bearings - how tight?? etc yak yak yak

Got my carb bowl gasket the other day, so I took my Puch Newport for it's first 2 rides tonight - totaled about 8 miles (brrr - a bit nippy in the cool damp weather for shorts and a t-shirt). Now that I know she's fully committed to this relationship, I'm gonna take good care of her. I have some basic questions that I'm hoping you connaisseurs can help me with:

- I start off at the bottom of a pretty good hill, and I can't get going without walking it along, or pedaling at least 20-30 feet. Once it gets momentum on other hills, it goes over them no prob. I hit 30+ (I think the speedometer maxes out at 30 if I remember correctly) on my ride without any difficulty - is all this normal? Should I expect not to be able to go from a stop up a steep grade? Was my 1 lb. of pasta for dinner too much?

- Does the speedometer gauge normally have a light? You're right, I guess I could look for any wiring to it...

- After my ride, I put a new tire in the front (dryrot) & just replaced (last week) the flat piece of rubber that 20 years ago must have been an inner tube. As you all advised me, I took the bearings out, and repacked them - in the front, at least. I noticed the hole through the hub that the outer race nut (yeah, that's what I'll call it!) contacts was machined (I thought) rather sharply since it had a fine edge on it. I don't remember any pitting or scoring on the race (please don't make me take that out again lol). I'm wondering how tightly I should put the outer race nut before I tighten the jam nut against it. If I tighten it so that there is no play at all in the axle, it feels like a slight drag against that sharp edge (I don't think the drag is against the bearings themselves. If I back it off slightly, it spins very freely with no friction, but there is a very slight play in the axle, if I wiggle it back and forth with force. What should I do?

- The flat washer/cover that goes on top of the bearing cup - does that need to be clicked into place, or will the pressure take care of that when I put the axle nuts on? If it does need to be seated, how should I do this gracefully (let me just put this sledge down until I hear...)

- I sanded the glazed brake shoes and drum to bring it back to life. Guess I got some new grease to clean outta the drum by now...How important is it to grease the pivot point for the shoes? Can I use something I might have? Like wheel bearing grease, white lithium, silicone spray, pb blaster, marine grease...? If not, what exactly do I need to use? My old (full) can of brake cleaner spray doesn't seem to want to come out of it's happy can home, so I used carb/choke spray on inside of hub. Didn't want to use on brake shoes since I don't know if it'll damage them? What other solvent can I use - I have a lot of cans: denatured alcohol, brush cleaner, kerosene, xylol, etc...

- I think the speedometer bearing on the axle was a little gritty. Should I pull that apart (didn't look closely yet - not sure if I need to bend tabs or something) to clean it and grease it up? Or, should I just spray something in there and grease it up afterwards?

- My headlight wasn't working, so I took apart the assembly. I noticed there was no voltage going to it and bulb filament had continuity, so I played around with the switch and it lights sometimes in one position. I sprayed some electrical contact cleaner in there, but haven't tried it again yet - is it serviceable at all? Also the tail light was out when I started this mess a couple of weeks ago, and I noticed the filament was bad in the old bulb - I happened to have a compatible(?) bulb - think it's the same as a 1156. It looked pretty clean in there, but the light was out when I went for my second ride - I tapped the lens (being held on by one bolt until I find where I dropped the #)(*$#@ other one) and the light came on. I think my bulb is 12v and the original might be 6v - does this matter? Is there a ground or something inside the tail liight assembly?

- The brake light doesn't seem to work - is this a separate bulb? What type? Thought the thing might not run with a bad bulb, but maybe it's continuous or only tail light matters? How does the bulb get energized? Is it in the levers or what?

- When I have it up on the stand (let it run for about an hour today), the back tire can end up spinning - maybe even pretty fast. I got distracted by the tv a couple of weeks ago when I took the carb apart, and lost track of how many turns that adjuster screw was at - I think I reinstalled it at about 1-3/4 turns. Should I do something to fix this? Is it more important to idle/not stall when cold, or have correct idle when hot?

