Post by thunderific on Jul 24, 2016 20:00:19 GMT -5
Hey yall.. ..just wanted to give my early thoughts on the 2016 Tao Tao Thunder. Received in pretty good shape aside from a scrape on the front fork(very evident from outside of crate)...I thought I might have to send it back but upon further inspection decided to keep it......and I'm pretty glad I did.
I've heard that others have gotten theirs to 25-30 mph.. ...Let me tell you.... THIS THING will get up to 30(indicated) in less than 10 seconds! I only redlined it ONCE because im doing an easy break-in....and when I did...this thing had NO PROBLEMS getting all the way to the end of that redline with what seemed to be AT LEAST a 1/4 throttle left. Im quite certain I could have pegged it off of the meter. I don't know what other people are doing to their scoots before riding but I did absolutely NOTHING as far as performance parts are concerned....just a thorough pdi. Did a PROPER startup procedure and push start works first time EVERY time as well as the kick start.
I did NOT charge the battery upon delivery.....simply bolted it in(2 weeks AFTER delivery..Slow PDI)...kick started it....drove it a bit and... Joila!...not a single starting problem.
Did have some problems that a new carb seemed to have fixed. When I fully unseal the carb( need to get my hands on a dremel)...I'll post some numbers shortly after. (jet sizes...etc) But so far...the 2016 tao tao thunder seems to be a pretty decent and reliable scoot......and FAST!!
I know this thread is old but I wanted to add my experience with the Tao Tao Thunder and figured if anyone was interested in buying one they could see another opinion. I bought my Thunder last Septemberish (2016) online. It was delivered truck freight fairly quickly, well within their deadline. Packaging was perfect and I used 90GTVert's PDI guide. There are some minor differences between the Thunder and the ATM 50, but nothing that isn't easily figured out. In fact, the Thunder body panels look to be much easier to assemble and remove. Initial mods included running new fuel line with cutoff, new tire stems, new plug and wire, removing the PAIR garbage, locktight on all bolts and silicon on all screws, and fresh oil and gear oil. I did not unseal the carb but I did remove the idle mixture plug. The scoot fired right up and my son and I started it on an easy break in period.
After 100 or so easy miles we changed the oil, checked the valve lash and gave everything a good check. Then we started beating on it a bit more. The thing was fun as hell and we felt we were flying. The engine ran solid, never missed a beat and the speedo was pegged at WOT. The speedo registers 35 MPH and 60 KPH with KPH being the main, big scale. The needle would almost hit the turn signal indicator lamp at WOT with a tailwind. Surely we must be doing 40 on this thing!!! Alas, my wife followed my son one day and while he was flat out, WOT cruising hard she was registering 28 MPH following him. Yes, the speedos on these things are off that far. We started checking with GPS and discovered that downhill, with a tail wind, with a 120 pound 16 year old we were lucky to see 32 MPH. With my 6'4" 210 pounds I was actually seeing pretty close to the same performance though so it was at least a solid running, consistent machine.
So my son ran it back and forth to school through the north Indiana corn fields until the weather turned too cold. He actually did ride quite a bit in winter braving it down into the twenties, but it did a bit of sitting until spring sprung. While thinking about changing the oil again I decided to try to hop it up a bit. He had already dumped it twice, sliding out on ice. No real damage, but the scoot was not brand new anymore and it was time to play with it. I started with some bar end mirrors so I could comfortably ride it out on the road, the stock mirrors were useless to my big frame. All I could see in them was my shoulders. We bought the stage 3 BBK from Scooters To Go. It contained the 50mm piston and jug, big valve head with rocker assembly, A9 cam, true 20mm carb and a 49/17 gear set. After watching a few videos I swapped the pistons and top end. Couldn't have been any easier. I put the big carb on and tried to fire it up but it did not want to idle. I had swapped to the 90 main jet but since I wanted to break in the new rings nice and gentle I just put the old carb back on. Fired right up and all I had to do was richen the mixture half a turn. We rode it at this stage for a month or so to break in the piston and rings, but since we did not go WOT until the very end we did not try to clock speed. I can tell you there was a major difference though.
I also did a headlight mod at this time. I hate how low beam is one headlight and high the other so one light is always out. It just looks silly. After reading how 90GTVert did it I took a look at the Thunder headlights. Surprise! There is no "low" or "high" beams. They are single element bulbs, just one brightness level, both sides the same bulb. There is a little metal shield in one headlight that blocks the light so it appears to be a low beam. I took this shield out and I wired a jumper between both bulbs. Now the switch controls on or off, but there is no low or high beams, both lights are just on. The lights are really not bright enough at night to bother other drivers so whatever...The stator has no problem keeping up with both bulbs.
