OK, So What's The Problem?

Discussion in 'Whizzer Motorized Bicycles' started by Hal the Elder, Nov 4, 2008.

  1. Hal the Elder

    Hal the Elder Member


    This morning I warmed Oscar up and rolled him off the stand onto the level asphalt road that runs by our house.

    I opened the throttle about 1/3...nothing. I opened it wider...and it began to creep forward. Becoming disappointed, I then gave it full throttle, and it slowly accelerated to 10 mph after about 1/10 mile.

    Then I took him to a straight stretch of road and tried an acceleration test.

    From a standing stop, and with the engine roaring at full throttle, it took 1/4 mile to reach 20 MPH, and it looked like it wouldn't go any faster!

    It was as though the drive belt had been greased!

    What could be the problem with this here MotorBike?

    Last edited: Nov 4, 2008

  2. Belt or clutch slipping

    Hello Hal, well if you have no trouble with the engine being "engaged" when you are starting it, then the only thing that could be is that the clutch shoes are too "slippery".

    Some of the shoes were made with a kevlar base which is very long wearing, but a bit difficult to break in.

    pull belt guard,
    "roll off" rear belt,
    unscrew clutch belt,
    remove clutch ( do NOT drop it, it IS heavy)
    split clutch by rotationg and pulling in your hands
    inspect clutch shoes
    if not in full contact with the drum (read the shiny parts, those are working) then take a Dremel (or equivelent) and sand the shiny parts down a little,

    repeat as needed

    should work fine when you get 75%+ of engagement.

    The shoes were not arc-ground at manufacture, and this is the fix.

  3. Hal the Elder

    Hal the Elder Member

    Hey Mike:

    Is there some kind of rachet in the centrifugal clutch that allows a solid lockup engagement in one direction (like when I'm pedal-starting it), but slips when the engine is driving?

    I also notice that with the engine shut off, I can wheel the bike backwards and it's "free-wheeling", with no connection to the engine, but when I move it forward, I must use the compression release or the rear wheel skids from the engine's compression.

    There must be some kind of "one way" rachet in there...right?

    Anyway, thanks for the fix tip...I'm always looking for an excuse to dig into something mechanical anyway!

  4. RdKryton

    RdKryton Active Member

    Yes Hal the clutch has a one way bearing. It will freewheel in one direction and lock in the other. Mike is correct. Carefully remove the clutch and sand down the shinny spots on the clutch shoes. This is a good time to make sure the bearings are greased well.
  5. HoughMade

    HoughMade Guest

    What were the temperatures like outside this morning where you are?
  6. Hal the Elder

    Hal the Elder Member

    High Deseert Temp:

    I think it was in the low 60's.

  7. Hal the Elder

    Hal the Elder Member

    Ok Mike, So How...

    So how do you "roll off" the rear belt?

    There's too much tension on both belts from the tensioning spring.

    Could I peel the drive belt off the rear wheel sheave instead?

    Then how do you remove the clutch with the tension from the engine belt on it?

    (This is great...a brand new Whizzer and I have to tear it down to make it run right...I should have bought a USED bike!)

    Last edited: Nov 4, 2008
  8. sk8erpunk

    sk8erpunk Member

    Hal, I know it is a pain. I had issues with my brand new bike, too, but .... these are really minor issues. I didn't think I could even deal with the clutch, but I found out that all of these things are really simple and easy to deal with (including the clutch). Just be careful (as everyone says) but don't sweat these little things. It is part of the break-in process. And you will be fine.
  9. Hal the Elder

    Hal the Elder Member

    Hey Skaterpunk:

    A motorcycle friend (he has a GoldWing) advised me today not to leap in and try to fix something that may only need breaking in.

    He said to just ride it and put on the break-in miles and let all the components adjust to each other.

    I was having trouble with starting Oscar...now he starts fine, and I didn't do anything!

    Maybe the clutch problem will fix itself too!

