MAINTENANCE TIPS FOR YOUR SCOOTER
KEEP A RECORD. Before beginning any maintenance and disassembly you should always use a pen and paper to record the position and colors of wires and parts, labelling wires and wire harnesses or marking spacers, etc., if necessary, so you are aware of how to reconnect each wire and where to route each wiring harness. It is easier to begin with the scooter on a chair or stand so you can see the components more easily. When disassembling wheels use a Sharpie and pen/paper to mark the spacers and spacer locations and position of the separate pieces. Reassembly can be simple if you record it on paper and do not trust your memory. Mark the position of adjusters using the sharpie pen and the position of bolts, screws or other hardware including motor brackets and bands. Making marks at axle and adjuster positions on the frame, etc., locates the proper tension and alignment for reassembly for most belt changes.
TIRE INFLATION. Make sure the tires are inflated properly. Small tires loose air pressure quickly and must be aired frequently. Most small tires can accept air pressure from 35 to 85 psi with some tires. This allows the tire to properly contact the surface and keeps the tube from rotating inside the tire during braking and acceleration. If the tube rotates, the valve stem will possibly be cut or torn from the inner tube. This will require replacement of the innner tube.
CHANGING AN INNERTUBE. For small tire size split rims, a few customers have pinched the innertube in between the tire rim when replacing a bad tube, causing a hole or rip in the tube. This happens when you do not partially inflate the tube to get it out of the way of the rim as you put it together. Just add a little pressure so the tube fills out and gets out of the way of the rim. Then tighten the tire rim screws or bolts securely and THEN finish adding the correct tire pressure! Saves a big problem caused by the rim tightening on the uninflated tube!!
To change a larger sizes the challenge is even greater getting the tire and tube over the lip of the rim without putting a hole in the innertube due to poking or pinching it while spreading the tire. Here are the details with pictures.
BATTERY MAINTENANCE. Charge the battery with a high quality, intelligent battery charger that helps keep the batteries from getting hot during charge cycles and shuts off when it senses the batteries are fully charged. Batteries should be charged frequently, especially after prolonged usage that runs the battery down. Allow the batteries to cool for an hour or more before charging. Heat will damage batteries and it is helpful to try and keep batteries cool by taking breaks during use. A battery can also go bad if left idle for a long period of time since sediments will collect at the bottom of the battery shorting out the lead plates inside the battery. This was especially true of the 24 volt single cell Vapor battery since the plates were closer together inside the battery. We now use two 12 volt batteries in the Vapor.
BELT AND CHAIN TENSION AND MAINTENANCE. Keep the right tension on your drive belt (or chain) during use. A loose drive belt will allow the teeth to slip and wear at an excessive rate. Failure of the belt will occur due to slippage or the heat generated due to improper tension. The belt can be adjusted by moving the rear tire foreward or aft. Check your specification, but look for approximately one-half to one-quarter inch give when pressing against the middle of the span on many scooters. It is important to prevent slippage, but also do not overtighten.
CHANGING A BELT. When you change a belt due to wear be sure to center it so that it does not ride against the side of the belt hubs on the motor or rear tire. Some customers put the scooter on a chair or stand so the rear wheel can freely turn and run the scooter to see that the belt visibly stays centered on the belt hubs. If it is not centered properly it will cause the belt to rub on the hub edge or try to jump up on the edge of the hub and cause wear or a tear in the edge of the belt which will eventually cause the belt to completely separate, rip, and fail. Also, make sure the belt hub on the motor (most likely) and rear wheel have teeth that are not worn down or damaged, creating a situation where the new belt will wear quickly or slip causing the teeth to be completely worn off in areas. Please check your belt often after replacement to insure it remains properly installed. We offer no warranty for belt failure. It is a good idea to purchase two belts at a time.
Here is a sample procedure for changing a belt:
You want to mark or diagram the parts (even the adjusters on each side so you will know about where to tighten them back to after loosening for disassembly) so you can put them back on in the same place and order. A rear wheel assembly is pictured here. Place the scooter on a chair above the ground for easy access and disassembly and so you can freely turn the rear wheel. Loosen the adjuster nuts by a few 360 degree turns counterclockwise (some scooters have other type adjusters that move when the axle is loosened - mark their location), loosen the axle bolt nuts, slide and tap the axle bolt out to the brake side until the spacer on the belt hub side drops free. Put the new belt in place now that the axle and belt side spacer are out of the way. Push the axle back with the spacer back on it and reassemble with tensioner, washers, and nut. Readjust the tensioners nuts clockwise a couple of 360 degree turns back where they were before and now see if the wheel rotates properly. Apply power safely to see if the belt is now properly tracking and aligned. If not, loosen the axle bolt and adjust one side or the other's tensioner to bring the alignment correct. It is a procedure that should take only minutes once you have done it.
Need further help? X-treme can also call or provide information using the support ticket system.
Also check the Manual to see how to adjust the belt.
