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Old 05-14-2008, 11:53 AM   #1
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Default How to - bike sitting for 8 years?

Ok, a wonderful lady I work with has promised me her late husband's honda - I don't know anything about this bike except that:

1) it's free
2) it's been sitting for at least 8 years
3) the brakes are bad

I haven't even seen it, because the shed that it's in is so overgrown with wild blackberry bushes that one can't get inside.

With all that said, I hope to have it in my garage soon.

I'd really like to make sure that I don't kill it in my exhuberence to get it going - and I suspect that there are certain things that will need to be done to get it going, perhaps:

1) rebuild the motor (?)
2) clearly, fix the brakes
3) replace the tires...

etc...

So, my questions:

1) how to get the motor running, without destroying it
2) what might need to be done to make sure it's functional and safe
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Old 05-14-2008, 12:15 PM   #2
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I don't know about the motor, but besides what you said you should also flush and change all the fluids
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Old 05-14-2008, 12:20 PM   #3
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Its always a good idea to get the bike first and see what kind of condition it is in. First thing i would do is clean it all up and see what you really have and need to do. First thing first its good to know that the motor runs so here are some steps.

1) Remove sparkplugs add tablespoon of oil (Honda GN4) to each cylinder. Make sure to leave sparkplugs out (While taking out note the condition of each plug, if engine was running correctly should be whitish brown ceramic and slightly brown on electrode).

2) Check to see if the bike even has any oil in it, if not would be good idea to check oil filter and see what kind of condition it is in. Check for signs of metal shavings etc. Shavings can indicate serious problems manifesting.

3) If ok and no metal shavings, add the correct amount of oil (Honda GN4). Hand crank the kickstart or if no kickstart take off the side cover of your crankcase
(Should be right side and should reveal the points). Should have a bolt or nut in the center that you can get a socket on and crank slowly the first couple of times just to make sure that it does turn freely. If it does turn freely kickstart a few times to get some oil circulating (Make sure bike is turned off).

4) Check the gas tank and see what condition that is in. If you can see rust inside its a no go (post if you have this). Rust will flow through the carbs and block off passages so save yourself some time and possible money and dont attempt to start.

5) If no rust visible in gas tank remove hose from pet**** and drain the fluid into another container (If it does have gas in it).

6) Drain carbs of old gas (if there was any in there chances are yes). Under neither the carbs at the bottom of the float bowl there is a screw and under that a hose leading to the bottom of the cycle. Have something underneath to catch the gas (if thats what is still is.....). Slowly back out the screw till finishes draining then screw back in (do this to all of the carbs). Add gas to the tank (not much though in case there is a leak somewhere) put the pet**** on reserve. Drain the carbs again until you see clean gas flow through then tighten drain screw.

7) Now ready to test the motor and see if it runs (make sure battery is fully charged so ignition system gets good charge).

Good luck, if you have any questions stop and ask.
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Old 05-14-2008, 12:46 PM   #4
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Thank you very much for the detailed reply.

I would assume it's a good idea to leave the oil in the cylinders for awhile, in order that the rings don't stick/break. Is a tablespoon enough? Should I add another tablespoon after slowly turning the motor over?

I'm really concerned that a stuck ring/piston/valve might ruin the whole thing.

Anyway, hopefully I'll get the bike soon & can post more knowlegable questions.
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Old 05-14-2008, 01:15 PM   #5
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Can add a bit more if you like, cranking should spread the oil and such around the rings. Ive never personally experienced a broken ring but i suppose if the piston was seized or no oil and moisture got in it could rust itself to the cylinder. Probably wouldnt worry about it to much, if you do get it running right away i would just run it for a minute or two and stop it. Atleast you know the motor runs then you can change air filter etc. radiator fluid also if its liquid cooled.

When is the soonest you can get the bike?
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Old 05-14-2008, 01:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 03civex View Post
When is the soonest you can get the bike?
Don't know. She doesn't seem too motivated to let me hack my own way through the bushes to get it. I've offered to do some "gardening work" to get it out, so we'll see.
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Old 05-14-2008, 01:55 PM   #7
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Is it really that hard to get into? -lol- may try offering her like $20 to just cut down enough to get into and get the bike. P.S-You can add reputation points to people that really help or offer good advice.
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Old 05-21-2008, 01:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 03civex View Post
Its always a good idea to get the bike first and see what kind of condition it is in. First thing i would do is clean it all up and see what you really have and need to do. First thing first its good to know that the motor runs so here are some steps.

