Honda CL450 1972
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This is a web page about the Honda CL450 (1972). If you feel the need to read everything ever written about this bike, you have to read this. (and everything else written about the CL450 of course)
Engine Overhaul Summary Winter 2004-2005
I am not or never could be a professional mechanic. Years ago I did a few ring jobs on my old Yamaha RD250. Dismantling a cylinder you ended up with only 13 parts, counting the bolts, but not the washers. Compare that to more than 13 boxes of parts from the CL450 top end. These days I have an unheated garage with a space for dismantling the bike, and a small but cluttered dungeon-like workshop in the basement. I have lots of basic tools I am retired and that means lots of time on my hands combined with a three month winter season where riding is not practical.
Early in the 2004-2005 winter I got a CL450 project bike, and cleared space for it in my already overcrowded garage. It will be my fourth running bike, if it works. I found it on eBay.
Within 10 days of getting it home, after some disappointing test rides, a compression test convinced me to pull out the engine and at the very least put new rings in. Winter was approaching, which gave me about 3 months to take a close look at the top end.
Between December and March, I went over all the components, making as accurate measurements as I could. The pistons were original, and not too bad, so I cleaned them up and put them back in. I knocked the glaze off the bore with a hand held three stone drill attachment. One valve had a leak, which I stopped by lapping it with grinding paste. I installed new rings. The rings and valve lapping should get the compression up to where it makes some power. It better, because up to now, both my CD175's can beat the CL450.
The valve covers had mismatched bolts and stripped threads right in the aluminum head. The only thing that worked was to Helicoil five of the holes, and I got some stainless steel bolts and washers as replacements. I also painted the covers black for good measure.
One carburetor was from a CB500T, and the other had a poorly adjusted float level, and bent choke plate. I replaced them both with a used pair that I took apart and cleaned up .
There was also a problem with the cam chain that would not stay tight. The cam chain adjuster rod itself was slipping, also the adjuster bolt threads were jammed. I roughed up the rod surface, just to help lock it in place when tightened down. I cleaned up the bolt threads with a tap and die. I won't be afraid of over tightening this one, because even if the threads get stripped, I have some Helicoils left over to fix it with. And it can be done without tearing down the engine.
The cam chain appeared to be within spec, although the valve timing is retarded by about 5 degrees, probably wear on the chain or idler wheels. Based on 33 teeth, each tooth is 10 deg, = 20 deg. at the crank. It's not a big deal, should even give a little more maximum horsepower at higher rpm. At the expense of a bit of a loss everywhere else.
I noticed some severe wear on the left front torsion bar sleeve. After worrying about it for a while, I just flipped the two front sleeves around so as to expose fresh surfaces, keeping the springs in the correct place. There was nothing that could be done about the bearing surface as it was machined directly in the aluminum cylinder head. Even more shockingly, it seemed there was no pressurized oil feed to the sleeves the left side of the engine. A design flaw from Honda engineers?
I also make dumb mistakes, that I try to allow for in my riding and breaking in procedures. My two worst mistakes on this engine rebuild were hitting the valves together while turning the camshaft by hand, and losing the cam chain link and chain into the engine after torquing down the head.
I have cleaned the brakes, replaced all four wheel bearings, the steering head ball bearings, the fork seals, lubed and rerouted the cables, reattached the front fork rods. I also removed and cleaned the drive chain in a solvent bath followed by an oil bath. And I painted various bits and pieces, especially the battery tray that had been eaten by acid (no vent tube!).
I have about $1500 all together into this project so far. My main remaining worry is about the radial rear tire. That, and what more could be wrong?
On the Road, Spring 2005
Monday March 14, 2005 20412 miles.
I finally replaced the rear tire with a Cheng Shin 4.00x18. The bike fired up without any real fuss. Then I called The Primmum Insurance Co., which incidentally gets the award for sexiest female voice on a telephone answering machine. However, the human Primmum Insurance rep was more argumentative, and could not be convinced over the phone that Honda ever made a CL450 model. I must be the first ever motorcyclist to have a CL450 insured by Primmum. I faxed them my old registration as proof of the CL450's existence and it was accepted.
Tuesday March 15, 2005
I took the motorcycle on the trailer to Zdeno's for the safety inspection this morning, I wanted to do it before the spring rush. On the way I noticed the grease nipple for the clutch rod is missing on the sprocket cover.
Wednesday March 16, 2005
I got the call at 10:30 that the CL450 had passed the safety inspection. The mechanic (Mark) commented that I had done a nice job on the bike, and helped me load it on the trailer to go home. He warned me that the pink gas lines were for snowmobiles and they will cause problems. Reminder if there is ever a next time: Make sure you have your ownership card with you to complete the safety inspection. The mechanic must verify the serial number. I had to make an extra trip back home to get it.
Back home with the bike, I took a short ride around the block, but the one cylinder kept cutting out. Something needs to be done there. I would assume it was the right cylinder, but afterwards was unable to start the bike at all.
2:30 PM Now it Won't Start
I have my license plate on the bike, so it's completely legal, but now it won't start at all, even with heated float bowls. I checked both plugs, they are both black and wet. (maybe the right is black and dry) I tried spraying WD40 into the air intake of the right side (It would have to go through the filter to get in the combustion chamber) but no go. Drained the float bowls, no change. The battery can barely turn over the engine once, so I put it back on the charger. After 5 hours of charging, it still will not start.
Thursday March 17, 2005
Found the Problem
I began a major offensive to get the bike started. First I went to Canadian Tire to buy new spark plugs. I couldn't find Bosch Platinum W4C (Equivalent to NGK B8ES). However, the parts counter person discovered actual B8ES behind the counter, better than the BR8ES that I was using, so I got a pair. Also got starter spray fluid just in case. Back home, I removed the right carburetor and the air filter. I cleaned the idle jet again, replaced the pilot screw and it's rubber o-ring. I cleaned the passages to the pilot screw as best I could, and also replaced the choke plate which had some dents around the edges. (I got the replacement parts off the original left carb). Then I tested the air filter, could not see sunlight through it, but I could blow air backward through it with a vacuum cleaner.
Next I went out to the garage and took out the old plugs and did a cold compression test (Throttle open). 124 psi left, 126 psi right. I think that's satisfactory for a cold engine that has not yet been broken in. I tested for spark and found no spark on the right. Then the spark plug boot fell off the wire. Hmmmm. I took some time to make sure the boot was screwed on tight, and then I got a spark. Next I put the two new B8ES (non resistor) plugs in, and it fired on the second kick. I turned it off immediately then installed the filter on the right side. Tomorrow, I should be able to go for a ride if we don't have snow overnight.
Friday March 18, 2005
Three Miles Round the Block: 20426 Miles
Sunny, 8:30 AM, -5c. No snow overnight. Started second kick this morning. One problem, the choke comes on all by itself while riding. The engine pulls decently from low rpm, and all the way up to 40 mph, the fastest I went on the short run.
To Petersburg and Back: 25 more miles
Sunny, 10:00 AM, 0 degrees C. I managed to get the choke to stay in place, installed the crank case vent tube, and the vent tubes to the carburetors. On the way out of town I filled up with mid grade at Sunoco. I have a mist inside the speedometer glass when the sun shines on it. The bike ran up to 70 mph with no problem, but I think I may need new air filters or change the main jets to get any really high speed. After the run, the spark plugs were white around the center electrode, and darker down the side of the insulator. The right plug was cleaner than the left, that may change if I play with the pilot air screw or balancing the carbs, which I have not done yet.
The front suspension is stiff, I'm not sure if that is the way it's supposed to be. It does work OK on really rough stuff, but sticks when riding on small pavement ripples. I thought it was quite soft before I added oil last year. Engine vibration and seat comfort is not a problem on a 25 mile run. I was wearing jeans and a snowmobile suit, and had winter gloves on which might have reduced vibration in the grip.
There was more chain lube spattered on the rear rim than I expected, because the chain had been wiped clean with a paper towel when I installed it. Also got chain lube spatter on my grey winter coat. I already had some on my coat from the CD175 when I had no chain guard on it, but this is worse. Could be the oil bath I used for the chain, the oil in the mufflers, the misaligned chain guard, or just the 70 mph run.
Problems with the choke lever. It mysteriously kept closing itself, even though there is no spring in the choke. I took the linkage arm off and reinstalled it, now it stays open while riding.
Saturday March 19, 2005 20442 Miles
At 8:00 AM, -5c dry roads. It took four kicks, started running, backfired three times and kept running, but I didn't know it was only going on the right cylinder. I also forgot that the headlight was on. I warmed it up for a minute then ran it on the street a short distance. Finally I noticed it was misbehaving then came back and parked it. The left plug is fouled. The left plug cap also was not screwed on to the wire very well, so I tightened it up. I should have checked it yesterday when I discovered the right plug cap was not screwed on. I put one of my BR8ES plugs back in and it started. I'm going to put it on the charger for an hour before I go out again.
A 9:00 AM, -3c dry roads. This time it started, I went out to Cambridge for coffee at Tom's. Came back home and looked at the pilot screw on the left. It had a beat up o-ring, and it was missing the washer. I got a reasonable o-ring and washer out of the old CB500T carburetor and put them in. I took out the BR8ES plug, which had gone from black to a really nice clean cream color, and put back my B8ES, and it works now. I found the tach cable had come off at the clock, so I tightened it and also the clock body, which needed some rubber around the base because it was very loose in its mounting.
I went back out at about 10:30 for another run, and got the bike up to 80 mph into a gusty headwind. It popped out of 2nd gear 4 times this morning. I am starting to feel juddering in the front brake again. It's difficult to feel brake pulsing and even engine roughness because the suspension is so stiff, it bounces the rider around all the time unless the road is perfectly smooth. And I wonder how the bouncing affects the carburetor vacuum piston?
12:00 P.M. +5c, Odometer 20489 Miles.
Checking the volts on the battery, 12.67 volts. When running at 4000 rpm it momentarily hit 12.75 volts., and same with the light on. I think a good charging system should get up to 14. With headlight on, not running, 11.8 volts. (Another thought: A bad battery may invalidate the reading of charging voltage. And, 4000 is the rpm where it just begins to charge the battery.)
1:30 P.M. +5c Od. 20515 Miles.
