Widening scooter front forks

  1. malcolm

    malcolm & Clementine the Cat

    Bedford UK
    The poor Renault 4.

    These days you can pick up a replacement engine for next to nothing. (There's one on eBay at the moment for 1p). The cars tend to rust in a really inaccessible area around the rear suspension that takes about 20 hours to repair properly, so the cars tend to be broken up rather than repaired. (If anyone feels they might get bored looking at car repairs then I have the web page for you: Clementine the cat welds a Renault 4 .

    Cherish your R4 experience - there won't be any left soon (apart from the one or two I seem to get roped into repairing).

    It's a shame as they are versatile cars. Mine has a 2m by 1m sheet of Aluminium in the boot at the moment. Must pull it out tonight as it has a paraffin coating and smells really bad.
  2. vino Member

    Houston, Texas
    Some more progress

    Hi Malcolm, and everyone,
    cut off work short today and spent the afternoon (8hrs) finishing up
    the first part of the fork project. The butt extensions are all

    Here is a pic with the tire on. Still looks like a tight fit, but there's
    several mm of clearance on each side. Will take some closer picks of
    the welds tommorrow.

    I'm wondering if grinding down the welds, to put the reinforcement
    plates on, will weaken the butt joints.
    • ForkWheel2.jpg
  3. vino Member

    Houston, Texas
    Close ups of the welds

    Hi Malcolm and board,
    the butt welds don't look too great, but I think they have pretty
    good penetration. I managed to squeeze the welding gun into the
    back section, and put in short weld runs on each joint.

    Just before leaving the shop I started grinding everything flush,
    and revealed a couple of spots where it could use some touch
    up beads, or even cutting down a bit, and rewelding. One corner
    especially, there seems to be a chunk missing. I was trying to be
    clever (it worked once by accident!), and instead of short sections,
    tried to use a longer piece, and curve it around. Ths piece didn't
    quite follow the corner. Will fill that part in.

    Tomorrow I'll start on the reinforcement plates. Should have
    a few questions. What I'd like to do is make a paper template of
    a piece that would wrap around the three sides. I think I will go
    with the backplate too.

    I think I also found out why I was having trouble seeing the welds...
    My glasses! Could have forgotten to take them off, and am blind
    as a bat up close if I have them on.
    • FinishedButtWelds.JPG
  4. malcolm

    malcolm & Clementine the Cat

    Bedford UK
    If you have penetration all the way through those welds should be OK with a bit of a tidy so that you have a consistant section or metal without any sharp notches (stress raisers).

    It will probably weaken them by grinding them flat (try a bend test on a bit of scrap if you want to test). Be careful not to thin the existing metal. You should get the strength back with the reinforcing plate. Pizza box cardboard is great for making templates.
  5. vino Member

    Houston, Texas
    Maybe I should have gone with just the back plate, and not
    ground the welds... Oh well, if I had done it that way I'd always be
    wondering if it would have been be stronger with the reinforcement
    plates :rolleyes:

    Don't have any pizza boxes handy, but it does happen to be
    garbage pick up day. I'll see if there's one visible on someone's
    front lawn on my way to work.
  6. vino Member

    Houston, Texas
    End of garbage day report. Didn't find any pizza boxes on the way to
    work, but turns out I wouldn't have gotten around to using it anyway.

    Prepping took up all the time I had. Went through grinding, marking
    suspect spots, cutting, rewelding..several times. Finally finished up
    with a hand file, and some blisters on my fingers. Looks pretty nice.

    Also tested a grounded flush butt weld, and it didn't break. Bent it
    back and forth about 10 times, and it didn't even bend along the

    Here's a couple of pics. First one shows spots I marked for recutting
    and rewelding, or just filling. Second is what it looks like now. It's still
    not perfectly flush.
    • PreppingDone.JPG
  7. vino Member

    Houston, Texas
    PS I tried to see if the mig welder could be turned into a cutter,
    and save some time on cutting the pattern for the wrap-around piece.
    Cranked it all the way up, slowed the wire feed down a bit. I was
    excited while seeing the tip do it's thing through the helmet visor.
    It looked really bright, I thought I saw it going all the way
    through. When I took the visor off, I had no cut, but the best bead
    I've done on this material (12 gauge steel). :eek:
  8. Austin 101 Member

    Ipswich, Suffolk
    Lamb Chops

    Hi Vino
    I am new here and new to welding. I just want to say that I am impressed by you preparation and the trouble taken with your jig.

