Making Progress

Got a couple of small items done over the past few days and wanted to share to keep the momentum going on my posts.

First, I replaced the manifold on the engine. Originally I was unsure of how to remove the old one so I went with ol’ faithful and started just pulling on it, but then took a closer look and realized there is actually a mechanism in place to hold it on.

The manifold slides over those two things sticking out from the intake (bottom two pictures), and there is a ring that fits over the manifold to hold it in place. I reused the ring on my new manifold, and found the easiest way to remove and replace the ring was to stretch it over the groove and then slide it down the manifold towards the narrowest part (which would be the front) and then reverse that to replace it on the new one.

Ta-da! The bottom left image should tell you why I needed to replace it…Also, there was absolutely no way I could have done this without the engine out, as was originally suggested to me. Maybe on most models, but definitely not with the body style that Betty is. I also replaced the rubber sleeve that goes over the manifold. Kind of interesting – The old one was actually two pieces and the replacement is one piece.

Pictures of the old pieces and one picture of the new one. There is a possibility the old one was at some point one piece, but that certainly is not the case now. Notice how much dirt came out of the round piece after I took it off. Here is what the carb looks like next to the new manifold:

Obviously I can’t put that on yet since I need to get the engine back in the frame first. I was told to resist the urge to twist it in, and instead to push it straight back on. I was also told by someone else that putting it on would be tricky and would require pushing the engine down to lift the manifold up and allow me to attach the carb. Sounds fun (not).

The other thing I did recently was start taking the back brake pedal apart. I’ve been putting off the cables since I am so intimidated by them, so last night I decided I would start with the back brake cable since it is the shortest and likely the simplest. I know the pedal on the frame is what engages the back brake, so I envisioned the cable just sort of snapping on the peddle and running underneath the frame? I was wrong, surprise surprise. So I started by looking up videos and found this one, and then started taking the pedal off the frame. The great news is the bolts holding it on were NOT STUCK! It was amazing. I’m not sure what I did to deserve that, but it was a very pleasant discovery. I also found out the pedal is much more complex than I thought, and it turns out the cable is sort of within the pedal (which makes a lot more sense, now that I think about it).

Here is the pedal hanging from the frame, which is where I left it last night (sorry for the dark pictures, my phone was nearly out of battery so it wouldn’t use flash). The pin in the bottom right picture is what holds the pedal on. The hole on the right of it is where a cotter pin goes. (Side note: Does anyone else feel like, fuck cotter pins? Maybe I’m just used to working with extremely old and crusty ones, but it feels like there must be a better way. Sure, putting them in is great, but removing them is such a pain in the ass.) Anyway, if you look at the picture of the pedal, the cable is on the left. I still think my decision to start with this cable was a good one because it is short and I can get my technique down a little before trying to run a cable through the whole frame.

I ended up stopping there because it was getting late and frankly my body was aching from crouching to get underneath the frame for so long. I guess this is what getting old feels like :/ .The good news is I was feeling really pleased with my progress with these two items. I have noticed a major change in myself and my willingness to approach an unknown problem. In both of these cases I thought it was going to look one way and it ended up looking very different, but I problem solved until I figured out what was going on. I never got frustrated or overwhelmed, and I have a relatively clear idea of what is ahead. Hopefully I can use that momentum to tackle the cables soon.


Working Smarter

This weekend ended up being spent on more “behind the scenes” things than specifically scooter things, but it was so so worth it.

I’ve had my eye out for another tool box to expand my Vespa (or general automotive) tools into, and long story short, found a massive triple toolbox for a great price and we bought it. This prompted completely reorganizing the garage and doing a little spring cleaning and voila, I have a new work space:


There’s me demonstrating how the toolbox is bigger than me. I like buying toolboxes used because a) The new ones are very expensive, and b) The old ones are really high quality and last forever. I really don’t care about cosmetic issues so it makes it an easy choice. My favorite drawer I have so far is what I call my “working drawer” which has parts that I have temporarily removed or are about to go in like the carb or new manifold. Sigh, it’s so beautiful. (Special thanks to the Mr. for helping me out with this. Literally could not have done it without him).

But wait, there’s more! This weekend I also finished putting together my little stand for the engine to drop in to. I said I would only share it if it was a success and drum roll please…….it’s a success!

