Scooter Maintenance for Noobs

Discussion in 'Battle Scooters' started by klaviator, Aug 23, 2012.

  1. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    While reading through the threads on this forum, I have seen that there are quite a few who take their scooters to the dealer for all servicing. Also, many people who buy a motorcycle or scooter do so thinking that they will save a lot of money, then are shocked at the costs of actually operating and servicing their bikes. I used to sell Kawaski's and Yamaha's at a small to medium sized dealership and saw it all the time. People would bring in their new bike for it's initial 600 mile service which they thought was just an oil change. The bill for that "oil change" would ALWAYS be much higher than a routine car oil change. Sometimes the bill would be over $300:eek1

    The big thing that really drives up the cost of that initial service is if a valve adjustment is needed.

    I saw someone post that it was $100 just for an oil change for his scooter. I can change the oil in my Kymco for less than $6, and that's using synthetic oil.

    I am by no means a professional or even a very experienced mechanic. I used to only do simple things like oil changes and replacing filters, chains, brake pads, etc. My income isn't what it used to be so now I do all of my routine servicing.

    I thought that starting a thread covering the basics of scooter maintenance would be a good idea. I'm not planning on getting into the specifics of any particular model. I want to cover the basics and where to get more specific information. As I stated, I'm not an expert mechanic so those of you who are, feel free to jump in.

    Some aspects of scooter maintenance are new to me so I'm somewhat of a Noob myself.
    #1
  2. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    Some of you already have tools but I'm sure some of you don't so I'll cover some basics:

    First, you don't have to spend a lot of money. Expensive tools like Snap On do work better than the cheap stuff made in China but if you're only going to use them occasionally, the cheap tools will work for simple servicing. In my case, I live away from home for work much of the time so I needed a second set of tools and didn't want to spend a lot when I already had a bunch of tools.

    First, get a basic mechanics tool kit. I got this one a Target for around $25:

    [​IMG]

    This is a good starting point.

    Here's a few other tools I picked up.

    This one was $5 at Home Depot. Didn't really need it but It's so convenient for smaller fasteners I end up using it a lot.

    [​IMG][​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    At the bottom of the next pic is a plastic ice cream bucket. I use it to drain oil into then I pour it into the gas can. After the gas can is full I take it somewhere for recycling. It will hold quite a few oil changes.

    [​IMG]

    For larger bolts & nuts, you can get individual sockets. A breaker bar is not a bad idea either.

    [​IMG]

    I hate going to the gas station and paying a buck for a little bit of air. A tire pump, either manual or electric is a good idea and doesn't cost much.

    [​IMG]

    These are just some basic tools. I'll cover some more tools when I get to the specific areas like oil changes, CVT maintenance, etc.
    #2
  3. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    This would seem obvious. Just get a service manual.

    Unfortunately I have found that most service manuals are written for professional mechanics and find them hard to understand. Still, there is good information in them so I recommend getting on as a starting point. Most service manuals are now electronic. For my two scooters, the dealers downloaded a copy for me. If you bring a flash drive to your dealer, they might download one for you too. If not, they are often available online.

    Another great source of information is forums like this one. While I think ADV is the best forum out there, for specific servicing information you may want to try the brand/model specific forum for you scooter.

    U tube is another great source of information. When I wanted to do the first valve adjust on my Kymco, I looked at the service manual and immediately got a headache. Then I found this U tube video.

    <a href="%3Ciframe%20width=" 640"="" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/LSL3dhg96m4?feature=player_detailpage" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="">"><a href="%3Ciframe%20width=" 640"="" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/LSL3dhg96m4?feature=player_detailpage" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""><iframe src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/LSL3dhg96m4?feature=player_detailpage" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" width="640"></iframe>

    If you have a popular model of scooter, you may find video's specific to it.
    #3
  4. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    If you do nothing else, you should be able to do this. Here are the basics.

    Basically and oil change consists of removing the drain plug from the bottom of the engine, letting the oil drain out, replacing the plug, then pouring fresh oil into the appropriate opening at the top.

    OK, it's not quite that simple. Here are the basic steps:

    1. Figure out what tools you need. The tool kit I posted earlier and something to drain the oil into will mostly cover it. Make sure you have the correct size sockets for all bolts you will be removing.