    Last edited: Nov 4, 2008
  10. Quenton Guenther

    Quenton Guenther Motored Bikes Sponsor

    Hi Hal,
    Here is a lot of important information on the Whizzer automatic clutch. It is possible to acheive "quick" and "total" lock [my dirt track Whizzer will easily pull wheelies, ask around for pictures], but that isn't the way it normally works. Because of the design, the clutch "slides" into lock, and normally slips when first engaged. If you advance the throttle quickly before the shoes are mated with the hub it will glaze the shoes and the only fix is to remove the glaze [Dremel grinder with a sanding drum] from the shoes. Problem is, once the shoes are glazed it will continue to slip. There were many different version of the shoes used in production, however the object remains the same. The more of the shoe you get to mate with the hub, the better the engagement. My hi-performance Whizzers have 99% to 100% contact, and some of the production clutches start out at less than 15%. I will tell you how I speed up the mating surfaces, but I don't suggest you do it this way. I lock the brakes, open the throttle until the clutch "smokes" a little, then re-surface the shoes [remove only the glazed area on each shoe], and repeat this process until most or all of each shoe is glazed, I then remove the glaze, and the clutch works really well. I would guess if done easily [not my way] it might take 20 or more times to reach 75% contact on some versions of the clutch. It is also important that you don't use my method on some of the earlier versions of the clutch because it could end up with undesired results. On the very early [all out of warranty by now] versions of the clutch, the shoe pivot pins didn't go all the way through the hub [hub was cast iron], and some of the pins could pull out of the hub, and I don't need to go into detail about the possible end result. The next version still used the cast iron hub, but the pins were pressed all the way throught the hub, but some still ended up with loose pins because of the way the pins were "peened" on the hub [most, if not all, are now out of warranty]. The next version still used the cast iron hub but the pins were flattened at the exit point on the outside of the hub [most, if not all are now out of warranty], as far as I know none of the shoe mounting pins ever worked loose on this or any future version. If the pins are loose on the earlier versions, a simple fix is possible. I am still using one of the earlier versions on my 1999 Whizzer that I modified to correct the loose pin problem. If the version doesn't have the holes all the way through the hub, drill the hole through with a 13/64" drill [can get away with using a 3/16" in a bind], then thread with a 1/4" X 20 tap. Next purchase 1/4" shoulder bolts, so that the shoulder matches the length of the hole in the shoe [may need to open the hole in each shoe if the fit is too tight to pivot], then thread the bolt throught the recently cut threads, and use a 1/4" X 20 nut to "lock" the bolt in place, cut off any extra threads extended past the jam nut. If the holes are already through the hub with loose pins, you just skip the part about drilling the hole through. Next I will cover the shoes used during the process, but it must be noted many of the similar style clutches [not Whizzer] with shoes on a pivot didin't have any material on the shoes, but were metal to metal contact. The shoes on the earlier Whizzer clutches had a very thin, but wider contact surface bonded [glued] to the shoes, the later versions added a thicker contact material, but weren't as wide. Some of the shoes had material attached with a taper cut, and some were cut even, therefore some took longer to "mate" with the hub than did others. It is important to note that my 1999 model is using the shoes with the thin, but wider shoe material, and it "hooks" up really well [over 68 MPH on a dyno]. The clutch on my dirt track racer uses the later clutch with the aluminum