CONTROL BOX REPLACEMENT. Scooter control boxes are fairly simple with connector or wiring harnesses to the components of the scooter: battery, motor, throttle, brake cutout switch (lever), ignition switch, charger socket, and usually an indicator lamp and/or brake light. We sell control boxes in different voltages and amperages for the size motor your scooter uses. Select a control box replacement equal to or greater than the size of the motor and be sure to mark your connectors for the connection to each component. In some cases a connector will be different and the wiring can be spliced to the scooter harness, bypassing the connector, OR (and more desireable) the metal blades in the Molex Connector can be removed with a small flat blade of a jeweler's screw driver and slid back in place in the old Molex Connector on the old control box harness. We test and mark wiring and/or plugs for the control boxes we sell, but we do not warranty the control box except to say they were load tested prior to packaging to insure they work properly. You may also still need to match the wiring color (remove the blade and reposition it in the molex connector so that the scooter harness and controller molex connectors mate with the correct colors on each side). This is important for matching polarity especially with the battery, charger connector, throttle, and motor connectors. Each control box description on the web page also has a link to either a wiring diagram or connector attachment chart that is helpful identifying plug and wiring. If you incorrectly hook a control box you may blow a fuse or burn out the control box and you must purchase a new one at your expense. But control boxes are simple items and we suggest you begin by making sure it works on your scooter by only hooking up the ignition switch (or bypassing it by shorting the two leads together), the motor, the throttle, and lastly the battery. A small electric arc is normal when connecting the battery connector. You can twist wires temporarily together or use jumper leads with clips. This will let you run the motor briefly while the scooter is on blocks for a check of things (making sure the wheel can turn by placing the scooter off the ground). Then complete the wiring and permanently install the control box.
REAR WHEEL REASSEMBLY. For help in reassembly of the rear wheel see pictures at this page for the proper parts location.
GENERAL MAINTENANCE. Lightly oil throttle and brake linkages to prevent binding. Check nuts and bolts to insure they are tight and cannot come loose. Wipe down the chrome pieces to prevent rust.
SCOOTERS ARE FOR PAVEMENT. Do not ride electric scooters through water or mud, or even on wet grass since water can cause failure of the electrical components! Electric scooters are meant to be ridden on dry hard surfaces.
SCOOTER RUNS WIDE OPEN
1) CONTROL BOX. The control box uses input from the throttle to vary the speed of the scooter or motorbike. If a control box becomes defective it is possible that it will read a false throttle indication and run at full speed. It can also simply short out and put full output volt/amps to the motor in the circuit that supplies the motor its power. This motor circuit is the part of the control box where heat builds up and results in either a total burn out or open circuit, or everything melts together to create a full speed condition that even the brake cutout switch will not stop. Only turning off the switch or disconnecting the batteries will stop this runaway condition. It is possible for a control box to go bad just sitting in the garage, so try to store your scooter or motorbike with this possibility in mind. While rare, it has happened that a scooter owner found his electric scooter in his garage on its side running wide open and the switch off.
2) THROTTLE WIRE SHORT. Less likely, but possible, is a short between two of the three wires in the throttle harness that causes a full speed condition.
NO POWER / SYSTEM WON'T CHARGE
In this situation we will assume that the battery has been charged or allowed to stand for several hours (a good battery set will normally self-charge up to a point and make the scooter power up for a fair distance). There are generally these main suspects:
1) WIRING. First suspect a loose, shorted, or broken connection. Take the top or deck off to see the wiring and inspect it for any bad connections on the battery, switches, controller box, etc. A battery charger will indicate a green charged battery condition if there is an open connection in the charge circuit from the socket to the batteries.
2) CONTROL BOX / MOTOR. Second suspect the controller box has failed. You may detect a burnt smell. Since the controller is the brain of the system it can fail in many ways to prevent current from being supplied to the motor. You can separately test the motor without a load by direct connecting it (safely) to the battery to see if it will run. MOTORS can get so hot they melt the windings together and short out. You may detect a burnt smell. The result is reduced power, high amerage draw (you may blow a fuse repeatedly), low performance, or it may be completely dead.
3) BATTERY. Also suspect a battery cell that is completely open or shorted by age producing sediments and deposits (we have seen new scooters with batteries over a year old from manufacture that were bad), supplying no current and possible even testing as having no voltage or current or partial current ability. A battery can be very briefly shorted with a wire from positive to negative to see if an arc is produced, revealing current is present, but it is best to have a load tester since even brief periods of available current will not conclusively test a battery's condition. Most places that sell any batteries will have a tester to check your batteries. See Below for more advice on batteries.
4) COMPONENTS: THROTTLE / BRAKE CUTOUT SWITCH. It is also possible to have a bad brake lever or throttle since both have wiring and switches or variable controls. The brake lever has a power cut-off switch which can go bad or stick and disconnecting it from the system eliminates it. The throttle variably controls the speed of the scooter and is usually reliable since it has no contacting parts.
5) SWITCH. The scooter On/Off switch can be defective. Without a good switch the scooter has no power, but the test of this is the power light. Does the power light come on when the switch is activated to the On position?
