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Motors The Tale of Three Hondas: an ongoing saga in multiple acts

Discussion in 'General' started by Jumeira_Johnny, 6 Jan 2021.

  1. Jumeira_Johnny

    Jumeira_Johnny 16032 - High plains drifter

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    So to tell this build log properly we have to go back to the before times. Mid September 2018 to be more exact. I had made the acquaintance of a gentleman named "Hank" (for the sake of the innocent). Hank was (still is, he's not dead yet) an institution in the moto scene here and often hosted parties at his shop. The parties were a combination of networking, socializing, and 'I have too much stuff, buy some of it'. Hank drove a lumber delivery truck and was often in more remote areas, with cash and a keen eye. So he would stop on the return leg, knock on doors, and score these incredible finds; cheap as chips. So, one evening a mate and I headed over with a 24 pack of PBR and this is where it all starts.

    I, just having bought two 2016 RE C500s, was sort of looking for a small project. Out of the corner of my eye I see a complete motor siting under a bench.

    "Hank" I said, "Is that a CB750 motor over there?"

    "Why?" answered Hank, "Do you want a CB750?"

    "Yes, but I'd start with just the motor for a winter rebuild."

    "Oh, I'll tell you what," Hank says. "I'll sell you a 1980 CB750F that I took the carbs off of and the battery out of for $350 AND I'll throw in the extra motor for free. With a clean title. I rode it all summer."

    And that, friends, is how I ended up with an extra motor for a 1981 CB750K. Or what I'm calling The Kilo.

    [​IMG]

    But we will get to that.

    See, I didn't tell my wife I had bought what I am calling The Foxtrot; the 750F SuperSport. Even as great a deal as it was, you don't just buy a motorcycle in a dodgy garage late at night during a party without discussing it with your spouse first. So I had to get it and the Kilo motor home. Now I'm not a total ass ( I am actually, it's just that she's a saint ), I just like to pick the time and place to tell her my shenanigans. My sister, who was visiting, sort wine blurted it out. Not good. So, I was in the doghouse, but I could bring everyone home.

    [​IMG]

    And it's still September 2018. 3 motorcycles, 1 not running, and 1 motor.
     
    Last edited: 27 Jan 2021
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  2. Jumeira_Johnny

    Jumeira_Johnny 16032 - High plains drifter

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    So to try and let things blow over, I stash the motor and The Foxtrot on the garage with the 500s over the winter. I mean, this was hardly the time to start ordering parts and spending evenings rebuilding things. Winter passes, and my wife start getting angry again seeing this motorcycle just sitting there. She gives me the "If I have to look at it, it damn well better be running. The neighbors will think we are rednecks" speech. Which, in our house, is a green light. It's early spring of 2019.

    It was time to investigate what I had bought and paid for. The rear brake caliper was seized. The rear shocks were shot. No airbox, no carbs. No battery. Front shocks were meh. The handle bars were protaper, but drag bars and the clamp wasn't stock which meant the fuse holder was dangling free. The front tire is flat. Not too bad for a 40 year old super bike. It had been running on CR29 carbs, which are worth $1200; so we weren't going there. But everything else seemed doable. Make a plan, set a budget, execute. Right?

    First step, rebuild the rear caliper. The Foxtrot has dual front disks with two pistons each, the rear is just one disk with one piston. The barrels look good.

    [​IMG]

    The piston looks mint.

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    So it's just new seals, a paint job, and bleeding. Sorted.

    Second step, find a carburetor. The DOHC 750s aren't known for having the best carbs. They were designed to work in a very specific way, and all this cafe racer air pod filter craze has shown how bad they are with out the air box. To get the Foxtrot up and running, I wanted to remove as many variables as possible.

    [​IMG]

    Say hello to the VB42. The SuperSport models had the B casting. This is a crusty B casting. Very crusty.

    [​IMG]

    The internals are pretty manky, so we are off to order 4 rebuild kits, jet kits, accelerator kits, float kits, and I think I got some other diaphragm that does something. Right it was the air cut off valve.

    [​IMG]

    Apart they come, cleaned up, new sparkly parts installed.

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    Pro marriage tip: if you like a lot of sarcastic comments, you should totally do this on the kitchen counter.

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    Here they are mostly complete, the linkages mated, throttle return spring rewound.

    [​IMG]

    Fully assembled, ready to install on the Foxtrot and just fire her up, right? lol
     
    Last edited: 6 Jan 2021
  3. Jumeira_Johnny

    Jumeira_Johnny 16032 - High plains drifter

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    We started that last post in the spring of 2019. The final picture was May 14th, 2020. That's right. It took a year to rebuild the carbs. What happened you ask? HA!

    Life.

