alright..today i took the magneto flywheel off (before i looked at these replies). I checked ignition coil primary and secondary windings, spark plug wire resistance, condenser, and points and they all seem to check out ok. i found a washer stuck magnetically and rusted on the magnet of the flywheel.. i think this might have knocked against the stator and changed the timing.. i got the washer off and set the timing to 1.5mm before top dead center (or as near as i could get). with high hopes, i cranked the engine again..no luck still. it sounds and feels like theres compression. i hear a nice putt putt as i turn the flywheel and if i put my thumb over the spark plug hole i can feel it. but, tomarrow i will take off the cylinder head and take a peak inside (btw, what's the proper way of cleaning carbon deposits off the cylinder sides without scratching it? very fine steel wool?). im thinking i might just want to go ahead and buy a gasket set and some piston rings and such and attempt to rebuild the thing.. i'd like to get it running before school starts up (im sick of taking the bus). there is a decompressor valve on the engine. is there any way i could test this once i have the head off? oh yeah.. in reply to fred's oil stuff. when i got the moped i poured a tad bit of 2stroke oil into the spark plug hole (it was bone dry inside there) before i turned the engine and i have a 25:1 gas:oil ratio in the tank (normal operating is 50:1 but i figure it'd be better to run on 25:1 for the first half tank to make sure it gets lubed up properly). wow.. who knew this would be such a project to get this started.. but of course i am having some fun putzing around. Thanks for all your help btw..it's always nice to have someone to throw ideas at.