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Old 07-06-2010, 08:12 PM   #1
Sasquatch OP
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A Honda Elite 250 story.

Here is a short rambling about my life with a 1985 Honda Elite 250. I am hoping some of the ramblings can help other Elite addicts if they ever experience issues like I did.

I acquired my 1985 over a year ago in a pile of parts. My plan was to build it and sell it. Scooters are popular around here and it was just a money making project for me. What ensued was an addiction. Love and frustration. Elation and disappointment.

The first step was to see if she would fire up. I flushed the tank, cleaned the carb, installed a new plug and hit the starter. She fired right up, ran somewhat smooth, and the drive system seemed to work fine. With that test passed, it was time to make her right. I am anal about my mechanical work and could never sell something that was not as good as I can make it. No jerry rigging here.

So she came apart. I replaced all the rubber, new rollers, new belt, new brake and throttle cables, new battery, new front brake shoes, and a complete tune up.

The body was in horrible shape. No paint job, no matter how expensive would bring it back. So it got a bedliner paint job. Turned out pretty well. Replaced the seat cover with one found on ebay. Turned out really well. Fitted her with new tires.

Time to put some miles on her. She had just under 20k on the (faded) digital odo. She ran great. Too good. I started riding her more and more. Pretty soon I found an Aprillia top box in matching flat black for the rear rack. I found a replacement gauge cluster for the faded unit.

Each time I worked on her I fixed more issues. Replacing fasteners with correct ones, adjusting this, tightening that, eliminating rattles and buzzes.

One thing kept nagging me though. No matter how hard I tried, I could not get her above 56-58 mph. This is supposed to be a 70mph scooter. Yeah, I know I am fat, but it just felt like she wanted to go faster. One hot summer day while running flat out on my way home from work, it happened. Something popped and it was like she shifted into overdrive. Hit 64 before I had to slow for a stop sign.

There it was, I knew she had it in her. The problem was that she would only sometimes pop into high gear, and other times be held back.

For the rest of last summer and up to today I was on a quest to find out why. I tore into the drive system again and again. Polishing, lubing, measuring, comparing, and scratching my head over and over in confusion. I replaced the belt with the often mentioned Gates replacement and while it seemed to help, it did not cure it. I tried jetting, going leaner and richer. Richer jeting helped the power, but it still did not feel right. I pulled and plugged the bystarter circuit. No change.

Throughout all this time I replaced the front and rear shocks, installed new mirrors, floor mats, and other dress up items. It is a labor of love.

Finally last night I got fed up again. I pulled the drive system again. With the driven pulley on my work bench, I figured out how to get it apart.

There it was, staring me straight in the face. Inside the driven pulley is a set of spiral wound groves that allow the outside pulley to rotate while it expands out. The years of use, and probably abuse, deeply notched those grooves causing the pins to bind not allowing the pulley to fully expand.

I did a little dance.

Then I set out to fix it. I knew it would need replacement, but I wanted to dress those grooves to see if it took care of the problem. Out came the dremel, files and a buffing wheel.

Yes indeed. She ran like a scalded ape. I saw 68 twice today. I think she has 70 in her yet (I am on a life change diet and rapidly loosing weight). Then it happened. Taking off from a light the clutch was very reluctant to engage. It was something I feared. While working on the innards of the clutch I damaged an oil seal. Once the clutch heated up enough to liquefy the oil and it all shot out and soaked the clutches.

So I broke down and ordered the parts to make it right. I resisted the urge to order one of the Chinese knockoffs from ebay and just ordered the parts from Honda. I should have them by Friday and have her back on the road.

There is no such thing as a free scooter.
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Old 07-06-2010, 09:21 PM   #2
redhandmoto
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a great write-up: travail, suspense, failure, discovery, triumph.
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Old 07-07-2010, 12:23 AM   #3
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looks better then mine
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Old 07-07-2010, 03:38 AM   #4
Queen
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What fun!! I envy your mechanical ability...but can see where it might be a bit expensive to be that good at "making things right".
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Old 07-07-2010, 04:57 AM   #5
snorty
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Great story! Please post more pix.