1) Remove sparkplugs add tablespoon of oil (Honda GN4) to each cylinder. Make sure to leave sparkplugs out (While taking out note the condition of each plug, if engine was running correctly should be whitish brown ceramic and slightly brown on electrode).

2) Check to see if the bike even has any oil in it, if not would be good idea to check oil filter and see what kind of condition it is in. Check for signs of metal shavings etc. Shavings can indicate serious problems manifesting.

3) If ok and no metal shavings, add the correct amount of oil (Honda GN4). Hand crank the kickstart or if no kickstart take off the side cover of your crankcase
(Should be right side and should reveal the points). Should have a bolt or nut in the center that you can get a socket on and crank slowly the first couple of times just to make sure that it does turn freely. If it does turn freely kickstart a few times to get some oil circulating (Make sure bike is turned off).

4) Check the gas tank and see what condition that is in. If you can see rust inside its a no go (post if you have this). Rust will flow through the carbs and block off passages so save yourself some time and possible money and dont attempt to start.

5) If no rust visible in gas tank remove hose from pet**** and drain the fluid into another container (If it does have gas in it).

6) Drain carbs of old gas (if there was any in there chances are yes). Under neither the carbs at the bottom of the float bowl there is a screw and under that a hose leading to the bottom of the cycle. Have something underneath to catch the gas (if thats what is still is.....). Slowly back out the screw till finishes draining then screw back in (do this to all of the carbs). Add gas to the tank (not much though in case there is a leak somewhere) put the pet**** on reserve. Drain the carbs again until you see clean gas flow through then tighten drain screw.

7) Now ready to test the motor and see if it runs (make sure battery is fully charged so ignition system gets good charge).

Good luck, if you have any questions stop and ask.
+1 Excellent!! I would, once it is running, run some Sea Foam or B12 through it for the first few tanks. This will really clean up the internals!
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Old 05-23-2008, 08:38 PM   #9
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Eight years? The fuel in the float bowls is well on it's way to turning back into dinosaurs. No amount of SeaFoam or any other magical nostrum will fix that. Those carbs will have to be cleaned the old fashioned way. Drink three brandy old fashioneds and get to it. It'll run. Heck, fix it in the shed and ride through those blackberry bushes on your way out.

Old Hondas never die, they just wait.
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Old 05-31-2008, 05:01 AM   #10
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I agree with pintslayer. If the bike had any fuel in it at all it with have turned to pine pitch by now, I would also worry about gaskets and hoses , they don't last forever. Check for cracks in hoses and the like.
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Old 07-08-2008, 05:52 PM   #11
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she hired a site clearing crew with a backhoe to hack through the blackberries. Believe me, I would loose limbs riding through the monster wild blackberries growing around here.

getting the bike this weekend, and will report back with questions and insights.

what is "cleaning the carb the old fashioned way"? I'd assume this means I have to seperate the float bowls and scrub, right?
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Old 07-08-2008, 06:51 PM   #12
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Meaning completely disassemble the carbs (remove float bowls, jets, needle and seat, slides yada yada yada) and soak the mess in B12 Chemdip for awhile. You can buy rebuild kits for bike carbs through many places on the net. they are well worth the money as they come with new needles, seats, jets.....
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Old 07-08-2008, 09:12 PM   #13
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Try this, http://www.dansmc.com/troubleshooting.htm . If this doesn't help try this, http://www.dansmc.com/troubleshooting2.htm . Hope one or both of these help you with your new bike. Good luck to getting into that shed and getting it.
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Old 07-10-2008, 03:42 AM   #14
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bike shoes?
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Old 07-10-2008, 09:35 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pintslayer View Post
Old Hondas never die, they just wait.

I have not heard such a true statement before!

I agree with most of what has been said here, but have my own approach to it. I will just assume that it needs a few things and make sure to do it meticulously and correctly the first time. Bodywork and seat aside (those things do not cause the bike to work or not, just appearance is all, and that is not the major concern at the time).

