The Puch is finished!

The old girl has had two Friday night pub runs and I had so much confidence I didn’t even take a tool kit with me on the second outing, so I think it’s fair to say the project is complete. Overall I’m pretty happy with the finished restoration including the colour. My mate says it looks quite German military transport I was going for 60’s Karman Ghia but I’ll take it as a compliment. I parked it out front of the pub last night and it really does attract attention mostly from cyclists including one rider who was so ensconced with it he forgot to take his foot out of his toeclip and fell over in front of all. Quite embarrasing for him but made me feel like the restoration was well worth it when she’s causing crashes.

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There is just no spark anymore honey

The bike is together, looking fantastic and essentially complete if I was donating it to a moped museum, but I’m not. I plan to ride this machine and it’s not cooperating. The issue right now is no spark, well there is a little spark sometimes but not often at all. I’ve trawled and found some useful tips but I’m still getting no joy so I’ve posted my woes on their forum and I’m waiting for a skilled mopeder to tell me where the problem lies. I suspect it won’t be good news and I’ll have to replace my ignition coil or stator. That could be costly.

Update: The people on forum were a great help. Looks like I needed to ground the wires I pruned in order to complete the circuit. I did that, cleaned the grounding points and other contacts and she kicked over first go.

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Futher info on 200watt output limits

I stumbled across a website for a mob called Rotary Bikes Australia, they deal in petrol and electric bikes/mopeds for the Australian market. These guys however seem to be getting away with delivering a 30cc engine producing 30kph while claiming to be under the 200watt output limit the authorities impose. The loophole they use is that authorities have not established a standard for testing the power of any auxiliary motor fitted to a bicycle, therefore they quote their output from the shaft. Essentially because they have a very low output rotational speed from their hub motors the power available for use is also very low and brings them in under the 200watt limit. Their technical paper with all their calculations is here

The Puch, at 49cc’s is still way over the threshold regardless of how you measure the output but the fact there is conjecture and no standardised method to measure power output is good grounds for arguing a point, especially with the fun-stoppers should you find yourself handcuffed and being beaten.

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Paint: The good, the bad and the ugly.

The good: Gloss Enamel Black, wow! A little light sanding on the headlight cover was all I did to prepare the surface and the results are very impressive. It looks like a brand new headlight. The results were so good I went to town on the centre stand and the underside of the saddle too.


The bad: The idea was to seal the colour of the Puch with a clear gloss but it really didn’t work the way I hoped. A light handed misting approach left the surface as though the gloss had stuck together into thousands of tiny little balls, it looked terrible. A heavy handed application would leave paint runs as expected. When I did seem to get the application right and the gloss dried it ended up reflecting light in a sort of pearl rainbow effect. I gave up. I’ll just wax the paint and hope it seals it well enough.

The ugly: Rust under chromed parts. Hard to address, I’ve just taken to them with steel wool or a wire brush then applied the good old silvo polish. This brings the remaining chrome up a treat but the rust will return first drop of water the Puch gets on it.

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Engine rebuilt, wiring pruned.

Finally the power plant is back together. I replaced the seals and gaskets, then set to work on the wiring from the generator. My goal is to remove as much of the faf as possible keeping the bike simple and with a bit of luck looking the part too. Since the moped falls into the power bicycle category all the excess electrical fat can be trimmed like the ugly tail light it once had, horn, speedo illumination, brake light switches and other assorted switches. The end result is three wires, two for the ignition coil and one for the headlight. A kill switch will be rigged up to short the ignition coil wire so I can stop the engine and that’s all. A small, discrete, red LED will be used for the rear light like bikes have.

Of course all this is theoretical right now, I can’t properly test it all until pretty much everything is fitted back on the moped. I’m pretty sure I have the wiring all under control but you just never know, I may have to pull it apart again to fix something I overlooked.

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White walling

I needed some new tyres but obtaining vintage white walls is hard to come by and expensive. I decided to try a vinyl spray paint which should be flexible enough to deal with bumps and the occasional flat tyre. I first used a degreaser to remove any silicon off the tyre and the a light sand paper just to rough up the side wall to help the paint adhere. Masking up the side wall on the tyre was tedious but at least spray painting it was quick and simple. I left it to dry and applied a few more coats before removing the masking and I must say it looked very good. However applying a little bit of pressure to the tyre the paint immediately cracked and flaked. I think the idea is still solid but perhaps the quality of the vinyl paint was poor – I used a 3M vinyl white satin pressure pack.

I then stumbled across white wall inserts, it’s a rubber mould of a side wall which inserts in between the bead and the rim of the wheel and is held in by tyre pressure. After all the faffing around I decided to give this a go. Here are the results, what do you think?

After doing all this I spoke to my local bike shop, the chap there told me that it’s pretty simple to make up your own rubber based flexible white paint. That’s probably the cheapest option next time around but these inserts are much simpler and look just as good.

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Clutch removal

Two seals reside on the crank shaft and to access them to replace the clutch needs to be pulled off the shaft. The workshop manual states a specialised puller tool needs to be used, surely a normal 2 pronged puller will do the trick? The answer is no, what it did was bow the clutch plate and pretty much ruin a perfectly good clutch. Now I need to come up with a solution for getting it off and source a replacement and perhaps flatten it again. I don’t like my odds.

