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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, everyone! I finally have the bike I've been lurking on these forums in anticipation of... so I thought I ought to introduce myself! I'm also about to ask a LOT of questions.

I'm James, in Saint Louis, and I just picked up a '72 CB350K3, with 8,970 original miles. In other words, a '71 CB350 sold and titled in '72. She was in storage for 21 years, but "ran like a top the last time she was driven." I know that's the oldest story in the book, but she was cheap, and has a lot of potential. So far, all I've done is bring the old darling home, and remove the horrible, bolted on sissy bar the PO put on there (and bragged about as a selling point, along with the fiberglass saddle bags.) I did find a Clymer manual in the bar-attached bag, so I won't complain about that too much, though.

She's currently in non-running condition, but when you kick her engine over, she sounds like she's dying to fire up, and doesn't realize she's got a tank full of crap and dried out everything.

Here's what she looks like now... haven't even given her a bath, yet:

And here's a look at her less savory addition, which I had to remove immediately, so I wouldn't throw up all over her:

Anyway, I've been on here, and other forums, and all over the web, also calling the folks over at Dime City Cycles, Biltwell, Carpy, Avon US and local motorcycle salvage, along with bugging my more experienced buddies, in order to formulate a plan of action. I'm relatively smart, and mechanically inclined, willing to learn and love taking stuff apart and putting it back together, but I have little experience with bikes, aside from having a few thousand miles on new scooters under my belt, and the occasional spin on all sorts of buddies' bikes. I'm also what you call particular, stubborn, anal, OCD or whatever about this crap, and I want my bike to be amazing when she's done. Or when she's done with phase 1 of probably an indefinite process. There's nothing worse than making a big decision about something and realizing you didn't do enough homework, and should have done something else.

My vision for the initial push is a mostly stock bike, cleaned up, polished, rebuilt and with a couple aesthetic and/or practical changes, like a set of clubmans, wider (but not too much wider) rims and a fresh coat of paint on the tank and other painted bits. Black and white, and some shiny metal... rather, primarily white, with black striping.

So here are my initial questions/thoughts/plans:

1. Brakes/Rims/Tires:

In another forum, I started a thread about tires and wheels, in which some of the forum members convinced me that the cool-ass looking Firestones are a deathtrap, that most people are way too lax about their wheel and tire fitments, and that more than minor changes in wheel and tire size can f*%@ up your overall performance like nothing else. I have also come to understand that cheng shins and IRC's are not worth the attractively low price and conveniently smaller available sizes.

I think the best way to go, with what I know, is to source an 18" WM3 rim for the rear, and move my current 18" WM2 rear to the front hub/spokes, putting my current, front 18" WM1 down for a long nap. I'll then throw the Avon Road Runner/Riders on front and back in 90/90-18 and 100/90-18 respectively. This seems to be safely within the boundaries of not screwing things up completely.

Should I plan on buying new brakes out of the gate? It seems like something one doesn't mess around with, considering I can get both front and back for under $60 complete, but is it even something I should worry about?

2. Bars:

I want clubmans. I'm decided. I know what some have to say about clubmans without rearsets and a lowered seat, but I also know what others have to say, and I know what looks cool to me, and what I'm willing to put up with to be able to look at my bike and say, "that **** is awesome." I've also sat on my bike and put my hands in various positions, etc. I've totally obsessed about this, and the it can't be worse than being 6'3", riding a Buddy Blackjack scooter. If it's terrible, I'll find something else that works better later.

Sooooo... I'd like to know if anyone has opinions about the most comfortable, least extreme clubmans. Just don't tell me about the 4 point adjustable bars that I don't like the look of already, or any of the "almost clubman" bars (like M bars,) or other low bars (like euro, superbike or drag bars...) I don't like 'em. Clubmans look kick-ass, even on a stock bike with stock seat and mid-sets. Besides, I have to ride my lady around from time to time (who, by the way, is a dream riding pillion.)

I've learned that the cheapest cheapo's on ebay are not worth the effort, but I found some contenders: Dime City has some 7/8" clubmans they bend that seem affordable and nice. Anyone used these? On a 350? Carpy seems to make or source some for the 750 that he says are wider and more comfortable. Will these work on a 350? People have good things to say about Biltwell, but they only make 1". I AM supposed to be looking for 7/8", right? I'm thinking my main fit issue as it regards actually mounting them is diameter and the width of the center bend, yes?

3. Tank & other non-engine metal bits:

I've read a lot about how to rid one's tank of flaking Kreem, and various methods of rust removal. Right now, the inside of the tank is brown and fuzzy... like brown mold. Was Kreem a factory coating? Is it possible that this is still in tact? What should I use to clean it up enough to check? If it's not, once I use the old "bolts & acetone" trick, do I have to re-coat it, or just make sure it's oiled inside until I'm actively using it? If it's rusty inside, I was going to attempt the electrolysis method, although I have a friend who works as an airplane mechanic who has an ultrasonic cleaning device/machine at his hangar. Will this clean out rust, or is that more for dirty, oily clogged carbs & such?

Once I remove the exterior paint from the tank & side covers, can I simply oil them inside and out until they're ready to paint? The same airplane mechanic has painting gear at the hangar, loves to paint stuff and is a total perfectionist. Should I dissemble the forks to paint the slider, or just mask it off? Should I dissemble the forks anyway, just to make sure all parts are clean and lubed before putting it back together? I'm assuming CLR, scotch-brite pads and elbow grease are the main ingredients for most parts of the bike.

My plan is to, basically, take the whole bike completely apart, clean and paint or oil all the metal, and put it all back together. I'm more concerned with it being perfect when I'm done than I am with doing it quick and dirty. With that in mind, should the frame be painted to protect it? Was it painted when they manufactured the bike?

