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Fabergé Greggs: Camper Master Cylinder woes

Fabergé Greggs

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  • 2 weeks later...

With the Beluga roffled I had vital project funds to buy welding gas, mask, wire etc to make some project progress. Whilst umming- and ahhing on the finer points of wire thicknesses and gas mixes something far more exciting than sundries swept in and grabbed my attention, so naturally I did it a buy. 


  • Modern yet ancient 
  • An evolutionary dead end 
  • Has an MOT measured in hours 
  • Has been crashed 
  • Has a bit of a squidgy vibe 
  • Was bought unseen, natch. 

I've actually tried a new one of these which completely failed to ignite my excitement, so god knows why an old cheap one would. Anyway, due to the Covids I'm deeply ashamed to say that I won't be collecting but it will be delivered. At lunch time, no less. 


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  • Fabergé Greggs changed the title to The Fabergé Greggs fleet: Ooops I did a buy



Okay so I've only seen it in the dark, but it seems bloody ace! A run around the block reveals that everything is as it should be. I'll stick it in for a test and see what happens. 

Oh, question: should the speedo illuminate for a motorcycle test? 

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1 minute ago, hairnet said:

iraqi supergun is going in the bin yes?

balloon tyres on ice argh :D


It's cold enough here for the roads to be a little bit "twinkly", but I was surprised that traction was low enough to have a couple of snaky moments upon leaving junctions. Drift yo! 

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Driving home from the shops last night, the Saab started to hesitate under load. 

Upon arriving home, there was steam coming from under the bonnet.. hmm. 

I cut the engine and discovered that coolant had been spraying everywhere- I’m 90% sure it’s coming from the heater pipe. It took about a litre to get it back up to max. 

I hope that the reason it was hesitating (and now won’t start) is that it doesn’t like the wet, and it was soaking everywhere! I thought that the new rotor and arm had sorted that, but we shall see. Battery currently on charge. Fingers crossed for nothing serious. 


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  • Fabergé Greggs changed the title to The Fabergé Greggs fleet: Saab misbehaves
  • 3 weeks later...

The replacement bit of hose for the Saab arrived promptly as ever from Saabits, for the sum of £20. It went on without hassle. 


Whilst I had drained most of the coolant I thought I'd clean out the expansion tank which was pretty grotty. Multiple goes of boiling water and fairy liquid had most of the grot removed but it's still a long way off pristine. At one point I was considering what abrasives I could use to slosh around the tank to speed up the process, and hit upon some Chana Dahl lentils. Do I win some sort of vegan car maintenence prize? Hope so. 


I noticed that the expansion tank has a few hairline cracks underneath which look like they've happened as a result of the attaching bolt being tightened down too tightly - it doesn't seem to lose any coolant or anything though so maybe they're not complete fractures. I'll keep an eye and perhaps treat it to a shiny new one. All seems well for now anyhow. 


The Vespa is slowly progressing. I finally cobbled togther all the gear needed to get welding which feels like a chod milestone. My "reconditioned" welder turned out to have a ludicrously stiff gas valve which meant that I had to use two hands JUST TO PULL THE TRIGGER. Not what a beginner needs to assist them on their way. After taking it back to the bloke who I bought it from it now seems much better. Time spent being a tight arse and messing around with broken welders: About 3 months. Time spent welding: 0 months. 

After being brave and cutting all the nasty bits the floor looks like this: 


The lesson here is that you should or shouldn't go looking for rust. (Delete depending on your outlook). 

First welds be like: 


Cutting patches with Gaffa tape templates proved a revelation so thanks to @juular for that one. 

It's hard not to blow through the really thin Vepsa metal even on the lowest voltage setting but I soon started to progress. Around 2 second bursts seems to work best- enough to generate a bit of a pool but not so much as to rush or cause too much heat build up. 

Floor now looks presents thusly: 


Looks a bit of a mess but I promise you it's damn sight more solid than when I started. The aspiration has never been a show queen, rather something that rides great but can be scraped about in Londons motorbike parking spots without worry. 

Sometimes I wonder why I go to all the stress and expense of gathering tools and then I remember what it looks like. What a babe. Plus tools are tools and you never regret them. 


Can't wait to start on the Fiat 


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  • Fabergé Greggs changed the title to The Fabergé Greggs fleet: Saab fixing and n00b welding fun

Finished the floor by slapping on a thick coat of hammerite which ain't pretty but the floors are vulnerable to stone chips and rust, hopefully this should keep it all at bay and be easy to touch up. Gave the stand a wire brush and a lick of paint too and bolted it all together. Oh, and squirted ACF50 into the central tunnel too. 


Earlier in the thread I decsribed the damaged steering stop on the frame, which was meant that the handlebars could turn too far and damage the frame. Fixing that wasn't enough, the stops on the forks were also damaged


Thanks to my new found alchemy ability, I was able to build up the stop with some weld and grind it into shape to match the other side. 


The seat catch relies on this bolt which has a captive nut in the frame. This was spinning as they often do which makes fitting a rack impossible. Guess what? Dab of weld = sorted. Can you tell I'm loving this yet? I also repaired the leg shield a bit which I forgot to photo. 


