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Thread: Variator, roller weights and contra spring mechanics for dummies! Learn how it works

  1. #1
    apriliaforum expert scootnfast's Avatar
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    Variator, roller weights and contra spring mechanics for dummies! Learn how it works

    OK, another issue I see asked a lot is about different roller weights, different variators, and different contra springs. So I am going to attempt to put it out in simple terms. I drew these pictures real quick, and they are not to scale, but they should work and give you a good idea.

    The truth of the matter is, A new variator, spring, and weights WILL NOT increase your vehicles over all power!!!

    What it does do is adjust your rate of acceleration, and at what RPM your motor runs at while it is accelerating, and at what speed the motor is reving when you reach the highest gear ratio available.

    Now having said both of those things, the key is to have your motor running at about 8000-8500 rpm's consistantly while accelerating. This is where your greatest horsepower is generated. If you are accelerating at 5000 rpm's or 9500 rpm's, this will decrease your acceleration because your horsepower is not at it's peak.

    This is achieved through trial and error. Changing your contra spring, and then trying different roller weights is how this is achieved.

    In order for you to understand which way you need to go with weights and springs, you must first understand how the entire drive train works.

    Lets start with the front pully of the variator. This is where your roller weights and ramp plate are located.
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    Last edited by scootnfast; 09-01-2003 at 12:55 PM.

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    apriliaforum expert scootnfast's Avatar
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    Now as the rpm's of the motor increase, the centrifugal force pushes the roller weights out (Number 1 in picture).

    The roller weights push out and onto the angle plates surface. This causes the rear half of the pully to move toward the front half of the pully (Number 2 in Picture).

    When the rear half of the pully pushes to the front pulley, it forces the belt out to a higher gear ratio. (Number 3 in picture).
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    apriliaforum expert scootnfast's Avatar
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    If you are thinking about getting a new variator, Let me first start by telling you that it will probably not have any effect on your over all top speed. What it will do is give you a more steady acceleration. The distance that the rear half of the pully can travels pretty much remains the same. Meaning that it will only push the belt out as far as the stock variator will which results in the same high gear ratio as the stock variator. The key difference between the stock and performance variators is the angle on which the roller weights travel and the angle on the angle plate in the rear of the variator. This will only help give you a smoother - more constant acceleration.

    Now as for the different weights for the rollers. It is really rather simple. The heavier the weight, the more force will be applied to the angle plate forcing the rear pully forward faster. If the roller weights are too heavy, it will force the gear into too high of a gear too fast.

    I like to use a 10 speed bicycle as a comparrison. From a dead start, if you are in 10th gear, it is very difficult to get going. But if you are in first gear, it is very easy to get moving. the same principle applies here. You want the weights to keep you in first gear, and as the rpm's increase, it will gradually step the gears up untill it reaches tenth gear.

    If your roller weights are too light, then there will not be enough force to push the ramp plate out and the rear half forward. This will result in good acceleration, but a low top end.

    This is what the ratio looks like in low gear. You will see that the front pully is small, and the rear pully is large. This is like first gear of the 10 speed bike:
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    Last edited by scootnfast; 09-01-2003 at 01:46 PM.

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    apriliaforum expert scootnfast's Avatar
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    This is what the gear ratio looks like when the roller weights are pushed out and the rear half of the pully is forward. The belt is pushed out to a higher ration. This is like tenth gear on the bicycle:
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    apriliaforum expert scootnfast's Avatar
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    Now the other factor in this equation is the rear pully. The rear pully has a spring holding it together. This is your contra spring.

    The front half of the pully is also torque controlled. There are angled grooves that the pully travels on. As torque is applied, this limits the belt from traveling in too quickly. Likewise, as you go up a hill and torque is applied to the pully, it is supposed to force the pully together giving you a lower gear ratio.

    This is what the rear pully looks like at low rpm's:
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    apriliaforum expert scootnfast's Avatar
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    This is what the rear pully looks like at high rpm's:
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    If your roller weights are giving you good acceleration, and a good top end, but when you approach a small hill the scooter slows drastically, this may be caused by having too light of a contra spring. The contra spring helps push the rear pully back together when torque is applied to the rear pully.

    Also if you are running good at say 50MPH, and you slow down to say 35MPH. If you try to accelerate, and you have hardly any acceleration, this can also be caused by having too light of a contra spring. When you slow down, the spring is supposed to push the rear pully together into a lower gear ratio. If the spring isn't strong enough, the pully will remain in a high gear, and then when you try to accelerate, there isn't enough power to push you because you are in too high of a gear.

    On the other hand, if your spring is too strong, then the roller weights may not be heavy enough to force the belt out all the way and into it's highest gear ratio.

    If you go with a heavier contra spring, you may need to go to a slightly higher roller weight. Likewise, if you go to a lower spring, you may need to go to a lighter weight.

