Monday, February 18, 2008

Newest updates

I haven't been blogging that actively lately because I've been at a pretty big standstill. First of all, Danielle backed out of the black Vespa that I had posted a picture of. But a friend of mine wanted it and paid me to go get it for him on Saturday. And what a wonderful day of freezing rain it was. By the time the seller and I were done looking it over, testing it out, loading it on the trailer, and loading up any extra parts, we were both soaked. Actually, after about 5 minutes we were soaked. By the time we were finished, we were just used to it. Luckily he was a very nice guy and donated a t-shirt to me so I wouldn't die of hypothermia on the way home.

So now the Haas has a new Vespa and is super pumped. He went to California for the week so while he is gone, I'm doing a little work on his bike. The shift cables need to be properly tensioned and the rear brake pedal put on and the electrical messed with to get the headlight working properly. It works sometimes, but not others. Must have a short somewhere.

As for my Vespa, I spent a good chunk of the weekend trying to put the engine case back together and have gotten frustrated enough that I am going to pay Stacy at the Vespa shop to look it over and make sure I have everything right then put the two halves back together.

I did get all of the floor trim riveted on and the body grommets in place. It looks like we are starting to get close to the home stretch. I need to paint my cowls today and order any missing hardware/rubber. I'm hoping to also have the fork put back together and put in place as well as run the new electrical harness and get it ready for the CDI upgrade. Don't quote me, but I am shooting to be done in about two more weeks given all parts show up when I am expecting them. The most important parts that I'm waiting on should be here on Wednesday. And that is the carb and the cylinder kit.


Monday, February 11, 2008

Welcome to the family...

Danielle's 1963 VNB Vespa

Upgraded to a 150cc engine
All new cables, rubber, electrical
Drives fine.

Just needs a speedo cable, a new seat cover, floor rails, and paint.

If it was for me, I would keep it the way it is. I'm kinda digging the hot rod look, but it will be painted bubblegum pink since it is hers.

I was wanting something that needed a little more work because I actually enjoy the process, but it was too close and cheap to pass up. Plus, I'm sure she doesn't want to wait around for it to be finished. I doubt the process of restoration is quite as exciting to her.

Saturday, I drive to Oklahoma City to pick it up.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


So, it has been a little while since I have given you a nice progressive update. More than anything, that is because there hasn't been a whole lot to report. I have been mostly just waiting for shipments to arrive and get my ducks all in a row.

Painting is a wonderful milestone in the restoration process because it is typically the dividing line between disassembly and reassembly.

So as of yesterday, we are officially in the reassembly stage.

I was originally going to outsource my paint job as you may recall, but I was talked into giving it a shot on my own. Here's the deal, if you already own an air compressor you can either pay some one else a few hundred dollars to do it for you, or you can spend $30-$60 for your own paint gun. After this experience, I recommend the latter. You might be saying "You can get paint guns that cheap, but the good ones are $200+." You are painting a small scooter here, not a giant classic cadillac. You really are not going to see a difference between guns on a project this small.

I chose a single-stage Urethane paint. It is extremely durable, and doesn't require clear coat or buffing. Most big cities will have auto parts stores that will make you Urethane paint in any color you want. In Wichita, one of our O'Reilly's auto parts stores offers this service. And it's cheap. The smallest amount they sell is enough to do 2 Vespas and all of the materials cost about $60. Typically Urethane comes with the actual paint, a catalyst compound, and reducer (equivalent to paint thinner). Be sure to follow the mixing instructions on the can!

After you have your parts primed up, lightly wet sand them with 400 grit waterproof sandpaper. This isn't like regular sanding where you concentrate in one spot and rub until your arm is sore. This is very light and easy. As you sand, you will feel the surface become extremely smooth. Don't stick in that one spot, keep moving or you will get rid of the primer all together. I had every part completely wet sanded and rinsed off within 45 minutes. Then be sure to let it dry!

Mix your paint. Again, follow the mixing ratios on the paint can! In my case, it was 8 parts paint, 1 part catalyst, 2 parts reducer. Once mixed, Urethane is only good for about 4 hours. So only mix what you need to use now. Hook up your compressor. Set the PSI to less than 40. 25-35 is ideal.

Spray on a light coat. Your spray technique should be to move straight across the surface from left to right at about 12" away. Then make another pass from right to left. Kind of a swooping motion. Your first coat is going to be very light. This is called a tack coat. It's purpose is to provide adhesion for the rest of the paint. You want see much color results at all on this coat. You let this coat dry for about 20 minutes (to get tacky so the next coat will stick). The next coat is a normal coat. Spray on a little heavier, just enough to see color starting to peek out. It is extremely important to not cake on paint so you won't get orange peel or runs! These will completely ruin the integrity of the paint job.

Let the 2nd coat tack for 20-30 minutes and repeat until you are happy with the color coverage. I didn't have anything to levitate my frame off of a platform so that all surface area could be done at once. So to compromise, I had to let the top side dry for about 4 hours, flip it, and do the bottom side.

In between coats of your frame, that is key time to do your smaller pieces. Your gas cap, your rims, your gas tank, cowls, etc.

Speaking of cowls, I don't think i have mentioned yet. But I outsourced out body work on my cowls to Jess at Eternal Hotrods. They should be done this week so I will be painting those on a later date.

Well, that's about it. All in all, I am very happy I did my own paint and strongly encourage others to follow. It will save you a lot of money on your restoration!

Monday, February 4, 2008

I want your bike!

The VBB really doesn't have a whole lot left to fix up. It's getting close to time to just put it all back together. I need a few more parts, but most of the major purchases are out of the way. I have the bodywork done and most of the parts primed (pictures will be popping up tomorrow, sorry for the delay). As things are starting to come more and more together, my girlfriend is getting more and more interested in having a bike to call her own.

This is where you come in.

If any one has a project Vespa they are looking to get rid of, I'm your man. As long as it is in the continental US, I will pay shipping. I am looking for a late 50's to late 60's non-oil injected Vespa. I would prefer smallframe as she is a small girl! And body condition is much more important than engine condition.

Make an offer!