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Chunks of debris coming out of my exhaust (Buddy 50)

 
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crcfailed
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Joined: 01 Aug 2018
Posts: 23
Location: Indiana
Buddy 50

PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2020 8:07 pm    Post subject: Chunks of debris coming out of my exhaust (Buddy 50) Reply with quote

Hey there. I have a 2019 Buddy 50 with about 5100 miles that's been giving me acceleration problems and inconsistent top speed almost all summer long. Feels like it's just not making horsepower. Climbing hills is a no go. Lately I've had to get off and push it up hills a couple times, when I hadn't gotten a good momentum built up or hit a light at the bottom of the hill or something, because it'll just come to a dead stop even at WOT. Luckily it's mostly flat around here so I haven't had to do that frequently.

I've looked around the forum enough to know that "take it to the shop" is the standard answer for tech problems. So that's what I did. Three times now. So far they've replaced the clutch belt, taken out the restrictor, and done some other stuff to it. None of that has helped at all - the problem's just getting worse and worse over time. They're fixated on it being a clutch problem and told me they'd probably want to replace the whole clutch/variator next but I get the feeling they just don't want to work on it anymore because they always seem to be too busy. I'm at the point where I'm just done throwing money at them and I don't trust their diagnosis.

I noticed my exhaust started sounding kind of different at one point, and didn't know if it was related. But on a whim I looked up the tailpipe with my phone's flashlight & zoom, and saw something poking up from the final bend in the pipe. So I took a pair of tweezers and wrestled the thing from out of there. The debris looks like a burnt chunk of ribbed, pliable metal - maybe aluminium or something. The noise went away, but more importantly, I noticed the bike really perked back up...for a while, until it blew something else up into the tailpipe blocking the exhaust again. So I keep doing this. By now, I've pulled probably at least a dozen of these chunks out of it.

The problem now is that I'm fairly sure there is another bad blockage, but it's stuffed too far back in the exhaust system for me to see or reach it, and it's not working its way out like the other pieces did.



So here's what I'm thinking. I'm thinking of ordering a performance exhaust and installing it myself. I've only ever wrenched on bicycles before, so this is new to me, but it doesn't look like too difficult of a job from what I've seen as long as I can invest in the proper tools.

Full disclaimer, I know these things are meant for short city trips, but I've ridden this poor bike on um... several interstate trips. (On backroads...not on the interstate. Laughing ) I've dropped it a total of twice, once on each side, at very low speed, due to riding it to work in conditions I probably shouldn't have.
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olhogrider
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Joined: 04 Jul 2008
Posts: 1161
Location: Vegas Baby!
Royal Alloy 150

PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2020 8:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From that picture it is nearly impossible to tell what that stuff is. Best to find the source of the blockage before installing a new exhaust that will just get clogged.
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tenders
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Joined: 03 Dec 2018
Posts: 262

Buddy International 50 Italia

PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2020 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you're on the right track. That looks like some kind of baffling or muffling material that's broken loose inside the muffler, causing an exhaust blockage. That would be a very logical explanation for the symptoms you're seeing. Is the Buddy still under warranty? Maybe you should find a better dealer.

The challenge with upgrading the muffler on a 2T is that the airbox, carb size, carb jets, and muffler are carefully matched to each other. Once you start messing with one, it can upset the air/fuel/oil balance and you can burn something up by running too lean. Plenty of people LOVE this kind of fiddling, but not me - I find troubleshooting tweaked engines to be tiresome, so I don't tweak mine, with the premise that if/when I want a faster scooter, I'll buy a faster scooter.
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crcfailed
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Joined: 01 Aug 2018
Posts: 23
Location: Indiana
Buddy 50

PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2020 7:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tenders wrote:
I think you're on the right track. That looks like some kind of baffling or muffling material that's broken loose inside the muffler, causing an exhaust blockage. That would be a very logical explanation for the symptoms you're seeing. Is the Buddy still under warranty? Maybe you should find a better dealer.