- Anything I should know before I do the same for the rear wheel? Are the bearings loose back there too?

- Am I the only one with a plastic briggs&stratton tank bungeed to the rat trap? Do I really look that ridiculous?? Bet no one will notice how I connected the 1/4" line to the tank and the 3/16 line to the carb. Too bad I bought the 1/4" inline filter - who knew it'll eventually all have to be only 3/16??

Sorry I'm so wordy, but look on the bright side - maybe you'll never have to hear from me again, except to tell you about the nice rides I take past the gas station. Now I know why everyone likes to ride these things - I had some fun tonight! My friend wants to pick one up now that he's heard about all my travails...Thanks a lot for any help you can give me!!!

Re: bearings - how tight?? etc yak yak yak

Jason Luther /

thats a mouthfull. you should tighten the bearing just past the point of no wiggle, any tension will just grind them up. even a tiny bit of wiggle is okay. just check them periodically to make sure nothing loosend up. bearing grease should be fine for the pivot, just a little goes a long way. and i wouldnt even clean the pads, just sand them lightly

- hills are a pain for everyone, sounds like you are doing fine.

- the speedo gear comes apart easy and just repack it with grease

-the cover comes off the switch and you can clean the contacts, thats probably your problem

-the tail (6v 5w) and brake (6v 10w) need to have the correct bulb, or it will draw too much power and/or burn out real quick. the brake light is switch at the brake levers, there are two wires clipped onto a switch (about the size of a pen cap screwed into the brake assembly) and the tail housing is grounded to the frame with the green wire inside of it. that gound is actually just for the tail light, the brake lights ground is actually what is switched at the handlebars.

-it will always idle fster when cold, get the motor good and hot (ride for a couple miles) and then set the idle, your rear tire should only turn a little at idle on the stand. though you shouldnt let it run on the stand for more than 2 minutes since moving air is required to cool the engine, and it will overheat.

-whats wrong with the tank? if it has a hole jb weld will fix it right up. if its rusty muriatic acid will fix that too. search for it.

good luck and welcome to the wonderful world of puch

Re: bearings - how tight?? etc yak yak yak

Great - thanks for all the info, Jason! At least now I know what I need to do. The tank isn't THAT bad, I just didn't feel like dealing with the light rust and gunk ending up in the carb I just had cleaned (didn't have inline filter either). And I had that nice clean plastic tank that I had put on my snowblower before the engine blew, just sitting there waiting for me. I'll get to it, when I run out of other things to do. I didn't realize the Puch shouldn't be left idling - I was figuring I'd let it run for a while to get the kinks out. Good thing it was a cool night, and the rear tire was probably acting like a fan lol.

Guess I'd better get to work! Thanks again!

Re: bearings - how tight?? etc yak yak yak

ditto on the hills .. back off and get a running start.

the spedo should have a little 2 or 3 watt bulb stuck up into the bottom. replacements may be hard to find. Radio Shack has a good selection of tiny bulbs and sockets.

I've opened up speedo gears to make sure they're clean. But a good soak in solvent, agitation and blow it out with compressed air a couple times should assure there's no sandy dirt in it. Regrease.

When i find a nut or washer with a sharp edge, i'm not shy about filing it down and smoothing it out.

There's no good reason for a sharp edge that obstructs the "feel" you need when you snug everything down, especially around critical things like wheel bearings.

brake pivot points never seem to have ANY lube on them when I disassemble brakes, but anything that reduces friction and allows accurate brake cable adjustment and free movement is an advantage, and a touch of grease seems like a good idea.

Re: bearings - how tight?? etc yak yak yak

Thanks, Joe - guess I'll go bulb-hunting today! I didn't hear the grittiness when I cleaned the outside of the speedo bearing - then I noticed the grease fitting, pumped it up and all should be well. Except for the new tire that doesn't seem to fit, but I guess that's another post...

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