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This is a web page about my blue Honda CD175 (1970). To read more about this bike, check my links above
Are you ready for the summer after 4 years in mothballs? Year=2008 Odometer reading=4480 Actual miles=indeterminate
The fuel is 4 years old, with no stabilizer added. I basically did not do any storage procedure to Blue Lite except to drain the carburetor (I think). Both tires are almost flat and need pumping up. The almost new battery came from my red CD175. I dusted Blue Lite off, cranked it over. Got nothing until I pushed it down the driveway and it finally started near the bottom. I drove it around for a while, then drained the gas and refilled with new, changed the oil for 1.3 liters of mostly Mobil 1 10W-40 motorcycle oil and some other Mobil 1 oils.
June 7, 2008.
The odometer is misleading, as there is a new speedometer installed. The basic bike is 20,000 miles, engine unknown as it came from Junkers and was also rusted solid and exposed to the weather for years. Today I checked the timing and tweaked the cam chain. The acceleration felt weak at low rpm. One cylinder was firing ahead of the timing mark, the other was spot on. So I retarded the timing, now the advanced cylinder is spot on, but the other is between "F" and the "T" mark. I think it pulls better now, and I also tested it flat out up to 55 mph into the wind.
Too bad you cannot adjust both cylinders to fire at the F mark, but one of the simplifications of the CD175 is the single set of points and coil for two cylinders. It actually could use a new points cam to solve the problem.
2008. 4671 miles
I was going to take Blue out for a ride on a nice sunny day, but it would not start easily, and would not idle even after it warmed up. So I returned home, dropped the float bowl and unscrewed the idle jet with my special custom made short screwdriver. Then I examined the jet with a reverse binocular, and could see some light, but very dim. I used a bit of thin stiff wire and ran it through. Much more light now, could see a round bright hole. The bike ran fine when I reinstalled the jet, so that was it, I guess. I have not looked that that jet for years, so it's probably been closing up for some time now.
2010. 5405 miles
I have been out for several rides this year, including two to Port Dover, which is a 120 mile round trip. After the first Port Dover trip, I found the chain was almost seized, and I needed to oil it link by link, although I didn't need to adjust it. On the next trip it worked fine. I have not done a tune up lately, and I am finding it hard to start sometimes. Also, if I don't shut off the gas tap to park, I regularly get gasoline leakage. Otherwise I can't complain, I made it to Port Dover and back twice without a problem. I have put on over 700 miles, since my last journal update, mostly this year.
I am also noticing that the public interest in the CD175 is more than I'm used to. This year it seems everywhere I go with this bike, people come over to talk about it. Maybe just coincidence.
June 23, 2011. Blue Lite has 5555 miles
I brought out Blue Lite for the first ride of the year last week. It started up and ran after a few kicks, but the fuel petcock was dripping enough to get my fingers wet and soak the engine. I tightened the screws near the lever, but no luck. So I drained most of the tank, which I had just filled up, and dismantled the petcock. The critical part is a round four-holed rubber grommet, called a “petcock gasket”. I guess it had deteriorated over the last forty years so it was no longer holding the fuel. Fuel was leaking around the tap lever, and now I could see it was also dripping through the pipe into the carburetor too, even when it was shut off.
I was told that Honda still carried the part, and also it was available from Sirius Consolidated. I decided to try Sirius, a supplier I have never tried before. I live right near Sirius, but everything must be ordered online. So I ordered online and specified “local pickup”. The gaskets were $7.50 U.S. each, and I ordered two. I also ordered a CD175 “Keyster Carb Kit” for $19.00, Link to Sirius Consolidated is http://www.siriusconinc.com
Two days later, I received an email that the parts were ready for pickup. The Keyster Carb Kit is in a box, marked “Made in Japan”. Unfortunately the carburetor repair kit does not have a float valve or seat, which are the parts I need most. (Update from May 20, 2012 I just re-checked the contents of the carb kit and it does have a float valve and seat, even though it is not listed on the box. - Ed) So I have not installed any of the carburetor parts yet. I installed the petcock gasket, and now the petcock no longer leaks at the tap, or drips through the pipe when turned “off”.
