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Old 04-10-2012, 10:17 PM   #1
Pimpwerx OP
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Pimp's Rowdy 150

Hi. I'm new to scooting, This is my first scooter. I've ridden a bicycle for almost 30 years, and I've ridden a friend's motorcyle once, but that's about all my 2-wheel experience.

I ordered my Rowdy from Motobuys and after some waiting for customs, and some headaches with Conway Freight (totally unprofessional), it arrived today. It comes with some tools, but I strongly recommend getting your own. I'm not gonna make a list, just have a decent toolbox handy. My bike was supposed to come with a free half-helmet, but that didn't happen. I have to sort that out later.

Here's my makeshift PDI:


There she is still on the crate. I only removed the cardboard. I noticed immediately that the bike was damaged. I also noticed immediately that it wasn't the color I wanted. I wanted black as my first option, but I guess they ran out. So red was my second option, and that's what I got. It's not bad.


Some gorilla Donkey Kong smashed the crate in transit, cracking the left side panel. That or someone didn't tie it down. Motobuys says they'll send a replacement for the damaged parts and file a claim with Conway Freight.



Removing one of these things from the crate is not as easy as suggested. Sure, the bolts some off easy, but then the clothes hangers used to cinch the wheels down must have been tied into a knot by some machine. Those were a bear to remove. Then I was reminded of how weak I am when I struggled to roll the bike forward and over the support rail that was holding up the large bike stand. There she is, free of the cage. I attached the handlebars and removed plastics.



Panels removed, and ready for the inspection. I have to warn that part of my problem with Conway was they were late. 1 day and 3 hours late, to be exact. So, I didn't get very meticulous. I performed a thorough scan of all hoses and wires to make sure they weren't pinched or loose. I have 1/4" fuel hose, and ordered 3/16" vacuum hose. I'll replace everything by the end of the month. With daylight burning, I decided to focus on fluids.


I'm not fancy, but I have a photographic memory. So I usually just lay bolts and screws with their associated body parts and rely on memory for their placement on said pieces. This did give me a few fits as the panels have to go on in a certain order. Photographic memory doesn't help with sequencing.



This is what it looks like under the seat. A battery compartment that I'll probably also use for registration and other paperwork. Here's my first real complaint about this bike. The lock on the seat is crap. It locks when you don't want it to and won't lock when you need it to. Something's fouling the operation of the lock, so I need to take a closer look and fix it. The operation of the seat adjustment took a lot of effort, at first, but operates smoothly. It was well greased. The seat feels solid, though I need to adjust it and the handlebars, still.



Closer look with the panels off.


My second complaint. This storage box is a piece of junk. Mine came misshapen, and refuses to stay locked. I'm keeping my disc lock alarm in there, and it's driving my nuts everytime it opens up after I hit a bump. I'm also gonna have to go in and fix this. There's enough space for a small set of tools and my lock alarm. You can probably fit a chain lock in there too. Not much else. I'm not putting any money on it being waterproof, but I'm gonna use it anyway.




Not a lot of shots of the rear wheel and brakes online. I thought I'd take some.
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Old 04-10-2012, 10:43 PM   #2
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Closer look at the left side with the panels off. There wasn't anything pinched or kinked. I got a good look at everything too.


Here's two bolts to hold the front panel on, but I can't reach them. I don't know if it's even possible. I might have to loosen the two top bolts first, and then squeeze a long ratchet in there...or maybe just use magic.


A closer look at the front wheel and disc brake.


I was expecting a digital dash, as that's what I've seen in pics of this bike. I have no idea why the 2012 version of the Rowdy went back to the analog dash. I have no rpm gauge, and I have no clue or faith that the fuel gauge is reading properly. I think I'm gonna have to replace this POS first. I really don't like it. I really don't even use it. It's reading 5mph or so high at 45mph. This according to those radar signs on the side of Biscayne.



The gas cap and on the other side is the little bay, on the left, where I currently keep my Xena disc lock alarm, while I figure out how to get the storage box to stay closed.


