Before we move on to tackling the engine of this scooter and removing all the tin wear from it, It is worth a few words about the process of stripping down your Lambretta if you are not one of those people who is familiar with the process or do it for a living. There are a lot of posts on this blog, that most good Lambretta dealers or garages take for granted because they carry out this kind of work all the time. This is aimed at helping those who do not!
By making sure that as a Lambretta owner, you take an active interest in finding your local scooter clubs, local dealers and actively participate by joining the LCGB, you will be better able to make informed decisions about the tasks you undertake and know your limits. Take time to find out who your local dealers are, talk to a wide range of people who will all have differing opinions about which is best and why. And then visit them too and make your own mind up. All of them are there to help you and do the best job they can, because after all, they depend on YOU for a living.
During the strip down of your Lambretta, TAKE YOUR TIME.
Make sure you have a clean and tidy environment and have all the tools you need at hand and put them away after each session. As you remove items from your scooter, sort them into boxes. One for parts that need to be blasted and painted, one for parts that require polishing, one for scrap parts.
This way, you can go through your parts to ensure you have references for everything you need to replace. If it helps, put nuts and bolts etc that you take off in separate bags and label them so you know you have ordered the right number of replacements. Make a list of things you need to finish your project as you go along. If you do it in an organised fashion like this, you will find it moves along much more quickly and smoothly.
When you encounter a problem, ask if you can. Call a dealer, a mate or use the LCGB forums so the guys there can advise. They have probably dealt with your issue a thousand times.
Do NOT struggle with things and do NOT worry when something breaks. During the strip down of this scooter, I have sheared countless bolts. Most don't matter, but some for example, are still stuck in the horncasting and they need to be removed. I do all this kind of job at the end. I will use whatever stub to try to get them out with grips, but failing that, they need to be ground back, centre punched and drilled out and re-tapped. It's not the end of the world if this happens and you don't fancy risking it. You can box them all up and your local dealer will be happy to sort them all for you.
On machines this old, it is NOT your fault if a good number of the nuts and bolts are seized solid and end up breaking. But there are a few jobs where it is critical that you don't get too heavy handed and start damaging things. Better to walk away and try later. Leave seized things soaking in petrol or use a little heat to try to free them. And always use decent tools. At the risk of sounding like a health and safety officer, use protective clothing when required. It might be macho to not bother, but trust me, it is no fun having to be driven to hospital at midnight to have a surgeon remove a shard of metal that flew in to your eye while you ground off a 30 year old bolt.
In the pictures below, you can see the main engine bolt that no matter how much heat, lube and time we put in to it, would not budge. Because of this, hitting it hard with a 5lb lump hammer meant running the risk of breaking off one or both of the engine mounts on the engine casing itself. That more or less means a VERY expensive repair or a scrap engine and start again. I want this engine casing because the numbers stamped on it match the frame.
My only course of action was to take it to a dealer and have it professionally removed. It is pretty much the same system i would have used, but these guys know what they are doing. With plenty of lubricant and grinding off the damaged ends of the bolt, they were able to get it to move. Finally, after quite a lot of persuasion, it came out. but oddly, it would only go in one direction.
Half an hour of work to remove one bolt. but think what it saved if I had damaged the engine casing!
Whatever you break can be fixed, but try to keep it to a minimum. Don't risk breaking a £100 part to get off a 5p bolt. And if, like me, you will be upgrading the machine with modern electronics, don't forget, you might be able to recoup a little of your outlay selling on the original parts. Someone always has a use for them.
Restoring a Lambretta of any kind is NOT cheap. By the time you have finished, not counting labour, you will probably have ended up spending more to complete it than it's immediate re-sale value. But your scooter is an investment. It WILL increase in value. And the better you carry out your restoration, the more valuable it will be. But only you will know just what amount of effort went in to it.
Stick at it during the frustrating periods, THINK about what you are doing and work methodically. You WILL get there in the end.
And one last thing...
Do not, under any circumstances, discuss the financing of this project with your partner.
A word of thanks.
My interest in all things mechanical started way before my interest in scooters. I was lucky enough to be invited to hold the torch whenever my father was underneath one of his cars, way back when I was in school. I loved watching him do that kind of stuff and he always (as far as I recall) managed to complete the job. I'm still fortunate, in that whilst stripping down this scooter, he has shown up to help me and his hands and feet appear in many of the pictures used on this blog. It is possible to strip a scooter alone, but it's much easier with another good pair of hands.