Sunday, May 19, 2024

A little CB77, disguised as a Pink Panther

I really don’t go chasing after vintage Honda twins these days. There is so much work to do to get them cleaned up, especially when they have been off the road since 1977. That’s the case of the “Pink Panther” Super Hawk that was offered to me from the local SD Automotive Museum. I'd helped them out with a decent CB77 many years ago, which was sold for some small profit for the museum funds.


Here, years later, I get a text message from Jack at the museum saying… “Are you interested in a 1964 CB77 that was donated to us recently?” He forwarded some small photos of what appeared to be a mostly complete bike sporting a custom “Pink-ish” paint job that had swirly red and black drips and tiny metallic flakes embedded into the finish. It looked almost 3D, but putting a hand across the finish, it was quite smooth. Obviously, someone with great skill and imagination painted it long ago.


I drove down to National City just to have a look, a few days later. Apart from the bobbed front fender, the other changes were a set of CL72 exhaust pipes installed, some CB350 rear shocks, the centerstand had been deleted and the optional side stand bolted up to the chassis. The pipes were tight up against the left side cover, so the heat from the pipes and proximity left a burn spot on the cover.



                                                In the beginning.....

The original photo set showed the starter motor attached, but no starter chain connected. When I saw the bike, apparently Jack had decided to remove the starter motor, which is held on with 4 bolts and the long top right side bolt snapped off, flush with the case surface….


The worst part of the bike’s condition, apart from the layer of rust and corrosion all over the chrome parts, was the kickstarter cover. This was a 1964 bike with engine number 6750, so has the early, first-generation kickstarter cover, which was prone to breakage and damage to the kickstarter shaft bushing and hole. This hole was elongated so much that it would take a monumental task to weld back up and find the original hole center again. That one would go on the junk pile right away.


Despite the 19k miles showing on the speedometer, the meter needles were still in place with some fading to the face. If the engine was still original to the bike, I would expect a lot of worn parts inside, especially the kickstarter and transmission gears.


I had a CL77 project spread all over my work table, so I told them that I was interested but couldn’t find a place for it for a few weeks. If it was still available when I was ready, I would take a shot at bringing it back to life again, but it was going to be a pretty full-on revival.


Fast forward a few weeks later, and the bike was still available and I had space to park it out in the driveway under a cover for the moment. The biggest challenge I could foresee is that the front brake seemed to be locked up and the front tire didn’t hold air. Getting it loaded up into the Tacoma and then back off in the driveway was going to be a challenge to say the least.


Pickup… no worries


When I arrived at the Auto Museum warehouse, I brought a whole box of tools, a portable bike lift, ATV ramp, a new tire, tube and rim band and plenty of tie-downs to help get this bike off the floor and into the truck. Well, none of that happened, because my friend Jack had hoisted the bike up on the Harbor Freight bike stand and removed the front wheel, took the brake plate apart and lubed the brake cams. With the wheel already off, I was able to change the tire and we both guided the front wheel back onto the bike and got enough brake lever leverage to safely get the bike out of the shop and onto the Tacoma safely. I tucked all the spares away behind the front seats and on the floor of the passenger side seat and started for home. All during the drive home, I ruminated about how to handle this new project and how to keep the cost from going crazy.


Panther’s Anatomy…


It took about 2 hours to gingerly remove the engine from the chassis without the benefit of the centerstand. Ironically, I had the centerstand on the shopping list, but when I went to pick up the bike someone had come by and dropped off the centerstand for the bike, which had been mislaid somewhere in the garage. I’ll still need to round up some centerstand bolts, including the longer one for the side where the side stand bracket mounts up. It wasn’t mounted properly before and the whole bracket had a big bend/twist that will need a press to straighten out.


I had an adjustable rear axle stand, so propped up the chassis and went about removing the engine. It had been running stock air filters, all of which were dirty and tired, along with the air filter tubes. The Scrambler exhaust pipes had no baffles in the back, so that would need to be remedied or just replace them with David Silver Spare reproductions when available.


With the engine on the bench, careful disassembly proceeded. At 19k miles, it had to have been apart before and there were certainly signs that someone had done just that. The stator wires were pushed though the crankcase drain hole instead of the hole with the rubber grommet. The starter clutch had 3 rollers but no springs or caps. One of the starter clutch hub screws was slotted instead of a Phillips screw. All of the clutch cover screws were roughed up from being reused from the last tear-down.


I noticed some evidence of water up inside the exhaust port on the right side, which corresponded to the corrosion on top of the right side piston. The pistons were.. .50 oversize, but there didn’t seem to be a lot of wear on the cylinder walls. A good hone job and new piston rings should work fine for this motor.

There were odd little grooves ground in the top edges of the rocker arms, as if to give clearance for them in a high lift camshaft application, but there was no signs of anything making contact around there. The right side rod end was a little bit burned, where it may have seized at one time. This is not uncommon as the right side ignition timing tends to lead the left when the ignition is statically tested and not re-checked running. This leads to a wrist pin hole that is a bit out of round and the pin rocks in the pin bore. If left as-is, there will be an audible clicking noise at part-throttle during normal riding operation. Unfortunately, the usual remedy is to have the crankshaft dismantled and the rod put in a mill for a clean-up pass and a thin bronze bushing installed and fitted to size.


The clutch was a Barnett racing clutch with no separator rings installed. It was stuck together but pried apart easily. Overall, the insides of the engine were pretty clean and no signs of metallic grinding of aluminum or steel or brass evident. The cylinder head combustion chambers showed a bit of soft carbon from burning oil over time.


The carburetors, were original round-bowl units and were surprisingly clean inside with #140 main jets vs the stock #135, probably due to the exhaust system being replaced with the uncorked Scrambler pipes. Honda used aluminum needles on early model carburetors, which usually hold up okay even after 60 years.


The next day, the whole chassis was torn down for powder-coating. The bike had some aftermarket Scrambler-style handlebars and longer cables installed. The handlebar switches had some OEM switches installed with longer wiring leads than what are usually seen with stock CB switches. Unfortunately, there were some poorly done wiring connections inside the headlight shell which will be remedied later. All the sheet metal parts were originally black painted and in surprisingly good condition. The fork seal holders are hard to remove, especially the first time. One side required some serious heat from my Mapp-gas torch to soften the o-rings grip on the fork slider. Luckily, the correct length fender stay bolts were installed, so the fork sliders were not damaged and the forks came apart easily.