    2. Get the correct oil and if needed an oil filter. I don't want to start another oil thread. There are already plenty of those. If in doubt, go to your dealer and ask them for the correct oil.

    3. Get a service manual or something that shows how to change the oil. In many cases, your owners manual even covers this. If you are a complete mechanical Noob, find someone more experienced to help you the first time. There may also be a Video on u tube

    4. After doing steps 1 through 3, go for a ride. First, it's always fun to go for a ride:ricky, and second, your oil should be thoroughly be warmed up.

    5. Normally your scooter should be on it's centerstand. Place a drain pan under the oil drain bolt and remove the bolt using the correct socket. Be carefull, the oil will be hot. Don't worry about the oil drain bolt falling into the pan. The tool kit I posted above has a magnetic pickup tool perfect for fishing it back out:D

    6. Then walk away and do something else. I like to let my oil drain for a while. Oil will drip out for quite a while. After at least a half hour, I come back. Now that everything has cooled down some, it is time to remove anything else that needs removing. Some scooters will have another bolt with a filter screen on it. Remove and clean this. Some, but not all scooters have an oil filter. Remove this. At this time I also like to tilt the scooter towards the drain plug and hold it for a few minutes. This allows more oil to drain out. I usually do this few times.

    7. Replace the filter and or filter screen bolt.

    8. Replace the oil drain bolt.

    9. Tighten the bolts. I do this by feel but if in doubt, buy or borrow a torque wrench to tighten them. If you over tighten the bolt you could strip out the threads in the case and end up needing expensive repairs. If you leave it too loose it could fall out.

    10. Pour in fresh oil. You owners manual should tell you how much oil is needed and how to measure it. I like to pour in a little less than specified and then measure it with the dipstick.

    11. Take your scooter for a short ride and then check it over for oil leaks. Check your oil level again.

    12. Congratulations, you just saved enough money to pay for all those tools you just bought. Now go celebrate:1drink Or better yet, go for a ride:ricky


    PS. Consider installing Magnetic drain plugs, especially if your scooter has no oil filter. I found a kit with magnetic oil drain plug, filter screen bolt and final drive bolt for my kymco for $10.
    #4
  5. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    Keep in mind that these procedures I am posting are very general. You need to get the specifics for your scooter.
    #5
  6. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    I should have put this before Oil Changes but didn't originally think of this. All you need to check your pressure is a tire pressure gauge but I also recommend getting a pump so you can add air without going to a gas station.

    My experience has been that when I have picked up a new bike from a dealer,or had new tires mounted, there is around a 50/50 chance the pressure will be off. If it's off, it's usually too high.

    Tire pressure must be checked when the tires are cold so you can't check it if you've just been riding.

    Your owners manual will show the correct pressure.

    For a new tire, I like to set the pressure about 2 PSI high because i have found that new tires often "stretch" and lose a couple of PSI in the first few hundred miles.

    After that, check them periodically. If your bike feels like it's handling funny, that's the first thing you should check.

    Very simple, but important.
    #6
  7. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    Just like your engine oil, the gear oil in your final drive needs to periodically be replaced. Typically, it needs to be done at the initial 600 mile service, then at an interval longer than that of your engine oil. Check your owners manual.

    Tools needed: Something to remove the drain bolt and filler bolt. Something to catch the oil and something to measure out the correct amount of oil. You also need the correct oil and you need to know the correct amount. Typically final drive oil is something like a 80w90 and you only need a fraction of a quart.

    Procedure:

    1. Go for a ride. The oil should be warm.

    2. Place drain pan under drain and remove bolt.

    3. Let drain.

    4. remove filler bolt

    5. Replace the drain bolt and tighten. (If in doubt, use a torque wrench)

    5. Measure out the correct amount of oil. Either use a measuring cup or this:

    [​IMG]

    This Syringe was around $3.50 at Wally World. Not only is it useful for measuring the oil, but many scooters have a sideways opening for adding the oil so you need something like this to get the oil in.

    Add the oil and replace the filler bolt.

    That's all there is to this..
    #7
  8. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    This is a simple procedure.