It’s very simple, but I love it for 2 reasons:

1) It was MAJORLY helpful in removing the engine. It’s still absolutely a two person job, but the stand acts a little bit like a third set of hands. It’s also really easy to move the engine around now that it’s out.

2) It is a really good feeling to have an idea in your head, draw it out, build it, and see it work. This is why I love engineering.

I haven’t seen a lot of people build their own stands, and I’m guessing it’s because the design on Betty is very unusual (read: stupid) with the lip over the engine so most people don’t need a lot of help removing the engine. Clearly someone came to their senses and realized it was the worst design ever and did away with it, which is why I haven’t seen a ton like it. Anyway, turns out I didn’t need that front piece on the stand since the whole thing is supported in the middle, but the front isn’t really getting in the way so I may just leave it.

Having the engine in the stand just makes the whole garage look so clean and put together. It’s so much nicer to work in a clean, comfortable space where everything has a place (including our Costco overstock in the middle, haha). Now that the engine is out, I can replace the manifold, put the engine back in, replace the exhaust, and start working on replacing cables. Certainly there will be bumps along the way, but I’m ready(ish) for them. For now I will be enjoying my new garage :).


Slowly, but Surely

First of all, I wanted to say that my issue from my last post has been resolved in the best way possible. I was able to remove the gate valve (thanks for the vocab word, Randy!) very easily with a simple pair of tweezers…which came from my makeup kit. There was something especially satisfying about working on a carburetor with my “Too Faced”-labeled tweezers.




Who says girls can’t like makeup and carburetors? Hey, if Too Faced wants to sponsor me in some girls in engineering thing or whatever, you know where to reach me ;). OK, enough on that. Anyway the old valve was just really stuck in there cause everything is stuck on Betty, so the new one slides in and out very easily. Only took a gentle tug with the tweezers to get it to slip out. I replaced the choke cable:

There is a lot of play in the cable housing, which I tried to demonstrate in the bottom two pictures (see how much it can slide up and down on the cable?). Once I’m able to fit the carb back in and reattach the choke cable, I think I’ll be able to tell if it’s the right fit or not.

The next thing I accomplished today (that’s right, I actually accomplishing more than 1 thing today!) was putting the seat cover on the frame! I know I said I should wait to get foam for it, but I was impatient and wanted to try to get it on and I did and it looks great!

Bonus picture of Betsy modeling how good the seat looks. (Yes, I know she is in desperate need of a haircut, one thing at a time.) I’ll eventually want to put foam in there, but it wasn’t actually that hard to get on so for now I get to admire it while I work on other stuff.

Speaking of working on other stuff, I also started sorting through cables tonight. One of my favorite sites has a section on cablesย and I found this very helpful diagram there:

Cable Lengths

Betty is a small frame Vespa, hence the highlight. So I measured all my cables, wrote down the housing length and the cable length, and then tried to match up the cable with the description.

I still have a few I’m unsure about, but I’m not gonna sweat it for now and I think I’ll figure it out as I go along. I think the cables are just going to be a “one step at a time” type of deal, so for now I feel pretty good about starting to get organized.

Lastly I continued to try to remove the fuel tap from the fuel tank, but it should come as no surprise that it is very stuck. Like everything. Always. I’m just going to keep trying and ask Brendan to help when he can and I know eventually I will get it. If I’ve learned anything from taking Betty apart, it’s that when something seems completely stuck or totally impossible, it isn’t and I just have to keep trying. Which honestly is a pretty big lesson to learn, I guess. Thanks, Betty.

Thanks for reading and hopefully I will get some more work done next weekend. ๐Ÿ™‚


Good News and Bad News

Like any other day with Betty, today I overcame one obstacle only to be met with another immediately after. At this point I’m pretty used to it. Sigh. Calling my mechanically inclined friends for some help/ideas.

Obstacle I overcame: Removing the choke cable off my old carburetor. I couldn’t figure out how to actually remove the cable because it seemed to be stuck, so to make a medium-length story short, I basically watched this videoย (both parts, fair warning: the dude talks a lot. I watched on 1.5 speed) looked around for other material online, found nothing helpful, then just started pulling really hard on the cable, saw it was moving, and kept doing that till it popped out. The mechanism turned out to be pretty cool:

The cable in question is the one seen in the right photo. The left photo is after it was removed.