I went on reserve (I think) and I refueled at 20509.5 Mi. It took 9.368 liters, $8.63 mid grade Esso. The front tire has 25 psi, exactly what I set it to last year. It feels rock hard to me, maybe I could go back to 20?
Monday March 21, 2005 20515 Miles
I just saw some CL450 valve seals on eBay. They are also in the parts book exploded diagram. I did not see any inside my engine when the valves were out.
We have had a couple of days of snow, it seems to be melting and drying up again.
3:15 PM +4c Now at 20542 Miles, I got it up to 90 mph, I didn't even have to duck down. No tailwind either. It did take about 10 kicks to get it going. It seems like there is a flat spot at about 5000 rpm. Also when I back off the throttle at high speed, it accelerates a little before it slows. Otherwise, it's smooth through the range from 2500 rpm up to 90 mph. I feel a little vibration in the handlebars at 70 mph, but generally even smoother than the CD175 that has a 360 crank! When I got home I looked for oil leaks on the engine, didn't see any, but there is a bit of oil on the left side cover (over the air filter), and I don't know where that comes from. Could be the chain?
Tuesday March 22, 2005 20570 miles
9:45 AM -2c sunny. It was colder than I thought, I needed to warm my hands on the engine. I had to kick it about 6 times before it started. Seems like you have to get the choke at least part way off within a couple of seconds of starting. One attempt at high speed, but the bike seemed reluctant especially at 5000 rpm so I backed off. The forks are still very stiff, again it may be the cold weather. They hardly move at all on small bumps, but they moved a couple of inches over one pothole on our street. This would be an excellent setup for a high speed run across the desert. Also, I see that the CB450 and the CL450 (1972) have the same fork springs, for what it's worth.
I have been running with no headlight, and I have not put it on the charger since the starting problem on Saturday morning.
I am not able to tell by ear if both cylinders are firing, but now I just tweak the throttle lever on each carburetor, if the engine doesn't speed up, I know that side is not running. Easier to do than feeling the exhaust pipe temperature when I'm sitting on the bike with gloves on.
At home I tried lining up the carburetors by eye, seemed like the right one was twisted to the right, so I loosened the clamps and straightened it up. The kick start lever and the gear lever were both a bit loose again so I tightened them. The kick start bolt is already really tight. There was some oil around the base of both levers, so I wiped it off, and I'll see if it comes back. I inserted a screw into the hole of the missing grease fitting on the sprocket cover.
There seems to be no oil leaking from the engine. There was white powder on the fork boots (probably salt). There is a little spot on the chrome header that I can't wipe off, it's right in the path of dirt kicked up by the tire.
Wednesday March 23, 2005 20570 Miles
I went out to oil the squeaking center stand. It's in good shape, turning normally on the shaft, and the shaft is tight in the clamps. The lower end of the center stand spring is making all the noise. I oiled both ends of the spring and noticed the top end of the spring looks like it's wearing through it's loop. I also cleared some gunk away from the pivot shaft and tried to oil the shaft externally with an oiling can. Very clumsy, lots of oil gets spilled probably very little gets in. I had a metal tray underneath to catch the spills. Probably be easier and way more effective to just take it out completely. Anyhow, the center stand noise has gone away.
-2c. At night I took the CL450 to go babysit the grandchildren. Started after about 23 kicks. (Mary Ann counted) Seems to not want to run at all on full choke, maybe I should be starting with partial choke? I didn't give it more than 30 sec. to warm up, but had a bit of misfiring for the next minute or so of riding, then it cleared up and ran fine. Going through the town, during rush hour, the forks felt like they were just right, not stiff at all. They handled the potholes and manhole covers without any drama, I am starting to think stiff forks are good. These springs are set up just right for high speed on rough roads.
Thursday March 24, 2005 20604 Miles
Temperature +5c. I went on reserve at 81 miles, and filled up with 9.149 liters at 20596.3 miles. I balanced the carbs by running on one cylinder at a time, disconnecting the opposite plug, and found that it seemed to run OK on the right with the pilot screw in all the way. I backed it off a half turn on each side. It still runs rough between 4500 rpm and about 6000 rpm. Seems to be bucking and misfiring just a little. But it keeps on running, it actually seems to clear itself up a bit.
Friday March 25, 2005 20662 Miles
Temperature +2c to +4c, sunny. 10:00 A.M. I started the bike by kicking with the left foot this morning, worried about hurting my right hip which has various aches and pains. That was successful, and with practice it'll get better. I had the smaller main jets in, and it started on about 5 kicks, and actually ran for about 2 minutes with the choke 90% on. Maybe that's a result of the new jets.
This morning I was undecided whether to rip out the air filter or change to the smaller main jets. The last few runs had me convinced that the flat spot from 4000 to 6000 rpm was a rich fuel condition. Luckily, I started with changing the main jets. I took out the #150's that are bigger than specified, and put in the normal size #145's. The difference was immediately obvious down the street in front of the house. It felt more lively, and now it runs cleanly at 5000 rpm, which is good because that is a very common speed, about 60 mph in top gear. I did get it up to 85 mph on the freeway. It was pretty hard to test any higher speeds today. I passed one live radar trap and I was boxed in by Good Friday traffic almost the whole time during the 12 mile freeway run. It feels like a brand new engine.
The drive chain was creaking when I got it home so I did a link by link lube with the oil can, both sides. I think the creaking is actually in the rear sprocket mounting.
The Honda paper air filters apparently work even when light doesn't pass through. Now that the problem of engine flat spot is gone, and I'm getting used to the stiff forks, and I can kick start it with with my left foot, I am going to move up the priority of the shuddering on the front brake. I am pretty sure it is twice the wheel speed, so both shoes are involved.
This afternoon went for one more short ride to Barry's, it started on the first kick, and again coming home one kick. I am putting the choke only part way on (maybe 90%)
Saturday March 26, 2005 20662 Miles
7:42 AM -7c Sunny. Two quick experiments this morning before riding. I lifted the front wheel off the ground, tied the front brake lever to put some drag on the brake and turned the wheel by hand. I can feel two spots where it sticks, and two where it does not stick as it goes around. The no-stick zones happen at 180o just when the chipped part of the hub passes each of the brake pivot shafts. I would say the drum is out of round.
Second experiment, while the wheel was up, I took out the fork drain plug on each side, to see if any oil came out under pressure. Only 5 drops on the left, 10 drops on the right. If it was warmer, maybe more would come out. So there is no permanent air pressure buildup in the forks.
I opened both pilot adjusting screws to one turn.
2:00 to 4:30 PM +7c Sunny. 20723.4 Miles. I am already up to a total of 300 miles on the CL450 this year. Warm enough to go riding with Barry (VFR750) and Bob (Suzuki Intruder 1400). They both seemed eager to try out the 450 scrambler. Funny, they never felt that way about my Honda 175 or even my BMW K1100LT.
I was also interested in trying the Intruder, so my $800 bike quickly traded for an $8000 bike and way we go! The Intruder has that classical V twin engine, but you have a Sumo wrestling match with the handlebars in parking lots or low speed corners. The handlebar position combined with the firing of the engine makes me feel like I'm operating a WW2 anti aircraft gun instead of a motorcycle. Feet out a bit forward, and there is a low but useful driver back rest at the front of the back seat. What's funny is that Bob thought my CL450 had a nice smooth ride, and I was thinking Whaaat? His Intruder 1400 is a limo ride compared to the 450.
Apparently the March 2001 issue of Classic Bike magazine had an article on the 1972 CL450.
Easter Sunday March 27, 2005 20756 Miles
11:39 AM +5c Sunny Just got back from a 33 mile ride, partly on gravel roads and the forks are smoother on those gravel roads than on typical pavement. Also did a little high speed, using the throttle lock to hold it wide open and grabbing the middle of the bars. When braking from high speed, the front is good enough anywhere from 80 to 20 mph under hard braking, but sets up a bouncing through the whole bike at about 10 mph when coming to a stop, then OK to in the last 2 meters before finally stopping the bike.
My starting routine is not yet down to one kick. After 8 kicks with my left foot, it still wouldn't start. Then 2 more with my right foot got it running. Apparently my right leg is stronger than my left. There was a bit of noise for the first 10 seconds from the top end of the engine, it went away and the engine was actually very quiet, mechanically after about 10 seconds. I think my cam chain trick is working, and it is staying in adjustment. It ran on 90% choke for about 30 seconds, then I let it run on no choke for another 40 seconds before pulling out of the driveway.
When warm, the idle is now about 1700 rpm. There are two positions on the choke to play with, full closed and a small detent slightly open. The next position I call 90%, but there is no fixed point to compare it to, I might just file a notch in the choke lever to be consistent.
My fuel range was about 85 miles before going on reserve, and I hope that goes up to 100 miles with the #145 main jets.
Tuesday March 29, 2005 20791.2 Miles
At about 12:30, 12c and sunny I tried a bump start pushing down the driveway, which did not work with a cold engine. When the engine was fairly warm, it did start in second then wanted to accelerate across the street. Downhill bump starting is another way to possibly save my right hip, as we have a downhill driveway. But now I'm feeling some pain in the right hip putting the bike on the center stand.
NOTE: The CL450 key blank is not the same as the CD175.
Before riding today, I rotated the gear lever up by one spline, but it's still an uncomfortable position and kind of hurts my toe when riding with thin soled summer boots. I removed 10 cc of fork oil from each leg. I simply pulled the forks down 1 cm. with a ratchet tie down, then I took out the drain bolts and about that much oil came shooting out. There seems to be a very slight difference between too harsh and acceptable, maybe the 10cc less oil made the difference, replacing a small amount of non compressible oil with air. I also lubed and adjusted the clutch cable.
Window shopping at Cycle Improvements I saw how expensive some stuff is, 2.5w fork oil, $25 per liter!!! Also saw plastic hand guards were $85 a pair. I asked them about turning the drum brake, Jim came out to take a look at the bike, but they did not have a big enough lathe to do the whole wheel. He said it would be easier to remove the spokes if they are not stuck, and do it on a lathe than to try doing it with a milling machine (another option). I think I will try looking for a new hub and axle, as there is a still a problem with the chipped flange, as well as the worn axle.
The time that the bike jumps out of gear the most is if you shift down from 3rd to 2nd, say for a corner. When you begin to accelerate again, it is very likely to pop out of gear into a false neutral.