All of this was beginning to feel like quite slow progress, but then as if by magic, the forks and headset flew together. 


After a bit of wrestling, grunting, some back twinges and contortions, I slotted in the freshly rebuilt engine. Add some wheels and we've got a rolling Vespa for the first time in yonks. SATISFACTION LEVEL: 17/10. 



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  • Fabergé Greggs changed the title to Fabergé Greggs: The Vespa Rolls!

Today's progress: gear shifter on 


Connecting up the choke, throttle new fuel hose to the rebuilt carb. 


Fuel tank, notice it says "£10" in pencil. That's probably why the tap leaks then. I have a new Piaggio tap to go in, which neccesitates the use of the worlds most unique tool to get to the bolt inside the tank:


Deep down in there:


I think that's everything.. 


Oh wait, nearly forgot gearbox oil. 


So then it just had to be tried... 



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  • Fabergé Greggs changed the title to Fabergé Greggs: Vespa first start attempt
  • 2 weeks later...

Beating the ULEZ like... 




Notice that the legshield is waving about in that video- this is a result of it vibrating which is clashing with the fram rate of the video.. I need to have another pop at repairing that damage caused by the mangled steering stop. 




Has this thread made dissapointingly linear progress? Not enough disasters for you? Well...

In an effort to get the clutch operating smootly I've been spending a lot of time on the floor staring up at this part. 


I was trying to fit a better clutch from my LML that unbeknownst to me had 1 too many to mesh with the primary transmission of this.


I could have sworn I counted the teeth correctly. That wasted a while, and in the process of all the fiddling on my back in the shadows..

I DROPPED A TINY WASHER INTO THE GEARBOX (CRY FACE).. I'm going to have to split the cases to get the washer out. This shouldn't be too bad as they're designed so that you can split them in situ, but still: CRY FACE. 

Popular psychoanalysist Sigmund Freud would suggest that I wasn't ready for the completion of the project, since with completion comes loss, and hence my subconscious dropped the washer on purpose





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  • Fabergé Greggs changed the title to Fabergé Greggs: Cheating ULEZ and some psychoanalysis
1 hour ago, Fabergé Greggs said:

Popular psychoanalysist Sigmund Freud would suggest that I wasn't ready for the completion of the project, since with completion comes loss, and hence my subconscious dropped the washer on purpose.

"Sometimes a dropped washer is just a dropped washer."

Great work, by the way. I'd never thought I'd find those Vespoids interesting, until I began reading this topic !

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I’m have one chance of not splitting the cases to find this washer and that chance looks like this. 

I’m going to put some tunes on, pour a gin and tonic, and enjoy the feeling of hope and optimism for, ooo, let’s say 20 minutes, before resigning myself that it isn’t going to work. 

Tune in tomorrow for the d̶e̶v̶a̶s̶t̶a̶t̶i̶n̶g̶ exciting news 


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Ignoring the washer situation, I spent most of the day working on the LML- gave it a thorough service and the electrics a going over. Also wasted a fuck load of time trying to get the "upgrade" clutch working , which I'm just going to write off now- it just won't stop dragging. I've spent so much on shitty clutches on these things. When will I learn that to buy cheap is to buy twice, not to mention all the fucking about. 

It was weeping oil onto the back wheel which I thought was the rear hub seal but that seems really dry.   


I think it might have been the clutch cover so I popped a new O-ring on that and we'll monitor the situation 


I've had a new rear hub kicking about for ages for this as it has a noticable pulse under braking. The new hub seems to have sorted it. 

In the absence of any photos of the completed product, please accept this photo of the new hub vs old to highlight how filthy it was. I should really clean these things more often. 


Back to the '70 Sprint- I decided to rebuild the original clutch to stop the snatching. Internet wisdom suggests that the brass bush needs to be a tight fit, and this one was loose as hell.


New brass bush ordered, along with a heat gun and some freezer spray- these should be mega tight. Dissapointingly the new brass bush just slipped straight on so it must be the corresponding part of the clutch that's worn. Can you tell how bored I am of bodging clutches on these yet? I rebuilt it with some fresh plates (after soaking them overnight in oil) and popped it in to see if it would be improved anyway. 







Anyway what's really happening here is I'm avoiding washer gate. It was about 7:30, I hadn't had any dinner, and I was knackered. So I did what any person in my situation would: made a cup of tea, cranked the tunes up and got stuck into a quick and dirty engine rebuild. 

Head cowl and fan shrouding off 


Cracked the flywheel off (ooo er)


Stator, Gear selector, exhuast stub, kickstart, myriad case bolts and a couple of cylinder studs removed lets you move the cylinder up just enough to split the cases. 


And who's this? 


Hello my little friend. 

That all went backtogther pretty quickly, the most time consuming (and satisfying) process is torquing up the 13 case bolts in careful order in small increments. 

Runs like a champ! Clutch much improved! Yay! Having spent 2 weeks or so in a grump, the whole thing was rectified and I was blissfully snoring by 11. 


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