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Putting it together

Congratulations on your new Buggy!

Pre Delivery Inspection for Buggies (Or Scooters)
Read entirely before UN-crating your buggy

I know this may seem like a lot to do while you have a brand new buggy sitting in your garage waiting to be ridden but, If you don’t follow this, your riding time may be cut short anyways! We do this stuff ourselves hundreds of times and run into it all the time!
Bolts and electrical connectors from China are notoriously come LOOSE and the rubber they use, causes problems in almost every buggy eventually!
Fix them now and have piece of mind later!

Congratulations on your new ride!

If you've found this page, you have just received or ordered your new buggy, great choice! China buggies, contrary to what many people will tell you, can be a great experience and not only fun to own, but dependable, stylish and economical!

Yes, there are a lot of folks out there that trash the China buggy and the main root of this problem is the many dealers who don't know this stuff or won’t do it. However,
Most frustrations can be alleviated by going into the transaction with a lot of knowledge and research on the product you are buying and not concentrating so much on the price.

If you are reading this article, you can make informed choices to heed the advice or not. If you choose to follow the advice of this article and take the few hours necessary to prep your buggy, you will not find yourself on the discussion boards screaming for help as much later! 
99% of the China buggy problems will be addressed here, and prepping the buggy right, will ensure years of problem free miles and enjoyment! So let's get started!

Gather a few tools, such as a metric socket set, pliers, rubber mallet, Phillips head screwdriver, wire cutters, oil drain pan, a “lift” of some kind would be helpful as well and some mechanic gloves & a CAMERA! (To take pictures of things as you go, for future reference if needed)

 

The Crate – Min of 2 people recommended
One "Large" person can do it by themselves but 2 is always better and safer!



So, your buggy has arrived and you're ready to ride, right? Nope, not just yet!

When you take off the cardboard, you'll see something like this. Depending on the seller, there will be some assembly required. Most buggies require that you simply attach the wheels, Roll bars / luggage rack, seats and belts and Steering wheel.

Save a big piece of cardboard, you'll need this later to lay on.

The first thing to do is get your buggy out of the metal crate without damaging it! Start by taking all of the top bolts out first and remove the top angle iron.

Next, remove all of the bottom bolts on the vertical supports. You may find that the buggies roll bars and/or frame may be attached to the crate supports at various spots, cut the attachment wires and carefully remove the wire and protective covers on them.

Next, pull out the packaged parts usually sitting in the front seat.
Put on the wheels first. Once the wheels are on, you can roll it off the bottom part of the crate.

Remove all crating material from your work area and start pulling stuff out of the plastic wrap and boxes, discarding the plastic wrap after checking for stray bolts, clips etc in it.

Before we get building, look for the cardboard box with the battery in it. It may be in a box on the floor board, or under a seat. Follow the directions for adding the electrolyte to the battery and put the battery on charge with no more than a 2 amp charger. We'll need to have this fully charged a little later on in this PDI.

Once the electrolyte has finished emptying into the battery, let it sit for at least 20-30 minutes to let the gasses escape before putting the cover on and placing it on charge.

 

Connectors and Loc-Tite

Now once the wheels are attached, next comes the re-assembly - This is the first and most important step in the PDI!
Luckily, our buggies are pretty open! Most of the electrical connections are under the dash and in the “Black Box”, in the rear of the buggy but this is VERY IMPORTANT to do for any new Chinese vehicle...

If this is the first time you've built a Buggy, it can be quite frustrating sometimes, but just take your time, do it in a well lit area and take a lot of pictures as you go! You will be surprised at how many times you will refer to these pictures later in your life, after you’ve changed something and can’t remember how it was!

Your bolts will most likely come in a big bag with no instructions as to where they go! You’ll have to lay them out so you can see the different sizes and experiment with them in different holes. They do NOT ship extra bolts!!! Every bolt and washer in that bag, goes somewhere! Anything left over and, you missed something!

When putting in your bolts, you do NOT want to tighten everything down all the way.  When putting the roll cage on, No matter how hard you try, you will inadvertently use the wrong bolt in the wrong hole and have to take it back out or things just won’t line up right and you have to go back and loosen them! It’s just part of the “Fun!”

Make sure you have a tube of good commercial grade outdoor Silicon ready and some blue thread lock, because we're going to use it virtually everywhere! It's also a good idea to get a can of Rustoleum paint and some fine sandpaper as well. 

