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Monday, June 1, 2020

No, no… a thousand times NO! Aftermarket parts...


There is oddsynchronicity that occurs in my life, at times. I acquired a mostlyoriginal 1966 CA77 305cc Dream recently. I discovered that theignition point set was not the original, but one of the variousaftermarket copies, which are nearly impossible to adjust to OEMspecs.

Then, yesterday, Iwound up in a 30-message email exchange from a customer who wasrebuilding a CA77 engine and experiencing great difficulties withthe ignition timing. He sent photos of the engine’s cam timingsetup, which all looked normal. It’s kind of hard to get Dream camtiming off a lot or even the point cam. The point cam is double-endedfor the 360-degree crankshaft Dream engines, so you can put it ineither way and it still works. If you do that with a 180 degree CB/CLengine, you will wind up having to install the points plate upsidedown in order to make the engine run.

My distant friend(in Canada) was tearing his hair out because when the points were setto normal gap, the ignition timing was about 30 degrees advanced. Hewas concerned that something was wrong with the cam timing setup orsomehow installed the point cam in incorrectly. The point cam onlygoes in one of two ways, so you can’t install it 30 degrees off, nomatter how hard you try.

My suspicions zeroed-in to the ignition points, which I have observed repeatedly as beingout of specifications in all cases if they are not OEM parts. I asked if the points were NDstamped (Nippon Denso). I could see in the slightly blurry photo thatit was a ND point setup vs. the optional Kokusan designed parts. Hereplied that the point plate said DENSO on it next to the contactset, which didn’t tell me what I wanted to hear. I could see, evenin the photos, that the insulators for the point wire were a brightred plastic, which is almost always a sign of aftermarket pointinstallations. ND uses a Bakelite-type of insulator which is a dullred.

I sent him photos ofclose-up images of new ND points and asked if they matched up withwhat he had on the points plate. Another out-of-focus photo came back, taken about 3 feet away. Again, I asked: “Does it have the ND stampon the point contact set?”Finally, he replied that it didn’thave ND on the points and he noticed a <F.E.W> mark where theND was supposed to be. I tracked down a couple of sources of genuineND points and sent links for him to purchase the correct parts.

                                <F.E.W.> aftermarket points. Note backing plate position

Somehow, he stillwondered if installing an electronic ignition would solve theproblem. Well, the answer is YES because the trigger wheel is heldonto the point cam with a set screw, so it has virtually infiniteadjust-ability.Eventually, he resigned himself to ordering a set ofND points and will report back to me about the results.

Concurrently, I received prompt 4-day delivery of some Dream parts from DSS (www.davidilverspares.com), including a set of ND points andcondenser and set about to install them in the 3600-mile Dreamengine. As I extracted the old points, I looked at the contact basewith a magnifying glass and discovered <F.E.W> stamped on thepoint set.The bike had been running with the points, but the pointbacking plate was turned all the way to the right end of theadjustment slot. The point gap looked to be about. .008”; justenough to break the circuit but not what Honda specified normally,which is .012-.016.”


Note that the rubbing block contact point is different between the two examples. ND at the bottom of the images.

With the new NDpoint set installed, the end result was the backing plate set moretowards the center of the slot and the point gap around the.016”range. The bike fired up normally and settled down after a briefwarm-up. What I did notice when checking the static ignition timingis that if the timing was just to the right of the F mark on oneside, a full revolution put the point opening just between the T andF marks! With a dynamic timing light, you will see the idle timingmarks shifting back and forth depending upon which end of the pointcam is being used. You can either leave it as-is and live with theinaccuracy OR you can use a wet-stone to carefully work down thepoint cam lobe that is more advanced, so that eventually both endsare going to open the points right at the F mark alignment.

                                 Nippon-Denso original points. Note backing plate position

In any case, DO NOTORDER/INSTALL any points that have <F.E.W> or a little three-blade propeller stamp which is from the Daiichi company. Bothaftermarket point sets will give you the same headache, without adoubt. So, again, I say “No, no… a thousand times NO” to theinstallation of any aftermarket ignition points that don’t have NDstamped on them. The part number for the ND points is 259-004 vs.259-003 for the Kokusan point sets, which will not install on a NDpoint plate at all. There are aftermarket copies of the Kokusanpoints as well, so BEWARE of fake copies. Unfortunately, for vendorsof those products, they are stuck with an inferior product thatshould never be marketed in the first place.

And now you know....

Bill “MrHonda”Silver
06-20

Thursday, May 28, 2020

MrHonda is bitten by a small white shark…



So, Isaw this bike listed on Facebook Marketplace for sale, right beforethe owners were moving to TN. I had seen the bike for sale onCraigslist and eBay auctions in the past year, then it disappearedfor a while. Now it was back...

Adtext:
Thisis a very clean bike. You could ride it down Ortega or park it inyour man cave.Over $5,000 went into making this bike so pristine. It has been garaged, It has CA plates but currently in Non Op status. I have pink slip.




Well,with the Coronavirus thing happening, all there is to do is work onmotorcycles and/or buy/sell some. I had worked the herd down from 5to 2, but that situation doesn’t last for long around here. Mybrother, Jim, had a 1984 VF500F Interceptor for a number of years andI wound up working on it a few times. Honda changed the carburetorcalibrations several times, plus put out a TSB on “drive-ability”for the 1984 models, which carried 102-105 main jets and evendifferent needles between front and rear carburetors. In 1985, themain jet sizes dropped to 90 front and rear with all the sameneedles. I tried to get the update kit for my brother’s bike, butHonda wanted to know if the bike had excessive leak-down, which thisone did, probably due to lean jetting affecting the valves. I woundup buying one of the takeout engines (Honda had some bearing problemswith early models and replaced whole engines under warranty) andreplaced the heads with fresh parts and put a DynaJet carb kit in itat the same time. Wow, that bike was fun to drive after thoseupgrades!

So,back to the little white shark 1985 VF500F Interceptor for sale…. They dropped the price down a few hundred dollars on the ad, but whenI spoke to the owner, he offered it for an additional $300 off,considering I was making a 180 mile round trip from San Diego toMission Viejo, CA in Orange County. I was lead to believe that thebike had been running a few months back and that he put stabilizer inthe gas tank. He offered a OEM shop manual and tons of receipts forwork done in the past, including new head gaskets from Cometic beinginstalled.

Dazzledby the amount of work done to the bike and the overall look, Iover-rode my internal guidance about not buying dead bikes for toomuch money and drove up and bought the thing. You could see thatmassive amounts of work had gone into the bike over the years. Thewhole chassis was powder-coated as were the engine covers and eventhe water tubes that transfer coolant across the engine. The wheelswere powder-coated and the bodywork was all refinished in “Sharkwhite” paint. Well, what the heck.. how bad could it be, given thestory behind the build from the owner who had had the bike for 5years. Well, it was worse than I thought, but somehow expected.

