Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Score four and many more to go… last installment!

A little backtracking here, to catch up with the final repair experiences and eventual sale of all four bikes!

1965 CB77 Notes
While it looked relatively intact and came with a set of correct type mufflers, this bike obviously sat around for many years and had numerous surprises in store for me.
The first thing to do was to try to remove the seat…. It wouldn’t come off even though the rear seat bolts were not installed… ???  When I grabbed the right edge and lifted, the seat pivoted up on some home-made seat hinges, just like those on the later CB350-450s!  Well, that’s really different!
With the seat up on the side, the fuel tank was removed after cutting the fuel lines with clippers. There were no air filters or tubes present, so I stuffed some plastic bags/rags into the intake ports and rolled the bike over to the front yard gravel bed where it was soaked with S100 cleaner and hosed off. Some compressed air dried off the chassis and work went on from there.

The dipstick had dirty looking oil on the stick so an oil change was in order. I removed the bolt but NOTHING came out! Probably not a good sign, is it?  The clutch lever was a two handed effort to move even slightly, so the first place to go was the clutch cover. Once removed, some oil started to trickle out however.  On a hunch, I pulled the whole oil pump and a quart and a half of stinky old oil rushed out of the crankcases. Looking at the oil pump screen and drain plug, there was a thick layer of gooey black gunk covering the parts enough to actually block the oil from draining out of the drain hole! ICK! The insides of the crankcases, behind the clutch assembly were scaly black like old gasoline and oil had evaporated on the surfaces. I lifted the oil filter and chain off of the engine and was dismayed to find that the crankshaft nut was never fully tightened (plus the conical washer was on backwards), so the filter chain sprocket was just spinning easily and not driving the filter at all. At least someone had taken time to bend the locking tab over so the nut didn’t fly off the end of the crankshaft!

The clutch plates peeled off without too much trouble. Everything was washed with paint thinner and the steel plates run on a wire wheel to scrub up the surfaces. Everything went back together without issues, but special attention was given to the locking nut and washer/sprocket placement. With the cover back on and the oil pump scrubbed up, the pump was reinstalled. A ½ quart of Marvel Mystery oil was added to the crankcase, followed by a quart of Honda GN4 10-30 oil in hopes of dissolving the sludge inside the engine.

The carbs were removed and cleaned, but there was evidence of water getting into the left side carburetor at some time. When the carbs were removed, there were a lot of chalky deposits found inside the intake port on the left side. There wasn’t any sign of water/rust on the old spark plugs, so one has to imagine that the intake valve was closed when the water backed up into the port. Use of some penetrating oil called ACF50 seemed to dissolve the deposits in the port and I could push my finger all the way down to the back side of the intake valve to help clean things up. Still it is a pretty sketchy proposition as often the back side of the intake valve will have a rust buildup on the back side that will eventually get sucked into the cylinder when the engine is running. Initial compression readings were 150 psi on the right and only 90 on the left side.

Phosphoric acid was used on the float bowl and a few other parts to neutralize the scale deposits and the carbs were checked over and reassembled with new o-rings on the carb flanges and the insulators. The petcock was cleaned out and showed signs of perhaps being a NOS part due to some very shiny surfaces inside. The carburetors were also in very good shape with no wear on the chromed brass slides whatsoever. Carbs and petcock were installed back on the bike and a fresh battery inserted into the frame holder.

There was a fuel leak on the left carburetor that seemed to be due to a compressed float bowl gasket and not enough tension on the bale spring. A new bowl gasket was slipped in place on top of the old, glued-in version and the leak stopped. With full choke ON the starter button did nothing when depressed. Looking at the overall condition of the bike, I surmised that the electrical contacts were probably all fuzzy and corroded, but cycling the starter button a few times began to wake something up. At first it was just a click, then the sounds of the starter motor engaging briefly. Continuing to push the button finally created a complete circuit and the engine spun over vigorously and finally fired off on both cylinders!

Letting it run for a few minutes at low engine speeds, I listened for any signs of damage or impending seizure due to a lack of oil, based upon what I saw draining out previously. The engine seemed to be fairly healthy and after some initial smoking the exhaust cleared up completely. Pulling the spark plugs there were no signs of any engine distress or ingesting anything damaging. Compression readings rose to 120 on the low side, which was promising to say the least.

