When preparing for an 8,000+ mile trip across the country and back, you need to be fairly prepared. That doesn’t just mean packing extra underwear and learning how to make tofu jerky. That means that your ride must be able to make it. What’s more is that you have to have faith that you won’t break down somewhere. If you’re always worrying, you won’t enjoy it.
So on Monday, I set about getting Ruby ready for the trip.
I’ll be getting new tires shortly, so I started by removing the wheels. That’s not a convenient task on a Vespa GTS, but I’ve done it a few times now and it’s actually pretty easy.
With the wheels off, it’s really easy to change the oil. So that’s what I did. What I would consider a huge design flaw is that when you drain the oil, it will flow directly onto the center stand. This is just dumb engineering. With the rear wheel off, it’s easier to get something under it. There are other ways to do this, but this is how I do it.
While the oil was draining, I decided that I would attempt a belt and roller change. I’ve never done this before, but figured that it couldn’t be too difficult. Two shop tools were needed for this. One to hold the clutch in place and another to hold the variator.
Everything came off well enough, but I had a bit of trouble figuring a few things out.
First, I’m switching from rollers to sliders. I’ve heard that the sliders last longer and improve acceleration. The former, for me, is much more important than the latter. They have to be situated just right and I wasn’t sure if I got it and left it as a “trial and error” sort of thing.
The belt had to first be fitted onto the clutch. This was accomplished by forcing the clutch plates apart, holding them and sliding the belt between them. Much trial and error took place here, but I finally got it.
With the variator and sliders in place and the clutch with belt ready to go, I slid everything where it should have been and noticed a rather large, machined collar about two inches long and an inch around. I had no idea where it went and had a mini freak out. Holy crap!
After tearing everything down, I noticed that there was a lot of play in the variator. This must have been it! And it was. The collar fit perfectly where it should go. Whew!
I buttoned everything back up, put the exhaust back on, started the engine and it worked. Revved it a bit and it seemed normal. Now, the only way I’ll find out if I did everything correctly is to get the wheels back on it. That will come this week.
Aside from the new wheels, I also have to put front and rear breaks on her. The breaks that are there now are ok, maybe even 75%, but will that last me all the way to Florida? Hard to tell. Probably, but why risk it? I’ll keep the “old” breaks for when I return.
I’ve also got to change the gear oil and figure out what to do about the throttle cable (more on that later, it’s kind of a big deal).