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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
BACKGROUND: I bought a '70 CL350 last month. Thank you Craigslist! I've been posting various questions on here and thought I'd better start a 'proper' thread. I'm here for the long-haul.

ME: 36 year old college professor. That means lots of time to ride in the summer, but not a ton of $ to spend on bikes. My other bike is a Yamaha FZ6, which I ride a lot (mostly on longer trips - jump on the bike, ride 1000 miles, stay two days, then blast home). I've done basic maintenance on the Yamaha and on my previous bike (a Honda Shadow), although I have NO experience with vintage bikes beyond what I've been learning on here and from the service manual. I have no background experience with anything mechanical or electrical for that matter.

BIKE HISTORY: I bought the bike from a young guy who got her last fall (in Michigan). He had a ton of bikes in his garage, so I'm a bit concerned he unloaded her for some reason I have yet to discover. He seemed like a nice enough guy (loaned me a compression gauge anyway), so I took a gamble and brought her home. Apparently the bike was used by a college student in the late 80s/early 90s and then sat almost unused for about 10-15 years. The previous owner got her running, but it looks like he didn't finish the job (he claims he did a carb/petcock rebuild and coated the tank, which is consistent with what it looks like - he almost certainly got the carbs wrong.....more on that soon). The bike was registered in 1971 in Florida (sticker on the steering stem shows this) and under the seat there's a sticker showing she was maintained at a dealer in Florida for at least the first few years of life. Good sign I guess. She came with a clean title.

THE PLAN: This year, I'd like to get the CL running and get caught up on basic maintenance. Then I'll rebuild the carbs and try to get her REALLY running. Ultimately, I'd like to bring her back to her former glory, but I'm not thinking of a full restoration. I want a bike to ride the back roads, do an occassional long trip on, and chalk up miles. These things were made to be ridden! I'm seeking maximum reliability with minimum fuss, so I'll probably keep the externals close to stock (except maybe a custom paint job down the road). I plan to upgrade the internal stuff over time though (improved cam chain tensioner and new chain seems like a good idea, maybe electronic ignition, who knows....).

Here she is arriving home. I've been waiting to take more pics in a better location, but haven't gotten more than 6 blocks from home yet! Note: the handlebars are shifted downward so I could fit her in the back of the van.



Mileage is 10,600. Overall, she looks good for her age, although there are numerous dents, dings, scratches, and a non-matching side cover. The biggest dents are on the right side of the tank (several), and on the fork ears (both are dented pretty badly and twisted to the right). The bars are also slightly tweaked.

Lights/gauges - they all work! Gauges look like new (no fading). In general, it looks like this bike was stored out of the sun/rain.

Exhaust - in great shape overall. Some minor surface rust behind the mufflers and some scratches from what must have been a drop.

Suspension/brakes/transmission - I'm thinking that the fork oil is probably 40 years old, but everything actually feels pretty good. The rear shocks look like new. Both brakes work well. Clutch/shifting is smooth.

Body - in good shape. Paint is almost good enough that I'd consider keeping it. By the time I start fixing dents and replacing bent parts I'll probably want to re-paint though. The footpegs/sidestand/centerstand/battery box/tool box are very, very rusty and will need a good powdercoat. Most of the rest of the frame elements are in excellent condition and I'll probably leave them. Seat looks original and has no rips, although the foam cushion is pretty much shot and the pan is pretty rusty.

I've only ridden her twice, and both 'rides' ended with me pushing her home :lol: I've got big plans for her though!

I'll post a mechanical update in a few minutes....
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
1970 CL350 -first steps

I plan to post my progress regularly (with pics once I get a new battery for my camera), but here's what I've done so far. This website and the service manual have been life-savers already!

When I purchased the bike compression was 170/155 psi when checked cold. Close enough for now!

FIRST ROUND OF MAINTENANCE:

Oil change - easy enough and badly needed.

Valve check #1 - thought I got it close. I didn't remove the gas tank, so it was pretty tough to get the gauges into the intake ports. I also forgot to set the little screws into the right positions (they were point a bit off - oops!)

Point gaps - pretty close (screws rusted shut, but within spec)

Static timing check - timing was way off. I had trouble getting the timing set, and I ended up rotating the plate all the way to the right to get it to work. The whole plate looks pretty crappy too (bottom screws are rusty) and likely needs replacement soon. I didn't check the timing advance yet (didn't have the timing gun at the time - bought one only yesterday).

Started her up. She ran on only one side. It was a fouled plug. Started her again. This time it was a loose wire on the other side! Changed the spark plugs, checked the wires (which will have to be replaced) and all was good!

TEST RIDE #1. Took her for a ride. Got 1.5 miles and she stalled out (fuel? charging system?). The idle was also rough too (thinking carbs). After a few minutes with the fuel cap open she seemed to start just fine.

