it works well so like everything else, I wont try and fix it if it ain't broken
- New Tire covers no thanks
- 4X New Indicator lamps* no thanks, don't need them before 1975
- New Stainless steel folding rear luggage rack or front folding rack with custom made
padded back rest* same again, no thanks.
- New chrome trimming and stainless steel body railing. no rails and the trimming isn't new and it isn't put on well either, it actually shows the dings and buckles of the leg shield out more, these I can live with, anything that's 40 years old will have dings, scratches and imperfections, just like me.
- New chrome plated gas cap this is true, it doesn't mention the home made rubber seal nor the screw that's 15mm too long with no less than three nuts securing it.
- Every nut and bolt replaced with rust proof stainless steel crock of shit, I have never seen such a collection of mismatched, rusty, poor quality nuts bolts and washers, the replacements i do as I work through the scooter are in fact the "rust proof stainless steel"

Sorry for the epic post, once I started I realised what I had done...
What this long list of wonderful "new" things my Sprint V should've had doesn't include the things I have found to be stuffed, like the whole fuel tap set up, the entire cable set, removal of the battery and ignition style kill switch, the endless amount of crud that I find in every crevice and in plain site, this I would expect, but some of the crud is just a little too much to describe the restoration as "immaculate" and to photo shop some major repairs out of the pictures of the frame prior to painting the scooter what can I say to that.

Apart from all that, the scooter is just as they described it.

1 comment:

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