Tech Torque: Es­sen­tial scooter main­te­nance with Stu Owen

It’s very frus­trat­ing when you break down on a Lam­bretta and don’t have any spares with you to fix the prob­lem. But what should you carry? Here we out­line Stu’s rec­om­men­da­tions…

Scootering - - Contents -

You never know when you might have a break­down, so what parts and tools should you carry ‘just in case?’ Stu re­ports...

It’s hap­pened to vir­tu­ally ev­ery Lam­bretta owner: a break­down. How­ever, some of them are only triv­ial and easy to fix on the side of the road. How of­ten, though, has this been pre­vented from hap­pen­ing be­cause the nec­es­sary spares and tools were un­avail­able? Even the small­est of things like a split fuel pipe, for in­stance, can stop you from con­tin­u­ing on your trav­els. The ques­tion is, what ex­actly should you carry on board at all times and what is un­nec­es­sary? It’s a dif­fi­cult bal­ance to get ex­actly right but the sim­plest so­lu­tion is to split up what you carry de­pend­ing on what your Lam­bretta is used be­ing for.

What type of jour­ney?

What a Lam­bretta is used for can be split into sev­eral cat­e­gories: gen­eral road use, longer dis­tance use for ral­lies and ride outs, and long dis­tance tour­ing such as abroad. Ob­vi­ously, if you’re on a short trip of just a few miles then if the clutch fails you will limp back home rather than change it on the side of the road. Whereas if the same prob­lem oc­curred on a long dis­tance rally then, of course, it would be es­sen­tial to get it fixed to con­tinue. There are other things to re­mem­ber too, like just how good your me­chan­i­cal skills ac­tu­ally are. It is point­less car­ry­ing spares if you don’t know how to fix the prob­lem in the first place. Not ev­ery­one is an ex­pert in this de­part­ment but if you own a Lam­bretta then hav­ing some sort of ba­sic me­chan­i­cal knowl­edge is a must.

The re­al­ity is there are cer­tain spares that should be car­ried at all times, so these fall into the cat­e­gory of gen­eral road use. Re­mem­ber while car­ry­ing the spares is es­sen­tial, so too are the tools you need to fix the prob­lem. There can’t be any­thing more frus­trat­ing than hav­ing the spares with you but be­cause you for­got a sim­ple tool you can’t carry out the re­pair. With this in mind, it is best to lay the spare out and the tools that are re­quired to do the job – then there shouldn’t be an is­sue.

Gen­eral road use spares

Com­plete set of ca­bles: This should in­clude ca­ble trun­nions for the gear pivot on the clutch arm, also an ad­justable one for the throt­tle ca­ble. A spare front brake ad­juster and split end nip­ple for the clutch and brake ca­ble are also es­sen­tial.

Light bulbs: Only the front and rear are needed and a spare fuse if you are us­ing a bat­tery sys­tem.

Spark plug: Al­ways best to carry a cou­ple as well as a spare plug cap and length of HT lead.

Fuel pipe: Make sure you have a long enough piece and use ni­trile rub­ber pipe as it won’t need a clip to seal it to the banjo end.

Rear hub lock­ing kit: In­clude both the lock­ing washer and grub screw.

Spare wheel: This is al­ways a dif­fi­cult one as its size means it’s dif­fi­cult to carry. The other op­tion is to carry a spare in­ner tube. Although you will have to fit it and find a garage to pump it up, at least you will be able to get home.

Nuts, bolts, studs, and wash­ers: Carry an as­sort­ment of all the sizes that are used in­clud­ing cir­clips. The eas­i­est way to do this is by look­ing over your Lam­bretta and not­ing all the fix­ings you have on it.

Car­bu­ret­tor rub­ber: What­ever size you have, it is al­ways a good idea to carry a spare just in case it splits.

Other stuff: Al­ways carry some­thing to hold things to­gether in an emer­gency, like large ca­ble ties or wire – just so it can get you home. A spare length of wire is help­ful in case of an elec­tri­cal re­pair and some elec­tri­cal tape to in­su­late it with.

Tools: The tools re­quired to do re­pairs us­ing the spares listed are fairly ba­sic. A set of screw­drivers, Allen keys, as­sorted pli­ers, span­ners or socket set and wheel stand are all that is needed. Just make sure you have checked you have ev­ery­thing re­quired but all should eas­ily pack up in a small tool bag.

The parts listed here will en­sure a break­down close to home can be re­solved quite eas­ily. Make sure you pack­age them neatly. With ca­bles, for in­stance, keep them stowed in a re­seal­able freezer bag. You should be able to get them all to eas­ily fit into a stan­dard Lam­bretta tool­box along with the tools re­quired and your two-stroke oil.

Longer dis­tance rid­ing – ral­lies

This is where it starts to get more com­pli­cated with what you should be car­ry­ing. There are two schools of thought on this, one be­ing ‘I want to get there and back at all costs’ and the other be­ing ‘I’m in the AA so if there is a prob­lem I can’t fix I’ll just ring them to re­cover me’. If you have re­cov­ery and don’t want to do any road­side re­pairs then there is lit­tle point in car­ry­ing spares or tools in the first place. If you do want to get there and back the is­sue arises of just how much you should carry and where you draw the line of what is ac­cept­able.