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SECOND ROUND OF MAINTENANCE:

Cam chain tensioner adjustment. I didn't know to do this the first time I checked the valves.

Valve check #2 - after firing her up following the first valve check, the valves seemed much too loud (and I mean loud!) and I realized I'd set them wrong anyway (little adjustment screws were not lined up quite right), so I pulled the gas tank to do it right this time. Since I'd just adjusted the cam chain tensioner, I figured I should re-do this anyway. I'm much more confident I got this right the second time.

Fuel tank cross-over hose. When I went to put this back on the tank it shredded. Then I discovered it was also clogged shut too! Easy fix, and the rest of the fuel lines look much newer. Whoever thought of a fuel crossover line anyway? Great way to douse yourself with gas! :lol:

Timing check #2. When I adjusted the valves the second time, I suspect I might have moved the points plate slighty (it was resting tight against the left cylinder valve tappet intake adjustment screw). The timing is now about 1-2 degrees off, but I've left it for the time being. I want to see if I've fix the fueling issue first, and I hadn't bought a timing gun at that point (I've since picked one up).
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SECOND TEST RIDE

Got her 2.5 miles before she stalled. After stopping for a few minutes she was fine. Every time I open the gas cap I can hear air, so I'm pretty certain it's clogged up and slowing the fuel to the carbs (Kreem from the POs tank repair effort). I ordered a new cap. I'm not 100% the petcock is working either. Easy enough to check that though.

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THIRD ROUND OF MAINTENANCE

Charging system. While waiting for my new gas cap and footpegs to arrive (the current pegs are some short of thick, sharp, cable the PO installed over the metal) I thought I'd check the infamous rectifier. It's toast according to every test in the service manual. I'm going to double-check it on another meter tomorrow and then order a new one from Oregon motorcycle parts. This might explain why the battery doesn't seem to be charging or holding a charge (I've had it on a tender every few days).

Whew! All this work and I've ridden exactly 3.5 miles so far!

Did I mention that the tires appear to be originals?! The hold air, but both are cracked and worn out. Looks like another 'opportunity' for some work.
 

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You should have seen what my Scrambler looked like when I brought her home, she was sad.
A little over a grand later and she is looking pretty good.
I really like that blue & white paint on your bike.
I had mine painted a simple black but, I am thinking about changing the color to the original custard gold that was on the headlight ears when I got the bike. I had to replace the ears because they were both broken and so was the headlight bucket.
Changing your fork oil is a great idea.
My left fork only had about 2 ounces of fluid in it and my right fork did not have any fork oil left in it. The right tube was bent too, I fixed it on a press.
 

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For having no previous major mechanical experiences it sounds like you've already learned a lot and have a good handle on the situation..

How old is the battery? Also, give us a short update when you get that rectifier replaced..

GB :mrgreen:
 

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Man..that paint sure does look nice in the pics :cool: :cool:
Pretty bike! ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
fasterspider said:
You should have seen what my Scrambler looked like when I brought her home, she was sad.
A little over a grand later and she is looking pretty good.
I really like that blue & white paint on your bike.
I had mine painted a simple black but, I am thinking about changing the color to the original custard gold that was on the headlight ears when I got the bike. I had to replace the ears because they were both broken and so was the headlight bucket.
Changing your fork oil is a great idea.
My left fork only had about 2 ounces of fluid in it and my right fork did not have any fork oil left in it. The right tube was bent too, I fixed it on a press.
The left side of the bike definitely looks better than the right. The tank is much duller on the right side and it has 4 dents in it. The right side cover also doesn't match either (it's much greener than the rest of the bike - the PO bought it because the original cover was missing). Given that and the fact that one fork ear cover is likely bent/cracked beyond repair, I'll probably just go with black on everything. A white stripe down the center of a black tank might look cool (even cooler if it was cafe racer and there was a matching stripe on the rear of the seat cowling :cool: - I saw that design on a Ducati today and it looked amazing). I also love the two-tone green and white Triumph Scrambler that came out a couple of years ago, so I might go with that scheme (the 'new' Scrambler looks amazingly like a CL350).

Fork oil change is a good idea. Did you go stock or go with a thicker oil? New springs? I also noticed that my fork boots are torn (I thought they were ok, but on closer examination both are torn in a couple of places and stained with some sort of white splatter - not urgent obviously).
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Bird76Mojo said:
For having no previous major mechanical experiences it sounds like you've already learned a lot and have a good handle on the situation..

How old is the battery? Also, give us a short update when you get that rectifier replaced..

