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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all. I’ve posted this to another board as well, but it seems like this one is just as active, so...I figure it can’t hurt to take as much advice as possible.

About me: I’m a small engine repair guy. Not too many months ago my wife became seriously ill. My side gig is as a musician, and she was no longer able to play. We were a duet act...so I started looking for something to do. Being busy is good for you. In my hoard I had a ‘73 CL350 that I kept coming back to. I can repair an engine, but to be honest I don’t do much aesthetic work, or restoral. Never too late to do something new. Most of the things that I work on are purpose-driven machines, with the occasional four wheeler suspension repair or carb tune-up on a motorcycle. Still. I wanted to fix that bike, and just before one of her hospitalizations I told her we would most definitely ride this thing.

The bike: It was originally partly in a box. I should have thought to take pictures of it, but I wasn’t sure where I was going with it at the time. The carbs were off and packed with an amazing amount of carbon residue. It had one cracked cooling fin and one bent. The originally forks were bent badly, and the factory battery and airbox were zip-tied to the frame. The gas tank had a half-inch of sludge in the bottom and the petcock had actually dissolved. No spark, no fuel, no air. The seat was a glob of mildewed foam with the brackets rusted and bent. The headlight bulb was cracked open and the wiring just...destroyed. It last ran in 89 and was backed over by a bad driver at some point.

What I have done so far: rebuilt the transmission, picked up some used forks, replaced the points, wires, condenser, ignition coils, starter solenoid, fuel lines, front steering bearings, rebuilt the wiring harness, ignition switch, wrapped the exhaust and put in new gaskets, cleaned the oil filter, checked the valves, soaked the head for a bit in Marvel and crooned late 60’s studio pop to it. Maybe not that last part. I have played around with the application of different varieties of paints and posture for it, and I generally try to cover at least one item a day. I experimented with a GSXR front end and wound up not liking it and wiring-brushing rusty forks. Today I sealed the tank and hooked up the carbs.

Still to do: The bike was in the mud for some time. The spokes are rusty beyond words and will need replacing. I need proper switches for the handlebars, and I wouldn’t mind running the wiring through the bars. I need to run an exterior rethreader around the mounting posts for the rear shocks and finish the exhaust. Two tires, a new chain, speedo-o and tach mounted...I’ll need to fab something for that. I need lights front and back and the inside of the tank needs sealing. Probably a steering damper, a fork seal change, some seat brackets and then some good fiberglass strips to make a proper seat. It’s coming along. I’ll post a few pics I have taken along the way. I wish I had gotten a pic of what I found when I took the cover off over the sprocket. It was packed with chewing tobacco. Apparently the previous owner liked a chew, and so did the mice. I’ll try to keep it updated.
 

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Normally I would direct you to the member introductions section but, since you have done such an admirable job of combining the introduction of yourself with the introduction of your project, maybe we can grant you a special dispensation.

Nice pictures too!

Welcome to the group.
 

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Firstly, welcome to the forum.
Secondly, way cool bike.
It looks like it's came a long way from where you found it.
Like the color too. Nice work. Post often and pics or it didn't happen! ;) Good luck with your project.
I hope your wife is doing better.

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Absolutely agreed - undoubtedly the best project log/intro combo I've read since being here! Well done, and we're pulling for you on the eventual finish of the bike. Loved the line about crooning '60s studio pop to the cylinder head :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks fellas. My wife has one more surgery to go and we are clear of it. Even in this day and age, getting treatment for cancer is no joke. Seven surgeries in a calendar year. She’s a tough one.

Well, that was a day. I’ve been eyeing the wiring harness on this bike with a degree of trepidation. When I say it was hacked up, I don’t think I can deliver that with any degree of vehemence that would be adequate. This past week I spent a ton of time walking down the length of individual wires like a European explorer looking for the head waters of a river...one of those guys who always has a “brain fever”. I don’t know how much wiring I replaced, but I’d estimate that 75% of it is now new. There’s also the fact that this is a Japanese made harness.