I would definately put some oil in the cylinders through the spark plugs and let it sit for at least a day, then add just another teaspoon more. Then, I could remove the alternator cover and use a rotor bolt on the wrench to turn the engine - this way you an do it SLOWLY and with control.

Oh, back up one step - before I did this, I would a.) order carb gasket sets from yamahaoftroy.com (yes, I realize it is a Honda and this place is the largest national Honda parts dealer, they just also have yamahas and chose that name I suppose) - be sure to order the same number of sets as you have carbs. Then take the carbs completely apart (getting a clymer's or, if you are lucky, an OEM manual - sometimes, depending on the bike, you can find these online, will help). Also, you will want to get a bucket of carb cleaner (I used Berryman's for mine - Autozone has it, and it worked great!). Discard all the old o rings and place the carb body, jets, needle, etc. into the cleaner to soak. The directions say 15-30 minutes. Huh uh - more like 3 days (it will not hurt it, trust me, I just did it). I would also soak the floats in here for about 1 day. Pull them out - shake them - if there is liquid in them, they are shot - get new sets (again, happened to me). Also, do NOT put the needle piston with the diaphragm in the cleaner, it will kill the diphragm. Carefully inspect this diaphragm for any tears, dryrot, holes, etc. If you have any of these, they need to be replaced. I usually clean this with mild soap and water and then clean them off with the "natural" armor all protectant -but be sure to wipe it all back off - this will increase the life of it.

Once the carbs come out - be sure to scrub the parts with a toothbrush and I used canned carb cleaner to shoot through all the little holes in the carb body and the jets - then follow this up with compressed air. Put these all back together, and your carbs should be fine.

Check the condition of the tank - I am willing to bet that there is rust in it (possibly varnish as well). You can coat the tank, but if I were you, to save on money at this point, I would simply clean it as best as I could and then use in-line fuel filters to start with, you can coat the tank later if you want. That reminds me, I would take the fuel valve apart and clean it and put it back together too. (Get the point, lots o cleaning! But well worth it, I say).

New plugs are a given...

Now back to the engine - with the oil settled in, slowly turn the engine around a few times - hopefully you can feel the compression building up and releasing as you turn it. I would also take off the tappet covers and watch the rocker arms and valves move. I would also take the points cover off and check the movement on those as well. If you cannot turn it - then, while it is not horrible news, it means your engine is seized which requires more work, however, I am thinking that this would be unlikely, unless it siezed before it was left sitting.

You will probably need to adjust the cam chain tension, which on a honda is probably very easy to do (cannot really give details until I know what bike it is).

Next, I would check the points, be sure that they are opening and closing as they should and are in good condition. If they are not, you can try to clean them a bit, or simply replace them. I would guess that they are probably good enough though.

As I have just found out, the timing is pretty darn easy to fix so long as you have the right tools - I made a timing bulb out of an old lawnmower light, some 12 guage wire and two alligator clips - works like a charm. the index marks on the rotor makes this job pretty simple.

Now, to avoid more work and money at this point, I would change the oil and then try to start her up. It will probably take a few times, but hek with Honda's it may take only two time if everything is done correctly. See how that works.

There are a couple other things to tweak, but I wouldn't think it would be necessary at this point (i.e., the gap between the rocker arms and the valve stem, etc.)

I know it sounds like a lot, and it will take a bit of time and patience, but it will be all worth it when you hear it fire up the first time. It really isn't too much once you get into it.


Oh, I almost forgot, this is just to get it running - you will need to pay attention to other things before you actually ride it. Adjust cables, fix brakes, lube cables (or replace if needed), tires, etc. Oh, and wash it, there is dissenting opinion on this, but I say a bike that has been sitting so long runs much better after it has been cleaned! Same as people!

Good luck, it can be done, and let's see some pictures as soon as you get it!

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Old 07-10-2008, 11:32 AM   #16
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Some before and after pictures would be very appreciated. It sounds like you're at the beginning of a very exciting adventure! Best of luck to you.