I have about 20 lbs of Scarlet Red powder-coat leftover from a CL72 project that was done during the pandemic and I have been waiting for something to use it all on. For the moment, the black chassis will become red, but I am leaving the custom-painted parts intact to see how they will look on a red frame. I hate to ruin the artwork of the previous owner’s efforts, but in a worse case, the fenders will go back to silver and the tank will become red to match the chassis.


Transformation…


The tab on the powder-coating. was $600 for all of the chassis parts, apart from the tank, side covers and fenders. Despite having something close to 20k miles on the odometer, the frame and bodywork was undamaged and now looks new with the Scarlet Red finish. I had to order new centerstand bolts, including the proper 268-810 left side, which reaches through the side stand bracket to secure the centerstand properly. We were able to straighten out the old bracket on a 50t press, so it is usable once again.



                                                Coming along.....

4nto1.com came up with an inexpensive tapered roller bearing kit for the steering stem, as well as gaskets, a seal kit, some 5.5mm fuel line, some replica CB400F handlebars, and some inexpensive mirrors. The stock 041 rectangular mirrors are useless on most 250-305s due to the head angle, which was designed for scooters not street bikes. CMSNL.com came up with the other centerstand bolt, the rubber dust seals for the swing arm, Rubber cushions for the fork ears, plus misc nuts and bolts.


I took the engine cases to the local engine re-builder to have them hot-tanked and degreased before reassembly. Vapor blasting all of these parts generally runs about $350, so I may just paint the center cases with cast-aluminum paint and do the clutch cover and kickstarter cover in the Duplicolor paint that is close to the Cloud Silver colors. I am not going for a 100 pt show bike and plan to use it for local runs to the post office, so am trying to keep it on a reasonable budget. A big budget item would be the new stock style exhaust. The stock CL72 pipes are very loud, even with the Snuff-or-Nots installed, so something else will have to be considered, so I don’t get thrown out of the neighborhood.


And all back together again…


I have squirreled away CB77 parts whenever I came across them over the years, perhaps hoping that that one last Super Hawk would come my way and the shiny bits could be put into use. I did have a set of re-chromed fork seal holders available, which brightened up the forks. Other little bits like a side-stand return spring and good used chassis parts all were put into use for this project. The chassis came back together fairly quickly, but the engine languished on the bench as competing project bikes took up time and space. A CL77 project took up 2 months on the bike bench while bits were re-chromed, powder-coated, polished and finally all reassembled. Once the CL77 was completed, a CL160 took its place for a week or so, then finally the CB got it’s place on the stand.

The CB400F bars had a nice bend and height to them, but the wiring holes for the switches were a little far in to allow for the grips and lever brackets to all group together, so I had to lop off an inch or two of the ends to make everything fit up again.


I took time to grind off powder-coat from various locations on the frame so that the rear fender would have a good ground path to the frame. Otherwise, the tail light wiring does weird things without a proper chassis ground. I was able to reuse the main wiring harness and the ignition switch. I even put the original rectifier back onto the frame mount after cleaning off the powder-coat on the tabs.


Apart from a little short circuit in the dimmer switch, the rest of the wiring all went back together properly and the headlight bulb was still functional on both filaments.


Once the new rings were received, the pistons were scrubbed up and ready for installation. I did have my machine shop do a fast hone job to break the glaze, but aside from a few little marks, the bores should be fine to seat in the new rings. I lapped in the old valves and seats together and put a little bit more tension on the camsprocket return weights to help the spark timing return properly. There is inherent slop in the whole mechanism, so you can only do what you can with them. My friend Tim Miller down in TX can take them apart and rebuild them with a different advance curve that is more engine-friendly, but this one was good enough. I actually had several used units, so picked out the best one.


I did decide to install the endless camchain while the cases were split, so that always adds some consideration when reassembling the top end. You have to install the inner ball bearings in the head, then feed the camshafts in from both sides while you hold the camsprocket up with the chain, all the while watching that the crankshaft stays at TDC during the assembly.


I always plane the gasket surfaces off with a big, flat single-cut file to knock down the high spots on the cylinders, cylinder head and clutch cover gasket surfaces to minimize any leaks. I decided to use an inexpensive Allen (hex) bolt kit for the fasteners to assemble the engine. The only other challenge was to figure out what to do with the clutch setup. The Barnett clutch plates were the old Kevlar units, and there was no place to install the retainer wires to keep the plates from moving as a unit instead of spreading apart during disengagement. I wound up using a hybrid clutch setup using some original 6 plate clutch components interspersed with some of the later metal backed -020 plates from a 5 plate clutch setup. Interestingly the whole clutch outer was a billet unit, apparently from Barnett made years ago.


I replaced the low gear bushing, kickstarter pawl and installed some offset gear cotters to maintain good gear engagement while the transmission was apart. For a bike with 20k miles, most of the internals were still pretty nice.


I did have to extract the broken off starter motor mount bolt from the engine case. The starter chain was missing, so I cut down the old camchain and put a link in it to get the starter motor all setup. Only after the bike was pretty much together did I discover that the starter motor had no armature inside! So that lead to a appeal for a working starter motor, which was fulfilled by a vintage Honda friend in Los Angeles who sent one to me for free. My friend Jack Stein gifted me with a good used kickstarter cover, which was rebuilt with the parts from the original bike, plus a NOS clutch adjuster that had been in safe-keeping for the last few years. Little by little, it all started coming together.


Instead of the Snuff-or-Nots for the Scrambler pipes, I bought a pair of $11 each VW Bug exhaust tips and with a bit of fiddling around got them to fit into the stock pipes with a bit of hammering with my plastic mallet. These do take some of the exhaust note bite out and makes the bike look a bit more interesting with some extra long pipes now.


Teething problems, of course…

I rolled the bike out to take a few photos and noticed that the new tire and tube were flat on the rear wheel. I aired up the tire to 34 psi and then spit on the end of the valve stem to check for leaks.. and it was leaking. I removed the old core and replaced it with another one.. aired back up to 34 psi and it was still leaking! I cranked down on the cap and it has held up some, but obviously that isn’t the final solution.


I had cleaned the tank with Metal Rescue leaving the petcock in place. I added a couple of gallons of gasoline to the tank, put on Reserve just to be safe and the bike stalled out on me 3 blocks away! I pushed/rolled it back to the driveway and pulled off a fuel line. Nothing on RESERVE, but it was flowing in ON! Duh! I drained the tank, removed the petcock and cleaned out the reserve hole and passage into the 4-hole gasket. Refilled and it was good to go again.. except when I throttled it up under load, the “hybrid” clutch started slipping! Arrrgh.