hub, and the shoes with the thicker but narrow material, and it can pull wheelies [works very well]. Another important change in the Whizzer clutch system concerned the bolt that mounts the clutch to the arm, the early version used regular threads, but early in production the mounting bolt was changed to reverse threads. It is very important that you know which version is used because if over tightened the bearing centers could be crushed and destroy the bearings [#6901Z available from any bearing company], Whizzer installed a sleeve between the bearings, but it isn't strong enought to overcome the power of a good socket wrench [not their fault we are so strong]. Later versions of the clutch added more bearings [some used as many as 5 instead of 2], however I prefer the version with only 2 bearings because the hub structure is more solid on both ends of the bearing sleeve area, and I now have a couple in my collection with the bearing race snapped from the hub [ a problem I doubt many will ever see]. Most of the Whizzer automatic clutches used a 3 section bearing and a seal on each end [my favorite version], but the latest editions removed the seals, replaced the 3 section needle bearing with a single one-way version, and installed a larger caged bearing on each side. Recently I modified 51 clutch hubs [installed a rockwell 58 rated bearing sleeve on each], and found the bearing surface in many different configerations. Some of the bearing surfaces were cast iron with no bearing sleeve, some had a bearing sleeve installed, but looked like it was cut on a lathe [rought tool marks], and one had a hardened bearing sleeve. All of the clutches I rebuilt were out of warranty, so I will gladly furnish the needed information if anyone wants to upgrade their own clutches [as a few have already done]. The bearing sleeve is 38.5 MM long, the O.D. is 30 MM, and the I.D. is 25 MM and needs to be high quality, highly polished, and rated at rockwell 58. On the hubs with sleeves installed, the sleeve needs to be removed [slow process on the lathe], but an additional 1 MM must be cut from the remaining surface in order for the new sleeve to be installed. The fit needs to be at least .002" interference and should be installed with a high grade retaining loc-tite [I use # 620 or #640]. It is also necessary to shorten the sleeve on both ends prior to pressing it on the hub [reduce from 38.5 MM to 36 MM].
    One of the most common problems is the clutch not engaging during forward movement of the rear wheel. If the one way bearing dosen't lock on the sleeve it is impossible to start the motor [unless you own a Ambassador with the electric starter]. I have found several reasons for the clutch to "forget" to lock the one-way bearing. The most common is the bearing sleeve, the second is a defective one-way bearing, and lastly the single section one-way bearing slipping inside the aluminum hub [only on versions with the caged outside bearings]. I suggest the bearing sleeves be replaced on all versions of the clutch [problem #1 solved], replace the defective 3 section bearing with a new one [problem #2 solved], and remove the single section one-way bearing from the aluminum hub, using a sharp punch, dimple the area inside the hub where the bearing normally resides about 20 or 30 times, install red or better loc-tite, press the bearing back into the hub, be careful to insert correctly or the bearing will work in reverse [problem #3 solved]. These upgrades can be arranged through your local machine shop, some Whizzer dealers, or check in the vendor section for other options.
    Because of the changes during production, it is impossible to expect all versions to react exactly the same, but It is very easy to like the way it works with the flat head Whizzer motor.
    This post is not intended to discredit any company, person, persons, suppliers, or vendors in the USA or any foreign country, but as information to aid in adding longer life to some automatic clutches.

