Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Another vintage Honda revival.. CL175K0

When your name is out on the internet and on social media pages, you can get messages from anyone and anywhere these days. Out of nowhere, I received a message from a man in the N. San Diego County area who had owned a 1967 CL170K0 for many years, riding it for awhile, then parking it for extended periods. It was basically a “make run” request, but these can get complicated and expensive at times, especially when searching for parts on a 54 year old machine.

I was already in the area for a chiropractor appointment, so volunteered to pick it up at his residence and bring it home for a rejuvenation session. Of course, the battery was virtually dry of fluids, the tires had no measurable air pressure, but the engine still turned over. Compression checks revealed 150-170psi readings. A valve adjustment was performed, but they were only off by a thousandth of an inch or so. Hopefully, some running in time might clear off any leftover residues from a valve seat or face.

Pulling the seat and tank off revealed a very burnt looking ground wire into the harness. The owner told me that he had run the bike off a jumper when the battery was dead and the charging system took out all of the light bulbs. Headlight bulbs for these bikes are getting harder to find and very expensive in many cases. However, www.davidsilverspares.com had complete NOS units in stock for less than $85.

The whole fuel system was drained, cleaned and carbs rebuilt with new kits. One of the carburetors had a needle hold-down butterfly clip missing, so that must have been a problem for some time. I discovered that the carbs had been kitted before because the needle had a D number stamped in where the K number should be. Those parts come from the Keyster kits and are often not accurately machined.

The rear tire was a 3.50x18” trials tire, that made the bike sit on all four corners due to the circumference differences vs. the stock 3.00x18 road tire. I happened to have a new 3.00x18 rear tire in stock so it was swapped in and finally the rear tire had some space beneath it when sitting on the centerstand. The brake adjustment nut was pretty well threaded onto the brake rod, so a new set of brake shoes were installed after the brake cams were cleaned and lubricated.

The point cam on the spark advancer seemed gummy in operation, so the unit was removed and cleaned/lubed for re-installation. A fresh lead-acid battery was installed to save a few dollars on the repair bill and is plenty good enough for a bike without an electric starter system onboard.

Once the tank was drained, petcock rebuilt and new fuel lines run to the rebuilt carburetors, it was ready for a wake-up routine. I had drained the oil and serviced the oil filter spinner on the end of the crankshaft. It was refilled with 1.5 liters of 10w-30 motorcycle oil and a new set of D8HA spark plugs installed. The spark plug threads on the left side were a little bit worn, so I used a new tool that I heard about on forums which threads inside the hole and then you expand it to secure to the threads and then unscrew it to clean up the plug hole threads without having to run a tap down inside and risk leaving shavings behind.

With fresh fuel, oil, battery and spark plugs installed the bike lit off on the 2nd kick. A quick tour around the neighborhood didn’t reveal any issues. The front brake was initially grabby probably due to some rust build up inside the brake drum. Working the brake and putting on a few miles seemed to improve the situation.

The owner came back down from N. County, some 55 miles away, arriving in his VW sedan with a helmet and gear to ride it back home! I advised going that far on the freeway, but after a few surface street miles he hopped on the highway I-5 and rode some 30 miles in the right lane. I suspect the top speed for the bike is not much more than about 70-75 because the way they are geared and the lower than normal compression readings. In an hour or so, he reported back that the journey was successful and that the bike had held its own despite many miles of high rpm driving conditions.

It’s a testament of the bike’s design that it was able to sustain that kind of treatment for some 45 minutes. In the end, the bike is back on its wheels again and fully functioning once more after a 10 year snooze.

Bill Silver


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