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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For the longest time I've wanted to find an old bike to fix up, and I stumbled upon this 350 that was located about 5 miles from my house. I figured a Honda 350 would be the perfect project/first bike, as 70's Honda bikes look great, run great and are pretty cheap. This one hasn't run since '03, and it was last started via the drag behind a car, pop the clutch method. Mufflers don't look stock, and have been repaired using what looks like sheet metal and regular old screws. Tach and Speedo have been moved from original position for some unknown reason. Also, the headlight has been modified to accommodate a rectangular type light... using putty/plexiglass etc... gross...I'm doing some more inspecting soon, but it kicks over fine, and all the parts are there. Even came with a bag of goodies like a new brake shoe and misc parts. I'm not crazy about the color and have the tools and know how to paint, but I'm going to keep it as original as I possibly can. A contact who restores bikes tells me to do everything but take apart the engine to get it started again, so I'm starting with the carbs, then moving to the electrical.
I also found a gigantic junkyard located a short jaunt from my place. I'll put the name of it up with the location, I'm sure people in Minnesota have heard of it, but if you haven't, its a treat to check out. They have literally tens of thousands of bikes, with square miles (yes, miles) of parts- you can find anything there.
 

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Your description made the bike sound a lot worse than it is.

The headlight is sure an odd concoction, someone used some ingenuity. The exhaust mufflers can be replaced with some after market stuff but my concern might be the apparent oil leak around the cylinder head gasket. It's hard to tell from the picture but there sure seems to be a lot of oil around there.

It looks like a good project bike from here though.
 

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I dont mind that colour personally, but its yours to do as you will. I'm jealous that you have painting experience and equipment....should save you a bundle :cool: Good luck!
 

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Looks like a nice bike to me also. I had those pipes on a 305 Superhawk once I think. If they are the same pipes they will be loud. That color is kind of cool to me since I dont see many that color. It will probably clean up real nice and look pretty good.
Good luck with the rebuild. Get it running and ride it a bit before you do too much and that will help you decide which direction to go in.
Don
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
BTW, the afore mentioned motorcycle junkyard is located in Jordan Minnesota, and is called Sportwheels.
http://www.sportwheel.com should take you right there. I could spend days there...
 

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That tank is too nice to repaint. sell it & the side covers & get some more that need painting. someone will appreciate it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The first thing I did in the short amount of time I had today was remove the sissy bar, and the engine guard thing (I think thats what it's called). It already looks better. Took some fine cut cleaner wax to the tank and oxidation remover to the air cleaner covers and they look pretty good. The color is growing on me and its in such good shape I wouldn't dream of doing anything to it. I also got some more information from the previous owner. He purchased it from the original owner in 1998. The original owner took excellent care of it - all info filed in a little book, including original owners manual, shop manual, oil changes and all other service notes. Oh, and the original tool kit is all there.
As for the most recent owner, he rode it from 98 to about 03 (his college years) and it hasn't been ridden since. He purchased a new battery about five years ago but never had time to actually work on the thing. Today I removed the battery, checked it, and hooked it up to the trusty charger and was relieved to see that its taking a charge. Maybe I won't have to get a new battery. I took another charger and directly connected it to the bike, and found that most of the electrical works. Headlight is a little iffy, but turn signals work and flash, as does the rear brake indicator light. The front brake cable is toast so I didn't check that indicator light. The horn even makes a pathetic little sound.
There was one thing that I noticed that I haven't seen around the forums, and that is the presence of a head temperature gauge hooked up to the right cylinder head - I'm just wondering why one would want to keep track of the temp... unless there was a problem with it running too hot.
I checked for oil leaks around the head and there isn't any, just lots of dirt, muck and old leafs, so a good cleaning should get it at least looking better.
Tomorrow's plans are to remove the tank and disassemble and clean the carbs. I want to get the thing started and running before I really dig in and I think this may just solve the problem. As always, tips, advice etc are welcome and appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I took the carbs off yesterday. The first one was bad, the fuel like to it had become clogged so it had sat dry for several years. The aluminium had severely oxidized and all the valves were done for. The float is still airtight, but one side is sort of indented. It still 'floats' but I'm wondering if it would not work correctly. Luckily I have a rebuild kit, but if someone knows how to clean out an oxidized carb I could use some pointers. The other carb had been full of gas so the carb cleaner removed the varnish, etc just fine. It probably will not need any new components, so one rebuild kit might just do the trick.
The other problem I found was the petcock - the 'reserve' filter was completely toast, and the main line tube is cracked. It looks like they are soldered in, so would just some heat to remove the solder and then some new components do the trick? The rubber gaskets are fine, except for the 'switch gasket' (the one that has the four holes in it) which was cracked and in pieces.
Lastly, the front brake cable is stuck. The brake engages freely without the line attached, so it is the line that is faulty. I'm thinking a new line would be the way to go, but if there is a good way to free it I'm all ears. Sorry for the crappy pics, our little digital camera is mia and I'll be slaughtered if I use the nice camera.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I'm keeping it as original as I possibly can. I think Honda nailed the motorcycle look that I like in the 70's (perhaps the best motorcycle look ever IMO, but I know some would disagree...) so I'm not going to do anything to change what the bike is supposed to look like. Plus, every year there is a vintage motorcycle meet at the state fair grounds, and boy would I love to get this bike into that.
Today I've got just about everything off the bike except the motor and front fork/handlebars, plus the wheels are still on. I've taken the clutch cover off and started investigating how to make it look good. After some consideration, I went to the local Menards and got a couple buffing heads for the dremel - a 180, 280 and two 380 grit heads. I smeared the clutch cover with vasaline and started going at it. It got a little messy but progress is being made. It now looks pretty good with only about a half hour of hard work. When I get done, I think the easiest route is to put a coat of clear automotive lacquer over the parts to keep the aluminium from oxidizing, unless somebody has done this and found a better solution. The tool box, battery box and frame need to be painted, and I think a rust-oleum type finish might be the best for those - rusting is the main problem there.
I'm hesitant to take the engine apart... I know with over 20k miles it will probably need a lot of replacement parts to get it up to 'new' running order but I feel like tearing it down might be a little more than I can do. I've heard that sometimes when you take an engine like this apart, getting it adjusted and running again is very very difficult and requires a lot of tools that I don't have... On the other hand, It hasn't been run for seven years and trying to get it running now might cause more damage than taking it apart.
If anyone has taken apart a 71 350 or similar engine and found it not to be so bad, let me know...