At about 40-50 mph on a smooth road, the front end starts a slight bouncing. Up to now, I thought it was stiff forks on a wavy road, but as the forks soften up, it seems to be a flat spot on the front tire. Although both wheels appear straight and round while spinning, I can see by the DOT code on the tire it was manufactured in December 1985.
Wednesday March 30, 2005 20808 miles.
I made an aluminum bracket for the broken strut at the back of the chain guard. That should hold it away from the shock absorber.
Went for another warm weather ride like yesterday. It almost started running on the very first kick, then died. I wish I could keep it going, but the slightest touch on the throttle kills it.
Thursday March 31, 2005 20889 Miles.
2:30 PM 15c Partly sunny. Lots of wind. I pumped the front tire to 32 psi to see if that would help with the flat spot, it didn't. This tire has a max 36 psi on the sidewall, and it's a 2 ply nylon tire. Apparently nylon is susceptible to flat spots.
Cold starting: I put the choke on (at the notch), the throttle closed, started kicking with my left foot. As usual the first kick fired, then promptly died. About the sixth kick, it came to life and kept running. Immediately I moved the choke lever to mid way. Seemed like the right side fired first, the left might have taken about 5 seconds to kick in. Altogether not too bad, but the temperature was helpfully warm at 15c.
Clutch Cable Second Try During the ride, I noticed the clutch lever was getting sticky. When I lubed the cable and the lever yesterday, I didn't do the clutch mechanism under the sprocket cover because the grease fitting is gone. All my spare grease fittings are too large for the hole in the sprocket cover. Instead I used my oil can. No effect. Then I put more oil down the cable, also seemed to have no effect. I tried rerouting the clutch cable a little, in front of the brake cable to give it a smoother bend. No success. I think the sharpest bend is probably over the engine, I was not able to do anything about that.
It is sticky when I need to feather the clutch to get into first gear while stopped. Sometimes the gear box is reluctant to move into first, pressing on the gear lever alone does not work unless I also drag the clutch a little.
Clutch Cable Third Try: If the barrel on the lever end of the cable does not pivot easily, it stresses the cable wire going into it, and that's where the cable breaks. I found that the barrel socket in the lever was worn, not much I could do about that until I find a new lever. When I put it back together, I added graphite powder to the grease, and I greased both sides of the nylon sheath on the barrel, since it's easy to pop the sheath off. I also used graphite on the lever pivot bolt. Then I used my "power cable injector", a tool that clamps onto the end of the cable then allows you to shoot your favorite spray lubricant under pressure down the length of the cable. I used a can of silicon spray lube.
Result: I used to have a smooth pull to about 2" of lever travel, then a big sticking point. Now the big sticking point is gone, but the clutch lever pull feels dry on the entire travel, with lots of little sticking points, and a scraping sound. I am going to assume this is better until I try it out on the road. Can't go right now, it's snowing. (Note from next Monday: The clutch seems just as sticky as before, even with all the lubing I did.)
NOTE: My Honda CD175 levers and pivot bolts do not fit the CL450.
Sunday April 3, 2005 20889 Miles.
About 2 cm. of snow covering the ground, so no riding today. Yesterday I picked up a pair of car mud flaps, 4 liters of Castrol GTX 10w-40 and a can of Dry Graphite spray lube at Canadian Tire. There were also some grease fittings in inch threads, but I didn't know if one might fit. Mobil 1 10w-40 is not available, and if it was it would be $33.00 for 4 liters. (Note in July 2005: It is now available in 1 liter size in the Motorcycle section)
I put on the mud flap this morning, after doing a mock up in Photoshop. A 4" mud flap on the front fender looks better than a rusty section on the chrome exhaust pipe. (By next week I will know that this size of mud flap is effective at protecting the chrome exhaust.) I wanted to make it look as good as possible, so I installed it inside the fender with custom bolts, and I did my best to cut it straight. But even if it's mounted a little crooked, you will only notice if you put your head under the engine.
Also, I took apart the sagging left passenger footpeg. It appears designed to only fold up at 45 deg., the mufflers block it from folding up all the way. I added a shim to stop the footpeg from drooping too much, and tightened it so it would stay in the 45 deg. position when folded. I have not yet carried a passenger on the CL450.
The Front Drum: This is currently my main concern. I discovered a high spot on the drum(!) and tried to grind it out by hand with a drill attachment. Then I turned the adjuster rod one or two turns tighter, making the second shoe pull equally to the first. I also emeried the entire inside surface of the drum and chamfered the leading edges of both shoes with a file. The drum still has tight spots and the one major tight spot is still in the same place, where the high spot passes the leading edge of the first shoe. I was surprised to find two things, first that there actually was one bulge on the drum surface, second and that it was not caused by rust, it was caused by the hammer impact.
Monday April 5, 2005 20916 Miles
+10c, sunny. It's been about three days since I ran the bike, and it took almost 30 kicks to start. Then I didn't get the choke off quick enough, and it stalled and needed another ten kicks to restart. The right cylinder fired first.
Front Brake Drum Revisited: I borrowed a dial indicator from Barry, found that the high spot is about .006". I tried to grind it down, but my tool is powerless to grind off any measurable amount. I put it back together and went for a run. The front brake seems a lot better, but that could also be because I adjusted the second shoe tighter, or that I am imagining things.
Tuesday April 6, 2005 20956 Miles
+10c and sunny. I need to write the cold start instructions on a sheet of paper and stick them on the bike, because I just can't remember them all. Took about 20 kicks today, and I used my left foot because I have a problem with my right hip.
I lowered the front tire pressure to about 23 psi again. I can still feel the flat spot on the tires at 40-50 mph.
The clutch feels sticky. I would also like to get some dogleg levers so that I don't have to reach so far for them, either the clutch or the brake. That might also solve the sticky clutch problem, just by reducing the lever travel. Meanwhile, I adjusted the levers inward a little using zip ties, and now they both are about the right distance for my hands.
Wednesday April 7, 2005 20956 Miles
Getting ready for a ride to Port Dover. Washed the bike. Oiled chain (it is getting rusty!). Checked engine oil, it's about half way down. Checked a few bolts for tightness. Right exhaust collar nuts were getting loose, so was the left top shock nut. A couple of exhaust valve cover bolts too.
4:30 P.M. +15c 21079 Miles. That was a 129 mile ride to Port Dover and back, the first 'real' test of the bike, doing the typical trip with other riders. Too bad the lower muffler heat shield fell off, I didn't check those before leaving. Luckily Bob stopped to pick it up.
At home I found that all the screws on the other heat shields were also loose. Barry said the CL450 exhaust didn't smoke at all, so the missing valve seals are not a problem. Still some jumping out of second gear. I tried shifting down to second gear and holding it there with my foot. It jumped kind of like one skip then it continued on.
In Port Dover, A Harley rider was asking about the CL450, interest like that never happened much with the BMW or the CD175. I told him the CL450 must be a rare bike, mine was the first CL450 ever insured by Primmum.
I refueled just before leaving home at GTO gas station, and again in Port Dover at 89 miles, for $5.00 at about 90 cents per liter. Bob's Intruder 1400 has only 150 km to reserve, so in that group the CL450 wasn't the one with the shortest range.
Friday April 8, 2005 21120 Miles
Changed oil, Castrol GTX 10w-40. I was hoping the new oil would deliver slick gear changes, but I just can't tell. I found a bit of plastic in the drain plug bowl, and not much else.
The muffler heat shields were loose again!! Except for the back two screws on the lower muffler. They have lock washers, I probably need lock washers all around.
Saturday April 9, 2005 21187 Miles
Clutch Cable Fourth Try I lubed brake and clutch cables with dry graphite spray using the power cable lube attachment. I didn't feel the improvement at the time, but on my next ride a couple of hours later, they felt like new cables. I am a huge believer in lubing cables (except the BMW which should not be lubed), and I think this is the best lube I have ever used on a control cable. Last week, the silicone spray I used did not have very much effect. A side note is that graphite powder was the only lubricant I found able to stop the speedometer needle from dancing around on my CD175's.
I replaced the front heat shield screws with socket head screws, and put lock washers under all the muffler heat shield screws. I don't want to lose the heat shield, and I have had one warning already. I moved two stainless bolts and their washers from the valve cover to the front turn signals, just for appearance.
It was +5c this morning, took 8 kicks at 100% full choke to get the bike running for about 5 seconds, but then it died because I forgot to open the choke. Then I lost count of how many kicks it took to get it started the second time. Reading back through my log, I see that the number of kicks I need to start the bike is gradually increasing!! check this from my log "March 18, Sunny, 8:30 AM, -5c. No snow overnight. Started second kick this morning."
I can't hear any valve noise on the 450. On my CD175, with no ear plugs I could hear noise when I moved my knee away from the gas tank. I should be checking the clearances soon.
I put a rubber hose piece over the gear shift end and the kick starter, I'll see tomorrow if it works.
Monday April 11, 2005 21237 Miles.
This morning +5c I started the bike with 5 kicks. All with choke 100%, no throttle at all. As soon as it started to fire, I opened the choke, and then I opened the throttle a bit. I am not trying to start on the first kick any more. On a cold start, I just count how many it needs with no throttle and choke full on. I am going to assume it wants about 5-10 kicks before starting, and I can accept that first thing each day. The tricky part is to keep it going when I open the choke and throttle. If it runs for more than 10 seconds, then no more worries.
I filled up with regular Esso at 106 miles for 8.75 liters, or 55 mpg (UK)
The rubber hose on the gear change is more comfortable, but I had to make it a bit longer and bend the lever out a bit. Now it fits the top of my boot comfortably, no more sore spot.
Another problem was the condensation inside the speedometer. I cleared it up by removing the rubber plug for the speedometer bulb, and blasting in air from the bicycle pump.
The leaking exhaust valve cover seems to have dried up now that the bolts are tight.
Tuesday April 12, 2005 21287 Miles.
Sunny, 9:45 A.M. +6c It took eight kicks choke full on, throttle closed. As soon as it started going, I slowly opened the choke, then opened the throttle a little and it kept going. Same as yesterday. At 1:30 P.M. After cooling off for 2 or 3 hours, I had the choke open all the way, second kick it fired, and I opened the throttle gradually to keep it going.
