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Doodle Bug Scooters


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#1 Scooter Guy

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 03:20 PM

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I'm curious to know if anyone on the forum is actively restoring or showing Doodle Bug scooters. I know that a few have been shown in various AACA events over the years, so there are at least a few of you.

Or maybe you had one as a kid...I'd love to hear about that, too.

Never heard of a Doodle Bug scooter?

Here is a photo from Don Jackson's shop (Yesterday's Rides Metalworks) for reference. Doodle Bug scooters were manufactured by the Beam Manufacturing Company of Webster City, Iowa from 1946-1948 and were sold by Gambles (under the "Hiawatha" brand) and Western Auto (under the "Western Flyer" brand). The scooters were powered by either a kick start Briggs and Stratton NP or kick start Clinton 710 with fluid drive clutches (and later centrifugal clutches). All were painted red from the factory and about 40,000 were manufactured. About 10 years later another scooter, the Forall, was manufactured in Illinois based upon the Doodle Bug scooter.

#2 pacpinman

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 01:59 PM

Do you have any idea where a manual for the doodlebug can be obtained? My father passed away last fall, and I am finding parts all over the place labeled doodlebug. I really would like to see it completed for him. I have also found many Cushman parts and engines. It seems like he was just storing parts away.

#3 Scooter Guy

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 05:11 PM

Yes, Doodle Bug literature, reproduction parts, and expert advice can be obtained from Don Jackson at Yesterday's Rides Metalworks. Yesterday's Rides Metalworks

His site also offers part sketches and a general description of what everything is, so you should be able to identify most of your parts that you've got on hand. There is also information on the site about how to get in touch with Bill Moore and the Doodle Bug Club of America. The Doodle Bug club holds an annual meet each September in Webster City, IA...it is THE place to be if you're into Doodle Bugs.

There is another gentlemen in Arizona that sells what he calls the "Doodle Bug Bible." It is a bound volume of all known Doodle Bug manuals and technical bulletins. I have his information at home and will dig it out later tonight and forward the information to you.

I hope that you get the Doodle Bug back in one piece. If you have questions, are looking for a particular part, or have some extra parts to sell, do not hesitate to contact me.

As far as Cushman scooters and parts go, they have a very large following, and are definately worth saving in most cases. There is lot of information and links to clubs, etc. that can be found on the web.

Disclosure: In case anyone on the forum is wondering about me...I am not Don Jackson, do not work for Yesterday's Rides Metalworks and do not have any stake whatsoever in his company, other than as a customer. I am simply a scooter enthusiast with a particular interst in Doodle Bug scooters.

#4 Scooter Guy

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 10:07 PM

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Scooter Guy</div><div class="ubbcode-body">

There is another gentlemen in Arizona that sells what he calls the "Doodle Bug Bible." It is a bound volume of all known Doodle Bug manuals and technical bulletins. I have his information at home and will dig it out later tonight and forward the information to you.

</div></div>

Well, it took me longer to come up with a name and number of the gentlemen behind the "Doodle Bug Bible," but here it is:

Stephen Elliott
c/o Silver Lady Antiques
P.O. Box 730
Tombstone, AZ 85638
(520) 457-3933 day or night

If you are ever in the area, stop in Silver Lady Antiques. If you're lucky you might catch a glimpse of Stephen's Dusenberg Boat Tail Speedster.

#5 pacpinman

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Posted 30 April 2009 - 04:43 PM

Thank you for not only the address, but also your quick reply. My Dad always told me that people connected to scooters are a special breed. He said people just helped each other out, I guess he was right.

#6 Charles Lessig

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Posted 26 July 2009 - 06:52 PM

Just found this place.

In 1955 I got a Doodlebug rolling frame and motorised it when I was
in high school. Recently I got another one not so complete and I'm
working on it.

Here are some patents that turned up on Google patents
that relate to Doodlebugs.

MERTZ MOTOR SCOOTER - Google Patent Search

POWER TRANSMISSION DRIVE ADJUSTMENT - Google Patent Search

BRAKE CONTROL AND ACCELERATOR - Google Patent Search

DRIVE WHEEL ASSEMBLY - Google Patent Search

ROTARY FLUID COUPLING - Google Patent Search

DAVIS - Google Patent Search

Mine is missing the sheet metal, motor, drive train, seat, handlebars, fenders and front wheel so there is a lot to do. Harbor Freight had tires and tubes so that is a start. The Doodlebug is a lot more complicated than later scooters.