May 19, 2012
Switched bikes, parked Blue Lite, Fired up Red
I have three CD175's. I call them “Red”, “Blue Lite” and “Junkers”. Red and Blue Lite are
complete bikes, Junkers is a parts bike. The previous entries were dealing with Blue Lite.
My last entry for Red was Friday October 5, 2007, when it had 11735 miles. Last September, I mothballed Blue Lite and loaned Red to one of my kids to commute to college until winter. Now Red has 12853 miles. Because Red is by far the best of the three bikes, it has been used for daily commuting, and has stood up well each time.
Today was 28c and sunny. This was the second ride of the year. Yesterday I had Red out for the first time. Fired up almost immediately and ran with no problems. But I stayed close to home just in case.
Today I was in a mood for adventure so I took Red down to Port Dover, about 180 km round trip. I found out the back brakes were tightened right down to the limit of their adjustment, so when I got home I rooted around in my parts bins until I found a brand new pair of EBC rear brake shoes, which I installed right away. Rear brakes are just like new again.
While I was in Port Dover several people commented on the old bike. As I was firing it up to leave, one old guy yelled over “I started on a bike just like that one 40 years ago.” I yelled back “Me too!” Then I stalled the engine because I put it in gear without pulling in the clutch. So I yelled again “But I still don't know how to drive it!”
May 20, 2012 Red has 12919 miles
There were a couple of other details that I wanted to fix up on Red. The speedometer needle was jumping around when I got over 40 mph. Also, the rubber ring around the speedometer is still badly cracked, and I could take a nicer looking one off Junkers. Finally, I want the original red front fender, not the chrome fender off a CB175 I use for commuting purposes. Mike has a car now, and won't need to borrow my bike for commuting in the future.
I use graphite power on the speedometer cable, and it settled down the speedometer needle about 80%, but it still twitches a little. Graphite powder is the only lubricant I have found so far that dampens the twitchy needle syndrome.
Like most old CD175's, the original fender is missing the plastic grommet that holds the brake and speedo cables. So I improvised a grommet with a piece of black tubing and two plastic tie wraps. I looped the plastic tubing around the cables, and stuck both ends into the grommet hole in the fender. Then, inside the fender I used two zip tie wraps to hold the ends together and stop the hose from falling out. Finally, I cut off the ends of the tie wrap and the hose. It looks OK, and hopefully keeps the cables from rubbing the fender too much.
It was quite difficult getting the speedometer out of the headlight cowl, mainly because the rubber ring has deteriorated and glued itself in place. Eventually, I managed to get both clips depressed and forcefully got the speedometer out of the housing so that I could replace the rubber.
When everything was finished, I oiled the drive chain and went for a 70 mile ride with Red to meet some friends at a Tim Horton's in Brantford. I had to make a list of directions for all the back roads, because I wanted to go about 40 mph most of the way. Main roads are easy for me, but the back roads involve many turns that I am not familiar with.
When I got back home, I checked the oil which seemed clean and full. But the o-ring on the oil filler was squashed flat and letting an oil mist form on the engine case. I don't actually have a new right size o-ring, but I have one that is the right thickness but too big circumference. So I cut a section out of new one and jammed it in the groove, and tightened the oil filler cover back down. The gap in the o-ring is almost invisible, but in case it decides to leak, I can always try again with rubber cement or crazy glue to hold the ends together.
I put the bike away for the night in the garage, but about an hour later, Mary Ann came running in to tell me it was leaking gas. I guess I forgot to turn off the fuel tap, and it leaked a small puddle through the leaky float valve. That got me thinking about my Sirius Keyster carb kit that I bought last year, but never installed. I took another look and it does have a new float valve and seat. So I will replace it tomorrow, should be an easy job.
May 21, 2012 Red has 13043 miles
New Float Valve
I installed the new float valve and seat, but then the bike wouldn't keep running. So I did a float level adjustment, and found that the new valve had made a big difference to the float level. According to the book, you are supposed to take the carb out of the bike to adjust the float level. But I do it quick and nasty on the bike, making sure the distance “h” ( 28 mm to the bottom of the float) is exactly where fuel starts to flow.
