What should I do?

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Msm1771
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What should I do?

Post by Msm1771 »

Hello everyone,



I hope all of you are doing well! I have been riding my 09' Buddy St Tropez now going on 2.5 years. I purchased the bike with about 850 miles on it for 2000$. Two years later, I have 9200 miles on it. I drive it A LOT! Anyway, I have been having issues with the electric starter. When I try to start the bike, I put the key in the ignition and turn it.

All of the gauges,turn signals and the horn work fine. Over time, I have noticed that I have to pull the brakes harder and harder to get the electric starter to engage; Now, the starter will not engage at all and I am forced to kick start the bike every time.

I brought the bike to the local Vespa/Genuine dealer and they said the bike needs a new starter, new brakes soon ( I am still on original brakes) and that these bikes usually don't last too much longer than 10k miles. The dealer told me that if I plan to use a bike daily and have it for life, that I should buy a Vespa and if not from them, then from elsewhere.

I would like to know some of your thoughts here. Would you recommend keeping my bike, or looking at a lightly used Vespa? I don't mind coughing up the extra cash as it is something that I use everyday and I could really use a 250+cc moped. The question is would it be worth it, or will my Buddy be able to hold up over time without me dumping a small fortune into it?


I am extremely grateful for any and all responses. This lovely forum has helped me tremendously.

THANK YOU!

Matthew
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Post by scootERIK »

Sounds like they are a crappy dealer who is willing to lie to get you to buy a Vespa. Buddies are known to easily go 30,000+ miles without much work. From what I have seen Buddies are as reliable as Vespas, if not more.


I would take it to a different dealer to see what they say.


My Buddy 125 died at ~44,500 miles. I did a small write up with maintenance and repairs -- topic29089.html
MYSCTR
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I would suggest you get a second opinion.

Post by MYSCTR »

We had two Buddy 150 scooters that each went over 18,000 miles, ridden a total of ten Buddy scooters to date (the last three are all 2014 170i's) and never replaced brakes or a starter not to mention most anything else and we are close to 60,000 total Buddy miles.

We have replaced 1 stator, had 1 aftermarket belt blow up yet other than basic service they have all been great scoots (excluding the engine mods I did on 1 scoot a few years ago).

We don't ride our brakes, so I would imagine if someone was to ride their brakes, they would wear out much quicker. They are tough little machines.

Look around this forum, there is a whole club of riders putting more than 40,000 miles on their daily use scoots. My first full year riding I rode 9,200 miles, my wife rides about half of that annually.

I would suggest you get a second opinion.
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az_slynch
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Re: What should I do?

Post by az_slynch »

Msm1771 wrote:All of the gauges,turn signals and the horn work fine. Over time, I have noticed that I have to pull the brakes harder and harder to get the electric starter to engage; Now, the starter will not engage at all and I am forced to kick start the bike every time.
Matthew, you may have provided a big clue in your comments. the brake must be on for the starter to engage. The starter circuit knows that the brake is engaged via an electric signal, namely the lighting of the brake light. when you pull the brake lever, a switch behind the lever completes the power circuit for the brake light, causing it to illuminate. One quick way to check this circuit is to stand next to the bike, switch on the battery power, look back towards the brake light and pull either brake lever slightly. It should take a small amount of lever movement before the brake light comes on. If you really have to squeeze the brake for the light to come on, you may have a failing switch.

Do you pull both brakes when starting, or just one of them? If you're only pulling one brake lever to start, try puling the other one and starting. That would help you determine which switch is bad.
At what point does a hobby become an addiction? I'm uncertain, but after the twelfth scooter, it sorta feels like the latter...

Seriously...I've lost count...

Seven mopeds ...that's still manageable...
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Syd
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Re: What should I do?