I had already replaced the apparently original stock OEM front tire and the silly 3.50x18 Trials tire on the back with correct sized Michelins. The clutch cable was replaced along with the worn out clutch adjuster which brought a reasonable lever pull effort back into play. The front brake cable came from old stock, so the main control cables were now functioning properly.

I took it for a brief test ride and didn’t notice anything amiss, so gradually lengthened the ride time and distance out further. The bike had come with some aftermarket shorty mufflers, but the deal included some OEM type mufflers which were installed. The right side was an old Dixie International “Superior” CB77 copy which didn’t fit quite right but looked the part. The left side muffler was an OEM 2 piece muffler which was in good shape apart from some battery acid stains on the inside. There were no baffles in either one, but the overall sound was tolerable for the neighborhood.

After a couple of rides, I checked the oil and the end of the dipstick was BLACK! I warmed it up once more and then dumped the oil out of the drain hole successfully. The Marvel Mystery oil was definitely doing its job so far, but I refilled the crankcases with straight Honda oil this time.
This is a later 1965 bike with alloy forks and low riser handlebars, which is surprisingly comfortable and the bike is better than it looks overall. Gear shifting was a bit cranky sometimes, but it did go into all 4 gears without much effort and the clutch is working great now!

1967 CL77 notes
This bike is an enigma as it only shows less than 1600 miles on the speedometer and is complete and original apart from some tires that were swapped onto it many years ago. The seller swore that it ran great when he had it running, but that was about 5 years ago.  A fresh battery awaits this poor machine, which suffers from a lot of chrome corrosion on the fenders, tail light bracket and fender stays.
Once the battery was installed, the carbs cleaned and new air filters installed, the bike was a good runner, but still looked very sad with extensively corroded chrome plating everywhere on the bike.

September wrap-up
SOLD!  1966 CL77 to a Mid-West enthusiast who already owns and has restored 450 motorcycles! Sale came at the VJMC West Coast Rally in mid-Sept.
SOLD! 1966 CB77 to a local friend in his 60s, who is actually re-learning to ride a motorcycle, after taking the safety classes. He wanted a Super Hawk, but not too good of one to ride around town and have to worry about dropping it and damaging a high-dollar show bike.
SOLD! 1965 CL77 to a buyer who came all the way down from Watsonville, CA! His late arrival on a Sunday conflicted with  my plans to attend the annual DGR ride here in San Diego, which I had to forgo in order to facilitate the sale of the Scrambler.

SOLD! 1969 CL175K0 to a buyer who came down from the Ontario, CA area in a 1977 Toyota PU truck. The little Scrambler gave me fits at the end, having to R&R the engine 3 times to overcome a camchain snagging issue that kept popping the master links apart. It ran well after all the work was completed, but the wide-open throttle stumble left me baffled and I never fully figured out what was happening with it. Sold cheap, so new owner can play with it and sort out whatever was happening, I guess.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Score four and many more to go… Cont.

CL77 notes

Looking like the most promising of the four bikes, the 1966 CL77 showed only 3600 miles on the odometer and the whole chassis had been powdercoated in an earlier restoration effort. The fuel tank was clean and a rebuilt petcock was installed, along with a new battery. The battery was the first challenge to surmount, as the battery terminals on the CL harness have installed nuts on the connectors that are not a match for the posts on the new batteries. Eventually, a Dremel cutoff wheel was used to saw through the outside edges of the battery posts and a little redrilling of the holes allowed the battery hardware to finally connect up. With power ON the horn worked, as did the other electrical components which were still attached. There was power to the ignition system, so from that point the rest would be regular tune-up adjustments…. Or so I thought.

The carburetors had shiny air/speed screws installed indicating carb kit repairs. When the float bowls were dropped down, a thin layer of oil gasoline deposits were found in the bottoms. The main jets holders were removed and the idle jets coaxed out of the carb bodies, which can be difficult on a CL series machine with the exhaust pipes in place. The main jets were poorly stamped, but I was able to make out that they were #130 sizes, which is about right for a 305 Scrambler. The idle jets seemed to be open as I could see light through them, but when I pushed the jet cleaner wire into the jet, it wouldn’t go! I tried going in from both sides, but still no luck. Grabbing a magnifying glass I was able to make out the number 30 barely stamped into the jet faces. WHAT??????  I have NEVER seen a #30 idle jet applied to any Honda motorcycle engine, no matter how small it was. Ah, the joys of aftermarket jet kits!!! I dug out a pair of #38 jets from spares boxes and installed everything back into the awaiting carburetor bodies, still hanging off the back of the cylinder head.