Over at Bill's house this morning, the bike dripped a little gas in his driveway. I was parked on the side stand for at least 30 minutes and did not turn off the gas tap. First time it happened. This this afternoon, the mist in the speedometer glass returned, and I repeated the same trick as yesterday. Two pumps and it was gone, 4 more for good measure. Maybe it was just the cold air today.
I was playing with the 3-2 shift, and I can't make any sense of it. Sometimes it seems to work, sometimes it pops out. Sometimes the shifter lever sticks at the bottom, then pops up later.
Wednesday April 13, 2005 21299 Miles
I took the CD175 out today for its first ride of the year. Then I got the CL450 out again, took about 5 kicks and it was running. I lowered the front tire pressure to 21 psi.
Thursday April 14, 2005 21387 Miles
+13c, sunny. Only 7 kicks to start it today. I have now gone 1044 miles since I bought the bike. I lubed the chain with blue foam spray, then drove to Port Dover and came home. Could see by the transparent fuel lines I was going on reserve at 104 miles, and filled up with regular.
Friday April 15, 2005 21408 miles
Sunny +15c. Weekend weather forecast is for perfect motorcycling weather. I decided to check the valve clearances, normally it would be every 3000 miles, but since I did the valve lapping I thought I should check after 1000 miles. I started at the intakes since they were the hardest ones to get to. Unfortunately, I don't know what I did to them. For sure, both valves had some free play when I felt by hand, if only to move sideways. I seem to remember the .002" feeler could not fit under the cam on the left ,so I loosened the left just a hair. Then I tried to loosen the right just a hair but after I loosened it, it was way too loose, according to the feeler gauge, so I tried to tighten it a hair, still too loose, repeat two more times until it felt right to me (slight drag on the .002" feeler under the cam, I still don't have a small enough feeler). While I was in there I rerouted the throttle cable so it's in the correct place instead of hanging down from the throttle grip. And I felt the tension on the cam chain, was a bit loose so I backed off the adjuster nut, let it take up the slack. But the funny part is when I tightened the adjuster nut again, it seemed to loosen the chain tension! I tried a couple of more times, then decided to leave it where it was. Now I'm imagining lots of cam chain noise.
There was a black spot on the cam chain adjuster body, looked like graphite spray lube. Maybe it leaked out a hole in the clutch cable, since it was on the left side directly under the clutch cable. Next time I'll use duct tape on the cable, and rotate the sheath to a new position.
Today was not a good day to do the exhaust valves, so I put it all back together. Started up the engine, it took 6 kicks, ran for about 30 seconds and died. Why? I forgot to turn on the fuel tap. But after a short ride, it seems everything is just as it was before, and that's good. The speedometer mist returned after the absence of a couple of days, and I blew it out again.
Saturday April 16, 2005 21524 miles
Sunny +16c Honestly can not remember how many kicks to start it. I went to Port Dover again, and met Barry and Bob with his Ninja 1100, then I drove back with them. I discovered that after my 3-2 shift, if it pops out of gear, it ends up in neutral with the green light on, and the next gear up is second.
I'm down to 48 mpg (UK) I think it's because I have been pushing the bike harder than usual lately.
I was able to run over a 4" high and 4" wide concrete parking curb at Port Dover, Not at speed, I went over with the front wheel first then pushed the bike up to the curb to make sure the engine would clear it, then I went over with the back wheel.
Sunday April 17, 2005 21530 Miles
Mostly cloudy +15c. Flat Spot on Tire. The bead of the tire was not seated properly, had a lump next to the valve. I removed all the air from the tire â€“ black gooey stuff came out. Tire balancing fluid??? Or flat-proof?? Then I tried to free the valve, seems the tube is trapped by the bead of the tire. I freed it up, now the bead sits flat, but the valve now doesn't seal well because of all the tire balancing fluid pouring out, maybe. Anyway the valve has a steel cap with a rubber gasket so no big deal.
Quick test ride. I think the flat spot reduced and moved somewhere else (maybe 42 mph), very hard to tell but I think the ride has improved. But after what I saw, I feel the urgent need to change the front tire and tube.
Monday April 18, 2005 21578 Miles
Sunny, +21c Warmest day of the year so far, like summer. I was not feeling very energetic actually coming down with a cold, so in the afternoon Mary Ann and I went to get a free beverage at Starbucks, we had a couple of coupons. After downing the liquid caffeine, I suddenly had an urge to go next door to Canadian Tire and buy a drill attachment for grinding the brake drum. I took it home with me, and a few minutes later I was out on my CL450 buying a Dunlop Gold Seal K70 3.25x19 tire ($120), an inner tube, wheel weights, and a rim strip. I almost bought used saddlebags off a guy in the parking lot at Zdeno's. Then without even pausing for supper I took the front wheel off the bike, tried to grind the drum, removed the old Michelin tire, put the new Dunlop and inner tube on, balanced the tire, and before it was dark had gone for a test ride. So what, really, was in that drink? I'll have to get another one next time I need a tire changed.
Well, the flat spot on the tire is gone. But I still get a little bit of bouncing, which I think is the rippled road surface combined with the stiff forks and the natural bounce of the rubber tire. I heard some howling at a couple of hard stops I made. I checked to make sure the tire had not moved on the rim. I put the yellow circle on the sidewall next to the heavy point of the wheel. The wheel imbalance is actually heavier than the tire imbalance, and this time it only needed 17 grams to balance, last time was more like 70 g.
The Kenda 3.25/3.50x19 inner tube seemed a bit too small in diameter for the wheel â€“ like it was really 18" instead of 19". Stretching it over the rim was harder than usual for a tube, and then it got trapped under the bead of the tire while mounting it. There was a bit of rust inside the rim under the tire, I didn't try to clean and paint it. I left the old rim strip too.
I tried to grind the drum again with my new attachments, but I was unable to actually tell how much of a warp was in it. It seemed like the high spot is almost all gone already. So after a bit of half hearted buffing I just put it back on the bike.
This entire job was quite expensive, and time consuming considering the very small improvement in ride quality. But what convinced me to do it was the black sealant fluid, the age of the tire, the pinched inner tube, the leaking valve, and just needing to take a closer look.
Tuesday April 19, 2005 21696.4 Miles
Sunny +22c. Drove to Port Dover again, weather was so nice. The new front tire is doing fine, but now it's obvious the forks are sticking over the small ripples. I was feeling a bit of hesitation at higher speeds, I was thinking the clogged air filters might be to blame. I had the engine die suddenly as I pulled into the Paris Tim Horton's parking lot, maybe it was just me. But I did check the battery wires before moving on, and they were tight. I think I felt the gearbox skip out of third gear once, maybe it's not limited to second gear problems. On the other hand, I shifted to second a couple of times where it did not pop out of gear.
At home I put on some more foamy chain lube. I have not had to adjust the chain yet.
I am starting to look at oil coming from the engine. There is black oil on the foot of the side stand, leaving a mark wherever I put it down. There is an oil mist over parts of the engine, for example both the spark plug caps, the exhaust valve cover on the right side has heavy mist of oil. The air filter covers both have oil mist on the front of them. I can't tell yet where it's coming from. I looked under the points cover but saw nothing. I can't really tell where it's all coming from, so I might just clean off the engine again. I have now run it about 1200 miles since the rebuild.
The exhaust heat shields have not come loose since I dropped one, but some of the screws seems to need a tweak whenever I check the tightness.
There is definitely a howl when I apply the front brake hard. But also, braking is getting smoother all the time. I don't know if the howl is between the brake drum and the shoes, or between the tire tread and the road.
I suspect the aftermarket fork seals are sticking, which causes the choppy ride over small road irregularities. The hot tip, by Marzocchi, is to spray the fork tube with silicone spray. So I did that. I also pumped the front tire up to 25 psi, the recommended amount. That way, the road bumps are transferred directly to the fork spring instead of being eaten by the tire. As a quick test, I rolled the bike over a two by four plank on the floor. The forks definitely compress going over it, I should have tried that before my silicone spray job to see if it made a difference.
In spite of having a bad cold, I took the bike out for a spin but it cut out on me â€“ electrics completely dead only seconds after I turned on my headlight. I played with it for a bit, the lights came back on, 10 seconds later dead again. Repeated the process, they came back on. So before I got to the end of the street I turned around and I drove it home and parked in the garage. I guess I need to check the main ground wire, the main power wire to the ignition switch, main fuse, battery connections etc. This may be connected with the engine dying momentarily at Tim Horton's yesterday.
Thursday April 21, 2005 21742 Miles
When I turned on the ignition today I noticed a slight hesitation before the neutral light came on. So maybe the problem is in the ignition switch. But I decided to change the main fuse in case that was the cause of the intermittent electrics. The main fuse was not the original, it was a made in USA 14 A fuse, with slight corrosion on the ends. I put in a new 15 A fuse. These fuses are both 1/4" but the fuse holder is supposed to be for 6 mm. Because that may cause problems, I have a couple of spares in the tool kit now. I had no electrical trouble at all in 46 miles of riding around the city.
I can't say for sure the forks feel better with silicone spray, but they weren't any worse either.
One part of my trip was through a construction site, and the wide handlebars are a real help in the rough rocky areas.
There should be a little free play in the throttle cable, so I tried doing an adjustment. The adjuster nut at the throttle was all the way down to the end, so I had to back off the throttle cable adjusters at the carburetors. Then I saw that the idle screws were not screwed in equally, so I evened them up, then compensated with the cable adjuster on one carburetor, then set the free play at the grip end. (Which required some WD40 since the nut was frozen.) Surprisingly, the engine still fired up and idled evenly, and once again I am either imagining things or it really did sound more steady at idle, more like a twin than a thumper, actually. And it ran better at high speed too. Now back to reality. I'm up to 21761.7 Miles, I got 51 mpg UK on the last tank.
Wednesday April 26, 2005 21811 Miles
After a week of rain and cold, I managed to get out briefly yesterday and again a longer trip today.
Friday April 29, 2005 21842 Miles
I tightened the gear shift lever, and went out for a ride. Took about 25 kicks to start, I'm starting to get really bored trying to count the kicks, it's as bad as when I play golf and have to keep track of my strokes.