First we'll start with the welds - check every frame weld on the buggy for rust and cracks. If you do, sand these areas down to the metal and paint them with the Rustoleum. If you find any cracks, you may want to call your dealer and see about a warranty replacement. Take plenty of well lit pictures and let your dealer know immediately! Do not wait several weeks or you may be on your own!

Next, we'll move on to the electrical connectors. There will be a lot of electrical slip connectors (Kind of like a Chinese “finger trap” for wires) all over the buggy! I start from the front and work my way back. Pull each one apart; they should NOT pull apart easily, and if they do, a little pressure on the female end with a needle-nose pliers will tighten it up. After you rejoin the slip connector, put blob of silicon across the outside of the connector's plastic cover, from one side to the other - this will prevent them from coming apart.
By doing these steps, you will alleviate ALL of the electrical gremlins so many folks have with these buggies. You can also check things like the speedometer cluster, make sure all of the screws where the electrical connectors connect to the cluster are tight and cover them with a blob of silicon as well.

You'll may also find a lot of gang connectors, or little white boxes with more than one wire plugged together. I like to open these and make sure all the prongs inside are in the right position and none are pushed in. If they are, a needle nose pliers can pull the pin up easily until it snaps in position. I then carefully and slowly close them again until they snap closed and then put some silicon on both sides of the outside of the connector. Next, I look for grounding straps, or where wires attach to the frame with a screw. You'll usually find anywhere between one and three of these - check for tightness and cover in silicon.

NOTE: Many buggies will have some gang connectors that appear to be unplugged, and there is no other matching connector near it to plug them together. Don't worry about these! These are optional accessory wiring for things such as Alarm systems, Stereos, trunk lights, etc. All china manufacturers use generic wiring harnesses and not all wiring will be used on your buggy. Also, there seems to be wire color differences from what may be written in the manual. Get used to your manual not being much use! You’ll have to learn it all the hard way!

NOTE: Check ALL wiring routes and look for unsecured or dangling wiring! Use some small tie-downs to secure them to the frame where necessary. Loose or dangling wiring can rub on the frame and short out. For wires and hoses that attach to the engine, be careful not to take up the slack, since the engine, by design, pivots with the rear suspension. 

Now it's time to check every single screw, bolt or nut on the buggy!
First, make sure you have tightened down all the lug nuts from when you put on the wheels then, check every nut you can get to, to be sure that the factory installed bolts and nuts are all tight before starting your build.
I take all the Plastics screws and loose bolts, if any, out, one-by-one, apply silicon for plastic and blue loc-tite for bolts and screw them back in. ALL of the bolts on the exhaust should be removed and reinstalled with Loctite on them, as well as the plastic wheel covers (fenders) or they WILL come out! A lot of folks go out and buy lock-washers to use on the bolts as well. Not a bad idea, you’ll see what I mean if you don’t at least use loc-tite, as your bolts and fenders start falling off on the trail!

Next, start by installing your Steering wheel first then
Seats & Seat belts together then
Roll cage,
in that order!

The cage bolts are usually about 3” long and install with a half moon, thick washer on both sides of the bar, depending on your model. A good way to see which bolts go to your roll bars, check your “Bag ‘O bolts” for the same number of bolts for the same number of roll bar holes. It should be the bolt you have the most of. Some bars may use a shorter/longer bolt, like the roll bars behind the seats, so this is why we don’t tighten them up just yet.

If you have plastic panels on your model, the Chinese like to use what they call Speed Nuts to fasten a lot of things and sometimes these can be problematic. First off, remove them one-by one, and once removed, give the rounded end a little squeeze with the pliers. Not so much to crush it though! Next, squeeze the open end together with your fingers and fill the space between the metal with silicon. Now slide the speed nut back on to the area it was on and make sure the larger hole is on the screw side. The goal is for the speed nut to be tight and some slight force needed to reapply it.

I like to keep a big blob of silicon ready on a piece of cardboard so I can just dip my screws in it before screwing them on. If you find one that is stripped, or the screw does not tighten, you can re-bend the small hole to tighten it up, or simply buy a box of new ones from any auto parts store. I have never had one I couldn't re-bend and reuse.