The ignition timing was next and the first thing that was noticed was that the points were ND style but not ND branded parts. I have had bad luck with these parts in the past, as they often don’t allow a good gap and proper timing within the limits of the point plate slots. The gap on the right side was barely perceptible when opening. After contact cleaning, the left side was set to .014” and timing plate adjusted so they just opened at the LF mark. The right side gap was carefully adjusted until they just opened at the F mark AND had a decent point gap setting.

I dropped the fuel tank on the frame, cut some new fuel hoses and went to fill the tank with gasoline. I thought it was ready to receive fuel, but I had overlooked the fact that the fuel tank was a late model replacement tank with NO crossover tube and that the petcock still had the crossover tube fitting in place… open to atmosphere! As I poured gas in it flooded out over the motor until I finally figured out what had happened. With one hand I was able to plug the fitting and with the other hand cut a piece of fuel hose and stick a 6mm screw into the end to make a block-off plug. I slipped it over the petcock fitting and mopped up the fuel overflow on then engine and off the floor. The bike doesn’t have any air filters or connecting tubes so any kind of a back fire would have lit it up into a ball of fire.

I did check compression readings on this engine which were 180 psi on both sides, so this should be a healthy motor. With just a couple of kicks, the engine fired up and smoothed out quickly. With the stock OEM muffler system in place, the bike is relatively quiet, but the whole package is not without its own set of harmonic tones.

I put the seat on loosely, turned the bike down the driveway and pulled in the clutch to engine 1st gear. I could feel it jerk into gear because the clutch plates were “stuck” from sitting, however with the clutch lever held in and a few engine revs applied the clutch disengaged and worked somewhat normally again. I ran it down the street checking the gearbox and then rolled it back up the driveway to rest for awhile. This one turned out to be better than expected so far. Hopefully, someone will adopt it before more work needed is done by me.

Score four and many more to go…

Just when I was getting a few less bikes in the driveway, my friend Burt forwarded a Craigslist posting that showed many, many Honda motorcycles up for sale. The owner was cutting down his collection of about 100 machines, mostly 1960-70s models. His aim was to focus on SOHC Honda CB750s and he had managed to acquire a rare sandcast CB750, although the engine was stuck when he bought it and the bike was a definite candidate for a full restoration.
The trip to Riverside, CA took about 2 hours, as we went north out of San Diego during the late morning hours. As advertised, the seller had a LOT of bikes, but a fair selection had been left out in the open, covered loosely by tarps. It took awhile to get to know him and see the collection of bikes and parts that were covering steel racks around the edges of his large workshop space. He had 3 bike lifts in place, all supporting various project bikes, including a C110, CB750K0 and something else I don’t recall.

Most all of the bikes were projects and eventually we came to an agreement to purchase four bikes: 1966 CB77, 1966 CL77, 1967 CL77 and a scruffy CL175K0 Scrambler with a stuck engine. The CB77 was pretty complete, but had shorty mufflers attached. There was a set of CB77 mufflers found on a rack, which were included in the deal so that made it more palatable.
Burt had followed me up with his Nissan Frontier pickup, so we were able to put two bikes in his truck and a pair in my 2002 Tacoma. The time spent at the seller’s house, plus a stop for a late lunch put us back on the highway moving into rush hour, so eventually the return trip ran past three hours before the bikes were unloaded.

CL175K0 notes

I brought the 1966 CL77 and the CL175K0 home for immediate care. The little 175 Scrambler was seriously seized and very rusty on most all of the metal surfaces. The bike had Oregon title/plates and looked like it had been sitting in the moist elements of the Pacific NW for many years.  I extracted the engine, pulled the head and coaxed out a seized left side piston, which loosened the cylinder liner in the process. The piston rings were all stuck and/or cracked-broken in the ring lands, but the engine seemed to be in the kind of condition that verified the 3600 miles showing on the speedometer.
The cylinders were still on STD sized bores; so a pair of pistons and rings was acquired from David Silver Spares, along with seals, gaskets and carb kits for the power-jet 20mm Kei’hin still attached to the original, decaying air filters. DSS had a new wiring harness and headlight shell for a reasonable price, so those were put on the order sheet, as well. DSS had one fork ear and another one was found on eBay.