Post by Syd »

az_slynch wrote:
Msm1771 wrote:All of the gauges,turn signals and the horn work fine. Over time, I have noticed that I have to pull the brakes harder and harder to get the electric starter to engage; Now, the starter will not engage at all and I am forced to kick start the bike every time.
Matthew, you may have provided a big clue in your comments. the brake must be on for the starter to engage. The starter circuit knows that the brake is engaged via an electric signal, namely the lighting of the brake light. when you pull the brake lever, a switch behind the lever completes the power circuit for the brake light, causing it to illuminate. One quick way to check this circuit is to stand next to the bike, switch on the battery power, look back towards the brake light and pull either brake lever slightly. It should take a small amount of lever movement before the brake light comes on. If you really have to squeeze the brake for the light to come on, you may have a failing switch.

Do you pull both brakes when starting, or just one of them? If you're only pulling one brake lever to start, try puling the other one and starting. That would help you determine which switch is bad.
Listen to this, not that piece-of-crap dealer you dealt with. az_slynch knows what he's talking about. That piece-of-crap dealer is full of it. :)
The majority is always sane - Nessus
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Dooglas
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Post by Dooglas »

I agree. You are getting lousy advice. No reason a well maintained Buddy shouldn't give you many additional miles of service. Now, on the other hand, I do agree that the 250/300 GTS Vespa is a great scooter and a lot of fun. If you are thinking about stepping up, it should definitely be on your list.
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Post by paracer »

For what it's worth... I don't own a scooter yet, but a brake light switch would have been my first guess. Your dealer isn't being very friendly to you. Those switches are electromechanical in nature, and they activate every single time you pull the brake lever. They will fail at some point whether it's on a Genuine, a Vespa, or a Chinese scooter.

Do your brake lights work when you pull the brake lever? I would check both levers. You may also be able to check the starter by using a jumper wire. I am not familiar enough to suggest where the terminals would be, or if it is even accessible. This 'should' be an easy fix.
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Post by GregsBuddy »

I presently own a Vespa GTS 250ie and a Buddy 170i. My impression is that they are on about the same quality level. It's a bit of the apple/orange comparison but I love them both for different reasons.
There's no reason either scoot should have major issues, if properly maintained, for MANY miles.
Adjust and/or replace the brake switch and you'll get many more miles on your Buddy, if you maintain it.
Msm1771
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Re: What should I do?

Post by Msm1771 »

Syd wrote:
az_slynch wrote:
Msm1771 wrote:All of the gauges,turn signals and the horn work fine. Over time, I have noticed that I have to pull the brakes harder and harder to get the electric starter to engage; Now, the starter will not engage at all and I am forced to kick start the bike every time.
Matthew, you may have provided a big clue in your comments. the brake must be on for the starter to engage. The starter circuit knows that the brake is engaged via an electric signal, namely the lighting of the brake light. when you pull the brake lever, a switch behind the lever completes the power circuit for the brake light, causing it to illuminate. One quick way to check this circuit is to stand next to the bike, switch on the battery power, look back towards the brake light and pull either brake lever slightly. It should take a small amount of lever movement before the brake light comes on. If you really have to squeeze the brake for the light to come on, you may have a failing switch.

Do you pull both brakes when starting, or just one of them? If you're only pulling one brake lever to start, try puling the other one and starting. That would help you determine which switch is bad.
Listen to this, not that piece-of-crap dealer you dealt with. az_slynch knows what he's talking about. That piece-of-crap dealer is full of it. :)




Thank you for the response! I have switched to using both brake levers in order to try and engage the started a while ago. I have to apply a large amount of pressure to maybe get the starter to turn over; however, it takes minimal amount of brake pressure in order to enable the brake lights to turn on. Last time I brought the bike to Vespa they told me that I just need a new starter, but I am not really sure if I believe them and I don't really have the knowledge to diagnose my bike properly. I have heard others say that it could just be that the battery is dying. I have noticed that it is getting a little bit more difficult to use my horn.I have to press the horn button down a little bit harder than I ever have before.
paracer
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Post by paracer »

Now I kinda' wonder if it is an issue with the wiring in the handlebar area. I'm sure there are probably common grounds between the brake switches and the horn.

Just a question... Do the switch assemblies like to go wonky on these bikes?
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az_slynch
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Re: What should I do?