This is the cable after I removed it. The spring slides over the cable, and the tip of the cable slides into that bronze piece (that may be the starter valve if I’m reading my parts diagram correctly?). To remove it, I ended pulling it really hard which slid the whole thing out, including the bronze piece. It’s a very tight fit and not lubricated, so it took a lot of pulling. When that piece is in the carb, you cannot remove the tip of the cable. This is important for the upcoming problem.

The problem: Well I was feeling really good about myself for figuring out a problem, and then I go to put the cable back into the carb and you guessed it…


That piece is already in there! How am I supposed to get that out?? Here is another picture with my finger as a size reference (I have small hands), and another view where I can see that piece from the side (of course turned so the slot is not visible):

All ideas welcome. I may end up going to the scooter store for help, cause I really don’t want to mess up my brand new carburetor.

Side note and also kind of neat, this is the old spring (left) vs. the new spring (right). Notice the difference in length. Plastic deformation at work. Neat!


So I got a win and a loss today, feeling pretty neutral about it, as I should. Thanks for reading :).

Mail Day!

Wanted to write a quick update that I got some goodies in the mail today! I figure I’m not sure when I’ll get around to actually using them, so posting pictures of them here is at least half the fun.

Top Left: If you read the end of my last post, I mentioned having difficulty wheeling the scooter forward. Well, I had Brendan do it so I could investigate, and I found an issue that I knew about earlier and forgot about; A piece on the exhaust that holds it up to the frame snapped off, so the exhaust was rubbing against the back tire. So I caved and bought a new one. I figure the exhaust is pretty important so trying to jerry-rig the old one back on the frame might not really be worth it in the end anyway. This was the priciest item on my shopping list, but it still ended up being less than I thought it would be.

Bottom Left: That is a fuel tap tool. It cost me $18 and I will literally never use it again. The joys of working on a Vespa. Hey, if anyone needs a fuel tap removed, I’m your gal. I fiddled with it already and it is a very strange tool. Basically it fits into the fuel tank to unscrew the nut that holds the fuel tap on, but the weird part is it’s basically a blind operation since it’s small and dark in the tank. I was able to spin it around, I just need a way to hold on to the other side of the tap so I can actually unscrew the nut.

Top Middle: That’s the fuel rod. It’s the part that sticks out between your legs when sitting on the scooter where you turn the fuel on or off (or reserve) when you’re starting up. There is an “American” version with a plastic piece on the end instead of all aluminum, but I spent an extra $5 to make it the original style cause I’m fancy. Or stupid. Whatever, it’s my project, you can buy the plastic one when you restore your own Vespa.

Middle Middle: Fuel line. My old one is the style with a clip on the end to hold it on, and this one does not need that. It looks like a total pain in the ass to get on, but worth it in the end…I guess.

Bottom Middle: New fuel tap! The one in there is missing the filter and long copper breather tube.

Right: New seat cover! I’m praying this is the right size because it looks like a tight fit (which I think it’s supposed to be). I also think there’s typically a piece of foam between the seat and cover, so maybe I should get some of that before trying to squeeze that seat into there. It’ll be just like when I wear my tight jeans and then stuff my face with tacos. ๐Ÿ˜‰ At least for now it’s pretty cool to see what it will look like when/if I do get it on.

Looking forward to putting this all together! Bonus pic, my shop dog aka my shadow aka Betsy! (Not to be confused with Betty, that was an accident, ha). She follows me everywhere and hangs out with me in the garage and is just the cutest.



Looking Ahead

Finally had a low-key day to hang out with Betty today. I didn’t do anything particularly ground-breaking, but wanted to run a few things by some of you to get some advice. Also I wanted a place to organize my thoughts moving forward, so I figured why not share my thoughts publicly? What could go wrong?

First of all, I got some materials to make a little stand to drop the engine on to. Brendan is going to help me with this one, so I will share the finished product when it has come to fruition. Unless it doesn’t work out, then ya’ll don’t get to see it.

Secondly, I got the cotter pin I needed for the front wheel and put that all back together. It’s not exciting, so there are no photos or anything else to say on it, but recording any kind of progress makes me feel nice.

