Thursday, March 28, 2013

Vespa Ciao Rear Brakes

If you are looking at this then you took the wrong route to the rear brakes.

So, I'm driving down the brakedown lane on my 1974 Vespa Ciao. I run over a 5'' roofing nail and it punctures the tire and actually goes through to the other side of the tire, tearing two holes in the tire and two holes in the inner tube causing a minor crash.

Fast forward a few days later to when I ordered two 2.25/17 inner tubes from a shop in California since nothing that size is available around here. The tubes arrived.

I take the rear wheel off and really struggle to take that tire off and replace the inner tube. The rim liner needed to be replaced but I forgot to order one so I had to mess with that and in turning the rim upside down all the gear oil from the rear hub poured out onto my rug. I didn't care about the rug and after puncturing one inner tube by being sloppy I got the thing installed again...and took it for a ride... and after speeding through town to get to the library I ran directly into the bike rack because the rear brake didn't work. Why didn't the rear brake work? Because the oil from the hub had leaked into the brake assembly and contaminated the pad.

Fast forward to another evening with Cow Milk Blues who has a growth on one of his half fingers. He calls it "The Eye" and it's ghastly.
"Where's Obamacare?" he asks as he cracks another Lone Star 2x4 (24 oz tall beer). "Right here." and he chugs the beer. He limps and his gay landlord is evicting him.

I come back home and have no option but address this rear brake issue although now I've taken the rear wheel off four times in the last 24 hours. Do I know how to access the rear brakes? No because they worked fine for 5 years and the front ones have been serviced by yours truly. So how do I access these things?

I'm trying to adopt the Mexican/Texan method of forgetting I don't know something and proceeding with the innocence of a child.
One of the field supervisors on my last gig took a pile of metal that no one knew anything about and said, "Ok. where does this go?"
And that's how we started on the solar panel bracket. It has to be done so let's do it, I'll use my Oggy ingenuity to figure it out and worst case I'll learn how not to do this.

Well, the way you don't access the brake pad is by working on the pulley side and taking the bolts off the gear cover plate. I suspected that was wrong but I didn't look close at the chain/freewheel side. Of course, it was wrong and all the gear oil spilled out on my arthritic toe and I was taking pins out and basically had all the gears in my hands and still couldn't get to the brake pad. Well, that's because I didn't do it right.

Channel Locks because the fit is tight.

Turn the wheel over and look more closely at the chain/freewheel side and you will see that there is big old nut behind the swinging bracket that attaches to the swingarm. It's big, like a 27mm and no normal mechanic has that size...and a big old crescent wrench won't fit because the bracket is too close...but a set of vise grips will fit and if you get them tight and then tap them with a rubber mallet then the nut will come loose. It's a normal thread so tap it counterclockwise. And if you are careful then you can preserve the gear oil by laying the wheel flat and pulling the gear side off while also pushing the axle bolt up because I think it's all that is holding in the gear oil.

You know, I'm trying to visualize how you're going to take that gear off without losing the oil and I can't do it. The axle bolt will become free once you get the freewheel off and without the seal of the bearings I think the gear oil will spill out. But maybe it's possible because the way I did it was already wrong so I'm getting the wrong picture. If the gear side is still assembled then you will lift the axle bolt up and out with it still attached and intact to the gears. Nothing will leak and the opposite side of the gears is where the brake is mounted. It's all attached like one piece. Very Italian economical. Chic.

Regardless, it all comes down to removing that freewheel nut. If you can do that then the gears will slip out and you won't lose the gear oil and you won't have to mess with the gears like I did. The gears have nothing to do with the brakes. It's the freewheel/chain sprocket that has to come off to get to the brakes.

Speaking of brakes, there was no damage, they were contaminated with gear oil. A bit of brake cleaner freshened them up, I cleaned the hub housing and put it all back together. I'm hoping a seal didn't wear out that would mean the brakes will be contaminated again as soon as I refill the hub with 90w gear oil. I suspect the oil leaked in when I turned the wheel upside down.

I'll find out in another day. The gear oil was ancient, contaminated by the dust of three countries, so it's not a bad time to renew the gear oil and maybe the seals and bearings if you are smarter and more organized than Oggy and ordered those things at the same time you ordered the inner tubes and you are not using the moped as your daily rider.

Hopefully you read this before starting and not after, like Oggy with gear oil on his socks.

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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.