I went online and someone had a NOS late-style clutch hub (shallow splines) for sale at $45 and then I got a set of new aftermarket -020 metal friction plates for $35. So, I’ll wait until next week and replace the clutch plates with something fresh. Maybe I’ll put in some heavier springs, as well.

(Update: While sifting through my old engine parts bins, I discovered the late-style shallow-spline clutch hub for a 5-plate clutch. I had a stack of used 268-020 metal-backed friction plates, so I removed the whole hybrid clutch setup and replaced it with a good used 5-plate clutch assembly. It works fine now!)


Oh, to begin with, the left side carburetor (of course, right behind the exhaust pipes) had a bit of a fuel weep around the float bowl gasket. The bowl gasket was original. Despite looking pretty nice, it was hard as a rock and needed to be chipped out painstakingly a little at a time. I replaced the original round bowl float with the new aftermarket square bowl floats which give plenty of room around the float inside the chamber, well away from the gasket edges.

So far, the carburetor is not weeping and the bike usually starts up with little or no choke at all. It’s running #140 main jets and #38 idle jets and seems to be pretty crisp.


I have found that those original gray plastic spark plug caps that all the restorers seem to want to use on their restorations are now checking in at 8-11k ohms, instead of 5k ohms or less. So both of those were replaced and I readjusted the Pro-Trigger electronic ignition system after a few miles or run-in. One of the several problems with the 250-305 point cam design is that when you install new oil seals in the point side cover, there is quite a bit of friction on the point cam, so it is slower to retard when the engine is returned to idle Once the seal has been run-in for a few hours, it usually relaxes its grip on the point shaft, allowing a smoother advance and return to idle speed.


Today (3/25/24) my Google photos sent back a few memories from 8 years ago and that was the time that I had built another one-off CB77, aka the “Silver Special” which was a completely silver powdercoated bike. And today, we have the Pink Panther equivalent. I really didn’t want to disturb the original “artwork” paint job from the 1970s, so it is what it is….Swirly pink paint and a Scarlet Red chassis.


I began the DMV/CHP odyssey, waiting 45 minutes just to get the bike verified at DMV only to have them immediately refer me to CHP without even looking at the numbers. I have to wait until April 10 just to get an appointment for CHP to inspect the bike to verify the serial numbers. I already have an appointment to have the CB1100R verified, so hopefully they both can be seen at the same visit. After that, it is BACK to DMV again to submit all the paperwork and finally in an additional week or two, the DMV in Sacramento will issue clean titles for both bikes.


(UPDATE: The cooperative officer at the CHP verified my CB1100R which was in the back of the truck. When I called earlier, he said he couldn’t do both bikes at once and gave me an appointment another month away! On a hunch, I brought the paperwork for the CB77 and with photos in my phone, he decided to spend an additional ½ hour and finalized my paperwork for that bike.)





I’m hoping to ride the Panther bike to the Distinguished Gentleman’s ride in May, close to my birthday on the 24th. There are always a lot of cool bikes and riders at these events, but I doubt that they will overlook the Pink Panther CB77 this year.



                                                            DGR .... MADE IT!


Bill Silver

aka MrHonda

03/31/2024

www.vintagehonda.com













The Pink Panther does DGR.. barely

The Pink Panther bike came to me due to a call from the local Automotive Museum a few months ago. There is a separate story about the whole rebuild of the bike, which will be published soon. It was just finished a few weeks ago and has had a couple of check rides, to see if anything would fall off or fail. Three separate test rides were successful, so I had a high amount of confidence in its ability to participate in the 2024 DGR (Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride-San Diego). The DGR is a worldwide event for the support of men’s health, including prostate cancer research. It is a one-day event, once a year, generally close to my birthday in May.


It was an a roll of the dice to bring the bike to the event, due to the 1977 IA license plate on the back and the somewhat untested state of the bike’s full potential. I didn’t even pack the tool kit for it, as I felt that it was going to be just fine, as it stands. All the bike’s electrical systems were functioning, however I never really checked the charging system fully. The bike always started almost instantly on the electric starter function and the lights were all looking bright and steady.


So, off I went from Spring Valley to Downtown San Diego, at a place called the Soap Factory. The bike started up quickly and ran well all the way down to the event. By the time I arrived, probably 80+ bikes were already there, so I followed the line into the parking area and left it in the sea of 2-wheeled bikes of all makes and types. I was about an hour early, so had plenty of time to look for any attending friends and just check out the various machines and owners.


The Pink Panther has the existing paint scheme done sometime before 1977, when the bike was last registered. It is kind of a pink-ish color with splotches of red, and small flakes of silver dust covered in clear coat paint. The paint work is remarkably good, but for a few minor scratches and bumps. The bike is a 1964 CB77, but was fitted with CL72 exhaust pipes and the optional side stand. With pipes on the left side, access to the air filter cover is blocked and the pipes actually contact the cover, where the paint has been burned by mostly direct contact with the pipes. I have rebuilt lots of Super Hawks in mostly stock configurations, but this one was so unique that I decided to change the original black paint with red powder-coat, rebuild the engine and leave the pipes in place.


Prior to the ride, my sister Carole, who is a fine artist, took one look at the paintwork and asked if I had a pink tie to match the bike’s color. For some reason, I did have one, which she artistically splashed red paint on to somewhat match up to the paint scheme on the bike. It actually turned out pretty great and I was happy to wear it on the ride. Of the few people who looked at the bike, two different women engaged me with some questions about the bike and both noticed the “matching tie” for the bike paint job.


With over one hundred bikes and riders leaving all at once in the outskirts of downtown San Diego, the stream stretches out quickly, The route ran through parts of town with numerous stop signs and signal lights. As the ride continued past the airport and into the Point Loma area, more and more stop lights were encountered with wait times of a couple of minutes, while they cycled through the 4-6 way traffic light options. Very few were “smart” signals which would monitor and adjust to the traffic load. The bike began to falter and stall a few times, as I was trying to catch neutral. One time it stalled and the electric starter did not step in to re-fire the engine. It kick-started quickly but my suspicions were that the engine was getting hot and was not charging during prolonged stops at lengthy signal lights.


I couldn’t keep revving up the engine to the 2,500 rpm level, where the charging system actually begins to generate electrical power. At one stop light, about 50 bikes lined up in a left turn lane and the signal only stayed on for about 15 seconds, no matter how many bikes were trying to get through. I became afraid that the bike would strand me if I had to continue to wait for another round of lights, so I pulled into the through lane and drove up a block, turned left at an open intersection and then looped back to the main road where the rest of the riders were headed. We went up and over the hills and down to the frontage road that runs from Point Loma along to Ocean Beach. The sky was clear and the waves were powerful and refreshing.


