Thursday, June 28, 2007

Motofino Electrical Maintenance and Troubleshooting

Motofino scooters have troubles with electrical systems, just like any motor scooter vehicle made, although they rarely show up until after they've been driven and owned for awhile.

Problems with scooter electrical systems seem to fall in Three categories

1. The weather exposure moisture generated difficulties.
Exposure moisture problems are caused by leaving the scooter outside in the rain.
What happens is water gets into connectors and sometimes the starter solenoid internals, which causes rust and failure. Moisture ingestion over time affects and rusts control cables if not lubricated annually too. Water problems hurt every manufacturer's scooter, not just Motofino. We highly recommend buying a Motofino Scooter cover which is easily slipped over the bike and folds and stores in your underseat box. Using a scooter cover will pay you back electrically and keep the scooter a lot cleaner too.

2. Component Failure.
Parts like switches and blinker units can fail. Fortunately, Motofino stocks all parts so it is not hard to get a replacement for your particular Motofino scooter from ECOBIKEUSA. Again, keeping moisture and dirt out of control switches is a big protection. It doesn't hurt to spray your control switches liberally occasionally with a healthy dose of WD-40 to help them reject dirt and moisture too. Just saturate the switch area on the handlebar, and operate the switch a few times. Enough soaks in to help it a lot. A Silicon spray is also good, but WD-40 often also clears a sticky switch better because it is a solvent petroleum based oil too.
The ignition switch rarely gives any trouble especially if the key slot is injected with some spray grease every year. You do this by using a pin to push away the key cover and injecting spray grease lubricant down in the key slot. You'll find the ignition key switch operates much easier and smoothly when you do this too.

Control Switch failure of any kind is the most aggravating for any Scooter owner, and of these failures two are a classic pain! The first that really puzzles most of us is the failure of the Run-Kill" switch. If this switch fails, you can crank the starter all day, but the bike will not start, because the ignition circuit is disabled to the CDI unit. The idea behind a "Run-Kill" switch is of course safety, so there is a quick way to shut off the engine. Sometimes the switch fails and won't activate the ignition when placed in the "Run" position. (Circle Symbol) Other times the snap in lead connectors to this switch are corroded or loose, and just aren't making contact, so you think it is the switch when it isn't! This is where an Ohmmeter, or continuity tester is a must to see if the switch actually makes contact and goes open when you operate it before you spend money to buy a new one!
While we're on this "Run-Kill" switch thing (You'd be surprised the number of guys who say there scooter won't start, when in fact they forgot to be sure the switch in in the "Run" position!)
The second major control switch failure is that of the turn signal switch. Oddly enough if your turn signal switch is of the type that is circularly mounted on the left handle bar, it probably hasn't failed, its just out of adjustment! This is a spring loaded push-button release switch and the problem will show up as the push-button cancel switch will not release, or won't turn on either a right or left turn when you push it in that direction.
To fix it, and the reason we call it a pain, is because you have to remove the switch unit from the handlebar. To do that remove the upper and lower Phillips head screws from the back of the handlebar mount, so you can access the actual switch rear plate cover. When you look at the inside of the switch back cover plate you'll see two little screws holding the metal tension plate in place. Back these tiny screws out until they are a little loose, and then test the turn signal function and cancel.
Back the screws out until these functions work again and then re-assemble the two long handlebar mounting screws to put the switch back on the scooter handlebar.

3. Connector Plug or Wire Connector Failure.
Generally speaking, compared to other motorscooters, the Motofino is excellent in the connector plug area, but still it is good to know these wire connectors do sometimes develop connection problems, so you need to know what to expect. In a Motofino, the plugs and snap-together barrel wire connectors are high quality and brass plated. Even through plug connectors have a postive snap together tab on the molded nylon plug, and its snapped, doesn't always mean connection is made. It should be, except sometimes a plug wire pin will back out a bit from the plug body so it doesn't make contact! Be sure and examine where each wire connects to a plug pin to be sure that pin hasn't backed out of its slot on the plug. Check the female and male side of the connector. If one is backed out, simply push it back in so it snaps in place.
Scooters, more perhaps any other vehicle, have a tendency to wreak havoc on electrical plugs and connectors because of moisture pin corrosion, and the vibrations caused by our relatively high RPM engines.
One particular check you should make once in a while is the connector plug connections to your CDI unit. Any loose connection their can promote failure of the CDI unit, and cause you scooter to hesitate a speeds, or start unreliably. If the pins on your CDI unit are badly corroded, and you can't clean them up, get a new one from us. A Blue unit is for a 50cc Motofino, and a Black
one is for a 125 or 15occ.
CDI units are made to advance spark as dictated by the output curve of the engine alternator.
It isn't a good idea to use a generic CDI for best performance. Get a genuine Motofino unit.

All Motofino, like other Scooters use a "plug together" system of connecting electrical components and switches. It's always a great idea to examine all of the connections before you invest in a new part. Here is a generic diagram showing how everything is wired. It is generally correct except some of the color coding of wires may not be the same in your unit.