Thebattery was stone-dead, due to a lack of battery acid/fluid which hadnever been maintained. I bought a battery from the local auto partsstore and had to service it before use, so it sat overnight on thecharger. The next day, with a fresh battery installed, I checked thegas tank and found it empty! I went to the 7-11 and bought a coupleof gallons of premium fuel and filled the tank. I turned the ignitionswitch on and moved the petcock knob from OFF to Reserve and hit thestarter button. It burbled to life after a few moments, but then Inoticed a pool of gasoline beneath the bike! I turned everything offand looked carefully at the carburetors for signs of an overflowingfloat valve, but nothing was noticed there. Looking further back, Isaw fuel drooling down the rear cylinder, right below where thepetcock would be located on the tank. Off comes the seat and the twobolts holding the tank on and with the fuel line disconnected, it wasobvious that the fuel leak was coming from the petcock seals.
Ihad to drain out the gasoline and then turn the tank up to access thepetcock body. It is held on with 2 bolts and comes right off once thefuel knob is removed. I first thought that the little sediment bowlwas leaking, but with the petcock on the bench I could see that thenormally riveted petcock plate was held on with a couple of screws.The internal gaskets on these petcocks are the same 4 hole gaskets aswere used on the 1960’s Honda Super Hawks and Scramblers.Fortunately, I had an aftermarket kit in stock and borrowed the 4hole gasket to use on the Interceptor petcock. It didn’t fit quiteright, at first, but with a little bit of pushing, it finally seateddown in place and the outer plate was reattached.I put gas backinto the tank, while it was sitting on the ground and there were noleaks, so I put the tank back on the bike.

Itfired up again, with no leaks, this time. I put the seat back on anddecided to try the bike on a test ride around the block. While itsounded throaty with the little cone mufflers attached, it seemed tobe running on all four cylinders until the throttle was cracked open.It stumbled and bucked and felt like it was running out of gas, so Ipulled some choke on and it improved slightly. A few more blocks downthe road and the bike continued to run rough and irregular. Even withfull choke, it wouldn’t take full-throttle, so I marched it back tothe garage, knowing I was about to face what I feared the most;carburetor cleaning!

Ihave had horrible experiences with a 1988 VF400 NC30 JDM bike a fewyears back and it never really ran well, even after severaldis-assemblies and parts replacements. Those carburetors have a pivotbolt that holds the bodies together, but allows the V to be flexed alittle bit in order to fit them back into the manifolds. The VF500does not have that feature and once the mounting plate is removed,the whole rack of carbs kind of falls apart, losing the connectiontabs that synchronize the carburetor shafts. I threw the whole pileinto a drain pan and pulled each float bowl, cleaning the jets andchecking float levels. I noticed that the main jets were #94 from aDyno-Jet kit, designed for the 1985 model carburetors. The needleshad no marks and the clips were at the #2 notch from the top. Therewere notes in the shop manual about the jetting and needle clipsettings, which verified that this was a kitted carb set.

Ireally didn’t find a “smoking gun” problem with the carbs,although you could see that old fuel had been left in the bowls foran extended period of time. The bike’s registration ran out in2018, so that was probably the last time it ran, anyway. I moved theclips down a couple of clicks and reassembled everything again.Getting the linkages back together was a challenge and I finally putthe mounting plate back on the carbs, to help hold everythingtogether. Unfortunately, the throttle cables are difficult to installwith everything connected, so I eased the mounting plate back off toallow the carbs to reconnect to the manifolds, but then the linkagescame adrift and the whole event just got very ugly. It probably tookan hour to get the carbs into the manifolds and get the linkage tabsreconnected with the little springs set just right. Finally, at 7:30PM I got the bike to fire back up again, but I left it set with theair filter housing removed and gave it all a rest until the nextmorning.

Thenext day…

Afterreassembly, the bike fired up on choke, sounded “okay” and it ranfor about 10 minutes, but then suddenly lost power and stalled. Ichecked the gas cap for signs of a vacuum blockage, leaned the bikeover to the left side for a moment and then it started back up,limping back home slowly, stalling twice more before finallyreturning home. I had only put 2 and a half gallons of fuel in it andhad run it around on several trips, but when the fuel tap was openedto ON or RESERVE, I could see some fuel flowing through the inlinegas filter. Still, something was seriously wrong. Was it dyingelectrics or some kind of fuel flow issue?
As Ipondered the possibilities, I noticed a couple of harness wiringconnectors that weren’t connected to anything. Finally, it dawnedon me that these bikes came with an electric fuel pump one of whichwas sitting in the parts box that came with the bike. Despite whatappears to be a gravity-fed fuel delivery possibility when you lookat the relationship of the tank to carburetors, Honda thoughtdifferently and put a pump in the system. I fetched the pump, readthe book about how to jumper the fuel cut relay connector (fuel cutrelay was missing, unfortunately) and the pump rattled to life. Thenext task was to re-plumb the fuel lines from the petcock, back tothe pump which is located a couple of feet away, then return the fuellines back to the carburetor fittings. Honda has an elaborate systemof pre-curved fuel lines, fuel line connectors, an in-line filter andother fittings, all of which were missing.

Itried to work out a deal with an eBay seller who had the whole usedfuel line system, but he wanted $35 for shipping the fuel lines and atool box. We wound up in a stalemate, so other options were needed.Some 1/4” hose from the auto parts store started the process and Idiscovered that some 10-12 gauge electrical butt connectors couldmake fuel line connectors to use in the interim. Perhaps, that thewhole issue, all along, was just a lack of fuel feed to all thecarburetors. I had used an infrared temp gauge to check the headerpipe temperatures and both right side cylinders were colder than leftside cylinders. Being that the coils fire front and rear cylinderpairs, that eliminates a lack of spark to the ignition system.

Inan effort to eliminate other possibilities, I removed the radiator toaccess the spark plugs and allow the use of a compression gauge tocheck engine health. The speedometer was also not working and whenthe fairing cowl was removed, the speedometer showed signs of beingbroken and 1984 VF500F was written on the back of the meter unit,consistent with coming from a salvage yard. Instead of a nicely-builtcustom bike, it was looking more like a bitsa-bike instead. More eBayshopping turned up a good used speedometer and a few other necessaryitems.

Thenewer 1986 Speedometer came in and installed fairly easily, but thefirst test ride yielded the same outcome; no speedometer function.Pulling the lower fairing allowed for use of a small floor jack tofit underneath the oil filter and provide a lift point to pivot thebike on the centerstand. Removing the front wheel hardware justenough to remove the speedometer drive brought clarity to theproblem. The plastic/nylon speedometer gear teeth were stripped alongthe edge where the spiral gear contacts the drive sprocket teeth.It’s not a commonly found part, but Partzilla had one that arrivedwith a $30 price in a few days. Meanwhile I decided to order a newset of tires and a pair of good used OEM mufflers to take some of theroar out of the exhaust note.