Just thinking about what parts I do need in the future - The mufflers on the bike were toast, and I wouldn't have wanted the ones on there anyway because of how loud they were. I want something that shows off the sweet purr of the cylinders but that doesn't get too loud at higher RPM's. Basically, I want a bike that has some subtlety so people see it before they hear it. Anybody know what would work?
 

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Nice bike-definitely not what I was expecting when I read your first post!

I am a fan of getting it running first for motivational reasons if nothing else. You could do a compression check (and change the oil!)

It's great that you have all the paperwork and the tool kit.

I am wondering about the fuel petcocks also - I just posted my question under "mechanical" in the technical info board.

Larry
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
At first glance the bike did look like it was in really good shape, and it is. The problem is that the PO had kept the outside really clean and had neglected the inner stuff - wiring was kinda screwed up, caked rust in nooks and crannies, acorns lodged in various locations, etc. One of my main concerns is that the clutch moved with a lot more effort than should be required, I'm hoping that this will be resolved once the engine is started and is run a bit. I've already removed the oil (if for nothing else than to use as cleaner to soak grimy parts in, I did the same with the old gas), and once all the other stuff gets cleaned I'll check compression and try to get the thing started. For now though, lots of dremel-ing... the end shininess is just enough to keep me going on each new and depressingly grungy part :/
Tomorrow I'll put up some before/after pics, if nothing else to keep me happy. Everybody likes a makeover...
 

