Variator exploratory surgery

david f martin /

I took a couple of hours for lunch today so I could take my variator apart...

I'd read someone's post about carving out the tracks in the variator for the roller weights, so I wanted to see what it looked like in there...

First of all, the thing was packed full of grease. I don't see how the weights can move freely with all that grease in there, so I cleaned it all out. All of my rollers have flat spots on them (even worn down to the metal on a couple), and the tracks that they roll in are a little scored, but not too bad. I called the local Honda dealer to see if they had them in stock. Nope, they'd have to order them, and they were gonna cost me around $40 for the set (just the roller weights). I've seen them cheaper at ScooterTherapy.com, so I'm gonna order from them. Anyone have experience dealing with them?

I found that the metal sleeve that pushes the pulley halves apart sat slightly recessed in the rear half, about 1.5mm, so I shaved the rear half till the sleeve was flush (I didn't want to take off too much meat). This allows the pulleys to ride a little closer together, so the belt can ride a little higher.

Cleaned it out again and sprayed the innards with a light coat of lithium grease, reassembled everything and took it for a test drive. So far, so good. Drove it home 11 miles from work.

Acceleration is smoother, and I've gained a couple mph on the top end. It was worth the trouble, even though I'm gonna have to do it again when I get some new weights and a belt. I can't wait to see how it does then!

Had a little mishap on the way home... I'll post that separately.

david

Re: Variator exploratory surgery

david f martin /

On my way home from work... I stop at the last gas station before i get home, for smokes. I'm coming one way around the pumps, while a big black pickup is coming the other way, both of us are driving like badasses, and neither of us saw the other coming. We both slammed on the brakes, my scoot went out from under me... I picked it up and looked it over (still running), and picked up my gas can and jacket and put them back in the rear basket, while the kid driving the truck is apologising and asking me if I'm ok... "Yeah, I'm fine."

It broke my right front turnsignal lens and scuffed up the housing, made a couple new scratches in the body, and I've got a little road rash on my right elbow and knee. My guitar has a new chip in it about the size of a big tailnoe clipping.

Not too bad, and it tells me that I need to spend a little more time on my brakes before making the bike faster... Duh.

david

Re: Variator exploratory surgery

david f martin /

I mean, toenail... (?)... jeez...

david... (?)

Re: Variator exploratory surgery

David:

I've heard of people getting mixed results using sections of carriage bolts (the kind that has an unthreaded part at the top) approximately the same diameter as the roller weights.

I suppose it may be worth a try --if it doesn't work out it's easy enough to undo.

Chris.

Re: Variator exploratory surgery

Speaking of grease, the variator on my moped also had a lot of grease in there amongst the roller weights. But there's not much left in there now. Is it necessary to goop it up like it was originally? How much grease needs to be in there?

Re: Variator exploratory surgery

Hi Peggy:

I don't think there needs to be huge amounts of grease. I usually just put enough to coat the parts.

Chris.

Re: Variator exploratory surgery

david f martin /

I suppose anything cylindrical about the same size as the roller weights might work, but I see a couple of problems. First, a solid piece of metal is going to be heavier than stock rollers, which will cause the gear ratio to go high much sooner, before the engine gets to its peak horsepower. Also, the nylon outer covering of the weights provide less wear and tear on the tracks and help the rollers move more smoothly. I think new rollers are pretty cheap, anyway.

david

Re: Variator exploratory surgery

Thats absolutely right... adding weights to the rollers is no good... it is the wrong way to go (on a PA50I at least)... it causes the ped to "upshift" way before it revs out in the low range.... so you might as well have a one speed.

I know ... I tried it with a couple different size weights...(despite the fact that thats what I figured would happen).

With the large weights... it was 'shifted' before you even got to 5mph.... with lighter weights... it shifted at 11mph.

With NO weights... the engine pleasantly revs out in the lower range and shifts at 15mph.... Honda got that quite right.

and that means its faster accelerating.

David ... a warning on one thing... Chris's "variator mod" isn't actually a ramp mod... (I may have even been the one that mistakenly called it that).. he doesn't alter the ramps... just the stops that STOP the weights movement on the ramp.... (it is actually a large notch in the moveable outer pulley's outside diameter at each weight).

Gained me about 3 or 4 mph... (but I still have the tiny tiny 'restrictor' reed valve in it)

Re: Variator exploratory surgery

david f martin /

Another problem I saw with modifying the tracks (besides that it looks like an awful lot of work) is that if you don't get the stops exactly the same all the way around, it is gonna be off balance when the weights get there, with the crank turning full speed. An unbalanced spinning weight on the end of your crank is a quick way to wear out the crankshaft bearings.

david

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