Well, it’s finally time to go about fixing the white scooter, aptly named “Whitey” (or technically, “Whitey Will Pay”). All that was left to do was install the new and correct gear selector box (quickly supplied by Scooter Mercato) and secure two case bolts with two weirdly difficult to find M7 nuts.
The nuts and bolts happened so quickly that I didn’t even have time for a picture. Besides, a photo of me bolting something is really not very interesting.
It’s certainly not as interesting as this…
These are the two selector boxes. The one on the left is the new, correct one. The one on the right is the incorrect one. Both have the same part number, so it makes it really difficult to tell which is which. What happens if you choose the wrong one? Well, that’s what happened originally and it demolished three out of four of my gears and thrashed the cruciform. That resulted in a complete tear down of the engine and got me to where I am now (in a not-so-good, but still kind of fun way).
The gear selector box went on with a bit of trial and error (I should be a pro at this by now), but after a quick bolt-on, I was ready to try to start it up.
I didn’t even bother to put the rear wheel back on it. I just wanted to see if I could get the engine running. So I tried to kick start it. And tried and tried and tried more and more and figured that I had probably flooded it or something.
According to Peter Beagle, author of I Can See By My Outfit, this is the only thing one must do when trying to start a scooter only to find that it will not start:
Whatever we know about scooters we learned from Margot [their scooter]: how to clean mufflers, decarbonize pistons, install rings, adjust brakes and clutches, and, most important of all, how to start her when she wouldn’t go, and start her again when she stalled immediately after. You take out the spark plug, wave it around, look grave, scrape carefully at it with your special spark-plug file, blow on it, and put it back in. This satisfies her that something is being done, and she usually starts. It works with most scooters.
So that’s what I did. I even looked grave. Upon putting the plug back in, I realized that the key was in the “off” position. I turned it “on” and then kicked it twice. She started right up!
It was so wonderful to hear the sound of the P200 engine again. Don’t get me wrong, I love my modern Vespa, but nothing… absolutely nothing beats the sound, smell and sight of a two stroke engine waking up and belching blue smoke all over your garage. Nothing.
I hopped on and rode around the block a few times, racing it in third, trying my best to make it jump out of gear. Nothing doing. Whatever it was that I did worked. I had to adjust the gears as there was a bit of chatter because of the looseness of the cables, but after that, she was perfect.
There’s a carb-related project that I’ll pitch into in a few days, I’m sure I’ll keep you posted on such things. But for now, Whitey is a living, breathing, real live scooter once again!