Her butt tells the world she's not an actual Big Ruckus. That's coming off eventually. You will want to have a set of shortish license plate screws/bolts on hand. The bolts I used were too long, so I couldn't tighten the bolts for the mount down. As a result, I lost the two nuts holding those bolts, and my license plate fell off near my house. I rescued it, and now I have a trip to Home Depot for more bolts. LOCTITE EVERYTHING. I have a tube of loctite sitting around here. I just chose not to use it because of the lack of time. I will be securing every damn bolt on this bike. It vibrates enough that I'm scared of more bolts rattling loose. It's a legitimate concern.


These ugly things will never grace this bike. I'll have to find some laughing man decals or something. I think I'm gonna go all black sometime down the road. Maybe matte black. Maybe the red will grow on me.


The routing of some of these fuel lines is questionable, but nothing pinched or kinked.



I got it in my head that I would also do a carb adjustment, so I took out the battery tray to get better access to the engine. I didn't do the carb adjustment, because I don't know where the fuel/air adjustment dealy is. I see the idle control, but I need to find the air/fuel mixture knob.




I changed the oil to Valvoline Nextgen 10w40. Why? Why not? It's only going in for the first 1500 miles, then I'm switching to Mobil1, which I've used in my cars the last decade.


I have the Prima magnetic oil plugs, so I had to pinch the tip of the screen so it slipped into the center of the magnet. Otherwise, the screen will not allow you to screen in the plug. I also made sure to spray the spring and screen with brake part cleaner and let them dry first. I lubed the o-ring on the magnetic drain plug before putting it in.

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Old 04-10-2012, 11:17 PM   #3
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Next, I changed the gear oil. I filled with Redline 75w90, which I've used in my 325Ci the last couple of years. I used the marine pump you see pictured. I got that from Pepboys a couple years ago. It works effectively, and can keep your hands clean of the stuff. Gear oil is one of the worst-smelling car fluids ever. Really disgusting and pungent. I understand they sell gear oil in nozzled bottles now, but not Redline. So this was my only option.


I just filled it until the fill hole said no mas. The environment took one for the team here, as I was slow reacting...very slow.


Prima provided me 3 plugs. The big one from before was for the oil. The two brass ones here also came with that one. I used the one on the towel as my drain plug and just switched the washer from the old plug to the new, magnetic one. The big plug that's sitting on the pavement, I don't know what that goes with. I'm holding it in my toolbox for now. Maybe someone can buy me a clue. One thing to note is that the new magnetic drain plug for the transmission is a different size from the original. My bike came with a 10mm bolt, and Prima gave me a 12mm bolt.


I've never seen something like this, so I thought I'd snap a pic. It locks the handlebars, and then it has a shield for the ignition. Interesting. I'm not sure how much I'll use that. Plus, it just makes the key even more uncomfortable to hold.


Here's most of what I had. My trusty little Craftsman socket set, brake parts cleaner, measuring cup (for engine oil), pump, funnels, shop rags and a printed copy of this PDI.



I forgot to do it at the start, when my hands were clean, so I Gojo'd the gear and engine oil off my mitts and swapped out the spark plug for a NGK Iridium. My odometer read 0.6 miles, and the plug was black. I don't know why. I haven't looked at my iridium plug yet, but I hope I've got everything running fine.


My first impact driver. I don't know what took me so long. This thing doesn't have enough torque to remove the lugnuts on my car. I'm thinking it's not gonna have the power to remove the variator nut. I hope I'm wrong.



There's a "convenient" access panel on each side panel. I admire the effort, but I have no clue what I could use either of these for. You talk about a bridge to nowhere, these are doors to nowhere.



I finally put the footrests and mirrors on. The seat is waiting for the battery, which still didn't seem to be fully-charged after a solid 5 hours on my 1.5A charger. I didn't read the mAh rating on the battery, so I assumed it was 7mAh. Maybe it's bigger and I should have charged longer. Oh well.

I have no pics of it, but the first thing I actually did (after swearing at the damage) was fill the battery and then put it on for a charge. By the time I got it in the bike, it was dark outside. I'd already lost all my mojo and settled into a 30 minutes, expletive-riddled search for the keys. It turns out I hid them under a piece of paper in the den.