    Good luck with this.

    I have a Lamb Chop with extended forks. I love it....it won best scooter in the Bristol Bike show, 1999. I am only responsible for the saddle....before which it had a pad on the bottom bar, which meant having to stick your head out to the side to see where you were going!

    I lost all my photos of it in a computer crash...except for this crumpled one, kept where people put their sweethearts in their wallets.:D
    • chop.jpg
  9. vino Member

    Houston, Texas
    Hi Austin,
    thanks for the compliments.

    Your scoot looks pretty wild! Looks like a comfortable ride too.
    I think a new seat might be my next project.

  10. Austin 101 Member

    Ipswich, Suffolk

    Hi Walter, thanks, yeah she is wild.

    And, as you say, she's a comfortable ride too. I made the seat from a cut down laminated office chair with side valance made from aluminium and a vinyl cover sewn by a girlfriend stuck over a foam seat + sissy back. It is unsprung....so it is all down to the bike's suspension. The welding of the cross-bar was done by a local workshop. These days I'd like to think I'd weld it myself.

    I rode it from Bristol to the Isle of Wight and back in 1999 and it was a comfortable, easy ride....apart from the hairy heat seizure on the way back....but luckily I got the clutch in very quickly, so no harm was done.

    Do you have any pics of this scoot you are building (apart from the forks)?

    By the way, some guy is trying to get 4 grand on the opening bid for his lamb chop on ebay!
  11. vino Member

    Houston, Texas
    Don't remember where Bristol is, but I know the Isle of white
    is somewhere off the south coast. Sounds like a long way. Isn't
    that where they have motorcycle races?

    Since you ask for a pic of the scooter, here it is. Not a pretty
    sight at the moment.
    • IMG_0702.jpg
  12. Austin 101 Member

    Ipswich, Suffolk
    Bristol to Isle of Wight

    Bristol to the Isle of Wight is 77 miles. It is where they have the annual ****-up for scooterists. Lamb Chops etc camped in fields and thousands of us shared one toilet, while Mods stayed in B&Bs and turned their noses up at us. When we first arrived off the ferry I got separated from the blokes I was with. I'd relied on them to lead the way; hadn't bothered to bring a map. Anyway, I had prescription lens goggles and all the heavy pushing of the scooter off the ramp made me all hot and sweaty, so my goggles instantly steamed up and the ferry men were shouting at me to get a move on because there were loads of us unloading....so I slammed into gear and launched off without being able to see....and when the fog cleared, my mates were gone, assuming I was behind.

    So, I just thought, what the hell, we are all going to the same place anyway. I'll just follow the croud, which I did for about half an hour......until I realised that I wasn't behind "Rockers" but Mods and when they realised I was behind, they waved to each other and pulled over and waited for me to go past. Damned if they were being associated with me!

    So then I was really on my own with NO IDEA what the camp site was called. Found it eventually. Most of that long weekend my mates went to pubs but I love to ride, so I went all round the island on their wonderful country roads....and it is amazing how few scooters I saw.

    The TT races are at the Isle of Man.

    (don't klnow what I am doing wrong, but I can't see pics on the thread this morning)
  13. Austin 101 Member

    Ipswich, Suffolk
    ah, there it is!

    Ah, I can see pics now. Loading my reply refreshed the page and pics loaded. Hey, I didn't realise you are in Texas, vino. Apart from the Space Centre, the closest I got to Houston was College Station. A mate of mine's dad was a chaplain at the uni there.

    Are you going to do anything radical to the rest of the scoot?
  14. Austin 101 Member

    Ipswich, Suffolk
    blimey, a teacher making spelling mistakes

    ooops, spotted typo= crowd, not croud!