Sunday May 1, 2005 21842 Miles
Sunny +5c 10:30 AM. I am getting ready to go for a ride. I lubed the chain, it is close to needing an adjustment, but not yet. Checked the plugs, both are almost the same, white/grey color. Engine oil is at 2/3 mark. I tightened the right rear cylinder head bolt about 1/8 turn. The other seemed tight, I could not get a wrench on the inner left head bolts. The inner left exhaust header bolt needed a bit of tightening.
First true compression test, after the running in, taken cold with open throttle, using the electric starter, both spark plugs out, kill switch "off". Left 149 psi, right 159 psi. Looks like the last 1400 miles of riding helped seal the rings better.
Sunday 3:50 P.M. 21960 Scattered light rain showers/Sunshine/cloud My ride was about 110 miles . All went well until I almost got home. I turned the corner onto my street and the electrics died. I had to push it home. I checked the main fuse, it was good. I came inside the house, made lunch, went back out to troubleshoot, and everything was back to normal. So no chance to nail down the problem.
Intermittent Electric Fault Sunday 10:00 PM. I wanted to see if the bike was still working, so I turned on the ignition, and by moving the key around a bit I managed to make everything go off, while the key was in the 'on' position. The electricity came back on when I pushed the key in. I put a rubber band around the switch and the key to hold it there. I assumed that my intermittent electric problem was caused by the worn ignition switch.
Wednesday May 11, 2005 22060 Miles
Intermittent Electric Fault (Continued)
The electrics went off once more, this morning while I was waiting at a red light. I pushed it off the road and got it started again. This was getting annoying. I looked up bad ignition switches on the Internet and found stories of fried harnesses because of arcing inside the switch. So I took the switch off the bike to look at it. When I pulled off the plastic cover at the back of the switch, red wire fell off its post. Wow, that was good luck, now to fix it.
I purchased a used switch just like mine at Zdeno's for $15, but no key, and my key does not turn it. I tried to remove the back plate of the no-key switch to trade it for the broken one, by bending the three crimped tabs that hold it in place. Unfortunately I broke the switch when I tried to bend the tabs back in. One of the two rivets holding the switch and lock together broke off. Then I also was dumb enough to take apart the lock itself, and many little bits fell out. It did not look like there was any hope to get that back together again.
Thursday May 12, 2005 Still in the garage
I went to a locksmith and got nothing but a lecture about not taking locks apart. Then I went to the Honda dealer and they can order a 1972 Honda CB750 ignition assembly with a round harness plug for $95, or a CB500 assembly with a square harness plug for $18. I took the $18 assembly, and it should be here by Monday. I will solder the wires to the round plug that I don't need.
I got some ideas about reassembling the lock, and I came pretty close once or twice in getting all the pins in place, but finally gave up â€“ I seemed to be getting worse as time went on. Then Barry gave me the idea of assembling it with only two pins â€“ just enough to hold the key in place when the key is RUN, and let it pull out when in the OFF position. That was fairly easy to do. But the key was kind of loose to start with, and I can get it out pretty easily when in the RUN position with only one pin holding it. Next trick was crimping the end of the switch, and I managed to do that with a big pair of Vise Grips, the trick is knowing where to place the jaws diagonally so as to make the crimp tight.
Saturday May 14, 2005 22150 Miles
I fabricated a key out of aluminum. It is held in with a rubber band. The actual key was loose and came out when in the RUN position, the remaining pin either fell out or is having no effect at all. There is no real protection against theft, except that this bike is hard to start. And if anyone steals the key, I can start the bike with a screwdriver.
By repairing switch I cured some side effects. Apparently the flickering neutral light was caused by the bad switch. And some misfiring was related to the bad electrical connection, it felt like a miss when going over bumps at speed. With the repaired switch, I got almost 100 mph on the road, with power to spare.
Today I got caught riding in rain, and on a road marked "Fresh Gravel", not a good combination. The bike felt very unsteady.
Wednesday May 18, 2005, 22208 Miles
I picked up the new ignition switch today. Emgo 40-37600 "Replaces Honda #35100-341-700 All CB500/550/750 Square end plug" Has the four wires of the correct colors. Looks like the right size and with a slot to match the tab on the frame bracket. The chrome nut interchanges with the CL450 lock. Funny that the key only comes out of the lock in one position. In the "park" or "run" positions the key is trapped in the lock. Next I need to do some splicing on to the round switch.
I realigned the rear wheel, seemed like it got out of alignment somehow. Maybe the safety inspection last month. Maybe why the bike felt unstable on the wet gravel 4 days ago.
I felt like I would be keeping the bike long term as it became more reliable. So thinking I would customise it a bit more for my personal style, I tried to remove the front brake light switch. Unfortunately I broke off a wire trying to pull it out. I should have removed the brake lever and pushed the switch through to remove it. I didn't personally want the switch, I was more secure sending messages to drivers at the back with the rear brake pedal alone. I was only trying to remove the unsightly wires and put the switch in storage until I sold the bike.
Friday May 20, 2005 22237 Miles
This morning I got it started with 10 kicks, using the method above. 3 kicks with choke, 3with no choke, three more with choke. On the eighth and ninth kick, the engine was starting to fire but dying before I could get to the choke lever. The next kick, no choke and a blip of the throttle it started and ran long enough for me to move the choke to the middle position, and then it just kept on running. Temperature +15c.
Thursday June 2, 2005 22318 Miles
I compressed the forks about 1 inch, and drained a bit more oil out. Now I think the forks are soft enough on compression to leave them alone until I change the fork oil for a 5 weight. They are still stiff on the rebound, but balanced with the back suspension. I ran over some washboard on a gravel road, the handlebars just gave a slight vibration, amazingly smooth, at the front anyway.
Sunday June 5, 2005 22460 Miles
Sunny and 22c this morning, headed off to Port Dover with Barry and Bob. The CL450 started and kept running on the first kick today. I almost fell off the bike in surprise. The setting? I had the choke on, blipping the throttle as I kicked it through, then quickly got the choke set midway while I held the throttle open enough to keep it going.
I added oil, it was halfway between the marks. Two problems I am noticing â€“ a funny sound coming from the engine at 3000 rpm I think â€“ sounds like a playing card flicking on the spokes, like kids used to do to make their pedal bikes sound like a motorcycle. Second problem, a bit of a misfire or stumble while accelerating. Happens right off idle sometimes, other times happens around 60 mph accelerating. I probably need a general tune up after 2000 plus miles this year.
The forks handled a kind of tricky situation very well today, leaning over in a sweeping bend, holding on with only one hand while waving to a group of 40 Harley Riders with the other hand, hit a series of ripples in the pavement, almost shook my remaining hand off the bar. But it didn't and I call that good fork compliance.
Two people noticed my bike â€“ one guy from Hamilton at Port Dover came over to ask about it. He was on a BMW R1100RT, and just got back from a trip to Denver. His wife had a Tilly hat just like Mary Ann's. Another guy in a VW Golf pulled alongside while I was riding to give me the thumbs up! Lots of attention today, very flattering. Glad I washed the bike on Thursday.
Wednesday June 8, 2005 22733 Miles
Oil change â€“ Castrol GTX 10w-40 1600 miles since the last oil change. Found another bit of plastic in the drain cap, but otherwise clean. Also lubed the chain.
I waxed the tank and side panels. Makes the bike look almost new. Almost. Then I adjusted the cam chain tension, but still can't figure out what's making the rattle at 3000 rpm.
I tightened the handlebar rubber mounts, by adding a little inner tube rubber in the split rubber cones. The cones split in the middle and come out the top and the bottom. I also raised the handlebar slightly. Surprisingly, the front suspension felt smoother over bumps afterwards. My guess is that the loose handlebars transmitted more of a jolt to the hands than the tight handlebars.
Friday June 9, 2005 22917 Miles
Yesterday it was 30c and thundershowers, I took my longest trip yet with the CL450, to Grand Bend. It's a speed and endurance test, which my CD175 broke down on three years ago. This time my only trouble was an intermittent misfire, it began with stalling at a traffic light on the way out, and rough running at 60 mph on the way back. I thought it might be timing, but the timing is still perfect after about 2500 miles. I looked at the left plug, and the insulator seemed clean but the ground electrode was black. Might be running rich.
There are some iridium BR8EIX I think plugs available at Canadian Tire in the motorcycle section, $11 each. Also 10w-40 Mobil 1 motorcycle oil, at $12 per liter about twice the price of the automobile oil.
Wednesday June 15, 2005 22970 Miles
I installed iridium plugs, NGK BR8EIX, $11 each (non solid type). There were two types, on the solid type the connector does not unscrew. Good thing I noticed before buying. I still can't start on the first kick when cold, but it does seem to run smoother at low rpm. I have been busy lately with buying a new car, so I have not had a chance to go for longer rides. The new Toyota Matrix coincidentally comes with iridium plugs, maybe that partly explains the high price of the car.
The rattle at 3000 rpm is gone, I think it was a metal carburetor hose clamp contacting the metal side panel. I moved it away, have not heard a noise since.
Friday June 17, 2005 23037 Miles
I went back to the barn to get the air filters off the old CL450 in there. I had to get the part off the bike myself. I could only get the left filter, the center bolt on the right one was stripped and would not back out when I pulled and turned as hard as I could. I gave up after much frustration, but I also got a small electric cable connecting the starter solenoid to the battery. I bought the one filter/housing and cable for $30.
With both those parts installed, the bike runs to 93 mph with no stumbling and the electric start spins the motor quickly. The barn air filter is dirty, but I can see a bit of light through the paper in one spot, better than the original filter. There was lots of dust inside the Duchess's plastic air box, which I cleaned up and then smeared the inside of the cover with a thin coating of grease. The grease helps trap dust before it hits the filter.
I still need a new crimped round eye terminal to hook up the red and r/w wires to the starter solenoid, for now I'm using the big ugly screw connector that the PO put on the solenoid.
Saturday June 18, 2005. 23096 miles.
I was at the vintage motorcycle show today on the CL450. My CL450 started and kept going with one kick again (second time ever). Temperature was 15c, choke on, blipped throttle at the end of the kick, and got the choke lever to middle point after about 1 second of running. One thing I noticed: I turned on the fuel tap more than a minute before I tried kicking it.