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Old 04-10-2012, 11:38 PM   #4
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When I first started the bike, it needed a little gas to start. I let it idle for a bit and then took off. It was already dark, so I got to test out the lighting. The headlight is decent. People will be able to see me, but it doesn't light the road that well. I still want to switch to the Big Ruckus dual headlight setup at some point. I don't anticipate driving much at night, but it would be nice for safety.

This is my first scooter, and I've only logged 30 miles (I'm changing the oil first thing in the morning). I can't compare the performance to anything else, but I'll give my opinion anyway.

Break-in - I'm going with a hard break-in, so I'm basically driving it like I stole it. I try to give it a lot of revs, and varied throttle. If I get it wrong, I can always try an easy break-in when I upgrade the engine down the road.

Acceleration - Felt adequate. I feel I want to street bike now, because above 40mph on the lame speedometer, acceleration was very slow. I don't know if I hit 50mph at all. I have to take it across the causeway to the beach. I'll get to try it going downhill.

Speed - The fastest I got was 45 or so, according to the radar signs on the side of Biscayne. That's when it flashes "slow down" instead of your speed. Everything is stock and being broken-in. I guess I'll have to be patient in this department.

Handling - The tires ended up being overinflated to 43psi each. Max rating is 36psi. They could have just been warm, but they were still definitely overinflated and were too firm. I lowered them to 32psi, and the ride feels more comfortable. The shocks don't do much, though there are two of them in the rear. The front is not an issue, but the back transfers every bump to your butt. The front felt solid at speed, and I felt comfortable leaning both ways into turns.

Comfort - The riding position is awesome. The seat is a bit too firm, though. I saw someone reupholster theirs. That sounds like a great idea. This being my first scooter, I wonder if the vibrations are normal. I guess I expected a smooth ride, but the engine doesn't give me that throaty sound I hear from bigger bikes, and the sometimes jarring ride isn't as dampened as I expected. I'd love to upgrade the suspension as much as I'd love to get some more power from this thing. I wish there was a stretch kit for this thing.

Braking - I rode a scooter with drum brakes once before. This is nothing like that. I felt like I could brake with confidence. It's still a longer distance than with my car, but I feel stable and confident under even hard braking. The brakes do make more noise than I'd like, and I think I'm gonna try bedding in the brake pads tomorrow.

That's it for me tonight. I'm exhausted. I spent the entire day at my parents' house waiting for my delayed shipment, and then working frantically to get it inspected and road-worthy. I'm going to sleep. I'll be updating this thread with my experiences with the bike. I'll try to document tomorrow's oil change. PEACE.
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Old 04-11-2012, 12:31 AM   #5
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Brilliant thread with superb photos and info...thanks a bundle for the effort !!

I really like those bikes after reading the 'My Chinese Big Ruckus Clone' thread on here.

I`d LOVE a real Big Ruckus but they`re rarer than unobtanium over here,so you have helped me a great deal in thinking of one of these instead,as I`m sure I could get one over here somehow.

Regarding the impact driver,you`d probably find a hand held one that you strike with a hammer to be far more durable and capable,especially for very tight fasteners.

Sure the mystery plug bolt isn`t from under the engine for full oil drainage ?
Just a thought.

Thanks again!!
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Old 04-11-2012, 03:17 AM   #6
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excellent write-up and pix.

between this and the "'My Chinese Big Ruckus Clone" thread anyone buying one of these clones should be good to go.

thanks for posting.
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Old 04-11-2012, 04:44 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Tarka View Post
Sure the mystery plug bolt isn`t from under the engine for full oil drainage ?
Just a thought.

Thanks again!!
I'd like to know that. I took two pics of it.




Do I need to drain that plug along with the big one that has the screen? If so, I guess I'll complete my next oil change tomorrow when I hit 100 miles instead of when I hit 150. I supposed that could be where that extra Prima magnetic bolt goes. PEACE.
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Old 04-11-2012, 10:36 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Pimpwerx View Post
I'd like to know that. I took two pics of it.




Do I need to drain that plug along with the big one that has the screen? If so, I guess I'll complete my next oil change tomorrow when I hit 100 miles instead of when I hit 150. I supposed that could be where that extra Prima magnetic bolt goes. PEACE.

That to my eyes is a pretty standard location for an engine drain bolt....if they`re not as the photo they`re central underneath or at the front next to the oil filter....and I reckon therein lies the mystery bolt 'unmystified' !

