#16: Throw a kit on that… whatever it is.

Today’s question for Dr. Buzz and his panel of experts comes from From Art E. of Fresno, CA:

Please help, I am stuck with a torn apart “Vino!” From what can tell the engine is a Linhai/Yamaha 49.5cc 2-stroke. I checked the engine number to verify it. I ordered an Athena 70cc big-bore kit and the “big-bore” piston has about 2-3mm of clearance in the stock cylinder! Also the Athena cylinder is about a half inch shorter than the stocker. The clutch variator has splines too small to fit on the crankshaft. Primary gears are wrong (the gear on the shaft has a nub on the end where the stocker does not). I have not measured the stock bore yet. What could be wrong? This is the “Minerelli”-style horizontal engine. Please help!

Dr. Buzz: Well, first off, you’re rightfully using quotation marks around the words “Vino” and “Minarelli.” While some U.S.-market Yamaha Vinos are made by Yamaha in China (the VIN will start with “LPR”, signifying “Yamaha Motor Taiwan Co.,” which is, despite the name, in mainland China), it sounds like yours was made by Jiangsu Linhai Power Machinery Group (VIN starting LL8). Linhai has claimed to be tied somehow to Yamaha, and if I remember correctly, some Vino clones actually came with “Yamaha” embossed in the engine case, but without that LL8 or JYA VIN, they’re definitely not the real deal. But I’ll let Hooky take over, this is his area of expertise:

Havelock VanDerHook: Lucky you, Art, I’m betting you already have a 90cc engine in your 50cc Vino clone! (82cc to be exact). It happened a few years back, with 90cc 4-strokes being found in some 50cc 4-stroke bodies. They went 45 mph, and they were great. (I haven’t heard of the same thing happening for the 2-strokes, though.) The same 90cc engines are found in many ATVs and there are still plenty of aftermarket parts for them. But it’s nothing you’re going to find in the Parts Unlimited catalog, which happens to have some errors in the parts descriptions anyway.

I bet that scooter went like stink, before you tore it up.

Dr. Buzz: So you’re saying he just bought a 70cc kit for an 82cc engine!?

VanDerHook:I don’t know for sure if that’s what he has. But I do recall that some Geely (Linhai-made) scooters were sold with that 90 motor in them. All improper and illegally labeled. But sold none the less. To be sure, he’d have to measure the bore and stroke. The variator part of the crankshaft is different and larger, the flywheel cone is larger. The intake is the same. The belt should be the same. The clutch bell is larger. But it sounds like he simply ordered the wrong parts for a scooter that had a false engine number.

Shifton Kross Never look a gift horse in the mouth!

Dr. Buzz Yep, it’s pretty ironic. Chinese scooters rarely offer more than advertised.

We might be wrong about the details, but this situation once again illustrates the total unpredictability of Chinese scooters, even within the relatively small scope of Minarelli- and GY6-style engines, there’s a lot of variety in design, not to mention quality, even from two examples of the same scooter from the same factory. Mix that with dozens of factories churning out Vino clones, being made to spec for scores of U.S. importers looking to cut corners, and you just don’t know what you’ll find inside those cases.

VanDerHook: Art, I’ll get in touch with you soon, with a few measurements I can hopefully help figure out what engine you’re looking at, and hook you up with some reliable eBay sellers that have the hop-up parts you really want. Hopefully it’s not too late to return the Athena kit.

Do you have a question for the 2strokebuzz experts? Email Dr. Buzz! Your confidentiality is guaranteed.

Note: Dr. Buzz is an unlicensed, mostly-fictional doctor. Take his advice, and that of his team of experts, with a grain of salt.

One thought on “#16: Throw a kit on that… whatever it is.”

  1. Dr. Buzz has asked me to mention that the title of this column is inspired by Hollywood Holt’s majestic “Throw a Kit” song and video, featuring Chicago’s Peddy Cash moped crew.

Comments are closed.