Keeping your Classic scooter on the road needn’t be a chore, or too expensive as long as you keep your eye on the basics. In the first of our 30-minute maintenance blogs, we’ll show you how to change the engine oil on a Lambretta.
Doing it yourself will cost less than a fiver but doing it regularly will help to prolong the life of your engine, oil is the lifeblood of your machine. Look after it and it’ll look after you.
If you own a scooter then you should also own a basic toolkit, to change the oil on a Lambretta you’ll need a 10mm Allen key and either a 21mm socket/spanner or adjustable wrench. You’ll also need something to drain the old oil into and either a funnel or spout for your oil.
On a Lambretta the recommended grade is SAE 90, don’t buy cheapo oil. A good quality Putoline SAE 90, or Rock Oil/Castrol ST90 only costs about £5 so won’t break the bank.
The recommended mileage for an oil change is 1,500 for a Lambretta gearbox (500 after a rebuild) and around 3,000 in normal use. That may be the recommended schedule but there’s nothing stopping you from doing it earlier, it certainly won’t do your scooter any harm and the old oil can show early signs of internal engine problems.
It’s a good idea to warm the scooter before you start; warm oil drains more easily. A quick blast around the block is also a good idea.
I use an empty milk carton to drain the oil into, simply cut a hole in the top and slide it under the drain plug. It means you can pour the old oil into your empty oil container after you’ve finished.
Remove the side panel to gain easier access to the three important parts, the drain plug, level plug and breather bolt.
Use the 10mm Allen key to remove the drain plug, and allow the oil to drain until empty. My scooter had covered around 1,500 rally miles since it was last changed and it was certainly ready.
The drain plug is magnetic and catches any loose swarf from the engine, it will look messy when you get it out and may well have some metal fragments stuck to it but if there are any large fragments of metal you may well need to delve a bit deeper to see what’s happening inside. Clean the drain plug, ready for refitting.
Refit the drain bolt; you may also need to replace the 16mm fibre washer so it’s worth having one just in case. Tighten the bolt but don’t go mad or you’ll strip the threads.
Remove the level plug and the breather/filler bolt. I keep a screw-on oil spout from a bottle of Putoline two-stroke oil to use for filling, it simply screws onto the oil bottle and makes it easier, if you haven’t got one a small funnel will do the job.
A freshly rebuilt Lambretta engine will take 0.7 litres of oil but if you’re just changing the oil half a litre is usually enough. Pour the oil through the breather hole until it starts to seep through the level hole. Allow it to stop leaking then refit the level plug.
Give the engine a wipe-over to get rid of any excess oil, drain the old oil into a suitable container for disposal, refit the panel and that’s it, job done. It’s a good idea to check the oil level again though after a few miles.