At the vintage show in Paris, I saw a blue Honda CD175 like mine, with a dual seat. But I never got a chance to speak to the owner. I found a bubble shield for my helmet, a clutch cable, but no front hubs for 450 drum brakes, unless I wanted to buy the whole bike. Also no parts bikes, the cheapest 450 was about $900, and was actually being ridden. Today for the first time I used my helmet lock. And I got some video with sound of a Brough Superior. There was also a Yamaha 1972 R5 (350 twin) for sale in the parking lot, and a black CD175 K4 for sale from the back of a pickup truck.
Thursday June 30, 2005 23340 Mi.
I went on a few runs recently to Port Dover one to Turkey Point where I got into an off-road trail, with sand and fallen logs to cross over. Now I have over 3,000 miles on this bike. In the last week I have been feeling the CL450 steering get a little heavy, but I thought it was because I had ridden my K1100LT. No, it was because I had 10 psi in the front tire. I pumped it up to 25, so I'll check for a slow leak. I don't think I checked the pressure since I got the new tire and tube on April 18th.
Monday July 4, 2005 23748 Miles
This is the first time I had to tighten the drive chain. Maybe it was running dry. I turned it in four flats (2/3 turn), and oiled it again. I heard some noise Friday at higher speed, wearing my 1970's metalflake helmet. No noise today with the modern helmet and lubed chain.
Saturday July 10, 2005 23770 Miles
Front tire was down to 20, pumped it back up to 25 psi again, and this time I put on a metal valve cap. I accidentally turned the fuel tap to reserve instead of off last night â€“ that was bound to happen sooner or later. Smells of gas in the garage, enough that Mary Ann gave me a call from the back yard this morning.
Tuesday July 19, 2005 23910 Miles
Front tire was down to 15 psi, pumped it up to 25 psi. So it's not the valve leaking. I needed so many kicks to start it that I took off my jacket, helmet, ear plugs etc. After all that it only took about 5 more kicks to get it going. I think it's easier to start with no ear plugs. Took a ride to Port Dover, and a very strange thing happened. I could not get it off the center stand in the Port Dover parking spot. Finally I tilted the bike so it was just on the left leg of the stand and it came off. I didn't have the problem again.
Thursday July 21, 2005 23955 Miles
Front tire is back to 20 psi. I looked at, but did not buy, a 3.25/3.5x19 tube at Canadian Tire ($20), and it seems that the diameter is slightly smaller than an old x18 tube I have at home. You would need to stretch it around the rim. Everywhere I go to buy tubes, I see the same Kenda brand. Not much choice.
I got the bike started on the first kick this morning. Maybe just a coincidence, but I turned on the tap and hit the carburetors with a rock. Seemed to disloge something that allowed fuel to flow (transparent lines) then it started first kick. Another time it started first kick was when I forgot to turn off the petcock overnight, and there was a gasoline smell in the garage.
Saturday July 23, 2005 23997 Miles
This morning I firmly resolved to do something about the slow leak at the front tire. The new tubes did not appear to be any bigger than the current tube, so I didn't buy a new tube. It did not appear to be pinched, and I was luckily able to find the leak in a tub of water, I patched it with my kit made in Yorkshire, England. The leak was quite slow, one small bubble about every 3 seconds. It looked like I might have made a slight cut in the tube with my tire lever as I installed it last time. Not surprising considering that I had to working the bead in and out so many times with the tire levers because of the pinched tube.
The main problem I have is that the tube is so small in diameter that the tire bead pinches the tube while I am installing the tire. The pinching occurs in the middle of the rim, where the tire bead is supposed to sit in a deep well opposite the valve. Normally, the tube stays out of the way, but this tube cannot move aside to let the tire bead sit in the bottom of the well. My strategy this time was to not worry too much about it, hoping that when I inflated the tire the tube would come free. I did it in one pass, and did not attempt to go back to free up the tube if it appeared trapped. And to compensate for the tightness of the tire, I set it out in the sun until it was hot to touch before using the tire levers to pop it over the rim. It seemed to work like that. Now I have 28 psi (or 2.0 kg/cm2), and hoping it keeps the pressure up, and that I didn't damage it further or pinch it during installation.
While I had the wheel off, I blew out the dust from the brake, and once again I tried to eliminate the bump in the drum. I used a grindstone with a power drill on the high spot inside the drum. Then I smoothed it off with emery paper.
Wednesday August 17, 2005 24425 miles
The battery was almost dry when I checked it today. I was suspicious because the electric starter only could give a few turns even after running the bike for a half hour. Also, the vent tube had disappeared, but luckily I didn't see any corrosion around the battery, and I have a spare tube. I bought a few round/crimp terminals last month, but the are still in the package in the tank bag. I plan to use one to attach the wires to the starter solenoid, right now it has a big clumsy screw type adapter.
Sunday August 21, 2005 24500 miles
The speedometer and tach are rattling around, so I took them off and put rubber underneath them. One PO had attempted to steady them by cementing them in place with black plastic goop. He must have had no understanding of the concept of rubber mounting to isolate components from vibration. Now, with the new rubber they are properly shock isolated, and as tight as when new. The back tire is still at 30 psi. I also started the bike three times today on the electric start, seems like the battery has power now.
I was told that it's a good trick to kick the bike over 5 times with the ignition off when the engine is cold, that will fill the cylinders with gas for the start. It sort of worked for me when I kicked 5 times with the choke on and then turned on the ignition, and gave it one more kick with the choke still on.
Sunday September 25, 2005 24929 Miles
Just got back from the Fall Malt run, and then went for a ride with Phil with his new Kawasaki KLR650. On the run, my only problems were the screws on my custom front mudflap coming loose, and the homemade key in the dummy ignition switch is getting very hard to turn. Also had a bit of trouble starting the bike after a gas stop, although it started on the second kick in the morning. Riding in the rain was no problem, with my red and black raingear. I pumped up the tires a little before the start, and I oiled the chain when I got back.
There is a clicking sound that I can hear when riding, and I can make the sound while parked by compressing and extending the forks. I tried taking off the fork caps just to see. They were a bit loosely screwed on the tube, but still screwed to the damper rod. With the hydraulic jack, it was quite easy to loosen, inspect and replace the top screws, so adding oil should not be difficult, I may do that next as the amount of oil might be a bit low.
Wednesday November 15, 2005
Probably the last ride of the year, after a month of sitting. It took 20 or more kicks to start. There were a few things that I started to notice more. It didn't want to idle even when warmed up. I had to increase the idle speed adjuster before I could let go of the throttle. The clutch is a bit sudden when it engages. The gear box was stickier than usual.
I had a little problem with the gas tap leaking. The first time a month ago, I just turned the tap on and off a few times and it stopped leaking. But now it keeps dripping out the left carburetor. So I emptied most of the tank and removed the petcock plate (the one that says res-on-off). The four hole rubber washer underneath is in great shape, but the plate itself is bent. I straightened the plate, which holds down the wavy spring, which holds down the tap piece, which presses on the rubber washer. If there is not enough pressure on the rubber washer, gas leaks. Another thing I did was to make the wavy spring washer just a bit more wavy, and that increases the pressure on the rubber washer too. Then I put grease on the front and back of the tap piece, because with the extra pressure it will not turn easily without lubrication.
I think the right cylinder needs a bit of a tune up it seems lazy when I blip that carb throttle.
Sunday November 27, 2005
I completed the first job of the winter, building my new ignition switch. It is made from a new Emgo switch for $20 (part 40-37600 or 04-667, depending on which label on the box I look at) that I ordered from a Honda dealer. I cut off the square plug and replaced with a used round plug that I found at Zdeno's. The round plug also had to be cut off it's attached ignition switch because the used switch had no keys. Now I have a new switch with two new keys, connected to a round plug to fit this bike. I only need to install it on the bike.
I first checked the wiring diagram that all the coloured wires were the same, and used a multimeter to check the resistance when I was finished. I trouble with one joint, when I soldered it, the connection fell apart. That makes it more difficult to do the second time because the wires are very stiff with all the solder in them. I did it anyway with a bit of force. Then I had heat shrink tubing to slide over all four the joints, and finally wrapped the whole thing with lots of electrical tape. Apparently this helps keep the joints from flexing too much, as well as keeping it from shorting on the frame with vibration. Because of the one joint that fell apart, I am worried that my skills were not good enough to make it reliable. Unfortunately my only other option is the correct new switch for with round plug for $100.
One thing I like about this switch is that the key cannot be withdrawn in the "park" position, so I won't accidentally drain the battery after removing the key. I can still drain it leaving the key in, though. It seems kind of useless to have a "park" position where you can't withdraw the key, but I guess most people don't ever use it anyway.
The 2006 Triumph Scrambler has been introduced for a price of about $11,500 Cdn. Surprisingly, for a new bike, the internet has mostly positive opinions on it so far. Everybody uses the word 'cool' to describe it, and many references to Steve McQueen, who rode one in the ISDT, and in the movie "The Great Escape". Too bad Steve did not actually have the signature high pipes on his bikes. But if the Triumph Scrambler is a sales success, the CL450 will gain some coolness by association. My opinion of the Triumph Scrambler is that I like it, but the Triumph pipes themselves look a bit home made compared to the 1972 CL450, and I could see a lot of knee burns resulting from the tiny heat shields. The price is pretty high, even the T100 is less expensive. The seat is not very nice, and the crossbar on the handlebars is an extra cost option, why??? It would be great to hear one, and take a test drive, but I am quite happy with the CL450, which has the benefit of being lighter and cheaper. The CL450 is more of a "Do It Yourselfer" bike, but that's actually a bonus to some people (like me). Also, the pipes don't turn blue from running the engine.
Thursday December 1, 2005 25959 Miles Today is a Ride Day -2c Dry Roads, Cloudy.
I installed my new Emgo switch, and tested it on a 10 mile ride. I don't have the right tool to turn the lock ring on the switch, so I used vise grips with rubber to protect the chrome. I found out that rubber is no good at protecting the chrome from vise grips.
The right cylinder was very reluctant to fire up, even after the left was running, so I turned up the idle speed on that side. No amount of twisting the idle air screw made any difference. Funny, that was the same side that refused to fire up when I first got the bike on the road in the spring.
The clutch has a jerky engagement just at the point when it hooks up. It's worst when cold, I think. The forks also felt very stiff, also the rear shocks,
I pulled the doorknob off the garage door this morning, so that'll need to be fixed too.
