Wherefore Art Thou, Piaggio Parts?

Great Scooter...Maybe The Greatest...But Keep Those Parts Coming, Piaggio!

 So, it was time for my scoot’s 7500 mile service.  The bike’s been a real joy to own and ride, gives virtually no trouble and has “mucho cojones” for a scooter. 

My mechanic went over the bike and found a small coolant leak at the water pump seal joint.  Shouldn’t be any problem to find a replacement seal for a 2006 bike, right?  Wrong!

Here’s the deal.  Piaggio made an engine change in the BV500 for Model Year 2006.  Alas, they had about 20 engines left over from Model Year 2005, and my bike was one of the “lucky ones” that got one of the 2005 engines.  Yup, even though it’s a 2006 scooter, it’s “really” got an ’05 engine.  Oh well…

That’s “okay,” I guess — 500cc is 500cc; just don’t tell me about all the improvements and refinements I missed out on — but Piaggio ALSO did something tricky and incorrect; they cross-referenced all the part numbers up and over from the earlier engine to the new engine, so that when a dealer looks up parts for the older engine, all they see are parts for the new engine.  Problem is, the engines and  the parts are different! 

So when my dealer ordered the water pump seal, it wouldn’t fit — because it was a water pump seal for the newer engine only!

The parts for the older motor are still sitting there in Piaggio’s warehouse(s), thank God, but the problem is finding the right part numbers, since Piaggio’s dealer information is wrong and the part numbers for the earlier engine have vanished into a black hole.  My dealer struggled with this for weeks and weeks, making very little progress, until one day, on a whim, I sent him a parts manual (.PDF) for my scooter that I’d found on the internet somewhere.

Thankfully, the parts manual I sent was for MY ENGINE, and with the  correct part number in hand (finally), the dealer simply ordered the seal using the correct part number, and that did the trick.  A few days later, I’m riding again.

What happened was obvious and there’s no point scolding Piaggio — everyone makes mistakes.  But it just goes to show that The Lord of Italian Motorcycles (and Scooters) Helps Those Who Help Themselves.

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