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Mechanical vintage scooter help and tips
With so many different models of Vespa scooters, it can be hard to find the proper help for your specific scooter. We will try to make this task easier for you and provide you with useful vintage scooter help and tips relevant to the models we carry. You are welcome to come back for reference any time you need.
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Vintage Vespa VIN numbers
Our models (VBB, VLB and VBC) all have VIN numbers that are located as shown on the image to the right. Frame number is stamped on the underside of the left hand side cowl above the rear wheel. The frame VIN number always looks like VBB1T, VLB1T or VBC1T followed by a sequence of numbers. Engine number is stamped on the aluminum engine swing arm, right where the exhaust barrel is connected. Similarly, the engine numbers start VBB1M, VLB1M or VBC1M, again folowe by a sequence of numbers.
To verify your scooter’s VIN number you can use a free vintage scooter help service, which can be found HERE.
Manuals and parts books
Even the best mechanics sometimes need to consult the original manual or parts book for their particular scooter and we are no exception. In addition to the links to original documents from vintage scooter help site scooterhelp.com, you can also find attached our starter manual for all of you that are starting to take care of their vintage baby scooter. Please note that the parts books are in Italian.
Please download our PDF manual for all new vintage Vespa scooter owners.
Vintage Vespa scooters from us are completely restored but the underlying technology is nevertheless 60 years old, so you might run into situation, where some tweaking and repairs are necessary. In these situation you can refer to this vintage scooter help section to guide you to figure out the problem and fix it. The good news is that the older Vespa are mechanically pretty straightforward and after some practice you will be right at home doing the general maintenance yourself.
On the right, you can preview a Vespa fault finding chart for vintage models. We would recommend a laminated copy to keep in your glove box, just in case you get unexpectedly stuck on the side of the road. You can download the chart HERE.
If you just got a completely restored scooter and you are not sure how to properly break in the engine, please refer to the these tips HERE or our PDF vintage scooter help guide above.
Wondering, what kind of tool set might be useful for tweaking and fixing your vintage scooter? You can refer to vintage scooter help HERE but please remember not to over tighten any bolts, since some of the parts are aluminium and are easy to break.
For other useful information, please refer to our PDF manual for new owners, which can be found above. Remember that these beautiful historical scooters need their care and that is one of the many reasons people fall in love with these machines. Working on the scooter is definitely a very rewarding activity.
Electrical and cables
Gear selector line, brake lines and electrical wiring sometimes need an adjustment too. It might sound scary but the reality is not always as bad as it seems. With the following links and the help of your manual, you should be able to easily adjust what needs to be.
Selector gear box has stayed the same on most Vespa scooters for a very long time, so when your shifting doesn’t work, or the clutch slips you know where to find the problem. You can locate the gear selector on the picture to the right. On how to fix any problems with this part please refer to this vintage scooter help guide.
If your shifting doesn’t improve and you notice that your scooter looses power or slips out of gear in the hill, it is often a problem of a part that selects the gears called cruciform. This might be a little more work but with the excellent vintage scooter help guide here you shouldn’t have much troubles. Please make sure you purchase the correct part before taking the gears apart :).
ELECTRICAL parts and components are pretty straightforward and the following vintage scooter help section should guide you in referencing any problems you might have. We provide spare spark plugs with all of our scooters but if you need to get a new one, please use this cross-reference chart or the general guide to spark plugs for vintage Vespa scooters.
If your bike runs poorly, the problem might be in a condenser, which you might need to check and follow these instructions with a video.
All electrical diagrams for reference can be found HERE.
Fuel System and Exhaust
One of the most important parts of your scooter is the carburetor, which carefully mixes air, gas and oil to give out the best power output for your scooter. If your scooter looses power in high speeds, doesn’t run smoothly and/or stalls, you might want to tune your carburetor, which is pretty easy and basically requires just a screwdriver. If you are looking to get the most out of your scooter and are not afraid of some tuning, you might want to consider changing your carburetor altogether for a more modern version. Guide to modern parts and their advantages can be accessed HERE.
One of the reasons your carburetor might not be putting out its best is the weather and its effect on the gas mixture. Keep that in mind and check out this post. To check the efficiency of your jetting, you might want to look at this vintage scooter help as well.
If your gas tank is getting rusty and dirty, please follow these instructions to clean it.
Scootering is getting very popular due to low gas consumption, space effectiveness and cool looks. With these perks come disadvantages that have mostly to do with your safety. That’s why it’s extremely important to wear the best protective gear possible, practice your riding and learn to prevent any possible safety hazards. In this case, no vintage scooter help will save you but following these tips might.
Even though you might want to put on your favorite summer dress or shorts, these won’t likely protect you in case of a fall. Your protective gear is the only thing between you and the pavement and you should always dress for the worst, especially in areas with a lot of traffic. Full sized helmet with chin protection, heavy jacket and pants, a pair of riding boots and protective gloves are your safest bet to stay protected at all times. Of course, if you are on the beach and unfrequented roads that you know well, you can dress little more leniently according to your riding skills but remember that oil spills and pot holes are just as dangerous as cab drivers in New York City. If you plan to ride in a large city like New York there are also other things to consider besides wearing good gear. Read this great article with contributions from a Piaggio manager who rides NYC.
Important part of your safety is to check up on your tires regularly. At least once a week check your tire pressure and fill your tires according to the manual for the best adherence. If you can, invest into the best tires you can afford, since these two guys are the only thing standing between you and the surface.
When riding in a rain or bad weather you should dress for the worst, since your physical comfort affects your attention to the road. Use anti-fog substances for your helmet or your glasses. It is vitally important to dress visibly, or at least with reflective stripes on your outerwear so that the drivers of heavier vehicles see you on time. For other tips for bad weather riding, consult this article.
For comprehensive guide to scooter safety, please download and read this neat publication.
HAVE FUN AND STAY SAFE
We hope you find this vintage scooter help section useful and we are dedicated to bring you more on the subject. Whenever you find yourself in need of some vintage scooter help, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us for advice. We will also be glad to hear some suggestions on how to keep improving this vintage scooter help guide to serve our customers, friends and community better. We hope that you don’t need to come to our vintage scooter guide often but that when you do, you find everything you are looking for. Safe and happy riding!
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