Saturday, May 3, 2008

Under the Front Handlebar Cover of the Motofino MF150-10D

Removing the Front Handlebar Cover is necessary to replace brake fluid, the flasher module, or one of the in-cover front turn signal lamps. Other than those items there is no reason to go into it. (If you were trying to get to the horn, it is under the front headlight panel.)

To remove the cover, First remove both mirrors held on with 6mm screw bolt screws using the wrench in the tool kit. Watch it you do not lose the lockwasher sets. Work inside when you take things apart, and have a magnetic pick up wand handy to retrieve dropped hardware. When removing the mirrors, you have to disconnect the orange-green wires connected with wire push-snaps on the left mirror, and light-blue green wires on the right mirror. These connections power the LED flashers in the mirrors. These wires have formed brass connector snaps that simply pull apart, and snap together to re-connect. There is an insulated snap on each mirror wire lead. Fish them out of the side of of the lever recesses to gain access.You will need to remove the front handle part end cover pieces too, which held in place by a single screw at the ends under the cover.

Next remove two screws at the top of the instrument panel, two underneath it, and two at the sides, plus a long screw directly under the cover in the center. This particular screw should be lubricated before you attempt to put it back in.

If you are in here to replace the flasher module, it has a 3-pin snap type connector holding it together. Simply pry aside the snap lever first and pull the connector plugs apart. Now remove the old flasher module from the holder. It just slides out of the circular bracket.
Now you can insert the replacement flasher in the holder, and snap the 3 pin male-female connectors back together. You just push the connectors together unitil it snaps and locks. You cannot mess this up. They are keyed to connect only one way.

If you are replacing DOT 3 brake fluid, or just replacing a little, know that the level should be up to with 1/8 inch of the top reseviour tank lip. To open the tank, you must remove two Phillips head screws on the tank top. These screws are in very tight, and if you strip the screw heads you have caused yourself a big problem! Better to make sure you are using a Phillips head tip (#2) Screwdriver that is in good shape, and meets the screw heads firmly. In other words, a perfect fit.

Some people press down very hard on the screw as they try to back it out. That works, if you don't slip. A sure way to not strip a screw head is to use and impact screwdriver and tap it loose with a light mallet first, then switch to a plain Phillips head screwdriver that fits well to back the screw out.
It never hurts to spray the screw recesses first with Blaster, or other penetrating oil and let it stand a few minutes first.

Anything you are in here for is pretty easy if you proceed carefully.Lamp-sockets twist out of their slots so you can replace bulbs. Grasp and twist counter-clockwise, lift out, to remove a lamp holder.
What may not be easy is replacing the mirrors back on the front cover and routing the mirror lead wires so they are not crushed! Special attention is required! When you replace the mirrors, please be sure that when you tighten down the screwbolts on the mirror mounts you align the protrusion slots in the mirror base with the groves shown as a green dotted line in the AXIS photo at the top of this article. Be very sure none of the leads get between the mirror base and the mount handlebar screw plate. Route the wires in the groves in the mount slot plate. If these mirror wires are crushed in the tightening process your mirror flashers will not work. You may also short the flasher out in the process and have to replace it.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Maintaining the Battery in Motofino and Chinese made Motor Scooters

As we become acquainted with Chinese Motors Scooters, including the Motofino brand in several models, the maintenance of their storage batteries becomes an issue. If we owners do not understand completely about them it will cost us money replacing them too frequently! To avoid this unpleasant situation of buying a new battery prematurely, every owner should understand what follows here.

Motofino Motor Scooters, and almost every other Chinese and Taiwan Manufactured Scooters use what is called a VLRA sealed lead-acid battery, or VLRA. ( Valve Regulated Lead Acid) This is a good battery construction type because it offers low maintenance and high current loads for starting scooters. Plus they are light in weight and never need re-filling, or leak acid in your Scooter. They also hold a full charge a lot longer then other construction types when stored in the fully charged state.