In anow-normal bit of confusion, I wound up with a pair of right sidemufflers and nothing for the left. The eBay seller who had mislabeledthe muffler, took it back for refund and another left side wastracked down and purchased. New muffler packings were also ordered asthey seldom survive muffler refitting.

The good news is that the bike fired up and loves having a fuel pump in the system. It pulled to redline in lower gears, pulled well at mid-range, shifts well and rides with authority. This was the bike I remembered from back in the 1980s!

Really“tired” of this…

TheMay 5th tire order, from Chaparral Motors in San Bernadino, via eBay,seemed to go well at first, with promised delivery in a couple ofdays. What showed up was ONE rear tire with labels attached, and someFed-Ex messages about a damaged bar code, which was apparentlyreconstructed. There were no notes about the second tire. I tried tocontact Fed-Ex via phone but was put on endless wait times. I triedto contact Chaparral Motors to find out what had happened to theorder. Three times, I was on hold for 30 minutes, then gave up usingthe “call-back” option with a selected time for the return call.Well, that didn’t happen for over a day. I tried to use an old CSemail message to hit them directly, but that didn’t have anyresponse. I was assuming that Fed-Ex had somehow lost the other tire,but usually, when a pair of tires are shipped to me, they are bandedtogether, which these were not. Finally, Chaparral called back fromthe automated system. The woman didn’t know who I was or what theissue was as there is no tracking of the calls in as to what the issuesare. She said that there were only three people available to returncalls and they were backed up for over a day, so far. She pulled upmy order account information and noted that “We didn’t have the16” tire in stock, so I’ll have to order it now.”

So,now I have lost 2 days waiting with the bike off its wheels waitingfor fresh rubber. A couple of hours later, another woman called fromChaparral off of the second “call-back” message I had left and Iasked her to verify that a tire was ordered for me. She said that itwas coming from another vendor warehouse in California, but theinvoice had been sent for the purchase. From that point, thingsspiraled downwards for several more days. You can see that the tirewas ordered and shipped, via UPS this time. It had to come fromVisalia, CA which is a good 300 miles from San Diego. Tracking showedit coming down to LA overnight, then stalled out due to unexpecteddelays.

Out for Delivery
05/12/2020 11:32 AM.
Chula Vista, CA, United States
Out For Delivery Today



05/12/2020 2:14 AM.
Chula Vista, CA, United States
Destination Scan


05/11/2020 1:30 PM.
Chula Vista, CA, United States
Delivery will be delayed by one business day.


05/10/2020 10:34 AM.
Chula Vista, CA, United States
Arrival Scan


05/09/2020 9:53 AM.
Vernon, CA, United States
Your package has been delayed due to events beyond our control. We're adjusting delivery plans as quickly as possible.


05/09/2020 8:07 AM.
Vernon, CA, United States
Departure Scan


05/09/2020 12:53 AM.
Vernon, CA, United States
Arrival Scan


05/08/2020 9:16 PM.
Visalia, CA, United States
Departure Scan

Past Event


Shipped
05/08/2020 7:22 PM.
Visalia, CA, United States
Origin Scan


 The tire shipped on Friday, stalled in LA, then arrived in ChulaVista (12 miles away from me) on Sunday morning. I had gottendelivery messages from UPS, first for a Saturday delivery before 9PM.They don’t work on Sundays, so I expected the delivery on Monday,which was indicated in the next UPS message. That didn’t happeneither, even though the tire was sitting in the depot. Every time Ichecked the delivery information, there was only an arrival scan, nota destination scan or out for delivery message. Later on Monday, the“delivery delayed by one business day” message showed up on thetracking log.


Tuesdaymorning showed no changes. I called UPS to try and get a live person,which wasn’t available on Monday, and finally got connected to anoff-shore call center, probably in the Philippines, that said that itwas scheduled for delivery on Tuesday. Later on, a UPS notice poppedup showing that the tire was out for delivery between 12:45 and 4:45.I needed to coordinate the tire arrival with a trip to a shop to getit changed and balanced, so I can get the bike back up on its wheelsagain. When I rechecked the tracking status in the afternoon, themessage reverted to “delivery by 9PM” again. It’s a 50-50 dealif the tire actually makes it here on Tuesday after all, as far as Ican tell. I wouldn’t be surprised to get another “delayed onebusiness day” message later on. To be fair, we are in the middle ofthe Corona-virus pandemic and businesses are impacted greatly in manycases. However, if the original order had been tracked properly, thesecond tire would have been shipped at least a day earlier andperhaps gotten here on time.

Partof the worry was that I had my 1967 CB125SS up on my repair rack,with the Interceptor parked behind it with the wheels off. The little125 had been sold on BAT auctions and the shippers were set to pickup the bike on Tuesday. My options were either to put the old wheelback on the bike and gently roll it out of the shop to clear room toremove the 125 or pull the front stop off of the repair rack and goforward with it into the shop, then drag it around to fit out theside door to the garage, then out past the Ford Focus parked inside.The car was parked to far to the left, so I had to get the keys andmove the car out of the way, roll the bike out, put the car back andwait for the shippers to arrive. So, at least that worry was handledby 10:30 AM. The bike shipping people showed up around 11AM and thebike was gone within 20 minutes.

Allthe while I am waiting for signs of the UPS truck and arrival of thetire. While writing this, it is 4:40PM and no tire has arrived sofar, so now we go into Wednesday for arrival and tire mounting.Alsocoming this week is a new speedometer cable, which was supposed toarrive here on the 12th, but tracking shows it headedtowards New Orleans! So more messages out eBay sellers to find out ifthey misrouted the cable or if USPS has lost it in the system. It’snot been a good week for bike parts and repair schedules.

Inthe meantime, I installed some new OEM-looking front turn signals toreplace the fragile little LED units that had been mountedpreviously. The wires must have been about 22-24 gauge, as they wereeasily dislodged from the printed circuit board when the wiringrouting was changed. I had to re-solder the wires twice in order toget them to work for my initial ride a week before.

Thenew units were less than $40 for a set of four, including proper dualfilament fronts so that the running lights could be used properly.They are still made in China, of course, but were a good deal moresturdy than the installed LED lights. There are aftermarket OEM-typeturn signal mounts and light assemblies still available for thesebikes, but each part was about $25-30, so about $50-55 per corner.

UPSwas supposed to deliver a customer’s CT90 big-bore kit from DrATVin Nebraska today, the 12th, according to messages onSaturday, but at 4PM today a message came through that the deliveryis now on Wednesday the 13th from 10:45 to 2:45. AsShakespeare once wrote, “When sorrows come, they come not as singlespies, but in battalions.”

Icalled UPS at 8:30PM, knowing that the tire was not going to bedelivered in the darkness. Fortunately, I got an honest man on thecustomer service line who told me that the tire never was loaded ontothe truck that day, for reasons unknown. He offered to have the localoffice call me with an explanation and to see if they will just holdthe tire at the depot so I can go and pick it up instead of waitingfruitlessly for another “delivery” on Wednesday. I have no ideawhat is going on with this office, but it is not in the best interestof the customers at this time.