4. Engine and other:

After 21 years in storage, I'm assuming all gaskets and anything not made of metal is probably toast, not to mention dirt and grime and rust that may be found in the tank. With > 10,000 miles, I hope there aren't too many super worn metal pieces, but I'll deal with that if I come to it. Basically saying I am going to tear down and rebuild the engine, never having done anything like it before. I love a challenge, though. Any major, 10,000 foot level advice on this? I'm sure I'll have plenty of questions once I get started. Also, not knowing how this "ultrasonic cleaning" thing works, should I just plan on bringing in an entire dismantled, dirty, greasy engine over to my buddy at the hangar, or is that more for, like, "I've cleaned and scrubbed all I can from this small part/jet/carb, and now I'll put it through the ultrasonic to get it squeaky clean?"

Should I plan on all new cables and housing, or are the cables more of a "replace when absolutely necessary" item? I know a good deal of housing is already cracked and broken... what's a good, cheap cable housing to replace it with?

Below is my initial shopping list, minus bars and the salvage yard wheel I hope to score... is there anything critical missing? Anything that is a waste of money at this stage? I do not have a ton of available funds, but I don't want to skimp where I shouldn't, and regret it later.

I REALLY appreciate any and all advice and feedback. I know I'm asking a lot all at once, but I'm eager to expand my knowledge quickly so I can make a bike we can all say, "OOOOH," and, "AHHHHH," about!!!

I also expect to have all this complete within one week. Is that reasonable?

27,183 Posts
Hi James......You said "I also expect to have all this complete within one week. Is that reasonable?"...
....Not if you don't even realize it's a two cylinder engine (you'll need at least two spark-plugs to begin with...)

... I'm just being facetious back at you... :D
Before you start tearing her down too much, go through Bill's (tbpmusic) checklist of things to do with a new aquisition...and at least get cold compression readings ....

You may also want to check here for others' experiences with "old Bike barn".... some members have commented on that supplier....

Premium Member
7,865 Posts
Hello and welcome.

sounds like you've done some good homework and know what you want to do. I have a couple of comments for you.
before you buy new tires, bars, etc, get it running and make sure the engine is sound. it's much easier to do if you haven't dissassembled half the bike like electrics or wheels.
I'd also highly recommend spraying some sea foam deep creep into the cylinders and letting it soak for a few days before trying to get it running. if your rings are frozen or tight in their grooves this will free them before they scar your cylinders. the only things I'd buy immediately are:
spark plugs
spark plug caps
air filters
carb cleaner
compression gauge and test light (if you don't already have them)
save the rest till you know what size your project is. a pretty non runner is not as good as an ugly runner!

Premium Member
175 Posts
james! welcome to the site - I'm excited to see how you make out - I'm actually in the midst of a similar project, except that my bike isn't in as bad condition as yours (there's a link in my signature if you want to see "what's up")

66sprint is spot on - you'll definitely want to test your compression before you take the bike apart - someone once said "you can't get where you're going if you don't know where you are" - corny, but true

check ebay for parts - I bought a complete cb350 gasket kit for less than what I see in your list there - you might also be able to find levers cheaper - it also looks like the two you chose don't match - one has a black end and the other doesn't - STAY AWAY from NOS gasket kits - my girlfriend just bought one and the gasket are all hard and bent into weird shapes. (NOT has oil seal kits - you might need one of those - a little pricey, but more complete than any other other I've found - when removing your old gaskets, they'll probably be stuck to the engine casings - remove them VERY CAREFULLY with a razor blade - keep the blade perpendicular to the component you're scraping - if you dig into the casing, you'll cause a leak down the road (nice pun, no?)

my friend has avons on his bike and loves them - a few guys I know suggested that they were more expensive than necessary and that you can get a perfectly good pair of street tires for a bit more than a single avon - I haven't done any research to that end myself, but you might want to look around

the clymer manual is great - I'd also recommend getting at least one factory service manual - the more you have, the better - they're good for cross-referencing and sometimes the phrasing in one doesn't make any sense but in the other it clicks perfectly - I have two factory service manuals on my site: - you can check out the haynes book too if you'd like another opinion on anything - I have all four in my garage

are you sure you need the clutch springs? Take your crankcase cover off and pull out the clutch plates and springs - the service manual will have tolerance ranges for the clutch plates and the springs - you'll need a set of calipers - don't buy a replacement part until you're sure you need it. you'll definitely need the gaskets and probably some seals, but check everything else out before you buy a replacement - what about your brakes? the service manual will give guidelines on how to tell whether they need to be replaced - in fact, before you touch a wrench peruse the service manual - there's no need to read it cover to cover (yet), but look at the sections for everything you have questions about

I recommend AGM batteries - you don't need to muck with distilled water or a drain tube

also on my site I've got a list of expendable items I've been acquiring for my rebuild - grease, chain cleaner, chain lube, loctite, anti-seize, etc. take a look there - you'll soon find yourself building a collection of chemicals that will make your life a little easier - get some wd40, carb cleaner (I use the BERRYMAN 1-gallon can) and some liquid wrench or PB Blaster to help you take out stuck screws - buy or borrow an impact wrench too

regarding clubmans: I like low handlebars too, but even at my height (5'10") I think that they would hit my knees while turning - I'm not saying it's a bad idea, but just consider that before you buy them.

outobie is right - get some oil - shell rotella is cheap and good - get that or something with a picture of a motorcycle on it - car oil will **** up your wet clutch - I'd check out the points before you buy a new set - if you do need them, check out - mike sells a cb350 tune-up kit that includes points, condenser and spark plugs

do you have a picture of the saddlebags? I might know someone who'd want to take them off your hands - send me a PM

finally, it wouldn't hurt to sign up for LouVinMoto to find some local expertise:

good luck buddy!
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