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Old 07-11-2008, 04:20 AM   #17
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Good luck with your project. Please let us know what type of bike it is as soon as you get it home. There has been lots of good advice already so I only have a few things to add without knowing what it is you have. I agree with everyone who says that the carbs will definately need to be rebuilt, but soaking them in a tub of carb cleaner can be a very bad thing to do unless you really know what your doing. Depending on what type of carb set up you have, single carb- multi carb etc. Multi carb setups have seals between each carb that can only be replaced by seperating the carbs. If you have never done this before chances of geting it right are slim to none. You can get almost any carb set cleaned by removing all the jets and using a good aerosal can carb cleaner and an air compressor. You will also have less parts to replace this way. If you take real care taking them apart, you may not need to replace anything. It really depends on what you end up with. You never know, you may get a real gem for free. Good luck. We can all help you more as soon as we know what it is.
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Old 07-13-2008, 12:22 AM   #18
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I have an 81 CM400C. It has a spun rod bearing. I bought an 80 CM400T parts bike for $50! So, the dude I bought it from says the motor was running when last ridden, 15 years ago!!! Anyway, one of the sparkplug holes we're left uncovered(without a plug in it)! So I ran some air through it, and rust blew out and through the exhaust pipe as well. Oh, man, so the honda oil for sure in the cylinder. I have also heard to put gas, diesel, or wd40 in there. Also, I don't have a kickstart on these bikes, so how do I slowly turn this motor over? My last motor was sitting for 10 years, but with the cylinders plugged, and I just poured gas in them and turned the motor over with starter switch and no spark. After kranking for a while, I put the spark on and it fired right up. The rod bearing was bad before I bought it. The guy told me, but I needed to find out how bad. At any rate, I have this other motor too bring back to life! Any opinions on preparing this motor for start up? Thanks
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Old 07-13-2008, 02:04 AM   #19
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You can turn the engine over with a wrench. One side or the other (I can't remember on the CM400 off the top of my head) take off the access cover and just turn it right off the bolt in the end of the crank. It sounds like the original motor is probably the one worth rebuilding.
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Old 07-13-2008, 06:31 AM   #20
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Yeah, I already have a crank+rods being shipped. I just happend to stumble onto this deal in the process of rebuilding the original motor. Out of all the bikes in the world this guy has my parts bike 1/4 mile down the road from me! And I live on a rural country road! The $50 bike was worth it just for the extra carbs/CDI and whatnot. I don't like the rust in the cylinder though. We'll see! Here's a pic of the original bike that I bought for $100. This pic is from the day I purched it.

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Old 07-13-2008, 12:24 PM   #21
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Ok!!! actually got the bike yesterday. It is a 1980 Honda CB900C which is an inline 4, 4 carbs, electric start (no kick) shaft drive. It appears it has been sitting since roughly 1992 (that's more like 16 years than 8!) and was put away "unworking" because it was partly disassembled (seat off, battery not bolted in, but no other parts taken off)

In better visual shape than I expected, but obviously needs love.

I pulled the plugs, they are black on the tips.

The carbs have nothing in them. the fuel petc**k was turned off. can't see rust in the tank, but can't see anything in there at all actually due to the shape of the tank. I'll inspect more today.

Bike has about 26k miles on it.

tires look good, actually. need to change them for safety I suppose, but prob ok for testing (can ride it to the shop 1 mile away to get them changed when the time comes...)

air cleaner needs replacing

throttle is wobbly on the handlebars

it was stored in a garage, so that's good.

today, I'm hoping to change the oil, gear oil, spark plugs, pull the carbs.

wondering what would happen if I just took off the float bowls, and got the dust/crud out of them...probably need a rebuild on the carbs regardless, but I'd like to get it running before I drop a lot of coin on it..

??
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Old 07-13-2008, 02:20 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tranceamerica View Post
wondering what would happen if I just took off the float bowls, and got the dust/crud out of them...probably need a rebuild on the carbs regardless, but I'd like to get it running before I drop a lot of coin on it...
sooo...if you do that and it doesn't run, is it because you were impatient, or because something is wrong with the engine?

Take your time and do it right... You've gotten some great advice in this thread, don't blow it now!
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Old 07-13-2008, 08:26 PM   #23
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sooo...if you do that and it doesn't run, is it because you were impatient, or because something is wrong with the engine?

