E 300 Razor Scooter restoration

This project began innocently enough with a visit to the Animal Humane charity thrift store. Two forlorn E (rechargeable electric) Razor scooters, an e 100 and an e 200, sat dead and neglected for half price day. $7.50 each… dead, no chargers. Purchased the e 200, contemplated e 100. On arrival home, wife said go back and get the other, we have two grand sons visiting often enough to keep two scooters busy.

No such fortune, they had already sold e 100. Attempt at recharge using car charger on each of the two 12vdc AGM batteries on the red e 200, was not successful. Locating a source on Ebay, two new 9ah AGM sealed batteries…. rated above the original 7ah, arrived within days.

Price for two batteries (measure and comparison shop, some are priced ridiculously high from some suppliers) was about 10% of the cost of a new e 300 scooter. Success… after cutting battery wires and fitting spade connectors of correct size (1/4″).

Cut each wire away from it’s individual battery and fit each new connector, one at a time, to avoid confusion in the series circuit. There are available OEM batteries pre-wired to simplify replacement under the removable deck. They cost substantially more.Two 12 vdc batteries in series, equals 24 vdc to power the scooter. Charger must be rated to recharge the 24 vdc system after 40 minutes of use.

Batteries were charged on arrival, the motor spun the wheel while on the workbench. A charger from Ebay completed the scooter’s useful package. I had made sure the motor ran previously to ordering new batteries, by using two cars linked together with jumper cables in series. A 12 ga electrical wire completed the jump test from cables to the scooter’s dead batteries.

The grand kids found it so exciting, that a system of timed intervals (stove timer) was necessary to assure fairness in ride time. Craig’s List had another e 200 for $15. Gone by time of arrival, the lady gave me a free e 300 decrepit derelict.

Home on the bench, tests indicated batteries and controller were in need of replacement. Lighted power switch was decayed beyond repair. Battery to switch connector was soldered firmly into position. A simple off-on replacement switch, rated to handle the amperage, fit the cutout opening enough for temporary use.

Found on Ebay, a ‘parts only’ e 300 for $79 with free shipping.   http://www.razor.com/products/electric-scooters/e300/   On arrival it was apparent that it had been sold new and abused, possibly backed over by car, then returned to dealer fraudulently. A couple of hours disassembling and straightening the damaged rear drive sprocket for true running, proved the new gray e 300 street worthy. Now we had two working scooters…. and the free derelict.

Forums online for the Razor scooters, detailed one US soldier’s experience while on duty in the middle east. He weighed well over 200 pounds and rode his rechargeable e 300 scooter 4 miles to his office daily. It’s easy maneuverability through traffic, saved him over three hours daily, in comparison to traffic congested transportation by bus.

After success on the other two scooters, I felt like restoration was possible on the e 300 derelict. New Mexico climate does not promote rust. One great advantage of life in the dry southwest. Suspicious of the spider web that felt familiar in texture and strength, after spraying Raid into the dark and dirty drive mechanism, a Black Widow spider fell out.. with babies. Better to discover her that way, than to infest our garage. Thankfully she didn’t bite my fingers, as I carried the derelict scooter to my car.

Separating the plastic battery box from it’s nest in the frame proved tricky. A reverse order of assembly with the green box slipping out through the frame, between the lower box support rod and frame rail on one side, proved to be trial and error. Only accomplished after removing the various protruding switch, circuit breaker and charge connectors. Steering post followed the green plastic battery box through it’s opening. The wiring was tightly fitted and required a bit of manipulation to lift box from it’s nesting position.

Stripping the frame of components for repainting was relatively simple, after penetrating oil on the axle bolts and various small bolts and screws. Keep the parts in some semblance of order as you remove them. Easier to re-assemble later. Sanding the light rust and scratches from the side frame tubes  took a little time. Fine steel wool smoothed out the rest of the finish in preparation for a repaint to original bright silver metallic. Rustoleum in the bright silver and another can of clear gloss did the trick.

The telescoping steering post is fitted into a slide tube that is not easily separated. Even after all retainers were removed, a plastic sleeve held the top slide tube firm. I painted the assembly still intact. The top and bottom steering bearing cups were easy to pound out of the steering tube using a block of wood and a hammer. Reverse to re-assemble.

A clean frame, wiped down with lacquer thinner, presented a suitable prep for spray painting. The Rustoleum bright silver is really sparkling after the gloss clear is applied. The durability is approved by the clear coat.