The next step is some preventative maintenance. We'll start by spending about $20 and replacing the following:
    1) Fuel Filter
    2) Fuel lines - ALL - They tend to be low quality and crack and kink easily. Also, the cheap China hoses disintegrate from the inside out, so you wind up with small pieces of rubber in your carb! Since different buggies use different size hoses, you can snip off about a 1" piece of each line to bring to the auto parts store and match up the inside diameter. I always use a 1/4" replacement with a 50psi rating. Changing over to screw clamps is also a good idea, and since I use the 1/4" line it requires these clamps when replacing a 3/16" line. 
    3) Vacuum lines - ALL - Also usually very low quality and sometimes much longer than necessary.
    4) Hose clamps - Optional, but recommended

Now, get out the flashlight and look inside the fuel tank! You might find things like, animal droppings, plastic wrap, Styrofoam flakes, paper, etc. All of these things WILL decompose and cause you big problems later on! Styrofoam bits are a regular problem and they disintegrate within minutes of filling the tank and then gums up the fuel filter.

Next, we'll remove the sparkplug wire and make sure the wire is properly attached to the boot and that you can see the wire inside the boot itself. While we're here, you can remove the sparkplug and check the gap. See your owner's manual for the proper gap setting. Reinstall the plug, but be careful! If it doesn't tighten all the way down by hand, you have it cross threaded - a common mistake! On some engines, you can start it in any position! Make sure you have it in right and tighten it down by hand. Only tighten it slightly with the plug wrench, you don't want to strip it. 7 ft lbs is enough pressure. When you put the plug wire back on, you should hear a series of clicks when you push down until it seats all the way.

The Fluid Dump

This publication is copywrite © 2008, LPSF and may not reproduced or redistributed

Water Cooled Engine - Dump and Refill the Anti-Freeze

Now that we have finished tightening all the nuts, bolts and made sure all of our electrical connections are tight and sealed with silicon, it's time to dump out all the crappy fluids in the buggy! 
DO NOT RUN YOUR BUGGY BEFORE CHANGING ALL THE FLUIDS! (With the exception of the Anti-Freeze change warmup)
I think the oil they use comes from an egg roll factory and I couldn’t tell you what it is they call anti-freeze!
:-)


If you have an air cooled buggy, skip to the next section.

The above example shows a CN250 motor but should be similar in all models. On the right side, you'll see the water pump. Unscrew the drain plug and take it all the way out. Then take off the radiator cap up above. Once all of the water has drained, disconnect the hoses and drain the reserve tank with a wet-vac. Then I put the wet-vac in reverse and blow air through the reserve tank which blows the excess fluid out of the top hose.

Next, reattach the water hoses and put a garden hose in the radiator on very low and let it run for about 20 minutes. Once the water is running clean out of the water pump's drain, take out the garden hose and let the pump run out dry.

Next, put a small amount of Loctite on the bolt and reinstall it. Torque the bolt to 27 ft lbs, but do NOT attempt to tighten any of the other bolts on the water pump! They are torqued from the factory with Loctite already. You can check them with some slight pressure on the ratchet and see if they move, but not too much pressure! If you feel a "pop", you broke the Loctite seal and have to remove it and reapply the Loctite!

Next, get a good brand of anti-freeze - Any good brand made for aluminum engines will do. The common polyethylene glycol (yellow) is not good to use on aluminum engines. Ask the auto parts store for a recommendation if you don't know which one to buy. Some you'll find at the auto parts store will be under the names of Sierra & Prestone Low Tox among others. It should say formulated for aluminum engines on the label somewhere.

Slowly fill from the radiator until the the fluid comes to the top, and then fill the overflow half way. Now with the radiator cap off, squeeze the bottom hose several times very quickly. You'll notice that the radiator will now need more fluid - refill it. Repeat this process with the top hose, and then the bottom again. Keep doing this until the radiator takes no more fluid. 

Now put some gas in the tank. I also like to use a small piece of the fuel line I removed earlier and hook it up to the carb. Then with a small funnel, I pour a little gas in it to prime the carb, remove the temporary line and reattach the regular fuel line. This makes the first fire up instantaneous.

Next, temporarily hook up the battery, the two red wires to the positive and black or green to the negative, twist the throttle a few times and start the engine. It may take a few tries to get it started if you haven't primed the carb, but never crank the engine for more than 4 seconds at a time. If it doesn't start, wait 20-30 seconds and try again. Do not overheat your starter or it'll burn out!

