Moped Trip website

How I Did It

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Description of maintenance & repairs done on the trip, 
and other noteworthy moped-related events, 
plus some tips.


To get an idea of the mileage at each incident, check the Detailed Itinerary, using the date as a guide.

This list is taken from my journals of the trip. There were probably lots of times that I did routine maintenance I didn't record, such as adjusting and lubing the chain, so not every incident will be in this list.

June 3 Widened spark plug gap shortly after leaving home. I noticed a lack of power. The gap had been set to factory settings, but it bridged easily at that setting.
I also noticed that engine made a rattling sound when under load (going uphill). I figured this depended on the fuel mixture.
June 5 Lubed chain, applied grease to grease fittings.
June 6 Swapped carburetor jet: removed the 220, installed the 230 that I carried as a spare. I hoped that this would cure the carbonizing and knocking (due to overheating) that I was experiencing.
June 8 Tighten bolts holding on mirror
June 9 Found that one saddlebag was rubbing against the wheel. So I stopped at a garbage dump and found a piece of vinyl siding, cut it to shape and wired it onto the bike to keep the saddlebag away from the wheel.
June 10 Greased balls in the gear changer. The Mobylette has a variable clutch/gear changing system. Three large steel balls are propelling outward by centrifugal force as the engine speed increases, causing the gear to gradually become higher, allowing higher speeds than would otherwise be possible. These balls got a bit stuck, so I greased them.
June 10 Changed the carburetor jet to 225 from 230. The 230 was too big, and unburnt fuel was coming out the exhaust.
June 12 Adjust & lubricate chain, grease the clutch. Both these tasks were done regularly throughout the trip, perhaps every second or third day.
June 14 I took shelter from a thunderstorm in a shed 1/4 mile off the highway. When I tried to return to the hwy after the rain passed, I found that the soil on the dirt track was very sticky and completely clogged up my wheels - it was carried up in between the wheels and the fenders. The only way I could get back to the paved hwy was to start the moped on the kickstand, and then walk it to the hwy, with the front end lifted up off the ground. Took a lot of effort to clean out the mud and get underway again.
June 15 Regina, Sask. Completely decarbonised engine and exhaust. Made a huge difference in power. Prior to this I could only obtain a maximum speed of 23 mph; afterwards 30 mph! Adjust & lubricate chain.
June 18 Adjust and lubricate chain.
June 19 Edmonton, Alta. Purchased new rear tire - existing one getting worn.
After leaving the city had a flat tire. Damaged the old worn tire putting it back on - the metal bead separated from the tire, most likely because it was worn out. So I put the new tire on. Had a second flat tire late in the day.
June 20 Found that the new tire I had put on was damaged as well, and in the same way as the old one. When the bead separated the tube poked out and blew. No spare this time! A local sporting goods store ordered two new tires for me and a tube from Edmonton. Stuck in Fox Creek, Alta for 2 days. By June 22 no tires had come from Edmonton so I got a ride back down the hwy to Whitecourt where I found a tire and tube.
The bike shop owner (where I got the tire) said to put soap on the tire bead before slipping it onto the rim to minimize damage and strain on the tire. This worked really well.
June 24 Just starting up the Alaska Hwy: changed spark plug - old one very worn.
June 25 Mile 280 on Alaska Hwy: construction area. The hwy was made of wet clay. I tried riding through but the mud plugged up my tires (as it had in Saskatchewan). All the while there were huge earth-mover machines roaring up and down the wet dirt hwy. It was so slippery it was hard to keep my balance just walking! Eventually someone with a pickup truck stopped and offered me a ride past the construction zone. The chain was all muddy as well. Cleaned it off past the construction and continued on.
June 26 Cleaned bike from yesterday's mud. Had to remove chain and actually wash it in the river. Chain is somewhat worn. Took apart the front hub and cleaned and re-greased the bearings. 
Also greased pulley. There was some sideways play in the pulley on the shaft, so I put a large washer on the shaft to stop that. 
The pulley on a Mobylette moped must not have any side-to-side free play along the shaft. (The pulley is what the drive belt from the engine runs around. The small chain sprocket is located here as well. It's basically what transfers power from the engine to the chain and thus to the rear wheel).  If the pulley has any of this free play, the hook that is on the inside face of the pulley may pull away slightly from the chain sprocket. This causes it to grind away. This hook is what hooks into the chain sprocket to transfer power from the drive belt to the chain. If that hook goes, then the moped becomes a bicycle. This is the most poorly designed part of the Mobylette moped. I had major problems with this in 1977 in Quebec. 
June 26 Wiped out on a soft patch of gravel. I was looking around at the scenery instead of down at the road. Scraped up my hand, elbows, arm, and leg.
June 26 Adjusted chain.
June 27 Took apart and cleaned carburetor. Bike hadn't idled properly since the spill the previous day.
June 29 Robert Campbell Hwy: chain at the end of the adjusters: wearing out fast.
July 3 Canol Rd,Yukon: decarbonised engine & exhaust
July 6 Atlin, BC: Lubed chain and clutch
July 7 Whitehorse: I had a new tire and chain sent to me from Toronto. Picked them up. Put on new chain.
July 12 Lubed chain.
July 13 Lubed chain. Adjusted ignition timing - I could feel that it was off. Adjusted and filed points, cleaned and gapped spark plug.
Greased clutch. If I neglected to grease the clutch, the clutch started engaging too soon, and abruptly. Properly greased, it's real smooth. When it engaged abruptly it was a real nuisance on hills, since it therefore engaged too soon, and there was very little power in the higher gear. If the clutch had even less grease, the next sign of this was rough, erratic and nonsensical gear changing, and sticking in high gear.
July 14 Adjusted timing again - it was still off. Installed new set of points. Timing still off.
So I stopped and went to work on it. Seems that when I put the magneto rotor back on and rode, the timing went off. So I tried two things: 
1.Knocking the cam on real hard, and 
2.The rotor wobbles a bit - the holes don't fit properly. So I held it while I tightened the rotor nut. I held it opposite to the direction of tightening the nut (in other words, to try to compensate for the little bit that it would turn as I tightened the nut). I noticed that when I undo the nut, the rotor shifted a bit, before the nut really loosened.
This seemed to help, and after all this, the timing was fine and the moped performed much better.
Decarbonised exhaust system. There's a "bulb" at the end of the muffler with small holes in it, that deadens the sound. It gets clogged up fast.