On the bright side, the fuel tank had been cleaned and lined, so that task was already handled. The petcock needed an overhaul, but fortunately the repair parts for these models are plentiful.  A new battery was locally ordered, which is substantial considering the bike does not have an electric starter system to power up.  The muffler had surface rust, especially on the exhaust flanges, but there were no holes underneath the end of the muffler assembly, which is a rare occurrence these days.
My friends at 4into1.com offered some tire/tubes/band sets at a discount, so two sets were ordered, as they fit both the CL175 wheels and the CB77! The forks needed new seals and fork boots, so those were ordered, however the “fits CL175” eBay seals were 31x43x10 vs. the required 31x41x9.1 sizes. I finally just ordered seals from my friendly Honda dealer and got them in a couple of days. 

That all went together okay, however when the front wheel was removed, not only was the drum surfaced rusted over, but one of the brake shoes had NO brake lining in place. Apparently this bike was used as intended (i.e. a Scrambler) and driven through Oregon mud and streams, plus was suffering various oil leaks at seals and gaskets. One supposes that the front wheel was submerged a few times and left to stand as-is. Eventually, the lining on one shoe unglued itself and probably jammed the front brake when the bike was moved, so the wheel was removed and the loose lining removed, and then wheel reinstalled with only one brake shoe working.

Brake shoes were another “fits CL175” issue, when the ones that were supposed to fit were found to be too small and not the cross-match that was indicated. Another confirmed part number shoe pair was found on eBay and they arrived quickly. In the meantime, there was a LOT of rust removal of the brake drum surface and the rest of the brake hardware to do. Both wheels needed to be de-rusted and deglazed to allow proper function once again. The brake cams were locked in place, but judicious use of some penetrating oils and a soft hammer got them freed up so they could be cleaned, lubed and reinstalled. 

The new Michelin tires were installed on both wheels giving it a more modern look.
DSS came up with a nice reproduction speedometer cushion, which happens to be the same as the one used on the CB450K0 Black Bomber. New cables were procured and slowly the bike regained some form of motorcycle look and function. The chassis was cleaned with S100 and scrubbed up a bit so that some anti-rust treatment could be applied followed by most of a can of Duplicolor Gloss Black spray paint.

Rebuilding the top end of the engine was risky, in that the cylinder bores were somewhat roughed up from the seizures and the intake valves had typical cupped wear at the seat edges. The valve seats in the head were somewhat rough condition and one had a deep rust spot right in the valve seating area, which required more and more cutting and narrowing of the seat until the corrosion pitting was erased. The intake seats were touched up slightly and the new contact area was very narrow and problematic.

After several rounds of scraping, chemical cleaning and scrubbing, the engine assembly was finally installed with a bit of patina intact. After working out all the wiring connections and setting up the ignition timing, the engine was finally fired up for the first time in many years. Once the bike was running, I listened and watched for signs of distress of any kind. There was smoke out the muffler, but a lot of that was due to the old buildups inside the pipes and muffler that needed to burn off as the engine came up to temperature.

The engine took throttle crisply but didn’t want to idle down without dying. Ignition timing was rechecked and the left carb removed for another look as it only ran decently with the idle screw backed out about 3-4 turns vs. the correct 1 to 1.5 turns from the factory tune up manual info.  I rechecked the valve clearances to make sure that one of them hadn’t sunk into the seat but all seemed okay there. Finally, I ran a compression test and found 120psi on the right side and only 90 psi on the left. I hoped that running the bike in for a few miles might help seat the rings and the valves more forcefully and bring up the compression readings. The bike felt quite crisp under power in all gears and I enjoyed my 3-4 mile local test run, but on the return the engine continued to quit when allowed to idle again. Follow-up compression readings verified that nothing had changed from the earlier readings.

New intake valves were ordered and will have to be installed when the engine is dropped down for inspection and repairs. I did notice a good bit of oil coming out of the breather tube after the test ride, indicating that the piston rings were still not bedded in yet, however the spark plugs came out nice and dry on the tips, so it wasn’t pumping oil into the combustion chambers. There was no visible smoke out the muffler either, which was a good sign. Unfortunately, the right side spark plug hole threads are somewhat damaged and will probably require an insert to shore up the thread hole. This can all be done when the head is removed for new valves. This is the kind of experience to expect sometimes when you are in a hurry to get a job done and get onto the next stage of the project and/or other projects that are backed up currently.