Met a guy who has a '97 Kinetic TFR that the engine had seized on. This was after only 17 miles. Told him it would probably take a topend job to fix it. Having worked on Vespas before and knowing the Kinetic is a copy of Vespa, I even gave him an idea of what it would cost to fix. He is not a mechanically inclined person and was considering selling it.
Since he had nothing to lose, I pulled the engine there on the sidewalk in front of the garage and took off the cylinder head. I told him now it would be a job to pull the cylinder since the motor was stuck good.
Surprise! The cylinder slipped off easily and the problem was apparent now. The lower end rod bearing had seized. The head and piston indeed showed little evidence of use.
To me it was a quality control problem since those type of bearings outlast the engine with proper fuel and maintenance. If a lean mixture had been used in this engine, the piston would have seized long before damage to the rods' needle bearings would have resulted.
Talked to Cosmopolitan Motors about it and they agreed to look at it despite the warranty being long expired. I'll probably hear from them next week.
I split the cases and sent them the crankshaft. While inspecting the other parts of the engine, I found the the friction material on one of the starter clutch shoes had lost its' friction material. It was sitting in there like it had become unbonded from the shoe. The other shoe had the friction material lifting from it. Again, this is after only 17 miles. I also sent it to Cosmoplitan.
So now the question: Why did the the rod bearing seize? Why did the clutch fail like this if my '79 Vespa Grande still has the original starter clutch after over an indicated 1600 miles on the odometer?
Has anyone noticed a lack of quality control from the factory on one of these?