After another ride to Port Dover on back roads, the bike ran fine, and I think I smelled less gas than usual while riding around town. It may have been leaking all along, whether riding or parked. My o-ring job is also holding up, I noticed no oil leaking past the oil filler cap.
On the way back from Port Dover, I took one of the faster main roads, posted at 80 kph. If I am in the right frame of mind, it is fun trying to keep up with traffic. At about 40 mph, the engine feels like it has reached its limit. But if pushed up to 55 mph, it emits a formula one -like wail, which it apparently can keep up all day. Even if you can deal with the sound, you have to also contend with the handling. At high speeds, on a curve in the road, the CD175 feels like a dolphin that is taking you for a fast underwater ride. (except this is obviously above water.) With the combination of frame flexing and engine wailing, you can get the impression of setting a word speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats. When I am surrounded by aggressive traffic, I get the urge to race that Chevy Cruze, driven by a woman who never met a car she didn't like to tailgate.
May 21, 2012: 13043 miles
The battery water was a bit low, so I added distilled water up to the top line. The easy way is to leave the battery on the bike, remove the three top plugs and inject water using a battery density meter ( a glass tube with floating coloured balls, a bulb at one end and a tube at the other.)
The rear tail light isn't working! The brake light is OK, just the running light is out. I know it is much harder to find 6 volt bulbs than 12 volt bulbs, so I keep all my old partially burned out 6 volt bulbs, just in case. Actually, it's pretty stupid to do that, because I'll never use them again. Anyway, I looked through my pile of old 6 volt tail light bulbs and found one that looked like it was OK, but I didn't test it with a voltmeter, I just put it on the bike, and the tail light still didn't work. A normal person would figure that the second taillight was also burned out, but I figured it must be a wire that came loose inside the bike. So I got out my circuit diagram, and went to look for my electric tester, in the tool cabinet. Right beside the tester was a new, unopened packet of two 6 volt tail light bulbs from Canadian Tire. I put one of them in the light and it worked fine. Obviously I need to get more organized with my new spare parts. I still do not remember buying those things.
June 5, 2012: 13254 miles
I did an oil change, using Mobil 1 10w40 oil. Also, I lubricated the clutch cable, and put some grease in the socket where the cable terminates in the clutch lever. The Honda 175 clutch often feels scratchy to pull if these parts are not lubricated. Now it feels really smooth again.
June 15, 2012: 13557 miles
Just after I adjusted the clutch on June 5th, I went for a ride and had problems shifting gears. I could not get it into neutral at stop lights unless I turned off the engine, and it was even difficult downshifting while riding. So I adjusted the clutch again, this time using the adjuster on the engine cover, and made sure the clutch engaged as late as possible. I think the problem was about the clutch dragging when it got hot. Anyway, now the gears shift easily again, maybe even better then when new.
I visited the Paris Vintage motorcycle show today, and started looking for a footpeg rubber. The left footpeg rubber is just about completely worn off, and most of my replacements are cracked or mangled on the underside. Looking for one CD175 part at a swap meet is kind of like a game of treasure hunt. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. This time I was lucky, and spotted one footpeg rubber that looked about right among a bunch of Yamaha parts. Each table has its own specialty, and the owner of this particular table seemed to specialize in vintage Japanese road racing. I could also tell by the fact that the end of the rubber footpeg was ground off. I am pretty sure from the angle of the grind, that it was caused by excessive lean angles in curves. Also, the owner was an amateur road racer. Although the rubber looked right, I was not sure because all my other footpeg rubbers are so mangled when I remove them, that I don't really know what the inside is supposed to look like. I bought the rubber for a dollar and took it to the bike, where I could see it was the right one, but I didn't have the strength to push it on all the way. New rubbers are apparently very tight. When I got home, I finally pushed it all the way in using my “persuader”, an 8 lb. sledge hammer. With a big hammer, you only need slow gentle taps to move something. Little hammers are no good for jobs like this because they have no momentum.