I’ve worked on a number of these, and without a doubt the Japanese and Germans do some interesting things when it comes to electronics in their vehicles. Insane grounding schemes. I printed off a copy of the wiring diagram and hung it up in the shop. My Dad, a retired Electrical Engineer of pretty impressive accomplishment, looked at it and said, “Whoever did this was mad at the world.” That sounds right.

So I finally got it wrapped up today and hooked up my ignition switch. No dice. It was still dead as a hammer, just like before. The only time I have cranked this bike with the starter motor was by hooking up my jump-pack to the terminal on it.

I spent about three hours pulling off tape and wrap and checking everything, and I still got no light in the front side of the harness. Finally, on a whim I pulled off the ignition switch and jumped around it. Understand that this is a brand new ignition switch (of dubious Amazon origin, but new all the same). A new ignition switch that was...faulty. So there’s that. The original switch wasn’t present when I got it. I assume it was a casualty somewhere along the way.

Still, I can use the starter now. If I hadn’t tore the quad in my right leg a few years ago, I’d be happy to just kick it...but I have learned not to press my luck. It tends to leave a mark.

Here it is merrily spinning.

There is another video of the first cold start, but it is only a few seconds long. I really wasn’t thinking about the fact I had the header pipes off when I dropped in some 50:1 to touch it off and it shot beautiful twin jets of flame across the room. At least it had spark. It startled me and I turned off the camera. Speaking of spark...I currently have none. A little poking around and I found the culprit. The points cover is grounding out the wires. I’ll get after that tomorrow.

I have a set of chrome-ish switches. I don’t know if I will leave them or not. I am still on the fence about the bars. I like the profile, but these have a gummy paint from the factory that makes any 7/8 switch fit pretty tightly, and it scratches so easily.

In the course of going over the wiring I also noticed something on the carb butterfly. See what I see? Luckily I have another carb I can pick over. I’ll pull it off next week. I have some new fuel lines and clear glass filters in the mail anyway.

I need to sort out where to put the new regulator/rectifier combo. Right now it’s just sitting on the bike’s sole seat mount. I’ll work that out.








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Welcome from Georgia.

Wow, great work, love the color too.

You do good work on that bike.

Hope all goes well for your wife.

I am a cancer survivor, I'm praying all goes well.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Thank you sir, I appreciate that.

I had a couple of wins today and a couple of fails. I rethreaded the rear shock mounts, which was easy as turning the die. I also completed the wiring changes I made (most notably noticing that I somehow pulled the wiring loose for the kill down to the ignition coils....which obviously created a problem. After that it all pretty much came apart. I tried a test crank and no dice. I even tried a little starter fluid and still nothing. I turned out my lights and checked out the points and the spark is erratic. Going to have to set those again, I think.

I also did a quick compression test. Right side is on the money, left side was low. As you can imagine, I looked on this like a fart in church. So...I guess tomorrow the cover is coming off. I’m doing points, valves and cam chain adjustment.



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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Can’t say I am too happy with today’s results. No pics this time, but I did get the valve adjustment, cam chain tension and points readjusted.

That was about five hours of work. It would have been less, but the same online retailer who sold me my defective ignition key also sold me a set of points that were machined too snugly against the cam. This was causing all amount of abnormality when trying to set the ignition timing, and honestly something I didn’t notice until I was starting at it eye-level in what is admittedly more than a little exasperation. That’s two for them. I’ve got more than a little bad taste for them at the moment, so I will wait to send my request for a refund until my humor is a little better. I probably could have taken the new points to my bench grinder and got them suitable to mount...but I probably shouldn’t have to.

I put the old points back on, sanded them as much as thought was prudent, and fired it on some started fluid. Tomorrow is some carb adjustment and new fuel lines and filters. The tank has been flushed with acid and seem pretty fit for the moment.