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richa610 said:
Tomorrow I'll put up some before/after pics, if nothing else to keep me happy. Everybody likes a makeover...
Pics will make us all happy, Major Tom.... :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Today was a rough day. Both my jobs required just about all my patience, so by the time I got to work on the bike, I just wanted to get in there and DO something. I ended up taking everything off the frame :shock: and then taking the frame down to the local self car wash and power washing all the crap off of it (of course I gave it a good coat of engine de-greaser before, and let that soak in a bit). Now I can see that there are some rust spots that need to be addressed (with naval jelly). The question is, do I completely strip the frame and repaint from the ground up, or get rid of rust spots and just coat over the top.
Speaking of stripping...
I went to the local ACE and found spray on stripper. I had always used brush on stuff before, but man, this stuff really works good. Application is a breeze. (Like any stripper though, if it gets on you, it burns like crazy... not limited to the paint variety either :lol: ...) Stripped battery box, tool box and chain guard. All will need some work with the steel wool to remove rust spots/stubborn pieces of paint, but they look pretty darn good.
Removed the engine, and took a look at the cam and rocker arms. Though the oil inside was about as black as it gets, the inside of the cam compartment looks sparkly clean, much better than I was expecting. The cam has no apparent nicks, scratches or messed up parts to my eye. Rocker arms look good too, maybe a little worn but I have no idea where I could find a set for a good price.
Then I tried a trick I found to cleaning aluminium - oven cleaner. Easy off did wonders to the outside of the engine - it took away all the ugly white splotchy spots. It took some work, but if thats all it takes, I'd much rather do that than take it apart and have it blasted. Used a bunch of old socks to get in between the heat fins.
While the oven cleaner (easy off) worked for the engine, it did not work for the other parts. I stripped the paint off the right and left crank case covers and then applied some of the cleaner. Yuck. It made them even darker. Now I have to polish every last inch of them. Maybe its time to invest in a buffing wheel, my dremel is likely to wear out soon.
In essence, there are a lot more 'before' picks and a lot fewer after pics today than I would have hoped, but tomorrow is a new day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
It took some time and a lot of mistakes to figure out the polishing process. Finally I think I have it down. First I use three nylon cup brushes (of differing abrasiveness, in some cases maybe only two or even one) to take out any surface blemishes. Then I use my retrofitted buffing arbor, which I made out of a $35 grinder and two buffing wheels that I got from menards to polish the surface. I start with a stiff spiral sewn wheel with black emroy compound and then use a loose sewn cotton wheel with the red compound. This seems to get the aluminium parts shining pretty good, but it still takes a long time.
As far as painting goes, over the last two days I stripped and wire brushed the frame. For a while I almost wanted to clear coat it, it was so pretty with the brushed finish look (very shiny), but thats not how they came so I put a coat of primer on last night. I know some people have trouble with frame painting, or painting in general. The key is to always keep the gun/can moving, and always at the same distance from the part. Another thing that most people don't do (because on the back of the cans it doesn't say to do...) is to lay down a 'tack' coat. This is just like scuffing the work - it helps the paint stick better when you lay down your 'wet' coat. All you have to do is apply a very thin misting to the entire part that you are painting. If its bare metal, you should see a lot of bare metal after this coat is done, with a slight haze of paint over the top. Wait a couple of minutes, then apply the first 'wet' coat. With lacquer, its pretty easy to see when a coat is fully wet (the term wet literally means it looks like you just put on a layer of glass). With spray enamel, its trickier as it takes a lot thinner coat to achieve the 'wet' look, but if you keep the can/gun moving and keep it the same distance from the work, you should end up with a nice wet looking finish that doesn't sag.
This process worked well for me, using rust-oleum type spray enamel. I put down a layer of primer on the frame, and three days ago I did the same to other misc. parts. I put the black color layer over those parts last night and they look pretty darn good. I'll put up some pics soon. With this paint, time is the trick - it says you can top coat primer immediately, but I would recommend against that. Wait the 48 hours (I would say even longer) and then apply coats of color, waiting 48 hours between coats. This way you can build up a really good protective finish that will be tough as nails.
Thats all for now... The holiday weekend is mostly booked for me so I probably won't get much work done.
 

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Hey richa610 I am just starting to dig into my 350, same color.It appears to have lived a good life :D and then.... :eek: aquired by a sadist,dragged down to the dungeon and tortured :twisted: -throttle mounted upside down on the left side,center stand PRIED from its mount and discarded like an empty can of tuna.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
aquired by a sadist,dragged down to the dungeon and tortured -throttle mounted upside down on the left side,center stand PRIED from its mount and discarded like an empty can of tuna.
That sounds awful. The 350 is a great little bike. My dad had a 450 brand new in 1970 and he comes out to the garage and drools over the work I'm doing. I have to shoo him away.

We celebrated the 4th on the 3rd so yesterday I had all day to work. I almost every last piece stripped down to bare shiny metal and priming happens tomorrow for everything. The frame looks great and the paint is tough as nails. I can't wait until all the paint dries and the dust clears... Putting it back together is going to be a treat.
 

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richa610 said:
This process worked well for me, using rust-oleum type spray enamel. I put down a layer of primer on the frame, and three days ago I did the same to other misc. parts. I put the black color layer over those parts last night and they look pretty darn good. I'll put up some pics soon. With this paint, time is the trick - it says you can top coat primer immediately, but I would recommend against that. Wait the 48 hours (I would say even longer) and then apply coats of color, waiting 48 hours between coats. This way you can build up a really good protective finish that will be tough as nails.
Hmmm... I wonder if that's where I went wrong... Some of the parts I painted are less than "tough-as-nails" and I didn't wait the 48hrs, I top coated immediately. My first time painting something like this... oh, well. One day I will powder coat that sucker...
 
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