GB :mrgreen:
Everything I've learned has come from the web and manuals. I've been spending a LOT of time on here lately :D I'm also trying to get connected with local vintage guys. I've already scored someone with a powder coating set-up and there's a buy in the next town over who has quite a collection of vintage bikes (going to visit with him soon - met him on another forum).

The battery is reportedly 'new'. It seems to charge up with the battery tender, although I haven't done the most obvious test by checking the voltage with the bike running (bike has rarely run well enough to let go of the throttle!) With the bike not running it read 12.5v last time I checked it. It sure doesn't take much to kill it to the point that the electric starter has trouble turning over (kick start works but it slips a lot, which I've read means splitting the cases to fix :cry: ) I haven't checked the battery level either (not totally sure how since I've never had anything other than sealed batteries before). I assume I just pull off the long strip on top of the battery and top it up with distilled water? Anything with acid and electricity makes me nervous.

On another front, I thought I'd check the oil filter/rotor tonight. I have the 'special wrench', so I figured I was all set. WRONG! I discovered that two of the screws on the round filter cover were COMPLETELY rounded off (all three are now rounded off after my 'attempt'). I guess that means the last attempt by someone to check the filter ended in failure. I think I'll have to drill them out now (already tried an impact driver on the least stripped one, but no go.....I have an cheap EZ-out kit, but it doesn't seem to work worth a damn). I'm assuming that the cover will lift off once I drill off the heads and then I can grab the screw shafts with locking pliers and twist out the screws? I hope so! Unfortunately, these screws are recessed into the cover, so there's no way to grab them with anything. I thought about carving a slot into them with a dremel, but the metal seems too soft. Worst-case-scenario, I suppose I could remove the whole right-side cover (assuming I can get THAT off) and maybe work away from the inside somehow.

Nothing's as easy as it should be is it? I'm adding a complete screw/bolt replacement kit to my wish list.

More soon....
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
fasterspider said:
You should have seen what my Scrambler looked like when I brought her home, she was sad.
A little over a grand later and she is looking pretty good.
I really like that blue & white paint on your bike.
I had mine painted a simple black but, I am thinking about changing the color to the original custard gold that was on the headlight ears when I got the bike. I had to replace the ears because they were both broken and so was the headlight bucket.
Changing your fork oil is a great idea.
My left fork only had about 2 ounces of fluid in it and my right fork did not have any fork oil left in it. The right tube was bent too, I fixed it on a press.
Your bike looks amazing BTW. I've seen some other threads about it and you've done a great job!
 

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About those screws. I had the same problem and experimented with different methods with that impact driver you mentioned. It worked in the end.

First I sprayed them with PB Blaster for 2 or 3 days. Then the day I was going to take them out I gathered up all of the screwdriver bits I had laying around. I played around until I found the best fitting phillips AND straight bits that fit well. Then I got out the propane torch and lightly heated the area before WACKING THE HELL OUT OF THOSE SUCKERS!! One came out with a phillips and the other 2 with straight bits. Upon close examination of the screws and trial and error, you'll find a bit that fits decently. I tapped my bits into the screws quite a bit with a hammer before using the impact driver. All came out. The heat REALLY helped! ;)

P.S. Mine were stripped out so badly that you couldn't tell they were ever phillips screws to begin with.

GB :mrgreen:
 

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a center punch held at a 45 degree angle, put the point onto the damaged slot toward outer edge of screw and tap in direction of rotation (left to loosen) or if you do drill those screws (6mm shank = .234) once you get the heads drilled off you can pull off the cover, then you can get ahold of the rest of the screw
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks guys! I'm getting a can of PB Blaster and a torch today. I'll soak it and wait a day or two. I've always wanted a propane torch anyway, so I'll use this as an excuse for another tool if nothing else.

I tried the chisel trick, but no go. It's worked well for me on other jobs so I'll probably take a stab at it again. The heads are pretty much destroyed at this point, but hopefully I can get something on there or carve something out with the dremel. If not, thanks for the info on the shank size.
 

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I broke 3 bits in the process. Just find one that fits the screw the best. Also, it helps when using that impact driver to twist it slightly before hitting it, to take up any slack that's in the tool itself. I had to push mine in just a hair and twist it a little to get rid of the "slack" in it, then strike it.

You can go to Sears or similar and buy entire bit selections for around $5 in their sale bins.

GB :mrgreen:
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well.....NOW I've done it guys.

After 2 days of PB blaster, using heat, trying a variety of different screw drivers and techniques, I decided to drill out the screws in the oil filter cover.

But WAIT! I got one of those 'grabit' screw/bolt remover sets for Christmas. Basically it's like an EZ-out, but smaller. Looks perfect for this job. You might have seen the ads on TV for this thing.