Take your time and do it right... You've gotten some great advice in this thread, don't blow it now!
LOL - I'll only blame myself. =)

The news is that it runs.

the other news is that the carbs are coming off tomorrow - they leak like crazy, #3 & #4 are leaking out of their drain ports badly (yes, the drain valves are seated...) and #3 seems to be leaking from "other points above".

I changed the oil and turned it over manually yesterday. Today, changed the gas out (yes, rust in the gas tank...so what do I do about that?) and jump started it.

idles smoothly, but didn't try to pick the rpm's up. noticed that gas was flowing freely off the bottom of the bike, traced it back to the drain ports on #3 and #4 carbs.

So, shut the whole thing down.

Looks like carbs are coming off for a rebuild regardless. lots of good reasons to do that.
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Old 07-14-2008, 12:51 AM   #24
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Hate to sound like a broken capt. obvious record here, but yes a carb rebuild is in order; actually, if it were me, I would take them all apart, buy 4 new carb gasket sets, clean the carbs and jets etc. in berryman's or your favorite tub o carb cleaner then put it back together. I have found that so long as you clean the jets really well (and granted that the needle does not have a groove from sitting so long), a rebuild is not always necessary.

When are we getting some pictures? That sounds like a sweet deal you got! Actually, pretty much any bike for free is a sweet deal, but this is a great bike too, so bonus on that one.

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Old 07-14-2008, 01:13 AM   #25
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will take some good photos tomorrow.

so I can buy just a gasket set - w/o having to get the full rebuild kit? I took a look at cyclepartsnation.com and they list SKU: 16010-461-405
GASKET SET (Honda Code 3997251) which looks like it costs about $29, and it looks like I'd need 4 of them, is this right?

I didn't see a rebuild kit - looked like I'd have to buy each part separately. wonder how I'd know what to buy w/o taking the carbs apart. Probably the answer is that I wouldn't.

doh. now I see your link to yamahaoftroy.com. I'll check them out too.

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Old 07-14-2008, 01:30 AM   #26
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Looks like your source is a few cents cheaper.

And yes, I am assuming that you would have to buy four (though the way they have it pictured on the schemo, it could get confusing.

Yeah, there is no real way to check without taking them apart.

As far as a rebuild kit - if you wanted to buy them OEM (if all parts are even available - you will find sometimes that, for whatever reason, you can get like the primary main jet and secondary main jet holder OEM, but not the primary main jet holder and secondary main jet.

The rebuild "kits" are aftermarket and usually come with everything, even gaskets. Since your gasket sets are so expensive by themselves, it may make sense to go ahead and order the rebuild kits, as they may be close to the same price and at worst, you will just have extra jets and such in case you need them. The one thing that you have to look for though is the jet #'s contained in the kits. Sometimes, especially with Honda's, companies will have sets that contain all but, say the correct needle number and you will have to buy that separately.

I would get an OEM manual or at least try to find a good source on what sizes you need. Actually, believe it or not, you can call Honda directly at 866-784-1870 and they can tell you anything you want to know - and do not charge a thing. Hey, I didn't believe it either till I tried it.

If you do not have one already, here is a link to a free download of Honda CB750k, Cb900 DOHC Fours Haynes Service Manual. http://downloads.hondatech.info/Moto...20Eng%2CPl.rar

That should give you what you need and then some!

Mike
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Old 07-14-2008, 09:24 AM   #27
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I can't believe that thing started up! It just goes to show how important properly putting your bike away can be. Good luck and congratulations on your successes so far!

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Old 07-14-2008, 01:36 PM   #28
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I can't believe that thing started up! It just goes to show how important properly putting your bike away can be. Good luck and congratulations on your successes so far!

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it runs...but gas pours out of the bottom of the carbs. weird how it leaks out the drain ports, with the drain valve closed. I'd think it would have not been leaking when put away, and time would only clog up that port even more.

I'm sure I'll have the answer soon - even if I have to block off the drain port.
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Old 07-15-2008, 12:03 AM   #29
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When you think you have those carbs clean, clean em again. Just use an entire can of carb cleaner on em. Then get another can, and use it up too. Carb cleaner, toothbrush, and air. Watch those plastic parts though. That carb cleaner will melt plastic. Your gas will pour out when the floats are not set. I would replace those float needle seats while your in em. The carbs we're probably set pretty good when the bike was put away, so I wouldn't turn any settings until you have them REAL clean. DEFINATELY, put a fuel filter on. You'll wanna get that rusty tank lined, but without a filter the carbs are just gonna get clogged up again, quick. Good luck and congrats!