The ride headed back over the hill and down into the area of Point Loma harbor, then off to the east towards Old Town. I saw a sign for Interstate 5 South ahead and decided that the only way to keep the bike going was to get on the freeway and let it charge at high speeds. The bike has an early dimmer switch which has a middle stop that doesn’t engage either high or low beams. By turning the headlight switch ON, the extra leg of the stator output comes into play, but with the dimmer switch not feeding either beam, only the tail light comes on. Normally that will charge the battery with extra voltage, but it is described in the owner’s manuals as an emergency option only.


I drove up the side roads and onto the freeway holding 6,000 rpms, which was indicating over 60 mph on the speedometer and the bike was just singing along, happy as can be. I listened carefully for any signs of electrical breakdown from the prolonged engine electrical load to the ignition system (a Pro-Trigger ignition was installed at the build-up). The bike continued to run well all the way back home which was over 16 miles without issue and I was happy to have made it back without the need for a tow truck or having to phone a friend to help bail me out.


Later, when the bike cooled down, I checked the electric starter function, but all I got was a “click” when the solenoid sounded, but nothing to the starter motor. When I jumped the solenoid posts with a screwdriver the starter motor kicked into life! So the problem was the solenoid and not the starter motor. There was still about 11.6 volts in the battery and it didn’t drop down much when the key was turned ON and the starter button tapped. So, the battery was still holding a charge okay. When when I went to extract the solenoid from the wiring bundle I noticed that when the transmission cover was installed on top of the crankcase, one of the charging system wires had been knocked apart! The bike had been running on 2/3 of the stator output and just kept going.


There was difficulty in extracting the solenoid and replacing it with a spare that I had checked over before the installation. The exhaust pipes were blocking direct access to the two mount bolts for the solenoid where it mounts to the bottom of the tool box. Using a U-joint and a small 10mm socket, I eventually coaxed the refreshed one back into place. A tap of the starter button yielded a quick turn of the starter motor, as expected.


With the transmission cover removed, I fished out the wiring connectors and pushed them all back together again, with that satisfying little noise when they snap back together again. The transmission cover was again installed very carefully in order to not disturb the wiring connections. A quick check of the battery voltage with ALL of the wiring connectors intact yielded a good voltage increase that had been missing previously.


The 205-305 community is somewhat divided about the whole Pink Panther concept and how I put it together. It was mostly a one-shot deal for the DGR ride and the bike may wind up being exported to a collector in S. America, who is scooping up vintage Honda bikes recently. The bike is titled in my name and insured but it really isn’t registered for the streets, at this time. Downtown San Diego is now blanketed with cameras and license plate readers, both on light poles and in patrol cars these days. I’m not quite sure what would happen if a license plate reader saw the 1977 Iowa motorcycle license plate and tried to match it to known registered motorcycles.

It was a one-shot event and an opportunity to show off the Pink Panther bike, as a tribute to whoever originally put the combination together, way back in the 1970s. It’s a one-off and pretty fun to ride around, as-is. My normal Sunday bike is my 1991 NT650 Hawk GT, so the Super Hawk is somewhat unneeded around here. I have many bike projects lined up for customers this summer, so it would just sit around and be neglected. Hopefully, a new owner will see the charm of the bike, just the way it is and enjoy riding it regularly.


Bill Silver

aka MrHonda 

May 19, 2024

www.vintagehonda.com





Tuesday, May 14, 2024

At the end of a long and winding road…

Shirley Grace Yahnke passed away on May 13 at age 96. She was mother to me, my sister Carole and my brother James. Married to Ramon Yahnke for 52 years, she led a life of service and exuded love for all who came her way.



Shirley worked for the National School District for 23 years, all the while raising her children and supporting the hard work of her husband, Ray, who built a house for us in 1955, then went on to relocate a house and garage at the back of the property, bought and fixed up a trailer park and finally landed in Spring Valley in 1982, where she lived until her passing.


When Ray retired after working for San Diego Transit for 43 years, Shirley joined Ray in many cross-country adventures in trailers and motor homes, touring with life-long friends known since their school days, touching many of the 48 states and into Canada and Mexico. They maintained a little get-away trailer in Rosarito Beach, where they spent many happy weekends.


After Ray passed in 2007, I decided to return from living in Hawaii for 5 years to look after my dear mother and we remained housemates for the past 16 years. I was the recipient of 16 years of fine meals and intelligent conversations, plus many, many laughs along the way.


She was an avid, usually disappointed Padre fan, like so many others in San Diego, and followed the San Diego Chargers, until their untimely departure from America’s Finest City. She loved to tend to the back yard garden which surrounded the swimming pool area, constantly checking for pesky weeds that popped up unbidden. She would light up at the sight of a bouquet of flowers that I brought to her from time to time. She really, really loved receiving flowers or pruning them from the garden.


Her passion for knitting lasted for most of the last 42 years, as the little third bedroom in the SV house was transformed into a full-blown knitting room with two active machines, surrounded by spools of yarn of every color and all the tools and equipment to turn out socks, hats, scarves, and hundreds of knitted items, large and small. She knitted a small string of red yarn that she attached to the antenna of her little Ford Focus, so she could more easily see it in the parking lot when she went shopping. She continued to drive locally up to just a few months ago.


Her health care was supported by the fine doctors at Kaiser, Bonita and other associated departments within the system. She was the recipient of a knee transplant at 90 years, as well as a heart pacemaker 8 years ago, which was near the end of its battery life this year. Both procedures gave her a new life in terms of being able to drive her car and to carry on living her best life until this year. Even at 96 years of age, her health care nurses and doctors marveled at how young she appeared at her age, compared to the many patients that they see who are much younger, chronologically. My motorcycle friends and customers who came to visit commented on her youthful appearance, often asking if she was my wife. That became a running joke between mom and I.


She has always been upbeat and seldom complained about her arthritic pain, in both her hands and spine. We always cleaned the house on Tidy Friday and did laundry on Saturday mornings. She had an unerring ability to find the smallest spot of dirt on a multi-colored kitchen floor and would lean all the way to the floor with a paper towel to whisk away the offending spot.