I`m loving this thread!
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Old 04-11-2012, 07:27 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Tarka View Post
I`d LOVE a real Big Ruckus but they`re rarer than unobtanium over here,so you have helped me a great deal in thinking of one of these instead,as I`m sure I could get one over here somehow.
I'd love one, too - but they're spendy; they're yesterday's technology (rear drums and stamped-steel wheels) and frankly, other scoots of that engine size give a better riding experience for much less money.

So...much as I love the style, unless a BR drops into my lap, I'll content myself with a RucKlone.

I just wish it would go just a little faster...and that I could have more confidence in running it WOT for long periods.
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Old 04-11-2012, 08:01 PM   #10
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I'd love one, too - but they're spendy; they're yesterday's technology (rear drums and stamped-steel wheels) and frankly, other scoots of that engine size give a better riding experience for much less money.

So...much as I love the style, unless a BR drops into my lap, I'll content myself with a RucKlone.

I just wish it would go just a little faster...and that I could have more confidence in running it WOT for long periods.
You own an R1200GS and think a Honda Big Ruckus is spendy?
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Old 04-11-2012, 10:36 PM   #11
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I don't read all the replies here but I read your posts on the bike.


Youse doing a good job! These china bikes have some potential to be reasonable bikes, BUT, if you do that extra TLC. Youse likely to have a reasonable experance due to your efforts from day 1. Not 1/4 the quality of a Honda or a reputable scooter or motorcycle, but its still can be good!


And man, don't complain about that speedo! For a china scoot, with only 5 MPH off is great! Seriously. My Honda motorcycles read about that! Nearly every Japanese Motorcycle reads somewhere between 5%-10% off.

EXCEPT Honda scooters in my experance. My old 86 Elite 150 is within +/- 1MPH of both GPS and Radar.

But, this will be a little slow. Expect to top out 55 MPH once broke in, maybe 60 MPH or so in decent conditions.
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Old 04-12-2012, 03:15 AM   #12
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You own an R1200GS and think a Honda Big Ruckus is spendy?
I bought the oilhead in better days. I do okay now; but the days of being flush are over, at least for now.

I've considered even selling the GS - but I don't want to; it's paid for and there's no telling whether I'll get a chance to own another. If the arthritis gets worse....WHEN it does...I'll sell and add to my stable of scoots; but for now I'll keep my memento of better days.

No room in the budget for a used $4500 scoot, though.
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Old 05-07-2012, 07:09 PM   #13
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So...I'm 263 miles and 4 oil changes in now. I haven't updated in a while, because life's been busy. I also lost a memory card with some pics on it, so I'm short on images today.

First oil change was out of the box. The second oil change was at 85 miles or so. I noticed flakes of metal. I guess that's normal. It turns out that mystery bolt is the second drain for the crankcase, after all. So I ended up performing a third oil change at 180 miles. I also changed the gear oil at this time. I noticed more metal flakes in the engine oil again, but not as much as the previous change. I used brake cleaner to remove it from the magnetic bolts. I also noticed metal flakes in the gear oil and cleaned those. When I'd ridden my bike back to my apartment, I noticed it was dripping oil. I didn't replace the washer on the second drain bolt, and it was warped. So the bolt didn't sit properly and I had a slow leak. This resulted in a fourth oil change the very next day...somewhere around 200 miles in.

I currently have 263 miles on the bike, so I've got a good amount to report. First, the few pics I managed to snap last weekend.


See the wrench sitting in the middle? I hooked into one of the fins on the drive face, and then used the kick stand rod as a stopper. This let me turn the variator nut without spinning the variator. I haven't quite figured out how to remove the clutch bell. I was kinda fatigued by the time I got to this, so I wasn't thinking straight. Any thoughts?

FYI, when I removed the variator cover, the gasket tore. I was gentle too, and the bike has low miles. I'm pretty disappointed in that. It just tore in one place. Is it really that important given how many people vent their cases?

Also, pictured is the stock belt. Let me know if it looks like it's too small. I thought it was supposed to be 842, but it's a 835 belt.


