Honda Twins banner

1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I posted this on reddit and was advised to try here too:

I am the rueful owner of a 1975 Honda CB360. I live in LA county for reference.

I spent a couple of months searching for something in my size/price range for my first bike. I ended up buying it in the fall of 2014 for $2,300 from a private seller off craigslist. It ran fine when I got it and had a little over 8k miles on it.

The first problem I had came after about a week of riding when I blew the main fuse. It happened a couple more times, so I call/text the former owner to see if she had any issues like this, but never hear back. I was able to get it to a shop that had a lot of good reviews on yelp. After I got it back from them, I found my bike wouldn't start the next day. Turns out when they were working on it they bypassed the fuse and never replaced it. I manage to get it back to them (where one of my charges include a battery charge), only to have it die on me again a few days later.

I decide to take it to a more established shop in the area, also with many great yelp reviews. It took this shop about a month to finally get around to working on my bike (after numerous phone calls over those weeks where I'm told each time it'll be done in just a few more days). I drive it home to find almost bare wires rubbing against the chain and other uninsulated wires elsewhere (they had replaced the wiring harness). I take it back and they go over it, securing whatever was loose/bare, and I'm on my way again.

A couple weeks go by and I begin having more problems. I'm no longer blowing fuses, but my (third) battery is slowly draining over the course of the week, requiring me to put it on the charger every few days. Except for when I first get it off the charger, I have to kick start it. In addition to this I have very sluggish and unpredictable acceleration and a jerky ride. Basically it constantly jerks slightly forward, and especially when on the highway it will give me a slow, unsteady acceleration, usually getting stuck around 50 mph, and finally kicking in after a minute or two and getting up to 65.

This goes on for a couple months. I leave for the summer, so I just store it and figure I'll get it to another shop when I get back. I return and my friend hooks me up with his friend who has a renowned shop. It takes about a month again to get it back, but they do it on the cheap. On my ride home, I notice the same problems. A couple days after that, all my rear lights go out.

I asked r/motola a couple months ago who does good work on old Hondas, and they give me some good leads on some shops. I get it towed to another reputable shop they recommended. A few days later, I go to pick it up. On the test ride it's fine. I pay and go to drive home, when it promptly begins to die again everytime I decelerate. I head back to the shop, eventually having to push it the last couple blocks. They figure it's the condensers, replace them, and I'm on my way. The next day I drive to my friend's about 40 min away. Everything is great for a while, but a mile from my house on the return trip it dies again. It's back to blowing fuses. I push it the rest of the way home, and have it towed back to the shop a couple days later.
They say the starter is shorting out. I have one shipped to them, and a week later today they tell me it's good to go. I pick it up today and drive it home. Again, everything seems fine. I park, turn it off, and the fuse blows again. The shop says they'll check it out tomorrow for free, but I'm doubting they'll find the problem, and it's going to cost me another $65 to tow it just to find that out. I've now put well more into it than it's blue booked at, and more than I even paid for it.

As far as I know, EVERY electrical piece has been replaced at least once. I'd hate to scrap it, but I won't try and scam someone and sell them a POS bike in an attempt to recoup some losses.

The best part is after every time I've picked it up from each shop, I'm told that it'll "practically run forever now". Basically I don't get why none of the best motorcycle mechanics in Los Angeles can figure out how to fix what is essentially a glorified lawn mower. I can't imagine that all of them are that incompetent or deceitful.

I wish I could say this is the first time I've dealt with this stuff, but this is actually nothing compared to my last car, which included a tale spanning three years, four shops (having my car stolen and being defrauded over a grand by one), and a blown engine before finally ending up selling it for parts for nothing compared to what I put into it. I'm not putting anymore into this one, and will mostly likely be buying a new bike soon. I'm at my wits end with this thing. If I can get one of my friends with a truck to get it back to my shop, I'll give them one more shot to try and fix it.

So does anyone have any idea as to what it may be? I'll pass all suggestions along to my mechanic. Alternatively, does anyone have a hipster vintage apparel store that could use a bike in a display window?

TLDR: '75 Honda continues to have electrical problems for over a year, and four different shops can't seem to figure out what it is.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
400 Posts
Hey Motter,

Sorry to hear about your problems, my first build was a '74 cb360 and it left me on the highway. The charging issue won't really be a surprise to anyone who owned one of these before, you can get upgraded electrical system components like rectifiers/regulators and stators but they can be a pain and don't guarantee a fix. What I ended up doing was installing a digital voltmeter and mounting it to my handlebars, that showed the real voltage and how fast it was going down. Technically these bikes only 'charge' the battery above a certain RPM so on the highway its fine but in stop and go its only a matter of time before it goes flat. This could be the issues you're having with acceleration, if you're battery is low then the bike won't behave correctly as mine taught me in the past. If suddenly the bike starts to behave correctly after a minute cruising at 50mph then you might have put some charge back into the battery and life is great again. I'm shocked that none of these mechanics took the bike for a ride after the fixes, maybe they just started them up in the shop and shut them down assuming it was fixed.