I still had the right footpeg to fix. That footpeg rubber is almost new looking, but it slips off the peg. I have already tried carpenters' glue and rubber cement with no luck. According to the internet, “Goop” works, and I happen to have a tube, so I just put that on. Now I have to wait about 70 hours for it to cure to maximum strength.
May 9, 2014: 15,205 miles
It's been about two years since my last journal entry. Today was the first time this year I took out the red 175. It would not start by kickstarter. The battery was almost flat, and needed water. But even before recharging it, I managed to get the bike started by pushing it down the driveway, and popping the clutch in second.
As soon as I started driving, I noticed the front end felt loose. When I got back home I found out the front axle bolt had been loose, needed about four turns to tighten it up. I wonder how long it had been like that? I can't remember the last time I took off the front wheel.
Next problem, I saw the turn signals were not working, and neither was the front light (either high or low beam). But the brake light was working, and so were the instrument lights. I will leave it on the trickle charger overnight.
May 10, 2014: 15,205.1 miles
In the garage early this morning, the charger light was green, meaning the battery is fully charged. I disconnected the charger, and this time all the bike's lights worked.
June 12, 2015:
I am now trying to run Blue again. But the rear turnsignals are very dim. Again it seems the fault of the battery. I attempted to charged the battery, but after 20 hours on the battery tender, the light was still red (not fully charged). I tested the turnsignals and they were all bright right after charging the battery, but then the next day, the turnsignals again refused to work. So I got out my new battery, charged it up and put it on the bike, now all the turnsignals are bright again, we'll see what tomorrow brings.
My dead battery was installed new on May 19, 2007, so it had a long life of 8 years. The article regarding the previous battery is in this older log.
Total Mileage: Blue 5932 mi. Red 15752 mi.
August 7, 2015: Blue's Odometer reading 6,498 miles
Blue is running fine with the new battery. Since June 12 I rode it another 500 miles, mostly on trips to to Port Dover and back. But I have noticed a couple of things that need work. The fuel line from the tank to the carburetor looks like it is getting old, so I bought a new one. I have not installed it yet, but I carry it with me in the tool kit just in case my existing fuel line leaks when I'm out on a ride.
My other concern is the rear tire which has almost no tread left. It's the Yokohama 3.00x17 tire that was installed new for Red's safety inspection in 2001. Now it's installed on Blue. Unfortunately this tire is no longer made, because it fit exactly with about 2mm to spare before the tire would rub against the rear right turn signal wire. Now I need to get a new tire that is the same size or smaller. I measured the Yokohama to be about 82 mm wide, which is 3.22”. Funny, that the tire says it is 3” but actually measures 3.22”. So you can't really trust the size to give you an accurate width.
I looked at Zdeno's and they didn't have a 3.00 x 17 tire. Next I looked on the internet, eliminating any place that would not ship to Canada. All the 3.00x17 tires were either out of stock or discontinued. But then I tried looking for newer metric sizes, having calculated that 3 inches equals 76.2mm. There are no metric sizes of 76.2, so it's either 70 or 80mm available. Since the existing tire is actually 82 mm, I took a chance on ordering a tire that is 80/90x17. The 80 means 80 mm wide, 90 means the cross section is a 90% profile, and the 17 for some reason is still in inches for metric tires. Then I had to hope the tire would actually be 80 mm, as I have already seen that the size may not be accurate in some tires.
Ordering and Installing the New Tire
I ordered a Heidenau K66 All-Season tire size 80/90-17 from Canadasmotorcycle.com for $80.06 (Canadian) with free shipping. It took exactly seven days to arrive, including a long holiday weekend. I could see by the online tracking web page, that my tire had reached Kitchener last night at 1 AM, and would be delivered some time today. So at 9:00 AM I went out and removed the old tire from the CD175. And just at the moment I had the old Yokohama tire removed, the Canada Post truck drove up to the door with my new Heidenau tire, I quickly estimated the Heidenau was slightly smaller than the Yokohama, so I went ahead with the installation. After I had the tire mounted with a new tube and filled with air, I measured the width and it was exactly 80 mm, so then I knew the clearance inside the fender would be OK.
