I Heart Stella.

today my gas gauge decided to work: ten things i hate about stella scooters

i love my scooter. i love the quirks, i love almost everything about it. but stellas do have a few problems, and mine is no exception. today (just as i was about to run out of gas) i realized that my gas gauge started working. it hasn’t worked consistently in about a year, so this was a surprise. in honor of my suddenly cooperative fuel gauge, i decided to mention some of the problems i’ve run into on my stella.

my headlight lens keeps falling off. serious. i think i’m on my fifth or sixth headlight lens. twice, i caught it before it shattered on the ground and glued it back on. this was a temporary fix at best. genuine replaced it several times under warranty, but my warranty is up now, so i’ll be putting on a piaggio headlight when this one loses its will to live.

the stella crank is pretty crap. mine grenaded at about 6800 miles, once i was well outside of warranty coverage. now i’ve got a nice solid mazzy crank in there, and hopefully it will last a couple years longer.

my petcock stopped working in degrees. first the breather tube broke off, which rendered the petcock almost useless. it no longer mattered whether the lever was set on “reserve”, “on” or “off”, the gas would keep flowing until it was empty. a while later the filter in the bottom of my gas tank broke off. i have no idea how either of these was able to break, since they’re in the bottom of the tank. nothing could possibly hit them… the replacement part from piaggio is mostly metal. hopefully it will fare better than its plastic counterpart. luckily i didn’t have the problem which some stellas had, where they would drain all their gas onto the floor of the garage if the petcock wasn’t turned off at night. so for me it was mostly an inconvenience.

the lack of a reserve lever was only an inconvenience until my fuel gauge stopped working. with neither reserve nor a fuel gauge, i ran out of gas more than my fair share… the fuel gauge problem is a weird one though. i’ve checked the connections to the gauge itself, i’ve even replaced the sender unit in the gas tank. i know both ends of the wires are securely fastened. but for some reason it still doesn’t work. except for a few odd days like today. still haven’t figured that one out.

this one is minor, but the mirrors are no good. they are placed just wide enough for me to get a nice view of my shoulders. i replaced the stock mirrors with a legshield mirror, and now i can actually see things behind me!

stellas have some strange electrical demons. i think i’ve got to classify the fuel gauge quirks under this category. other issues include the switching module catching fire last summer, some odd fuse trouble, a handful of wires in the headset that decided to become a fuse, an intermittent short that randomly blows light bulbs, a horn switch that’s failing and randomly honks, an odd electrical burning smell, a tail light lens that’s kinda melted because it had a 10 watt bulb in it instead of 5…

my shift cables melted once, but that was my own fault. my exhaust pipe didn’t like to stay on, and one day i didn’t notice that it had fallen off until i tried to shift…

the little plastic speedo gear in my front hub has broken twice. the first one was broken from the factory, and the second one ate it around 1200 miles. the new one seems to be holding up better.

the speedometer is really optimistic. it’s about 10% off. this seems to be a pretty consistent problem with scooters, but how hard could it be to fix it? i think they just don’t want us to know how slow we’re really going.

the paint on a tangerine stella is horrible. i’ve seen vintage sixties vespas with fewer rock chips. one summer long road trip, and my paint is hosed. i guess it means mine will have a custom paint job that much sooner.

This article was posted by Justin Hileman on 22 May 2007, and is filed under complaints, review, scooter and stella. If you have any comments, please contact me or leave a comment on this article.