The challenge with upgrading the muffler on a 2T is that the airbox, carb size, carb jets, and muffler are carefully matched to each other. Once you start messing with one, it can upset the air/fuel/oil balance and you can burn something up by running too lean. Plenty of people LOVE this kind of fiddling, but not me - I find troubleshooting tweaked engines to be tiresome, so I don't tweak mine, with the premise that if/when I want a faster scooter, I'll buy a faster scooter.


Dang, you think I should try and find a stock replacement then? I don't have any specific reason to upgrade it, it's just the performance one was the first one I found when I searched and I figured I might as well get the upgraded one if I was going to go to the trouble of changing it out.

I may wanna play with this bike later, but for now it's my daily driver so I do want to avoid blowing it up. Laughing

Pretty sure the bike is under warranty for at least 3 years thanks to some promotion they had at the time it was purchased. Finding another dealer to look at it is complicated though. There isn't much around here. Even the dealer I got it from is like an 8 mile walk (dragging my gear) each time I need to leave it, sooo... it seems like eating the cost and wrenching on it myself may be the only thing for me to do.
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BuddyRaton
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Joined: 09 Sep 2006
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2 - many

PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2020 2:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If it's your daily rider keep it stock.
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BennyBen
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Joined: 03 Aug 2020
Posts: 16
Location: Montreal
Genuine Buddy 50 (PGO Metro 50)

PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2020 12:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If it can help
When I bought mine I had acceleration problem and speed. Brought it back to the shop, they changed the muffler it was full of carbon. Then I changed the spark plug. Apparently the previous owner didn't used only to go around and didn't rev'd it high enough.
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tenders
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Joined: 03 Dec 2018
Posts: 262

Buddy International 50 Italia

PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2020 1:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Carbon buildup used to be a big issue with 2T scooters - my old '86 Honda Spree needed cleanouts every 1500 miles, and doing so made a big difference. I think that was due to soot in the 2T oils used at the time, and perhaps the exhausts didn't contain any catalytic components. (Do all of them now?)

We don't hear about this AT ALL any more - BennyBen, your experience was very unusual!

But what CyclicRedundancyCheckFailed (I remember what CRC stands for!) is seeing is not carbon. I would keep the stock exhaust, and I would hold the dealer responsible for the repair - but I see your point about just bolting on the new part and moving on. What are we talking, like $150? Waiting around for the dealer to do the work is worth something too.
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crcfailed
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Joined: 01 Aug 2018
Posts: 23
Location: Indiana
Buddy 50

PostPosted: Sat Aug 08, 2020 1:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the comments y'all. So this afternoon I made a run to Harbor Freight and got myself a breaker bar, a torque wrench, and some sockets. Getting the exhaust off was fun, especially those nuts where the pipe connects to the engine, where the pipe is bent around the nuts so that you can't even get a socket on them. Rolling Eyes

Anyway, I'm no expert obviously, but I knew something wasn't right as soon as I tilted the muffler to one side. You can hear something big (maybe baseball sized?) rattling around inside the can, along with a bunch of smaller debris. I shook it up a bit but the only thing that came out was one more piece of that crap from the picture above. It was pretty funny to be honest. Laughing It explained...a lot, like the tendency for the bike to recover with changes in inertia. Whatever's in there is probably rolling back and forth when I stop and go, and maybe it happens to just find a resting position where it's causing a blockage sometimes.

I put it back on for now, though I still need to torque the bolts. I wonder if I can just have the dealer order me an exhaust and just ship it to my house so I can deal with it myself.

Interesting thing I noticed, though---the two bolts holding the whole assembly on the frame are different lengths, and it looks to me like the previous mechanic who worked on it got them mixed up. I recently had a rear flat which the dealer fixed for me, and so they apparently would have had the exhaust off at that time to change the tire from what I can see. I find it super weird that they didn't notice or say anything about the exhaust at the time though, because surely they must have noticed the rattling. The performance problem has been going on since long before the flat tire, so I don't think they created the problem during that service.
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tenders
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Joined: 03 Dec 2018
Posts: 262

Buddy International 50 Italia

PostPosted: Sat Aug 08, 2020 3:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your dealer’s mechanic is terrible for not putting the bolts on properly, for not addressing what was wrong with the exhaust, and not being able to troubleshoot your symptoms. Where in Indiana are you? There are four dealers in the state. I would register dissatisfaction to Genuine directly if I were you.

