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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I made a deal on a 1974 CL450 today and will be picking it up tomorrow afternoon. It’s titled, 99.9% complete (including original key) and has less than 900 miles on the odometer for $200. It’s far from perfect though. It was last licensed in 1981 and has been sitting uncovered outdoors ever since the original owner “broke a sparkplug” while working on it. The engine is seized but the transmission works. The front brake cable appears to be frozen (the plastic jackets on the other cables are rotted away). The seat cover is shot, but I might be able to salvage the foam. The upper muffler heat shield is missing. The tank and side cover paint is horribly faded, but don’t show any obvious rust or dents, and the headlight bucket has a couple good cracks in it.

The owners story is the bike belonged to her father who never used it much. As I mentioned before, he was working on it when he broke a spark plug, then never bothered to fix it. At some point the bike was moved outdoors and left uncovered until recently. It looks like someone stuffed a stick with green electrical tape wrapped around it into the right side sparkplug hole to keep the elements out of the cylinder. Since it’s seized I don’t think it did much good. I’ll know more when I get it home and can give it a more complete going over.

I picked up a can of PB Blaster on my way home and started bidding on a Clymer manual on e-bay. As long as the engine is not completely ruined, I plan to get it running, clean it up, repaint the tank and side covers and use it to explore the back county roads here in Washington. This is not my first bike project, but it is the first time I’ve taken a chance on one that was seized. This past summer I sold my wife’s ’92 Virago and my ’78 Shovelhead Harley to pay off bills and have been without a bike ever since. I had planned to use part of the proceeds from the sale of my Harley to buy a KLR, but those plans dissolved when I was laid off two-weeks later. The CL450 should keep me out of trouble for the winter and with any luck I should be back on two wheels in the spring.

I’ll do my best to post a couple photos when I get it home tomorrow.
 

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Welcome, 74shovel. There are a lot of knowledgeable 450 people on here. I like your username -- sort of a crossover from the old shovel to the old 450. I've also got a 450, but it is a 1970 K3. It's waiting in line right now while I work on another brand. I'll be interested in following your project as you go along.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I managed to get the poor old girl home this evening. It's hard unloading a motorcycle with no brakes by yourself! As much as I would like to I haven't taken a wrench to her yet, I had a few other responsibilities to deal with this evening. I took a few shots of bike, which I will try to post, and looked it over a little better. I discovered a couple more pieces missing, but nothing major (the ignition switch, front heat shield, and left passenger peg). There is a very minor dent on the right side of the tank (you can't even see it in the photos) but a little filler will take care of that when it's repainted.

fxray, my user name is actually an odd coincidence. The 74 actually refers to the cubic inches of my former Shovelhead. I'm going to miss that bike, but it just wasn't what I wanted in a motorcycle anymore.
 

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'74Shovel, welcome to the site. There are a lot of 450 heads here. You will get all the help you need. I'm in Washington. I have a CB450K5 with a stuck K7 engine. It is inline after my '81 GL is done. Keep us posted.
 

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Just a note on the passenger peg, the CL left peg is unique to the CL's, as the mounting bracket is longer to move he peg out to clear the exhaust. The CB one will fit, but your passenger won't enjoy the ride as much :D :D

Oh...and welcome to the fold, from downunder :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
otr002 thanks for letting me know about the peg. It's a low priority item right now, but there's nothing worse than discovering the part you spent a week bidding on on e-bay and another week for shipping isn't what you thought it was.

Does anyone know if new tank decals are available for this bike? If not I'll have to find someone who can replicate it with paint.
 

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74shovel said:
otr002 thanks for letting me know about the peg. It's a low priority item right now, but there's nothing worse than discovering the part you spent a week bidding on on e-bay and another week for shipping isn't what you thought it was.

Does anyone know if new tank decals are available for this bike? If not I'll have to find someone who can replicate it with paint.
They were originally painted on so any "decals" will be copied from a tank and may differ slightly. I am a sucker for well applied painted stripes etc and usually find that the cost is similar if you are getting some to do the repainting for you.

Have fun
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I finally got a little free time and decided to find out what was under the wad of junk stuffed in the left spark plug hole. Well the story I was told is true, the previous owner had indeed broken a spark plug off in the head. Somehow they managed to snap the spark plug off at the threads, flush with the hole. I've never seen anything like that before. I can't imagine the torque that must have been applied to break a plug like that, and why the threads in the head didn't strip out first is beyond me.

Finally, I have no idea why the previous owner didn't go get a set of screw/bolt extractors for $10 and remove the remains of the spark plug so it could be replaced. There's a perfect hole right down the middle where the insulator used to go. Tap in the extractor, remove broken plug, install new plug, go for a ride. It's just sad.

I sprayed some PB Blaster on it and covered the hole with a shop rag for the night. I'll see if I can remove it in the morning.

