Thinking about buying 1973 CL350, low compression, fair price?
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  1. #1
    Junior Member SunshineLOV1N's Avatar
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    Thinking about buying 1973 CL350, low compression, fair price?

    *****1973 HONDA CL350*****

    I am thinking about buying the bike in the link listed above, 1973 CL350, he is asking $1800 for it, but I think i can get it for probably 1600.

    I says it has about 7500 miles on it, and somewhat low compression. It originally would go 100-110 mph, but is maxing out around 70 mph right now due to the compression. He had his certified mechanic look at it, and he said it cant be the rings being bad because it has so few miles on it, and that the valves probably need to be trimmed. The tires are still good, but the tread is a little low, i would probably replace them soon anyways.

    Body is basically flawless besides a slight little tear in the side of the seat that is not even visible he said.

    Is this price reasonable, and does the reasoning behind the low compression make sense, and would it be fairly easy to have fixed?

    All extra opinions would be great, thanks so much!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Rizingson's Avatar
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    While it's not unusual for a CL350 in good to excellent running and cosmetic condition to bring 1500 - 2000, I'd be worried about the lack of performance. First off, that bike would have never hit 110 on it's best day, but why it lost power is a big concern. Could be valves, rings, timing advance unit stuck, or just a general poor state of tune. If it is rings and valves, you'll be upside down pretty fast. By the way at least a couple of those photo's appear to be heavily doctored to make the bike possibly look better than it is.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator J-T's Avatar
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    Curious whether you've seen this bike in person. As mentioned above creative photography can do wonders but it does look darn nice.

    Low compression (if that really is the case) could be from rings that are stuck due to sitting for a long period (the mileage suggests this could be the case) or bad valves or improperly adjusted valves etc. I wouldn't put a lot of faith in a mechanic who says "it can't be the rings". Is it possible for you to perform or at least witness a valid compression check?

    Poor performance might be due to ignition problems, could be as simple as leaking carb boots, could be carb problems (just because they were "rebuilt" doesn't mean it was done right), could be problems with the charging system.

    Given the unknowns I would determine what I was willing to end up having invested in the bike when it's fixed up to my satisfaction and subtract the cost of the tires and a complete overhaul. I'm sure some of our 350 gurus will be along with more information and more perspectives.

    We'd appreciate a post in the member introductions section to let us know a bit about yourself and your bike(s). It's helpful if you include your location in your profile and create a signature that includes the specific model of your bike (when you get one).
    JT
    81 CM400T Under re-construction
    82 GL500

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  5. #4
    Supporting Member ninadm's Avatar
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    Agree with the above about the photos. Its a nice looking bike, but the photos make me suspicious. Every time people post dimly lit, filtered photos like those (especially instagrams), I always feel that they are trying to hide something. Best to go look at it in person to judge the cosmetic condition.

    As for the compression, what is low? Ask for a number. A good running 350 is about 170 psi per cylinder. If compression is about 140-150, then you need to find out more about the state of the engine/tuning of the bike.

  6. #5
    Supporting Member fxray's Avatar
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    The CL ad says he just had the carburetors rebuilt and then the top end performance went south. Makes me at least wonder what they did to the slide diaphragms during the rebuild.
    It's hard to have too many motorcycles, but easy to have too many batteries and tires.

    1971 CL350K3
    1970 CB450K3
    Plus a few non-Hondas

  7. #6
    Super Moderator outobie's Avatar
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    I'd need to see that bike in person to have any idea what to offer.
    the seller has zero credibility in my opinion based on those pics and difference in description from your conversation vs the add

    An engine rebuild will cost $800 if you do it your self (new pistons, rings, gaskets, seals, machine work and valves redone.)

    a good bit more if someone else does the work.

    generally speaking though, a bike that's all there, running, with title is worth a $1000...less if parts are missing, more if parts are in very good shape (especially chrome bits)
    Last edited by outobie; 04-12-2014 at 07:54 AM.
    CB350 K5 - Uber Café- Engine build 3
    CL350 K4 - Cafe build done waiting on final assembly
    CB350 K0 - Full restoration w/Hondaline bags & fairing
    SL350 K2 - Bubba Shobert flat track build on deck
    CB-1 400F - unrestored mint rider
    2012 Guzzi V7 Racer - Daily Ride

  8. #7
    Junior Member SunshineLOV1N's Avatar
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    Went and looked at it, my assessment

    Thanks for the input everyone,

    I went and looked at it. It was in pretty good shape. Didnt look as amazing as in the photos but that was expected. There were a few minor scratches in the paint, but not many, and the seat was very nice. There was minor rust on the kickstand and a minute spot on the exhaust pipe. The kickstart was being very finicky (the battery is very low from sitting he said), and took many tries to actually engage and start. Still looked very good for a '73. It would not stay running consistently without shutting off. The owner said its running very weak now unless the choke is open. It apparently has about 90 psi compression when it should be around 130 psi he said? I need to do my own compression test.

    He said the valves need to be trimmed or changed, and that it would cost around $600.

    With all of this being said, I know $1800 is not worth it at all. What would you guys offer for it? I dont want to let it go because I want one of these to work on, and make amazing, and I cant seem to find anymore anywhere.

  9. #8
    Super Moderator outobie's Avatar
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    That motor is in rough shape. stock compression is 170 PSI. according to Honda, anything below 150 is time for a rebuild.

    I wouldn't go above $800 but would offer $500 and see what he says
    CB350 K5 - Uber Café- Engine build 3
    CL350 K4 - Cafe build done waiting on final assembly
    CB350 K0 - Full restoration w/Hondaline bags & fairing
    SL350 K2 - Bubba Shobert flat track build on deck
    CB-1 400F - unrestored mint rider
    2012 Guzzi V7 Racer - Daily Ride

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