    Remove the filter cover and take out the old filter. If it's still clean, put it back in. If it's dirty, replace it if it's a paper filter. some scooters use oiled foam filters. These can be cleaned and reused. Your dealer will carry air filter oil. Personally I like No Toil oil filter oil. It is non toxic and biodegradable. More importantly, you can get a special detergent with it that makes it much easier to clean than any other filter oil I have tried.
    #8
  9. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    I am still going to cover valve adjustments and CVT maintenance but it may be a while before I get to that. I'm also going to go into emergency roadside maintenance.

    If anyone has anything to add or any questions on what I have already posted, fire away.
    #9
  10. InlineSkate

    InlineSkate Adventurer

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    My PCX 150 owners manual says replace final drive oil once every 2 years. It says nothing about replacing at initial 600 mi interval should I replace it anyways?

    Also for valve adjustment I didn't realize I was supposed to do them at the initial 600 mi i'm at 1000 now should I just wait till 2,500?
    #10
  11. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    I'm really surprised at that. I would replace it. You may want to talk to your dealer's service dept. Maybe there's a reason for no initial Final drive oil change but I can't think of one. Maybe a typo in the owners manual? Both of my scooters and my old BMW required it.

    It's probably not as critical for the final drive as for the engine so I wouldn't worry about going past 600 miles. I doubt that I'd wait two years for the initial change though.

    Anyone else have any ideas on this?
    #11
  12. InlineSkate

    InlineSkate Adventurer

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    I'll give my dealer a call on it. It may be an error it gives no information on how to do the change either, but gives detailed instructions on how to do a normal oil change and other little maintenance tasks like air filter cleaning.
    #12
  13. hexnut

    hexnut Been here awhile

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    Yeah my owners manual calls for engine and gear oil change at 200 miles.It gets out any machining-assembly debris that was left over.

    I always change the engine oil and rear differential fluid on my cars and trucks early for the same reason. I have been driving since 1960 and have never had a rear end go out.
    #13
  14. InlineSkate

    InlineSkate Adventurer

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    Just talked to dealer nothing about an initial one on his books either. He just suggested maybe changing it when winter rolls around.

    This scooter really has some quirky maintenance reqs.

    2 year final drive oil

    5k mile oil changes

    2.5k mi valve adjustments

    I feel like im being trolled.
    #14
  15. CaptainSWJR

    CaptainSWJR Adventurer

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    Quoted for truth.

    Top of the line tools are a worthwhile investment for someone that needs to use them every day to make their living. They are hideously expensive for any other use though. Buy cheapo kits at first. When you find out what tools you're routinely using a lot, then you can upgrade the quality. Decent quality tools are more fun to use and will last forever.

    Rule of thumb:
    Snap On: I use this tool every day to make my living.
    Craftsman: I use this tool every month or so on average. (Routine maintenance etc)
    Walmart: I threw this in the trunk in case I need it someday / I broke down 1000mi from home and need to swap a part in the parking lot.


    Also, don't buy expensive tool boxes. They won't melt if you keep them in something cheaper like a canvas bag. http://www.sears.com/craftsman-larg...0903458000P?prdNo=14&blockNo=14&blockType=G14
    #15
  16. bbishoppcm

    bbishoppcm It ain't a moped.

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    I'm working on a video showing the steps needed to replace every light bulb in the Honda Helix's dashboard and turn signals.
    #16
  17. Warney