All that is good, but they have a couple things about them an owner cannot ignore and refuse to do to get them to last a long, long time, which they will with just a little maintenance attention. To get long life and performance you must:

1. Charge them fully when first placed in service.
2. Take the battery out and read the open terminal voltage every 90 days minimum, and then re-charge the battery to a full charge state if necessary.
3. When placing in storage for the winter, remove the battery, fully charge it, and put it away to re-install in the Spring.
4. NEVER jumper the Scooter battery with an Auto Battery to start it! Do a manual kick start instead! If you make this mistake you will damage the VLRA scooter battery permanently, even if you were successful with the jumper start.
5. NEVER charge a VLRA Sealed Lead-Acid battery with an automotive battery charger of any kind! That includes the ones with a 2.0AMP trickle charge setting. If you do, you will permanently damage your scooter battery! You might think you got a way with it, but while you may have partially charged it enough to work a few days, you have ruined the battery. Next time you try that your battery will fail!

You might wonder why these things/rules are true? It all backs up to the VLRA construction method to make light-weight and small battery. To make this tiny high current delivery battery using VLRA construction it has to have many more electrode plates than conventional lead-acid types do internally. Not only that, but these plates must be spaced very close together physically. VLRA batteries also also constructed with advanced lead calcium technology, and include sulfphation retardants.

While all that does make for a powerful little battery, it also greatly restricts the amount of charging current you can use to charge it! It does means it will take a long time to fully charge a battery of this type at the low charge current rate allowed. VLRA batteries must only be charged with a battery charger capable of delivering from just .3 to .5 DC AMPS, or 300 to 500 Milliampers. NO MORE, or you will melt or warp the internal plates, thus shorting them and destroying the ability of the battery to deliver current. That is why so many are destroyed by automotive battery chargers which can deliver anywhere from 2.o to 60 AMPS!

If you are a scooter owner you really should acquire a cheap volt-ohm meter so you can read the open battery terminal voltage of your battery. That voltage reading tells you the charge state of your battery. You also need a low-current battery charger. Typically they can be found a most serious scooter shops, and online.
They are the wall transformer plug in type, with battery clip-on leads. Always check the specification of any charger you are considering acquiring to be sure it is truly a low current type. It needs to only be capable of a charge rate of .5 DC AMPS at 12.8 volts. A .3 AMP charge rate is just fine, but more than .5 AMP is not!

Here is some charging information based on your open terminal DC Voltage readings:

State of Charge
100% - Reads 12.8 to 13.0 Volts - No action needed.
75% to 100% - Reads 12.5 to 12.8 Volts - May need slight charge - 3 to 6 hours.
50% to 75% - Reads 12.0 to 12.5 Volts - Needs Charge -5 to 11 hours.
25% to 50% - Reads 11.5 to 12.0 Volts - Needs Charge - At least for 10 to 13 hours.
0% to 25% - Reads 11.5 Volts or less - Needs Charge - 20 hours - completely depleted.

A peculiar thing about reading battery charge voltage state after removing the charger is that
you will only get a true reading after you have removed the charger for 10 minutes. There is a time lag as the voltage stabilizes in a VLRA.

Whenever a new battery is filled with acid sealed it will need charging. The very act of adding the acid only brings the battery to a 75% charge state.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Motor Scooter 50 to 80cc Engine Upgrade Kit

Many people start out buying a 50cc Motor Scooter and are disappointed about the slow top speed, because depending on driver weight and the gross scooter weight those machines will only run at 30 to 35 miles per hour. For some state laws classifying these 50cc scooters as a "Moped," that performance is all that is legally allowed.

But what about the heavy person who needs to climb hills? Or the normal weight person who wants to climb hills too? A little more engine power is necessary to do it.

The least expensive method to get a little more power is to upgrade the Chinese GY6 50cc engine to 80cc. If you are mechanically able, and have a weekend free to do it, you can upgrade your engine to 80cc with the "ECOBIKEUSA 50 to 80cc Engine Upgrade Kit" No really exotic special hand tools are necessary.

Details on this kit can be found on Click on the 80 cc upgrade kit page.

A 15 page instruction is available to explain how to accomplish the engine upgrade.
I do not recommend upgrading a cheaper 50cc scooter that does not have a front disc brake. Those front band braked scooters don't have enough braking power to stop quickly enough with an upgraded more powerful engine!