Tuesday, June 5, 2012

1973 Puch Maxi Rebuild

To be honest this was one of my favorite builds and took very little time...15 hours between tear down, cleaning, and rebuild.  A few weeks ago I was riding my moped around the neighborhood during the neighborhood garage sale weekend and I happened to spot this Puch Maxi moped.  I stopped and talk to the guy and after some discussion he agreed that if I left $20 he would put the bike back in the backyard until I was back with the rest of the money.  It was the cheapest moped I have picked up and I was looking forward to rebuilding it. 
After doing a little research on the VIN number it was actually the first year they started making the Maxi.  I extrapolated the date and came up with December 23rd, 1973 that it rolled off the line.  The Maxi reached its height in the US between 1978 and 1980.  I did a little digging around on the bike and it appears this bike was imported because there are a lot of foreign features.  The bulb in the headlight is very odd and actually had "Britain" printed on it so I am guessing it was brought over from England.  The bike was already equipped with a 14 mm Bing carb so it has potential to be quite a peppy stock bike once all the dirt and grime was cleaned away.  I wanted to keep it stock because I miss riding stock.  Then my mom called and said my sister needed a moped to get around since my brother is going away to college.  She didn't know I was already sitting on this bike, but sometimes things happen for a reason.
 Despite the bike being super dirty, the inside of the stator was pristine.  I could not get spark and after trying a new spark plug boot and hard-wiring the lights, I got a beautiful, blue spark.  This is also the first e50, Maxi motor, with an internal coil that I have seen.  I thought the coil was bad and glad I didn't dig too deep too quick.  It also is the first Puch that I have worked on that only had four wires coming out of the stator... one from the main lighting coil, another from the smaller lighting coil, a third from the high tension coil for the spark plug and then a third from the points for the engine kill switch(which was never present... the wire just went to the wiring harness)
 Once I got spark and felt like I knew the motor would run reliably once it was rebuilt...I tore the entire bike apart for cleaning and rebuild.
When turning over the motor you could hear a little bit of noise and sure enough when I cracked open the motor I saw the culprit.  The main gear's bearing was shot and lost the spacer rings to keep the eight ball bearings apart to their appropriate spacing.  Fine with me...I love rebuilding the motors so I ordered new bearings and seals.
 Before getting too far along, I had one of the other DAM Riders weld up a tiny crack in the rear fender.  It was only a hair-line crack in the metal, but I was afraid that the vibrations of the bike would take that small crack and turn into a much larger crack.
 As I mentioned in yesterday's entry, my sister came to visit Friday and Saturday.  Friday we cleaned the bike top to bottom and get it looking as good as new...well, for a 39 year old bike. 
As she finished cleaning Friday, I rebuilt the motor with new bearings and seals so that was back together with spark.  Timing was checked and I threw new rubber strips, tubes, and tires on the wheels...and called it a day.
Saturday morning I woke up and ate the rust out of the gas tank with phosphoric acid.  We mounted the swing arm, forks, and then tossed on the wheels before taking a break.  
 I knew the final part of assembly would take a while so I decided to step away for a little bit and I took my sister to play disc golf for the first time in her life.  She was getting pretty good by the end and getting some good distance.  It is nice having a course right around the corner from where I live, but I haven't been there in a long time.  We grabbed lunch and then headed back to finish up the bike.
We finished up around 8PM and we both rode it around a little bit.  Pretty peppy bike, indeed.  I made sure the stock exhaust was de-restricted and I also filed down the skits on the piston a little to allow for more fuel.  Should be a pretty reliable fun bike for her to ride...with shoes.
 We went back home Sunday for my brother's graduation and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to get a picture of the bike in front of one of the cows on the family farm.... a moo-ped.
 Sure hope she likes the bike and takes care of it.  I am hoping that the time she spent helping me with the rebuild and cleaning will make her cherish the moped a little more.  If I would have still had the bike I totally would have rode stock to Moped Monday, but instead I rode my Maxi.  I ended up giving in to my better judgement and let some of the guys ride my bike up the street and back.  They all were interested in the disc brake on my Polini build and they loved it.  It was amazing that when one of the 90 pound guys got on the bike how quickly he took off.  More reason I need to go for a run this afternoon.  Or right after work before the rain arrives.
As mentioned, there is a chance for rain later today.  The rain will be moving in from the northeast and will be rather light and spotty.  The rain showers will be here for the late morning and afternoon.  Same for tomorrow, but even a less chance for rain.  The chances to see the rain are very small both days so keep the garden hose handy for your flowers and plants.  We will be a little cool today with a high around 69 and then tacking on a few more degrees each day heading into the weekend: 73 tomorrow, 76 Thursday, 80 Friday and then mid 80's for the weekend followed by upper 80's by Monday when our next chance for rain returns.  So this weekend is looking hot and humid.  Stay dry today and have a good one!

Andrew Buck Michael

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