Let the engine heat up to the normal operating temperature with the radiator cap still off. You'll see the fluid drop yet again - keep it refilled as you go. If it doesn't drop, race the motor some and the thermostat will open and level will drop. Again, but this time gently, squeeze the bottom and top hoses to make sure there is no air in the system. Now you can turn off the scoot and put the radiator cap back on, but before you do, apply a little motor oil to the gasket with your fingers. You'll want to recheck the level after the first 10 miles of normal driving and add any fluid if necessary.

Engine and Tranny oil Change
(You can also watch our
KNM Garage Oil Change video)

 


  Next we're going to dump the oil from the crankcase. The engine should still be warm from the anti-freeze change above, but if not, start it and warm it up first.

ALL China buggies come with inferior oil. You should dump it out right away. Depending on the size and model of your engine, you may have one or two oil plugs to remove. We'll start by removing the dipstick. 

Place a container under the engine to catch the waste oil, and then remove the bolt under the motor and drain the oil.

Now as you remove the bottom plug, there may be a spring and a screen that will come out with it. You'll need to save these for reinstallation, since they are reusable.

I clean these parts with some spray carb cleaner and put them aside for the moment.

Next, with the oil now completely drained, put the screen inside the spring and reinstall it in the engine with the drain plug. You do NOT have to over tighten the plug! Not only might you strip it, but over tightening can cause leaks as well, so go gentle on the plug!

With the plug and screen reinstalled, place a funnel in the dipstick hole and add your oil. For the initial break-in, we're going to use a good grade of petroleum oil, 5W-30 weight, or straight 30 weight - 750ml or 3/4 of a quart is the norm. DO NOT OVER FILL! Check your oil with the dipstick, but don't screw it in. I do not use any synthetic blends during the first 1,000 miles.

This

Gear Oil Change                                                                                      

  

Next we're going to dump the gear oil from the CVT. For this explanation, we're describing a CVT that has the drain and filler bolts under the CVT cover, however, not all buggies are built this way. Some, usually 50-150ccs have the drain and fill outside the cover, so make sure yours are not inside before proceeding!

The first thing you want to do is remove the CVT cover. It will have either 2 or 8 bolts holding it on. Keep an eye on the length of the bolts and where they came out of. I like to use a piece of cardboard and poke them in, in the order they go.
You might have to give the cover a whack with a rubber mallet the first time you take it off. Some factories use a clear glue spray for ease of installation, but it pops right off. Be sure to handle the cover gently and make sure you remove it slowly, ensuring that you do not damage the gasket!

Now with the cover off and your oil pan under the CVT, remove the drain and fill bolts. The bottom bolt is the drain and the top is the fill. These are usually 6mm bolts on the bottom and 14mm on top and you'll see a brass washer on one or both.

NOTE: On some buggies, these bolts are hard to get out and many owners strip them trying. (They are-Lefty Loosy, Righty tighty), If yours are extremely tight, get a regular hammer and with the socket wrench on the bolt, give the wrench a sharp quick blow where the handle meets the socket. This will usually break it without twisting the threads off. Usually it's the twisting force that strips the threads.

Once all of the oil has drained, turn the back wheel a few times and then reinstall the bottom bolt. Now check your owner's manual for the proper oil to use. We use a 80w90 synthetic gear oil.

There are many different ways to add the oil to the top hole, but I find that the oil I buy has a nice long tapered nose on it, so I just clip off the end and stick it in the top hole and squeeze the bottle. You'll know when it's full - the oil will start to run out the top. At this point, remove the bottle and you'll see the oil coming out the top hole. You're now ready to reinstall the top bolt, but be careful! Again, these bolts are problematic and prone to stripping, so snug it up good, but not too tight!

t's now time to reinstall the CVT cover. A little trick I have used for a long time is putting a tiny amount of adhesive on the CVT gasket before reinstalling the cover. This keeps the gasket in place and prevents kinking and failure. I do this when I first take off the gasket so it has time to dry while I'm changing the oil.

After reinstalling the CVT cover, make sure you have the ground cable screwed back on (if you have one) or it won’t start.

 you have the CVT cover aligned and seated properly, there will be no movement if you try and move it back and forth. Don't tighten the screws all the way until the cover is fully seated, and then hold it in place with one hand and tighten with the other. Do not tighten it so far as the gasket starts to deform. The gasket keeps pressure on the screws so they will not back out so if you break your CVT cover here and can’t replace it, be sure to put blue loc-tite on your cover screws!

