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CB450SC Lighting Questions & Coil Upgrade Question

2872 Views 3 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  BamaRambler
Hi all,

Motorcycle is a North American 1982 CB450SC.

1. Tach is not illuminated. I'm assuming the bulb is burned out. Anything to watch out for when I get around to changing the bulb?

2. The front left (as I'm sitting on the MC) yellow light does not initially light up like a parking light, but after turning the left turn signal on and off once or twice, it lights up properly and seems to stay that way. (The front right one does light up initially like a parking light.) Are these supposed to light like parking lights or stay off unless/until they are used as turn signal lights? Either way, I've got one behaving each way, so there's some kind of issue. Ideas?

3. Neither rear... marker(? I don't know the correct term for the lights) light lights up unless/until it is used as a turn signal, and at that point it flashes on/off (not on/dim as I would have expected). The brake light does not light up unless one of the brakes are activated. That means that if the MC is just cruising, there are no rear lights lit. This seems dangerous. Can someone tell me how they are supposed to be? Also, one of the two brake light bulbs is either not lighting or is missing altogether. Could this be causing some sort of problem back there (other than not lighting the brake lens as bright as two working and/or installed brake light bulbs would)? The reason I believe that at least one brake light bulb should be lit at all times is that it looks like the bottom of the lens is clear; since the license plate area is directly underneath, I'm assuming that Honda meant for the brake light to illuminate the license plate (and not only when the rider applies a brake :roll: ). Ideas?

4. I have read of people changing their light bulbs to LEDs. This seems like a good idea to me, because I've read that this MC only produces 170 watts (and that only at or above 5,000 RPM... I'll likely be putt-putting along). But are there any caveats to switching to LEDs? Brake, tail, front, headlight, tach, speedo, "dash"(neutral/highbeam/OD/signal/etc. indicators)? Do they even make LED headlights (that function on both low and high beam)? Would I be able to "plug & play" everything, have to fabricate sockets/mounts/resistors/stuff, or a mixture of the two? Are they expensive? Would I be able to match the colors (my only experience with aftermarket lighting on ANY vehicle is being blinded and having my night-vision ruined by stupid teenagers with their really bright blue headlights, I guess they make sure they're extra-bright so no one can see to shoot them for it :angry: ). My goals are to look factory in color/legality, be at least as bright as factory - a little brighter is fine and since I don't see real good at night would probably be safer for both myself and other people, but I don't want to blind anyone or get ticketed), use less electricity, have lights that last at least as long as the ones that Honda stated to use originally, and not cost a whole lot.

5. If LED headlight bulbs aren't available or cost much more than standard bulbs: I read something about an "H4"(?) headlight bulb that's supposed to be brighter, but I cannot remember exactly which model number of bulb and I'm not too sure on the H4 part now that I think about it. Which one? Reasonably priced? Brighter - or just the only option for a headlight that is still available for these old motorcycles? Do they tax the electrical system?

6. I read the thread about upgrading to a GM double-ended coil with interest. I'm guessing that it gives a stronger spark, especially if it's true that we can run a larger spark plug gap with no downsides. I remember from when I had my 1986 Buick T-Type (like a Grand National only with lighter wheels and available in colors other than black, lol), an intercooled turbocharged V6, that the GM OEM coil(packs) were much better in quality than aftermarket ones and noticeably superior in performance (at least on a turbo setup that was ~16psi boosted from the factory) and from reading the thread, I'm assuming that this is still the case. But does anyone know if this upgraded coil setup will draw more, less, or about the same electricity? Again, I do not wish to overtax my electrical system or drain my battery; I'll be riding mostly short trips, at least for a while, and with the colder months fast approaching, assume that I'll need to suffer through some warm-up time at idle RPMs on top of that.

Thanks (much) in advance,
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+1 for all J-T wrote
Concerning headlights, the human eye is a funny thing. While we see a wide spectrum only some of it is actually useful. Headlights should be in the 3000-4000 Kelvin range, higher than that and we start to loose the definition and depth perception of what we see. Bright white or blue is useless to us. An H4 bulb is toward the higher end of useful and throws more light so that is a good choice. Notice that skiers wear yellow sunglasses, the snow reflected light is white/blue so the yellow lenses correct the problem.
You are correct about the 170 watts however remember that the charging system is purely for lights, accessories. Not the ignition system. I run an H4 plus charge my phone and computer w/o any problems. I run conventional bulbs because they are easy to find when I need one, any auto parts store.
The GM coil is a good thing IMO. Idle seems smoother, more stable. And you run a .035 gap instead of the .026 so less chance of fuel fouling a plug.
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