Well, I'm totally fucked now. Help?

Matthew Westberg /

Fucking useless piece of shit Motobecanes...

My Motobecane (79 Moby) died again, basically, I'm pretty sure it's not burning most of the gas. There's plenty of half-burnt sludge gas all around the exhast fitting and the system up to that point is fine (fuel flows, carb is clean, airbox is good, I'm pretty sure I get good spark). Any ideas? I have no idea what it could be.

I am so fucking close to just giving up on mopeds, you know what? I fully well understood that with a moped - especially an old one - that you better be prepared to do some dirty work. But you know what? I'm just not down with a ped that breaks down EVERY SINGLE FUCKING TIME I TAKE IT _ANYWHERE_. I mean, is it so much to ask that for all the careful work I put in to this thing that it actually run MOST of the time?

I'm sick of pedalling back home while people in cars laugh their asses off, I'm like some kind of travelling anti-moped advertisment. This is fucking ridiculous.

Re: Well, I'm totally fucked now. Help?

Matthew Westberg /

And I set the timing, so I know that's good too.

Re: Well, I'm totally fucked now. Help?

Andy Kochvar /

OK, see why it died! Spark? wrong gas mixture? need new piston rings? Once you getting it running right it won't broke down for a long time. Crankcase gasket/head/basegasket/manifold gasket in good condition?

Re: Well, I'm totally fucked now. Help?

Matthew Westberg /

Oh and checked the exhaust as well.

Re: Well, I'm totally fucked now. Help?

Matthew Westberg /

Gaskets all look good - I'm not leaking from anywhere on the engine (I did have a fuel leak from the petcock for a while, but I fixed that).

Please read my post, while I did bitch and complain, I also detailed everything I have checked. Spark is good as is gas mixture.

I put a lot of time and effort into getting it running 'RIGHT' but this thing always finds some NEW way to break down, just because I need some help here, doen't mean I abused my ped or don't know how to take care of it.

Re: Well, I'm totally fucked now. Help?

See Ya Moped Army /

I feel your pain and your frustration. I used to have lots of troubles with Motobecanes until I finally figured out these beasts. Now I've got six of them that all run extremely well, including a red '78 Moby that I ride everywhere without a lick of trouble.

Basically, you're confronted with two choices....hang in there and keep plugging away until you finally conquer your Moby's demons, or consider it a "learning experience", sell it, and buy yourself a more reliable Puch, Tomos or any Italian moped with a Minarelli V1 or Franco-Morini motor. If you're spending more time working on your moped as opposed to riding it, then I would go with my latter advice.

Re: Well, I'm totally fucked now. Help?

my damn puch is the same thing. i fuckin hate it, after 6 months of repairs i finally gave up and sold it for a 2000 tomos lx

Re: Well, I'm totally fucked now. Help?

Matthew Westberg /

It's only spending more time in my garage then it is on the road. I really wish I had the money for a new Tomos, they're not the prettiest things or the most reliable, but they should RUN for the most part.

I love the old motobecane stylings, but I'm no gearhead, I DO believe a man should be able to repair his own vehicles as best he can - and don't get me wrong, I like working on it. But I like riding it more than I like working on it and I'm sick of being embarassed in public by a bike that only has 3000 miles on it.

That said, when it died the following happened: I had a big drop in power, and it started really sputtering - basically, it felt like it was only 'catching' and running on a few strokes (i.e. not burning most of the fuel)... it ran at maybe 5mph for 20 minutes or so as I tried to get home, then it died completely. What might that indicate?

I swear I'd think it was some problem with the spark if I wasn't getting good spark (and the plug has maybe 750 miles on it anyway).

I can relate

If you were to search the forum for posts by me from early spring through late summer, you would see the agony my mobies put me through. I am glad I stuck with them. I love them now, and have 4. no other moped is appealing to me anymore. But the lows were really low.

It sounds to me as though your spark may not be strong enough to keep up with the constant flow of gas coming at it.

-Did you upjet?

-Bad Coil/Coils?

-Right Plug (I like champion L86c)

-Right Gap?

Or perhaps your condensor needs replacing (is it original?) my moby would stop firing after it heated up due to a old faulty condensor.

If you do not have this manual, it might help


Good luck.

Italian peds are super easy to deal with if the moby is a lost cause

Re: Well, I'm totally fucked now. Help?

750 miles!!! that is a old plug in moped terms. especially if it always gets oily all the time, you should replace it buy 3 or 4

Re: Well, I'm totally fucked now. Help?

Mike Scouty McScoutington /

i feel the fouled plug. i just changed the plug in my 79 motobecane. you would not believe how much more power i could feel once i did that. i have only had the bike for like 2 months so i dont know how old the plug was, but personaly i had put at least 500 miles on it. once it was changed out no problems at all. bjerg, what set up are you running? is your bike all stock?

Zen and moped repair.

Steve Murphy /

Here's some ideas...