Next I got to the fuel tank. This is where I need opinions. I asked for help in my last post, and also ran it by a few friends in person, and I heard that I should first start by just washing it out with soap and water to clean out some of the rust. I also heard that I should do the “screw-driver test” to see if the rust is so bad I can poke a hole in it. Here are all my findings today with the tank:

  1. Screw-driver test: Pass. The rust is not bad enough to poke a hole through it with a screw driver.
  2. Visual inspection: The tank body on the outside actually looks pretty great. The top is the worst of it, which seems like not a huge deal since nothing really touches the top. The interior has minor rust. It looks like a thin layer in some spots. Obviously it’s hard to take a good picture of it. Here are way more images of my fuel tank than you ever asked for:
  3. Washing it out: After washing the tank with some soapy water and rinsing with clean water a few times, I’m having a hard time getting all the water out. It’s pretty warm out today (love San Diego), so I’m letting it sit outside for now waiting for it to evaporate, but I don’t know how big of a deal it is to leave some water in there until that happens.

So I’m not sure what to do next. I’m leaning towards keeping this tank and using it as is, but not sure if it’ll cause problems down the line (literally, down the fuel line). The other option is the scrap it and buy a new one. I don’t love that option for two reasons:

1-I love that this one is orange and I won’t be able to get an orange one again.

2-It’ll cost me about $100-$150; Enough said.

The in-between option would be to do a liner on this one, but I’d likely pay someone to do that and I think it’ll cost slightly less than a new one (~$70-$90?), which doesn’t seem worth it. Opinions welcome.

Moving forward, here are my thoughts on what needs to happen next (which will of course take months when I randomly have a day here and there to work on it):

  1. Build engine stand, drop engine, replace sleeve and manifold for carburetor, remount engine into frame. Attach new carburetor and air filter.
  2. (Assuming I keep the fuel tank) Purchase missing pieces for fuel system (like the fuel cock lever) and possibly replace old parts (fuel line has seen better days).
  3. Cables. I’m dreading this one, it is an intimidating task. I already have the new cable set, but it’s a lot to keep track of and seems like it could get messy fast. Also need to learn how to attach the new cables. Note: I may actually want to do this before I replace the carburetor, so there’s less in the way.
  4. Replace oil in engine. I’m writing that down so that I don’t forget to do it. That would suck.
  5. Electrical. This is a big task that I’m not ready to break down yet. I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.

In theory that’s kind of an overview of what needs to get done, but in reality there are probably 50 other things that will come up and I’ll be busy so it’ll happen very slowly.ย I’m also coming up with a list of items I know I will need to purchase, I’m sure this is not comprehensive:

  1. Seat (I have the seat frame, but obviously need a cover)ย IMG_0435
  2. Fuel cock lever
  3. Battery
  4. Key
  5. Lights
  6. Horn
  7. Tool box (I had one but it fell apart when I took it out)
  8. Speedometer
  9. Lights
  10. Mirror (This is an optional item, but I can’t imagine I’d like to ride without one)

There are more, but that’s the list I’ve got started for now.ย It feels good to be able to look ahead and not feel crippling anxiety about it. One of my very first posts was about thinking ahead and feeling completely overwhelmed. I still have a lot to do and most of it intimidates me, but it’s nice to have a stronger handle on it and more confidence about approaching the unknown.

By the way, Betty and my 1 year anniversary is coming up, I better start planning something special.

Ps. I almost forgot to mention that I tried to move Betty today! With both wheels replaced, I finally have the chance to roll her from her spot of nearly a year! Well when I went to throw her off her kickstand, she was much heavier than I was expecting and sort of fell over. Not hard, I let her down gently. Oops. Anyway I got her back up, but couldn’t roll her for some reason. I’m wondering if a break is engaged or I’m just not familiar with how to move her and it was just harder than I was expecting. I’ll keep you posted.

