Mistakes Encouraged

Today was a great day with Betty. Today I really feel like I decided to let myself fail a little. When I started this project, I was hoping to learn about machines. Now that I’m doing this project, I think it’s about learning so much more than that. For me it’s about learning to try something even if you’re not sure where it’s going to go, and to take risks with the option of failing. It’s a lesson I desperately need, and today was the first day I allowed myself to try that… “Okay, Kaitlin, enough with the mushy stuff, let’s get to the mechanics!”:

So if you’ve been keeping up, right now I’m trying to remove the engine from the frame. At this point I think there are 4 connection points that I need to address: 2 of them being symmetrical and the “easiest” (I put that in quotes because nothing is easy with Betty) and those will likely be the last to come off, 1 of them being at the rear shock, and 1 of them being a mystery object that I will get to later.

First up is the rear shock. The bolt seemed easy enough and after some WD-40 and a little elbow grease, I got it off! I had even asked Brendan to come get it for me because it was really stuck, but he was taking too long so I ended up getting it myself! Felt good, man. When I pulled the bolt out, the engine did a really satisfying drop, which means I’m correct that this was one of my connection points (not a surprise, but satisfying nonetheless). Since I’m working on this myself, I’m not sure what is the best thing to put under the engine since it’s bound to fall when I remove the last connection point. I ended up shoving a bunch of towels under the engine so that it could have a little support now that it’s not longer connected to the shock, and so that hopefully it would just sink in when it falls. I’m open to other suggestions, but keep in mind that I am lazy and would prefer something I already have in my house.

After the bolt was removed:


Next up was this mystery item. There is no mystery that it is the piece that feeds fuel into the engine. It’s where the fuel line and choke connect to, and some other pieces that were once there and are now not. It is inside the frame under the fuel tank. My first guess was the carburetor, but I don’t think that’s it (especially because I don’t think I have a carburetor). See below (the black line is the fuel line and the short cable in the middle is the choke. The engine is in the top portion of the picture, for reference):

The problem is, I’m not sure how to properly remove this thing. I asked Brendan’s opinion and he wasn’t sure, so I turned to Youtube hoping for answers. There are so many wonderful videos on Youtube and I’m sure there was one that would have helped me, but I didn’t really find it in my initial search. The closest thing I found was someone with a vintage small frame Vespa like Betty, but the video was spoken in German with no subtitles and he was going too fast and it was too dark so not really helpful. I’d love to learn German, but right now I’ve got too many hobbies going on so it’ll have to wait.

I went back to Betty to have a look myself and see if anything changed and decided, “you know what? Fuck it. I bought this thing to learn on, and learn I will”, so I just started taking screws out. These screws were gloriously easy to turn as they are inside the frame and are a lot less weathered. There was also an assortment of them and I took out a few that I had never seen before, which is great. It’s great because that’s the point of all this! I can read about screws in a textbook (reading about screws in textbooks is very boring, believe it or not) and hear people talk about them, but until I really pull one out and/or put it back in, I’m not really going to know what it’s like. So now I know.

This is also really exciting because I allowed myself to make a mistake. With every step of this project I’ve been so worried I’m going to do something wrong. I feel like I’ll make an irreversible mistake and I’ll……I’ll what? What will happen? I’ll have learned something. I’ll have to go back and fix it. I’ll make a mistake. Big deal. The only irreversible mistakes are those that have to do with living beings and while Betty may have a name, she is not a living being. So I’m allowed to make mistakes with her. And I’m supposed to. That’s the point. If I take a bunch of screws out and can’t remember where they go, I’ll just have to figure it out. I took on this project by myself specifically for this reason – so that I could make mistakes and fix them and learn. “Kaitlin, enough with the touchy-feely stuff again, show us the scooter!”. Fine, fine.

Okay, here are the goods I took out:

The spring and black piece (bottom right picture) I didn’t mean to take out but obviously it was spring loaded so…I didn’t have much of a choice. Didn’t even get a chance to look at it first. The two screws I’m holding were both kind of unique and I had never seen them before, which was exciting. I’m especially interested in why the second one is gold and why it has a hole at the bottom. After the spring loaded thing opened, here is what was underneath:


The extended rods face away from the engine, for reference. I’m still not sure how to remove this so that I can remove the engine, but my internship requires me to be in the office at 6 am so bedtime is kind of a priority these days, therefore that question will have to be answered at a later date. Suggestions obviously welcome.

If you’re still here, thanks for sticking with me; Through this super long post and also just my molasses-like progress in general. It feels great to learn and writing these posts help me document my learning and organize my thoughts. I appreciate those who follow along and are rooting for me. Hope to be back with more progress soon!


2 thoughts on “Mistakes Encouraged”

  1. You’re making great strides!
    I see you’re taking the carburetor apart as you remove it. Be exceedingly careful and clean as you bag and tag the carburetor parts. Unlike most mechanical fasteners, carburetors need gentle fastening. The machine screw with the needle tip and a spring around it is a metering adjustment for idle mixture. Do not tighten it into its seat. I suggest buying a carburetor overhaul kit before reassembling the vehicle and following the included instructions.
    I would probably use the car’s jack as a block under the engine– it’s strong, easily adjustable and doesn’t care how long you need it to hold in place.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you!! Very helpful advice. Of course when I decide to just go for something I end up taking apart the most sensative part of the bike. I guess this is how you learn.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s