July 15 Alaska Hwy, Yukon: Lubed pulley and chain.
July 16 Lubed chain twice today (rain).
July 17 Bike acting up again - lack of power. Took the sound deadener off of the muffler and it ran fine. So I cleaned it out really well, put it back on, and the bike worked fine.
July 18 Alaska: Decarbonised engine.
July 20 Greased clutch, speedometer cable, front forks (they have springs inside). Lubed chain.
July 23 Dempster Hwy: Decarbonised exhaust system..
July 25 Dempster Hwy: Decarbonised engine & exhaust system. Checked timing - was off slightly. Cleaned and filed points (charred). Put in new spark plug. Cleaned carburetor. Greased clutch. Lubed chain.
Fixed flat tire later.
July 27 Dempster Hwy: Adjusted chain.
July 28 Inuvik (Dempster Hwy): Removed pulley and greased bearings. Installed new drive belt (old one cracked and very worn). Chain was very worn, as was front sprocket: chain made a clacking noise, similar to when the pulley catch is breaking. 
July 29 Dempster Hwy: Lost the bolt for the rear brake lever (on the handlebars) - it vibrated loose somewhere. Fixed it by dinging the threads on a spare bolt so the nut would hold when tightened only part way.
July 30 Dempster Hwy: Flat tire.
July 31 Demspter Hwy: Another flat tire (front).
Aug 1 Kickstand getting bent forward from the heaviness of the bike, so it no longer properly supports bike. Bent it back somewhat.
Aug 2 Cleaned carburetor - bike idle speed was erratic. Adjusted throttle cable (slack due to wear).
Aug 3 Near Dawson City, Yukon: Flat front tire - took a spill as a result. Scraped my knee badly. The tire tube was ripped open. Couldn't figure out why. Put on spare tube.
Put in new spark plug - old one covered with lead deposits and cracked when I tapped it. Spark gap bridged many times today. Adjusted idle speed - still problems with this. Gear changer/clutch acting erratically. Mirror loose from vibration.
Aug 4 Lubed and adjusted chain.
Wheels got clogged up with clay mud again on a side road. Cleaned out fenders and then rode in the ditch to avoid the muck.
Aug 7 Fixed kickstand better. Took off both chains and washed and lubed them. This moped has two chains. One powers the bike when it is being used as a bicycle. The other one is what powers the bike when the engine is being used (ie, most of the time). Cleaned up bike.
Later decarbonised muffler (bike not performing well).
Aug 8 Alaska Hwy: Bike acting up again - wouldn't run smoothly, only in spurts at medium to high speed. Muffler relatively clean. Changed the spark plug and it was then ok for awhile. Erratic again later.
Aug 9 Watson Lake, Yukon: Decarbonised engine. Exhaust has been vibrating with a buzzy sound: fixed it.
Decompressor cable broke. Replaced it with a spare throttle cable, with wire wrapped around the end to make it bigger. Works ok.
Cleaned and regreased front hub bearings.
Greased clutch. Filed and adjusted ignition points.
Cassiar, BC: put on new chain and front sprocket.
Aug 11 Chain fell off - adjusted it. This was a new chain - seemed to be wearing quickly.
Aug 12 Stewart-Cassiar Hwy: Clamp holding mirror broke - replaced with a spare. Kickstand spring falling off regularly.
Aug 13 Fixed the dents in the clutch plate (two of them).
Aug 14 Chain fell off twice. Adjusted chain.
Aug 16 Adjusted chain. Greased gear changer balls.
Aug 17 Put on new rear tire. Kept old one as a spare.
Greased clutch.
Right pedal is bent - straightened it.
Discovered two broken spokes on rear wheel - didn't replace them as it would've been a lot of work to do so.
Decarbonised exhaust bulb.
Aug 18 Alberta: Adjusted throttle cable to give more power.
Decarbonised muffler.
Aug 19 Discovered that the front headlight doesn't work. Replaced bulb.
