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You may recall…

March 10, 2018
Graphite exhaust union gasket

The carbon fiber exhaust union gasket fitted to early GTS 250s failed early and often (Steve Williams photo)

Props to Steve Williams. The author of Scooter in the Sticks has a Vespa GTS 250i.e., and he isn’t afraid to wrench on it. But in this case, you wouldn’t need to.

In a recent post he gives a step-by-step account of how to replace the exhaust union gasket, which seals the connection between the muffler and the header pipe.

Early GTS 250s suffered from a host of premature component failures, but the exhaust union gasket was the most serious, prompting the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to issue a recall.

As Mr. Williams notes, failure increases exhaust noise. Failure also allows heat to escape; the pipe and muffler are located next to the rear brake hydraulic line, which the escaping exhaust heat caused to melt. Melty brake line = no rear brake. A whole lotta not good. The graphite item was replaced with a metal one on later GTSs and other Piaggio Group scooters using the 250cc engine.

When NHTSA issues a recall, they mail a letter to the most recent registered owner of an affected vehicle. As you might guess, scooters are far more likely to get passed around via garage sales or Craigslist without the usual formalities of a title transfer. Then there are the ones with less than first-service miles that have been sitting under blue tarps for the better part of a decade.

The upside of a NHTSA-mandated recall is the cost: for you, nada, gratis, FREE! The manufacturer picks up the tab.

All you need to do is give the Vehicle Identification Number (the 17-character string stamped into that plate riveted to the legshield, or found on your registration or title documents) to any Vespa-Piaggio dealer. They can look it up, and if your bike is affected, make an appointment for you to get the work done. Free. Did I mention that?

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