gy6 scooter quality, mods, maintenance

Chinese (mainland) scooters and bikes can be a great value but do require research and work in the American context.  In general Chinese scoots cost about 1/4 as much as Japanese ones.

In China scooters and small bikes are cheap transportation that can repaired by the owner or repaired in the street by omnipresent curbside shops.   Parts are generic, ubiquitous, and of fair-at-best quality.  The engines and general designs are usually shameless rips of Honda designs.

In America bike shops generally won’t look at your Chinese scooter.  Which is good because shop rates are high.  And because it will need regular TLC.  So we need to learn some survival skills.


Do all this before the first ride:

  • replace fuel lines.  About $5 for fancy-ass tygon or whatever.
  • replace vacuum lines.  Silicone seems to be popular these days.  About $5.
  • drain and replace engine oil – use dino for at least the first oil change.  You can afford to splurge, though, as gy6 motors hold less than 1qt of oil  :-).  About $5 for good oil.  This would be a good time to install a magnetic drain plug;  it’s $$$ at amazon but I find it for about $13 shipped everyone once in a while around the net
  • drain and replace transmission oil.  About $3.
  • replace spark plug – traditionally replaced with NGK.  About $3.
  • set valve lash while you’ve got the plug pulled so you can rotate the engine easily.  Free.
  • check every fastener you can get to.  Free.  Consider using a torque wrench and blue loctite if you already have it.

Change when convenient

  • replace tire valves the first time you unmount the tire.  OEM ones are infamous for cracking and leaking.  Normally the 90-deg bent ones work best on small-wheeled scoots.  $2 ea.
  • replace drive belt with a Gates Powerlink. You can keep the OEM in the emergency kit as a backup or donor to a stranded friend.  Normal Gates belts are $10, kevlar ones are closer to $20.

Emergency kit

Stuff to carry with you under the seat or in a toolbag:

  • replacement CDI (electronic ignition) for your bike.  About $8.
  • replacement drive belt, maybe the OEM one you took off earlier.
  • replacement fuse.  About $2.
  • tire plug kit

Useful to have

  • 12v charger.  Battery Tender or similar with quick-connect.  $20.
  • torque wrench.  Digital head or old school style, about $30.
  • tire irons.  $8 x 3.
  • variator puller.  About $15 or you can make your own.
  • blue loc-tite
  • rectifier/regulator.  The battery won’t charge when voltage is low and bulbs/fuses will burn out if output voltage is high.  About $10.

GY6 project out of the house

Recent progress: EGR delete, exhaust header nuts came in and got installed, exhaust hangers secured with generic bolts from Hooten’s hardware.

Hardwired the SAE quick-connect for the Battery Tender Jr charger.  It’s a .75A charger that works well on the 7A scooter cell.  I use a bigger BT model on the larger equipment.

At this point it was time to start running the engine for more than second-long tests so I moved it outside.

I installed the new Gates PowerLink kevlar belt;  this requires removing the variator (forward pulley) which can be a biotch since it’s on tight (40 ft/lbs) and spins on the engine output shaft. There is a spanner tool to help hold the variator while you wrench on it but I’d been putting off buying it.  Finally did and it works pretty well.  The fingers were a little too thick and required grinding but after that all was well.

Got the CVT put back together.   Engine started fine but didn’t want to rev, seemed out of balance, and rear clutch engaged at low engine RPM. Wha-a-a-a-a-t?

I hadn’t taken the inner variator plate off (the one with the rollers and ramp) to see if any belt chunks had ended up in there. . I spun the variator around and looked in the holes; one of the rollers was stuck in a weird/outward position. I think this was pushing the belt outward as if the engine were revved, increasing the belt RPM and engaging the rear (centrifugal) clutch. Since only one was out this could also explain the increased vibration.

The variator rollers (OEM 18×14 13g each) had flattened considerably and were in need of replacement:
 photo 20160331_212855_zpsqbri3vzm.jpg

That’s how they wear so it wasn’t unexpected.  The dings on the side of the roller are not a function of normal wear.  One of them had shed some of the “shell” material;  I wonder if this caused the dings and/or the original belt failure.

I ordered a set of 18×14 13g sliders off eBay and some of those little v-shaped “variator slide” pieces that fit on the ramp to help it move in/out as the rollers push the ramp out. One was missing, or I dropped it, or it turned to dust with the belt.

Sliders replace rollers but they are polygonal and slide (surprise!) up the ramp rather than rolling.  They are generally a bit more expensive but 1) are said to wear better; and 2) widen the gear ratio a bit by moving both deeper (low gear) and shallower (high gear) in the variator pulley.  It’s not a huge difference but wear patterns on the variator walls are wider with sliders so the v-belt must be traveling a greater range.

sitting by the fire

 photo 20160224_195744_zps3gtlla3h.jpg

Wednesday night in Point, Tx.

Weather was chilly-perfect.  I’d gathered up fallen limbs that had been knocked down by the past few storms and finally lit them off.  Stared at the fire and thought, and didn’t think.  Depending.

Took a while to burn and I watched it.  Not much happened except every so often a piece would break, or roll. Or a tuft of grass would burn for a bit then go out.

I guess I’m an odd bird — I don’t get bored and I don’t get lonely.  I can go days without talking to anyone (dogs don’t count) and not really notice.  Admittedly there are shortcomings to this approach but I find them preferable to noise and chaos.



Phone scam from (386) 569-2937

Here’s the google voicemail transcript:

hello this is sarah at consumer services we’re calling in reference to your current credit card account there’s no problems currently with your accounts it is urgent however that you contact us immediately concerning your eligibility for lowering your interest rates press 1 now your eligibility expires today consider this your final notice press 1 to be connected with a live operator

Gosh, I hope my posting the number (386) 569-2937 doesn’t cause any problems for them.

(386) 569-2937

(386) 569-2937

(386) 569-2937

(386) 569-2937

(386) 569-2937

(386) 569-2937

(386) 569-2937

(386) 569-2937

(386) 569-2937

(386) 569-2937

MoaM: on police interrogation

Like many, I am watching Making of a Murderer.  As I watched the interrogation scenes I had a thought I’d like to share:

If you think that LEOs being manipulative, aggressive, and straight up lying during interrogation is corruption or a fluke then you probably haven’t been interrogated before.

It is legal for the cops to lie during your interrogation.  Depending on your state they may even be allowed to Continue reading