Best regards, Charlie

#7 Scooter Guy

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Posted 13 October 2009 - 04:10 PM


Mine is missing the sheet metal, motor, drive train, seat, handlebars, fenders and front wheel so there is a lot to do. Harbor Freight had tires and tubes so that is a start. The Doodlebug is a lot more complicated than later scooters.


Hi Charles-

A lot of information is contained in the small metal tag riveted to the forktube of Doodle Bug scooter frames.

The first line indicates what model the scooter left the factory as and what engine was mounted.

The second line is the serial number.

The third line reveals where the scooter was sold and again states what model it is. The letter before the number 1046 will either be a "G," a "W," or "WG." The letters are abbreviations for Gambles, Western Auto, and Wheel Goods, respectively.

Knowing what model Doodle Bug you have will help you get it back together correctly. The Doodle Bug was produced by Beam Manufacturing Company from 1946-1948 in five official models, simply designated A, B, C, D, and E.

A: Standard Briggs & Stratton powered scooter. Single control lever, "horse hoof" side covers, five slot belt guard, fluid drive, fuel shut off in tank, fuel filter on carb, push/pull kill switch, white grips

B: Same but with Clinton engine.

C: Side covers rounded at bottom, Briggs & Stratton powered, single control, black grips, toggle kill switch, fuel filter on tank with shutoff, three slot belt guard, change to centrifugal clutch

D: Same, but with cut out on left side for belt pulley.

E: Super Doodle Bug. Rounded side covers, Cut out on left side, Briggs and Stratton powered, throttle (left) and brake (right) plus parking brake

Regarding the parts that you need:

The sheet metal side skirts will almost positively need to be reproductions. Originals do exist, but they are usually too beat up to straighten out. Also, note that most side skirts were steel, but in very rare cases were aluminum.

The correct motor will be difficult to source. It could have been a Briggs & Stratton NP Type 306705 that is correct for Standard Model A Doodle Bugs (24-5501 A), C and D Doodle Bugs (24-5501 C and D); Type 306715 that is correct for Super Doodle Bug ("E") (24-5501 E)

It is also possible that Briggs and Stratton NP type 306707 and 306709 engines are correct for Model C and Model D Doodle Bugs.

Model B Doodle Bugs were equipped with the Clinton Engine. The use of Clinton Engines in the Doodle Bug Scooter (known as the "Model B") was short lived (only an estimated 750-1,000 machines), as Beam and their clients Western Auto and Gambles, preferred to use the Briggs and Stratton NP. Many Clinton engines had to be overhauled. The problem with the Clinton engines was so bad that Clinton Engine Corporation President Don Thomas wrote a personal check for $25,000 to reimburse dealers. Briggs and Stratton NP engines were also rumored to be cheaper than the Clinton Engines, costing Beam Manufacturing Company only $33 each when purchased in lots of 2,500.

Either engine is hard to find. They were used on a number of scooters, so it's not just the Doodle Bug guys that are hunting for them. Add to that the small engine collectors, and you're got some elusive little engines. Most that do pop up advertised as being for Doodle Bugs are actually not correct. When a correct one does come up, expect to pay upwards of $1,000 to get it.

The handlebars, fender, front wheel (two pieces) might be located as originals, but really good reproductions exist at Yesterdays Rides Metalworks mentioned above. An original front fender that isn't rusted to death will cost big bucks! Yesterday's Rides also has floorboards, if you need that. The seat will probably need to be a reproduction as most originals are missing, torn, or chewed up by rodents. Tires and tubes are available in the correct size and pattern from Coker tire. As you put the front end together, be sure to make sure you don't put the forks in backwards and that they are not bent. If they are bent, the front fender will likely hit the inside of the frame when turning or the turning will be very stiff. It should be tight, but not stiff.

The drive train, rear hub, acceleration/braking assembly are all unique to the Doodle Bug and are extremely difficult to locate as originals. You'll have to probably get lucky and locate a second Doodle Bug with those parts still present in order to get them. Of course, reproductions of these items do exist.

Beam also used quote a few of their own in-house fasteners on the Doodle Bug, so the standard fare from your local hardware store is not always correct. This stuff is pretty much impossible to find, but reproductions are available from Yesterday's Rides.

I seen and have done a lot of study on Doodle Bugs...most are NOT restored correctly because they lack the items unique to that particular model, have wrong fasteners, incorrect engine and/or clutch, wrong style side skirts, wrong grips, wrong tires, and are painted/finished/decaled incorrectly.

