Sunday, November 2, 2014

Amateur Mechanic Discovers a New Trick & Pay Back Time

Part of the joy in finally fulfilling a lifetime dream of owning a Vespa has been making some great new friends who share the same passion.  I have particularly enjoyed reading the blogs and chatting with David of ScootCommute, Ken at Lostboater Diaries, and corresponding and viewing the all-inspiring photography of Sergei Belski.

Thank you all!

So, I guess it’s my turn to add to the collective knowledge that these good folks have accumulated and so generously shared.

While I am not a real mechanic, I enjoy turning wrenches, learning and trying to do as much as I can to maintain my new to me 2013 Vespa GTS 300 Super.  After ordering, on the good advice of David, a huge box of “goodies” arrived this past week from ScooterWest – a top box, rear carrier, power outlet, etc., etc.

After watching their videos on the installation of the top box for the GTS, I realized that my toolbox didn’t include any M-6 taps.  A typical plug or tapered tap is pointed at the bottom and won’t clean out all the junk in the bottom of the blind threaded holes on the grab bar nor the two on the new rear carrier that serve to hold the top box.  Plug and tapered taps were the only styles available at the hardware and big box stores.  You need the full extent of the threads to secure the top box.

After spending several hours searching, I came to realize they did not carry what I required for this project - a bottoming tap.

I finally stopped by, as my last resort, a small foreign car repair shop, hoping that they might have a bottoming tap I could borrow.   No luck, but they gave me a new trick - purchase an M-6 bolt and make your own bottoming tap.  You grind the tip off of the bolt and put a small bevel on one side (see photo).  It worked like a bottoming tap with some cutting oil.  Thread it in a few turns, and back it out and repeat again.

AWESOME, by 10:30 in the morning I finally had completed the job.

Attached are a few photos to illustrate the blind threaded holes and how they attach to the Vespa OEM top box.


David Masse said...

Great guest post Jim! I am fearless with electrical projects but wary of turning wrenches.

Who knows, maybe the blog bug has bitten! Watch out, it can be addictive.

Steve Williams said...

I should be wary of turning wrenches considering the damage I have done to my machines. I hold on to the dream though that one day I'll be able to reliably maintain my Vespa.

Thanks for sharing your experience here Jim. And I agree with David's assessment about the blog bug...

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

Trobairitz said...

Smarty pants.

Good thing you stopped by that shop. Overcome, adapt, improvise.......

Trobairitz said...

I suppose I should have put Smarty Pants Jim to acknowledge I know who was authoring the post.

If it helps, you too are a smarty pants David.

redlegsrides said...

Nice WWID moment Sir!

David Masse said...

I am really lucky because my good friend Gino is a very talented mechanic. He does all the work on his family's five cars.

I had an issue with the windshield mounts for my large screen and Gino spotted the problem (the previous owner had had custom mounts made and plated them with black chrome. The threads had not been cut far enough on the mount, and the plating had affected the that were there.

It took Gino 20 minutes with his tap and die set to make everything right. Now changing screens is the snap it always should have been.

David Masse said...

Brandy, Jim really impressed me with the way he fixed the challenge he had mounting the rack and topcase. He is a Smarty Pants indeed.

David Masse said...

One can never have enough of these little MacGyver tricks up one's sleeve.

The copyright in all text and photographs, except as noted, belongs to David Masse.