I also noticed the upper muffler is rusted out just past the mounting flange and will need to be replaced.
 

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Nice find! A twin to the one I found last spring. Engine is also siezed but never considered anything but a complete teardown anyway. It's in 100 pieces in my garage right now. Luckily, every bolt, nut, and screw on the engine came loose with no problem. Spark plugs, also. Later found a '73 on CraigsList in good, original condition and am having a blast riding it now. Gets more comments and looks than my Electra Glide! Nothing but backroads, though. Gets a little squirrely above 55 mph. I'm 6', 240 lbs and make a pretty good sail. Good titles for both. Got about $625 in the '73 after tires, tubes, battery, and new petcock and gas lines. Put historic plates on it so it costs almost nothing to keep. Got $100 in the '74 and trying to decide whether to keep up with the custom that I started or just use it for parts for the '73. One bit of advice. Don't fixate on getting that old plug out, you'll probably end up pulling the head anyway, and it'll be easier then. Unless it's stopping you from starting the bike, let it go, keep up with the PB Blaster, and worry about it later.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
cl450nut thanks for the advise. I plan on tearing the engine down as soon as I'm able to get it out of the frame. The seat lock is gummed up (I've got it shot full of PB Blaster) so there really isn't much for me to do at the moment except make sure everything has a good dose of penitrating oil.

I spent a few minutes messing with the remains of the plug this morning. It looks like I'm going to need to find some kind of an extention for my extractor. Once in place it only extends as high is the top engine fin. I tried using an 11/32 Craftsman combination wrench on it but the open end is not strong enough and was deflecting. None of my other wrenches will fit between the fins and still allow horizontal movement to turn them. I used to have a couple 8-point craftsman sockets for situations like this (the top of the extractor is square), but I left them in a tool kit that went with my boat when I sold it some time ago. As cl450nut said, it may be easier to get it out once the head is off.

Below is a photo of the thing:
 

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Did or can any of the old plug fall in to the piston? I would be careful. Excited to watch the project.
 

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It may even be that the plug could be screwed IN instead of out. Not sure of this, but worth a try if all else fails. Might even try carefully heating it, from the underside would probably work wonders. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
No real progress to report. I spent part of the day cleaning old projects off my work bench in the basement. I've got to make room for the engine once I'm able to get it out of the frame. It's nice to see the top of my bench again and find all the tools I've been missing.

I still haven't been able to open the seat lock, it's possible the key I was given isn't correct. Since the screw heads are concealed by the seat, I suspect the easiest way of getting it open is to drill it out. Has anyone else done this? I really can't get started with disassembly until I can get the seat open and the tank off.
 

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Wow, a couple of things: don't drill the seat lockout unless you really have to. If your key works the ignition, it must be the correct one. The pins in the tumbler need to align. This means the pins must move with the key. Keep working on it. Go talk to a lock smith. On the spark plug; don't over do it. If the engine is frozen, the cylinders will need to come off. Either let the machinist get it out or file it square and use a 3/8 extension to turn it. Do not damage the head casting. This will be a great bike.
 

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JamesPal said:
Wow, a couple of things: don't drill the seat lockout unless you really have to. If your key works the ignition, it must be the correct one. The pins in the tumbler need to align. This means the pins must move with the key. Keep working on it. Go talk to a lock smith. On the spark plug; don't over do it. If the engine is frozen, the cylinders will need to come off. Either let the machinist get it out or file it square and use a 3/8 extension to turn it. Do not damage the head casting. This will be a great bike.
Not necesarily. Check the numbers on the seat lock and the igniton and the steering lock if you have one. They should all be the same, but they may have been replaced over the years. There is a couple of people on ebay that sell keys if you have the number. A better option to drilling it out. Then you have to get a new lock and key. I have a key that operates the ignition and seat lock and another that locks the steering.

Good Luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
The ignition is missing and the fork look is gummed up as well. I'm not in a big hurry with the project (I have very little free time at the moment). I just went out and checked the numbers on the seat and fork locks, they are both T9879. My key is a T7879. I'll try contacting the previous owner on Monday to see if they have come across any other keys.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I just got on e-bay and found the correct key for $7, shipping was free, so I went a head and ordered it. Easier than bugging the previous owners. The locks should be pretty well lubed up by the time the key gets here. I'll keep watching e-bay while over the course of the winter to see if a matching ignition comes up.

I learned about Honda's numbered keys when I was a kid. I lost the key to my CB125 (I used it as a trail bike). I thought my riding days were over, but my dad and I went down to the Honda dealer, he gave them the lock number, the parts guy went into the store room and came back five minutes later with a new key. I don't remember what it cost, all I cared about was getting back on the bike and going for a ride.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Got my Clymer manual today. It covers Honda 450-500 twins '65-'77. Hopefully I'll get the new key this week so I can get the seat opened up and start taking it apart.
 
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