Until the cost of the Union-Tribune newspaper subscription exceeded $100 recently, she read the newspaper daily for the last 42 years and was keenly aware of world politics and felt the suffering of so many people whose stories had made the news. On the other hand, she loved the Comic sections and we laughed heartily at the oddities of life and people’s life choices that made the human experience a rich tapestry that it has become. There were times when I said something clever that struck her funny-bone and she would laugh heartily and sometimes it was so prolonged that it triggered my laughter and we became a laughing duet. I had to rein it in towards the end, as her worsening heart and lung conditions caused her to have coughing fits, but sometimes she just indulged herself in the healing power of laughter, despite the risks of flaring up another fit of coughing.


After three visits to the Kaiser ER at Zion, it was apparent that there was no recovering from her declining heart failure and the fluid build-up in her lungs. Hospice care was initiated in late April, just a month after her 96th birthday. Sadly, she was not able to consciously receive the celebration of Mother’s Day, here in 2024, but we will continue to honor her memory and her life of service and love for the family and friends on that day and beyond.




It’s impossible to really sum up a person’s life and impact on their community and the world. She was a long-time member of the Lemon Grove Methodist Church, after her membership in the National City Methodist Church ended with the move to Spring Valley.


She leaves behind generations of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren who all loved her dearly, as she did them.


Bill Silver

05/14/2024


PS We can’t say enough good things about the hospice staff at Suncrest. Each and every one of them were kind, thoughtful, compassionate and concerned about all of our needs. They were very professional, but with an easy, family-like presence throughout the process. They were a god-send to her and the rest of the family.


In an ironic twist of fate, Mom’s BFF, Peggy, who knew her for the last 85+ years, passed away on May 8. That generation for both families has now come to an end. Thirteen seems to be the magic number for her.. born on March 13, died on May 13 at 4:13pm. Three generations of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren hold a lifetime of the best memories of this wonderful woman.




Friday, April 19, 2024

Electrical tricks and tips for Vintage Hondas…

In the early days of motorcycling, Honda bikes had very basic electrical systems. However, for those of you who can fix things that you can see moving, electrical systems and components might seem like a black art where sparks and arcs are conjured up from nowhere. Let’s see if we can take some of the mystery out of Honda electrics and find a clear path of understanding where the electrons come from and go to in their various functions.


If you turn the ignition switch to ON and nothing happens (battery powered systems), then the first place to go is the battery. Lead-acid batteries require that mix of sulfuric acid and distilled water to make electricity. For bikes which have been sitting for months, years or decades, a fresh battery is the first place to investigate. In many cases, my customers bring in a bike with weak batteries only to discover that their lead-acid batteries have gone dry or at least the fluid levels are down below the tops of the lead plates. The lead plates must be fully submerged in fluid, so the first thing to do is to bring up the levels with a bit of distilled water. For batteries that have opaque cases, look for signs of the plates calcification where they have turned white along the edges. If you see that, the battery is done, so replace with a fresh one. If you don’t see the white colors on the plates, then put the battery on a slow charger, just one or two amps for a few hours and test with a voltmeter to see if it is coming back up to specifications. A 12v battery comes up to 12.6-12.8 volts when fully-charged, but they seldom maintain that level in most motorcycle batteries. A 6v battery can come up to 6.3-6.4 volts, but anything in the low sixes is fine.


                                                    Courtesy of AHMC training materials, circa 1960


If the battery seems full and gives something close to “normal” voltage, then turn the ignition key to ON and monitor the voltage with a meter. The voltage shouldn’t drop much more than a volt or two. For bikes with an electric starter, pushing the START button shouldn’t cause a huge drop in voltage. If your 12v battery plunges down to 10v with the starter cranking, then it requires replacement. If the bike has a kickstarter and the bike starts up manually, but not with the electric starter, then again the battery needs to be replaced. If the battery voltage comes up on the kickstarter function, its a good sign that the charging system is working to some extent but the battery is failing.


CAUTION: Kick-starting a bike with a failed battery and getting it to run can damage the battery and the charging system components because the battery acts as the voltage storage and regulation of the charging system. Honda didn’t use an actual voltage regulator in the early days. All you had was the permanent magnet rotor and stator, which generates AC voltage to the rectifier, whose job it is to convert the AC voltage from the stator to DC voltage to charge the battery. The fully charged battery is the source for power to the system and a reservoir for the charging system to replenish the outgoing electrons. When the battery is dead or nearly-dead, the permanent magnet charging system can generate enough voltage to fire the ignition coil and cause the engine to start up, assuming that the engine is capable of running and the fuel system is metering correctly. But the charging system no longer has the battery reservoir to store the output of the charging system and the unregulated output causes a huge spike of voltage to knock out any live light bulb that is on when the ignition switch is in the ON position. This condition can also damage the selenium rectifiers as they are not designed for huge over-voltage conditions. So, ALWAYS have a fully-charged battery in the bike when attempting to start up the engine after a long sleep. Many of the headlight bulbs for vintage Hondas are NLA and they will pop like flashbulbs if the engine is running and over-charging the system with the lights turned on.


                                                    Courtesy of AHMC training materials.


So, now that we are starting with a known, fully-charged battery, when the ignition switch is turned ON and nothing seems to be happening, first try the horn button to see if there is power to the primary system or not. If the neutral light bulb is blown out, then you won’t get an initial indication that there is power in the system. Testing the horn, will verify if there is power available or not, assuming that the horn is functioning.


If now power is indicated, then go back to the battery box and look for a single fuse or fuse block and check the condition of the fuse. If the fuse looks blown out, then there is a short in the primary electrical system somewhere. This is where some troubleshooting comes into play.


When the ignition switch is turned ON, the power comes from the battery (red wires) to the switched hot black wires that feed the major components. Those systems include the ignition system (coil and/or kill switch), the horn circuit, the neutral light circuit, and the brake light circuit. If the replacement fuse blows immediately, then disconnect the main circuits listed above and slowly connect each one back, one at a time. Often in the process of disconnecting the circuits, you may see a pinched wire or damaged connection that is the cause of the short to ground. It is a good idea to have a box of the appropriate sized fuses to use in the testing phase, however if you only have one or two, you can just touch the inner fuse block contacts together momentarily and watch for a large spark indicating that the short circuit still exists. If the short circuit has been rectified, you will see a small arc at the fuse holder, which is normal as the initial current flow will cause a smaller arc. The difference will be pretty evident. There are automatic reset fuses and test units that will open the circuit when the short exists, indicating that the fault remains, but they don’t eat fuses in the process. Once the fault is found, then the correct fuse can be reinstalled for normal operation. DO NOT install a higher amperage fuse in place of the specified one. This can cause the wiring harness to overheat and possibly cause a fire in the harness or components. Fixing a short circuit is a pass-fail result.