Re-assemble is in reverse after cleaning all parts. Chain drive is the system for the e 300. Slight rust was removed from chain by a rotating wire wheel on a drill. Careful the chain does not wrap around the spinning wire wheel. It can fling it out of your hand, inflicting a hurtful experience. For ease in handling during re-assembly, do not lube the chain until after adjusting on it’s sprockets.

Adjusting the tension of the wheel, using the rear facing tension bolts on the axle, leaves a bit of slack, no more than a quarter of an inch is fine. Check tension after riding for a hour. The axle is held firmly in place by elastic security nuts that are difficult to loosen. Reasoning enough to maintain axle bolts in place. Adjust the brake cable after wheel axle is adjusted.

I pulled the sticking cable from it’s housing, to clean and re-lube with penetrating liquid cable graphite. Brake and shifter cables tend to retain water long after they become wet. Leaving cable controlled devices outside, exposed to weather is often fatal. Sun UV attacks many components.

Apply grease to steering headset bearings after cleaning away the dirt. Reassembly is in order of removal. Tighten the large post nuts, leaving steering swivel clearance with no play or loose slop. Not too tight, then lock the large nuts together by countering the compression against each other.

The wheels apparently have sealed bearings that only required a few drops of light oil to ensure their easy spin. The free wheel coaster ‘dog’ bearing on sprocket was dry and required a bit more oil to flush out the dirt from the retaining nut and bearings under it. The large safety nut retainer is tight and does not remove without a special tool.

The rear tire valve requires an extension to access through the sprocket. The valve extension is stored inside the handle bar grip when new. New scooters have a plastic chain guard. A device that is broken away from the protective position on older scooters.

Older scooters have a telescopic fold-able steering post. New scooters use a socket head cap screw set and clamp, to physically remove the non adjustable, non-telescoping steering post. Wheels on older models are cast aluminum. On newer models, wheels are stamped steel. Tire pressure is max at 85 psi with the aluminum cast wheels.

An original high quality used kick stand from Ebay for $8 with free shipping, completed the project. The kick stand protects the nicely finished side rails from scratching.

Cheaper building in today’s highly inflationary market as the predicted erosion of the overburdened/overprinted/indebted US dollar becomes of less value, is required to maintain costs within reason. Now the former derelict e 300 is bright and shiny, upgraded, restored to it’s former glory. All considered, an improved version over the new units lacking features.

The new controller and twist switch (off-on, rather than speed selective) bring it to the level of the new e 300s. A bit of wiring reconfiguration is necessary to adapt the new controller setup. The connectors are not easily compatible. A bit of re engineering, re-pinning and soldering is required. The switch within brake lever handle, ensures the motor circuit is disabled upon braking. Electrical parts are non returnable. Keep that in mind as you order any replacement parts.

My weight (under the factory limit) caused the new controller to shut down on sustained inclines. Apparently an amperage limiter on the new controller, prevents the circuit from overheating. I then swapped the drive sprocket from the new E300 to the ‘vintage’ model. Note: The nut on the vintage E300 is a ‘Right to tight’ elastic lock nut. New E300 is ‘Left to tight’ nut, with reverse lock washer. Both took a small 3/8 air impact wrench to remove the differing sized nuts. Ten teeth on the new model, vs 11 teeth on the vintage E300.

The smaller drive sprocket helped delay the overload and the circuit took longer to shut down. No complete fix. Forums describe the driven sprocket. Factory teeth number 60, on both new and vintage models. A larger (more teeth, longer, extender section chain) driven sprocket will further reduce the load on the motor, while slowing overall top speed. Next attempt to solve the problem.

These scooters sell new for over $200 US. Whether it is worthwhile to restore, is individual preference based on technical skill. Batteries are normally all that is required. Not often does the entire wiring controller and twist switch need replacing. Fortunately parts are easily available. Even upgraded variable speed controllers from independent sources are offered on Ebay or possibly Amazon. My controller parts and batteries all came from Ebay. The faster shipping from US dealers (Denver in  our case) make our process simpler.

The real test is when the grand sons arrive. They stood and stared at the derelict before restoration, large tire model e 300 scooter on the bench, while making humming sounds of an electric motor. Anticipation is sometimes better than realization? They loved both of the E300’s, to the extent that the smaller tire E200 sits idle most of the time. The young boys run time is greatly extended. All considered, the fact that one more mechanical device is restored to serve again, rather than sent to a dump, is satisfaction enough.

Enjoy life in this United States of America. One Nation Under God.

 

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