On Monday morning I was suited up and ready to ride to work only to find the Vespa near death when I pressed the starter button. Hard to describe the level of disappointment this old man feels when a scooter ride is snatched away. There’s some consolation in being able to report no curses or expletives emerged from my disappointed brain — just a calm push of the scooter back into the garage.
A long day at work along with evening errands kept me from investigating the problem with the Vespa. And Tuesday evening had me finishing our taxes before Uncle Sam hauled myself and the scooter away. Finally this evening I found time to have a look. Like so many things though, my estimate of available “time” was inaccurate. Or perhaps more precisely, I didn’t realize how fast I was rushing through time to get the Vespa moving again.
The differential diagnosis which was confirmed by fellow riders on the ModernVespa.com forum was either a dead battery or bad ground wire. Simple things to investigate and fix. Found the ground wire — it looked dirty and corroded so I removed it and being in a rush and not paying attention promptly dropped the bolt and washers into an abyss in the engine compartment. Predictable move for an absent-minded Vespa mechanic.
After a trip to the hardware store for replacement parts I pushed the start button and the scooter started right up. Shut the engine off and tried again and the engine barely turned. Pushed the starter button again and the engine turned over slowly and started. Barely. As I rode out of the driveway I’m thinking “bad battery”.
Zipped up the street and the Vespa ran fine. Didn’t want to breakdown far from home so I stayed in the neighborhood. Just up the hill from our garage I shut the engine off and let the headlight drain some energy from the battery. Hit the starter button after a few minutes and I’m back to a hard start. Once home I hooked the engine up to my AntiGravity battery and the Vespa came to life.
Get your own peace of mind regarding dead batteries — Antigravity XP-5 MINI Micro Start – Personal Battery Jump Starter & Charger – Back Up Power Supply.
So — dead battery. Hopefully.
Despite being less than two years old the battery seems to be dead. Perhaps running year round in cold weather takes a toll. Others have suggested constant use of a Battery Tender shortens the life of the battery. Don’t know, don’t care. Just want to go for a ride. So tomorrow I’ll stop by Kissell Motorsports and hopefully find a new battery. And once installed I expect the engine to start.
Am I asking too much?