6.) SUBSTITUTION. Substitution of a good component for a suspected bad component is the only last conclusive means to find the bad component. While you must purchase the component, and it may not be returned if it is not the faulty part, you will make the repair and likely for less money than a repair service would charge for parts and labor.
7.) FUSE / FUSEHOLDER. When a fuse blows there usually is a reason so be mindful that just replacing a fuse may result in the new fuse blowing, too. There even may be an arc when you insert the fuse if you do not first disconnect the batteries. Also look at the wiring to the fuseholder. If a wire breaks off the fuseholder then you will have a short ride and the batteries will not charge.
POWERS FOR ONLY SHORT DISTANCE USE AFTER FULLY CHARGING
Suspect the battery charger, open wiring in the charger circuit, or the battery set as the primary cause of short distance riding after a lengthy or full charge. If your battery charger does not have charging indicator lights then you may not be charging the battery at all if the charger is defective. The battery may be self-charging to about 40-60% on it's own if it is not old. If the battery is getting old then it may not be able to hold a full charge and the battery will need replacement (the charger may show the battery fully charged after a short period of charging). When suspected you can very briefly arc across the battery terminals with a insulated wire to see if it produces a nice arc. But as stated above this is not very conclusive since a battery may not have the ability to maintain the current needed. On bikes and scooters so equiped, does the headlight stay lit brightly? It is also possible to test some individual battery 12 volt cells using 12 volt motors or lights that will show you the available current capability over a long period of time. Is the 12 volt light dim on a charged battery? Does the 12 volt motor run slowly when connected to the cell? Similar type tests can be proformed using a 24 volt battery cell, too. But also be aware that a loose connector from the charger socket on the scooter to the control box can make you think the battery has charged. Check those connections, moving the wires to see if it results in the battery charger indicator light showing the charge mode is starting.
When batteries get old they build up deposits and sediments inside the battery. If a battery is very compact like the Vapor 24 volt single cell battery, then the electrode plates can short out when deposits build up. This usually happens during extended periods of inactivity of a few months. But, normal batteries will also produce deposits on the electrode plates and sediments at the bottom of the battery. Once contact is made between one or more of the electrode plates the battery will begin to fail, producing less power or being unable to accept a charge from the battery charger. The only recourse is to replace the battery set completely. When one 12 volt cell is failing, the other cell will also begin to fail very soon thereafter due to the aging process. Always replace all battery cells!
The charger socket and wiring to the batteries often goes through the control box. At any point in the charge circuit you can have an open connection. The charger will not indicate a red light charge condition, however. It will appear that the charger indicates a green light for fully charged batteries, the same as when you plug the charger into the AC outlet without plugging it into the scooter charger socket. So check for a broken or loose wire at the charger socket first. And if you have jumper wires you can carefully isolate the charger socket circuit from the control box (disconnect the plug from the control box) and connect the red wire with a jumper wire to the positive red terminal of the battery set, and the black wire from the socket to the black negative pole of the battery set. No matter what the colors PIN 1 is always plus, positive. Be sure you know what you are doing before trying this procedure, but if it works you will know that your batteries are good because they now can be charged directly from the battery charger. And you will know that your control box is bad, or at least the charger circuit in the control box is bad.
WARNING! Batteries contain acid that can explode, or the hygrogen vapors can ignite from an arc. Batteries produce current and voltage that can burn you when a shorted circuit occurs. Be absolutely sure you know what you are doing before trying any tests to eliminate a component from consideration of being defective!!!
You can take the battery to a shop capable of testing the battery under a loaded condition. Fully charge the battery and carefully remove it. Let a technician determine the condition of the battery for you.
We absolutely recommend a high quality Battery Charger as sold on our scooter parts page. These 12, 24, 36, 48, and 60 volt chargers provides an on/off indicator light plus a battery status light - Red for charging and Green for charged (no longer charging). Current is regulated to the battery set to prevent overheating, the primary cause of shortened battery life. An intelligent battery charger also prevents over charging with auto shut-off circuitry that senses when the batteries are fully charged.
BURNT SMELLS AND VISIBLY BURNT WIRING
As a technician you need to use your senses sometimes to localize the problems. Burnt smells indicate that something has overheated, shorted due to water or overheating, or caused insulation to melt off wiring harnesses. Many scooters do not use adequate wiring insulation at joints and bends that are under constant movement or stress. But it is more likely that the scooter was not designed to perform at the high level of torque and speed for the extended period of time it was subjected to. Climbing hills, running through water, contant stops and starts, and sustained long periods of use can cause control box or motor failure. Smell them to see which it seems to be. Look for burnt evidence of shorts or component failure. Always suspect the control box first since virtually no control box but the Rad2Go control boxes we sell have built in auto-shut-down overload protection. They will simply burn out if subjected to too much long duration load.
Electric scooters require maintenance. Most of the maintenace needs are very simple, but sometimes a problem will occur that requires troubleshooting to resolve. Most maintenance problems are fixed very easily and quickly. Bottom line - Regular Maintaince will decrease the problems that require troubleshooting.