Edited by Scooter Guy, 27 September 2011 - 05:44 PM.
Updated with more accurate information


#8 Charles Lessig

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Posted 13 October 2009 - 08:44 PM

The scooter is also missing its tags so I don't have that
information either. What would be really nice is a set
of drawings with dimensions for all the parts.

So far I have made the lower counter-shaft bracket
and the three hole offset pulley and the bottom
brake lever using the patent drawings and pictures
I could find. The aluminum parts were machined
from solid using manual machines in my basement.

I found an old V-pex clutch similar to the A65S and
made dies to straighten out the back shell that was
all beat out of shape and turned the pulley faces back
to cones. They were badly worn. I made a sleeve to fit
the 3/4" bore to a 1942 Briggs N I so the drive train
is about done.

The V-plex clutches are shown on page
66 of the January 1952 Popular Mechanics but the one
for Doodle Bugs has no dimensions.

I found a proper gas tank and made a set of strap
clamps to hold it on. The old straps were gone except
for a couple of nubs that were spot welded on but
they told me what size metal to use. The hook
details came from pictures.

I adapted a 4" steel wheel from General Tire that
is more like the original than the die-cast minibike
hub that I had before. It has a 4 bolt aluminum hub
and I press fitted an aluminum tube bored out for
5/8" bronze bushings.

The rear wheel and hub were there but the drum
was badly worn cone shaped with a chunk missing.
I turned the drum to a true cone and made a shell
to fit it and pressed it on, Then I tapped 6 screws
from inside and turned the outside true. A band
brake for a go-kart from ebay fits OK.

The handle bars were mostly gone so I adapted
a set from a 1940s bike that will work. The stem
was 7/8" diameter and hollow so it was cut off
square and bored it out for an adapter shaft that
was pressed in and secured with a taper pin. The
other half is 3/4" diameter to fit the scooter
steering tube. It will have a twist throttle and a
brake lever from a minibike.

I made a cardboard pattern for the floorboard
and will see if I can make dies to turn the edges
like the original. The front fender will be easier
to make in halves than trying to raise it in one
piece.

The frame and back wheel shells had been chrome
plated at one time then rusted some and had
some paint sprayed on. The kickstand clip is
gone too.

It has a minibike seat now but the original was
made like an innerspring mattress. That was
the suspension. Maybe an old mattress will
turn up for the springs.

It seems Harry Mertz designed the whole
scooter himself. All the dimensions are simple inch
sizes and the angles are 10 degree increments or
so.

The unshielded bronze bushings were cheap but
they needed to be cleaned and oiled frequently.
Balloon tire bikes of this period needed much less
attention so Doodle Bugs probably didn't get
very much either and the same mechanics were
working on them too.

Later minibikes were more durable and a lot simpler.

I will try to make no changes that could
not be reversed later. It will certainly not be a
perfect restoration but the only person to be
pleased is me.

This is a very interesting project.

#9 sstk100

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 02:22 PM

Just a story...

When I was a kid in the 50's, a neighbor kid had a Doodle Bug, and we used to ride together. (lived small town in south eastern Kansas) I remember riding on the gravel roads to a real small town a couple miles away, and we would go to a store there to get candy.

I would ride on the back holding a gas can, otherwise we couldn't get there and back on one tank of gas. For some reason I remember it had a Briggs & Strat engine...and I remember the front fender, and what were at the time.....big lawn mower tires.

Riding the Doodle Bug was a big deal back then....I helped my friend and his dad work on it sometimes....although I had no clue what it was about, but I sometimes think that started me on the path as an avid car guy...fixer-builder...that I still am today. I still have my car magazines from 1957 & 58

#10 JFH2599

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Posted 11 October 2010 - 06:26 AM

I just bought a Super Doodle a couple of weeks ago But I had No idea what it was untill I found this forum, and other sites, So now I need to try and find some parts, The two main parts are the front fender an the drive adjuster jack shaft, I am new on here so I hope I am doing this right. thanks jfh2599

#11 Scooter Guy

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Posted 11 October 2010 - 09:43 PM

I just bought a Super Doodle a couple of weeks ago But I had No idea what it was untill I found this forum, and other sites, So now I need to try and find some parts, The two main parts are the front fender an the drive adjuster jack shaft, I am new on here so I hope I am doing this right. thanks jfh2599


I'd love to see a photo of your Super Doodle Bug. Where did you find it? What condition is it in? Does it have the original engine? Have you verified that it is a Super Doodle Bug?

If you posted a few decent photos, I could probably tell you quite a bit about what you have and what you would need to restore it, if that's your intent.