At10PM, an hour after the “cutoff-time” for the Tuesday tiredelivery, I received a new message from UPS:

HiWilliam, your scheduled delivery date has changed.

Rescheduled Delivery Date:
Wednesday, 05/13/2020
Estimated Delivery Time:
by 9:00 P.M.



 So, again, despite assurances that I would get a call with updateinformation, neither event came to pass. On Wednesday afternoon, Idrove 8 miles over to the UPS depot, stood in line for 30 minutes inthe sun and then was told that the tire might be on the truck forThursday, or I could ask for it to go intoWill-Call status and Icould pick it up on Wednesday evening from 7:30-8:00PM.Finally, at8PM on Wednesday night, I was able to receive the long-awaited 16”front tire for the bike. On Thursday morning I received a messagefrom UPS stating that my tire had been “delivered” at 8PM, thenight before.

Ihauled the wheel and tire down to my friend’s shop in NationalCity, CA. He was able to change it out and install a new valve stemin less than twenty minutes. Then, off I went to go home andreassemble the bike. With correct-sized tires, the bike sitsnoticeably lower than before and seems much more responsive tochanging directions and the ride-quality has improved, as well.

Duringall of this waiting and uncertainty, I received the $30 plastic gearfor the speedometer drive unit, as well as a new replacementspeedometer cable for the bike. Also received was a new set of brakepads for the triple-disc brakes. Everything went back together fairlysmoothly and the bike received a favorable test ride experience,including a working speedometer.

OnFriday, the left side OEM used muffler showed up, so the littlecustom stainless cones were removed and replaced with twenty poundsof OEM stock mufflers, which were substantially quieter than theslip-on units. I used the bike to make a trip to the Post Office formailing of some motorcycle parts and was able to really fullyexperience the solid feel of this little Interceptor for the firsttime. It has been a love-hate experience for the past few weeks, butthe bike’s potential has finally been fully realized. Now it istime to enjoy the fruits of my labor, perhaps for the next few monthsor longer. I am really beginning to like this bike a lot now!

Bill“MrHonda” Silver
5-2020

P.S.
Severalfriends, who rode behind me, noticed some “smoke” coming from theexhaust system on hard acceleration and coming off of stoplightswhere it idles for a few minutes. This kind of behavior points toworn valve stem seals in most cases. Apparently, when the headgaskets were replaced, the valve stem seals were ignored. On a 140mile run, the oil level dropped down to the add mark, requiring mostof a quart of oil to refill to the top fill line. Subsequently, on a80-mile trip, the oil level dropped again about halfway down thestick. I have ordered a set of engine gaskets, which are in shortsupply now. These are coming from the UK. I am not looking forward totearing the top end off of this bike for stem repairs. I attempted tobuy a whole parts bike locally, but after driving 50 miles to see it,the seller promptly left to go on errands when I was 5 minutes away. The white shark is nibbling away at me again.

5-28-2020




Label Created
05/08/2020 9:59 PM.
United States
Order Processed: Ready for UPS




Wednesday, April 15, 2020

CB125SS tear-down…


Youreally never know what you are getting at motorcycle auctions unlessthere are details specific to the history and current running statein the auction highlights. Usually, there is nothing like thatavailable to prospective buyers/bidders. You get a couple of photosand a couple of lines about what it is and from what “collection”that it came from and that’s about all.



Casein point: I bid and won a 1967 CB125SS bike at a recent Mecumauction, which carried scant information about what it was and whereit came from. These bikes appeared to be solely Japanese DomesticModels and few have survived after 53 years, much less having beenlovingly restored in the Mid-West a few years back. These bikesoriginally came in various metallic Candy colors, rather than Honda’susual black/white/red/blue options, that were the mainstay of thecolor palette of the early 1960s. This one was painted a traditionalScarlet Red, the color that you would have seen on a CB77 Super Hawkor S90 or CB160 back then. So, “points off” for non-originalpaint color. That said, it looks wonderful in this color, mimicking aCB160 in size and overall configuration. 1967 was a cut-off periodfor the 160s and newly designed CB175K0 and this CB125SS weretransition models between the old “toaster tank” models and thechrome-fendered two-tone paint schemes commonly seen on 1968-on CB175and CB350 twins. Despite numerous visual similarities to the earlier CB125-160 models, the only parts in common were the knee pads andrear mudflap/bracket.

Ibrought the bike back to San Diego in my Tacoma truck after theauction and set about to see what it would take to get it running, asobviously, it hadn’t run for a while. The battery was flat andwouldn’t take a charge and the fuel system needed some fresheningup as well. This is a rare electric-start model, a feature whichisn’t even shown in the period parts manuals. With fresh fuel and anew battery, the bike did fire up, sounding a bit loud, as themuffler system consisted of cut-off stock header pipes and a set ofaftermarket Thailand-made slip-on mufflers. Initial test runs seemedto indicate a lot more power than recent SS125A and CL125A machineswhich had come my way in the past few years.

Theshifting, however, was erratic and it seemed to skip gears andcouldn’t find neutral easily. Off came the clutch cover to see whatwas going on and it was discovered that the shift drum detent arm wasoff to the side of the shift drum stopper plate instead of riding upon top of the notched plate. This is a very rare occurrence in myexperience, but I bent the roller arm just a bit in order to help itmaintain its correct location. The clutch outer plate, which has 4pockets for the clutch springs had a big crack at the bottom of onepocket and a large chunk missing from one of the other ones. This,too, is something that is nearly unexplained and never seenpreviously in my 50 years of wrangling vintage Hondas. A quick tripto eBay yielded a used clutch assembly with a good pressure plate. Ibuttoned the whole thing up and tried it again. Low-speed tripsaround the neighborhood seemed to indicate that the problems had beensolved successfully.



Performance-wise,the engine sounded quiet and didn’t seem to smoke out of the tailpipes, but when the compression was checked, the left side was 115and the right side was 155! I found a somewhat tight intake valve onthe left side, so loosened it up to the .002” spec and tried itagain. Compression went up to about 130 and that’s all it would do.Slightly low compression is often an indication of a broken ring,scored cylinder walls, unseated rings or a mildly leaking valve.

Somehow,the bottom engine case boss, which anchors the stock mufflers, had abig chunk missing from the engine casting. When I finally trackeddown OEM mufflers, the middle brackets, which are supposed to anchorto the engine case really didn’t line up to allow bolts to securethe muffler to the engine. There is a rear muffler bracket, whichattaches to the frame and it holds the mufflers securely without themiddle one being present. But, the combination of that fault, lowcompression readings and still erratic shifting when the engine washot lead me to decide to just remove the engine and remedy everythingthat was going on with it. There are only 4 bolts holding the engineinto the chassis, so after the mufflers are removed and a few wiresand hoses disconnected, it drops down onto a small hydraulic jack andoff it goes to the workbench.