First, you need to get away from the bike for a while. I know what it's like to have one piss you off, but you'll never get anywhere with it until you clear your head.

Next thing, remind yourself that the engine needs only four basic things to run: Air, fuel, compression and ignition. It can't mess with you and not run if it's got all four things, it's just a machine and you're its God.

Anyway, enough of the pep talk. From what you're saying, it really sounds like something's funky with your ignition.

I don't know jack about Mobys, but here's some ideas generic to points style ignitions:

Check it over with a fine tooth comb, make sure all the wiring and connections are clean and tight, and check your points with a meter (you'll have to disconnect them first). They need to be zero ohms when closed, anything other than that and your spark will be erratic. They can look good to the eye and still be bad.

Dirt and grime are bad anywhere in the ignition. It needs to be clean. This goes for the underside of the flywheel, too.

Ff your Moby has one of those CEV "run/stop" switches, check that. They're cheezy, and if the cover is one just a little crooked, they'll short and kill the engine, sometimes intermittently.

Oh, and I agree with Dan, get a new plug. That's a lot of miles, especially if the bike's not been running well.

I really hope that this helps, even if just for moral support. Good luck!

Re: Well, I'm totally fucked now. Help?

Andy Kochvar /

Ok. Just like the rest of the guys say...ignition- points AND wiring. I had a similiar problem like this as well, because the main terminal wasn't completley connected to one of the wires, and the main engine ground wasn't completely grounded to it's connector, just partially, so the spark was WEAK even with a new plug and would run very slow and flood/die/foul verrrrrry easily. check the wiring system 100% out.


Re: Well, I'm totally fucked now. Help?

a brand new tomos will eventually need work, you just have to stick with it, or in my opinion, find an easier moped to deal with

Re: Zen and moped repair.

Matthew Westberg /

Well, I'm going on vacation this week anyway, so I won't get back to it for a while anyway. ;)

I will go down to the dealer here and try a new plug, since it's no big loss to have a spare even with (apprently) good spark.

I'm pretty sure it's probably not the electricals though, I get good strong lights etc. as I pedal to start it, it just won't catch, start or actually run. and as I said, the spark does ignite regularly. Perhaps it's not strong enough?... I should check the colour of spark - white and blue are good and orange is bad, if I recall, right?

I know that testing the compression with your thumb is complete garbage (sorry fred), does anybody know a way to test it properly? I only really have a standard complement of tools available to me.


This wouldn't be such a problem I guess if I wasn't dependent on it as my main source of transportation to anywhere beyond a quick bike ride. When this thing dies, I'm trapped in a town without much to do at all. If I had the money I'd still get a Targa LX, possibly kitted, as my faster "distance bike" (although I have some mods I'd want to do, those things are kinda ugly stock!) but I'd keep the Moby. If it broke down, no big deal. Sadly two grand is WAAAAYYY out of reach for me right now.

I guess it's no fun to ride when you're always afraid. Fearfully listening to every little sound, every gasp, every plink and wheeze waiting for the engine to give out... again.

Re: Zen and moped repair.

Steve Murphy /

Have fun on vacation!

10-4 on the spark plug colors. In some light, it's hard to tell the difference. On the bike I was talking about where the points looked good but were bad, I'd usually get the plug to spark when it was out of the engine, but it just wouldn't fire when I put it back in. I wasted a lot of time trying to figure it out, mainly 'cuz I kept trying to overthink things instead of just getting in and testing parts.

Compression guages are super easy to use, just screw the hose into the spark plug hole, crank the engine over a few times and read the dial. They're not very expensive (Advance Auto has one for about $25) and worth the money, since they tell alot about the health of any engine, whether it's a cycle, car, lawn mower, etc.

Re: Zen and moped repair.

Tab Patterson /

I'm not a motobecane expert...but...I do know that they had a problem with some kind of cam that slipped inside the magneto which made the timing go crazy. It was a design flaw...and they had a service bulletin on it. That's all I know. You might want to talk to mopedlar...or mopedwarehouse about it.

Re: Zen and moped repair.

Matthew Westberg /

Yeah, that's the timing cam I'm always resetting. It wasn't the problem this time though.

Back from vacation, time to see what I can do before it gets too cold to ride...

Re: Zen and moped repair.

David Williams /

I had a sort of similar problem a while back. My spark looked great, but it wasn't running well. Once i bought a GOOD spark plug gap from the auto store, i tried 5 different gaps, and found that .034" worked the best. Now my ped' starts on the first kick every time.

Re: Zen and moped repair.

my tomos was tempermental for a while. would run good then die and then start after 10 minutes. he prob was sticky points. I replaced with puch points and now it runs Mint.

Re: Well, I'm totally fucked now. Help?

Mopeds are just like cars... I have a Puch Newport 2 that was well maintained throughout its life and is at 8000 miles and running as strong and reliably as day one. Many of the older peds may not have been well maintained, or even run without oil at certain times.

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