    Have fun,
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2008
  11. RdKryton

    RdKryton Active Member

    Wow Quenton
    I just copied this to a folder I have on my computer for future reference. Very well written. Thank you


    PS I still think you should write a book!
  12. Hal the Elder

    Hal the Elder Member

    Hey Quenton:

    That long, highly detailed dissertation left me gasping!

    Its just too much for me to absorb!

    Rather than go through all that, including possible machining and parts expenses, I would instead prefer to exchange my bike for the one with the slip clutch and coaster brake that the dealer had for the same price, and it was also an unsold 2005 NE5 with one mile on the odometer.

    I really appreciate your willingness to help, but this looks like it's becoming more than I can or would even want to handle!

    Last edited: Nov 4, 2008
  13. sk8erpunk

    sk8erpunk Member

    Hal, I hear you (do you think *I* understood everything Quenton is talking about...lol), but I still say don't give up on your Whizzer.

    I thought I was buying something I could just ride right out of the box. I didn't even want something I had to work on and tinker with. But in the process of going through this (I have only had my Whizzer for 3 months and everything is still stock on it and unmodified), I have come to change my mind. I love working on the bike (tinkering) and I love riding it. It is a great little ride if you treat it right. I don't think you need to be Quenton or Bill or Mike to ride and maintain one. I know I am not even close to being able to think like these guys (my brain works in some completely different way--I am not ashamed to say that I failed shop in HS, and it wasn't even auto shop, it was wood shop!!!!). all my moped friends just laugh. they love the way my bike looks, but they see my tinkering and wonder what is up... In the end, I think the more I get to know my Whizzer the easier it is for me to tinker and fix whatever minor things arise (I am also hours away from any dealer, so I pretty much have to do this on my own).

    before you run your bike back to the dealer, I would just ride it as much as you can and see how you feel. of course, do what you think is right for you, but I wouldn't give up on it. the clutch is a weak point on the NE5, but easy to swap out if it fails (I had no idea how ridiculously easy it all was), the warranty is good and when that runs out you can always get a modified hub from Quenton. I have to say the Whizzer is not what I expected, but what I got out of it was far more than I imagined. I met a whole group of people who love riding bikes/mopeds and they've become a huge part of my life. My life has definitely changed for the better because of my Whizzer. -- rob
  14. Hal the Elder

    Hal the Elder Member

    Thanks for the word of encouragement!

    I'll ride Oscar around for awhile, to see if sheer use will improve the way he runs. If no improvement, then Sayonara Oscar and Hello Slip-Clutch!

    One thing I always liked about the traditional slip-clutch Whizzers was the fact that the engine stayed connected to the rear wheel until YOU decided to disconnect it!

    That's what I like...a SOLID lockup between engine and drive wheel! No funny-business going on between centrifugal weights, pivots and friction shoes...just a clutch cable to change the tension between belts riding in simple pulleys!

    Last edited: Nov 4, 2008
  15. Quenton Guenther

    Quenton Guenther Motored Bikes Sponsor

    Hi Hal,
    You should be nice to Oscar! Don't expect the new edition Whizzer with the slip clutch to work like the vintage version. You may find it far less expensive to upgrade Oscar's clutch [approx. $100.00] than the need for the special idler assembly and a new rear wheel. Many owners have issues with the slip clutch because the clutch handle doesn't move the cable as far as really needed to release the clutch [less travel than the vintage version]. Many find it difficult to adjust the clutch where it will release when stopped and total engagement when traveling. Whizzer dealers offer a special idler assembly called a "belt tensioner" part #3010 and the price is $75.50 to help make the clutch work better. As best I can tell the arm is either too short or the belt is too long, because the belt usually rubs the bottom belt guard mounting post. And I have had several rear wheel hubs collaspe [spoke rings are pressed on, not part of the hub], but luck has been on my side because I wasn't traveling at high speeds when the wheel tried to act like a "wet noodle". If you do exchange Oscar for the slip clutch, please for your personal safety, consider replacing the rear wheel or at least have a bike shop or Whizzer dealer install a quality rear coaster brake hub.
    If the dealer will let you, you might condider riding the slip clutch model prior to trading Oscar in, to see if you can deal with the way it works. I have 6 vintage Whizzers with the slip clutch, and one vintage automatic clutch model [1950 Pacemaker], and they all work great, however I have converted all but one of my new edition Whizzers to automatic clutches. And the one that still uses the slip clutch [2003 Panther]has the idler assembly installed. The new edition Whizzers have a different power band when compaired to the vintage versions, and lack bottom end torque, making it difficult to travel at low speeds with the manual clutch. The vintage Whizzer motors have a lot more torque at lower RPMs, and pull like a tractor, whereas the new editions will produce more power at higher RPMs.
    This post is not intended to discredit any company, person, persons, suppliers, or vendors in the USA or any foreign country, but as information to help promote a safe and fun ride on a motorized bike.
    Have fun,
  16. Hal the Elder

    Hal the Elder Member

    Re-thinking My Position:


    Considering what you said about the new generation of slip-clutch Whizzers and the questionable durability of the rear wheel & coaster brake assembly, perhaps I should reconsider keeping Oscar, even if more expense may be necessary to get him running "right".

