Friday, June 5, 2015

Up on Blocks

My current "ride" - the love seat on the deck as I wait
for the scooter to come back from the shop.

I'm back for at least a moment to express my disgust with my scooter dealer/shop.

Near the beginning of May I noticed a seeming wet spot on the concrete on which I park the scooter when I'm at the house.  I thought it was just an errant drip from the deck above and didn't give it much heed until maybe a week or so later when I was grilling something for dinner and, on a lark, went over and ran a finger through the spot.  It was oil.  Upon running my finger under the left tine of the fork that was positioned right above the spot it became apparent that there was a leak, probably from the shock absorber.

I called the shop - the dealership from which I bought the scooter.  I told them about this problem and also that I wanted to get the oil changed because it had been a while since I'd had it done.  They told me to bring it in on Wednesday the 13th which I did.  When I got there I told them about another problem - one that I've had since I bought the bike from them.  It comes in two parts...

1)  Whenever I ride for a few hours on a hot day, the bike eventually begins to sputter and stutter, and  it wants to stall.  At that point I have to give it a little throttle even when I come to a stop sign or it will cut out completely and then not want to start again.

2) Also manifesting itself when I ride similarly on a hot day and come back before the coughing and stalling might begin, is a problem of the engine not wanting to restart if I go to take it out later in the day.

I told the guy at the shop that I was tired of them not taking this problem seriously; that it's been going on since I bought the scooter in spite of my having told them about this numerous times whenever I brought the bike in for an oil change or routine maintenance, and that I'd like it to be fixed.

Well, that, apparently was a huge mistake.

After over a week of waiting to hear from them I called.  The shop manager told me that they hadn't been expecting me.  Apparently whoever took my call didn't make note of having told me to bring it in on May 13th.  Then she said that they were trying to duplicate the problem - by idling the bike on hot days and waiting to see if it would stall.  I argued that they weren't going to duplicate the problem that way - that only after my riding it for a few good hours on a really hot day would it cut out on me.  See, what I'd assumed was that any decent mechanic who works on bikes all day, every day, for years, for a living, would have some good idea of what would need to be done to clear up these simple sounding  symptoms.  It just sounded like vapor lock by everything I'd read online.  (My model year was the last in which the BV250 was built with a carburetor rather than fuel injection.)

I called again on Monday of this week and explained that they've had the scooter there for three good weekends and that its stay was coming up on THREE WEEKS of me being without it.  The shop manager asked if I wanted them to go ahead and do the oil change and address the dripping shock even though they hadn't yet done anything about the engine problems.  I nearly spit out a few teeth stressing to her that I had no intention of just leaving it there till they thought they might, maybe, possibly, sort of get around to thinking about FIXING IT.  That's when she told me that she'd have to research what kind of shock it needs because Piaggio has three different styles and they'd need to get the right one for my make and model.  That was the last straw!  Why the hell hadn't they ordered that part while farting around and not really doing anything about the stalling issue?

I told her to do the oil change and replace the shock and that I wanted the bike back. Imagine my surprise when the next day she called back and told me that there were three parts that might be the likely culprits of the stalling issue and to see if I wanted them to replace them.  Whey couldn't they have done this within the first few days of my scooter being there?

Tomorrow will begin the FOURTH consecutive weekend that I've been without it.

It's time to look for a new shop around here that can and will service a Piaggio scooter.  I regret that because I like the family that runs the scooter dealership, but they really did me wrong and I don't intend to give them the opportunity to disappoint me again.  As soon as I can remember how to do it, I'm removing my endorsement  for their business from the bar at the right of this post.

UPDATE:  The shop called on Wednesday, June 10, exactly FOUR WEEKS from when I dropped it off.  $378 or so later I was on my way home.  I parked it under the deck and went for supper.  Thursday was spent on shopping and visiting my aunt in the nursing home.  I figured today, Friday, June 12th would be the perfect day to put it through some paces to see if they'd even touched the stalling problem.  No sooner did I get to the bottom of the stairs and see the scooter than I noticed that the oil dripping was worse than it was before I took it in, in the first place.  It's back at the shop now.  I'll be away till next Wednesday.  Let's see if they have it fixed by then, which will be FIVE WEEKS from when I took it in.


Paul Smith said...

yeesh. The run-around...this is one reason I like to do my own work. I'm not sure if your trouble is vapor lock or not. One way to test that is to open the fuel tank (while the vehicle is not running), and see if this relieves the problem. You may also hear the telltale sound of a relief of pressure when the tank is opened.

Harvey said...

Some years of the Vespa/Piaggio models had problems with their fuel pump (fuel injected models only).
The quick check is listen to the scooter after you put the key in the run position, but before you engage the starter. Hear that whirring sound? That's you fuel pump pressurizing the system. When your scooter doesn't start do you hear the fuel pump? No whir, seized pump. It'll work agian once it cools down, but eventually, it will die completely.
You should check the Modern Vespa forum for more info.

Joe said...

I've been remiss, I'm afraid, in checking my comments awaiting moderation.

Paul, I often hear that "relief" when I open the gas cap, but it doesn't seem to solve anything to open it.

Harvey, mine was made in the last year before they replaced the carburetor with fuel injection.