The rear hub nut needs a lot of torque (120lb or 162Nm) Somehow over the years I’ve got by, but with a lot of stretching required. There’s a couple of ways to hold the hub still while you tighten the hub to its
correct torque. Jamming a brick against the back wheel and getting someone to sit on the Lambretta is one way. A foot on the brake pedal is another.
To make things easier, there’s been some tools made available. Welding a couple of bars to a wheel rim has been done by some.
JB Fabrication has made a rear hub holder that does the job. Small and compact and for me a welcome addition to my tool collection.
You can purchase the Hub Holder from JB Fabrications Facebook page here.
Back in the olden days, in a time when we lived with 3 TV channels, the fear of nuclear war and metal dustbins, trying to solve a scooter problem, you would usually have to phone a friend from the house phone, bodge it or guess how to fix it. When it was fixed, we had to run the gauntlet with the local bikers and casuals and relied on hope to keep our motors running. The good old, bad old days.
Thankfully, time and technology have moved on and one of the greatest resources is the Internet. It’s a remarkable source of information to help solve carburettor problems, engine builds and restorations. It’s still not always the answer though. Some forums and Facebook groups can end up giving you a multiple choice of answers, including the wrong advice and ruin all your hard work.
Back in 2004 Martin “Sticky” Round published his Lambretta manual. The Complete Spanners Manual. There have been other manuals around but nothing on a par to this. I remember the Lambretta Home Workshop Manual, lots of words and not a lot of images to help guide me through engine work. Now things were going to get better for me and those like me who needed all the help we could get with a completely fresh look to a Lambretta manual.
Then in 2010 Martin released the 2nd edition with a lot of important upgrades. It still kept to the same working format and it was well received in the Lambretta community.
Last week, Martin released the 3rd Edition of The Complete Spanners Workshop Manual. There’s a lot of changes and additions to what has now become an essential part of a Lambretta owners possession but still keeps to the winning format.
The one thing this manual has above anything before and probably will ever have, is that it’s universally accepted due to the extensive research and input of the manual from many mechanics and tuners who have helped shape the Lambretta to its current form as well as help those who persevere to restore their Lambretta to its original form.
With new parts and upgrades released all the time and Martin has included the latest parts released up until the end of August 2018 with a large section on aftermarket products.
There’s a greatly improved piece on chain alignment. It can’t be understated the importance of this. I limped home the last few miles from an LCGB rally in 2012. When I inspected the engine after I got home the chain was very loose and slipped badly. On fitting a new chain and checking alignment, it was well out.
The Electrical System section has been improved and expanded with more advice and instruction, including new electronic components like Scootronics CDI’s, Pick-ups and flywheels.
There’s information on improved building techniques throughout the manual including what is also became essential, Leak Down Testing.
More wiring diagrams, including Full DC Conversion diagrams.
Plus a whole lot more.
It also has to be noted that the quality of the paper and the binding has meant that the manual has always been the same and held together well as they get fumbled through with oily hands, dropped on garage floors, trod on and spilled blood, sweat and tears, it’s still held together.
If you’ve never owned it, buy it. If you’ve already bought the 1st and 2nd editions, buy it. It’s definitely worth it to keep up on the advancement of the Lambretta in all its forms and still the definitive, complete Lambretta manual.
When I rode to France in 2017, my Lambretta picked up a bit of an issue with the front end. When I got home I decided to take a closer look and strip the forks for a service (which doesn’t happen as often as it maybe should).
I didn’t fancy dropping the forks out completely as I don’t have a strong enough bench to hold them, so it involves trying to balance them and unless you have a friend to help, a third hand.
This is where the Fork Compressor from K2 Custom Classics comes in. Firstly it’s small. Secondly, forks can be stripped in situ. It works by clamping the unit to the fork leg and a bolt that runs through the unit with a U shaped piece at the bottom that fits over the spring. When you tighten the night the bolt rises compressing the spring. It’s as simple as that.
If you’re worried about scratching the paint. You can overcome this by wrapping some insulation tape around the area where the clamp fits before fitting the compressor.
It didn’t take long to strip the forks. The diagnosis was collapsed fork link buffers. So forks rebuilt handling was back as it should have been.
This is the Lambretta Engine Test Bed made by Jon Betts at JB Fabrication.
The frame is painted black and comes in three parts, which fit together with the four supplied nuts, bolts and washers. You also get a bottle for the fuel supply which has an on/off tap and hose included that sits in a holder on the frame.
The welding is very neat and the metal is more than strong enough to hold a Lambretta engine.
If you have a spare headset that you’re not using, the raised bar that supports the fuel bottle is the right dimension to support one, but it’s not a requirement.
It may not be an essential item of Lambretta equipment, but if you find yourself building an engine and no spare chassis to try it on, it will save a lot of bother and time having to swap engines. Even if you do have a frame waiting for the engine. It’s an easier way of testing an engine before fitting. An example being, If you find an issue that needs the top end stripping, it’s a hell of a lot easier to do with the engine out the Lambretta.
