Friday, November 11, 2011

Headlight problem

I rode the scoot into work today, and when I started it up to come home, my headlights didn't come on. I figured a blow fuse, but when I got home and checked it, the fuse was fine. Uh-oh - High/low switch? Low beam relay? Short in a wiring harness?

Nah - I checked the Reflex group on Yahoo and discovered that the starter switch cuts out the headlights when engaged, and if it doesn't pop all the way back out, the light won't come on. A little fiddling with the switch brought the lights on. Seems like a poor design to me, if it's that fussy...


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hmmm, it's not a scooter, but...

OK, I guess this is going to be my scooter and automotive maintenance blog.

Today I discovered that the driver side low beam lamp is dead on my 2004 Jetta wagon.  I perused the owner's manual for instructions on changing the bulb; they state that it's too hard for the owner, and you should take it into the dealer. What?!? They don't even provide a part number to enable you to easily buy a replacement on your own.

Well, crap! Fire up the Google. I found this article on changing the headlamp of a 2004 Jetta, but not a part number. So - I popped the hood, pulled the bulb, and looked at it. As noted in the article mentioned above, I removed the battery cover to give myself a little more room to work, and had to remove two plastic covers to get to the bulb: a large cover secured with two Phillips-head screws, and the smaller "snail-like" cover over the bulb assembly. Here's the latter:

Once this was removed, there's a plastic ring that secures the bulb in the lense assembly; it turned counter-clockwise (from the back) to loosen. Here's the bulb, with the ring visible at its base:

Now I could look at the bulb and get the part number:

OK - the "9007" is what you need when searching for a replacement. It's a single bulb for both the high and low beam.

I've ordered a pair of replacements, as well as a kit for buffing the lenses (which are very scratched and dull).  Yet another project....

Update: I put the new headlights in last night. $18 and no dealership visit.

The buffing kit is here, too, but that will have to wait for some free time.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Over the weekend I changed the oil and coolant. It was easier removing the left side floor skirt this time and re-installing it, practice helps. The oil change was definitely needed; the oil I removed was black crud. The coolant, on the other hand, was pristine, crystal clear, green coolant.

I also tested the turn signal beeper I made, using connections on the left and right front turn signal connectors (as suggested by "Travelin' Tim" on the Yahoo Reflex group).  It worked fine, but just wasn't loud enough; I need to buy a louder beeper.

I'm waiting for a replacement gasket (if I need it) and belt before I open up up the left crankcase to do the final drive oil.

The mileage was about 3100.

Since hurricane Irene is supposed to blow through this weekend, I probably won't be working on the scoot this weekend...

Friday, August 5, 2011

New Turn Signals

I recently replaced my brake tail light bulbs with high-intensity LEDs. I think LEDs are a good match for automotive applications; they can be very bright, they should last essentially forever (a nice safety feature), and they place a bit less demand on the relatively weak charging system of my scooter.

Once I saw the brake lights in action, I decided I wanted to replace all my turn signal bulbs, too. But there's a wrinkle: LEDs draw so little current that the stock turn signal relay behaves as if they were burnt out - and doubles the flash rate. So I'd need a new turn signal relay.

I eventually decided that the EFLR-1 from Custom LED would do the trick. I ordered the relay and some new LED lamps, and this evening I installed them all. Here are pictures of the process.

First, here's the front end of the scoot before I started.

From Replacing the Turn Signal Relay on a 2006 Honda Reflex

Step 1: Remove the windshield garnish. There are 4 screws: two in the front (near the ventilation slot) and two at the bottom inside corners of the windshield.

Here's what the windshield garnish looks like off the scoot.

While I could see the relays through the opening, there was no way I'd be able to get at it to remove it, so I continued to take off body panels. Next was the windshield.

Step 2: Remove the windshield. It's held in place by 3 screws on each side. There are supposed to be two more screws along the bottom edge; I don't have them, so I assume that when the original owner installed the Givi windshield they must have gone missing.

This makes it possible to...

Step 3: Remove the front meter visor. It's held in by four screws, two on either side and towards the back of the scoot. This opened up a nice access port.

These are on the right side of the opening (left side as you stand in front of the scoot and look at it). The biggest one is the turn signal relay.

The relay is mounted to a fin coming off a metal support tube; it's held on by a rubber carrier. I slid the carrier off the fin, giving me good access to the relay.

Step 4: Disconnect the original relay...

I could now confirm that I was, in fact, looking at the right part; Honda's OEM part is a Mitsuba FR-3303, which this clearly is. I carefully removed the relay from its connector; there is a tab on the connector that I depressed with a screwdriver blade and then gently pushed off.

Step 5: Install the new relay.

It just plugs in to the connector. At this point I tested the turn signals to be sure they were still operating.

Once I verified that it worked, I replaced the turn signal bulbs with LEDs and tested again. These are very odd looking gizmos, nothing at all like light bulbs.