Last edited by Gnash; 07-15-2008 at 12:05 AM..
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Old 07-15-2008, 01:10 PM   #30
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got the carbs off last night and removed the float bowls. a bit of rust deposits inside of them, but other than that, they look pretty clean. Looks like clean up won't be too hard.

The leak seems associated with the drain port, which also has an overflow tube associated with it





[/

you can see this tube poking up in the middle of the float bowl. it has a linear crack running vertically. Not sure you can see the crack in this photo, but it's there. This crack is only in the bowl for carb #4 - which had the worst fuel leak. essentially, the crack allows fuel to leak out, even when it's not overflowing.

I'm assuming the tube is there to let fuel out if the float is stuck or sinking.

not sure why carb #3 was leaking too, but I assume that the float for #3 was stuck. I checked the float for #3, and it floats (does not fill or sink), so this is all I can assume for now.

I'm thinking that I will solder the crack in the tube for #4. my choices to fix it are either to replace the whole bowl, solder the crack, or cap the drain port. Soldering seems like the best/cheapest solution, and if it fails, I can always replace the bowl.

Last edited by shelzmike; 07-15-2008 at 01:59 PM.. Reason: Fixed the Image Links
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Old 07-15-2008, 01:49 PM   #31
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You, my friend, are a regular first class detective I should say that this would cause a leak. As far as soldering it - I say you have nothing to lose, just be sure that you do not solder the regular holes!

As far as posting the picture, if you send me a PM of the link (you can spell it out or put spaces in between some of the letters) I will post it for you.

Mike
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Old 07-15-2008, 02:02 PM   #32
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Fixed the images for you. Holy cow! You didn't say it had a sidecar..That is awesome. While I wouldn't use one all the time, it would be cool to have so that I can take both my boys (9 and 10) at the same time when we go to the store. Without one, I am the coolest (one who is riding) and worst (one who is not) dad in the world!

Not to mention my 1 year old daughter is dying to ride it, but of course she cannot. But if I had a side car, and took it to the abandoned supermarket parking lot across the street, she would be a happy camper!

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Old 07-15-2008, 02:11 PM   #33
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Fixed the images for you. Holy cow! You didn't say it had a sidecar..That is awesome. While I wouldn't use one all the time, it would be cool to have so that I can take both my boys (9 and 10) at the same time when we go to the store. Without one, I am the coolest (one who is riding) and worst (one who is not) dad in the world!

Not to mention my 1 year old daughter is dying to ride it, but of course she cannot. But if I had a side car, and took it to the abandoned supermarket parking lot across the street, she would be a happy camper!

Mike
LOL. thought I had mentioned that. yeah, I'd always said that I wanted a bike, but wife reminded me that I had a family who wanted to come too. only solution was a sidecar, and of course, it was just a stroke of luck that the free bike also had a sidecar attached to it.
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Old 07-15-2008, 02:17 PM   #34
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Dude, what a score! That float bowl is still filthy though!
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Old 07-15-2008, 02:23 PM   #35
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Dude, what a score! That float bowl is still filthy though!
haven't cleaned the bowl yet. that pic was taken when I just took it off.
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Old 07-15-2008, 02:38 PM   #36
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Yeah, man...those things are expensive. Many times more so than the bike itself!

Mike
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Old 07-21-2008, 12:51 PM   #37
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WOW! You got a great deal on that bike. When you said it was free I was expecting a lot worse.
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Old 08-20-2008, 04:34 PM   #38
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hey trance, any updates this month?
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Old 08-20-2008, 04:49 PM   #39
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LOL - JUST got my plates today, and will be riding tonight/tomorrow/this weekend. Took forever due to deceased Previous Owner & lost title. yet, the gods of government have granted true ownership upon me.

Got it running, rebuilt the rear brake master cylinder, lights functional, etc.

Still need new tires, and to determine if all is in working order.
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Old 02-24-2013, 02:30 AM   #40
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Quote:
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Old Hondas never die, they just wait.
These are encouraging words to someone who has a honda with a lot to do before if runs.

thanks you!
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