I haven't researched changing brake fluid on these bikes, but I assume I have to. The rear brake fluid seems low. I don't know how to read the brake fluid indicators, and they change levels when I'm riding. I don't really know how to get fluid in and out of the reservoirs, so any advice is welcome. I'll just google it if necessary.


I stripped her bare. I'm having some performance issues, so I took off all the panels, pulled the carb and adjusted the valves. It's sitting in my shed under the bike cover while I drag my feet cleaning the carb and consider purchasing performance upgrades.

So here are my issues:

1. Loss of power after running 5-10 miles. Once I hit that distance, if I go WOT for more than a few seconds, once I release the throttle, the engine either sputters and loses power, or just dies altogether. After that, it won't start up again unless I let it sit and cool down for some time. It can be anywhere from 5-20 minutes. I'm not sure how to kick start (I know...I'm stupid).

I haven't researched this, but I thought I remembered reading something about adjusting the valves and setting the mixture and idle. This is why I just got annoyed and pulled everything off. I'm like, "this problem's getting fixed before I take it for another ride".

2. Not really an issue, but holy crap crossing drawbridges is scary. Is there any threat of my bike skidding out from under me? I'm just trying to go in a straight line, and the bike is wobbling erratically. Any tips other than finding overpasses?

3. I'll track is closely in the future, but I feel like my gas mileage is only 50-60mpg. During my first two oil changes, I was overfilling the crankcase, since I wasn't draining it completely. I don't know if this is responsible for the mileage.

4. I have different diameters of fuel and vacuum hose. I'm gonna have to buy more of the stuff before I replace it all. I've also gotta track down more extra nuts and bolts than I thought as some stuff has rattled loose. Red loctite will be going on.

Here are my fixes so far:

1. I fixed the storage compartment, at least its inability to stay closed and locked. I took the box off and noticed the locking latch was bent and wasn't slotting into the locking hook on the box. So I took some pliers and made sure I bent i back into shape without damaging the latch. The real test will be if the storage compartment stays shut with my disc lock banging around inside.

2. I rerouted some of the fuel and vacuum lines that just seemed tangled for no good reason. It's obvious some of these hoses were changed or added after others, because there's no logic to some of their routing. I still plan on replacing them all, but I figured rerouting was necessary anyway. It was an easy fix.

3. I found the air/fuel screw. ABritOnMaui circled it in that pic. It's underneath that aluminum cap. I had to drill it out using a 1/4" bit. This was a bit nerve-racking. For one, I took off a little bit of the surrounding cast metal while I was drilling. I also felt like might have made a mistake, because I was drilling for so long. The cap is thicker than you might think. Be warned. I'll try to snap pics when I clean it out. It'll give you an idea of how deep the screw is in there. It's a PD24J carb. I'm just stoked I can tune the engine at least a little bit now.


Other stuff of note:

1. So I took the variator off (again, I'll try to snap pics) and it comes with 17g weights stock. I weighed them. I plan on starting off with lighter weights and tinkering once I'm back on the road.

2. I pulled off the stock belt and it's a Gates Powerlink 835 20. WTF? Isn't that too short for the type of engine I have? I ordered a 842 20 belt on Amazon already. I'm not sure what to think. Should it be obvious if the belt is the wrong size?

3. When I started taking it apart, I wanted to be cautious, but I got so annoyed I just went crazy. I've never taken an engine apart, but I was like, "welp...it's already giving me problems, what's the worst than can happen". So I decided to just go for it and popped the carb and valve cover off. I'm glad I did. It's very close to model airplane engines, and I've worked briefly with those. I'm tempted to try my own port and polish now. I have no fear of damaging anything on this bike now.

That's it. I'll update as I go. PEACE.

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Old 04-11-2012, 04:59 AM   #14
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Congratulations on the scoot! Re the shipping, judging by the huge dent in the side beam of the crate it took a knock during shipping. Having said that, I don't see that it was well secured within the crate either. I have seen much better packing jobs with additional struts welded into place and used to support the scoot.

You did right with the PDI! It will need quite a bit of love over time, however, it will reward you. My gy6 150 (same engine as yours, different shell) was great but I did spend a lot of time keeping on top of issues before they happened. You also have to adopt something of a 'walmart' attitude to parts. A carb is maybe $25, the cdi / coil etc isn't much more. Keep spares, you will need them and for all you can faff around repairing stuff like the carb (the diaphragms are notoriously weak) its quicker to simply replace it. Carry superglue with you to do an emergency fix on the diaphragm.