On A Roll

Great day today, everyone! Betty’s got some new front brake shoes and new wheel put on and she’s ready to roll (get it…?). Today was really exciting for me because it was probably the first time I got to do a task that I’ve done before, so I knew what to expect and how to approach it. When I did the back brake shoes it was such a pain in the ass that I put off doing the front shoes for a while. When I did the front brakes today I was ready for the headache, had the right tools and mindset, and then put them in in record time. They were very similar to the back brakes in that I snapped the old ones while taking them off, and I had to use a hammer to get the new ones on (padded with a cloth, of course cause I’m too cheap to get a mallet, apparently). Some differences were that the front ones are smaller, they overlap at the top, and this time I knew they had asbestos in them so I wore a mask, gloves, and eye protection (since chunks were flying off as I was trying to pry them off). Here are some visuals for you:

I just took a dry toothbrush to it and wiped off the dirt and spider webs, and that seemed to do the trick. I think I popped the new ones on in under 10 minutes, which is the fastest I’ve done anything on this project so far. The results:

Ta-da!!! I need to get a new split pin for the castle nut so I left the cap off as a reminder to myself. I’m also missing a few nuts for the wheel so I have to remember those too.

Today marked a few milestones for me: For starters, I can now properly wheel Betty around since she now has two brand new wheels on. Secondly, it was such a nice feeling to be confident in what I was doing today, and get it done in a reasonable amount of time. If anything I think it means I’ve learned a lot (not like I’ve doubted that), and if I were to take on another project like this, it would probably go much more smoothly. Not like I’ve been already looking around for more Vespa’s to restore or anything……..

Next up! Keep reading if you’d like to weigh in here: After I get the new carb fitted on, I’ll want to make sure the fuel tank is ready to go. I started researching about what to do with a rusty fuel tank (ie. is it fixable or trash?), and found this. The author has 4 suggestions for dealing with a rusty tank (and none of them are throw it out! Hurray!):

  1. The first option is to buy a tank cleaning/liner kit, such as Kreem or POR-15 (follow instructions on bottle).
  2. The second option is to buy some muriatic acid or CLR to eat the rust in the tank (let stand overnight).
  3. The third option is taking the tank to a radiator shop and they’ll clean it out.
  4. Take the tank to someone who can sand blast the tank out.

So I’m taking votes on which option is best, or if anyone has better ideas. Here are some pictures of the tank, obviously it’s hard to get good pictures of the inside but I tried.

All votes and thoughts welcome.

Ps. School is starting back up on Wednesday so my posts may become few and far in between again, but we’ll see. Thanks for following along!

Change of Plans

Good news and bad news: Bad news is, my carburetor turned out to be beyond repair. Good news is we’ll never know if I was full of shit about rebuilding it so we can just pretend I did a perfect job and would have had no issues. (Bonus good news is I’m writing 2 posts in 2 days!) Here’s the story:

I went back to Vespa Motorsport to pick up some things I was missing and brought the carb with me. First of all, that black aluminum piece is the throttle plate, so I wasn’t missing that and I’m a dum-dum, but I’m 100% okay with that at this point. Anyway, Alex was helping me yesterday and today (and he is very nice, btw. Thanks, Alex!) and as soon as he saw it he was like, “that’s broken, you can’t put it back on the bike.” Basically at some point, someone jerry-rigged a way of fitting the carb back on when the connection was broken. So I was shrugged my shoulders and was like, “oh well, I guess I saw this coming” and bought a new one. I was wondering how I was supposed to get that thing on there again. Here’s the broken one versus the new one:

Honestly I’m pretty excited about the new one cause it’s all shiny and pretty and guaranteed to work, and I’m also very glad I got to poke around in the old one and I ended up learning a ton. I will definitely be keeping the old one around cause it’s cool. I also want to give a shout out to my in-laws who gave me a gift certificate to Vespa Motorsport for my birthday last year, which helped me buy my new carb. Thanks, Barb and Doug! Here’s another angle of it, as well as the clamp that I also did no have:

Bonus Niko picture :). Side note: I asked for the nuts that hold the air filter on and said, “I can probably just go buy those at Home Depot or whatever, but I’ll get them while I’m here” and Alex was like, actually they are a special size and threads, not even metric or standard, so you can’t buy them at Home Depot. They are nearly $5 per nut, which Alex kindly reminded me of so that I wouldn’t accidentally lose one. Which is basically the most Vespa thing ever – We made up a nut size cause we’re special so now you have to spend $10 just to put the air filter on. But I’m the sucker in the end cause I did it.

