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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
About a month ago I purchased a 1982 CM450E with ~30K miles. I've heard many people say these engines don't do well at high miles, but I'm going to take the risk and build my dream cruiser. My short term goals are to get the bike street legal and safe. So far I've replaced the front brake light switch, flasher relay, adjusted the cam tensioner and balancer. This weekend I'm planning to check the compression (hoping for 180's!), adjust the valves, and change the oil and filters. Found a great checklist on this forum to get me started in the right direction.

Now for the problems:

Throttle is terribly sticky. It doesn't snap back into place when released. I tried to remove the throttle grip and cables, but couldn't figure out how to get the throttle cables out of the plastic throttle housing. Can anyone help?

Looking forward to sharing my build and asking a lot of questions from the pros on here.

Picture of the bike as it sits today:

image.jpg
 

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The cables need to be removed from the carbs first in order to get the cables off the sleeve. You'll need to clean the throttle tube and the bar as well as lube the cables.
If the oil level is kept full and the engine is maintained there's no reason to worry about the engine. Poor maintenance and low oil level are the enemies.
Bike looks good BTW
 

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About a month ago I purchased a 1982 CM450E with ~30K miles. I've heard many people say these engines don't do well at high miles, but I'm going to take the risk and build my dream cruiser.
Strange.couse I heard the opposite... As this old honda engine is like a tractor..very strong. ..

Just need to be change the oil more often than a new bike...around each 5000km:D
 

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Honda called for oil changes on the 400/450 engines every 1500 miles. Even with the newer oils 3000 miles is pushing it.
Part of an oil change on the 450 is to drain the oil cooler also. Honda says remove the end cap BUT since that O-ring is NLA I'd suggest popping the cooler loose from the case, 5 bolts instead of 2.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Good news! Compression on the left cylinder was 160psi and the compression on the right side was 156. Is that adequate compression? I don't want to start customizing the bike if I'm going to have to rebuild the bottom end in a few months. The below pictures are a few seconds after the compression test so the meter started dropping back down.

I pulled the valve covers and adjusted the valves to the service manual specs. First time adjusting motorcycle valves and adjusted each one like 3 times trying to get it right. The valves were all a little tight and one was way out of spec. Got the valve cover back on and started her up. Somewhat quieter on the right side, but still hear the clicking of the valves. Maybe it's a normal sound for these older bikes?

Drained the oil and it was nasty! Replaced the oil filter and gave her 2.5 liters of 15-40 oil (no synthetic). Idled the bike to make sure no leaks. The bike sounds, idles, and runs better just from today's adjustments. Stoked!

I did see some white light smoke coming from the right exhaust at the head and tail of the pipe. I'm hoping it's just oil burning off but I'll watch it.

i still have not figured out how to get the throttle cable off the carbs. Do you have to remove the carbs first? Thanks for everyone's help.
 

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I have worked on a few of these, and it is easier to remove the carbs to change the cables, but not necessary. I took an old cheapo 10mm wrench, and bent it to fit into the carbs to get at the nuts on the cables. Works pretty good, and I use it on other projects also. As for your compression, those numbers are pretty good. Those engines are really durable. However they are noisy. The one thing to watch out for is the head bolts. Honda recommends re-torquing them every ? miles. They torque to 25 ft lbs, but I have seen people pull the threads right out of the cases by over torquing them. So if you go to do it, make sure you have a good accurate torque wrench.
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Discussion Starter #9
Replaced the spark plugs this evening with the recommended NGK ones. I noticed that the ones I pulled had black fouling on both of them. What does black or carbon fouling mean? Am I running rich or lean?

Took ok the bike out for a few miles and it's running so much smoother! Now that the bike is running good I'd like to start cleaning up the engine. There's a lot of aluminum oxidizer ion on the engine and both crankcases. Any way to clean these without having to remove them from the bike?

I'm still noticing some white smoke coming from the right exhaust pipe where it connects to the engine block. Should I buy a gasket and pull the right exhaust and reinstall or just not worry about a small air leak?
 

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The crush washer/gasket on the exhaust is cheap, and easy to replace. The best way I have found to clean the oxidation off of engines is with a soda blaster. Makes them smoothe as glass, and does not hurt chrome. However will take off paint, so be careful.
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Compression is quite decent.
I believe the valves will make a light tick/tap noise when adjusted correctly, Completely silent would indicate too tight which is bad. It does take time and practice to get them right. I adjust them using my finger tips on the screwdriver, tighten the screw until the feeler gauge won't move and the without moving anything tighten the lock nut which pulls the screw up just enough for a good drag on the feeler gauge. I actually don't know how they sound since I've never heard them but people I have listen to it tell me there's a light ticking.
Pictures of the plugs would be good to see.
White smoke? that is usually associated with water, so you may have some in the muffler that needs to burn off or possibly an exhaust leak sucking air in and the burning off. With the stock exhaust system smoke coming from one pipe and not the other does not indicate a problem with the corresponding cylinder
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Thanks for everyone's input so far. Below are two pictures of the old spark plugs. I think I'm getting old because my leg cramped big time riding the bike this weekend with the clubman handlebars in the lowest position possible. Earlier today I flipped them around to a much more comfortable riding position and re-adjusted the brake/throttle/clutch cables. Bike is SO much more comfortable to ride now but it did take away from that racer look. I'll post new pictures in a day or so.