Thecylinder head was removed and valves tested for leakage by shootingsome spray brake cleaner down the ports when the valves were closed.Nothing leaked there, so the next stop was the cylinder block. Oncethe cylinders removed from the engine crankcase, the cylinder boreshad notable pockmarks along portions of the cylinder walls like tinytermites had been gnawing at the top of the bores. The pistons andrings were determined to be on standard bore and use of a honerevealed some light ridging at the top of the bores. Ring gaps wereoff at the wide end of the scale, as well. So, despite fairly tightpiston and ring sets, the left side was losing compression when therings skated over the dimples in the cylinder bore. Time for newoversized pistons and a rebore!


Theengine had been assembled with a LOT of 3-Bond or similar liquidsealer, so every gasket surface was coated with the sealant and stucktogether far more than usually found. With the clutch and oil pumpremoved and the stator/ignition components pulled off the left side,the engine cases could be split for inspection and replacement of thelower case. In removing the top shift drum anchor bolt, it was notedthat the shift drum collar/roller was NOT present. I have run intothis situation with a CB92 engine and the whole shift drum assemblywas floating back and forth, selecting (or not) gears at random. Onetiny roller makes all the difference in the performance of thetransmission and that is what caused the detent roller to move overand drop down!

WhenI was studying the shift drum detent roller problem, I searched forwhat would normally be a related part on the later SS125A and CL125Amodels, which were sold in the US. The detent roller for those modelswas easily twice the diameter of the one in my engine. There reallyisn’t room inside the engine case to fit a large detent roller,unless other parts were also changed. Checking the two differentparts and part numbers, I discovered that the shift drum detentroller was engaging a smaller and reconfigured shift drum stopperplate. Back to the same eBay seller for a whole used shift drum anddetent roller in order to see if the later parts could beretrofitted into the 1967 engine case.

Theparts arrived quickly from Oregon and I set about to see if the nextgeneration parts would indeed fit into the earlier engine cases,which seemed virtually identical. The used eBay parts included theentire shift selection components, including shift drum, detentroller, guide pin with a spring and detent plunger and both shiftforks. Everything was different than what was in my bike andfortunately, all the used upgrade parts fit into the CB engine casesperfectly. I reassembled the bottom end and sent the cylinders out tobe rebored to .50 oversize. I found a whole piston, pin, ring, clipssetup on eBay for $95, so with another $80 to be spent on cylinderboring, the engine will be nice and tight and ready for service.

                                               Old vs. new detent rollers

Inkeeping with rebuilding any old Honda engine, I spent more than one-hour scraping old gaskets and sealer material from the top-endcomponents. Plan on some similar time to be spent on whatever engineyou might be working on in the future. The OEM gaskets were made ofasbestos and bond to aluminum in an unimaginable way over a 20-50year period. This engine has been refreshed previously, but thebuilder appears to have used some aftermarket gasket kits. He alsohad used a liquid sealer on the head gasket, which adhered to the outersurfaces. When the head was removed the head gasket delaminated andthere were signs of rust or corrosion that was embedded into the headgasket layers. Honda always cautioned about using non-OEM gaskets intheir engines, even back in the 1960s, so this was proof-positive oftheir warnings.

The last remaining “issue” for the bike is that the front brake isreally “grabby” when applied, especially at low speeds. I had thefront wheel off previously looking for signs of rust or othercorrosion that might make the brakes extra touchy, but not much wasevident. It is a good-sized twin-leading shoe brake, used on theCB175s, which have 50% more power than the 125 and are capable ofnearly 80 mph. I scrubbed the drum with a Scotchbrite pad and took afile to the brake shoe material, smoothing the high spots androughing up the glazed lining faces. The DLS brakes have a connectingrod that runs between the primary and secondary shoes. I loosened thelocking nut and set the shoes so they would both be contacting thedrum at the same time. It appeared that the secondary shoe washitting early from the way it was adjusted.

Oncethe cylinders were ready, I was able to finish up the reassembly ofthe engine and bolt it back up into the chassis. It fired up quickly but still seems a bit fussy at part throttle, just off idle.Compression readings are now 150-155psi now and there are no leaks atgaskets or seals, despite no using any liquid sealer, other than forthe engine case halves. Honda didn’t build engines with sealers onthe gasket surfaces and neither should you…

Bill“MrHonda” Silver
04-20



                                                 1967 Honda CB125SS

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Rescue and Resuscitation: 1981 CB650 Custom


Ihave worked on a couple of CB650s, over the past few years, but can’tsay that I have ever owned one until this February! I was watching apoor bike languishing in the Craigslist postings for about 10 daysfeeling sorry for its lack of care. The seller only posted one photofrom about 30 feet away, so you really can’t see how good/bad itreally is. The meager text in the posting mentions that the bike onlyhad 4,000 original miles on the clocks and needed “carb cleaning”and some general TLC. This bike comes under the definition of “barnfind,” which can lead to a “learning experience” or send you toa financial “black hole” of unexpected work and parts purchases.



TheCB650s were the last of the generation of mid-sized Honda Fours,which began as the CB500 Four, then got a big bore increase to 550cc.Honda stroked the engine out to about 627cc, which Honda rounded offto 650cc, as a model descriptor. By 1981, the engine was rated at 63horsepower (up from the original 59 horsepower in 1979), not too muchshy of the original CB750s 67 horsepower rating, however in a muchlighter chassis, weighing in at around 480 lbs. Honda made numerouschanges to the machine through the years of 1979-82. The stockslide-type carburetors were replaced with larger 31mm CV carburetorsin 1981. The CB650 Custom had new forks, double-disc brakes up front,Comstar wheels, 4 into 4 mufflers and pull-back handlebars. Quartermile times were 13.6 seconds at 95 mph.

Aftera 1-hour drive to North San Diego County, I was able to have aclose-up look at the poor, neglected Honda 650 Custom. The lastregistration tags were from 1988 and supposedly the carburetors hadbeen cleaned at some unspecified point in time. The first thing Inoticed that the coil wires had been replaced with some very LONGwires and that the 1-4 coil leads were connected to 1-3 cylinders,while the 2-3 cylinder coils were connected to 2-4 cylinders. Thebattery had been charged up enough to hear the engine crank over, butit gave no signs of trying to start up on its own.

Thefront brake master cylinder plunger was stuck all the way IN, sothere was no way to pump up any pressure to the front brakes.Removing the gas cap revealed that someone had sloshed some KREEMtank sealer inside and some of it had anchored the internal fuelfilter in place. The gas cap latching function was sluggish andappeared to be both corroded and perhaps plugged up with some tanksealer residues.





Thetires were the original Dunlop Qualifiers, with expected weatherchecking and dry rot on the sidewalls. Tire tread did help to verifythat the bike only had the 4k miles showing on the odometer. Theright side mirror and some scuff marks and the fuel tank had a dentalong the top right edge.With more than a little reluctance, Idecided to adopt the poor machine and do what I could to bring itback to life without breaking the bank account. The sale price was$700, which gave me some breathing room as far as procuring necessaryparts, but was probably a more than generous offer.

