Archive for May, 2010|Monthly archive page

The engine has left the building

I got the engine out today, it was a tight fit, but it wasn’t too bad. I also picked up my spray guns and researched, selected, and picked up my paint. I decided on lacquer even though it’s not as tough and doesn’t provide as much UV protection as enamel. It’s supposed to be much more forgiving. Each layer of lacquer you lay down amalgamates with the previous layers so don’t have to worry about layer ghosting. Additionally, if you get a run, it dries to a sand-able finish in minutes versus weeks for enamel. I picked up lacquer primer, brilliant silver, jet black, and clear. I’m planing on painting and clearing the frame, swing arm, and wheels black, and the body and cowl silver with about a 2-3″ black stripe all the way down the center with a small black pin-stripes on either side of the main stripe.


Tank and cowl prep

I started on the body work. I was originally dead set on buying a custom tank and seat, but I think this set might look good once I get it where I need it.

The seat was too damn long, it was longer than a solo and shorter than a deus, so I cut it down to a definite solo. I’ve also decided that I need to do a couple of frame modifications to get the look I’m after. I bought the pipe bender you see here to help me with the first frame mod. The original rear of the frame ended at the blinkers, and the seat was mounted far enough back to accommodate. By shortening the seat, I needed to cut the blinker mounts off to clear the curve in the seat cowl. The cowl currently extends past the end of the frame, but I’m going to bend a new section to follow the curve of the bottom of the cowl, and weld it to the end of the current frame where I made the cuts.

Carburetors cleaned and polished

Jasco paint remover + Mothers aluminum polish + Dremel with a tiny polishing wheel = mmmmmmm….shiny!

Seriously though, I never want to polish another carburetor for as long as I live. It took almost four hours per carburetor, this is all I worked on all weekend.

Much better

I pulled the carburetors off the bike, dissembled the leaky number two, and hit all the components with 90 psi of air from the compressor. After getting it back together the leak was no more, so I hooked up my new carb sync gauge and adjusted until I had the same vacuum psi from all four carbs. What a difference correctly tuned carburetors makes, the bike revs without sputtering, idles down quickly, and purs at idle. The gauge was well worth the $50 I paid for it. I also received my Haynes manual, which I will likely be referring to often.

A few issues

So the number two carburetor is leaking like an open spigot, and it’s coming out the intake. The brakes seem to be in good shape, but damn they feel like 33 year old technology. They have two modes, on and off. I may need to see if I can find an after market upgrade, I’m way too spoiled by my R1’s front six caliper dual rotor disks with another disk in the rear. Some of the electrical on this bike was redone, but I think I’ll probably go over all of it, and change anything I don’t like the looks of.  I think the wheels need balancing, but I’ll get to that after I decide what I’m going to do for wheels. The bike runs okay, but the idle is rough, and I don’t feel like I’m getting the 50 horsepower the bike had from the factory. I think the carbs are way out of whack, and I’m hoping that’s what is robbing all the power. I’m going to need to figure out what’s causing the leak, and order a carb sync gauge to see if things improve before I dump of bunch of time into cleaning up these carbs.

A week or two of testing

Before I start the bike tear down, I’m going to ride it for a week or two to see if I can uncover any mechanical issues.

And so it begins…

1977 CB550F

I picked up this 1977 Honda CB550F, the previous owner already converted it to a cafe racer, but I think it’s missing the details that could make it really stand out. I’ve never built/rebuilt a bike, so I hope the ideas in my head translate when the rubber hits the road. The bike is pretty clean for being 33 years old, but it looks better in these picture than it does in person.