I always wanted a Peugeot. Most of my personal moped buildin' has been centered on 'Der Einrichtung' as I call it, the austro-hungarian empire of mopeds, Puch, Tomos, Sachs, and generally 1 and 2 speed machines. Even my solo voyage into italian bikes with the Ciao was limited to a crummy dry clutch. Adding a variator to the mix has always enticed me, but I've never sought out purchasing a variated bike. Hobbits are boring and kinda dumb looking, I like vespa bravos but they are kinda rare, Moby's are pretty cool but I really dont like working on them because they are just designed so goofy. That leaves the Peugeot, a fantastic bike for a number of reasons. Reed valve induction, simple robust variator, sturdy frame and suspension, and more performance parts than you can shake a stick at.
When I gave Caitlin the Ciao for Christmas one year, after a very careful and artful build I was super proud of, it was pretty dissapointing when she wouldn't ride it. In hindsight, I had built the bike for myself, my idea of what she would like, not what she actually would like. She wanted something heavier, better suspension and brakes, and a smoother power delivery. The polar opposite of the lightweight, dry clutch, peaky power of the Ciao. I really wanted her to ride with me and the Cranks the following summer, so I started looking for a better fit for her. My first thought was Peugeot or Hobbit. Given Caitlin's love of all things French, and my desire to add a stock-fast Peugeot to the stable, the 103 seemed like a great fit. The Peugeot almost fell in my lap a few weeks later. I helped a fellow sort out a vespa grande and negotiated a trade for the DR kit i took off the ciao. Everybody came out ahead and I was able to load my new peugeot moped into my peugeot 505 SW8 station wagon and bring her home.
The green 103 came to me in pretty good condition, overall. Not running of course, the carb was sort-of there, but someone had broken the mechanism on top that pulls up the slide, and repaired it by drilling a hole straight through the middle of the frame for the throttle pull. The throttle was connected this way, meaning that when you hit a bump or the engine variated the cable would get pulled! Quite possibly the most terrible way to fix this that you could imagine.
Right away I knew I'd have to replace the carb, the pipe was also missing so that would be next on the list. Some better reeds and mild porting would speed things up, and possibly the godawful stock internal ignition coil would need replaced with the sachs/puch bosch unit. The handle bars were taco'd and the controls were all messed up, but that would be easy. Based on what a lot of people had told me, mid 40's would be easily attainable with just a few tweaks.
The pipe situation was the first to get addressed, I was curious about this Faco circuit pipe on treats. I could tell from pictures that the shape size and length was comparable to one of the cheap puch pipes. I love the proma GP and was hoping this would be like a circuit-ized version of that pipe. Plus for $40 it was pretty much the cheapest pipe made for anything ever. No silencer, no info known about it, apparently someone named fred had one on a kitted peugeot that went 50 mph, that was all I knew.
I pulled the trigger and got the pipe.It was the crappiest pipe i've ever seen, everything from the exhaust nut to the mounting tabs were crappier than i could have imagined. What was worse, is that i quickly discovered it had a massive internal restriction- a flat plate across the whole belly section with a hole in it- basically defeating the entire purpose of the pipe.
You can read more about the Faco rebuild here:
With the pipe installed, it was time to fit a carb. The whole engine was removed and I made a shim to mount a Bing carb. It was the only thing i had at the time, and I know Bings well enough to make them work on just about anything. That was installed with a set of el cheapo 2 petal reeds. Everything was bolted back up and it all looked good. I cleaned up the points, set the timing, and fixed the decomp valve.
The maiden voyage was terrible, obviously a lot of setting up left to do. Started instantly but ran like complete crap. No matter how i changed the jetting and timing, there was always a high rpm miss. Completely erratic. The natural culprit was the much-maligned 2-coil peugeot ignition. These were a terrible design from the factory, an internal high tension coil on them that was too small, with too fine of wire, and crappy paper/resin potting. The spark plug wire is soldered to a tab sticking out of the thing, and the whole apparatus is just a mess. They are usually junk, so I figured that was the problem. I had heard people talk about winding coils so I figured I'd try it out. Made a coil winding jig and set to work with a drill press and the winding jig. Took a couple tries, but finally i had a pretty decent product.
For more on coil winding:
The new coil made an immediate difference, first thing i noticed was the absurd spark, it could easily jump 1/4" or bigger gap. Super, I figured that would be the end of that, and the bike would instantly be going 40.
Got it all back together, retimed, doublechecked timing... crap, still stuck with the high rpm miss, still stuck with crappy high rpm power.
Pretty frustrating all in all, especially when most people have these going about 35 bone stock.
Blah blah, carb tuning, I completely re-set up the bing, every needle and every atomizer i had in different combinations. Most made it slightly worse, but nothing could make the top end clean up and perform like it should.
Writing this up now, knowing the conclusion of all this, its pretty funny that I missed it for so long, really. Not sure if its worth going into all the detail of the next year of screwing around, but at the end of it all, I had ported the cylinder (probably a little more than i should have) replaced everything, condenser, coils, all kinds of stuff.
Finally after putting up another frustrated post on this blog, Christophe, america's french moped laurate, suggested I try replacing the points. Such an obvious thing, but something that i had overlooked completely. They looked good, they had been filed well, and everything was in 'spec' but for whatever mysterious reason they were just shot enough to malfunction at high speed. Revving it up on the stand confirmed it, sure enough, they were sparking at mid-upper-midrange, exactly when i felt like i was loosing power. The erratic fouled plugs, the weird missing, everything obviously pointed to points, but I couldn't see it.
I took some time to replace the handlebars with the bars from my Sachs, they are a little tiny bit tweaked, but much straighter than the completely mangled peugeot bars. I never liked them on the sachs but they are a good fit for the peugeot. New grips and replacing the too-short brake cable all happened at the same time.
The points were pretty crappy coming direct from 1977. They appear to be the same ones as Treats have, probably from Taiwan or India. You can even see in the picture how badly off-set the contact point is. I was able to bend them around pretty easily with a pair of needle-nose pliers (try doing that with OG Bosch points some time) and smashed them into pretty good alignment.
Installed the points and re-timed to 1.3mm BTDC. Numerous people have said that's the magic timing rather than 1.5 mm recommended by Peugeot. Sure enough right away I could tell the problem was fixed, riding up and down the street alone showed how much better things were, and after going down a main jet, going back to the main jet i had, then removing a tiny bit of air filter material, the tuning was as spot- on as it could be. I moved the timing back and forth a little bit by adjusting the point gap, as well, just to make sure and ended up a little bit advanced of 1.3, probably close to 1.36-1.38.
Within a week of getting her running right, the very old and somewhat frozen chain broke the master link on the way into school. That still hasn't been fixed.
The carb is getting upgraded to a bored out SHA 14:12 very soon also. For more on the setup of the Dellorto SHA carb:
So thats about it, the engine will come off soon and the carb and intake will get installed, I'll probably go over all the gaskets and make sure everything is staying tight and well sealed, and pop off the variator to adjust that for higher rpms.
I also have a tomos sprint seat that might end up on here. Damn its an ugly seat, but the stock one is pretty darn uncomfortable and Caitlin wants something a bit comfier that could maybe do doubles in an emergency.