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While I understand your frustration and your hesitation to bash the seller, it would actually be of benefit to all of us here to know where the poor parts came from - we're all in the same boat and we should look out for each other with respect to reliable and trustworthy resellers. When something isn't right, it should be made known to the entire community so we can avoid buying from them if necessary
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Both came from Common Motor. The ignition switch is so poorly made that the key just slides out onto the ground if you turn it upside down, so it is no wonder that the connections were suspect. That particular bit cost me hours of work looking for faulty wiring that would not have happened otherwise. Considering the age and condition of my wiring, it never occurred to me to check the new part....which I suppose is on me. A bent pin resolved that issue in about five seconds. The new ignition switch is in my junk box.

The points were much the same. I have set them numerous times, and after an attempt to crank I would essentially have to redo it. This isn’t my first dance when it comes to points, and at first I was a little mystified. I was actually looking at the advancing springs behind the plate to see if they had lost some of their tension, and if that tells you how far the head-scratching went. Remounting the old points immediately resolved the problem. If you hold the old point set against the new, the inner edges of the plate are much more pronounced. At any rate, I appreciate the entrepreneurial spirit there...but that’s not a batting average I can get behind.

Edit: I would have said their name from the jump, but they seem like a fairly well-regarded outfit, so I just left it purposely vague. The points set changed my mind a little.

One thing I didn’t mention—I do believe my regulator/rectifier came from them, and it seems well made and works fine.


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Both came from Common Motor. The ignition switch is so poorly made that the key just slides out onto the ground if you turn it upside down, so it is no wonder that the connections were suspect. That particular bit cost me hours of work looking for faulty wiring that would not have happened otherwise. Considering the age and condition of my wiring, it never occurred to me to check the new part....which I suppose is on me. A bent pin resolved that issue in about five seconds. The new ignition switch is in my junk box.

The points were much the same. I have set them numerous times, and after an attempt to crank I would essentially have to redo it. This isn’t my first dance when it comes to points, and at first I was a little mystified. I was actually looking at the advancing springs behind the plate to see if they had lost some of heir tension, and if that tells you how far the head-scratching went. Remounting the old points immediately resolved the problem. If you hold the old point set against the new, the inner edges of the plate are much more pronounced. At any rate, I appreciate the entrepreneurial spirit there...but that’s not a batting average I can get behind.


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Thanks for the info, and I would have at least attempted to return the switch if not the points too. This is only adding to my feelings about that outfit personally (though others here disagree with me at times). there are a few threads here containing some other less than stellar comments about CMC varying from product quality to price and even methodology in at least one of their instructional videos... I find that they are often higher in price for the same part with even less description (OEM or aftermarket, leaving us to wonder), and I'm one of those who feel strongly about one of their videos, but that's just me. If you don't know about 4into1.com, they have most of the same items with clearer description and more often than not, better prices. If you're looking for NOS OEM parts, there's David Silver Spares and cmsnl.com to name a couple, though cmsnl should be a last resort as their shipping to the states (they're in The Netherlands) is as high as any you'll find
 

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Discussion Starter #13
So nothing yet...just a few burps of “I think I can” tonight and a few backfires when I tried a test start tonight. I’m on the fence. It’s either the ignition timing or the air mixture. Those are some cheapie air filters I have in there at the moment, and while I suppose that could be the issue it seems just as likely to be a little fuel starved. The sounds tonight were encouraging enough to press onward and get it right.

I pulled this one out of the hoard as well. It would actually be a pretty nice machine if the PO hadn’t left the plugs out when he locked up 2 and 3 on it then left it outdoors. It’s a ‘75 400F. I am considering scavenging this bike for some parts...most definitely that front wheel and disc brake. There is plenty to part out there to make it worthwhile. The pic is pretty flattering. Lots of issues with it.




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Discussion Starter #14
So that’s proof of concept.

The to-do list is long, but that’s a runner. The throttle doesn’t want to return to position with the throttle tube/switch combo I’m running. I can feel it binding. I’ll get on that tomorrow, and finish my scavenge of the 400, which I got a jump on today. The gap between 1989 and today is considerable...but I think that engine will be fine.