Asexpected, the carburetors were filled with a jelly-like substance andall of the float valve needles were stuck in the seats. All fourslides were stuck in the bores and the accelerator pump plunger wasstiff and non-pliable. Carbs were disassembled and bathed in anultrasonic cleaner for several rounds. My friends at 4into1.comprovided me with new tires, carb kits, cables, a master cylinder kit,spark plugs and oil filter bolt/filter/oil for an oil change. Ebaysellers came up with specific O-rings for the oil galley plugs and agood used speedometer/tachometer mount plate to replace the one whichhad a sheared-off mounting stud.

Ifound some Metal Rescue gel products at the local auto parts stores,which can be applied with a brush. Let it stand for a few hours andthen rinse off and you have much better-looking chrome parts!

Thedrawback on the 1980s CV carburetors is that the idle jets arepressed-in and not replaceable. This makes a thorough cleaning justabout impossible. I know that those who do carburetor overhaulsprofessionally have a method of extracting the jets using a tap tocatch some threads on the outside edge of the jets, then somehowbeing able to pull them out from the carburetor body intact. If youbreak off the tap or the end of the jet, then it’s “game over”for that carburetor.

Afterrebuilding the master cylinder, I discovered that the fluid lineswere clogged with ancient brake fluid residues. So far, I have beenable to push a piece of stainless steel safety wire down the banjofitting for a few inches, which seems to be where the clogs reside. Acombination of the wire and some brake cleaner shot down the fittingmanaged to open the passageway and allow fluid pressure to flush thelines out down to the calipers.The caliper seals were replaced,after the pistons were finally pumped out with the master cylinderpressure. Bleeding the dual brake lines can be challenging, buteventually the air was expelled and a firm brake lever returned torestore normal brake function.



Initially,once the carbs were back on the engine, the #4 carburetor didn’tseem to be flowing fuel at idle. The exhaust pipe was cold after theengine had run for a few minutes at idle. Raising the engine speed uptowards 3-4k allowed the cylinder to begin firing again, causing theengine performance to become uneven as the cylinder cut in and out onthe first test drive. A follow-up check of the #4 carburetor’sfloat bowl and carb top allowed me to poke a slender, tapered jetreamer up inside the idle jet orifice to perhaps clear a blockage inthe jet hole. I’m not sure if the carburetor slide spring might nothave been tangled up in the return spring, but after everything wasreassembled, the engine smoothed out and the engine performance beganto sound more normal once again.

Theengine sounded a bit noisy in the top end, so all the valveclearances were checked and found to beat specifications. Thecamchain tensioner needed adjusting, which is accomplished byloosening the lower tensioner cap nut while the engine is idling. Afew turns out on the nut and the noise disappeared much to mysurprise.

Theoriginal drive chain was rusty and corroded, so a replacement chainis one of the last items on the replacement list.Speaking of partsinvolved, as mentioned above, the list came out something like this:
Sparkplugs, oil/filter and new oil filter bolt, master cylinder kit,caliper seals, top end gasket kit, carburetor repair kits, plus #125main jets (replacing the stock #120s). New throttle cables and a newchoke cable, plus a new $30 petcock screen set. The knob for theHi-Low beam switch had been knocked off, so a good used eBay switchassembly was obtained for $20. New tires were mounted and balanced bymy friends at National City Motorcycles. So, you can see that even ifyou get a bike like this for free, the parts required, plus a LOT oflabor, makes reviving a “barn-find” bike into a bit of an ordeal,requiring a substantial investment in time and parts.

Younever know what someone else has done to a bike in the past and amysterious lack of turn signal function was traced down to someoneputting all the front signal/running light wires into switched hotwire connectors, so the filaments were always on, no matter what theturn signal switch tried to control. A simple rewiring of the frontsignal wires, put the turn signal function back to normal again.




Thereis still plenty of de-rusting to do on the chrome parts that have satcollecting dust and rust for most of the past 32 years or so. Fromits sale in Denver, CO to time in Arkansas, before coming to CA in1986, the bike has covered more miles in transport than on it’swheels being driven normally. The factory o-ring drive chain wasreplaced with a solid-roller DID chain. Despite it’s rather drearycosmetics, the bike is mechanically pretty sound now. The initialinvestment cost has doubled since purchase, but it is now fullystreet-legal in California now and ready for service and newadventures in SoCal.

Bill“MrHonda” Silver

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Honda CL90-Learner bike


Ironically, my veryfirst motorcycles was a 1967 CL90 Honda Scrambler and that was whatwas dropped off at the shop just before Christmas for “get running”repairs.
My customer is inhis late teens and brought a scruffy CL77 last year for “getrunning” repairs that got much more complicated than expected. TheCL90 project had been powdercoated, chromed up and cleaned upoverall, but he never could get it running.

On the bench, Ichecked the basics and during a timing check could feel roughnessin the engine as it was turned over towards TDC. I noticed that none of the four cylinderhead nuts had washers beneath them, including the copper washer used to keep the head from leaking oil. Rookies!

Tearing the top endoff of a Honda 90 is about a 5-minute task, so I thought I would takea peek inside. Yikes! The camchain guide pin had been replaced withan 8mm bolt that pinched the roller at the edge, preventing it fromrolling at all. The cylinder bore showed old water stains andpitting, plus the piston was showing being seized in about 3 places.Making this one run is going to be expensive and take more than alittle time. I noticed that the spark advancer had 918 stamped on the edge, instead of 028. 918 is for an ATC 90 which only has about 25 degrees of spark advance vs. 45 for the CL90 engine. I had to round up a good used one from eBay sellers and that fixed that.

I dropped the engineout of the frame and saw an aftermarket coil and wiring mounted tothe top of the engine. The coil wasn’t anchored on both endsbecause it was a generic part of the wrong dimensions. Plus he hadleft out the condenser! The wiring connection from the stator to theharness was connected in the wrong location which pulled the wholeaftermarket harness downwards. This created a short connection to theheadlight shell, which pulled on the wiring when the steering wasturned to the left.

There were incorrectfasteners, loose wire connector crimps which came apart when pulledgently. Lots of rookie mistakes all around on the restoration effort.The rear wheel axle nut was just holding the axlein place, but thewhole stub shaft for the rear hub was missing!

Quite a bit of timewas expended in scraping off old gasket material from the head andcylinder. Whoever had been in there previously had used a cheapgasket kit that used thin green paper material which seems like asingle-use material.

There was a lot ofcarbon build up in the combustion chamber, but the valve seats werenot badly damaged from whatever water had gone through the motor inthe past. I re-cut new seats and lapped the new valves in place. Thecylinder was bored to 1mm over to clean up the bore and eventually itall came back together again.