I've bought quite a few components from Charlie's Place up in LA and am really happy with the quality. They sell upgraded rectifier/regulator combos and might even install it for you if you take your bike there. Similarly you can look at Dime City Cycles online and see their charging kit (Ricks Motorsport Electrics "Hot Shot" High Output Charging Kit for Honda CB/CL350 Twin 68-73, SL350K 70, CB/CL360 74-76 | Honda CB350 CL350 CB360 CL360 Charging Kit). I didn't install this myself but have heard a lot of great things about it. The headlight alone takes 50W of drain so converting the bulb to a lower 35W or even an LED can help a lot too, while we're on the topic, converting any bulb to a lower wattage LED can help dramatically but I don't have any experience doing that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,770 Posts
Im no 360 expert but charging on most honda twins is sketchy at best. All your shop trips should have given you itemised reciepts. It would be good to see them to know exactly what was replaced and with what, ie so they replaced the harness but with a second hand one or NOS/remake etc
Also how do you ride, the 175's I muck about with wont really break even let alone charge untill the engine is at 5000rpm, at idle its drawing from the battery so if theres traffic, lights and stop start riding for only short distances at low speed you need a trickle charger to top up the battery after you ride
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,614 Posts
Charge - and test (or have someone test) - that battery.

BtW, was it ever determined what was causing the fuses to blow when you purchased it? If a well-meaning but ignorant PO replaced one or more of them with SAE fuses instead of metric, that could have led to issues as they are sized ever so slightly different than the correct metric fuses (but not enough so that the difference jumps out at a person).

Regards,
 
  • Like
Reactions: frogman79

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,550 Posts
Sounds like an all too common issue with vintage motorcycles, it is not unlikely to have issues with wiring. Connections corrode over time, wires become brittle and fray, grounds become rusted or loose, etc. Long list of things that can and will happen to a bike that old depending on where it lives in the country. PO's replace things with incorrect parts, rectifiers go out or in my case corrode through and short out, light switches get full of crap. Agree 100% with MDM.

Sounds like to me you have messed with 4 different shops that shouldn't be working on vintage stuff, which is not uncommon either. That is why this forum exists, these bikes are not all that hard to fix/figure out, you just have to have the time and patience to work on them on your own. Electrical is not hard, just requires common sense, a multi meter and a wiring schematic to figure out. Charging issues are very common, it sounds like you have one, almost sounds the same issue as I had with mine, which was a bad rectifier and corroded terminals at the rectifier connection.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
473 Posts
I would agree with most, that you have a charging issue. Also you didn't mention if the bike has been modified, possibly an undersized battery if cafe'd. But still the best advice for vintage bike owners, is to learn how to work on it yourself. The first question any of those shops should have been able to answer is, "what was the voltage to the battery at any specified rpm". As well as did that voltage vary with RPM change. In 1975 headlight's were turned on during daytime riding as well, so compensation for that additional amperage requirement would have to be addressed if a battery size change was part of a PO custom work.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,838 Posts
If the entire wiring harness was changed, that should have taken care of most of the connection/corrosion issues. Where did they get the new harness?

As stated, working on the bike yourself can save a lot of money, down time, frustration and doubt. Most places do not know how to work on these old bikes and as you have found out, they screw it up and take your money.

I would take Doode up on his offer, you two can go over it together and get a better idea of the shape your bike is in. When done properly, these are very reliable bikes.

If you are not willing to work on the bike then as you mentioned, a newer bike would probably be better.
 
  • Like
Reactions: dtsmjr8dan

·
Registered
Joined
·
569 Posts
+1 to what Jim said. It is intimidating at first, but once you dive in you will truly get to know your bike and these twins are very accessible to work on. I'd give doode a ring and between the two of you it could be a fun experience and hopefully you will be able to diagnose the problem and perhaps have a new friend to ride with!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,796 Posts
I also think it would be beneficial to both you and Doode. Two heads are always better than one. And doode has some experience with these twins and Hondas as he owns one.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for the advice guys. Short explanation, working on it myself isn't really an option for me, especially right now.
@Finnigan, I caved and took it to Charlie's. I'm going to basically have the thing rebuilt and it's going to cost way more than I wanted, but at least I'll have a fully functioning bike and a solid guarantee on the work.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
539 Posts
Motter - I understand your position, but trust no one. Even reputable shops don't know what's best (often) for these old bikes. I have a 360 - check to see that the starter relay (behind the battery) isn't touching the bottom of your seat pan. This will draw power when on and blow fuses as well. Look under that seat and see if things are flopping around back there.

Honestly, if you're going to have an old bike at some point you're going to have to start working on it yourself. Trust me, I've been where you are.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 76TWIN
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top