Post by az_slynch »

Msm1771 wrote:Thank you for the response! I have switched to using both brake levers in order to try and engage the started a while ago. I have to apply a large amount of pressure to maybe get the starter to turn over; however, it takes minimal amount of brake pressure in order to enable the brake lights to turn on. Last time I brought the bike to Vespa they told me that I just need a new starter, but I am not really sure if I believe them and I don't really have the knowledge to diagnose my bike properly. I have heard others say that it could just be that the battery is dying. I have noticed that it is getting a little bit more difficult to use my horn.I have to press the horn button down a little bit harder than I ever have before.
Matthew, I see that you're located in Miami. Is the bike parked outside? How close are you to the coast? It's possible that you've got a corrosion problem on a connector somewhere from windborne seaspray.

If the brake light lights easily, there is a starting relay that receives power from the brake light circuit. It could have a loose connection or have corroded pins. I'd have to do a bit more research to find where on the bike it is located, but per the wiring diagram, it has a two red wires, a light blue wire and a green/white wire going to it. I would expect it to be located closer to the motor, since the red wires are likely direct battery power to the starter.

Important question: When you try to start it and it doesn't start, does the bike make a clicking sound?

EDIT: Found a video of how to find/replace the starter relay. This may help.
Last edited by az_slynch on Sat Jan 23, 2016 12:57 am, edited 4 times in total.
At what point does a hobby become an addiction? I'm uncertain, but after the twelfth scooter, it sorta feels like the latter...

Seriously...I've lost count...

Seven mopeds ...that's still manageable...
Msm1771
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Location: Miami

Post by Msm1771 »

paracer wrote:Now I kinda' wonder if it is an issue with the wiring in the handlebar area. I'm sure there are probably common grounds between the brake switches and the horn.

Just a question... Do the switch assemblies like to go wonky on these bikes?

I really have no idea. I just tried starting it again pressing as hard as i could on the brakes the starter still would not engage. The brake lights would turn on after pressing the brakes in about 1.2 an inch
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Post by BuddyRaton »

PM sent regarding local dealers and repair shops
"Things fall apart - it's scientific" - David Byrne
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'06 Cream Buddy 125, 11 Blur 220, 13 BMW C 650 GT, 68 Vespa SS180, 64 Vespa GS MK II, 65 Lambretta TV 175, 67 Vespa GT, 64 Vespa 150 VBB 64 Vespa GL
Msm1771
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Re: What should I do?

Post by Msm1771 »

az_slynch wrote:
Msm1771 wrote:Thank you for the response! I have switched to using both brake levers in order to try and engage the started a while ago. I have to apply a large amount of pressure to maybe get the starter to turn over; however, it takes minimal amount of brake pressure in order to enable the brake lights to turn on. Last time I brought the bike to Vespa they told me that I just need a new starter, but I am not really sure if I believe them and I don't really have the knowledge to diagnose my bike properly. I have heard others say that it could just be that the battery is dying. I have noticed that it is getting a little bit more difficult to use my horn.I have to press the horn button down a little bit harder than I ever have before.
Matthew, I see that you're located in Miami. Is the bike parked outside? How close are you to the coast? It's possible that you've got a corrosion problem on a connector somewhere from windborne seaspray.

If the brake light lights easily, there is a starting relay that receives power from the brake light circuit. It could have a loose connection or have corroded pins. I'd have to do a bit more research to find where on the bike it is located, but per the wiring diagram, it has a two red wires, a light blue wire and a green/white wire going to it. I would expect it to be located closer to the motor, since the red wires are likely direct battery power to the starter.

Important question: When you try to start it and it doesn't start, does the bike make a clicking sound?

EDIT: Found a video of how to find/replace the starter relay. This may help.