    Another negative point in trading for the slip-clutch model would be losing my Registration-Free, License-Free, and Insurance-Free status because I would no longer comply with the "Automatic Transmission" requirement stated in the California DMV Form REG 230, which lists four requirements for the "Free" status:

    1: Two-wheel device

    2: Pedals for human power

    3: Automatic Transmission and a motor with less than 2 HP

    4: Maximim speed of 30 MPH on level ground

    So getting a slip clutch Whizzer would disqualify me from the "Free" status, by violating provision #3!

    So back to fixing the "excessive slip" problem in my automatic clutch!

    Yesterday, I removed the belt guard and attempted to remove the belts to pull the clutch and "roughen-up" the friction shoes, which are probably glazed, but I don't know the correct procedure for removing the belts! Do I loosen the rear wheel and slide it forward to provide slack? What?

    Thanks, Quenton...
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2008
  17. Mountainman

    Mountainman Active Member

    excuse to dig into something or ride that thing

    yes Hal - understood - that's how you felt on that day

    I was looking forward to the day when Hal's post would say


    sounds as if you are getting tired of the playing with tools and mind

    at this point I agree with one of your statements made in post above

    it get's OLD digging into the tools when -- you want to ride that thing
  18. Quenton Guenther

    Quenton Guenther Motored Bikes Sponsor

    Hi Hal,

    I think you should keep Oscar. Oscar is the best choice considering the Automatic clutch isn't that hard to upgrade. 99% of any problems with Oscar's clutch can be cured by installing a quality bearing sleeve. I have upgraded hundreds of Whizzer clutch hubs and all seem to working correctly. I will attempt to supply the details for the easiest way to service the glazed shoes. It is very easy if done correctly, first remove the belt guard, next "roll" the rear belt off the sheeve. One caution while removing the rear belt is be very careful because the rear sheeve is VERY SHARP. Pull the belt towards you and rotate the rear wheel clockwise untill the belt is off the sheeve. Next carefully pull the front belt towards you and "roll" the front belt off the clutch assembly [it is easier if the compression release is activated, or simply remove the sparkplug to allow the motor to turn easily]. Next remove the bolt holding the clutch to the arm [remember what I said in a earlier post about the bolt might be regular or reveresed threads], pay close attention how the washers are located on the bolt. Also be careful because the clutch is heavy [don't drop it]. Next pull the clutch apart [the 2 halves simply pull apart with a slight rotation of the 2 pieces]. You will see the shoes on the side with the larger pulley, the object is to only remove the glazed area on each shoe, do not sand any other part of the shoe, only the "high" spots. It is also a good idea to stuff a rag in the bearing area to keep any of the sanding material out of the bearings. I always apply some good quality grease to the bearing in the center of the hub [I use synt. wheel bearing grease], and re-assemble the clutch by reversing the process. If you need pictures send me an email at quincy163@yahoo.com requesting them. You should also apply some blue loc-tite to the threads on the bolt that attaches the clutch to the arm, and DON'T over tighten the bolt.
    The next thing you need to do is ride Oscar and have fun.

    Have fun,
  19. Hal the Elder

    Hal the Elder Member

    Will Do, Quenton!


    Now that I know the correct procedure for removing the belts... I'm on my way!

    (I bought some Blue Loktite)

  20. Hal the Elder

    Hal the Elder Member

    Hey Mountainman:

    I'll NEVER tire of tinkering and fabricating with my shop tools and power equipment!

    Sometimes I get frustrated when I'm all set to tackle a project and the door slams in front of me, so then I seek help. This is where Quenton, Mike, and Chris come in!

    Then when I jump that hurdle, I'm on a roll!

    No sweat, Mountain...everything's gonna be Jake, and you'll see me ridin' Oscar to Mars & back!

    HAL :cool:
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2008