Moped Trip website

How I Did It

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Moped maintenance and repairs


The most common maintenance tasks on this trip were:

  • decarbonising the engine and exhaust

  • grease and oil wheel bearings and chain

  • adjust the chain

  • clean and gap the spark plug

  • check ignition timing and file the points

  • fix flat tires


Decarbonising the engine and exhaust

The engine: piston top and cylinder head.

To do this I would remove the cylinder head and simply scrape the carbon deposits off. The cylinder and cylinder head were made of aluminum though, so I had to scrape carefully, so as to not scratch the soft metal. I used a screwdriver blade or pocketknife to do the scraping.

The exhaust:

I carried a large adjustable wrench for removing the large bolt that held the exhaust pipe on. Then I would scrape out the inside of the exhaust pipe with whatever tool would fit and do the job.

I found I had to decarbonise the engine every 2000 miles, and the exhaust every 1000 miles. Doing it less often greatly decreased engine performance.



Grease and oil wheel bearings and chain

The wheel hubs were basically just like bicycle hubs. I removed the wheel, opened up the hubs, cleaned off the old grease and packed with new grease.

The chain required constant oiling and cleaning, especially on unpaved roads.



One advantage of rainy weather is that it forced me to stop and take time to do maintenance on the moped.

As well, it gave me time to slow down and relax, and "soak in" the gentle sounds of the rain falling.



Adjust the chain

The chain required frequent adjustment due to wear. Eventually, the sprockets wore out. Fortunately this task was easy: simply loosen the rear wheel bolts and crank the adjusting nuts the necessary amount. Eventually the chain developed so much free play that I ran out of room on the adjusters. Then I had to turn the adjusters around to be able to further adjust the chain. 



Clean and gap the spark plug

The spark plug would get bridged by metal or carbon. When this happened I would have to stop, remove the spark plug, clean it, and set the gap. Too small a gap and it would get bridged again very quickly. If I set too large a gap the moped would be very hard to start.



Check ignition timing and file the points

The points would develop a point of metal in the middle of one side. I would have to periodically file that side flat again.

Sometimes I would check the timing, using special tools for the Mobylette.



Fix flat tires

I had numerous flat tires (inner tubes), and some problems with the outer tire itself. The metal bead around the rim of the tire separated from the rest of the tire a couple of times. This was partly my fault, as I folded the spare tire to save space. You can do this with bicycle tires, but not with moped tires! I learned this the hard way. As well, I later learned that soaping the rim before putting it on helped a lot.



Other maintenance

Clean the carburetor: This would be necessary to remove tiny bits of debris that got into it from gasoline. I had to be very careful doing this. I almost got stranded in Newfoundland the previous year when a bolt stripped on the carburetor cap. A helpful resident helped me out of that jamb.


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