Hello,

I live right on the bay in Miami and for the most part I am surronded by water. The man at Vespa told me last time that the main reasons that the vespas are a better choice is because the erosion from the salt and air from being by the ocean all the time. I am not sure if there is any truth to this,but I could see how it makes sense. As for where I store my bike: I keep it in a parking garage. The garage has a roof on it but the sides of the garage are wide open. When I try to start the bike, 75% of the time nothing happens at al. Sometimes though the starter will work pretty well for virtually NO reason! This is really strange to me and I should have mentioned that. The last couple of days I have tried to start the bike using the starter and would have to pull VERY hard on the brake lever to often get no response. Sometimes when the starter tries to turn over it is a really really weak sound. Kind of like a dead battery in a car. I also noticed that when I am trying to start the bike electrically, the fuel gauge wont even go up until I stop trying.
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I DO HAVE ONE MORE UNRELATED ISSUE

Post by Msm1771 »

Hey everyone,


I didn't want to make a separate thread for this issue as I did not think that it would be entirely necessary. I have noticed that from a dead stop until the point to accelerating to about 5mph that there is a slight rumbling feeling that I get. It seems to go away as I go faster but it has been of some concern. The belts and rollers were recently replaced so I am not sure what the problem is.
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Post by CROSSBOLT »

Msm, one thing at a time! I assume your starting problem is NOT resolved. Your brake lever switches turn on the brake light and allow the starter to turn when start button is pushed. You knew that! Your starter should turn if the brake light comes on regardless of how hard you squeeze the levers. You never said if you tried a different lever or both levers that I can recall. Maybe if you used the right lever while pushing the starter button, squeezing harder made you push the starter button harder. Your problem may be in a corroded starter switch. You also may have corroded terminals in the starter circuit. Electrical problems usually baffle dealers and therefore cost you a ton of money. Fix it yourself!

Karl
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az_slynch
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Re: I DO HAVE ONE MORE UNRELATED ISSUE

Post by az_slynch »

Msm1771 wrote:Hey everyone,


I didn't want to make a separate thread for this issue as I did not think that it would be entirely necessary. I have noticed that from a dead stop until the point to accelerating to about 5mph that there is a slight rumbling feeling that I get. It seems to go away as I go faster but it has been of some concern. The belts and rollers were recently replaced so I am not sure what the problem is.
You may need to bed the clutch in. Start the bike and allow it to idle for about ten seconds. Pull in both brakes firmly and hold them. roll open the throttle for about five seconds, then close it. Let the engine idle for about fifteen seconds, then shut it off. Allow everything to cool for fifteen minutes. Go test ride and see if the clutch is behaving better.
At what point does a hobby become an addiction? I'm uncertain, but after the twelfth scooter, it sorta feels like the latter...

Seriously...I've lost count...

Seven mopeds ...that's still manageable...
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az_slynch
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Re: What should I do?

Post by az_slynch »

Msm1771 wrote: The man at Vespa told me last time that the main reasons that the vespas are a better choice is because the erosion from the salt and air from being by the ocean all the time.
Matthew,

The man at the dealership should be named Big Chief Blow Big Heap Smokem Up Your Teepee. A Vespa will corrode in in places that your Buddy won't. The whole chassis is made of metal and every scrape and stone chip in the paint is a new opportunity for oxidation to turn your scooter into reddish powder. I have yet to see a plastic scooter skin rust away. UV radiation will break plastic down over time, true, but it's modular and the individual pieces can be replaced far more cheaply than a Vespa's one-piece metal chassis. The salesman is looking at selling you a boutique product in lieu of the service you need.
Msm1771 wrote:Sometimes when the starter tries to turn over it is a really really weak sound. Kind of like a dead battery in a car. I also noticed that when I am trying to start the bike electrically, the fuel gauge wont even go up until I stop trying.
Find an honest mechanic. Have then check the battery's health and replace the starter relay if needed.
At what point does a hobby become an addiction? I'm uncertain, but after the twelfth scooter, it sorta feels like the latter...

Seriously...I've lost count...

Seven mopeds ...that's still manageable...
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Syd
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Post by Syd »

Remember what I said about listening to az_slynch?