I managed to put 5500 miles on the bike this year. Now that December is here, I won't be putting on a lot more miles.
January 9, 2006 24968 Miles Ride Day, +2c Roads Dry to damp, partly sunny
I just watched a video I got from the public Library: "Hitchhiking Vietnam" by Karin Muller on PBS. She did part of her trip on a Honda CB450, which she called "The Beast" and broke down 52 times. They finally gave up when they lost the master link on the drive chain. She did get in about 6 scenes of the Honda. Click here to see her page and go to "travel tips" -> "Transportation" -> Motorcycle
Home Made Seat Cover
Today I put a new cover on the seat, after removing the old one which was too torn to repair. I simply cut a piece of naugahyde and wrapped it over the existing foam. It is held on only by the metal teeth in the seat base. I straightened them out to get off the old cover, then bent them back down on the new fabric. Unfortunately at least on hole ripped as I folded the tooth over, maybe I should not have straightened them in the first place. I tried to make sure that the material was fully seated on the tooth before bending. I avoided doing any stitching by making one big fold in each back corner. The rest of the seat looks smooth, except for those two folds. It does not look professional, but I always liked home made stuff better if looks even halfway decent. The folded seat cover kind of suits the 'scrambler' character of the bike, and I did not put either the strap or the chrome studs back on the seat. It has a real simple utilitarian look to it almost as if it was made in Eastern Europe during the communist era. (Maybe that's an unfair comparison)
I went for an 8 mile ride after filling up with gas, which I assume is fresh winter gas, maybe better for starting. The gear box is even more of a pain in cold weather, otherwise it all worked as expected. To get it started, I used a trick that was successful on my CD175 last month. I heated the tip of the spark plugs with a propane torch â€“ just enough to feel a bit of warmth where my bare fingers were holding it. I did one plug at a time, and immediately tried to start the bike. It took no more than 6 kicks and it was running.
I was also using my new Joe Rocket Ballistic 6.0 jacket over my one piece snowmobile suit, and a scarf around my neck.
January 12, 2006 24975 Miles Ride Day +6c Dry Roads Sunny
I managed to start the bike with about 4 kicks and no tricks, which is really good. I put the saddlebags on, which I bought at the motorcycle show for $89. One of the four plastic quick buckles is already broken. I returned my two videos to the library, using the saddlebags.
Friday January 13, 2006 25070 Miles
Ride Day +6c Some rain, wet Roads
Friday 13th is a day that motorcyclists swarm to Port Dover. In the summer, tens of thousands of bikes are there, but even in the worst winter weather, about 100 bikes show up. Today, because of the good weather (for January!), I guess there were over 500 bikes. It was hard to find parking at Tim Horton's. This is the first time I have gone to Port Dover by motorcycle on a winter Friday 13th. I was told before Christmas that the piper/biker club "The Ceilidh Cruisers" would be there and probably by motorcycle, so that got me thinking about it. Then when the weather forecast was good I decided to go early in the morning. The CL450 ran perfectly, it started on the second kick!
I took the Honda 450 with my new saddlebags and my new Joe Rocket jacket. The second (of four) plastic snap buckles broke on the saddlebags. In spite of that, they were very useful, especially because I needed the rain pants out of the bag on the way home. My cheap motorcycle boots leaked, I had them for more than two years but never found out that they leaked because the BMW has such good splash protection in front of the boots. Nothing else got wet. I should get some more motorcycle rain pants, the ones I have are too hard to put on and it's painful if a muscle cramps up while reaching and pulling. I pulled off on a side road to put the pants on, and within seconds there was a provincial police car checking up on me. He was glad to see I was dressed for the weather. I was glad I wasn't getting arrested for driving without a headlight on.
The battery can light the headlight, but can't turn the starter motor, even after running down to Port Dover with the headlight mostly off (about 60 miles). I checked to see what battery I need, it's 12N 12A-4A-1, which was commonly used for Honda CB350's, CB450's, CB550F's in those days. The dimensions are 5.28" L, 3.15"W, 6.3"H. Now when I checked my battery in the garage I found that the width was only 2.9"W, which explains the extra piece of foam in there to keep it from rattling around.
Wednesday March 29, 2006 Ride Day +13c Sunshine Dry Roads 25099 miles.
It's Spring! First order of business is to get a new, bigger, battery that fits the bike. Naturally I will ride the bike to get the battery. Without even attempting to do a cold start, I took out the sparkplugs and used the propane torch on them, then the bike started on the fourth kick. Off to the Honda dealer (after I pick up my wife's new blue jeans, I can't completely ignore domestic issues). I gave the Honda dealer the number of the battery 12N 12A-4A-1, which he promptly cross referenced to a newer Yumicron type of Yuasa battery YB12A-A, yes it was in stock and ... bugger... it's exactly the same size as the one in the bike. Anyway, no matter. I took it home, charged it for 5 hours, put it in the bike and it started instantly with the started motor spinning it like it was nothing more than a 175 twin. So with the new battery, maybe my days of insane kicking are over. Welcome to the 21st century. Actually more like welcome to the sixties. And batteries ($65.54 Canadian including tax) are cheaper than replacement hip surgery.
Now if I may make a plug for a movie: "World's Fastest Indian" is a great movie, no matter what the anti-motorcycle critics may say. I saw it March 17th and again on the 19th. I just do not understand how a dumb movie like "Brokeback Mountain" can open in 2500 movie theaters, while "World's Fastest Indian" opens in only 180. Who gets to make those decisions? I'm not going to say they're gay because there's nothing wrong with that, maybe they just hate people who don't mow their lawns and come from New Zealand, and wake up at 6:00 AM to run their bike with straight pipes under the neighbour's window. I guess compared to that kind of behaviour, a couple of cowboys kissing and hugging each other is tolerable.* But to make a movie about it? Come on.
DISCLAIMER: Mary Ann says I should not make comments about movies I have not seen. I have not seen Brokeback Mountain, on account of a sacred oath I have taken. "What oath is that?" she inquires. The oath to never see Brokeback Mountain. But Mary Ann makes another point: "There were 2 guys kissing in “World's Fastest Indian, too."
Anyway, I don't want to get into another one of the convoluted arguments that take place around here. Here is something different, a link to an editorial comment about simple motorcycles. http://www.superbikeplanet.com/2006/Mar/060320b.html
Thursday March 30, 2006 Ride Day +10
to +18 Sunshine Dry Roads 25104 miles
The first thing I wanted to test: will it start with just the electric starter? Yes, it did in about 1 second. I had a little trouble running the left cylinder at first, but that was because I forgot to turn on the fuel tap. Then I went for a short ride to warm up the oil. When I got back I changed the oil for Castrol GTX 10W-40. I noticed (for the first time) that the oil drain plug takes a 17mm. socket. A P.O. must have filed it down to that size after rounding off the original 19mm size nut.
Later in the afternoon I took the first long ride of the season, about 50 miles. This is also the first day riding the CL450 that I never used the kick start lever.
Sunday April 9, 2006 25150 miles
It was very hard to start today, until I took out the plugs and heated them. I am starting to wonder if those expensive Palladium plugs are the right choice for this bike. According to the internet, they are 100,000 mile long life plugs, ideal in engines like the Astro Van where you cannot easily change them. It only takes 20 seconds to pull out a plug on the CL450, so it may be better to go with a normal plug and replace it from time to time. So I will change to normal, but hotter plugs (B7ES) to burn off the oily deposits, and avoid sustained high speed running.
Tuesday April 11.
I just started and warmed up the bike today, but didn't get a chance to ride it. Before I started it, I experimented with reducing the idle speed 1/4 turn on each side, hoping that would be better for cold starts. It did eventually start, so maybe that helped. Today I was pretty busy, selling some old CD175 parts, changing the car to summer tires (it was 19c!) Too bad I didn't get a chance to ride.
Wednesday April 19. 25200 Mi.
I installed new Champion N3C plugs, equivalent to NGK B7ES*. It was 19c, and I have not ridden in 8 days. It started up on the electric start alone. About 3 bursts of 5 seconds each seemed to do the trick, also some of the usual creative juggling of the choke lever. (Update 1- Within a month or two I will become a believer in these plugs, the bike really does start easier! Hotter plugs not only burn off deposits, but they also resist fouling because of the longer insulator. Up to July 5, I have not had overheating, maybe because I drive at moderate speeds) (*Update number 2, this time from next summer. The N3C's only worked for a couple of months before hard starting returned. Could it be that the N3C didn't overheat because they are actually equivalent to B8ES, not B7ES? Next time check on the internet instead of believing a Canadian Tire "Associate". - Ed.)
Wednesday May 31, 2006 25,410 Mi.
It's a heat wave. I have not started the bike in over a month. So I turned on the gas, then tapped the carburetor with the butt of a screwdriver because I didn't see gas flowing through the fuel line. Finally it started flowing. About 7 kicks and it was running. Now that is a great improvement over the insane amount of kicking and swearing I was accustomed to. It's either the new plugs, the reduced idle speed or the new battery. The next day, I started it again and this time on the 4th kick.
Saturday June 3, 2006 25,510.7 Mi.
Michael took the CL450 for a ride today. He has a learners permit and after 3 weeks commuting on the CD175, had no trouble at all riding the 450. He started it himself with about 10 kicks on the kick start. It popped out of gear once, and he mixed up the on/off/reserve once. We drove to Listowel, about 100 miles in all. I rode my BMW K1100LT, and Jonathan came with us on his 1986 Suzuki GS400. It was our first family motorcycle ride.
On Thursday I replaced the front tube in Jon's Suzuki GS400. I was surprised to find a bike with a cast wheel and a tube. But once I knew that, it was fairly easy to remove the wheel and get the tube out.
Monday June 19, 2006. 25937
I went on a group ride to Cape Croker camping last weekend. I was on the BMW, Michael took the CL450, and we were with Phil on a KLR650 and Glenn on a Kawasaki Zephyr 750. Before the trip I spray lubed the CL450's chain, and checked the engine oil which was near the top, I didn't add any. It started on the third kick after sitting for 7 days. During the trip we did nothing except fill the bikes with gas. We stayed off the main roads, but ran mostly 80-100 kph.