PS, aren’t you fancy for buying a breaker bar. Most of us have to use a scrap piece of pipe over a regular wrench or ratchet. You probably have both metric and SAE adjustable wrenches, too. Whoooo.
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crcfailed
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Joined: 01 Aug 2018
Posts: 23
Location: Indiana
Buddy 50

PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2020 3:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had to buy most of the tools, except for the adjustable wrenches I used to take the nuts off the head end - those were my dad's and are probably antique for all I know. The 3/8" torque wrench was only $20 from harbor freight, where it looks like I could have spent upwards of $100 for a nice one. Trying hard not to think about that old adage, "you get what you pay for." Laughing All in all I spent less than $50 on the tools, and well...now I have them handy for whatever comes up, so it was probably worth it. Based on the torque values from the service manual it looks like I'd be able to do most things except the wheels with this wrench.

Just as a quick update on the exhaust, my dealer was open today so I popped in to ask about an exhaust. Their mechanic agreed the exhaust could be causing my problems, if it was creating a bad enough blockage. They said that maybe water got into the pipe and corroded something or rusted it from the inside. Apparently a new pipe from Genuine would be $490(!) so they suggested I take a look at aftermarket pipes.

I checked ebay just to be sure. There's a stock pipe listed at around $80 right now, but it looks like it has a nasty crack through the heat shield. The seller didn't say what the story was. I don't know if I want to chance it and end up with something that's as broken as what I already have.

I went ahead and ordered the sport exhaust from scooterworks, along with the #80 jet they suggested. I ordered 2nd day air so hoping it comes this weekend, but it's still waiting for my payment to clear and for them to ship it, soooooo...
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PNWbuddy
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Joined: 02 May 2019
Posts: 80
Location: pnw
Buddy125

PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2020 2:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I must be missing something here. Per the Genuine web site:

"Every Buddy 50 comes standard with:
· 2-Year Unlimited Mileage Warranty"

Is there a reason your '19 hasn't had all of this work covered by the warranty?
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crcfailed
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Joined: 01 Aug 2018
Posts: 23
Location: Indiana
Buddy 50

PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2020 2:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PNWbuddy wrote:
I must be missing something here. Per the Genuine web site:

"Every Buddy 50 comes standard with:
· 2-Year Unlimited Mileage Warranty"

Is there a reason your '19 hasn't had all of this work covered by the warranty?


Because they had cleaned out the clutch and changed the belt. I did not really question whether these would be warranty items, because to me it seems like these would be maintenance/consumables. So, sure, I probably paid for unnecessary work/parts that didn't solve my problem, which sucks.

The exhaust was my own diagnosis. They didn't look at it at all as far as I am aware - I just went in to pick their brains about it and see if they had one laying around or if they could order me one. They did hint at it being some kind of damage as opposed to say a manufacturing defect, which again, to me, would not be a warranty item. Who really knows. I used to work in warranty electronics repairs, so I know how these things can be.

Probably the biggest reason I'm not pushing the issue with the shop is because, again, as I mentioned, it's the only place I can really go, as I live in semi-rural Indiana with no means to just take the bike to another dealer. I also realize that as a 50cc bike owner I probably need them more than they need me, and so I don't want to strain the relationship or risk a conflict. I may need them again even if I get to changing my own oil and stuff. For ex., they did come out to my house to pick the bike up when I got a flat, which was not something I was prepared to deal with at the time. (I have a patch kit now.)

Ultimately what I really need is to just move up to a bigger bike, but with my vision handicap it may not be possible to jump through the licensing hoops. The only way I was able to get a 50cc license is because my state does not require a vision test for them. In any case it is just not the year to be trying to do all this stuff with the covid going around and everything. Maybe later.
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crcfailed
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Joined: 01 Aug 2018
Posts: 23
Location: Indiana
Buddy 50

PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2020 3:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My new exhaust pipe came in today! Didn't expect it to come in so quickly. Big thanks ScooterWorks!!