PLEASE...whatever you do, don't modify it irreversibly! There are not many of these left, so please don't cut up an original frame! If what you'd rather have is a modern mini-bike for the grandkids to ride, send me a note. I'll buy the Super Doodle Bug off you and you'll have the money to buy a couple of minibikes.

You'll be unlikely to find non-reproduction from fender for sale. This is for two reasons. First, not much original sheet metal survived 60+ years on a small scooter designed for kids to ride since most were run into the ground. Second, the ones that do still exist are probably still attached to bike just as they left the factory. See, the design of the Doodle Bug front fender does not allow for it to be removed without removing the handlebars and sliding out the entire front fork assembly.

The jackshafts are even harder to find. You will likely have to resort to a reproduction part from Don Jackson at Yesterday's Rides Metalworks.

Unless it has been all hacked up lately, have a look at the Doodle Bug Scooter wikipedia article. I originally wrote and posted the content (and periodically have to change it back). The wikipedia police don't like the fact that I don't cite and sources or give any reference material, but so what...I've got tons of factory documentation and have taped conversations from people that designed them and worked in the factory. Those are my sources. I wrote the entry to help people know when they've come across a Doodle Bug scooter. Perhaps it will be beneficial to you.

#12 JFH2599

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Posted 12 October 2010 - 09:36 PM

I don't know how to put on pic's, I am trying to do the best I can because I had one of these when I was about 10 years old BACK IN THE FIFTYS.
It has the stock tires and the rear still holds air but the front is blown out.
Let Me Know what You think.

Thanks Joe

#13 Scooter Guy

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Posted 12 October 2010 - 10:12 PM

I don't know how to put on pic's, I am trying to do the best I can because I had one of these when I was about 10 years old BACK IN THE FIFTYS.
It has the stock tires and the rear still holds air but the front is blown out.
Let Me Know what You think.

Thanks Joe


Does yours still have the serial number tag on the frame? Look for it on the fork tube between the cross bar and the floor board.

It should say something like:

Hiawatha or Doodle Bug
Model:
Serial:
Type:

At the bottom it will either say Minneapolis, Minnesota and Los Angeles, California or it will say Beam Manufacturing Company, Webster City, Iowa.

From the tag I can determine about when it was made, where it was sold, and exactly what model it is. The letters and numbers in the actual "model" line are really of little help, but if you have the tag, let me know what it says anyway. The most important info is what it says in the "type" line.

Have a look for that and let me know what it says...we can go from there. If the tag is gone, the only way I could determine exactly what it is would be to see photos.

The tires are available as reproductions from Coker tire. This is a HUGE, HUGE, HUGE deal for the Doodle Bug scooter world, as without them collectors would be forced to use old, unsafe, and likely dryrotted original tires, or poorly fitting go kart tires. The reproductions from Coker are faithful to the original General Jumbo Jr. tires.

#14 JFH2599

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Posted 12 October 2010 - 10:59 PM

I am sorry to say but the ID tags are missing, but it dose have dual controls witch I have sent them to Don @ Yesterdays rides. I have tried to find those tires from Coker but have had No luck finding them, I would send Pic's but don't know How or where to put them?
I have found a Mdl. N Briggs it's being shipped

#15 Scooter Guy

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Posted 13 October 2010 - 02:03 PM

I am sorry to say but the ID tags are missing, but it dose have dual controls witch I have sent them to Don @ Yesterdays rides. I have tried to find those tires from Coker but have had No luck finding them, I would send Pic's but don't know How or where to put them?
I have found a Mdl. N Briggs it's being shipped


For the coker tires, go to cokertire.com and click on "catalog."

The jumbo jr. reproduction tires are on page 44 under a Cushman logo.

#16 JFH2599

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Posted 13 October 2010 - 05:04 PM

I found the tires on coker, Thanks
But I still don't know how to send or post Pic's
I have all Mine in My Kodak program and don't
understand how to send them!

#17 Scooter Guy

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Posted 13 October 2010 - 08:24 PM

http://forums.aaca.o...ons-276637.html

Check that link out for information on posting photos.

#18 JFH2599

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Posted 17 October 2010 - 10:03 PM

Try Try again lets see if this Works.

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#19 JFH2599

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Posted 17 October 2010 - 10:19 PM

Here is a couple more. Every thing on the frame is sound all the bushings and bearings are in good condition, Handle bars & forks are straight, complete brake levers & band. The hubs, wheels & sprocket are great shape.
Nothing has been altered on the frame, the tank bands have broken off but the cross bracket is fine.

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#20 Indianfour

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 04:14 PM

PACPINMAN: You now have a private message. Indian Four




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