Somehow theaftermarket ignition had been damaged and was non-functional. Myfriends at 4into1.com came up with a replacement switch for less than$10, plus gaskets and one of the valves.
The rest of theparts came from eBay sellers. I had guesstimated the whole bill at$500 before I got deeply into the project and with a discounted laborrate it still pushed close to $600. Funny how such a small bike, thatsold for about $400 new, costs so much to repair now. Here’s whatthe total looked like:

$31.71 piston/rings
$12.97 tappet covers
$20.46 sparkadvancer
$18.94 sealingwashers
$10.76 seal kit
$6.53 guide rollerpin
$68mm guide pinwasher
$21.54 cam chainroller
$6.47 8mm washer
$14.00 exhaust valve
$3 Float Bowl Gasket
$15 Intake Valve
$20 Engine GasketSet
$8 Ignition Switch
$5.95 1qt oil
$5 gasoline
$5 valve stem seal
$40 cylinder boring
$30 Coil andcondenser
$5 engine mountbolt/misc hardware
$286.33 parts

Labor:
Teardown top end forevaluation
Remove engine forrebuild
Order parts (gasket,seals, spark advancer, camchain roller/pin, piston/rings, valves,ignition switch
Remove clutch coverfor clutch inspection
Remove originalgasket material from head, cylinder, and crankcase
Cut new valveseats/install new valves
Replace ignitioncomponents with the correct type
Reinstall wiringharness/repair wire connections/install new ignition switch
Inspect/adjustcarburetor components
2 trips to the machineshop for cylinder boring 48 miles
Install new camchainroller/pin
Install newpiston/rings
Assemble top endcomponents
Install engine andadjust timing
Inspect andreassemble petcock components
Replace fuel lines
Check compression(150 psi)
Start engine andadjust carburetor
Total labor: 8 hrs.$320 discount rate

The bike fired upquickly and showed plenty of oil circulating in the top end. The compression check showed 150 psi. There’s lots more to do infinishing the rest of the bike, but I did “make it run” in theend.

Bill Silver “akaMrHonda”
1-2020

Monday, December 9, 2019

My Bonnie lies over the driveway...


In that this story has nothing to do with vintage Hondas, distribution of it will be somewhat limited this time. With apologies to the original song, which I have parodied here for my title:


Speaking of parodies, read down to the first one on the page that echoes my reference to motorcycles! 

My Bonnie leaned over the gas tank,
The height of its contents to see,
I lit a small match to assist her,
O Bring back my Bonnie to me.


     Ilove my Sunday rides with my Jamuligan friends, switching back andforth between my various small-bore machines of late. I have kind ofbeen missing the torque and heft of my last W650 Kawasaki, but theyrarely come up for sale and there isn’t much else that seems towork for me in that category… until this CL posting showed up:

2008Triumph Bonneville, Black with only 4646 miles.
Doesnot start and could use some TLC. Registered through SEP 2020.
Lookingfor $1200 OBO.

FACTORYSPECS:
Frame:Tubular Steel Cradle
Suspension:Front: 41 Mm Forks Rear: Chromed Spring Twin Shocks With AdjustablePre-load Rake: 28°Trail: 4.33 In. (110 Mm)
Engine:DOHC, Parallel-twin, 360° Firing Interval Horsepower: 66 Bhp (67 Ps)@ 7,200 Rpm Displacement: 865 Cc Bore x Stroke: 90 X 68 Mm Torque: 52Ft. Lbs. (71 Nm) @ 6,000 Rpm Compression Ratio: 9.2:1 Fuel System: 2Carburetors With Throttle Position Sensor And Electric CarburetorHeaters Fuel
TankCapacity: 4.4 Gal. (16.6 L)
Clutch: Wet, Multi-plate
Cooling:Air/Oil
Transmission:5-speed Final Drive: X-ring Chain
BodyColors: Claret, Aluminum Silver, Fusion White, Black
Brakes:Front: Single 310 Mm Disc, 2-piston Caliper Rear: Single 255 Mm Disc,2-piston Caliper
Tires:Front: 100/90 19 Rear: 130/80 17

ManufacturerDescription:
Apedigree that few models can match. A true roadster, the Bonnevillematches classic British style to 21st century technology. Thispairing of authenticity with modernity has led the Bonneville tobecome an icon in its own right with several famous designerscreating their own signature tank designs. A cool way to cover theurban landscape; the Bonneville is agile in jammed streets and athome, blatting down a leafy country lane. It has a pedigree fewmodels can match plus a tangible credibility within today’smotorcycling world. Available is the subtle Bonneville Black – aJet Black Bonneville complemented by a black engine finish.

I saw this posting on a Saturday night, justbefore Halloween andthought, “How can I go wrong with a deal like this?” So, I sentan email which was answered quickly. I had leftover cash from thesale of my 1991 Honda Accord, so I was all set to load up the rampand tie-downs for a quick trip across town to go have a look.

I really don’t advise bike shopping at night, but sometimes time isof the essence, so off I went to investigate this offering. Afterfinding the correct alley address, I was able to see the bike locatedin a side yard with one floodlight illuminating the poor Triumph.There was no battery in the bike, so I had to assume that the enginestill turned over, but given the many experiences I have had with long-termstorage of 250-305 Honda engines, that is a questionable assumption.







My current lightweight bikes (1988 CBR250R-45 HP/350lbs and EX500Kawasaki -50HP/425 lbs) are great fun and easy to handle on my Sundayrides with my Jamuligan friends, but I have been missing that nicefat, torquey feel of my last Kawasaki W650 parallel twin. I haveowned three W650s in the past ten years and they were solid, reliableclassic-looking machines.

Kawasaki only sold 1500 W650s in the US during 2000-2001 and they arerare to find these days. When the W650s were put on the market, herein the US, the “new Triumph 650” models were hitting thedealerships at the same time. Comparisons were inevitable and theKawasaki had many strong points, but the Triumphs won out in the end.I’ve never had a chance to ride any of the new Triumph models, butthe opportunity arose recently to own one at a bargain price.

The seller was a current military man and had owned the bike sincenew, however, he had been stationed in Monterey, Virginia, Washingtonand elsewhere in the past 11 years and the bike had not been riddensince 2011. He had recently moved back to San Diego and made effortsto revive the bike after it had been poorly stored causing rust inthe fuel tank and corrosion all over, everywhere else. The bike dealincluded a couple of leather Triumph-branded leather jackets and theregistration tags were good until Sept.. 2020, which is a $129consideration. I offered $1,000 and he accepted. We loaded the bigmachine into the Tacoma and off I went, back into the black Saturdaynight, with my new project.

I really like bikes that have centerstands, which this one did notpossess. However, looking underneath the chassis, a pair of mountsfor a centerstand were noted. Sure enough, our eBay friends in Chinawere offering a whole centerstand kit for $119 with free shipping forthe big Bonneville models.