After a month or so I changed the oil and did the gear swap. There was a thread on the biggest performance advantage next to a BBK. In my book a gear change is it! We had no loss of pick up and go but top end was dramatically improved. We were reaching speeds of 45 MPH consistently with a high of 48. Time to put on the big carb. I swapped main jets back to the 80 and swapped the carbs out. Still choking...So I took a look at the needle setting. It was on the last notch, so I moved the washer up a couple notches. Bingo! An afternoon of fiddling got the big carb dialed in with the 80 jet.
As a side note, the only restrictions I found on our Thunder was a blob of weld in the exhaust pipe right on the flange between the header and the muffler. Is this an actual restriction? I don't know, but I dremeled it out so it is free flowing now. No CDI restriction, no washer in the variator, and nothing else we could find. I ended up buying a new intake manifold as I cracked the plastic spacer/insulator pretty bad and it was actually cheaper to just buy the new intake with another insulator. I noticed the port did not match up with the head, there was a huge lip on the insulator that blocked half the passage. I ported this out by hand. I don't know if it helped anything but it didn't hurt anything either. I also performed 90GTVert's timing advance mod, but am dubious as to any gain here, it seems to run the same no matter where I set the pickup.
I mention the above because the intake port on the air box does have a plug in it. The plug has several holes, kind of like a salt shaker, and it pops right out. From day one I have removed that plug to try to get the scoot to run better. But no matter what I do to that motor it wants the stupid plug in. This does not make sense to me, being a hot rodder rule one is the more air into the carb the better. But the Thunder seems to want that restriction even with the bigger carb. However, I had removed the lower rear fender as I found it to be superfluous and unnecessary, and I also removed the front fender as it hugged the tire to closely and rubbed and the body pan keeps road grime well away from the rider anyway. The stupid air box just bothered me. So I bought an open element air cleaner hell bent on making it work. Today I removed the air box, attached the air cleaner and plumbed the crankcase vent to a homemade ball jar catch can I have wedged under the seat by the gas tank wrapped in bubble wrap. I thought for sure I was about to embark on a week long tuning session pulling the carb over and over until I found a jet that would work. So I fired it up without touching a thing just to see where I was at. The damn thing fired right up and ran BETTER than it did with the airbox! WHAT?! I yelled for my son to check it out and he decided to go for a ride. He clocked 54MPH on the GPS!!! 54MPH on a 4 stroke Tao Tao Thunder! I can only hit 50 but he has been getting 52-54 consistently on the flat and we have not even started tweaking the carb! What will tomorrow bring? We have not even touched the variator or clutch. I am pretty happy with 50, honestly, there is no reason to go any faster. We can keep up with traffic and while we will still get passed at least people wont fly up on us like we were sitting still. My son routinely has people that are just content to follow him, the limkit is only 50 on the roads he rides anyway. But...I can't help but to tinker...
So what is my opinion of the Tao Tao Thunder? I don't regret buying one. It was a strong, solid, dependable runner right out of the box albeit a bit sluggish. But in this state the speed limit for 49cc is 35MPH anyway. So it depends what you are doing with it. Through town we ride at 30-35. Out in the corn fields it is nice to be able to hit 50. Personally, I don't want to go any faster on that little thing. 50 is scary as hell. It is a fun ride. It is a fun toy to hotrod. And it is just a good looking scooter. The Chinese have upped their game. I have no complaints about quality keeping in mind where it was built and how much I paid. It is a solid machine. We call ours Thunderstruck, and more than one scooter rider in our area has been thunderstruck!
Last Edit: Jun 18, 2017 20:18:52 GMT -5 by tenspeed
ThunderStruck TaoTao Thunder 50mm BBK big valve head A9 cam 20mm carb with 89 jet 49/17 gears pod air cleaner/air box delete
Senna1Rossi: Thanks renagade281!
May 23, 2016 14:59:12 GMT -5
Fox: I don't really know how to say this but straight. I am Dave's Girlfriend Kellilee and bluntly and VERY SADLY he passed away early Tuesday morning. I know he would want ya all to know this. Thank You Brent for befriending my love he was very happy on here!
Jun 18, 2016 16:26:04 GMT -5
Fox: www.gofundme.com/29mgf6b8 I hope it is ok to pass on his gofundme page link. If not you will un-post it I'm sure. Thanks again all!!
Jun 18, 2016 16:31:18 GMT -5