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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

I recently restored a 1974 CL450 for a customer. I rebuilt the carbs, floats were good, set float level at 20mm and double checked that measurement several times. I put on a new gas tank petcock, but it was defective and wouldn’t shut off. I received a new petcock from the supplier which worked properly. Upon finishing everything in late October, I started the bike up and it ran great. I shut it off after about 5 minutes, waiting for a warmer day to do the road testing. I shut off the petcock and bike sat for a week with over a gallon of gas in the tank and no leaks.
When a warm day came, I rode the bike 40 miles with no issues, it runs beautifully. I parked it again for 2 weeks until the customer could pick it up - no fuel leaks during that time.
The customer arrived on November 11, took it for a test ride-noleaks. We shut off the petcock while loading bikeonto his trailer then visited awhile, no leaks.
I got a call from the customer yesterday saying that over the weekend he filled the gas tank and noticed fuel leaking from underneath and put a pan down. He states about 2/3 of a gallon leaked out of the float bowl overflowtube, then leaking stopped. I asked him if petcock was in the off position and he said it was.
Anyone have any ideas as to what might be happening?
 

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450s don't have the best sealing float valves even when new. The only way they will leak is if they are being fed fuel from the tank and the only way to stop that is by turning the petcock off. My bet is they THINK they have it in OFF but its really in RES, mistake I've made once or twice with mine because of the fact that it is on the opposite side of the tank from my 360, OFF is the lever back on 360, OFF is the lever forward on the 450.

If they put that much gas onto the floor there is a good chance there is that much gas in the crankcase. I would make sure they check/change the oil before the run the engine or else you will be getting it back to rebuild it.
 

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I agree, petcock not really off, its a stuck float, or there's a chunk of crap stuck in the float valve.
Seriously though, its a vintage bike and things like this will happen. Run the carbs dry by actually turning the petcock off for that last 1/3 mile before parking, if still worried drain the float bowls into a clean container.

Your customer really needs to get an education, and you need to stop responding to them every time they cry for help out of their own ignorance. They paid you to restore a bike, that should be where it ends.

Send them to us, we'll make biker folk out of them.

And read this:
https://www.hondatwins.net/forums/23-member-introductions/121120-critical-read-before-posting.html
 

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Your customer really needs to get an education, and you need to stop responding to them every time they cry for help out of their own ignorance. They paid you to restore a bike, that should be where it ends.
I can certainly relate to that sentiment. A few years back, I sold my modified monkey bike on Ebay. It had uprated brakes, suspension, wheels and tyres, larger engine etc etc, all fully documented in the advert. I set the price at less than a third of what I'd spent on it, and it sold straight away. Guy came to collect it, I showed him how to start it, as there was a certain knack to it, set the choke just right, ease over compression then kick through etc. He went away happy, and then the phone calls started.

He couldn't start it, so I'd clearly sold him a faulty bike. At first, I tried to talk him through it, also sent written instructions. I suspect then that he'd broken the kickstart mechanism, easily done on those large capacity Chinese engines if misused, taken it to a mechanic who sounded as though he had even less clue than he did. Ended up asking me to pay the repair bills, eventually threatened the small claims court. I then ignored him, and heard no more. Still left a nasty taste, and I wish I'd sold the bike to a fellow enthusiast who could have worked it out for himself.
 

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I think frogman has a point. I’m having the same issue with my 450 and 500T which have different petcocks at different locations what is always confusing me. It’s just so easy to do it wrong when riding more than one bike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you, Gentlemen, for your solid answers. Your responses echo my thoughts exactly. Since I previously had received a defective petcock, I’m thinking the replacement sent tome by the same supplier is also defective.
The carbs were completely disassembled, cleaned, blown out, checked and re-checked and thoroughly inspected. I did put in new float valve assemblies. I suppose the new, aftermarket float valve could be sticking in tandem with a leaking petcock. There should be no crud or dirt, though, as tank was aggressively cleaned and a new lining of Red-Kote installed in the tank, plus all new fuel lines.
 

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OEM is the best option, repops don't always function as well.
 

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Its the fuel that can contain contaminants that I was referring to. I've seen plenty of gas caps placed atop grungy gas pumps or even on the ground which likely added at least some grit to the tank. It gets in there over time for certain. I believe you left the fuel system clean, I'm only suggesting the possibility it didn't stay that way. Red-Kote is a great choice.
 

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I think frogman has a point. I’m having the same issue with my 450 and 500T which have different petcocks at different locations what is always confusing me. It’s just so easy to do it wrong when riding more than one bike.
I have this problem switching between CL and CB 175s, same fuel tap but on opposite sides of the bike, so forward for off on one bike, back for off on the other. Writing on the tap is too small to read without glasses on, so I've printed off a picture from the manual, pinned in the garage so I can see at a glance which way is off.

tap.JPG
 
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Well, I’m sure people sometimes think I’m a complete idiot when my fingers go down on the wrong side of the tank and I then have look closely how to shut off the petcock. With one bike you don’t even think about it.
 

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I think frogman has a point. I’m having the same issue with my 450 and 500T which have different petcocks at different locations what is always confusing me. It’s just so easy to do it wrong when riding more than one bike.
I feel your pain. :)
 

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I have this problem switching between CL and CB 175s, same fuel tap but on opposite sides of the bike, so forward for off on one bike, back for off on the other. Writing on the tap is too small to read without glasses on, so I've printed off a picture from the manual, pinned in the garage so I can see at a glance which way is off.

View attachment 269694
Hi, although this thread is a bit older, I will respond with my similar recent experience:
I have the same problem as Richard: several bikes with different petcocks, and different "close" positions, I am unable to read without my reading glasses.
My solution: simply put a drop of (orange) paint on the base of the tape where the closed position is located. So, on all my bikes (5) orange dot position is closed. Easy to see and to remember.
And, concerning the petcock style shown in the picture: do not forget to place a copper sealing washer to the fixing bolt of the petcock! I used a spring washer and complaint at the dealer that the petcock is still dripping even in closed position.. he asked me about the sealing washer... The fixing bolt has contact to the fuel inside the tank. It will leak a little bit without the sealing washer!
 
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