A basic 12v test light, found at any auto parts store is your friend in most cases of electrical problems. The will work on a 6v system, but the bulb will not display as bright as it would on 12v. Using the probe to contact various electrical contact points, the test wire with the clip goes to ground in most cases. The bulb doesn’t care if you reverse the polarity, so you can use the test light to check ignition timing by connecting the wire clip to the point wire connector and just put the probe into a convenient screw hole to make the connection function.


Some examples where things can go wrong are:


1. A shorted ignition coil 2. a shorted out brake light switch or the wiring to the switch 3. a pinched hot wire inside the headlight shell to any of the circuits that feed the neutral light wire, horn or lighting circuits and 4. shorted out tail light socket wiring for brake and running/park light functions. 5. would be any damaged or pinched harness wires 6. damaged wiring or connectors for the lighting system components.


To prevent excessive voltage into the lighting circuits, all of the bulbs in the circuit should be functioning to balance the electrical load for the charging system. For bikes that do not have voltage regulators, the charging system needs to be balanced by a fully-charged battery and all light bulbs functioning properly when the light switch is turned ON. The charging circuits only use 2/3 of the output in the normal ON position and then supply all three legs of the output when the light switch is turned ON. The light switch turns the lights on and at the same time connects the last stator output line to help balance the increased electrical load of the light bulbs. This is done through internal contacts within the switch assembly. If the switch contacts are corroded inside, then the final leg of the charging output won’t make it to the battery, and the battery voltage will slowly drop down further and further until the engine quits.


For the 250-305 Honda twins from 1960-67, there was a time where the original charging systems were apparently putting out excessive voltage and causing the batteries to overheat or boil out battery acid from the vent lines, which often leaves damage to chrome and painted chassis parts. Honda reduced the magnetic field in the rotors and created the (L) low output charging systems. The rotors were stamped with a CB72(L) markings for Super Hawks and Scramblers, while the Dreams will show a C72 (L) markings on the rotor faces. Unless all of the components are stock and functioning normally and the battery is fully-charged, often charging system issue arise on the later low-output systems. With today’s electronic options, a solid-state voltage regulator/rectifier combination unit will solve the charging system issues, as long as the stators are fully-functioning. Using these units, the stator outputs are all connected directly to the solid-state unit, which will control the charging system output electronically keeping the battery fully charged whether the lights are on or off.



     Courtesy of AHMC training materials.

The stators for 250-305s and for early Benly models have cloth wrapping around the charging coils and are pinched into the stator housing to keep them in place. After 50+ years, the insulation gets brittle and flakes off and/or the insulation gets soaked with oil by a leaking crankshaft seal. The coils need to be tightly mounted and the insulation remains intact. For small patches where the insulation has flaked away, you can use some liquid tape products to secure the rest of the insulation in place. If the coils get loose on the mountings, they will bounce up and down on the posts and short the windings to the grounded frame, which kills that portion of the AC winding output to the rectifier. Actually, when any of the three phases of the windings are grounded, basically the whole stator become grounded and fails to deliver voltage to the rectifier. When testing a stator, you want to check for continuity between all three wires, but you don’t want any of them shorting to ground. This can be tested with an ohm meter or buzz box that checks for continuity. For removal from the bike, use a heat gun to warm up the connectors, as the female connectors can shrink and hold the connectors together so tightly that if pulled too tightly, the end of the connector will come off of the wire end.



                                                Courtesy of AHMC training materials.


For most of the rest of the vintage Honda engines, the stators were submerged in the crankcase oil to help cool the windings and to prevent external damage. The coils are sealed with an epoxy that prevents damage to the coils and helps to make the engine more compact. When the dyno covers are removed to access the crankshaft bolts when turning the engine over by hand to adjust the valves or ignition timing, don’t be surprised when oil comes out when the cover is removed. You can minimize the oil leakage by putting a thin 1” board beneath the left side of the centerstand leg or foot to lean the bike slightly to the right. You will lose a little oil when the cover is removed, but it is minimized by a bit of bike lean from the centerstand wedge.


For bikes with stator connectors which are plastic 4-5 prong round or square plugs, always check the connections for any wire terminals that might be corroded or sometimes get pushed back inside the connector housing. When adding a solid-state reg/rectifier to the stator, ensure that the wire colors are a match for both sides of the connection. Generally, the neutral light wiring (green with red stripe) is packed in with the other three stator output connections and you don’t want to mis-wire the stator connector to the electronic unit accidentally.

There are a lot of aftermarket ignition switches, which may have different wiring in the connectors, so be sure to match up the wire colors whenever you change components like that.


The brake light switches are often connected to the brake pedals through an adjustable body. On some models, if you service the drive chain by pushing the rear axle back to tighten the chain, there is a chance that the brake light switch may not trigger properly. Likewise if you adjust the rear brake, that will affect the travel of the brake light switch plunger. Always check your brake light function after any bike service to the drive chain or brake pedal.

Honda 350-450 twins had a somewhat more sophisicated charging system, which includes a current regulator mounted on the bottom of the battery box. The function is to allow increased battery charge rate when the battery is low, then shunts off the excess battery current when it senses that the battery is fully charged.


Handlebar switches can be troublesome after 50 years of service and exposed to the elements of dirt, water and heat. When bikes have been sitting for many years, the copper contacts inside the switches can corrode and cause and open circuit when a function is selected. The switches can be taken apart for cleaning and wire repairs, if you use small tools and extreme caution so as not to lose the tiny screws, springs and ball bearings inside. Often the switch functions can be revived by simply cycling the switch on and off a number of times to help scrub off some of the corrosion buildup on the contacts.


The starter buttons on the early bikes present a challenge, especially if they are disturbed during a handlebar change or if the bike is involved in an accident where the switches are rotated on the handlebars. For bikes with inside the bar wiring, the wires can become grounded or sheared off when the switches are rotated. For the starter button function, the wire that come up the handlebars must be insulated from touching the handlebar hole edges or when the wire insulation gets pulled back and exposes bare wire just behind the starter button contact plate. The wire connection to the button plate must be insulated right down to the back side of the button contact plate. Exposed wire to the switch contact plate bracket will cause the starter to engage as soon as the ignition switch is turned ON. If that occurs you need to re-visit the starter button wiring and contact functions.


The left hand dimmer switches incorporate the two functions of selecting Hi-Low beam function and as a method to make the horn function. Again, the inside contacts can become corroded and/or shorted out to the handlebar ground for switches which have inside the handlebar wiring.