Surprisingly, the carb rack is pretty much identical to that of theW650 Kawasaki, so I was pretty familiar with the setup. In typicalBritish fashion, there were unexpected challenges as the analysis ofthe bike’s faults continued. For one thing, the PAIR air system forthe emissions control runs big fittings down next to the spark plugsin very close proximity to the plug itself. Most spark plug sockets,which normally have ample room on a Honda ran afoul of the adjacentair fittings.

The TPS switch on the carburetors must be unplugged from a harnessconnector which is buried just inside the frame tube, makingre-connection quite a chore. One of the throttle cable adjusters isright up against the sliding choke connector, as well. Thecarburetors had not seen fresh fuel through them since 2011, so both weretotally gummed up inside. Both float valve needles were completelystuck in the float valve seats due to varnish deposits. One of theidle jets was stuck hard in the carburetor body, requiring lots ofcarb cleaner, a precision screwdriver tip and a bit of hammering inorder dislodge it for cleaning. Several rounds of cleaning in mylittle ultrasonic cleaner finally dissolved the varnish deposits,allowing all of the parts to be reused during assembly.

The rear chain, spokes, and brake rotor were rusted and corroded,requiring a lot of hand cleaning. The chain was doused in PB Blaster,then some synthetic chain lube. The rear brake rotor cleaned off withsteel wool and brake cleaner. The brake pedal is located above thelevel of the foot-peg, which is an odd angle for your ankle,especially my fused one. The adjustment nut for the brake linkage rodis inaccessible beneath the footpeg bracket.

During pre-purchase inspection, the front fork seals were noted asshowing definite signs of leaking. The fork oil then drooled down theleft fork leg and onto the brake caliper and rotor.

The fuel tank was drained then filled with a gallon of phosphoricacid and 3 gallons of water, then left to sit for 3 days. Eventually,what appeared to be rust inside the fuel tank was apparently justleftover fuel solids, which dissolved and filled a plastic containerfull of brownish gunk. Subsequent flushing with water revealed awhite coating inside the fuel tank which was apparently unfazed byyears of gasoline acids and other byproducts. A good used petcock waspurchased from an eBay seller, which had intact fuel screens for theinlet fittings. After a good air dry with compressed air and sometime with a heat gun the tank was deemed safe to use, without furthertreatment.

After carburetor installation, along with a fresh battery, the bikeengine spun over eagerly and fired up after a few moments ofcranking. The engine sounded a little uneven at idle, which finallywas found to be caused by a disconnected vacuum line to the carbmanifold fittings.

The Haynes shop manual, which came with the bike, showed a floatlevel setting of what I thought was listed as 13 to 16mm! Thatseemed to be a rather broad range, given that Honda often specifiesfloat levels in .5mm increments. I used the higher figure to helpoffset the usual factory leanness in today’s emission controlledcarburetors. What appears to be the end result is that the bike,which can only rest on the side stand, allows the carburetors topartially flood the engine if the fuel petcock is left in the ONposition. If the petcock is left in ON or RESERVE, the engine becomesvery hard to start, often running the battery low until it finallyclears its throat and starts up. When the petcock is shut off aftereach ride, the bike fires up in a few revolutions. I started the bikewith the petcock in OFF until it catches and starts running for aminute, then switch the fuel to ON position.

An Internet search seemed to indicate that the float level is reallysupposed to be 17mm! I contacted a Triumph site that deals in variousmodifications and hoped to receive some concrete information aboutwhat the setting is supposed to be from the factory. I never heardback from them, but verified the setting at the local Triumphdealership.

I realized that I completely mis-read the float level specs in thebook. A first casual glance that I thought was 13 to 16mm turned outto be 16 to 18mm, with 17mm given as the popular average to achievesuccess in proper carburetor calibration. I attempted an on-bikereadjustment of the float levels, but apparently the left side didn’tgo as planned and the bike suddenly was giving off a backfire throughthe carburetors, exiting the rubber manifold connectors despite atight hose clamp at the connection.

That set off a search for new manifolds, which lead to finding one oneBay for $15 delivered. Ultimately, a second one was in stock at thelocal Triumph motorcycle dealers for about $.25 less money. I boughta new oil filter and a gallon of recommended semi-synthetic oil whichran the bill to past $50, just for the oil and filter.

The Chinese centerstand assembly arrived a few weeks after orderingand failed to impress me with poorly-fitting components andimproperly-designed hardware. After spending over an hour inmodifying the various parts, the fitted stand would not allow thebike to come up successfully. Messages to the seller proved somewhatfruitless at first, then finally they admitted that the stand reallydidn’t fit this model machine. While at the Triumph dealer, myfriend Issac checked the computers and discovered that thereclose-out factory stand kits for $120! I laid down my plastic acrossthe counter and put one on order ASAP.

After waiting a few days to receive my centerstand kit, I called theshop only to have them tell me that Triumph had listed the part ascenterstand ONLY, not as a kit! All the rest of the hardware bitswill probably cost another $100 and some of them might have to comefrom England, which might take a few weeks! Grrr….. Honda wouldn’tdo that to me! Eventually, all the centerstand parts did come in,sooner than expected and the installation went smoothly, so now thebike has a proper centerstand function which makes chain maintenancemuch easier. After some delays, I was able to receive a full refundfor the non-fitting Chinese stand, which they didn’t want to be returned.

I decided to remove the carburetors once more and reset the floatlevels more precisely and check them for any signs of leftover fuelcontamination from the previously contaminated fuel supply. That leftside level was off a few millimeters, which was corrected to matchthe other carburetor. The new manifolds were installed and everythingbuttoned back up correctly. This time the bike fired up quickly, ranevenly on both sides and didn’t show signs of over-lean orover-rich mixtures. Subsequent test runs bore out the final successof reviving the fuel system from top to bottom.

The fork seals needed attention next, as the fork oil had run downthe left side fork and into the brake caliper and brake rotor,leaving a distinct lack of braking feel when the lever was pulled. Icarefully read the Hayne’s book and hoisted the bike on myseldom-used bike lift. Extracting the front wheel and fender, thefork tubes slid out of the triple clamps with relative ease. Theforks are held together with the inner damper rod, which is retainedby an 8mm Allen socket head bolt through the bottom of the fork case.Fortunately, I happened to have a small 3/8ths drive special socketwith 8mm bit, which worked perfectly for bolt extraction.

The 41mm forks hold nearly 500cc of oil, once you reassemble themwith new seals and dust covers! I used some auto store synthetictransmission fluid for the refill and they seem a little morecompliant than before. Once the forks were rebuilt, the brake rotorwas cleaned carefully and a new set of pads installed. NOW I have adecent front brake!

Despite its rather tatty appearance, the bike is mechanically verysound and has been taken on a couple of Sunday rides of 60-70 mileseach with complete success and enjoyment. I never really expected tobe a Triumph owner, but circumstances worked towards reviving thispreviously neglected machine to fulfill my cosmic request for anotherbig-bore parallel twin for my Sunday entertainment.