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Old 04-23-2012, 01:37 PM   #1
Sparrowhawk OP
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Is it a scooter or an Italian thing?

I'm lucky enough to occasionally ride my wife's scooter in trade for maintaining it and keeping it ready to ride. What a hoot. I love the feeling of riding down a country road at 60 mph sitting in an office chair.

However, I just spent most of a day simply trying to change the engine and hub oil on a Vespa LX150. I have no trouble rebuilding automobile and motorcycle engines but haven't had a simple maintenance procedure puzzle like this since I used to help a friend work on his Fiat 128 decades ago.

The owner's and shop manual were absolutely no help in locating the hub drain plug. Could it be that bolt over the middle of the wheel or does that do something else? Is there a reason the engine drain is located directly over the centerstand? How do you get a socket on the drain? How can you get a wrench on the spin-on filter?

After spilling about half engine oil trying to catch it in a pan, and using a vacuum pump to suck out the hub oil instead of risking removal of the unidentified bolt, I get on Youtube and find out that the standard procedure is removing the exhaust system and rear wheel before starting work. Remove the exhaust and rear wheel for an oil change? You're kidding right?

So, are all scooters so strange to work on or is it just another example of the way Italians design machinery?
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Old 04-23-2012, 01:42 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Sparrowhawk View Post
I'm lucky enough to occasionally ride my wife's scooter in trade for maintaining it and keeping it ready to ride. What a hoot. I love the feeling of riding down a country road at 60 mph sitting in an office chair.

However, I just spent most of a day simply trying to change the engine and hub oil on a Vespa LX150. I have no trouble rebuilding automobile and motorcycle engines but haven't had a simple maintenance procedure puzzle like this since I used to help a friend work on his Fiat 128 decades ago.

The owner's and shop manual were absolutely no help in locating the hub drain plug. Could it be that bolt over the middle of the wheel or does that do something else? Is there a reason the engine drain is located directly over the centerstand? How do you get a socket on the drain? How can you get a wrench on the spin-on filter?

After spilling about half engine oil trying to catch it in a pan, and using a vacuum pump to suck out the hub oil instead of risking removal of the unidentified bolt, I get on Youtube and find out that the standard procedure is removing the exhaust system and rear wheel before starting work. Remove the exhaust and rear wheel for an oil change? You're kidding right?

So, are all scooters so strange to work on or is it just another example of the way Italians design machinery?
They are uh, quirky

It's all about "packaging" with a scooter, putting a high efficiency engine, and fully enclosed driveline/swingarm onto a small vehicle running on 10~12" wheels must pose some design and engineering challenges for all scooters.

Add-in the "italian" design quotient and you have a "Vespa".
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Old 04-23-2012, 02:31 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Sparrowhawk View Post
Vespa LX150 . . . After spilling about half engine oil trying to catch it in a pan, and using a vacuum pump to suck out the hub oil instead of risking removal of the unidentified bolt, I get on Youtube and find out that the standard procedure is removing the exhaust system and rear wheel before starting work. Remove the exhaust and rear wheel for an oil change? You're kidding right?

So, are all scooters so strange to work on or is it just another example of the way Italians design machinery?
For comparison . . China GY6 125/150cc scooter engine:

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Old 04-23-2012, 02:31 PM   #4
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The trick on an LX150 is to have an assistant hold the Scooter while the engine oil drains out. Don't even try it with the Scooter on the center stand BTDT, big mess. The rear hub isn't any big deal, pull the fill and drain plugs, tip Scooter to that side, out she comes. Seems like the drain plug was an allen bolt, been a while.
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Old 04-23-2012, 02:53 PM   #5
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Is it just me or was that a pretty sizable "chunk" of metal in the filter screen?
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Old 04-23-2012, 03:01 PM   #6
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old Vespas don't have a strainer or a magnet.

I got one of those neodynium magnets and attached it to the outside of the oil drain plug.

You should have seen what the magnet grabbed...but still runs fine.


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Old 04-23-2012, 06:51 PM   #7
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It shouldn't take all day, it takes my shop less than an hour to do a complete service. You might want to peruse the Modern Vespa Wiki for the LX models http://modernvespa.com/forum/wiki-lx They've got instructions for maintenance and mods including removing the evap canister that can help with both performance and mpg something that many folks do who are a) not in California and b) out of warranty.

You might look at the method used by "greasy" in this thread http://modernvespa.com/forum/viewtop...+filter+change with pictures that doesn't remove the rear wheel and drains easily.

cdwise screwed with this post 04-23-2012 at 07:13 PM
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Old 04-24-2012, 07:12 PM   #8
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It shouldn't take all day, it takes my shop less than an hour to do a complete service.