You must re­mem­ber that the ma­jor­ity of break­downs which will stop you from con­tin­u­ing your jour­ney will be en­ginere­lated. While it may seem fine car­ry­ing

spare en­gine com­po­nents this also means you will have to carry many more tools – some big and heavy – to carry out the job. It can soon be­come a big lo­gis­ti­cal ex­er­cise as to where to put it all and you will quickly out­grow the space in a nor­mal Lam­bretta tool­box.

The an­swer is to carry all of this in a sep­a­rate bag. Sep­a­rate from the stan­dard road­side re­pair spares al­ready men­tioned. What’s the point of trawl­ing through and un­pack­ing all the en­gine spares just to get to a ca­ble, for in­stance? Hope­fully, none of this will need touch­ing but if there is an in­stance where it is needed it is quick and ac­ces­si­ble and not in the way of ev­ery­thing else.

It must be pre­sumed that if you are go­ing long dis­tance rid­ing to ral­lies you will be car­ry­ing a rack. It will be easy to carry these spares on there quick to load and un­load at all times. So what is seen as ac­cept­able to carry and re­pair on the side of the road?

Clutch: If a clutch starts to fail then you should have enough warn­ing to get some­where to fix it. It will have over­heated so it’s best to change both the fric­tion plates and steels at the same time. Also, the springs will have lost some ten­sion so you might as well change the whole thing. You will also need a side case gas­ket and a bot­tle of gear­box oil. Though you can lay the scooter over so not hav­ing to drain the oil, chances are it will have been in­fected by the burn­ing clutch so it should be changed.

Cylin­der: The only thing you re­ally want to be chang­ing here is the head gas­ket if it fails. This is easy to do but the rea­son why it failed in the first place should be checked be­fore chang­ing it.

Ex­haust: It’s quite easy for a Lam­bretta ex­haust to come loose on a long jour­ney. Mount­ing studs com­ing loose can be re­paired eas­ily and al­ways carry spares for the par­tic­u­lar ex­haust you are us­ing. The most com­mon place for an ex­haust to come lose it at the cylin­der. Al­ways carry spare studs, nuts, and wash­ers to change and most im­por­tantly a gas­ket as this will burn away quickly once the down­pipe is loose. If you have a stub mounted ex­haust, carry a spare stub. Quite of­ten if you are two up it is easy to ground the ex­haust on a pot­hole for in­stance. Usu­ally, it is the stub that takes the brunt of the im­pact, snap­ping it on the main weld. Re­plac­ing it is easy enough to do and will en­sure you can con­tinue your jour­ney.

Fuel Sys­tem: Apart from fuel pipe the only other thing to carry is a spare tap. Oc­ca­sion­ally they can fall apart and though you will lose all your fuel if it does hap­pen, at least the tap can be changed and re­fu­elled one way or an­other. You can carry car­bu­ret­tor spares, again, de­pend­ing on what make and size you have fit­ted. Jets are the most im­por­tant if some rea­son one gets blocked and you are un­able to clear it.

Elec­tri­cal: The only things to keep the en­gine run­ning are the sta­tor and CDI or coil de­pend­ing on your sys­tem. Chang­ing the CDI is a quick job and one should be car­ried. If a sta­tor has failed that will take much longer to fit but it can be done. There is no point car­ry­ing a fly­wheel be­cause the weight of it is so great and if it’s failed, chances are the crank will be dam­aged so it’s ter­mi­nal any­way.

Rear hub: Apart from a lock washer kit, carry a spare hub nut and cone that is the cor­rect fit for your make of hub. If a lock washer has failed and started to come loose then the cone will have started to wear so will also need re­plac­ing. Carry spare hub studs, cer­tainly on a highly tuned en­gine, as they to can come loose and will quickly fail.

The orig­i­nal type of tool roll that came with the Lam­bretta. Not much use on to­day’s mod­ern Lam­bretta – make sure your tools are up to scratch

Above left: It has been known, cer­tainly on high revving en­gines, for a drain plug to vi­brate loose and fall out – so it’s best to carry one just in case. Mid­dle: With much stronger clutches now avail­able, a higher load is put on the clutch arm. A poorly fit­ting or weak cir­clip may al­low it to pop off, stop­ping your jour­ney in an in­stant. Right: Car­ry­ing gas­kets is ad­vis­able, cer­tainly on a long jour­ney, but keep them in a plas­tic bag to pro­tect them.

Above left: When car­ry­ing spare ca­bles, re­mem­ber to have the cor­rect ad­juster for each one – like the throt­tle ca­ble pic­tured. Mid­dle: Spare HT ca­ble is ad­vis­able as some­times it can rub on a side panel and short out, es­pe­cially if it’s rain­ing and it can get wet. Right: If a front brake ca­ble snaps at the ad­juster end quite of­ten the ad­juster can be lost on the road so both that and a new ca­ble will be needed.

A good qual­ity multi-tool is a worth­while in­vest­ment as it can do the job of sev­eral tools but folds away very neatly, sav­ing both space and weight.

Above left: Car­ry­ing a spare CDI is al­ways ad­vis­able and only takes a few min­utes to change. Right: Ex­haust studs, nuts, wash­ers, and gas­ket should al­ways be among the spares on board.

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