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Discussion Starter #1
So I'm going to document my work on the 85 Nighthawk I picked up.
(I will post pics for everything once I'm allowed.)

First a bit o' back story:
My first bike was 78 Kawasaki KZ 400 that I picked up from a buddy when I was 20 for $450 that I was "totally going to rebuild." It's still in pieces in my old man's garage.​
The first bike I rode regularly was a 98 Honda Shadow 600 vlx. I bought it, rode it, and did normal maintenance. I've got a little bit of auto wrenching under my belt as I'm to damn cheap to go to a mechanic... plus it's fun. So the Shadow taught some of the basics about bikes.​
My wife and I decided to move from the Midwest to the Pacific Northwest after college so I gave the Shadow to my dad, half as a Christmas gift and half as garage-space-rent lol.:) After a couple of years out here we needed a second vehicle and I wanted a bike. Low and behold I wandered across the 85 Honda Nighthawk cb450sc on my way to work one day. It was running but no tail and only $900. I figured what the hell.​
I didn't know jack squat about auto electrics :confused: so I spent a while in the YouTube classroom and figured out how to trouble shoot the brake light, turned out to be a loose wire in a connector and ordered a replacement chain. While waiting for the chain the head light and starter quit. Gummed up kill switch. Found out that dielectric grease on a slide switch like my start button will short it, hmmm who knew. :eek: Went through a box of fuses to figure that one out.​
Right now she runs and all the lights light-up proper like. Lots of little things that need love but no major problems... yet.​
 

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Six-String Jockey
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Doc,
Welcome to the forum from Reno. That's exciting about your restoration project. Have fun, and good luck!

The one piece of advice I give to people starting a restoration is this: Your camera is YOUR BEST FRIEND. Take photos of EVERYTHING! Take them before from 5 different angles. Take them during the procedure OFTEN. If it has movie capabilities, take movies of yourself showing that little part you just took out of the clutch pack and how the "pointy" end goes in first. You will refer back to those photos a million times and thank God you took them every time.

By the way, I have a friend who'd like to meet you. His name is Cruiser and you can see him in "Shredder's Stable". He's a 1978 KZ400!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Graceshredder,

I actually got the idea to do this after reading your thread about the Super 90. It seemed like a good idea to track it so I could look back and see what all I had managed. Plus, maybe it would help someone esle.

I saw the KZ400 in the Super 90 thread. Beautiful job, looks a hell of a lot better than my pile lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'ma call her Blue Lightnin' :biggrin:

I have to admit the blue did kind of sell me on it. My KZ400 is also blue... I think. It's been a couple of years since I've seen it. I really dig the deep ice blue color on bikes, especially if there's that little bit of shine in it.

SlumLord I didn't get any link or pic. Is it broke or is it not allowed since I'm such a newbie?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
...umm Slumlord... how'd you get my bike. You know what I don't care, looks like you cleaned up some of the rust, I'll take it.

Seriously, that is the same as mine down to the tear in the left side seam of the seat. Did you have to clean the rust up and if so how did you pull it off? After I finish the normal 30 year scheduled tune up I want to start cleaning up the looks of it.
 

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Ok, Slumlord,
That Nighthawk is WAY too nice looking for that ripped seat. Don't make me send Indy over . . . :biggrin:
Recommendations for a seat vendor?

Also,I just got a basket case seat CL175 with bad seat foam as well as needing a decent seat cover. If it runs,it might need a seat as well..

Now,I am up to seven and I jokingly call them Slumlords Stumble in honor of the Stable :icon_cool:


Yes,the bike is in nice shape. OOOO steel wool and WD-40 took care of the chrome. Tire foam cleaner made the perfect engine paint and wheels shine like new
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I'm going to have to redo my seat as well before too long. I've watched a couple of videos on YouTube about DIY seats. I've done some sewing by hand and machine and I'm tempted to give it a go by my self.

Right now I need to find a new place to work on it. Just moved into a new apartment and I'm not sure where to pull it apart without pissing somebody off. *sigh*
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I've had the bike out several times this week and I have to say, all in all, it handles well. Unfortunately my throttle is kinda sticky. More than 10 or fifteen minutes in traffic and my forearm starts to hurt. The cables look good... now I just need to lube them.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
What's your MPG?