NOTE: After changing the anti-freeze, engine and gear oil, clean and dry all areas and remove any excess fluids. After your first mile of driving, check all areas for leaks.

 

Initial Carburetor Adjustment

 

Fuel Adjustment Steps for All Environments:
CAUTION: This procedure requires working on a hot, running engine. Always take precautions to avoid getting burned or having any clothing or body parts caught in a spinning wheel! This, as with all mechanical procedures is a STAND adjustment - you MUST have your buggy in neutral if you have it or on a Stand (rear up on blocks) AND,
you MUST do this in a well ventilated area!

 
1) Start and run your buggy until it reaches normal operating temperature. Make sure you have clear access to the fuel screw and idle speed adjustment.
The idle speed adjuster is the sort of round mechanism that attaches your throttle cable to the top of the carb.

2) Turn the idle speed adjustment screw clockwise to increase the RPMs at idle to about 2000 RPMs.


3)
With your buggy now at high idle, slowly turn the fuel adjustment screw clockwise until the point where the engine is about to die. The fuel adjustment screw will be a brass screw on either the side or bottom of the carb. In some cases, there will be a small brass or plastic cover that you have to snip off to get to it.
We are NOT talking about the screw at the very bottom of the carb,
that is the fuel drain.

4) When the engine is about to die, SLOWLY start turning counter-clockwise until it reaches it's peak RPMs, the point where the idle will get no faster. Don't go too far! If you do, you'll notice that the exhaust will start sounding hollow - this is too far, start over.

5) Once your fuel mixture is set, re-set your idle speed adjustment. The optimum idle speed is when the rear wheel just starts to move, and then back off a hair until the wheel stops - on my 250, it's 1800 RPMs, manual says 1700. On my 150, it's 1200 RPMs, on my 50, it's 800 RPMs... every buggy seems to be different.

6) The "vroom vroom" test! No, I don't mean sit in it and make vroom vroom noises! What I mean is, snap the throttle! (in NEUTRAL or ON BLOCKS!) You should have a clean, responsive burst of RPMs. If you have a dead spot, you need to re-adjust it. The throttle should be responsive through all ranges now.

This adjustment will also compliment the more recent automatic choke, or enricher unit on your buggy may have and prevent it from bogging down when cold.

As a final note, after your buggy is assembled and you take it for a test ride, say four or five miles or so, stop the engine and pull your spark plug as soon as possible. You can photograph it and put it back in. Then, when you get a few more miles on it, say fifty or more, pull it again and take another photo, and then compare the two pictures.

Tire Pressure Adjustment

 

The next step is to adjust the tire pressure. Your buggy will usually come with under-inflated tires. Check the sidewall of the tires and note the max pressure rating. A good rule of thumb is to inflate the tire to about 15% below the max pressure. So if your tire is rated for 14lbs, inflate it to around 12psi. This will compensate for the increase in pressure from the friction heating while riding and keep your tires under the max pressure.

NOTE: Tire pressure is specific to each tire and load weight. What I do is, take the mfg suggested pressure and drop 2 lbs. I then ride on a compacted dirt patch and look at the tracks in the dirt to see how much tire contact there is with the road. I then adjust the air for the most contact, but not so low as the sidewall can buckle under turns. On my buggy, I have the rear wheels at 12 (Rated at 14psi) and the fronts at 10 (rated at 12) Other factors, such as riding 2-up or carrying cargo would require a pressure adjustment as well.

NOTE: Tire pressure must always be checked when the tire is COLD. A hot tire will give you false readings!

Finally, The Home Stretch!

 

Now we're finally in the home stretch!

If you have followed this tutorial in whole, you'll find that you will have a solid running buggy that drives nice and does not have any of the typical rattles and loose connectors.

You should budget anywhere from 4 to 8 hours for the entire process, and take your time! If you do it right the first time, you'll have many thousands of miles of problem free buggying'...

This tutorial is a work in progress and is not complete but should help you avoid many common issues associated with Chinese imports. Please check back often, since there will be more steps added, with better pictures as well as video tutorials of the entire process!

Now Get Out and RIDE!

 

 

Some Photos and information used in this tutorial were gathered from Big Guy’s, Scoot PDI @ Scootdoc.com/Scootdawg.com- credits and thank you to both discussion boards and their helpful users!

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