Monday, September 15, 2014

A bolt and a belt

It's amazing how much havoc a little loose nut can create. That can be taken in different ways, I know, but in this case, I mean a literal metal nut.

Over the last two months, I've been experiencing increasing amounts of "bump steer" while driving the Jag. For those who do not know (and I did not until recently), bump steer occurs when there is an issue with the front steering assembly and one hits a bump or other abnormality in the road surface. The bump causes changes in the camber and alignment due to any number of issues with the front end.

On Saturday, a friend was having his brakes replaced by another friend who is a freelance mechanic. He offered to take a look at the Jag and see what was causing the problem. So, we shook the wheels good and looked at the brakes and so on, and there seemed to be nothing really obvious. As he did not have the equipment there in the driveway to properly assess the steering rack, he suggested I take it to a shop to have it looked at.

Yesterday and then this morning, the bump steer was even worse than previously. It was so bad, I felt like I was driving in heavily gusting winds. As soon as I could, I called the garage I normally visit and they told me to get the Jag there as quickly as possible.

The above is a picture of the lower ball joint on the front passenger side of the Jag. It was so loose that the front wheel had a large amount of play in it. Apparently while messing about with the wheels on Saturday, though the wheel wouldn't shake at all for us, we managed to loosen it up a little further.

But now Petunia is back to feeling like herself again. It's amazing how a good bolt tightening can help one feel so much better.

Which brings us to the boy's scooter. As previously reported; two weeks ago, the belt blew. Another was purchased and with a newly purchased impact wrench in hand, was then installed. This was a relatively easy repair, but ineffective as the belt I'd purchase turned out to be rather...well, cheap as one can see:

Yes, that's the "new" belt. It lasted all of a mile and a half. So, a better quality belt (Powerlink), was purchased, as well as a new variator just in case, and those are now running well. The new belt has about ten miles on it and has been checked for wear, of which there seems to be none so far.

So my opinion continues to stand. Chinese Scooters work for secondary transport. They are cheap to fix when something goes wrong, but it seems there's a lot that can go wrong with them.


Funny thing happened as my kid was on his way home from work. It's another loose nut story. The nut came loose that holds the opposing plate for the variator. So the variator would spin out, but since it had no pressure from the kickstarter gear plate, there was no friction to move the belt. A few minutes, a few twists with a socket wrench, and he was able to limp it home. A bit of threadlocker is all that is needed and it should be right as rain. Still, it's more work to do.


kz1000st said...

This is where hanging around the scooter forums pays off. The variator nut needs to be tightened to 45 ft. lbs. with blue loctite and wait for an hour for it to cure. Congrats on the Powerlink though. That should hold you for a good long time.

The thing about owning and using Chinese scooters is knowing all the tricks and knowing your scooter. My CF Moto Fashion just turned 10,000 miles and is my main ride in good weather.

Paul Smith said...

Perhaps so. Just the same, having to know all the tricks makes it even more pertinent that Chinese scooters not be seen as cheap transport that anyone can use. For those of us with a little mechanical know-how, dealing with the vagaries of a temperamental engine isn't such a big deal. For the average person it's a completely different story.

kz1000st said...

Quite true. But since dealer support is lacking being in touch with a forum is of paramount importance to glean the knowledge to keep a Chinese scooter running. The average person should never buy anything from a crate, even a Honda. Dealer set up and service is extremely important for a long life. Your Kymco has served you well but would you be so lucky if it came in a box and you had to fix it yourself?
If you think Chinese scooters are tempermental, read this;