For those who have been doing a full restoration on your bikes with repainted or powdercoated chassis parts, you must be aware of re-establishing the ground paths for the rear tail light and headlights. Tail lights in particular require a ground for the bulb socket to the base plate, then the base plate grounded to the tail light bracket. The taillight bracket must be grounded to the fender and the fender grounded to the frame, otherwise the tail light functions will be puzzling and will not function normally.


I hope that I have shed some light on some of the basics of vintage Honda (and other) electrical systems. Wiring diagrams are available online for almost all models. See:

https://oldmanhonda.com/MC/MCWLister.php for the list of available diagrams.


Bill Silver

aka MrHonda

4/24

www.vintagehonda.com





A hectic start to 2024

It’s been difficult to find the time to update the blog page recently, due to the influx of work projects which are in progress or in a queue that continues to grow.


January began with a CL77 project that was brought in from ID for a “head gasket” and then was expanded to powdercoating, chroming and additional work that had it on my workbench for the better part of 6 weeks. After that one was completed, the same customer had brought in a CL160 for work to the charging system including a replacement stator and installation of a regulator/rectifier.




The customer hinted that one of the spark plugs had been cross-threaded which led to having to use a special thread chaser tool to clean them up enough to get a new plug secured. The old plugs had come out all black so there was a need to check over the carburetors and general tuning. For some reason, the carb needles had been raised all the way up on the last clip causing excessive richness. Dropping the needles down to the middle and resetting the ignition timing brought the bike back to normal running condition. I cautioned the owner to never remove the spark plug again as it might not withstand another plug installation on the fragile threads. That was another week plus on the workbench.



With these bikes in progress, my friend Don brought over a 1963 C105T bike that had a broken kickstarter shaft. That requires a full engine tear-down to replace. I had to dust off my thinking cap to recall all the steps to get the cases apart and back together again. The cylinder head valve seats were rough but I eventually got the valves to seat properly. The carb slide was jammed in place and required some head and chemicals to remove. The only replacement slide I could find was a used one, but it was better than the one that came out. Again, the specific carb kit for the C105T was difficult to obtain.



The chassis needed all new cables, which were ordered from Thailand, so the chassis went back to Don, while I finished the engine. But that was just the beginning of the month’s adventures in Feb.


Another of Don’s customers wanted an SL90 restored, so he dropped off the bike and I pulled out the engine for a rebuild. It was covered in greasy mud which proved difficult to remove and cleanup. The engine turned out to be a hybrid modification including a big bore piston, stroker crankshaft, and racing cam all installed in a bike with the stock carb and exhaust system. That story will be detailed later on, when the bike is complete.




In March, my friend Bill asked if I could “reassemble” a CL175 engine, which had been disassembled for a restoration project that never was completed. I had already sent the C105 engine back to Don and the SL90 engine was on my little push dolly, so I cleared off the workbench for the 175. The engine arrived in a wooden crate that took about 15 minutes to disassemble. It turned out to be just the bottom end with a damaged kickstarter shaft, so that one needed to be torn down as well. I had the top-end parts vapor blasted, rebuilt the carburetors, installed the new kickstarter shaft and rebuilt the cylinder head with new valve stem seals. The cylinder bores were still STD but there was some water damage farther down the bores. I bought a ball hone and worked on the bores to the point where they seemed usable, so I bought a set of STD rings and eventually reassembled it, bit by bit. The gasket kit provided was marked CB175, but turned out to be a CB200T kit with the wrong head gasket and point cover. I had to reorder a correct head gasket and then the rings took a long delayed tour from KY to OH to NY and finally to the west coast to San Diego. It took 10 days for the rings to arrive.




In the queue are the following customer requests:

Customer #1

CB77 (my ex bike) and a CL77 for repairs

Customer #2

CB77 and CL77 for repairs

Customer #3

CA77 for tires and leak repairs

Customer #4

CL72 top-end overhaul

Customer #5

CL77 head gasket

Customer #6

CB750 oil leak behind the ignition

Customer #7

CT90 oil leak at base gasket


So, I apologize for the lack of blog stories, but there are a few more stories in the works, coming soon. Thanks for reading the old ones and your support for the blog page.


Bill Silver

aka MrHonda

www.vintagehonda.com

4/19/24

NOTE: All photos are courtesy of American Honda Motor Corporation



Saturday, January 20, 2024

 Fluid management... Rainy day musings…



                                              Smiley face, about to be erased on the fuel lever.


Honda kept from going with liquid-cooled engines until the GL1000 Gold Wing in 1975. Soichiro was so adamant about keeping engines air-cooled that he had his engineers design a air-cooled four-cylinder 1300cc car engine for the model called the Honda 7/77 or just the Honda 1300.      see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honda_1300. Beyond the Gold Wings and the following CX500-650 V-twins, liquid cooling slowly seeped into mainstream motorcycling with each model year. And with that, coolant leaks began to show their nasty selves.

Honda’s reputation for cleanliness in designs and functions is legendary. Vintage Honda motorcycles from the 1960s-70s are not supposed to be dripping fluids beneath the machine if normally maintained.

Apart from chain lube being flung off the chain at both sprockets, Honda machines should not be drooling anything else. Of course, these 50-60-year-old motorcycles have aging engine oil seals and gaskets which are typically the sources for any oil leaks. What are the fluid sources?


1. Engine oil, leaking from oil seals and gaskets and sometimes from breather tubes when the engine is tired. Honda used the stud channels in the cylinder and cylinder head to feed oil to the camshaft, rockers, and tach drive hardware. The gaskets generally have an o-ring placed inside the oil feed hole to prevent oil migration through the gasket material. What seems to be a good solution often fails as head gasket oil leaks are prevalent on almost all models of air-cooled engines. Heat cycles, hot oil, and expansion of the parts, sooner or later will reveal oil leaks that migrate past the sealing o-rings and laterally through the gasket material. Forgetting to use a new drain plug gasket often results in a small oil drip beneath the engine. BTW Honda 160 engines have TWO drain bolts.


2. Fork oil, from leaking fork seals, of course. This wasn’t a problem for most models with leading-link suspensions, but they did have small, ineffective dampers shoved up inside the pressed-steel fork housings that could eventually leak the small amount of fluid inside. Honda’s early design shocks had replaceable shaft seals, but later they just crimped the seal housing into the body, negating any service attempts.


3. Battery acid! It’s hard to find a nice clean vintage Honda that doesn’t have signs of battery acid leaks onto the frame or mufflers. Either the vent tubes fell off from vibration and age or people forgot to hook them up when the battery was removed for service or replacement. Today’s new AGM and Li-On batteries have no fluid openings to leak, unlike the classic lead-acid batteries that we all grew up with in the 1960s-70s.