Anyway moving on. Also while I was there, I showed Alex a picture of the existing connection to the engine now, and he showed me where it was broken, and gave me that new part as well as the rubber sleeve that goes on. I asked if I would need to take the engine out to replace those and he said he didn’t think so, but I was thinking to myself, “This dude knows a lot about Vespas, but he clearly has not worked on a 1974 Vespa 90 cause nothing is easy on this stupid thing.” And guess who was right? Me. If someone can prove me wrong and show me a way of replacing these parts without taking the engine out, I am all ears because you may remember taking the engine out with only 2 people is the absolute worst and Brendan will likely go into hiding if I ask for help doing that again.


The top two pictures are the existing connection and sleeve, from both sides of the hole in the frame. The bottom picture are the new replacement parts. To jog your memory:


The rod in the middle on the left (below the cylinder) are the items in question. If you think there’s a way to replace those without removing the engine, please let me know because I like being married to Brendan.

I knew better than to deal with that headache today so I moved on. I had also asked Alex about removing the cap to get to the front brakes, and he showed me how to do it on a newer bike and basically there is no trick, I just have an old, sandy Vespa so everything is 600% harder than it should be. But if this project has taught me anything, it’s not to give up when something seems hard, so I grabbed some tools, turned on some tunes, and went to work. And guess what, I got it! I ended up using a screw driver I got for Christmas (and the mystery tool from yesterday), so another shout out to my Father-in-Law for that, thanks Doug!

After the cap I was met with a castle nut and cotter pin, which were expected. Here’s my naive question, though: Isn’t there something better than a cotter pin? Follow-up question: Are they supposed to be destroyed each time, or is it just because mine are old and sandy? This one was very thick and bent in 2 different directions so I couldn’t straighten it out to slide it through. I ended up cutting it and hacking away at it for like a half hour until I got it out.


The picture is hard to tell, but both ends are bent in opposite directions, with the top one going a full 180 degrees, and the bottom one making a 90 degree angle. Anyway, I finally got that off and then the next hurdle was getting the castle nut off and you guessed it, that one was stuck too! Great. Brendan eventually got it because he’s a hero, and I decided to call it a day before going any further. I read that removing the drum is very difficult on old bikes, which is the next step, so I decided to try that one when I was fresh.

And that’s it. I technically know what I need to do next but I’m facing some hurdles so we’ll see how long it takes me to do them. I may start reading up on what I would like to do after replacing the brakes and getting the carburetor in.

Phew, that was a long one. Thanks for reading! ๐Ÿ™‚

Facing my Fears

I wanted to title this post, “Sometimes the things that seem scariest are actually the easiest”, but that was way too long and not catchy, so I’ll just start with that statement instead. I FINALLY had some time to work on Betty today. I’m still technically on Winter Break, but I’ve been in the lab and also getting my life back together after being on vacation for 2 weeks, so Betty continued to be neglected in the garage. Well, I did a few things in the lab this morning and then had some time so I was like, “you know what, I’m gonna go buy some carburetor parts and finally face that effing carburetor”. The reason I was so ready to finally face my fears was thanks to this anonymous person’s beautiful article on rebuilding a carburetor. (Maybe they’re not anonymous, but I can’t find their name anywhere). If you have any interest in the workings of a carburetor or how to rebuild one, that article saved my life (okay, I’m being dramatic, but you get my point). It turns out rebuilding a carburetor is not hard at all and totally not scary. Although I guess I haven’t tried to run it yet, so maybe I’m full of shit, I guess only time will tell.

So here’s what I did today! First I went to Vespa Motorsport to pick up some small parts that I knew I wanted to replace:


Old parts on the left, new ones on the right. That black aluminum (I originally thought it was plastic) piece in the middle does not have that groove in it, we’ll see how it goes. It might just be for ease, but maybe I’ll need to return it or just use the old one. Then I basically read that article and put it all back together and actually felt pretty solid about it!

New gasket, new fuel filter, and float chamber put back together.