Once I verified that it all worked, I put the original relay back in place (so I don't lose it) and then lay the new relay in among the other relays. I don't think it will go anywhere..

Step 6: Put all the panels back on.

I ran into two problems while putting everything back together.

  • The screws that hold the windshield on screw into funky rubber widgets with threaded sleeves at the bottom. While putting the first one in (bottom left screw as I faced the front of the scoot), I managed to push the widget through the hole. It luckily dropped through all the stuff in the front of the scooter to the ground, but getting it back its hole was a royal pain. Be careful inserting those screws!
  • I just couldn't seem to get the windshield garnish to sit flush with the other panels. It was getting dark, so I just closed everything up, but tomorrow I'm going to fiddle with it some more and see if I can get it on right.
Here are all the parts I've replaced and their sources. All the LEDs are from; the signal relay is from Custom LED.

  • 2 red 7443-replacement brake lights, item # 7443-R45-T
  • 2 amber 7443-replacement front turn signal lights, item # 7443-A45-T
  • 2 amber 7440-replacement rear turn signal lights, item # 7440--A18-T
  • 1  EFLR-1 turn signal relay replacement from Custom LED
  • 1 31x10 mm "festoon light" (for the light in the under seat storage area), item # 3022-WWHP4
-- Jerry

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Some New Lights

This evening I replaced my standard brake/running lights with LED replacements. The original part is a standard 7443, wedge-base bulb; I put in 45-LED red replacements (at about $25 a pop...). The results are mixed. I think that, as running lights, they are a bit brighter, but there is less of a change in brightness  when the brake lights come on.

Not surprisingly, the bulbs are polarized; if you put them in the socket the wrong way, they will not come on. They seem to fit either way; I just had to try them both ways to get them to work.

I also replaced the bulb in the trunk with an LED replacement; it's brighter and yet uses a lot less power. Since many Reflex owners have reported that the light in the trunk can sometimes stay on and drain the battery, this gives me a little more confidence about letting the scoot sit for a while without running. Again, the part is a 3022, 31 x 10mm "festoon" bulb.

I'm now thinking about replacing my turn signal lights. These present another challenge; the lower current requirements of LEDs tend to cause problems with the standard turn signal relays. Special LED relays are available, but I'm having trouble locating the right part. The standard Honda relay is Honda OEM part # 38301-KK9-952; this is the same as a Mitsuba FR-3303. Searching on those part numbers, though, for an LED-compatible replacement hasn't turned up anything definitive - yet....

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A nice ride to work

I haven't yet done exactly this route, but I've done most of it. It's a very nice ride.

Like many trips in the Boston area, it's not symmetric; I can't quite use it for the ride home.

View Larger Map

Monday, June 27, 2011

Finally, a picture

This is for Dave.

Over the weekend I got the scoot out onto Route 2; it climbed the infamous hill westbound out of Alewife at 65, turning about 7000 RPM. It wasn't especially stable at that speed; modest wind gusts have more of an impact than I liked.

Rode to work today and bought gas; so far, I'm getting 59MPG.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

First day out

This morning I took the scoot over to Riverside Motorsports in Union Square for its inspection. All the initial paperwork is now behind me. Yea!

From there I rode back home, packed a water bottle in the boot, and headed off for a ride.  I went out thru Belmont and Lexington to Lincoln, spent some time practicing low speed turns in a school parking lot, and then headed over to Greater Boston Motor Sports to look at jackets.

View Larger Map

I got an Olympia Motor Sports GT Air three-piece jacket; bye-bye, cheap leather.

It started to rain moments after I got home. Good Karma (bikema?)

While on the ride, I noticed a few things to check into:

  • The idle speed seems a bit high. It's supposed to be 1500 RPM; it seems to be closer to 1800 or even higher.
  • It occurred to me that the original owner is from Colorado; I wonder if the engine is set to run lean?
  • I did some hard braking in the parking lot (30-MPH to a dead stop as quickly as I could); afterwards, it seems like the front brake was rubbing every rotation for a brief period after the hard braking. Problem?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The New Toy

Tonight I got a ride up to Bradford to pick up my new toy - a 2006 Honda Reflex motor scooter. This isn't mine, but this is what it looks like:

Perhaps I shouldn't say "toy" - it has a 250cc engine and should be capable of highway speed without a problem. I took all back roads between Bradford and Cambridge; I'm not yet ready to try it out on, say, the madness of I-93. Total distance - a bit over 36 miles. I got home at dusk after a very enjoyable ride.

I have a lot of to-do's:

  • Get the scoot inspected. I have until next Monday.
  • Get a decent protective jacket (something like this). I have a lightweight leather jacket I used for the ride home, but a modern jacket with elbow and sleeve protection, a back stiffener, etc. would be safer and more cooler (leather gets hot!).
  • Replace the lights (tail, turn and running) with high-intensity LEDs. Visibility matters!
  • Get some reflective tape to stick on my helmet and various parts of the scoot.
  • Spend a couple of hours removing access panels and just looking at things.