There’s really not much to it and it’s very easy to put together. Just attach the CDI, fill the bottle with fuel and fire up the engine.
Jon, makes various parts and tools for Lambrettas. He can be contacted on his Facebook page.
“Some people say it’s a new fad and we got on fine before but in reality we didn’t or we were lucky”
“Leak-down test hysteria, another internet hype”
Two quotes from Social Media. One is sensible.
Contrary to what some people may think, a leak down test can be one of the most important jobs to carry out on a Lambretta. It will expose any leaks around the cylinder or cylinder head, mag housing, inlet manifold, exhaust port and both mag side seal and drive side seal. Any leak from these areas can make correct jetting and set up almost impossible and may lead to serious damage to your engine.
I was introduced to the leak down test by Darrell Taylor of Taylor Tuning through a couple of social media outlets. Up to this time I wasn’t aware such test existed, let alone anything for a Lambretta.
I’ve battled jetting on many occasions and one particular time that stands out was when I was trying to jet my 250LC. Rich low down, lean on high revs. Whatever I tried, I just couldn’t get the jetting right. The fault was only discovered by Alan Terry of Diablo Moto, on my way to Mersea Island Scooter Rally in 2012. There was a crack at one of the barrel studs on the casing, causing an air leak. This ended the journey.
A leak down test on the engine build would have spotted this.
So, fast forward to 2016 and I purchased one of Taylor Tunings leak down test kits as well as a blood pressure gauge.
Darrell Taylors Kit comprises of various bungs for various sizes of inlet manifolds and round and oval blanking plates & rubbers for the exhaust outlet. You can also buy an upgraded version that includes a pump, but as I already had the blood pressure gauge, I didn’t need it.
I’m currently building a TS1 230 engine and it was time to do the leak down test. Using Threebond on the gaskets, the first test was done with the pressure pumped up to approximately 300 mmhg or 6PSI. The gauge was dropping very slowly at 1PSI over two minutes. I could have let this pass as acceptable, but I couldn’t find the source of the leak so didn’t want to leave it. A brief conversation with Colin Jenkins and he suggested Drive side and mag side oil seals. He was right. A squirt of soapy water revealed the Drive side oil seal was the culprit leaking.
Replacing a drive side oil seal isn’t the easiest repair on a roadside, so I took the top end apart and put in another seal. The air pressure held held this time.
One good point Darrell recommends with any engine failure, always get a Leak Down Test done before stripping the engine. This will save time and money and may point you to the source or cause the failure!
Benefits of a Leak Down Test:
This test will help find the potential problem rather than trying to find the problem of a leak without knowing it’s source, which in turn could lead to a wrong diagnosis, causing further engine trouble.
The leak down test gives you confidence with your engine build.
It should also be used to find the cause of an engine component failure, again with a better chance of finding the real cause rather than a guess.
So why wouldn’t you? Nearly all good quality engine components are not cheap, so it pays to protect the engine.
For a number of years, I’ve got along stripping & building my Lambretta engines with the usual huff and puff when I always have to turn the casing around, working on different parts of the engine.
Apart from when I had big enough space to build my own workshop to store and work on my Lambrettas, I’ve always found it difficult to utilise work space for a workbench, but recently I built a small bench on wheels that I can use for working on my Lambretta engines.
So with this I was looking for an engine stand that was suitable and there’s now a few to found. I was aware of John Betts of JB Fabrication and his work and when I found he was making the engine stands, it was the obvious choice for me as he has a reputation for quality workmanship and innovative.
The engine stand comes with two bolts. One holds the base to the engine stand and the other holds the swivel in any one of the 8 positions. You will need 2 bolts to fix the engine stand to your bench.
Fixing to the workbench is simple. Two bolts through the holding bracket to the bench, but make sure the bracket that holds the engine has space to rotate and protrudes from the work bench an inch or two. (see images at the bottom of the page). The longest bolt holds the two pieces together and as previously stated, the short Allen bolt keeps the holder in any one of 8 positions.
When fitting the engine to the stand, the rear shock bar goes through the hole and the engine mount goes over the other side. Then fit the engine bar through. Make sure you fit the necessary nuts for added safety. You’ll notice in the images I didn’t use nuts as the engine fitment was for photographic purposes only.
All I can say is this makes all the difference and everything is far easier when building a Lambretta engine. The 8 positions mean that you can do just about any work on the engine without the hassle of tipping the engine or having to stick something underneath to support it and no more nipping fingers turning it over.
JB Fabrication also sells these with a bracket that bolts the stand to a wall.
Jon’s work doesn’t limit to Lambretta tools and Lambretta fabrication work. He also does a wide range of work for cars and bespoke parts.
When removing the front sprocket it can sometimes be quite stubborn. One way is using mole grips and hitting downwards on them. Not the best of methods. I use the sprocket removal tool. It has two grub screws with pointed ends that fit into the two small holes on the sprocket. You then just turn the handle and the sprockets lifts off with ease.