Two weeks later and I came to the realisation that I had to buy a second hand clutch. All in all in a pretty easy experience, I posted a want-to-buy ad on and a few people responded. For around $35 AUD I got a second hand clutch in reasonable nick and a home made puller tool delivered. The old warped clutch popped off with hardly any effort with the puller, just goes to prove you should only ever use the right tool for the job.

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Spit and polish

A bit of elbow grease can go a long way to restoring a part to its former lustre, it can also show up rust and fatigue which may require more serious attention. The rims on the old Puch however just required the spit and polish technique to bring them up all shiny chromey new. It’s quite satisfying.

Before and After

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Engine rebuild

While the paint dries it’s time to take a closer look at that engine. Compared to a car the powerplant of the Puch is a joy to work on, so simple, so lightweight! The engine parts get a good clean with a liquid degreaser and an old paint brush to agitate the crud off and a toothbrush for the fiddly areas. If you have supple hands (and let’s face it, most who are reading my nerdy blog right now have higher chances of earning a callus from playing Space Invaders than they do from real physical labour) you’ll need some rubber gloves or be prepared for some seriously irritated hands like I experienced first time ignoring degreaser directions. Once the parts are rinsed and dried I then cleaned up any of the more stubborn gaskets and goop on the parts using some steel wool being careful of the alloy parts since they score and damage easily.

I did need to use a Dremel to polish a few parts which had some nasty staining from years of sitting idle with who knows what sitting in the sump but it came up fine. Assembly should be pretty straight forward, since this is a 2 stroke engine the fuel and oil is mixed and designed to lubricate the parts while in operation. I’ll use the 2 stroke oil neat to lubricate all the moving and friction parts, but before I tighten the final bolts I need to order and fit my gasket kit.

The US has been liberal enough to allow the import, use and sale of mopeds for quite some time, at least New York anyway. So it’s a welcome surprise to find US based websites selling all manner of Puch parts with international delivery. It’s also welcoming yet not so surprising that due to years of deregulated free market capitalism US currency value has taken a hit which makes ordering these parts quite a reasonable endeavour for us with the Aussie dollar. As an example, I need new brake, throttle and clutch cables. Of course I can’t walk into a store on the local high street and pick them up but I can fairly easily buy bike cable and cut it to length. The Puch has these old school captive drum type ends on the cables which are called knarps, lots of old bicycles used to have these. To buy a set of knarps and cables locally so that I could fashion them all up to fit the Puch was going to cost me in excess of $100 plus the time to construct, from the US it cost me $30 for a set of Puch Maxi cables ready to rock. This currency balance won’t last, but for now it’s good news for us.

Online Puch parts the ones I use

Treat Land my favorite site. The bloke claims it’s “the worlds greatest worst moped discount super disco”. He also offers advice on your love life for free. Fast efficient delivery is my experience. Not so good on the email response though.

Edit: The last order sent to me was the wrong sized item, Treat Land responded quickly and shipped the correct part to me free of charge telling me to keep the old item. Great service from these guys!

1977 Mopeds seems to have some good prices and products, not used them yet but he’s coming in a very close second due to his pricing and range.

The Moped Recyclers experience was a bit more like a country town workshop run by someone’s grandad. The website just gives an overview of what Kevin might have but if you email and ask him he has it all in a tin box down the back somewhere. Good prices and will post them dirt cheap snail mail to you. Parts do take an age to arrive and grandad may not get the order spot on but he’s genuine and really will take care of you for no cost if he’s screwed up the order.

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Paint job

Since I’m stripping all the original paint back the opportunity to change the colour was too tempting to resist. The colour needed to fit the era of the old girl so I wanted to lean away from the trend of late 70’s stong vibrant primary colours and use the 60’s softer pastels or understated shades and tones. I liked the idea of British Racing Green but the Puch is not British, it’s Austrian. The national racing livery for Austria and Germany was traditionally silver or grey, so that’s it, she will be painted in what most of you can imagine being an extremely boring grey.

First things first, all parts due for painting need to be masked where appropriate and a primer coat applied to protect the metal from rust and smooth out any minor imperfections in the body work. I used a couple of pressure pack cans of Primer/Filler to do the job, the cans are cheap to buy from auto stores at around $10. Light sanding with 300 grade sand paper smooths the surface ready for painting.

Font forks and rear swing arm primed and sanded

There is a ’66 VW Karmen Ghia which parks on the nearby high street with the paint job that I’m after. I stalked the owner, cornered him and interrogated him on the paint job. He didn’t know the paint code so I needed to bring a few swatches back with me and determined the colour code from that. Paint Mobile is able to make up any colour you want in a 312g pressure pack aerosol can, not cheap at $25 per can but it’s A grade stuff and you can have any type of paint and colour made up. One can was able to do 3 coats of the frame for me.

I know, most of you think the primer was a better colour than this grey, I’m also not 100% sure it was the best choice but I’ll wait for the finished product before casting judgement. I think it will come up alright in the end.

The paint is left to dry and harden for a week. Another very light sanding takes place and then a coat of clear gloss seals it. While I let the paint dry I’ll get onto the other tasks.

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