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Pipe Dreams: the epilogue

August 5, 2007

I got back from Everett in enough time to swing by Soundspeed Scooters. I wanted to ask Joe’s opinion of the PX’s spark plug. “Do you have the plug with you?” he asked. “It’s in the engine,” I replied. “I’ll go get it.” Luckily, I brought tools.

You’ll recall from a previous post that the spark plug had not developed any kind of patina; your goal is a color not unlike powdered Nesquick. The ride to Everett and back had added some brown, though the patina had not spread to the entire electrode and insulator surface. “This looks fine,” said Joe, though he also said I could try a jet one size lower if I felt like it.

For now, I think we’ll stick with the 112 jet. I decide to head for Alki to read the early Sunday paper and watch the sun set. The PX now works with greater urgency, and everyone on the ride to Everett smiled broadly and exclaimed, “Orin, it sounds great!

I park in front of a group of motorcycles in front of the Alki Tully’s. My eye is caught by the Vespa nameplate on the cowl, or more importantly, the little emblem next to it that says “Catalyzed.”

It isn’t any more, though I wouldn’t be surprised if the catalytic material in the old pipe had been rendered ineffective by whatever corrosion was taking place. Motorcycles don’t have to maintain emissions compliance for 50,000 miles like cars do. Still, it’s not nice to tell fibs, so I start to think of how to get the emblem off. A bit of 3M adhesive remover would probably do the trick, I think, but I still pick at it with my fingernail.

It comes right off! There’s a white outline from the wax I applied a few day ago; I rub it off with my finger and discover there’s no adhesive residue left. Turns out the Catalyzed emblem is a static-cling gummi decal. I apply it to my helmet under the DOT label.

The paper read, the sun set, I head for home. As I ride through a surprisingly dense cloud of beach bonfire smoke, I think of all the all the leaf blowers I see people using and decide I have nothing to feel guilty about by not being “Catalyzed”. Favicon

  1. August 5, 2007 9:48 am

    I think I need to fire up the scoot and go pick up the Sunday paper, and some Nesquick! I might even find a spot on the waterfront to read the paper.

    Have fun,

  2. August 5, 2007 12:17 pm

    Oh, one other thing: Joe sez it’s okay to remove a spark plug when the engine’s hot, but wait for the plug to cool off before reinstalling it. I’m gonna guess it’s because the hot plug has expanded, and the threaded hole has shrunk due to expansion of the cylinder head around it, meaning a greater chance of cross-threading or stripping the threads on the cylinder head, meaning a compromised seal and loss of power.

    When installing a new spark plug, you should be able to spin it on almost all the way with your fingers, the wrench needed only to tighten it down.

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