caseyjones New Reader
7/8/17 12:45 a.m.

That's what they say about Hondas, right? I met the nicest guy, selling a '76 CB500T for not a ton of money, especially for here in Portland. Checked out the bike, totally got excited about it and bought it. "Mostly there, in all of these boxes. See, here are the carbs." "Really just missing the front fender." "Having a little trouble with the timing, but i'm sure you can figure that out." "Yeah, heard it run." Should not have believed a word the guy said.

I've built a few mid-70's bikes and have followed a pretty solid formula: Find a cheap, complete Craigslist score. Get it running, tune it up, new tires and a few styling updates, and flip it. I like working on the bikes way more than riding, and I don't really get attached to them. The only bike I regret selling is the CB450...that one was actually kind of fun to ride.

I get the bike home and start sorting out the boxes of parts. Lots and lots of bolts. Missing a bunch of little, NLA parts. And the motor doesn't really want to spin when you kick it...that's not good.

Decide to remove the cam covers to see if the valves valve timing is OK. Find the cam chain covered in dirt and who-knows-what. That's not good. Oh, and the valve timing is nowhere close to right.

Since the motor is probably full of dirt, off with the head. Start with removing the points housing. I find another issue with adjusting the ignition timing... The advance mechanism was machining away the heads on the cap screws.

Everything was so covered in RTV that i'm afraid some of it might never come apart.

But I manage to get the head off and find this:

Now I'm not sure which direction to take. I can probably break even on my purchase by throwing stuff on eBay and CL. Or I can learn a lot about building a motor. I think I can end up with a pretty nice looking bike, but I'm afraid of it becoming a money pit. Gonna have to do some online parts shopping and see what this motor is really gonna cost me...

Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett MegaDork
7/8/17 6:48 a.m.

In reply to caseyjones:

Cut bait. Unless you're just looking for a reason to rebuild it.

NBraun New Reader
7/8/17 9:35 a.m.

I'd have to agree with Pete. I've been in that position before, thinking it would sell better as a whole running bike instead of parting it out. It never works out the well, at least for me.

APEowner Reader
7/8/17 10:42 a.m.

That's a parts bike. The only question is if it's for one of your projects, a bunch of other people's or one other persons.

caseyjones New Reader
7/8/17 11:05 a.m.

Posted it on CL this morning. After looking at machining costs and replacement parts to build it the way I'd want to build it, I'd be way under water, and that wasn't the point of this project. Hopefully I can come back to this thread with another candidate soon.

caseyjones New Reader
8/20/18 8:45 p.m.

Guess what?  Nobody wanted this bike, they were all smarter than me.  So 1 year, 1 month and 11 days later, i fired this motor up and it made all the right sounds!  I've stopped keeping track of how much it cost me to get here...but I learned a lot.  Like how to fish a timing chain out of a crankcase.  And how bad the Clymer manuals are at explaining engine rebuilds.  Now I have to build the rest of the bike around the motor but that's really the part I enjoy anyway.

Appleseed MegaDork
8/21/18 12:14 p.m.

You'll never get your time and money out of that bike. So...ride the piss out of her and be buried with it 

caseyjones New Reader
9/17/18 3:10 a.m.

It's starting to come together.  I rode it the length of the driveway today.  I have lots of parts on the way, and lots to do, but man does it feel good to get it moving under its own power.  

Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess MegaDork
9/22/18 7:54 p.m.

I have a rifle like that.  Bought it for a fair price, shot it.  Shotguns pattern better.  Like, 3' (yeah, FOOT) groups at 20 feet, with keyholes.  Went through the whole thing and wound up putting a new barrel on it.  It got down to "this thing is going to work, or else...."  Note to self:  Always assume a Spanish small ring Mauser needs a new barrel.  But, I got a lot of new tools out of it and a lot of experience in swapping out a barrel.

caseyjones New Reader
9/22/18 10:37 p.m.

You nailed it.  My wife was even encouraging me to keep forging nothing about this project has been logical. 

I rebuilt the master cylinder and replaced the O.G. cracked rubber brake lines with a braided stainless version today.  Pretty satisfying result.

I'm getting close enough to done enough that i'm looking for the next victim on CL.  A really rusty CB350 w/o title, or a very incomplete but titled SOHC CB750...will I ever learn?  I haven't tried a 4 cyl bike yet though...

Appleseed MegaDork
9/23/18 11:12 p.m.

It is a unique feeling. When I cut down the clubmans on the Murdercycle, it started massive project creep. I probably called 10 shops in Chicago asking if the knew how to make custom length control cables. "No, we just buy them from Motion Pro." Which is fine ,except at $50+, and 3 cables to make, that adds up. So I watched a few YouTube videos, and...made my own. Blows peoples minds that I made them myself.

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