Monday, May 19, 2008

I made a deal, a friend mad, and a scooter run

I troll around Craig's List pretty regularly. A few days ago I saw a listing for what looked like a Chinese scooter that had an orange and blue paint job. Here's the listing's body:

"I have a XING DUO scooter that is NOT RUNNING. I repeat NOT RUNNING. It ran great for about 6 months after I bought it used and then just stopped. Could be somthing really easy to fix, but I dont know. I dont have the time to deal with it. I took all the body plastic off and sold it. I have some of the original stuff that I took off when I first bought the scooter, but its not in the best shape. You can buy the fairings on ebay for about 100 bucks or so. EMAIL me if you are interested, and give me your BEST OFFER! I do mean Best offer, I just want to get rid of this thing!! Here are a few pictures......"

I offered him less and got it. Once I had it I couldn't find any name for it's model or manufacturer on the scooter or the title. It turned out the paint job was a pretty heinous spray paint job and almost all the body panels and seat had broken parts. I was still happy with the purchase though since those are just cosmetic and the engine looked to be in good shape. I saw it didn't have any gas, and the battery was dead flat (not uncommon for inexpensive Chinese scooters and bikes). I started by taking the battery cover off only to find out that the negative battery cable had come off the connector to the battery, An easy fix and possibly why the scooter "just stopped working" for the previous owner.

After that I had to head to work, where after several hours of research and a tangle of companies, I found the most likely suspect for the manufacturer: TANK, model Classic 50. There are a few differences, but this looks like it's mostly the same. Schwinn and others also sold the same model under other names, but it looks like TANK is the original make.

Today I cleaned the scooter up, repainted some of the parts that had caught the ugly brunt of the spray paint, and tried to get it road worthy by fixing the body plastics as well as is prudent. I wound up epoxying a piece of plexiglass into the back fender and screwed another into the bottom of the seat to make them hold ogether better, as well as using plenty of epoxy on other pieces. After that, I reassembled the whole thing, bending warped frame pieces back into place and figuring out how to keep what's left of the body plastics together. It didn't look good, but it didn't look bad either, and it was all pretty sturdy.

I filled up the gas tank and decided to try and kick start the little blue and orange monster to life. Turn the key, hold the brake, turn trottle a little, kick, kick, kick, kick-kick, *sputter*, kick, *sputter-putter*, KICK KICK, *sputter-putter-cough-cough-broooooooommmmmm*. IT'S WORKING! The only think that was really wrong (other than having the ugly tree fall on it) turned out to be that loose battery cable. And the battery, and the speedometer, and the gas needle, and the odometer (hey, the horn still honks), but the ugly scootling was running and I took it on a few victory laps around the yard to get a feel for how it handled.

Next I took it down the road to the local hardware store (it's so nice when yours hasn't gone out of business yet) and picked up a few bolts that were missing. I had to spend several minutes kicking the scooter to get it to start again. The sun in front of the store was beaming down as if to laugh and delight in wanting me to kick until I passed out from heat stroke, but eventually it started up again. A new battery is a high priority now.

By now it was time for me to clean up some and head to work, where I found this site, specializing in parts for TANK's vehicles. They look like they have what I need, but I'm not sure so I sent them a few photos and asked if they could get me the side panels, back fender, and a seat. We'll see how that goes.

On the way to work though, and while I was working on the scooter, I was talking on the phone with a friend of mine who's very opinionated about motorcycles and scooters, and is of the distinct opinion that scooters are the scum of the earth. Thus my obtaining this scooter is a betrayal of his trust and I'll have to wait until I can break his feet-forward bigotry before I'm fully in his good graces again. C'este la vie. I just had to put it to him as being like a minibike that's street legal for him to give me a temporary stay of execution.

I'll update this post once I get word on the replacement parts, but for now you can see more photos of the ugly scootling on this Flickr set.

(EDIT: 5-27-08)

Over the last several days I've been working more one the Ugly Scootling. Here's an overview of what's gone on.

First the body: I cleaned up the body panels a little to scrape off the worst of the rough spots in the old paint and disassembled all the body panels and things attached to them so I could paint them without overspraying all over the scooter. I didn't bother getting too worked up about imperfections since there's no way I can get the body back to looking new without many hours of work and ordering new body panels. I filled in the large hole in the back fender with JB Weld. I didn't bother making it look too great since if I want to get the scooter looking like new I'll just order some new body panels. At the moment I'd rather spend any money I spend on it on repairing parts like the starter.

Speaking of the starter, I ordered a new one off of eBay last week and it came in today right as I was finishing up the cosmetic work. I bolted it on and it works fine. No more kick starting every time now! The arch of my right foot is happy for that. The only thing that concerns me is that from what I can gather the starters on these Chinese bikes are usually pretty short-lived. I'm wondering what I might be able to do to make sure this one doesn't kick the bucket as soon as it's replacement did....

I also got all of the lights working. The tail light bulb was blown (not even a trace of filament left in it), and the rest of the lights seem to be fine now.


David said... Go to Venise 49cc body parts. Any TNG dealer can get you body parts and stock engine, eletrical ect. Like my Schwinn Laguna.
Upgrades first Change the CDI unit to unlimited RPM..good to get you to 40 MPH other part changes depend if your 2cycle or 4cycle

gabe502000 said...

You might check the voltage going to it's lights...No filaments may mean it's high...The voltage regulator may be adjustable....(12.5 to 13.8 volts will keep everything healthy.)Try adding SeaFoam to your gas, it's really good at unsticking needle valves, and cleaning varnish from the innards of your Tank's carb. Gabe