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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,
I searched the available posts, but did not see exactly what I was looking for.
I have a 79 CM400A that was given to me with 2,800 miles. Has been sitting inside for 10+ years.
I adjusted the valves, changed the oil & filter, rebuilt the carbs, and tried to get it running.
The starter spins, but does not turn the engine over. I pulled the starter back out, and stuck my fingers
in to see why there was no connection. The large, and smaller gear actually spin by fingers, ( is this common?)
so I don't see how it can spin the engine. I have seen multiple postings that the starter clutch has springs, and caps, etc.
that tend to fail. Before I commit to tearing into this job, I want to make sure that this is actually the problem, and after
I replace what is needed, will this take care of the issue. Where it has been sitting for so long, is it a matter of just being stuck? I can't imagine the starter clutch would fail with 2,800 miles, I mean it's a Honda.
I have the factory service manual, and a complete gasket and seal kit available.
I appreciate you knowledge about this model, and will await feedback. Thank you.
 

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If the starter turns and the starter idler gear turns its a pretty good chance the problem is in the starter clutch..
will the motor start with the kick start. Since the starter clutch is on the crank shaft and you have to tear the motor clear down you might as well run it and see if you have any other problems before you tear it down. I would also do a compression check.

Bill H
 

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It's a honda....

Been stored for ten years or more but you checked that the valves open and close with no hint or them "sticking", you checked and adjusted the valve working clearance, changed the oil and filter.

Any glitter or bits in the old engine oil ?

No rat's nest in the air box...

Was the fuel tap on and was there any fuel in the tank ?

Was the oil level high, but ten years of Californian heat would disguise ......

The large gear visible through the starter motor hole in the engine turns both ways equally as easy ?

The rollers in the starter clutch just may be stuck, it's done a small mileage and been standing for ten years....

Find out the history, why was it stored ?

You have a manual, you know of CMSNL or similar for the parts exploded views and pictures of components...
 

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This is an automatic, and does not have a kick starter.

The starter clutch is on the left of the crank and quite close to the starter motor crank case hole.

See your manual and the parts exploded views.

You may be able to spray some releasing fluid inside onto the starter clutch to help free it off if it's rollers, pistons and springs are stuck. Drain the oil first.

Although frowned upon due to cam chain, and after spraying lube into and hopefully over the starter clutch, you could rotate the flywheel via its bolt backwards and forwards to hopefully "engage" ( by turning clockwise, against normal direction of rotation ) the rollers.

With plugs out and ign killed, press the starter button to "surprise" the clutch rollers. A "jerk" movement clockwise crank wise will have a similar effect. Only use one method at a time.

I hope this free's off the starter clutch, else is engine out etc..

Spray the 4 centre head bolts at least 4 times per day for at least 4 days as a precaution, they may be well and truelly stuck/corroded in !

You will need at least a proper flwheel puller tool ( not a 3 leg puller type but a bolt type ) they are available, or a large bolt same size and thread as the oil filter bolt.

I really hope you can free the clutch off, I really hope it isn't cracked and needs a new one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It's a honda....

Been stored for ten years or more but you checked that the valves open and close with no hint or them "sticking", you checked and adjusted the valve working clearance, changed the oil and filter.

Any glitter or bits in the old engine oil ?

No rat's nest in the air box...

Was the fuel tap on and was there any fuel in the tank ?

Was the oil level high, but ten years of Californian heat would disguise ......

The large gear visible through the starter motor hole in the engine turns both ways equally as easy ?

The rollers in the starter clutch just may be stuck, it's done a small mileage and been standing for ten years....

Find out the history, why was it stored ?

You have a manual, you know of CMSNL or similar for the parts exploded views and pictures of components...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Sorry for the long reply, very busy.
I appreciate all your suggestions, so I will answer in the order of the responses.
A. It will kick over, but kicking a non runner to start is a lot of work. Electric start is so much easier, plus it needs to be addressed.
B. I will do a compression check before any teardown.
C. Valves work properly, and not many needed adjustment, probable first time with 2,586 on it.
D. I didn't check the original oil, but did not see anything unusual.
E. No rodent damage or nests. Bike was stored inside a Body Shop, lot of overspray & dust. (total dismantle & clean)
F. No fuel in the tank, or carb bowls, petcock, tank very clean inside.
G. Both large & small starter gears rotate freely back & forth.
H. What is CMSNL?
I. What would you recommend for a good release agent? PB Blaster, or similar? Penetrating oil?
J. Engine is drained of all motor oil.
K. I will try the Lube & Jerk method first, as if this works, would save so much time & effort, not that I would shy away from a teardown.
* Here is what know of the bikes history. The last person, an older gentleman purchased it in July 1995 with 2,305 miles. It was last registered 2001, and don't know the reason it was parked, I assume it was age related, by the photo the shop gave me with the bike and all the paperwork. FREE! with title. They just wanted it GONE. The bike currently has 2,586 on the odometer. That's 281 miles in 6 years. You have to believe it great deal, right?
I will keep this updated on my progress. Thanks for your help!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
This is an automatic, and does not have a kick starter.

The starter clutch is on the left of the crank and quite close to the starter motor crank case hole.

See your manual and the parts exploded views.

You may be able to spray some releasing fluid inside onto the starter clutch to help free it off if it's rollers, pistons and springs are stuck. Drain the oil first.

Although frowned upon due to cam chain, and after spraying lube into and hopefully over the starter clutch, you could rotate the flywheel via its bolt backwards and forwards to hopefully "engage" ( by turning clockwise, against normal direction of rotation ) the rollers.

With plugs out and ign killed, press the starter button to "surprise" the clutch rollers. A "jerk" movement clockwise crank wise will have a similar effect. Only use one method at a time.

I hope this free's off the starter clutch, else is engine out etc..

Spray the 4 centre head bolts at least 4 times per day for at least 4 days as a precaution, they may be well and truelly stuck/corroded in !

You will need at least a proper flwheel puller tool ( not a 3 leg puller type but a bolt type ) they are available, or a large bolt same size and thread as the oil filter bolt.

I really hope you can free the clutch off, I really hope it isn't cracked and needs a new one.
If I douse the starter clutch with lube, will the excess find it's way to the oil drain hole?
Would a non-flame heat source directed in the starter hole be any help before trying the lube procedure?
Or, if I was able to start it by kick starter, would engine heat and fresh oil somehow free up the springs?
I am assuming the starter clutch is just stuck, and not worn out already. (2500 miles)
Any other suggestions? I want to hit all the bases before I have no other option but to tear it down.
 
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