I hooked up the pipe. I also ordered the #80 jet that Scooterworks recommended, but didn't do anything with it yet.

There's a slight popping noise and I can't tell if it's normal, or if there's a leakage somewhere -- but I can't pinpoint exactly where it's coming from. I wonder if I need a new exhaust gasket - I did not think to order one, & just reused the old one. It did not fit the new pipe exactly like it did on the old pipe...there was a little bit of play in the recessed part of the pipe where it mates to the engine. There's also a secondary pipe coming from the head, with a rubber tube that goes up to some kind of filter box that sits on top of the muffler. That tube, for some reason, is a little too short on the new pipe. I had to really make the most of the length to get it to go on both ends. I wonder if it's not sealing well enough -- and that's where the popping is coming from?

Regardless, I took it out for a test spin this evening and got a solid 45+ Buddy mph's on the highway, and did not experience any of the old issues with the bike suddenly slowing down or just not wanting to rev sometimes when I hit a bump or stop & go. Hooray! ヽ(=´▽`=)ノ

After my ride I noticed there was quite a bit of dirty-looking oily buildup coming out of the tailpipe. Don't know if that's normal, or part of break-in? I may e-mail Scooterworks and ask about it.

It still feels like there is some hesitation going up hills, and also in the mid range acceleration feels slow and weak. I wonder if there isn't some remaining clutch problem like the shop suspected? Nonetheless, I feel like the bike is way more ridable now, and I'm super excited to have it (mostly) fixed.
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Alzero
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Joined: 10 Apr 2019
Posts: 46
Location: East coast waters
Lance Cali Classic 125

PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2020 11:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You need to rejet: if you run too lean you will burn up your engine. Your symptoms all sound like a lean mixture.
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crcfailed
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Joined: 01 Aug 2018
Posts: 23
Location: Indiana
Buddy 50

PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2020 3:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alzero wrote:
You need to rejet: if you run too lean you will burn up your engine. Your symptoms all sound like a lean mixture.


Thanks-- I put in the new jet this morning. Comparing the two jets side by side, they really don't look any different. The hole is the same size to the naked eye. I'm not sure if these are supposed to be visibly different, or if we're talking hair width differences in diameter.

Anyway I don't have time to ride it now but I guess I will go blow stuff up later.

If I didn't feel backed into a corner I'd wish I could have kept it stock based on the initial advice here. Might still keep an eye out for a stock pipe, but it's not likely to find here locally as my Buddy appears to be one of a kind in town. The dealer apparently had a hard time moving their Genuine stock and have since replaced all their Genuines and Taotaos with Kymcos. Which, ngl, look super cool, and I've been seeing a lot of them around town lately.
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crcfailed
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Joined: 01 Aug 2018
Posts: 23
Location: Indiana
Buddy 50

PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2020 12:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No change in the bike's behavior with the new jet installed.

-Acceleration is sluggish and feels extremely weak climbing hills.
-Exhaust smells like gasoline. This began as soon as I installed the new exhaust, and happens with both the stock jet and the #80 jet. Doesn't that mean I'm running too rich, as opposed to lean?
-More dirty black crud pooling up in and around the tailpipe.
-When backing off the throttle it sounds like the engine completely stops for a second or two. It hasn't stalled, but it makes me think it's going to. Maybe it's just the normal sound of the new exhaust that I'm fixating on. Other than that, the exhaust sounds crunchy and makes me very happy, for what it's worth.

For shits and giggles I flipped the exhaust gasket around so the wider side fits a little better in the new pipe. This is opposite of how it was installed in the stock pipe. No change at all.

I took the bike to the long hill downtown that has been my arch nemesis all summer long. By the crest of the hill my speed had bottomed out just below 25mph at WOT, which incidentally is the speed limit on that hill. But as we all know that is never enough to placate the raging cagers. And sure enough, some jackass raged around me and cut me off, missing me by a matter of inches. Rolling Eyes

Not sure what is left for me now. I'm clearly in over my head with some kind of mystery. I'm learning stuff which is cool and all, but I really just want a working bike. I could roll the dice with the stock pipe form ebay that had the giant crack in the shield. Idunno.
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