    We applied to become foster parents, which takes a year. I started a pop up kitchen business serving German street food. I started a consulting business for new restaurants. We traveled to Mongolia and Korea in the summer of 2019. In August, we took placement of a one year old boy, as his adoptive resource.

    Borrowed a Harley and rode around lake Michigan with the MC.

    [​IMG]

    There was mini bike tom foolery in the Upper Peninsula. Which becomes relevant later in the story.

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    Then in late January we found out our son's sister was born, and we took placement in February. So from August 2019 to February 2020 we went from a 20 year marriage with no kids to one with two kids under two. I have been a bit busy.

    Just add a battery and slap on the carb and we have a running 40yo motor scoot? NO. WE DO NOT. Silly me.

    [​IMG]

    "Good Sir" you ask, "What are those?" excellent question. Those are the fuel adjusting screws for the idling circuit. They were the same length when installed. Notice, please, how the one is shorter than the other. "Where" you ask, "is the tiny thin needle part that is missing?" IT'S STUCK IN THE CASTING!

    And that is how we ended up scouring eBay for a #4 carb body. I was able to find a VB42A casting. Which isn't the exact same, but will work.

    [​IMG]

    Swap over the internals and get them back on the bike and and off the bike and on the bike. Then......? YES, sweet semi victory! It runs. but only barely. To say it needed to be synced and tuned is a radical understatement. But running is running, and that's a win.

    It's now June 2020. 2 running motorcycles, 1 semi running motorcycle, 1 lonely motor.
     
    Last edited: 6 Jan 2021
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  4. boiled_elephant

    boiled_elephant Merom Celeron 4 lyfe

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    I feel like I should be subscribing to a Patreon. Bravo
     
  5. Jumeira_Johnny

    Jumeira_Johnny 16032 - High plains drifter

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    I am thinking about doing a more comprehensive video series for the third bike. I'm currently thinking about punching it out to 823cc and adding a turbo. But, we still need to get the Kilo up and running.
     
  6. Jumeira_Johnny

    Jumeira_Johnny 16032 - High plains drifter

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    Kids are down for a nap, so lets continue, shall we? We left off at June 2020. The Foxtrot is sort of running. Luckily a have a good friend who's a Honda Master Technician and he's up for syncing the carbs and helping me generally get it running better. And that certainly helped. It's not a daily driver level of reliability, but it can move under it's own power. And can it it move! I'm leery about taking it over 160 kmph, since I haven't gone over the cam chain tensioners or checked the valve shim clearances.

    I do go ahead and order new rear shocks. They are inexpensive olin knock offs, but they don't bottom out; which is an improvement.

    [​IMG]

    I also remove the 1 1/8 pro taper drag bars and the adapter, swapping over to the proper 22mm bars and source the original clamp which also solves my fuse box issue. It also allows me to put the new choke cable in the proper place. Add in a new set of OEM style grips and it feels so much better to ride. The new bars are a much better rise and rake, so my back and hands don't have to bear all my weight.

    [​IMG]

    I'm starting to trust the bike a bit more, taking it out on short trips around town. Staying with in walking distance of home though, lol.

    [​IMG]

    She's very much a loud, smelly, heavy girl; but I do like how she rides.

    It's now July 2020 and the Orchid Princess has started going to day care with her brother three days a week, which frees up some time. Granted, Covid-19 mania is in full swing, so no going on our annual ride. But, I do over haul the oil filter system.

    [​IMG]

    I'm planning on servicing the valves shims and cam chain tensioners and continuing to tune the carbs in August. But life gets messy, the kids are both exposed to Covid-19 and we have to quarantine for 14 days. August sort of flys by.

    But on the 11th, I get a text message. "I have a titled 750K rolling chassis for that motor, come get it or I'm throwing into the recycling." It's "Hank". So I beg him to give 24 hours to find a place to put the chassis, because I'm not suicidal enough to bring home another non running motorcycle. I mean that would be insane. Bonkers. Right?

    It's August 2020. 2 running motorcycles, 1 semi running motorcycle, 1 motor, frame, and wheels.
     
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  7. Jumeira_Johnny

    Jumeira_Johnny 16032 - High plains drifter

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    One of the guys in our MC is an engineer at Harley-Davidson by day, and by night he has an urban wood slabbing business. His business partner is a fine woodworker and cabinet maker. They rent a large space in a warehouse which also has a metal worker and a few artisans. I'm lucky and they agree to let me hide the Kilo chassis there until I can a) tell my wife and b) find a shop space of my own. Whew. I pick up the chassis and 2 whole boxes of parts.

    Like totally random parts. There were 3 GS1000 master cylinders and front brake calipers. But some good stuff there too. A tail light, head light bucket. Neither from a CB750, but no point in complaining about free parts. A cylinder head and valve cover, valves, valve springs, cams....This is clearly someone's project bike that got set aside.