    I wouldn't normally point them out, but I am embarrassed:( .
  15. vino Member

    Houston, Texas
    Hi Austin, sounds like you had a great time on the Isle of White.
    What kind of bikes do the Mods have?

    My general plan for the moped is to squeeze every bit of power
    I can out of the stock parts, see what it can do. Then install
    an upgear kit in the rear, and later a piston/cylinder kit, maybe

    It's surprising how much power is hidden away in a stock 50cc
    engine these days. It's all restricted out to conform to US regulations
    for moped class. It went 30mph max stock. Took out a spacer
    washer in the tranmission variator, got extra 5mph. Then took
    out a restrictor in the muffler and got another 10mph. I think
    it still has more left in it, since no matter the rider weight, it tops
    out at 45mph. Next will be changing the intake, it's very convoluted,
    and jetting the carb. That should be good for another 5mph.

  16. Austin 101 Member

    Ipswich, Suffolk
    Mods and Rockers

    Hi Walter
    In the 1960s Rockers rode conventional leg-over motorbikes (and wore scruffy leathers) and Mods rode step-through scooters (and dressed smartly)....and they hated each other....and fought bloody battles in seaside towns etc...

    Imagine how annoyed the Mods are now, with rocker types butchering their scooters to make motorbike style choppers! You can't blame them really. 1960scooters (Vespas and Lambrettas) are increasingly rare and purists are bound to get upset when someone comes along and chops them up and throws away the original bodywork etc.

    I don't blame them at all. I don't think I'd have wanted to do what has been done to the scooter that was sacrificed to make my bike, but now the damage is done, I love the result! And you know, when I bought the bike I had no idea I was becoming part of some social group. So I was a bit upset by the unfriendly attitude of the Mods; when I had tagged on the back of their gang, I'd assumed we were all the same- just loads of fellow scooterists:(

    I want to give more time to your posting, but I have to rush off just now. Good talking with you. Cheers
  17. vino Member

    Houston, Texas
    Hi Austin, sounds like someone shoold make a movie about this!
    I see lots of comedy potential in it. ;)

    Heading off to work in a bit. Wouldn't you know that just as I'm
    ready to wrap up my fork project, we get a whole bunch of work
    in. Rats!


  18. Austin 101 Member

    Ipswich, Suffolk
    Mods and Rockers, the movie

    You are right about the comedy potential of Mods and Rockers. Something MUST have been done. They are known as having been social phenomena...and I'm sure there have been numerous academic papers written on them. Anyone who was around at the time can tell you which side of the two wheel divide they were on. Me, I wasn't around. I was born in 1963, so was probably on three or even four wheels at the time.
  19. vino Member

    Houston, Texas
    Fork project update

    Hi, I'm finally seeing the light at the end.

    I have scrapped the wrap around piece over the buttwelds. It was
    too complicated even just cutting a template. Went back to individual
    pieces. Took a couple of hours to get them done. A lot less than I thought,
    thanks to the loaner cutting saw.

    Next the top and bottom pieces have to be bent into the proper shape.
    I think the best way to do this would be to put them in a vice, heat the
    seam I want them to bend around, and tap them with a hammer. However
    I don't have a blow torch to heat them up with. Next best thing might
    be to run a thin bead along the seam, just to heat it up, then bend
    them. I'm assuming that just hammering them cold might weaken them
    all along the bend. Or I could just bend them cold, then after the piece
    is welded in with plug, and lap welds, run a bead along the bend. Would
    that work just as well?
    • ReinforcementPlates.JPG
  20. malcolm

    malcolm & Clementine the Cat

    Bedford UK
    Why not make a single piece to go across the front rather than two seperate pieces? It would look neater. :D

    It'll be fine to bend the steel in a vice when cold. Steel will flow around bends without weakening to any real extent.

    Probably it'll be easiest to start with some sort of bend that looks close, then tack one edge, hammer the metal until it touches the forks about 1 inch further along then tack it there etc until you get to the end. Then when it's all tacked in place you can do the seam weld.