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Welcome Steve.
You have come a long way from where you started and will be rewarded on your first ride. No surgeries for your wife in 2019!
Also, yes, there is little reason to buy outside of 4into1 unless they simply don't stock what you need. Time is often more valuable than money, you should not be wasting both dealing with poorly made parts from dubious sellers. Looking forward to seeing your bike on the road.
Pete
 

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I'll second (or third) the recommendation for 4into1. They are the first place I look when I need parts because they have FAST shipping, good descriptions, and usually have the best prices. The reverence people have for Common Motor mystifies me a little - their prices are higher than other places the majority of the time. That said, I have also bought from Common Motor, David Silver Spares, Sirius Consolidated, Dime City, and the other usual suspects when their price was lower for the same item, though. If you can find NOS Honda parts (like points) on eBay for a reasonable price, that's even better.
 

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I have had nothing but quality parts and good customer service from Common Motor in the few times I've purchased from them, however their prices are often a little outrageous. 4into1 is a good recommendation.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Their service seems absolutely fine, but those two parts in particular weren’t up to snuff. I had one of their videos in my YouTube recommended section on the subject of points...and it might explain some of my difficulty. I don’t know...I’ve been a small engine mechanic for awhile, and I always felt a manufacturer recommended gap was something of a necessity. I won’t open that particular can of worms, though. Just from the comments on that video I am betting that conversation has been had.

Today was relatively light on my in-bay stuff, so I cracked open the doors despite the damp and did some stuff on the grinding wheel. I shaved down the edges of the throttle tube head so it would work properly with the switch I have, which worked like a champ. No binds now and returns to a closed throttle position. I remounted the shocks after cleaning and servicing. My Dad stopped by and dropped the stays while I compressed the spring (don’t try that at home, kids). I could have done it with any number of tools but he said there was no way I could do that by hand, so...stupid things immediately followed.

I also did some scavenging on a Kawasaki frame that I have and hammered up my first seat bracket. I need to find out the best and most orderly way to get the wiring clamped down and then I’ll start taking measurements and cutting some metal for the seat pan. I also plan on walking that entire seam and welding it up. Prior “customization” work didn’t really pay much heed to that, I am afraid. I don’t know how much meat came off this top edge, but a few spot welds for integrity can’t hurt. I have a friend locally who does custom upholstery work for boats and cars and curious to see what can be done for a nice custom seat.

I’ll also leave this pearl of wisdom I found on the intake for a kid’s bike that I was sending out. Good stuff.

As long as the sun is out tomorrow I’ll continue pulling parts from the 400 and see if I can’t get some gauges mounted. I held up the headlight
from that bike against the forks and I think that it is going on too. It’s larger, but just looks better to my eye.




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Discussion Starter #20
Got some good work done today, and some shopping into my parts bin. I added the indicator light set from a CB350 and the 400 donor top plate for the triple tree. Got it brushed, primed and painted along with all the mounting hardware for the speedo and tach. Shot the pair of those black and will mount them in the morning.

I also fetched a classic Honda headlight with an intact bowl. I don’t know why, but I liked this larger headlight better. I know that isn’t particularly stylish, but I’m not a particularly stylish type of guy. I also grabbed the mount for the headlight. It’s kind of interesting. I don’t need that large bar across it, so I’ll torch or cut that off. I polished the chrome around the lens and primed the bowl so I can start squaring away the head of the wiring harness now that I have something to terminate it to.

Amazingly, on my donor bike there was still brake fluid in the hoses, which don’t have so much as a crack. I won’t reuse them but they were obviously made well. I got most of the hardware down to the disc brake itself off and ready to reinstall on the 350...well, they are going to need some attention first but they’ll make it on there.


I picked up a little sheet metal today which I will be using for seat mounts but I’ve held off on fabricating those. I’d like to get down level with the bike tomorrow, have a close look at the lines and see how I want this to go. I have the tank from the 400 off as well, but not sure yet if I want to use it or not. It’s certainly larger.

And sorry about the clutter. It was that kind of a day.









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