Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Running In

The weather in Perth this autumn has been glorious for scooting and every weekend I've taken the Troll out for a spin. My wife, Shelly, has always been somewhat lukewarm with my scooter 'thing.' She agreed the Vespa looked nice, but would never get on it - and I don't blame her, given the problems I've had with it! But shortly after the Troll restoration was finished she started dropping hints like, "Maybe I should get a helmet?" So last Sunday morning I borrowed a mate's helmet and took her for a spin.

I must admit I was a little anxious. I had never ridden with a passenger before and knowing how susceptible the Troll was to crosswinds I was concerned that she would not handle very well. However, I was pleasantly surprised with the Troll's performance. Power was not a problem - it hardly felt as if I was carrying a passenger - and, to my surprise, stability was much improved. Obviously the weight of the passenger kept the rear end stable and improved traction on the rear brakes. Perhaps more importantly, Shelly enjoyed her first ride on a scooter so we can look forward to more jaunts together.

Shelly, the Troll and friend in Freo. Shelly now has her own Nolan helmet.

Unfortunately, on the return journey the speedo/tacho went PING! Another problem to fix. Over the past couple of weeks a number of small problems have been flushed out as I run the Troll in. I've had to order a few more additional parts, such as a new horn, a new fan belt, and a new clutch cable. The clutch has been a bit of a problem as it occasionally seizes and I lose all the gears. It's caused me just a little bit of grief when it happens at the traffic lights - car drivers don't appreciate being held up by a scooter! I'm hoping this is a symptom of having to re-use the old clutch bowden during restoration and replacement with a new one will do the trick. We'll see.

Another minor problem I encountered was with the repro exhaust. The Troll has an unusual exhaust that loops around itself like a paperclip. The original was a single piece with a rounded front end. The new one is built in sections and has a flat front end. The seams between the segments don't seem to be sealed so the exhaust was basically spurting straight out of the front of the exhaust. It didn't really do anything to the performance but it was messy and soon the whole front of the underside was coated in oily exhaust residue. I hadn't realised it was so bad until I peeked under the footplate. Nevertheless, it wasn't a problem to fix - basic exhaust sealing putty was sufficient to fill all the gaps and get the exhaust flowing the right way.

Exhaust looking a lot better after sealing the leaks. Prior to sealing the exhaust was pumping forward through the segment joins.

More Fixes

After four solid days of pouring rain and squally wind, Sunday 24th of May turned out to be a beautiful day so I decided to take the Troll on what might be the last run of the season. Before setting out though I gave the scooter a careful once over. A couple of things came to light. Firstly, I discovered the cause of the tacho failure - the tacho bowden had been rubbing against the top of the front wheel and been completely worn through. More concerningly the front brake cable was also rubbing against the wheel and had worn through the plastic coating down to the metal. Both cables really needed to be tied up and lifted away from the wheel. I've tied up the brake cable temporarily but it will have to go. I've tried to organise all new cables but have again run into the problem that almost all the German suppliers with parts in stock operate a cash and carry business only. It's frustrating!

I think I've also found the cause of the slipping clutch. It's not the cable at all. The clutch arm that attaches to the engine was so loosely connected that I could slip the arm completely off its pinion. Another concern! I've tightened it up now and for the first hour of riding it was making an agreeable firm 'click' every time I changed gears, but into the second hour it began to slip again so I'll have to check it again before the next ride. I've also found that after about an hour of riding when the engine is hot (I'm assuming) I start experiencing problems with the petrol flow. It might be just a matter of dirt in the carb but I'm not entirely convinced. Just another thing I'll have to monitor.

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