4. Gasoline. Starting with the top… the gas cap. Early gas caps used a simple baffle system which featured a small vent hole to allow air to help vent the fuel tank properly. This prevents air locks in the fuel system, however, it also allows evaporating gasoline vapors to leave the tank, eventually causing a buildup inside the tiny 1/16” hole which creates a vacuum in the tank. The early gas cap gaskets were made from cork and degraded quickly due to the compression of the spring-loaded cap retainer mechanism and exposure to gasoline products. Bad gaskets, caused fuel leaks at the top of the fuel opening, especially with a full tank of gas. Honda replaced all the cork gaskets with modern rubber compounds that resist breakdown from fuel exposure and cap spring tension. Having a lap full of gasoline when you hit the throttle or brakes with a full tank is downright dangerous, if not very uncomfortable when it seeps into your crotch area.


Fuel leaks can occur in many places in vintage Honda bikes. Besides the gas cap, the next step down is the petcock/shut-off valve. Most of the early models used a rubber 4-hole gasket to seal against the fuel selection lever face. Either the 4-hole gasket degrades and starts to leak around the lever arm, or the back side of the lever has both warped and become etched with gasoline acids, causing fuel to bypass the lever setting, even when OFF.


The lever face can usually be smoothed out with a fine-cut file or piece of high-number grip wet/dry sandpaper. That step, coupled with a new 4-hole gasket, should fix any petcock leaks at that point. The other fuel leak source at the petcock is where it attaches to the fuel tank. CB72-77 and most of the 350-450 lineup used a large nut that has left-handed threads on one end and right-handed threads on the opposite end. There is a thin rubber flat gasket that is supposed to be squeezed down when the petcock is secured to the fuel tank nipple evenly with the threads on the petcock body. If one end bottoms out before the other, then the petcock will be loose and often leaking.

For petcocks that bolt to the bottom of the fuel tank, either with one or two screws, you MUST use the proper sealing washers on the screws to prevent fuel from seeping down past the threads into the fuel cup. Be sure that the screws are tightened securely to prevent leaks. Also, replace the o-ring that seals the body to the tank on these models. Otherwise, the same cautions are true for the fuel lever and 4-hole gasket.


Most early petcocks used a long brass tube to feed fuel to the carburetor when in the ON position. When the fuel level drops down below the tip of the fuel tube, then turning the fuel lever to RES is required and allows you to use the remaining fuel below the brass tube to help you make it to the nearest gas station. After 50-60 years, the brass tubes will suffer cracks or become plugged up. In years past, when petcocks were cheap, you just put a new one on. Petcocks for CB72-77 and CL72-77s are becoming very scarce, so the fix is to remove the old fuel tube and replace it with a section of 5mm brass tubing which can be purchased from hobby stores or online. Clean out any remaining debris from the tube hole and then just tap in the new section. Now you have the RESERVE function available, once again.


Often, when old fuel lines are left connected to either the petcock or the fuel fitting on the carburetor, the brass fitting pulls out of either part along with the fuel line. Carefully, cut the old fuel line off of the fitting piece and tap the brass fitting back into the hole. The end of the brass is somewhat tapered so usually will bottom out securely into the hole and stay secured.


Carburetors, of course, have the task of metering fuel in the correct amounts at various engine speeds and throttle openings are full of fuel and the potential for fuel leaks.


The early 250-305 Honda models used a banjo fitting and screen bolt to allow fuel lines to be attached to the carburetor bodies. The banjo fittings, not unlike those on the master cylinders of bikes with hydraulic disc brakes, need washers on both sides of the fitting. Fiber washers were used for many years, but then aftermarket makers started using punched-out aluminum washers which deform enough to seal fluid leaks. Most of the rest of the vintage Honda models used pressed-in brass fittings which generally give little cause for concern.


When carburetor float valves stick open due to dirt, wear, or the floats dragging up against the bowl gaskets, the fuel will leak out through the small brass overflow vents. When carburetor bowls begin to leak at the bottom of the overflow tube and all else has been replaced or cleaned, look carefully at the brass tube inside the float bowl. In many cases, the fuel tube has cracked down the side and is slowly draining the fuel bowl. You can often either use a good quality soldering iron and solder up the crack on the outside or slip a piece of 4mm tubing over the outside, secured with JB-Weld or a good epoxy adhesive sealer.


Most float bowls have small drain plugs at the bottom. Loosening the plugs can drain the bowls out without complete removal. Because water often works its way into the fuel system, the water sinks to the bottom of the bowl and often causes corrosion between the drain bolt and bowl threads. Also, the drain bolt requires either an o-ring or flat gasket to seal it to the bowl.

Carburetor float bowl gaskets are another source of fuel seepage. Once the bowl is in place, the fuel level is near the top of the bowl and will leak out the front side of the bowl/gasket area if the gasket is not correctly made, the bowl clip doesn’t have sufficient pressure to clamp the bowl securely or there is leftover gasket material in the body, itself. Honda used some kind of magical adhesive to glue the bowl gaskets in place originally. When the gasket is cracked and leaking, you have to clean the gasket channels very well to prevent any leftover stray bits to prevent proper gasket sealing between the bowl and gasket. Check the edges of the float bowl for any leftover debris or if there are irregularities to the edges of the bowl surfaces.


Honda’s bowl gaskets for 1960s models are about 2.5mm wide. Many of the aftermarket kit gaskets are 3+mm wide and do not lay flat on the front edge of the carburetor body. This has been a problem for many years, unfortunately. In some cases, use a small hand-held hole punch to notch the gasket where it contacts the two small posts in the carb body gasket channel.


Other places…


Leaving your bike out in the rain, or stored for long periods where the tire tubes deflate, allows moisture to seep in between the rim and the tire bead, causing rust and corrosion to build up on the inner rim surface and ends of the spoke nipples. Any tears in the seat upholstery will allow water to seep into the foam and eventually settle down into the metal seat pan causing rust and eventually holes in the steel seat pan material.


Early model instruments don’t really have a way to vent out moisture inside the unit. When bikes are left in the rain or even fog, after a ride, the moisture inside the meter will condense and a layer of moisture will form on the inside of the meter lens. In a worst-case scenario, the moisture will get into the speedometer mechanism itself, damaging the odometer number strips and the magnet and little gear train inside.


Stay alert for fluid leaks of any kind and mend them early to prevent mishaps or just an ugly motorcycle appearance.


Bill Silver

aka MrHonda

1/20/24