I also realized I’m missing the throttle plate and the cover for the fuel filter, so I will need to go back to the store, but at least I know what I’m missing now. I also tried fitting the air filter on, but I did not have any nuts to secure it, so I will need to get some of those. This is what that looks like, can someone tell me if I’m missing anything here? It looks a little too simple:

And that’s pretty much it for the carb! The throttle assembly goes on top, but since I’m missing the plate, which is like the whole point, I did not put it back on yet. I’m dreading putting the carb back on the bike because you may remember that I got it off by just yanking on it, so I’m not sure what the reverse of that is. I’m assuming I will need some kind of sleeve to go over it. Advice welcome.

So next up, I wanted to do the front brake shoes, since I was dreading those too but at least know how to do them. Turns out that’s only half true because I don’t know how to get to them! Apparently I am supposed to pop off this cap to access the brake shoes, but that is waaaay easier said than done.


The silver dome in the center is the cap in question. I tried taking a knife around the edge to clear any crud out, and then used a tool (name and purpose unknown) to pry it off, but it’s impossible to get anything under there and I’m really not sure how to get it off. I even tried twisting it in case this model had one that screws on, but that didn’t do it either. Thoughts? I ended up stopping before it got too frustrating because I wanted to celebrate getting some good work done instead. I did take off the old wheel and man that thing is nasty:


Good riddance.

I’ll leave you with an anecdote: When I told people I was going to rebuild a carburetor, many of them replied with, “Really?! YOU?!” (Shout out to those who told me I could do it! Thanks guys!). If you feel sad or surprised by that reaction, I want you to know that I (and likely many other women in the field) have faced much of that in my life. It used to get to me and maybe it still does, but as I have been working on Betty I have been learning to let it go and believe in myself more. The carb is a perfect example of something being so hyped up, and it turns out it was like the easiest part of the whole thing (assuming I did it right). That article I found made it so approachable and it really does not matter who you are or what you look like, a carburetor is a carburetor and anyone can work on one. I try to leave the gender thing out of my blog for the most part, but every now and again I think it’s important to let everyone in on my complete experience of working on this project. I have enjoyed it so much thus far and learned a ton and feel so grateful for those of you who have supported me. And honestly I think the people who act surprised when they hear about me working on it are not trying to be discouraging, they seem genuinely surprised and then usually come around to support me after the shock. Please keep in mind, though, that young girls have a hard time understanding this, so the initial support is very important.

Thanks for sticking with me and hopefully I won’t keep you waiting too long for the next update! ๐Ÿ˜€

Carb Part 1: Cleaning

Let me start by saying I sincerely apologize for being so absent lately. To be frank, while I love working on Betty, she has to take a backseat so my other responsibilities so between starting research, taking two grad classes, grading for two professors, plus being a normal adult, Betty has been neglected lately. The good news is, this is why I bought her as a personal project, so I could work on my own time and start and stop as necessary. Anyway, yesterday was quiet so I managed to spend some time in the garage and reevaluate where I’m at.

Yesterday I worked on cleaning up the carburetor some more, and trying to figure out what I need to replace and what (if anything) is missing. It’s a difficult task when you’re not entirely sure what you’re looking at, but the good news is I have some great resources who like to offer their help here. Here is what I have right now:


I’m feeling pretty proud of myself for how clean I got that cover (top middle). Also, I did not want to use carb cleaner on the float (yellow ring on the left) because it’s plastic and the carb cleaner is mostly acetone so I just wiped off what I could with a soft cloth. If I should do something else, let me know. The carb itself has a lot of sand in it so cleaned out a lot, but there is probably still more to be done. I’m using carb cleaner and compressed air to try to clean through the holes. I’m thinking I’d like to replace the little filter cap (top right), but I’m not even sure how to buy that because it’s so small and I need the correct size. My book I’m using also suggests replacing the pin that is currently attached to the float – It looks fine, but I’d rather replace it now if it will give me trouble later. I also have this replacement kit:


I already removed one of those gaskets from the cap (the largest gasket), but I haven’t even found the others. I also know where that paper gasket goes, but I’m not sure what connects to the carb there. My next step is I need to do some research on my specific carburetor, because it’s hard to work on something if you don’t know what you’re looking at.

Here are some pictures of the carb after cleaning yesterday:


And that’s it. I likely won’t make much progress for some time again, so please don’t hold your breath because you will asphyxiate. Next steps are doing some research on my carburetor, ordering some tiny parts, and then putting it back together. Thanks for sticking with me!