I pulled the carbs and cleaned lubed all the cables. It's a real pain in the butt to get to those throttle cables. I didn't have the time or resources to strip down and clean the carbs, but the intake and exhaust ports were clean. I'm still having issues with the throttle not snapping back when turned. Is it possible that the return spring on the cable (carb) side needs to be replaced?

I found a used breather tube (lift) for the air filter so now the air filter actually filters the air coming in.

Next issues to work on:

1) Clean and lube chain and measure play
2) front turn signals look to be aftermarket incandescent bulbs with single filament so they do not flash very much. They are a weird size so I've had difficulty finding dual filament replacements,
3) Figure out why the throttle isn't snapping back.
4) check and re-torque bolts.
5) Right exhaust at the head is leaking air. Going to replace gasket/washer.

after that the bike should be road worthy. Then onto making it look good.

Questions:
1) The current exhaust pipes and mufflers were painted black by the PO but it's starting to flake off from the heat. What should I use to strip the paint frame the chrome exhaust. If it looks good under the paint I'm going to polish them up and keep them chrome. If they're rusted and pitted I may paint them satin black (thinking VHT exhaust paint). Anyone used that before?
 

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It's definitely running rich. I would check the float levels and what jets are installed, PO may have gone too large
Throttle return is more likely a cable routing issue of a sharp bend or the throttle sleeve binding on the bar or in the housing. The return spring on these is very strong and I've never heard of having to replace one.
 

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I see you are using DR8E plugs. I think they are resistor plugs and if you are using the stock NGK caps, you are doubling the resistance. This will make a weaker spark and lots of unburnt fuel. This can also make your plugs black/sooty. I would check this first, take it for a long ride and then check the plugs again.
Just checked...proper plug is D8EA.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I see you are using DR8E plugs. I think they are resistor plugs and if you are using the stock NGK caps, you are doubling the resistance. This will make a weaker spark and lots of unburnt fuel. This can also make your plugs black/sooty. I would check this first, take it for a long ride and then check the plugs again.
Just checked...proper plug is D8EA.
Good call. The PO had used these and I switched them out for the D8EA versions. Hopefully, that will solve the carbon fouling issue. I'll take pics next spark plug change.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
This weekend was very rainy in Northern California so I took advantage and had some garage time. My initial plan was to remove the exhaust, but the aluminum oxide on the engine was driving me crazy.

I've read a bunch of different ways to clean the oxide off the engine case, but in the interest of saving money I used what was available in my garage.

First step was a wet sand with 400 grit sand paper. This was a long process because I had to remove the clear coat and then then the oxide and pitting. First picture below is after 40 minutes of 400 wet sanding. I only did the top portion of the case so I could see the change.

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Then I moved onto a 1500 grit wet sand to try to remove some of the swirl marks left by the 400 grit. After the 1500 wet sand I applied some blue magic aluminum polish and buffed it out (all by hand). See picture #2.

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It came came out pretty good. Next time I'll go from 400 to 600 to 800 to 1000 which should make the swirl marks less noticeable. I'll also be investing in a dremel tool to make the process much faster. It should be noted that by doing this with sanding I did remove the clear coat which means I'll need to continually do maintenance cleaning/polishing/waxing to keep it looking good. In my opinion the extra maintenance work is worth it to have the engine looking good. Also by sanding the clear coat off the engine will be shinier than it was off the production line which some people may not like.

More cleaning next weekend.
 

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Be careful with a dremel for polishing....the aluminum can 'burn' if you stay in one spot too long.
Also, how does it run with the correct plugs?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
It's been too long since I posted. A baby and another on the way. :). I pulled the VB22 carbs and gave them a thorough cleaning (Thanks Jim for the sticky on carb cleaning. Put them back on the bike and it started up nicely. The issue I'm having is an extremely high rpm idle. I don't have a tach so I can't get an exact reading but I'd say 3K - 4K RPM's at idle with no choke. The carbs have only been benched synced. I turn the idle mixture screw but no matter which way I adjust it it's increasing the idle speed. Both my fuel/air screws are 2.25 turns out. Any ideas on what could be causing the extremely high idle? I adjusted the throttle pull cable thinking it was open but that did not help.
 
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