I reassembled everything and went for a ride to Guelph and back (about an hour). The bike feels very secure, brakes still work, so I will pronounce this tire change a success. Next I need to find a front tire, and I'd be OK getting a tire a little smaller than the rear, just for a balanced appearance. But I don't have the same issue with clearance inside the front fender. And it would be nice to find a tire less than $80, but even that price isn't too bad for a tire made in Germany.
August 13, 2015: Blue's Odometer reading 6,542 miles
Another New Tire
When I discovered the Heidenau K66 80/90-17 fit perfectly, I ordered a second one from www.canadasmotorcycle.com and today I received the new tire and installed it on the front. This time, I installed the rotation arrow backwards on purpose, because I saw somewhere that you were supposed to do that when using a back tire on the front of a motorcycle. To be honest I don't think it really makes a difference in this application. I also installed a new Kenda tube, and a new rim strip. My new rim strip is actually for a 19” wheel from my dear departed CL450, but I used it anyway because my old rim strip was so torn up on the spokes. I tried to install the tire carefully to not move the loose rim strip around.
Part of my delivery was a set of new brake shoes front and rear (EBC standard brake shoes 306 and 307) from the same website. I didn't install them, just put them in my parts box until I need new brake shoes.
Once I was finished installing the tire, I used some “Goop” ™ to glue the footpeg rubber in place. I was having trouble with them coming off. The rubber is not in very good shape, they both have large cracks on the bottom. But with a couple of zip ties and the Goop, they should hold until I can find some new footpegs that fit.
June 23, 2016: Blue's Odometer reading 7,002 miles
New motorcycles have sealed batteries, but I still have a battery with a vent tube on the CD175. I discovered yesterday that the vent tube had come off, and acid was dripping down the frame and eating off the paint and causing rust on various parts. I find this kind of thing very annoying, and I would actually like to go with a sealed battery. But for now, I did a quick and dirty fix.
I washed all the affected parts I could see with soapy water (soap should neutralize acid). Then I used a small paintbrush to wipe old oil on the rusty bits where the paint had come off. I don't feel like taking it all apart right now, unless I could get a sealed battery to stop this from happening again.
I don't like how the battery vent tube needs to go behind the battery, where I can't see it. It is also supposed to go behind the battery bracket, to avoid getting pinched when you tighten the battery against the bracket. This routing makes it almost impossible to install the tube correctly. So I rerouted the vent tube, replacing one rubber cushion from the bracket (this round rubber was perfectly positioned to pinch the vent tube) with a custom designed cushion and running the vent tube between the battery and the bracket.
I finally changed the vent tube for a new one with a narrower inside diameter, to fit more tightly on the battery exhaust nub. I guess my old tube was not tight enough, and that's why it fell off.
Brake Light Stopped Working
Another problem I recently repaired was that the brake light did not come on. I figured out that it was the switch. I had a spare old switch, and it also didn't work so I tore it apart to see how it worked inside. One soldered joint had come apart, but I decided my chances of fixing it were slim. New switches are available on various websites, but I managed to find an old one locally at Zdeno's salvage yard.
Before going for a ride, I checked my tire pressure and engine oil. I needed to add about 250 ml of oil. I also needed to add air to the front tire, and it was easy to see because I recently installed two valve caps that show the pressure, if its about 30-35 psi. Now all I need to do is look at the valve cap to see if the pressure is ok.
September 26, 2017: Red's Odometer reading 15,936 miles
Red goes out for a run
I put Blue back in the garage and started up Red. Changed the oil for 1.5L Mobil One 0w-40. Oiled the chain with a spray can. Pumped up the tires and installed the tire pressure indicator caps. The bike runs better than Blue, except for the tires. The front one may be a bit lumpy, They both have enough tread, though. The muffler still shows no sign of rusting out, but the header pipes could use more black paint.
I am now writing a blog that includes over 200 motorcycling articles, if you would like to read some, the link is The Lost Motorcyclist
I have a blog for Honda CD175 Questions and Answers here Honda CD175 Q&A
You can find my email address to email me any comments by clicking “e-mail” at the very top of the page under the CD175 1970 title