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.
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.