Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Pimping My Ride

I have just finished the biggest part of my Buddy's customization. I hadn't posted anything about it because....... uh, I don't know. I was wanting it to be secret, but I'm really not sure why. I guess I just wanted to be able to make a production out of the unveiling.

So, here's how it happened: I badly injured my Buddy a couple of months ago. I was changing variator weights (something which I've done a number of times in the past) and somehow managed to put the variator plate on a little crooked, or catawampus as we say back home. I tightened all the nuts and took off for a test drive. The plate seems to have straightened out. Probably when I hit a bump just right. This caused the formerly tight nut and variator plate, to be just a tiny bit loose, resulting in some wobbling, vibration and gawdawful noises coming from of the aforementioned variator plate.

I got the scooter shut down as soon as I could get off the road. Long story short, the variator plate welded itself (through the wonder of friction) to the crankshaft. I was unable to remove it, now were the fine folks at Scoot Over. So, through every fault of my own, I needed a new crankshaft and variator.

The crankshaft is not an expensive part, in itself, however (Ever notice how that word "however" frequently means that your bank account is about to be assaulted?) it takes a LOT of labor to get to it. The engine case must be split open, hence you spend one amount on the crankshaft and much more than that on labor.

Ron, the mechanic at Scoot Over, and I have discussed modifying my motor for more power and since the entire motor was about to have major vehicular surgery, we decided to do the modification and save me the cost of labor to open the engine case at another time.

Ron did a little research and presented me with several options:
  1. Upgrade to the 161cc motor. This is common for the 125cc scooters, but since I have a 150cc Buddy, it doesn't really give much increase for the money spent.
  2. Upgrade to the 171cc kit. This option is less common and for a bit more money for the kit, gives me a 21cc boost.
  3. Upgrade to the NCY 62mm cylinder kit. I had seen references made to this kit, but have never heard of anyone ever having installed it on their scooter. Hmmm, what might be a one-of-a-kind motor? I had to have it.

So began my journey. I had Ron order the kit. Additionally, I added the 61mm Big Valve Head and the new crank shaft.

After completing the Saddle Sore 1000, Iron Butt ride, we decided to start calling my Scooter "Iron Buddy." So, while Ron was rebuilding my scooter's power plant, I started thinking of how to make my scoot look Iron - esque. I have never liked the blue color of the St Tropez and early on had gotten some quotes to repaint it. A simple, one color paint job was about $400, but a two-tone metallic, mildly customized paint job was quoted to me at $3000! I can't afford custom paint work.

Shelby, at Scoot Over, referred me to Signs Now to look at a vinyl wrap. After looking a lot of images, my wife and I picked out a rusty, rivetted, steel plate graphic image. I had kind of a "Mad Max" meets "steam punk" in mind. After getting a sample printed out, I went to Scoot Over and held it up against the part of the Buddy that couldn't be wrapped. It didn't match at all, but Ron suggested that it would look good with the "Sunset Orange" Buddy body panels. It did.

"In for a penny, in for a pound" as the old saying goes, so I had Scoot Over order the new panels. Now the Buddy would have a "new" motor, new look panels on the front and rear and brand new panels in the middle.

There were some bumps in the road. The 183cc kit wouldn't just "bolt on." The cylinder had to be bored out to accommodate the new piston. That took a while. Sign Now had a printer go down and the other one run out of ink as well as a couple of high profile, high dollar jobs that put Iron Buddy on the back burner for a few days.

Finally, after a bit more than a month, all the parts were in place. Scoot Over was kind enough to let me keep Buddy in their garage and provided with the tools and expertise required to put Iron Buddy back together. Unlike Humpty Dumpty, this was going back together again!

It took about 10 hours, but I did it. Naturally, the first thing I did was to ride over the the GGR scooter club garage to show him off. Then I got the cameras and took some stills and some video. I didn't just want to post a couple of still pics on Modern Buddy and Facebook, so I made a little movie. It's only the second movie I've ever made, but I think it gets the point a cross:

Am I done? Of course not. The wheels are still blue. I think I will just paint them for now, but I am going to look for custom wheels. Ron and I are also looking at a new carburetor.

Ride on,


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