Aug 21 Pulley started making a horrible noise. Pulled it off and discovered that the outer set of bearings was completely shot - their holder unit had completely ground into fine powder. The outer circlip was gone too. This was due to my laziness (neglect) in greasing these bearings. There is a grease nipple on the outside, but it's a tiny, non-conventional size, so I never used it. Put everything back together and it seemed better.
Adjusted chain.
Aug 22 Decarbonised engine.
Aug 24 Bike acted up, rode as if it was out of gas, but there was lots in the tank.
Aug 25 Right pedal is in sad shape: shaft is bent, bearings are gone, end cap is bashed in, rusting.
Adjusted & lubed chain. Greased pulley. The pulley catch was starting to go. The new sprocket wasn't as tight as the old one; it was wearing out already. So was the chain.
Aug 27 Manitoba: Decarbonised muffler bulb.
Cleaned carburetor: dirty inside. Float was dented - how that happened I had no clue.
Aug 28 Ontario: Installed replacement pulley (a used one sent from home). Replaced catch with new one. Adjusted chain.
Sprocket is real loose on shaft. Made a shim from a thin pop can and inserted it between the sprocket and the shaft to take up the slack. This worked very well. For once I was grateful for litter along the highway!
Rear taillight not working.
Aug 29 Noticed a severe vibration in the drive train at low speed. But the vibration went away very quickly after the clutch engaged. Checked pulley: ok. Lubed chain. The replacement pulley is working out well: quieter and smoother.
Lost the kickstand spring a few days ago.
Noticeably less power on hills lately - I figured it was because the engine needed new rings.
Aug 30 Tried to install new rings on piston, but I was unable to clean the grooves well enough, so they didn't fit - piston was too tight in the cylinder. Put the old ones back on. Adjusted and lubed chain. Greased clutch and gear changer balls. Decarbonised exhaust system.
Then I went out for a test ride and I found the compression to be very low. So I did the rings thing all over again. This time I was able to clean the grooves properly, and the new ones fit. Put the engine all back together and it ran much better. Installed new cylinder head and base gaskets.
Aug 31 Had to put old pulley back on - the shim had worn out, and the old pulley worked fine when reinstalled. Later in the day the pulley developed a lot of free play. The cylindrical spacer had worn narrower. I replaced it with a spare.
Chain is worn out - almost at the end of the adjusters.
Sep 2 Adjusted and lubed chain. Greased clutch. Clutch grabs too quickly - engine almost stalls at 5 or 6 mph - has no power at all hardly.
Greased and checked pulley.
Sep 5 Filed and adjusted points. Checked and adjusted timing.
Checked muffler for blockage - bike had been holding back lately and had little power at low rpm's. Compression not excellent but not bad either.
Sep 6 Discovered why the bike had no power at low rpm's. A screw in the clutch plate had come loose, preventing the gear changer cheek from going all the way into low gear. This also accounted for the vibration I had at low speeds (see Aug 29). Also installed new spacers for the pulley, to replace the cylindrical spacer. I used some large washers obtained at a hardware store. They slipped on the shaft and kept the pulley in the proper place. Worked very well.
Trouble with the pulley: shim had worn out, so had to make a new one from a pop can.
Hacksawed off a section of the tube in the muffler on the outer 1/2 of the muffler bulb. This was to prevent it from clogging up with carbon so fast. Also tried riding with just the inner section on - worked a lot better and was only a little bit noisier.
Sep 7 Home. End of trip.
Good thing from the mechanical point of view -- from the above list of repairs and problems, it seemed as though the bike was on its last legs!

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