You might look at the method used by "greasy" in this thread http://modernvespa.com/forum/viewtop...+filter+change with pictures that doesn't remove the rear wheel and drains easily.
I looked at the link, surely no one would recommend the use of a Hammer to change the oil on their Vespa LX150? That has to be a joke, right?
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Old 04-24-2012, 08:37 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Sparrowhawk View Post
So, are all scooters so strange to work on or is it just another example of the way Italians design machinery?
I'm gonna go with "it's an Italian thing" - with a footnote for Vespas, since that is a *modern* Vespa issue. My Stella - a copy of a PX150, which is generally very similar to preceding old Vespas - is remarkably easy to do basic work on.

My '07 Vino 125 and '04 Metropolitan of old had no such quirks, that I can remember. I know the Vino didn't - oil changes on that were a piece of cake. But the Vino it had it's gas cap below the luggage rack, forcing you to remove anything you had strapped on to add a gallon, so it had it's own design quirk. That's all I can remember, though.

For the most part I'd say all scooters make sacrifices to packaging, but it does sound like the LX makes some odd choices...


Sparrowhawk, where in Eastern WA are you? I'm from the Tri-Cities.
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Old 04-25-2012, 07:03 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by seraph View Post
I'm gonna go with "it's an Italian thing" - with a footnote for Vespas, since that is a *modern* Vespa issue. My Stella - a copy of a PX150, which is generally very similar to preceding old Vespas - is remarkably easy to do basic work on.

My '07 Vino 125 and '04 Metropolitan of old had no such quirks, that I can remember. I know the Vino didn't - oil changes on that were a piece of cake. But the Vino it had it's gas cap below the luggage rack, forcing you to remove anything you had strapped on to add a gallon, so it had it's own design quirk. That's all I can remember, though.

For the most part I'd say all scooters make sacrifices to packaging, but it does sound like the LX makes some odd choices...


Sparrowhawk, where in Eastern WA are you? I'm from the Tri-Cities.
Adding oil to the Vino 125 is done through the valve cover directly on the engine, no?
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Old 04-25-2012, 09:38 AM   #11
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Adding oil to the Vino 125 is done through the valve cover directly on the engine, no?
Yeah, I think so. Big black plastic cap.
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Old 04-25-2012, 10:57 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by cdwise View Post
You might look at the method used by "greasy" in this thread http://modernvespa.com/forum/viewtop...+filter+change with pictures that doesn't remove the rear wheel and drains easily.
That is basically what I ended up doing. It just took a while to puzzle it out. It is still a bit of a mystery whether the hub oil can be drained without removing the rear tire. I'm not satisfied I got all of the gear oil using the suck it out method. I'll have to spend some time exploring modern Vespa but for right now the weather's too nice to be spending time at a screen.

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I looked at the link, surely no one would recommend the use of a Hammer to change the oil on their Vespa LX150? That has to be a joke, right?
It's no joke. The drain cap takes a 24 mm wrench or socket and if the "professional" that performed the last service put it on tight it takes quite a bit to loosen. (Do shop scooter mechanics even own a torque wrench?) I was using a 15" long 24 mm box end and couldn't get it to budge. I tried tapping the wrench with a dead blow hammer but the 1" space to swing didn't do the job. I ended up putting a scissor jack under the end of the wrench to break it loose.
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Old 04-25-2012, 11:41 AM   #13
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Yeah, I think so. Big black plastic cap.
IIRC requires taking the underseat bucket out to do so (ie-need tools?)
Seemed ackward, and....scooter-ish to me!
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Old 04-25-2012, 11:43 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Sparrowhawk View Post
That is basically what I ended up doing. It just took a while to puzzle it out. It is still a bit of a mystery whether the hub oil can be drained without removing the rear tire. I'm not satisfied I got all of the gear oil using the suck it out method. I'll have to spend some time exploring modern Vespa but for right now the weather's too nice to be spending time at a screen.



It's no joke. The drain cap takes a 24 mm wrench or socket and if the "professional" that performed the last service put it on tight it takes quite a bit to loosen. (Do shop scooter mechanics even own a torque wrench?) I was using a 15" long 24 mm box end and couldn't get it to budge. I tried tapping the wrench with a dead blow hammer but the 1" space to swing didn't do the job. I ended up putting a scissor jack under the end of the wrench to break it loose.
Years ago, I had the 24mm socket cut-down for an easy oil change while leaving the exhaust on. Then a company called Jettin.com came out with that red, flat wrench (recommend) and its less then the machine-shop charged to cut the socket.



Specialized tools are more and more a part of life with everything it seems. Ask a BMW Tech!
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Old 04-25-2012, 01:18 PM   #15
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IIRC requires taking the underseat bucket out to do so (ie-need tools?)
Seemed ackward, and....scooter-ish to me!
No, there's an access panel below the the seat, where it meets the floorboard, that comes off with 2 Philips screws (have to pull the rubber floor mat up to get to them, I think). It gives you access to the fill port, and that cap comes off with your hand.

All you need is a Philips and whatever socket for the drain.
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