So I've been taking the bike out as much as I can since it runs fairly well. On my first trip out I was having this weird lurching problem. I would hit the throttle and I would be fine, then a slight loss of power, then fine. :frown: I was thinkning fuel flow problem. Turns out I was right... I was out of gas. I had only put a gallon in while I was working on her and hadn't put any more in. :biggrin: So, I felt like a twit.

I fueled her up, 3 gallons, and took off again. About 10:30 last night, while on the interstate, I was cruising along at 5 to maybe... 20 or 30 over when suddenly the engine dies. I coast across 3 lanes of traffic and try to figure out what's wrong. I F*ING RAN OUT OF GAS AGAIN! 94 miles into a tank that was supposed to last 120 to 150. I got about 31 mpg.
:71baldboy:
Anybody got any clue about what could be causing such a drain on my mpg?
Or is my info wrong and the cb450 doesn't get 50 mpg?
 

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About the only thing I can offer on that engine and carb problems is that the idle circuit can be incredibly lean. I have had my carbs off to clean them gobs of times. In fact I keep the carbs hooked up to the throttle cable and remove an engine brace so I can clean them on the bike -- just faster that way

If I do not clean them the situation gets worse and then the bike backfires through the carbs which is also a symptom of a lean condition. There is a washer mod mentioned on some of the other forums that I might try. I wonder if a PO did the mod on your bike and now it is too rich?? There are also some caps on the side of the carb. I have to wonder if there are some "EPA Do not adjust" screws beneath them that need cleaning and adjustment because the air screws at the front and underneath the bowls are the ones that I am constantly having to remove and clean. I never see a spot of dirt on them,but the bike runs better once I do

I get about 45 MPG if I recall. Try running your bike at 55 MPH or so for a tank of fuel or so with maybe i ounce per gallon of seafoam. The Magna I run gets 31MPG and that is running in a spirited riding mode despite my best efforts to keep it easy on the throttle. Yes,your mileage is pretty bad.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Pics, as promised

So here's that 78 Kz 400. It might need some TLC...

...OK a whole hell of a lot of TLC. I think my dad is about to lay salvage claim to it lol.

This is the 85 Nighthawk 450 the first time I saw it. I snapped this photo on my way to work so I could look it up and then call the PO.


I took this one right after I managed to get the tail light working, I did something that killed the head light while working... turns out I blew the ancient fuse for it lol.


I'll see if I can't track down a pic of my old 97 Shadow somewhere to throw up here as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
The joys of classics.

So my brother used to drive a late 70's firebird. He loved that car, was constantly working on it, refurbishing bits here and there, burying other ones that didn't run for parts, and, as I'm sure you can guess, given it was his main transport, he was constantly asking for rides from the middle of nowhere when he broke down. :biggrin: I never understood why he put up with it.

I'm starting to get it though.

I went to warm up the Nighthawk this morning and found out that my tach doesn't work :confused: Nothing else seems to have broken so I'm going to blame the cable. I didn't notice anything wrong with it last time I went poking around but I wasn't looking. My Shadow didn't have a tach so I got used to shifting by sound.

Is there any reason I should stress about getting it replaced quickly if it is cable?
 

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Six-String Jockey
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Not that I can think of. Did you by chance look at the underside of the tach to make sure it just hadn't unscrewed itself and fallen out? (personal experience there!)
 

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Where?

Scooter Doc. Which part of the PNW are you? I can make a seat cover for you.
I plan to make a couple of trips to WA in 015.

Unkle Crusty*
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Graceshredder, you called it in one lol. I took a look and sure enough there's the cable poking up behind the instrument cluster.

Unkle Crusty, I'm near north Seattle. After riding some I realize I need to reshape the seat first. I'm not super tall but the bump up to the back seat has got to go.
 

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Seattle

Hawk is in the Seattle area too. I used to go to the track in Kent 40 years ago.
Was there again earlier this year. Will try and get down again in 015.

Unkle Crusty*
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Doc did you do your work? Um, no Mr. Teacher, I was... busy.

Creeping up on a week and I haven't done squat with the Nighthawk. My wife and I finished moving all our junk out of our old place. Now it's all over the new one :biggrin:. I haven't even reattached the tach cable I've been so busy. Weather got cold enough I couldn't ride, excuses, excuses, excuses, my dog ate my shop manual.

I'm going to try to get her on the little back patio of my new apartment to do the fluid changes sometime in the next week. I've got about four days at the end of next week that'll be perfect to work on her.
 
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