    I spend September looking for some shop space. Surprisingly, it's not that easy to find a secure space that will allow a car, motorcycles, welding, blacksmithing...
    I'm forced to turn to FB marketplace, lol. I get a message from my friends at the woodworking spot. A few of the people in the warehouse are moving out, and the wood working business is expanding into those spaces. Would I want to sublet a small corner? Hell yes. I talk to two other guys, and we agree it's time to get the space and start working on bikes more seriously. My wife is on board. The Kilo is already there. It seems the stars are aligned.

    Move in day October first.

    [​IMG]

    I lower the racking, making it a work bench, paint the floor, start making it a shop space. I ride the Foxtrot over and park it for the winter.

    [​IMG]

    I also go in with the Engineer and the Technician on a minibike.

    [​IMG]

    There is a twice annual flat track race here called 'Flat out Friday' in conjunction with the 'Mamma Tried' motorcycle show. They have a boonie bike class and we intend on racing in the winter of 2020. This bike has a 10hp motor from an industrial snow blower. The two deep woods rednecks we bought it from called it "the ER trip". Perfect.

    [​IMG]

    We need to fab up a new engine mount, it's held on by 2 bolts. It needs a new clutch. We have upgraded to a disk brake, since the old drum brake couldn't stop the bike at idle, lol.

    It's mid October. 2 running bikes, 1 semi running bike, 1 non running bike, and 1/3 of a deathtrap 10hp boonie bike.
     
  8. Arboreal

    Arboreal Keeper of the Electric Currants

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    Really enjoying this @Jumeira_Johnny. Not a bike guy, and never owned one, but appreciate the engineering and the restoration process.
    BTW, my colleague at my old job had an RE when he started riding again, and a Post Office BSA Bantam, which were both characterful.

    Our late boss was big into bikes, and had over 50 in his collection when he died.
    I thought you might like this Diesel RE, that is his one from the Bohnams sale the year after he passed away. If you have a moment, look at the other lots!

    He also had 16 1920s Brough Superiors...they sold for millions, but that's a story for another day.

    Keep it coming, I can appreciate a lot of it from my classic car adventures...
     
  9. boiled_elephant

    boiled_elephant Merom Celeron 4 lyfe

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    I don't wanna derail, but I'm endlessly curious about all this sort of thing. How easy is welding to get into? It occurred to me, while tearing apart old computer cases the other day, that people who can do basic seam welds can basically do anything they like, make any container or frame for any craft project. I checked the prices of sheet aluminum and sheet steel and it's peanuts. One could do all sorts. But I'm a normie so welding terrifies me.
     
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  10. IanW

    IanW Grumpy Old Git

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    If we weren't in the middle of the plague times, I'd suggest checking out local evening classes for that sort of thing.
     
  11. mrlongbeard

    mrlongbeard Multimodder

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    Gas, Mig, Tig, Arc or Spot?
    None of them are rocket surgery, they're just melting one metal to fuse other bits of metal together, all are dead easy to pick up and run with but takes years and years to become a master at.
    Like everything it's all in having good kit and practise, but as Ian says try finding a local evening class, ain't no one ever said they wish they hadn't picked up extra skills along their way though this world .
     
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  12. ElThomsono

    ElThomsono Multimodder

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    Probably your best bet would be gas MIG, although it's not really the best way to learn the art of welding; if you're getting into it to add a string to your bow rather than for the sake of welding itself then it will give you far better results from the off.

    Have a look around YouTube, then start pricing up a unit and accessories (auto-darkening mask, gauntlets, wire, gas and some steel). You might get a bargain on Gumtree, you might be better getting a cheap unit from eBay that gets a fair rep. Don't get a gasless unit, the results look awful and the cost saving is marginal.

    If you think you'll be doing more of it and want to invest more, them TIG would also be a good option but there's a lot more to learn a lot earlier on, and the initial investment is higher.

    I took up welding a while back and it is one of the few things in life guaranteed to put a smile on my face.
     
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  13. Jumeira_Johnny

    Jumeira_Johnny 16032 - High plains drifter

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    As the others have said, MIG is easy. The caveat being while it's easy to glue to pieces of metal together, it another thing to make it look nice. I tell people all the time, I'm not a welder but I have a really nice angle grinder. I would recommend Weldingtipsandtricks.com to start.

    As for being terrified; just ask around for a stick welder, rods, and a mask. Then just get some scrap and screw around a bit. That is what I did in Africa, since stick welders are simple and common. But the motions and techniques are the same. Nothing should terrify you. Everything comes with instructions, you just have to look for them.

    I just welded together an engine stand, but we are getting ahead of ourselves.
     