Also, you mention switching to dual headlights, you may wish to uprate the stator to help. There are much better bulbs about than stock. Switching all none headlight bulbs to LED's gives you more light for less power, freeing up power. The battery it came with will likely be junk. I just charged mine up weekly, some Friday's it still needed a kick start. It's like having a British bike from the 50's (insert joke about the brits drinking warm beer because lucas made refrigerators :)). If its allowed on the forum I have a couple of links to places that I used for bulbs and led's, the bulbs you probably want to wait on though until you replace the headlights and see what sockets you need. Also check out the fuse, if its a glass cylinder type you may wish to replace it with a standard auto fuse inline socket. A couple of dollars and a quick solder and you have a better solution.

Let me know how the breakin goes. I am a fan of the ride it like you stole it breakin, however, I wasn't sure it was best for older engine designs when I got mine. I am not saying I am right, just interested to see how it goes for you!

Edit: The air / fuel mix is usually a screw near the base of the carb, looking at that picture of yours, I'm guessing its towards the bottom of the carb, on the top right (from the viewpoint of that picture), possibly by where the black hose is running. There are a whole shedload of gy6 manuals about the place with diagrams etc.
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Old 04-11-2012, 04:58 PM   #15
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Congratulations on the scoot! Re the shipping, judging by the huge dent in the side beam of the crate it took a knock during shipping. Having said that, I don't see that it was well secured within the crate either. I have seen much better packing jobs with additional struts welded into place and used to support the scoot.

You did right with the PDI! It will need quite a bit of love over time, however, it will reward you. My gy6 150 (same engine as yours, different shell) was great but I did spend a lot of time keeping on top of issues before they happened. You also have to adopt something of a 'walmart' attitude to parts. A carb is maybe $25, the cdi / coil etc isn't much more. Keep spares, you will need them and for all you can faff around repairing stuff like the carb (the diaphragms are notoriously weak) its quicker to simply replace it. Carry superglue with you to do an emergency fix on the diaphragm.

Also, you mention switching to dual headlights, you may wish to uprate the stator to help. There are much better bulbs about than stock. Switching all none headlight bulbs to LED's gives you more light for less power, freeing up power. The battery it came with will likely be junk. I just charged mine up weekly, some Friday's it still needed a kick start. It's like having a British bike from the 50's (insert joke about the brits drinking warm beer because lucas made refrigerators :)). If its allowed on the forum I have a couple of links to places that I used for bulbs and led's, the bulbs you probably want to wait on though until you replace the headlights and see what sockets you need. Also check out the fuse, if its a glass cylinder type you may wish to replace it with a standard auto fuse inline socket. A couple of dollars and a quick solder and you have a better solution.

Let me know how the breakin goes. I am a fan of the ride it like you stole it breakin, however, I wasn't sure it was best for older engine designs when I got mine. I am not saying I am right, just interested to see how it goes for you!

Edit: The air / fuel mix is usually a screw near the base of the carb, looking at that picture of yours, I'm guessing its towards the bottom of the carb, on the top right (from the viewpoint of that picture), possibly by where the black hose is running. There are a whole shedload of gy6 manuals about the place with diagrams etc.
I'll look into buying spares, or just keeping old units around as backups, if I upgrade anything.

I know about upgrading the electrical system for the BR headlights. I think I'll leave that mod for summer at the earliest. Thanks for the reminder about the fuse. I saw it and knew I needed to replace it, but I didn't have time. I also didn't know what amp rating it had.

I'll let you guys know how it breaks in and how it performs. Adjusting the tire pressure made the ride a lot better, though I would still like to upgrade the rear shocks.

As for the air/fuel mixture screw, I took pics of where it should be. Where there should be a knob or screw, there's a flat face. It doesn't look like anything broke or got sheared off. It just looks like that hole was filled.



I don't know what to make of it. I just know I'm not taking the panels off again until I know where to look for that thing. The other side of the engine looks like this:



I'll try to track down a manual/schematic. PEACE.
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