It all started about two weeks ago. Well, at least as far as I could tell. By the time I noticed that my Vespa's engine was in a bad shape, the Vespa was struggling to get to 40 mph (that's about 60 km/h) and couldn't even do any more than that even if I was going downhill with the wind behind me.
OK, I'll personally take some of the blame for the Vespa's lack of speed. The extra stone or two that I put on at the end of Ramadhan could have been a contributing factor but seriously, I don't think it would have shaved 15 mph off the PX125's listed top speed. So, the good old Haynes manual was consulted and I went through the list of usual suspects. The carb was as cleaned as a whistle and so was the jet. Next up was the spark plug. Although it looked normal enough on initial inspection, it did have a small amount of soot on it. Having a spare plug handy, I had that replaced.
Running out of ideas and skills, I re-started the Vespa but it still sounded pretty bad - the same awful dry, chainsaw-type sound that just wasn't music to these ears. I gave Carl at Modern and Classic Scooters a call and went through the symptoms. The good thing was it wasn't anything as serious as say, a worn cruciform or a destroyed clutch but we still couldn't figure out what the problem was, at least not over the phone.
So, I made my way over to Inchicore and after a short lecture reminding me to get my Vespa serviced more regularly, Robbie and Carl worked away on my Vespa. After looking into the same places I looked at, Carl casually mentioned that it could be the exhaust.
A quick look at the exhaust and it was obvious that the exhaust was the cause of my woes. The exhaust was almost completely blocked up by carbon and soot deposits. Robbie worked away on unblocking the exhaust and after a few minutes the Vespa was re-started. Like an asthmatic boy that's just found his inhaler, the Vespa took in a huge deep breath and puffed out a good amount soot. Although I had limited mechanical knowledge, at that moment, I had a good feeling that my old Green Vespa was back to its normal self. After a quick spin around the garage, I was proven right.
All was back to normal in Chip's own Vespa universe.