Oh, one other thing. Have you noticed all those rusted out cars and trucks you see around town? Those cars and trucks are made out of metal, just like the Vespa the full-of-crap dealer's trying to sell you.
The majority is always sane - Nessus
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Post by george54 »

Do cars rust out that quickly in Tempe?
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az_slynch
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Post by az_slynch »

george54 wrote:Do cars rust out that quickly in Tempe?
No, but they do in Miami where the OP resides.

I may live in Tucson now, but I grew up back East and am familiar with seaspray , road salt and their detrimental effects on vehicle bodywork and frames. I believe Syd has similar experience.
At what point does a hobby become an addiction? I'm uncertain, but after the twelfth scooter, it sorta feels like the latter...

Seriously...I've lost count...

Seven mopeds ...that's still manageable...
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BuddyRaton
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Post by BuddyRaton »

Rust is a problem here because of the humidity, not "salt air" If you park right next to the beach the mist containing sea water will do it. Water that condenses out of the air does not have salt.

The problem is that with the humidity the temp hits the dew point and anything outside is soaking wet every morning. So it's not "salt air"...it's water that is the problem
"Things fall apart - it's scientific" - David Byrne
www.teamscootertrash.com

'06 Cream Buddy 125, 11 Blur 220, 13 BMW C 650 GT, 68 Vespa SS180, 64 Vespa GS MK II, 65 Lambretta TV 175, 67 Vespa GT, 64 Vespa 150 VBB 64 Vespa GL
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Syd
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Post by Syd »

george54 wrote:Do cars rust out that quickly in Tempe?
Cars never rust in Tempe. The interiors and tires may dry-rot, but rust is not a problem here.
The majority is always sane - Nessus
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Post by 23 »

BuddyRaton wrote:Rust is a problem here because of the humidity, not "salt air" If you park right next to the beach the mist containing sea water will do it. Water that condenses out of the air does not have salt.

The problem is that with the humidity the temp hits the dew point and anything outside is soaking wet every morning. So it's not "salt air"...it's water that is the problem
Sorry that is not true at all. We have a home on Anna Maria Island in Florida, right on the ocean, all of our bikes (peddle bikes) are kept in garage/carport, it is under our home, has garage doors and the walls go half way down, but are open 4 feet at the bottom. In 6 months almost all of the bolts, sprockets, chain, crank, have rust on them. They have NEVER been in the rain once, its only due to the salt air.

Back home in Seattle, nothing has rust on it at all, cars, bikes, scooters, etc... and they are rained on constantly and wet constantly. But our rain here is fresh water, therefore we do not have that problem.
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Post by CROSSBOLT »

I forgot to mention that we had a Buddy 150 that when traded in had nearly 10000 miles on it. It was actually sold in Nashville, TN to an undisclosed country music musician and now has over 18000 miles on it. You can tell that pin-head dealer, "So there!"

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Post by BuddyRaton »

23 wrote:
BuddyRaton wrote:The problem is that with the humidity the temp hits the dew point and anything outside is soaking wet every morning. So it's not "salt air"...it's water that is the problem
Sorry that is not true at all. We have a home on Anna Maria Island in Florida, right on the ocean, all of our bikes (peddle bikes) are kept in garage/carport, it is under our home, has garage doors and the walls go half way down, but are open 4 feet at the bottom. In 6 months almost all of the bolts, sprockets, chain, crank, have rust on them. They have NEVER been in the rain once, its only due to the salt air.

Back home in Seattle, nothing has rust on it at all, cars, bikes, scooters, etc... and they are rained on constantly and wet constantly. But our rain here is fresh water, therefore we do not have that problem.
Basic meteorology, unless cats and dogs are falling from the sky rain is always fresh water, so is the condensated water called dew...formed once the temperature hits the dew point.
"Things fall apart - it's scientific" - David Byrne
www.teamscootertrash.com

'06 Cream Buddy 125, 11 Blur 220, 13 BMW C 650 GT, 68 Vespa SS180, 64 Vespa GS MK II, 65 Lambretta TV 175, 67 Vespa GT, 64 Vespa 150 VBB 64 Vespa GL
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