Wednesday, February 11, 2015


Since this is supposed to be a blog about Rocket, my 2006 Vespa GT, I should get back to the fine scooter today.  Rocket continues to have problems.  Just when I gain confidence that it is getting better, something goes wrong and we start over again.

Over the past year, it has developed some issues.  The Scooter Cannonball Run might have done it in. It all started with the variator failure in the Cannonball.  After running so well for 8 3/4 days plus the 400+ miles from Prince George, BC to Hyder, it came to an end quickly with variator and belt failure.  The problem was the variator as a new belt failed in 30 miles the next day.

I had a new variator installed by the dealer in New Orleans, then had Rocket hauled home on a trailer. Shortly after getting home, an old problem arose again.  When riding fast on the highways, and fast means nearly wide open throttle, or for Rocket, 75 mph (GPS),  the temperature of the engine would rise and suddenly the power would drop to where I couldn't maintain 70 mph.  If I tried to ride far in this condition the cooling fan would start up and when coming to a stop, the oil light would come on for a few seconds.  None of this is good.

But in spite of this, because it was fine in all other riding situations, I decided to ride it while leading the scooter club on the annual ride to North Carolina this year.  In Washington, Georgia, I felt a slip in the drive.  We rode on to a gas station and I pulled the transmission cover off to find that the variator nut had come loose, damaging the outer drive pulley.  Through a few phone calls and overnight UPS delivery, I was back on the road the next morning and it rode fine the remainder of the trip.  

A month or so ago I was riding and it was hard to start and began riding roughly.  It stalled several times.  Fuel levels were very low so I thought it might be some trash in the fuel system.  I stopped at a gas station and filled the tank.  After doing so it wouldn't start at all.  I called Boris and he had Shaw bring me the truck to take it to the warehouse.  After it sat in the warehouse for a day, it started easily and ran well.  There he changed the coil just to make sure to eliminate one possibility.

It ran well for a while after this.

A couple of weeks ago I decided to ride it to Gainesville to see my daughter.  That is approximately 70 miles each way and I had a fantastic ride down.  On the return though the variator nut came loose again.  This time I rode a couple of miles again and by the time I stopped, the heat had melted everything plastic in the area.  I had the part this time, installed everything and made it home.

Then I was riding last week to Fleming Island, 20 miles each way.  On the way there it was fine but the return trip started by having a hard time getting Rocket started in the parking lot.  It finally started but ran very roughly the entire way home, actually stalling several times.  I was pleased to make it home.

Boris has no answers.  I am going to disconnect the evap system from the fuel side of the engine as I think that it might be the cause of the fueling issues.  I am beginning to think that the transmission problems are due to some looseness in the crankshaft bearing, causing slight vibration allowing the nut to loosen.  

Luckily, I have Vanessa, the Malaguti and Honda to get me around.  But Rocket is special and needs care to get back to normal


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