I Heart Stella.

stella 'sploded

this blog’s a bit more technical than most… so you don’t have to read it if you don’t want to.

a little background… as far as i can tell, this is what happened:i kitted my stella at 1100 miles. pinasco, 26/26 (T5) carb, sito . this corresponded with the start of a west coast adventure. i ran into various problems along the way (exhaust pipe kept falling off, headlight lens kept falling off, got an airleak, etc)

i ran the kit for about 5500 miles. it’s been a good couple of months. nearly all of those miles were WFO highway riding. jetting wandered back and forth between a little lean and a little rich several times over the course of the trip, but it was never horrible.

i had the head off after the airleak, and the cylinder looked great. so no problems there.

then a couple of weeks ago i was trying to make it from los angeles to san francisco one night. it was kinda late and i was running low on oil. and i didn’t realize that i had no extra oil in the glovebox. poop. so i stopped at an auto parts store and bought the “premium” non-synthetic two stroke oil. i wasn’t too excited about that, but i wouldn’t be going anywhere without oil, so i decided it was an acceptable risk.

about a hundred miles later (pitch black outside by now) i think i soft seized. i didn’t realize it at the time, because i was pretty low on gas. so i just assumed it was out. i pulled over to the side and refilled my gas. of course the engine had a bit of time to cool off while i was messing with the gas, so it started right up… i’m still thinking i was just out of gas.

less than 5 miles down the road she hard seized. i pulled over to the side of the highway and let her cool down, but the kickstart wasn’t moving. so i walked her to the closest exit and parked her at a gas station… now i’m finally getting around to tearing things apart to assess the damage.

and the moment we’ve all been waiting for… i finally got my scooter from pismo beach to somewhere i could take it apart. pulled off the cylinder. here’s the damage:

a first look… there are a bunch of little bits of aluminum. :(

the piston itself looks trashed. chips out of it, the front surface is all pitted. hence the drops of aluminum in the cylinder. rings are hosed. etc.

the cylinder itself doesn’t look too bad. i think it might pull through. we’ll see how much needs to be honed to get it smooth again.

i know the big end bearing is trashed. the crank turns smoothly and there’s no play in it, but the con rod doesn’t move without a lot of force and some weird friction. everything else (aside from the piston) looks okay.

i’d like to get this rebuilt in the next week or two so i can ride back to utah. i need to be there end of august/start of september.

This article was posted by Justin Hileman on 14 August 2006, and is filed under big end bearing, california, crank, exploded and stella. If you have any comments, please contact me or leave a comment on this article.