Friday, 4 October 2019

Mercane: prep for riding and regular "keep an eye on its"

Firstly this is about the Mercane Wide Wheel, but its applicable to ANY SCOOTER in a general way.

I really want to emphasise, get to know your scooter, don't be afraid of doing maintenance on it, and this familiarity will pay off not only in good running, but you'll develop an understanding of it and over time you'll "feel" when something needs looking into.

Anyway, I thought I should do a post about general and preventive maintenance on the Mercane (as I've already done a few here in a piecemeal manner).

I think its important to note that these eScooters are toys, not "motor vehicles" which must conform to DoT safety standards and other engineering standards. Scooters don't and they're assembled by (probably) unqualified people who probably did not know as much (perhaps as you) when they started and (unlike you dear reader) didn't have anyone to make any suggestions to them.

As it happens the Mercane is fundamentally a sound design, robust in many ways, but not immune to poor assembly, mainly the lack of thread locker.

So with that in mind I'd say its prudent to do all of the following yourself (some of these are safety critical, I'll mark them red:
  • Day 1: remove (one at a time) each external fixing bolt (all under the belly pan for a starter) and put a drop of permatex blue on it (or a light loctite), put just a single drop and put it on the side of the tip (see picture below). This will prevent vibration losses of those bolts.
  • Day 1: remove check and decently tune the brake caliper (here) (make sure that the caliper clears the disc to avoid damage to both) and that the inside pad is put close to the disc to avoid that "bending over" phenomenon (see here).
  • regularly adjust your brakes I've recently added a video on how to adjust your brakes once they're properly set up here.
  • daily: when plug your charger in and turn it ON before plugging into the bike (avoiding electrical erosion of the plug and bike side contacts ... the plug is a high quality XT60 and is gold plated for good contact, why fuck it up right?
  • periodically pull the base cover off and check that all bolts are snug and no signs of deforming the washers is present on the steering head stem attachment bolts.
  • soon: get a short length of aquarium tube (about 3 inches) the right diameter and use it as an outer protector for the rear brake cable run, it rubs on the chassis ... I'm about to inspect the drive side cable too, so you may want to look at that yourselves too, but I don't think its as big a problem due to the angles ... but worth looking right?
  • daily: note that your handlebar rings properly seated when you raise them. They're tapered and spring loaded (make sure you see the springs are working. I've seen one person complain of a folded bar soon after getting on.
  • avoid: while not exactly maintenance be careful with big gaps in pavement, as these are actually very hard 90° impacts like a hammer and chisel and if you happen to be turning or leaning (say avoiding something) will hit the tyre edge on and you can see the result on mine.
  • occasional inspection: recently I felt that there was some play in the swing arm** so I took those covers off and (again one at a time) removed the retaining bolt of the swing arm and added a drop of permatex onto that too (see video below showing the bolt I mean as well as my blog post here). If it feels tight (mine was loose as I expected from the movement I felt) then leave it alone.
  • maintenance: swingarm side covers: while you have those covers off examine the axle nuts (that hold the wheel from falling off), finger tightness test them and if you feel any movement then they're fine. If you are sus just give them a quick tightness test with the supplied spanner. remember "leftie loosie righty tighty" for direction of turn
  • suggestion: I'd say a bit of added foam in the battery compartment is handy as the battery is held in by velcro, which is super strong and prevents shocks from being transmitted to the battery, but thigns like cables in there rattle a little. Now it is important to not block the holes in the battery base which allow drainage and some cooling air flow (important both of them. I used this).
  • Monthly Steering Stem: with eventual hard use you'll need to keep an eye out for this problem with the Steering Stem attachment. If you don't you could be seriously hurt. Make no mistake, like so many other things on the Mercane it seems to "fail safe" but if you go on ignoring it then (like run-flat tyres) you'll end up causing damage perhaps to yourself; although that's no skin off my nose if you do.
Just as a follow up I think its important to mention that the permatex blue that I use is this, and an image I snagged off the web is this:

I don't have experience with the tooth paste tube style pack gel they are selling too. Anyway the key (meaning important) words in that are:

  • OEM specified. All-purpose, medium strength threadlocker.
  • Ideal for all nut and bolt applications 1/4? to 3/4? (6mm to 20mm). 
  • Eliminates need for stocking expensive lock nuts and lock washers. 
  • Locks and seals while preventing parts loosening due to vibration. 
  • Protects threads from corrosion. 
  • Removable with hand tools for easy disassembly. 

Read the directions on that page if you're unfamiliar with it ... myself I just make sure that the bolts are cleaned with a rag (and ours on the eScooters aren't likely to be oily...)

** As mentioned above this is the swingarm bolt which I was talking about (although the loose one was the rear on my Mercane single motor (which seems to have suffered the most from crappy assembly)

I recommend you watch this video, but you will not need to remove anything more than the side cover to access this.

I've since added a bit more on that on my blog here.

Happy Scooting


Ali Dalkus said...

Nice article and I really liked "leftie loosie righty tighty". 😀

Ali Dalkus said...

I already did 250 km with my Widewheel Pro and since yesterday I noticed the handlebar seems to be loose and there is a small movement. I checked the bolts on the other side of folding mechanism(the single bolt in the middle) and it was just a little loose. After tightening it it seems it worked. I also did inspection on the other bolts they were fine except from lower left one you can see in the picture, voilaaa there is no bolt inside 😀 seems like they forgot to out it at all. It's 4 mm bolt. I will find a one and out it there, hope it will not cause any bigger problem.