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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Another Rascal Owner Contacts Me, About A Seat Problem

Suddenly I've become the go to guy for Rascal. Probably because their customer service is shut down, I don't know for sure, I haven't called, but I imagine that's the reason. By the way, my demo scooter, a new used 306B three wheeler is still for sale, check a couple posts down, end of commercial.
Yesterday a vet got in touch, he was trying to check his batteries, but couldn't get the seat off, and it was hard to turn. First the way it comes off is on the right pull the handle at the bottom, that releases the seat to turn, back, (or on the right if there is one push forward, it's pinned in the middle), and then with the seat centered pull straight up and it should pop right off. Look right under the seat in the picture, you'll see the handle in this case on both sides.  Once off look at the seat post, you'll see what we called the flower. There are two versions, on one there are four slots and on the other there are eight slots. The slots are for the end of the release handle to go into to keep the seat from turning as you drive the scooter, unless you release it by pulling back, or forward, on the handle to turn the seat.
One thing that prevents you from pulling the seat off is that it's not straight when you pull up, at a slight angle left or right, when you pull up the release bar is just off from the slot and catches the edge of the flower. The other reason, much less common is that left unlubricated the seat post on the seat, it's about 6 inches long in the plate on the bottom of the seat, starts to bind inside the seat post on the scooter. This makes it hard to turn, and can make it from difficult to impossible to pull off. This is what happened to the vet that contacted me.
What you, or your son, daughter, friend, neighbor, or last resort service center, do is hold the handle back and wiggle the seat, not easy they're heavy and awkward, up and down one side and the other. Usually sooner or later you can work them up until they finally pop free.
Occasionally though you have to use long screwdrivers or prybars between the seat base and flower and once I had one so bad I had to fiddle around between the scooter and seat taking out the bolts in the seat base to get the seat off and out of the way, then took the post apart, a real hassle, put it in a vice and finally got it apart. For this, unless you or your helper are mechanically inclined, have a service center do it, which will unfortunately be expensive and they'll probably want to sell you a new seat post, which you may need anyway depending on if you damage it too much, which I did on one. In my case I had extras, but you won't, so be careful if you can.
 Something I'm embarrassed  to admit never occurred to me then, would have been put the scooter on its rear bumper then remove the four 7/16ths bolts holding the seat post to the scooter, much easier, wish I'd thought of it. Make sure if you try this someone or something is holding the seat while you take out the bolts so it doesn't just drop away, maybe damaging something.  Also use blue locktite or double nut the bolts, or both, when you've gotten the seat post apart and you bolt it back on the scooter, I'd do both but that's just me. Actually I just realized, this won't work, because the seat will keep you from getting the plastic off and removing the batteries. Oh well another good idea that wasn't, but I'll leave it in maybe you'll think of something I haven't.
As a matter of course, pull your seat off once a year or so, or have your service center do it, and take a finger full of white grease to lubricate the inside of the seat post and the top of the flower, I always did this before delivering to a vet. If you've had binding, on the part of the post attached to the seat base, take course sandpaper wrap it around and twist it until you have bare metal, this should relieve future binding and the grease in the post should protect it, but you can also grease this part if you want to make sure. Hope this helps.

Lee Murray

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Surprisingly, I keep hearing from Rascal people...

The smart ones that bought Rascals.  I don't know if I ever said it, and now I don't have to be PC anymore, I don't sell them and Rascal is gone, but in my opinion the Rascal was flat out the best, and most well thought out scooter on the market, plain and simple. If it was treated well and maintained it would last pracically forever.
If not, well there was a veteran in Syracuse years back, he's gone south to the Carolinas if he's still here at all, that had a heavy duty scooter with a 24" seat, yeah a big guy. He used to drive his Rascal to the bar, every night. Yes the VA told him not to, for all the good it did, but his wife was high up in, well you get the idea. He charged it when he thought about it, drove it off curbs, through potholes, to say the least he really abused the hell out of it, did I mention that he's a big guy? About 350-360 pounds. They used to issue him a new scooter every 12-18 months, because he was beating them to death.
But here's the point, I'd take him his new scooter, and every time his poor, abused, beaten Rascal with soft tires, cracked and broken plastic, cracked frame, once a cracked front end, would start right up and drive to my van where I'd back it up the ramp and inside. Yes, Rascals do have problems just like anything mechanical, yes there's the occasional lemon, but if you treat them right they'll usually last a long time.
Another example, when I was at the start, 98 or 99, before working full time VA.  I sold a Littlest Rascal to an elderly lady I think in her 80's who traded in a Littlest Rascal her husband had bought her before he died several years before. It was 13 years old, and looked near new. She said she used it nearly every day, charged it when she was through every day overnight, and, get this, she was sure it still had the original batteries.  I don't know, but that's what she said.

Lee Murray