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  14. boiled_elephant

    boiled_elephant Merom Celeron 4 lyfe

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    WE DEMAND THE NEXT CHAPTER

    congrats you now have an impatient entitled online following, that's like getting your doctorate in Internets
     
  15. Jumeira_Johnny

    Jumeira_Johnny 16032 - High plains drifter

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    Wow, life just sort of sucks up your time. Where did we leave off? Mid October 2020?

    This is the motor that started this cascade.

    Base on the crankcase casting, this is a 1981 CB750k motor, which fits to what I was told when I bought it. Totally unknown past. It's been sitting in the garage for a year plus, so could have mice in the cylinders for all I know.

    [​IMG]

    This is the rolling frame, a 1981 CB750k with a clear title. Plus a milk crate and two large blue tubs of random parts. I have already started to remove most of the hacked wiring here.

    [​IMG]

    To give you my mindset at this point: The big concepts are there. Frame, wheels, motor. But there is a VERY long list of very small things that usually come with a complete motorcycle that are missing. Bolts, washers, nuts, wiring, the entire charging system, fuel tank......it's a little overwhelming. So where do you start? tear it down, make a spread sheet, then go from front to back.

    Front rotor has some meat left, so that's a first positive. The forks and triple trees are next.

    [​IMG]

    Oh, yeah, those steering bearing are fine, lol. I had to cut off the lower bearing, since the cage had cracked and it was in pieces.

    [​IMG]

    That oil has likely never been changed. It stank. like the tube in summer. Yes, the London tube. I swear, it was the same weird mechanical/organic butt blend.

    [​IMG]

    Forks are apart, and the sludge was pretty bad. There was no pitting on the tubes so we just need new seals, gaskets, and crush washers.

    [​IMG]

    New bushings are in order.

    [​IMG]

    And here we are, front end stripped down, inventoried, parts found, parts ordered, and a general plan made.

    [​IMG]

    It's now the end of October. 2 running bikes, 1 semi running bike, 1 non running bike, and 1/3 of a deathtrap 10hp boonie bike.

    Edit: right about now we find out the Mama Tried Show is cancled as are the flat track races, so the pressure of building the boonie bike by February is gone.
     
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  16. Jumeira_Johnny

    Jumeira_Johnny 16032 - High plains drifter

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    There are some other big things still to be decided though. Color scheme? Tires? Exhaust?

    Let's start with the frame. It's dinged and rusty, needs some small modifications....So I decide to strip it down.

    [​IMG]

    It's pretty filthy, especially out back. The swing arm, center stand, and chain guard had to be scraped and scrubbed.

    [​IMG]

    I tried a chemical remover, to no avail.

    [​IMG]

    So a wire wheel and angle grinder it is. I'm not a safety sally, but if you do this: WEAR EYE PROTECTION. and a respirator.

    [​IMG]

    SHINY!

    Time to start sanding, taping, degreasing for paint.

    [​IMG]

    High build primer. Please, note the high tech paint booth compliments of Amazon, lol.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Leveling sanding, wipe down, and into the first coats of color.....

    [​IMG]

    Some small details on the fork tubes.

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    Primer.

    [​IMG]

    And I gotta say, I am liking this color.

    [​IMG]

    (yes, there is a color cast from me not correcting it) And that little detail.

    [​IMG]

    A quick mock up with the new handle bars.

    [​IMG]

    So it's going to be a gloss black frame, bronze color on the tins, tank, fork, and triple trees, and bare metal/silver crank case.

    Parts are starting to arrive. A new master cylinder, plus all the seals and bearings for the forks and trees.

    [​IMG]

    I found some CB900 cams to up the HP.

    [​IMG]

    Everything gets a clear coat, and I get it all reassembled.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Oh, and I find this dude on eBay that is selling a box of every bolt and fitting on a 1981 CB750k frame for, like, $15. Score.

    [​IMG]

    It's now the end of November. 2 running bikes, 1 semi running bike, 1 non running bike, and 1/3 of a deathtrap 10hp boonie bike.
     
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  17. stonedsurd

    stonedsurd Is a cackling Yuletide Belgian

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    This is magnificent and I love it.
     
  18. KayinBlack

    KayinBlack Currently Rebuilding

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    This is great. Please tell us about the boonie bike. I may or may not have had stitches due to something similar.
     
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  19. boiled_elephant

    boiled_elephant Merom Celeron 4 lyfe

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    It's actually very lucky that you said that because at some point soon I'll be stripping and repainting my cruiser's exhaust (rusty as hell) and I hadn't even thought about this. Good shout! If I end up without metal filings in my lungs and eyes, you get partial credit for my good health.
     
  20. Xir

    Xir Modder

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    Hmmm, I do my derusting with an electric drill, the wire wheels are just not fast enough, so I use a "Cleaning Disk" that works well.
    Never thought of using a wire wheel for the angle grinder though, must test this. :grin:
     

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