    There is a very fine balance that you must achieve between the contra spring and your roller weights. This is only accomplished through trial and error.

  8. #8
    apriliaforum expert scootnfast's Avatar
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    Malossi sells a new torque driver for you rear pully. I haven't tried this, so I am not sure exactly how well it works, but the concept is that the angles on the shaft that it travels on are at a different angle, supposedly helping you to maintain your speeds better, while giving you better acceleration and better speed.

    You can purchase it from AF1 Racing here for $110 : http://apriliaforum.safeshopper.com/63/1068.htm?863

    If you are looking for some different roller weights, click here for carb models : http://apriliaforum.safeshopper.com/63/cat63.htm?863

    And Click here for roller weights for ditech models : http://apriliaforum.safeshopper.com/64/cat64.htm?863

    If you want different contra springs, click here for carb models : http://apriliaforum.safeshopper.com/63/1067.htm?863

    Click here for contra springs for ditech models : http://apriliaforum.safeshopper.com/64/1120.htm?863

    If you are going to get a new spring, I reccomend getting the red one. It is the strongest spring made, and you can adjust your roller weights accordingly.

    If you are looking for a new Malossi multivar variator, click here for carb models : http://apriliaforum.safeshopper.com/63/1044.htm?863

    If you are looking for a new Malossi multivar variator, click here for ditech models : http://apriliaforum.safeshopper.com/64/1113.htm?863
    02' SR Ditech - 03' Mojito Retro - 04' Mojito Custom

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    How to change your contra spring!!

    Well I guess I should also show you how to change your contra spring.

    First start by removing the cover from the swing arm on your scooter. Then remove the bolt that holds your rear pully and clutch assembly on.
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    Once the bolt has been removed, remove the clutch bell housing and then pull the entire rear pully and clutch off the axle.
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    Once the pully has been removed, you have to remove the large nut on the side of the clutch. This can be rather difficult. The bolt is on rather tight, and it is very difficult to hold the pully while you loosen it.

    Be careful after you loosen it. The whole clutch is essentially spring loaded. The contra spring is pushing on the clutch. When the bolt is fully removed, the clutch will shoot out at you. So be sure to hold it firmly when removing the bolt and be careful.
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  12. #12
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    After the nut is removed, simlpy change your spring and re-assemble. Compress the spring and tighten the nut on.
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    That is it for the variator, contra spring and roller weight bit. I hope this will help you in deciding which route you need to take to help the performance on your machine. If you disagree with anything, or feel like something needs added, feel free!

    Also check out my posting on how to de-restrict and change roller weights here: http://www.apriliaforum.com/forums/s...&threadid=8617

    Also check out my postings on how to install new rear end gears, with performance results here: http://www.apriliaforum.com/forums/s...&threadid=8903

    Ride fast my aprilia friends!!!
    Last edited by scootnfast; 09-01-2003 at 02:08 PM.
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    apriliaforum Junkie phidauex's Avatar
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    Great explanations! The CVT is one of the hardest parts to understand about a scooter. All the parts come together in such a delicate equilibrium, its important to know the affects of each part.

    One benefit, I'd like to add, about having a lighter contra spring, is the fact that it will hold a higher gear better. I use the white malossi spring (the lightest malossi spring) with the stock ditech variator and 6.0 gram weights. When I'm going fast, 55-60mph, I can actually roll off the throttle so the clutch is barely engaged, and it keeps the high gear and I cruise at about the same speeds, without losing much or any speed. Of course, if I hit a hill or something I need to get back on the throttle, but for flat cruising, the lighter spring works nicely. If the spring were stronger, it would begin to force the gear down as soon as the torque backed off.

    But your basic ideas match with my experience. My SR ditech began to have troubles where it would slow down as it went up a hill, as though it wasn't moving into a lower gear properly. The problems were pretty mysterious, since they just started happening one day. I took it apart, and found that the white contra spring was softer than another white spring I had lying around. It was as though the spring has lost some of its stiffness in the 1500 miles (2400ish kilometers) it had been since it was put in. I replaced it with a fresh white spring, and all was good again! I have considered going up to a yellow spring and adjusting weights to compensate, but at this point I'm pretty confident that my scooter is making the best use of its power that it can, given my other parts (engine/variator/etc.), so I'm going to wait on any further tweaking until I go 70cc.

    Once again, thanks for all the informative pictures you've been putting up! A pictorial guide to replacing roller weights has been needed for a long time. I was going to make one next time I changed mine, but you beat me to the punch, and did a good job at it, so thanks!

    peace,
    sam

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    apriliaforum expert scootnfast's Avatar
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    Thanks for the positive words man!!!! It lets me know that I am not just waisting my time doing all this work! I am only doing this to help everyone out with making there rides run better.

    Here's to a "faster" scooter nation!!!!
    02' SR Ditech - 03' Mojito Retro - 04' Mojito Custom

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