    Warney Been here awhile

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    I've fixed a few cars, Trucks, MC's, and Scooters but am not a professional mechanic. Usually I bought an oddball brand or rare model of whatever, a weakness of mine. I've some Snap On tools and even for a hobbyist they are worth the extra money for certain items. Good tools pay for themselves over and over, cheap ones are a pita.
    If you can read and follow instructions from a Service manual, you can maintain and repair your Scooter. Even complex mechanical issues can be dealt with; thanks to the internet someone has your answer. If you have a Vespa or Piaggio product, modernvespa has the 411, totalruckus has most/all Honda answers.
    MIC tools are generally of inferior quality and almost sure to disappoint. Tools from Taiwan are a cut above and sometimes equal to higher quality better brands. German, Swiss, Japanese coo are usually very good quality.
    Strip out a few things with the MIC junk and you will discover with tools, you get what you pay for.
    When in doubt, consult garagejournal.com, it is the ADV of tools. That place will cost you a lot of $$$. Check the free parking, general tool discussion, hot deals, and for sale sections. You'll either thank or cuss me.
    Good tools you buy once and use for a lifetime, then someone else inherits them.
    If your Scooter is of Japanese or other Asian origin, you need a set of JIS screwdrivers as these fasteners differ from a standard philips. Never know where one will pop up, lots on Keihin Carburetors. They are not all marked either. I have an inexpensive set of Hozan JIS Screwdrivers from Japan, they work great.
    http://www.webbikeworld.com/motorcycle-tools/jis-screwdrivers/
    No you don't need Snap-On quality but if you have a lot of screws to remove, a Snap On Ratcheting Screwdriver is well worth the coin. There are a lot of bits available @ $1.65 each and they are of highest USA quality.
    There is a Snap On Industrial brand (Williams) which is virtually the same screwdriver with the same ratcheting mechanism for less money.
    http://buy1.snapon.com/catalog/item...roup_ID=675083&store=snapon-store&dir=catalog
    http://www.amazon.com/Williams-WRS-1-Magnetic-Ratcheting-Screwdriver/dp/B002NI1LZK/ref=pd_cp_hi_0
    That ratcheting mechanism is licensed to several other screwdriver manufacturers worldwide, it's that good.
    Craftsman Screwdrivers are of lesser quality, JH Williams or Wiha Screwdrivers are of much higher quality and worth it too. You will notice the difference each and every time they are used. JH Williams are a clone of the classic Snap-On hard handle, arguably the finest USA screwdriver ever made; Wiha have metal striking caps and are of superb quality. Both have wrenchable shanks.
    http://toolguyd.com/williams-5pc-hard-handle-comfort-grip-screwdriver-set-27/
    http://www.wihatools.com/500seri/530serie.htm
    Craftsman tools are not what they once were, not in every case, lots of MIC crap with Craftsman name now.
    Craftsman Raised panel wrenches, sockets, extensions, pliers, ratchets, other hand tools (USA made) are of good quality. New Craftsman tools of non-USA origin, not so much. Craftsman Pro (USA) are of very good quality.
    I'm still using an old beam style torque wrench (USA), nothing has broken from using it yet.
    SK Superkrome Tools are like a work of art, made in USA, superb quality, mo money.
    Snap On is the professionals choice, some of their stuff like the ratcheting screwdriver is worth the money if you can spare it. Snap ring pliers? You want Snap On.
    We didn't even talk about 6 or 12 point wrenches or sockets, allen wrenches, ratcheting wrenches...
    Believe it or not, the Harbor Freight 44" roll cab is of very good quality as is their 5-drawer service cart.
    http://www.harborfreight.com/44-13-drawer-gloss-red-industrial-uality-roller-cabinet-68784.html
    http://www.harborfreight.com/five-drawer-service-cart-95272.html
    #17
  18. hexnut

    hexnut Been here awhile

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    You are right about Craftsman. I bought a complete set of tools from Craftsman in the 80s including their best screw driver set.The ones you get today do not even come close.
    #18
  19. runvs2

    runvs2 n00b

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    GREAT thread!..I bought a Chinese scooter. And yes, I like it. BUT! You better know how to turn a wrench. I did the usual PDI. Changed ALL the vacuum lines and fuel lines. Changed the fuel filter and made sure the gas tank was clean....I won't go on and on. The most important thing on Chinese scoots is, you learn quickly how "soft" some of the fasteners are. You can strip, or break them, on occasion, rather easily. My contribution to this thread would be: When you strip the head of a screw or a bolt, use a Dremel Tool to make a (new) wide slot, then use a large screw driver to remove the stripped screw or bolt......I changed as many nuts, bolts and screws as I can with higher quality hardware, for a few dollars. This will save me from future problems....OH, on a Chinese scooter, I mentioned you need to know how to turn a wrench, but you DON'T need to be a master mechanic. The rewards you get from doing your own work really gives you a sense of "ownership". You'll be surprised at how much you can do.
    #19
  20. damasovi

    damasovi Long timer

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    thanks Klaviator and everybody for this DIY tread. I am mechanically retard but I want to change that. So I will start ones my warranty expires (1 more service of 20-30 USD)

    Thanks people!!
    Damasovi
    #20