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Scooter Users Guide

Scooter Manual

1. Check out the controls. Where are they and what do they control. It will be a major waste of time if you spend a week trying to figure out why the scooter won't start and then find out the "kill switch" was on the whole time. Does the scooter have a fuel tap you have to turn on and off? Is there an automatic choke or is it manual? What do the different positions on the ignition key do?


2. Take off the Body Panels that allow access to the motor, the oil/gas tank, the radiator, the wheels and the battery.


3. Check out the cables (brakes, clutch, throttle, oil pump) at both ends to check for fraying, rusting and tight connections. The high wear areas are usually out where you can see them. While you are at the end of the cables that go to the brakes, check the brake adjuster to see if it has much more adjustment to it. If the Brake lever/pedal is almost at the end of its travel, there is usually an adjustment at the end of the cable that attaches to the brake drum. Check that out first because odds are once you get the engine fired up you'll want to take it for a little spin. Check the cable going to the oil pump on scooters with autolube. If the cable is broken you can always put oil in the gas. When you are checking cables, it helps to have an oil can/wd40 in hand especially if the scooters been sitting a while.


4. Check the fluids (gas, oil, brake fluid, engine coolant) If the scooters been sitting a while, you should drain the gas(and oil if its autolube) tank and put in new fuel. Replacing ot topping up fluids is probably the cheapest way of ensuring long life and the simplest maintenance issue. Checking out the condition of the old fluids can give you a hint at the condition of the scooter. If there is a lot of rust in the gas tank, you'll find out when you're draining the gas. You'll also probably want to think about cleaning the carburetor if the gas tank was full of sediment especially if there was no fuel filter. Even automatic belt driven scooters have final drive gears which run in an oil bath. There are usually two openings for any crankcase/gearbox/final drive oil. The one at the top is for filling and topping up and the one at the bottom for draining. Most scooters that have been sitting a while will have accumulated some moisture/water and will need a change. If the oil being drained is especially dirty, you may want to change the "new oil" you put in after a few hours just so it will rinse out any residue/grit. Oil is cheap compared to the price of new parts. Any oil will not do. Find out the specific oils needed for each application.


5. Replace and/or clean air filters, fuel filters,oil filters, and make sure you know what tire pressure to run at. In most cases air filters are usually cleanable. If they are foam then they can be cleaned in hot water and soap, rinsed and ,after dried, saturated with a light oil. Excess oils should then be squeezed out and the filter re-installed. There are special air filter oils available at your local motorcycle shop. If its a paper air filter, just try and clean it as best you can until a replacement can be found. Don't get it wet. use a brush, vacuum cleaner or compressed air to clean away surface dust. Don't run the scooter without the air filter. It will throw off the tuning and even a well tuned motor will not run as well. When the air filter is off look inside the carburetor mouth while working the throttle. The carburetor slide/butterfly should open and close. I once laboured over getting a newly aquired scooter to start only to realize after checking everything else that there was no throttle slide in the carburetor. Fuel filters can be generic- you don't have to spend premium price at a motorcycle shop unless your fuel line is so small a regular auto filter won't fit. Even then, marine supply or small engine (lawnmower) shops may be able to help. Some filters have an "in" and "out" side, others will let fuel flow in any direction. Measure your fuel line (inside) before going shopping. You may or may not have an oil filter. Most four strokes have them but they are not always externally fitted like a car. The 150 cc Honda Elite oil filter is a metal screen fitted to the oil drain so when you remove the oil drain plug, don't forget to remove and clean the oil filter. The 50 cc Honda Elite/Vision/Dio has a filter built into the oil tank just where the oil leaves the tank.


6. Tires More so than a car, the tires are really important. It doesn't really matter if they have a lot of tread left. I've seen fourty year old tires with lots of tread left. The only reason for not replacing the tires IMMEDIATELY is you want to see if the scooter runs ok before putting out any serious cash. Fine but don't count on more than a few SLOW turns around the block before at least replacing the tubes, especially if the scooter was exposed to the weather, left at low pressure or has age "cracks" in the sidewall. At the very least check the air pressure.


7. Spark Plug should be replaced. Its cheap and you should have a spare one anyway. Make sure you have the right one for your scooter and that the gap is correct. Take this opportunity to check whether you have a spark. Turn on the ignition and make sure the kill switch isn't "on". It doesn't matter if the battery is dead unless you only have an electric starter and not a kick-start. Even then you can use booster cables from your car to see if it starts but check first whether the scooter runs on 12 volts (most modern scooters) or 6 volts ( most pre-80s scooters). Regardless of whether the battery works or not, don't remove it as it may need to be hooked up as part of the electrical circuit in order to operate. Some scooters also need all their light bulbs (brake, turn signal etc. ) in working condition before the scooter will fire up. You'll want to make sure the metal base of the spark plug with the hexagon shape is touching metal or grounded. Try and have it touch the motor case somewhere where you'll be able to watch and see if it sparks when you turn the motor over. You could always run a wire from the base of the spark plug to a metal part of the scooter. Turn the motor over and watch for a spark. Make that hope for a spark because if you don't get a spark it could get expensive and complicated but before panicking check the ignition/kill switch/spark plug ground already mentioned. If there's still no spark, check all electrical connections back from the spark plug. On older scooters, the ignition sometime relied on the light bulb for the rear brake light working. On older scooters you'll probably also want to check the points. If the scooters been sitting awhile the points will need to be cleaned and gapped. If you still don't have a spark, you'll need the specialized knowledge of a service manual or someone familiar with your brand and model of scooter so make sure you haven't missed something obvious first.


8. If your scooter has a battery is it fully charged? Is it 12 volt or 6 volt? There is usually a "fill line" and if the liquid is below that, top it up with distilled water. If it's dead and attempts at charging it have failed you should still keep the battery hooked up. Its very important to keep the charging circuit intact otherwise damage to other electrical components could result.


9. Start me up! After replacing fluids and bleeding any oil/fuel lines to make sure there is no air inside, Its time to see if the thing will actually run. You know where the choke is (if its manual) after checking out all the controls . Does the fuel need to be turned on? Did you pre-mix the gasoline if needed? Put the scooter up on the stand and give it a kick. Nothing? Give it two or three more and do not open the throttle. Still doesn't start? Pull the spark plug and smell it- do you smell gas? If not try a couple more kick-starts in case the gas hasn't worked its way through the carburetor. If its still dry then you may have to see where the problem is and why fuel isn't making it through from the gas tank to the fuel line into the carburetor and next into the motor. If it starts it may still run roughly. Don't rev it too highly but don't let it just idle. While its running, check out if there are any especially loud noises coming from the exhaust, the gearbox, the carburetor/manifold. Test the engine controls such as the clutch lever, the throttle and make sure they operate smoothly. If you must take it for a drive make it a short one and don't make the motor work too hard. Odds are good that if it has been sitting a while before you brought it back to life that it will take a few miles for the motor and controls to loosen up. One scooter I had kept working better every time I drove it for the first two weeks.

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E-mail: aurorazinc@gmail.com