The CH250 Elite is one of my faves from the 80s. I remember when they were on the showroom floor. There weren't any used ones available so I went with a P200E. Loved that scooter. It was an entry into motorcycling. Still think about the Elite though. Every now and then I search Craigslist for one.
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Old 07-07-2010, 06:10 AM   #6
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That's so strange- Just saw this one on Craigslist near me for $600 yesterday.

http://atlanta.craigslist.org/wat/mcy/1828820560.html

Your story is great- Guess I need to stay focused on my P200E and not get tempted with other projects!
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Old 07-07-2010, 06:24 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Queen
What fun!! I envy your mechanical ability...but can see where it might be a bit expensive to be that good at "making things right".
Hi Queen. It can be a bit expensive, but since I do all my own work it keeps things in check. It is worth it when a vehicle runs and rides as good as new or better.
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Old 07-07-2010, 07:49 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sasquatch
Hi Queen. It can be a bit expensive, but since I do all my own work it keeps things in check. It is worth it when a vehicle runs and rides as good as new or better.
The young fella who works for me just bought an old (1980ish) Honda Express. It's a little 50cc thing that looks more like a bike than a scooter...he bought so he can learn to wrench. I'm really impressed with his initiative, he doesn't have anyone to teach him how to do it so he bought a $300 training tool.
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Old 07-07-2010, 10:11 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Queen
The young fella who works for me just bought an old (1980ish) Honda Express. It's a little 50cc thing that looks more like a bike than a scooter...he bought so he can learn to wrench. I'm really impressed with his initiative, he doesn't have anyone to teach him how to do it so he bought a $300 training tool.
Good for him. Form me it was a VW. See that he gets a service manual for it.
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Old 07-07-2010, 10:38 AM   #10
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How's hard parts availability for the older Honda scooters? (Stuff that actually makes them go and stop, not the bodywork and such.)

I've been looking for one to build up without bodywork (I like the look) but hate to get into something that I can't get parts for.
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Old 07-07-2010, 10:43 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodsrat
How's hard parts availability for the older Honda scooters? (Stuff that actually makes them go and stop, not the bodywork and such.)

I've been looking for one to build up without bodywork (I like the look) but hate to get into something that I can't get parts for.
As of yet I have not found a part that was not available. Many Chinese knock off parts that are interchangeable as well. I opt for OEM quality though.
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Old 07-07-2010, 08:22 PM   #12
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20 year of production and the last one rolled off the line in 2007 so it's 2017 before honda drops the parts for them. So many places to get new oem, clone part etc that it's not a worry.
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Old 07-07-2010, 10:50 PM   #13
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current stable

'94 Harley .... a blue one
'82 Honda passport
'87 Honda spacy 250
And an E Bike
85 spacy 250
81 passport (in pieces, many parts for sale)
The hit's just keep coming.. bought another 81 passport (11-28-09)

http://tiny.cc/ITgetsBETTER
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Old 07-08-2010, 12:34 AM   #14
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Tire Valve stems

Looks like you may have originals on. Just a heads up on tire valve stems.
I had a close call when my rear valve stem popped out/broke in half while traveling
on the the highway. All I heard was a quick
deflation sound and things started getting loose. Luckily I managed to pull just
off the side of slow lane. It was a wild side to side ride for a few puckering
seconds. I remembered not to stomp on brakes and kept the gas steady. I did
roll throttle slightly every time the rear tried to get sideways. Thank God it
was not the front, otherwise I'm certain I would have come down. Off road
skills, I believe helped me ride the thing sideways as it slowed down.

I bought the scooter used and I had never changed the valve stems. I've only
had one set of tires put on since we got it and doesn't get used on a daily basis.
I simply forgot they could deteriorate. The rubber simply hardens and
looses its ability to stay together. Lesson Learned!.
In any case, check your valve stems every time you air up your tires. I bought a
new set from Honda but realized it would be wiser to use the rigid bolt on style.
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TARider screwed with this post 07-08-2010 at 05:25 AM
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Old 07-10-2010, 09:12 PM   #15
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Already replaced them. And your right, they were junk.



Quote:
Originally Posted by TARider
Looks like you may have originals on. Just a heads up on tire valve stems.
I had a close call when my rear valve stem popped out/broke in half while traveling
on the the highway. All I heard was a quick
deflation sound and things started getting loose. Luckily I managed to pull just
off the side of slow lane. It was a wild side to side ride for a few puckering
seconds. I remembered not to stomp on brakes and kept the gas steady. I did
roll throttle slightly every time the rear tried to get sideways. Thank God it
was not the front, otherwise I'm certain I would have come down. Off road
skills, I believe helped me ride the thing sideways as it slowed down.

I bought the scooter used and I had never changed the valve stems. I've only
had one set of tires put on since we got it and doesn't get used on a daily basis.
I simply forgot they could deteriorate. The rubber simply hardens and
looses its ability to stay together. Lesson Learned!.
In any case, check your valve stems every time you air up your tires. I bought a
new set from Honda but realized it would be wiser to use the rigid bolt on style.
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