I grabbed the cutting end of the grabbit tool and easily cut a nice hole in the middle of the first screw. Then I flipped it over and put in the 'grabbit' part of the tool (both steps of the process are done by putting the drill in reverse). It bit into the screw nicely.......I was going very slowly.....waiting.....waiting.....any second now it would start turning as the grabbit 'grabbed the screw'.....then SNAP!

:twisted: :twisted: :twisted: !!!!! Now I've got a 'grabbit' head stuck in the middle of the screw, deep into it too. Lovely. It's pretty much like getting an EZ-out stuck in something (not quite as bad since I don't think the grabbit made it beyond the bottom of the cover).

Ignoring the problem, I moved onto the other two screws. I decided to just drill them out. That worked fine of course (took a while, but I was very careful).

Returning to the messed up screw, I tried a bunch of things.....drilling around the grabbit head, drilling into it with various types of bits, cutting into it with a dremel metal cutter, heating and cooling it, using a punch to try and work it out. I did manage to gouge an otherwise great-looking case, but that's it :evil:

I think I've reached the end of the line. I guess I'll have to find a machine shop. Lesson learned - don't take short-cuts!

To top it off, my great job drilling out the other screws means that I now have a weeping right-side case (so riding the bike is probably not a hot idea). I can either push the bike to a machine shop or remove the whole right-side case (which I'll probably need to do anyway). Based on my exciting effort to remove the oil filter component, I'm REALLY excited about that prospect.

I'm going to take a day off and think about this. Thoughts?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·

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D-Mac said:
Bird76Mojo said:
That was my first thought. Depending on what I end up with and what it costs to remove the screw, I might go that route.

First, I've gotta get the whole case off. It's dripping in PB blaster right now.
Skip the machine shop and get the big grinder out, if ya gotta get a new one from ebay anyhow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I'm being over-analytical here, but I see my options as:

(1) Remove the entire rt crankcase cover, take it to a shop, and see what it might take to get off the outer (oil filter) cover off. I ordered a JIS screwdriver set last night in anticipation of removing the right crankcase cover (I didn't realize these things weren't quite the same as Phillips, which might explain how those other screws got stripped in the first place). The downside is I have to take off the whole cover. Best-case-scenario, it costs me $, I contribute to the local economy, and both covers are saved.

(2) Get myself a grinder ($) and grind the outer cover off enough of the filter cover to grab the messed up screw and hopefully get it off. Great idea BTW (I assume this is what you meant?). If I'm careful, I won't have to remove the entire crankcase cover (assuming I didn't damage it when I drilled out the other screws or with my gorilla grinding). To replace the outer cover I'll have to buy an entire rt side crankcase cover from eBay (CMSNL wants $$$ for a 'new' oil filter cover), remove the outer cover on the e-bay crankcase (!), and install it on my bike.

(3) Remove the entire rt side cover (oh what fun!) and slap on a whole 'new' one on from e-Bay. The ones available look crappier than what I'm pulling off, but what the hell. I'll probably need to buy a new gasket too, right?

I'm gonna sleep on it. I'll likely phone a few places tomorrow and see what's involved. We have a LOT of machine shops in this town, so I'm sure I can figure out what option (1) looks like before I go any farther and start stripping more screws. I think the outer cover can still be saved, so I'm leaning that way (I've grown strangely attached to that hunk of aluminum in the past 48h and I'm longing for victory) :?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Making progress!!

I'm devoting waaaay too much time to the oil filter cover removal issue, but here goes.

Recall: Oil filter cover screws were frozen on (or so I thought). I drilled out two of them and managed to get an extractor hopeless broken/stuck in the third one. Since pretty much all solutions involve removing the entire right-side case cover (and possibly replacing the entire cover), so I figured I might as well go for it. I can promise you one thing - ALL screws will be replaced with proper bolts!

I'm pleased to report that I have now removed EIGHT of the TEN screws on the right side case! Woot! I'm taking a break and then (hopefully) getting the last two off tonight. A combination of PB Blaster, heat, a #2 JIS screwdriver, and a good 'ol Harbor Freight impact driver are doing the trick.

In retrospect, I probably could have avoided trying to drill-out the oil filter cover screws if I'd been more patient and used more force.

Live and learn. More soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Progress!

I got the right-side cover off (woot!) and cleaned it out. The bottom was full of metal bits - I'm guessing it's never been off before. I ran it down to a local machine shop and they said they can get the oil filter cover off AT NO CHARGE (that includes removing the stud with the EZ-out stuck in it!) They even apologized for not being able to do it this afternoon, but promised to do it first thing Monday morning. Sweet!

I knew living in a small rust-belt town would payoff someday.

Now to get new bolts for the cover.

I'm also going to pick up a new battery for my camera this weekend. Pics should start appearing soon.
 
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