I am hearing a little backfiring I think, or maybe more like popping when the engine is running. The drive chain feels a bit loose now. Also, Michael got some oil drops on his right lower pant leg - looks like it's coming from the tachometer cable.
Friday July 7 25978 miles
Another trip to Cape Croker this weekend. The ignition timing is checked and still exact. Oil level still near the top mark. The drive chain was slack, so I tightened the adjusters by 1.6 turns. I also spray lubed the chain. I tried to adjust the cam chain according to the Clymer book, but it seemed that the adjuster was stuck, and would not move even when I pushed it directly from the end. Since it's not actually making any noise, I will leave that till later. I did have to add air to the tires, both were about 21 psi. Now the rear is 30, the front 25 psi.
Just as an experiment I sprayed the rusty hex screws holding the timing cover with chrome paint. They look good now, but I want to see how it holds up.
Sunday July 30, 2006 26254 Miles
It took a long time to start the bike after sitting a few weeks. Finally I had to add gas to the tank, as it was very low, and that seemed to do the trick. Actually I could see the fuel running through the clear lines to the carburetor. Hard to believe the gas tank was so empty that no gas would flow to the carbs.
Monday August 14, 2006, 26432
The CL450 is getting hard to start again, maybe just my imagination. But I am sure I am hearing some popping in the exhaust while idling, which might be a tight exhaust valve. Since Michael has been riding it lately, I asked him if he was interested in learning something about maintenance. Together, we did a valve adjustment, long overdue, as the last one was at about 20500 miles. Unfortunately, he stripped one of the non-helicoiled valve cover bolts, but it's easily accessible so I one day I will repair it without taking out the engine.
We put it back together then started it up, and the popping is still there, worse than ever in fact. I decided to take it for a short drive to fill it with gas. At the gas station, it almost would not start, and it seemed like very little compression. Then it ran poorly all the way home. At home I found it leaked a lot of gas on the driveway, and I saw drops of oil coming from the front valve cover where the bolt is stripped. OK that went well.
I decide that the bad cylinder was on the right. I always test the cylinders individually while it is running by working the throttle lever on the carburetor. So I put the right piston at TDC, then I adjusted the valves just by the feel of the screwdriver alone, and retightened, which took about 2 minutes. It is hard to explain, but after taking apart the engine I am starting to get an idea of how this works. Anyhow, the engine now seems to run fine with no popping. But it is still leaking oil and gas, so I'll check that next.
Tuesday August 15, 2006, 26444
I took the bike for another run, and it was still running badly, but not as bad as yesterday. It was leaking gas heavily from the right carburetor. I inspected the right float valve and saw the cone on the float valve was severely deformed, more worn on one side than the other. I took a fairly nice looking float valve out of one of my spare carburetors, and that fixed the leak - but I didn't attempt to readjust the float level. I left it the same because my normal method involves removing the carburetor, and I don't have the patience right now. I found on the next test ride that I had some popping on deceleration. That might be normal for these carbs, as Honda actually put a special vacuum valve on the CB500 carbs to eliminate that problem. Otherwise the bike ran fine and idled smoothly.
The valve cover was still leaking oil badly, so I looked for my Helicoil kit to repair the bottom left (gear change side) bolt hole. When I got it apart, I could see a metal shaving on the gasket's mating surface, which may have prevented the gasket from sealing. I also noticed the bolt was not the same as the rest, about 2 threads shorter. There appeared to be threads at the bottom of the bolt hole. They must be original threads because according to my notes, I did not Helicoil that hole. When I threaded in a longer bolt it seemed to catch and hold.
I didn't use the Helicoil kit, just as well because I could not find the instructions. For example, the size of drill bit to use.
Another test drive, again starting on the first kick, like it did first thing this morning. But this time I heard popping again, although not while simply idling, but more than this morning. After a few miles, there was still a little oil I mopped up from the engine fins, but it seems to be getting dryer.
Tuesday September 5, 2006
The cam chain tension adjuster came off for an inspection today, with just four bolts. I found the mechanism a little sticky, but not actually stuck. I put a little oil around the shaft, which maybe helped a bit and put it back on.
To put it back together, I pushed the mechanism back as far as it would go, then tightened it. I installed it, then removed the spark plugs and turned the engine over until I felt some resistance from the cams. Then I released the adjuster bolt and the mechanism slid forward, where I tightened and locked it. Now this is not the correct recommended method for setting the tension. I don't know why I have a such a hard time with the CL450 in following recommended procedures, for example the way I adjusted the valve clearance recently, just by feel of the adjuster screw. I should have looked up the proper method and done it that way. This is where I should read "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" again, especially the part about quality and caring.
Anyhow, off for a test drive, hoping that (A) the cam chain tensioner is now adjusted right, (B) the popping is fixed. So at first I thought I had fixed the popping, but soon it returned, however I do think it's better, so maybe adjusting the cam chain again might do it.
While I had the plugs out I noticed the right one was black, and the left was black with a white ring around the insulator. I switched the two plugs around. They were also harder to unscrew than usual.
Thursday October 5, 2006 26709
A whole month has gone by without much riding, but today I had to go out. It took a while to get the bike started, and finally I needed to drain the right hand float bowl. After that I began to get some action. When it did start, I got a lot of popping on fast idle. By putting my hand near the exhaust outlet, I determined it came from the right cylinder. I managed to eliminate the popping by raising the idle speed on the right. Now it idles at about 1400 rpm. But the popping has completely disappeared.
Friday October 6 26745 miles
It took me about 40 kicks to get it going again, either the cold (12c) or the old gas in the tank. The hard starting is one of the worst problems with the bike. I rode about an hour or two, and I was thinking that the gears really shift very slickly except for the second gear problem, and it is very hard to get into neutral if I am stopped with the engine running in first gear. Also the back brake is smooth but not very powerful compared to the front.
The rear tire was down to 22 psi, I put it up to 30 psi.
It seems like I have reached a point where I would rather ride the bike than fix it. I am riding to compensate for the various problems rather than trying to fix them.
How do I know if I am in second gear after shifting down? Well, 3000 rpm = 22 mph and 2000 rpm = 15 mph. If I can remember that then at least I can tell when I am not in second, and don't have to worry about popping out of gear. If it seem like I am in second, then I shift to some other gear before accelerating. Unfortunately it takes a bit of time to figure this all out, including taking my eyes off the road to look not both the speedometer and the tach. And usually I am in some heavy traffic at the time or turning in an intersection. Not a good time to be involved in mental gymnastics.
To eliminate the shuddering on the front brake I decided to try using only the back brake unless I need the extra stopping power. Anyhow the brake light is hooked up to the rear brake pedal.
I still can't start the bike easily after it suits a few days, but I can get it started when I have to. Either using fresh gas, draining the carbs or heating the spark plugs. Sometimes I just kick it a lot until it starts.
In spite of these problems that are hard to fix, this is still a cool bike. I have a book titled "You are what you ride." So since I am a 58 years old male, I guess it would not be cool for me to ride a lady's bike. And it would not be cool for me to ride a squidly bike (GSXR750 comes to mind). Since I don't have any tattoos and I don't drink much beer, I think the Harley would not be too cool for me either. So for me the Honda 450 is cool. It's old, like I am. And it's cheap (again like me). It does not start easily. (I'm not a self starter either.) It has it's defects, which I may admit to some of my own.
Monday October 9, 2006 26770 miles
I refilled with fresh gas today and went for a ride in the morning. But after waiting only a few hours to cool down, it again took over 10 kicks to get it going even with fresh gas. Before riding, I adjusted the idle speed back down to 1000 rpm, and synced the throttles so they both open at the same time. I had to tighten the throttle cable nut on the top of the right carburetor. Still no popping noises, and now I have a nice slow idle.
Tuesday October 24, 2006 26818 miles
I missed one easy starting tip until today. I repositioned the kickstart lever so that it tilts further forward. I get a bit longer swing now, that has got to help. The lever still folds away without bumping my leg, although the arm touches the engine case when folded in.
The weather has been cold and rainy recently, so today I bought another pair of pants to put over my jeans. they were army surplus camouflage (now nobody can see me from the waist down), and only $35. I got XXL to fit over my jeans, and they also slide over my boots. Much less expensive than the real motorcycle pants, but probably not as good for rain or sliding down the road. The camo pants now match my riding outfit in a new video game I bought: Tourist Trophy for Playstation 2. Too bad there is no Honda CL450 in the game, but they do have a few older bikes for people like me to ride. And a few BMW's too. And none of them have starting problems. Or any other mechanical problems other than crashing a lot.
Wednesday October 25, 2006 26868
miles 6c Sunny/Partly Cloudy.
I gave up counting at 66 kicks, but it did start finally. I had to take a few breaks, I can't do 66 in a row. And it seems like waiting a while also helps.
I filled up with Shell Regular, so maybe next time the gas will be more fresh.
I had a good ride lasting for about 2 hours.
Monday November 7, 2006 12c
This time I took out the spark plugs to have a look and heated them up before I put them back in. Even then, it took more than 10 kicks to get it started after heating the plugs, and many more before I took the plugs out. The plugs themselves both looked the same, dry and mostly white or light grey. They are the Champion N3C plugs I put in new at 25,200 miles in April. Although they seem to be keeping themselves clean, new ones could help.
One more problem may be developing, the bike stalled twice at traffic lights and feels a bit weak when I accelerate from idle. It's idling at about 900 rpm right now.
Winter occurs here . . . . . . . . . . :- ( . . . . . winter is over . . . . . . . :- )
Wednesday April 18, 2007 (9 degrees
C.) 26900 miles
We have had a run of cold wet weather, but today it's breaking up. I started up the CL450 today, with new NGK B7EV spark plugs. I heated them up and installed them then tried to start the bike. Nothing!@%* So I took off the float bowl, and no gas in it. I forgot the gas tap. Four more kicks and the bike was running. I went for a ride.
My previous plugs were Champion N3C. When I was looking up the N3C plugs on the internet, I found out they are considered replacements for B8ES, but I was told at the store they were equivalent to B7ES. So I was confused. This time I went to Zdeno's and asked for NGK B7ES to be sure. They had B7EV instead, at $3.99 each, which is good considering they are regularly $10.00. So I bought 4 of them. Hotter plugs should have longer insulators and clean themselves better with low speed running. Then I compared the insulator on the B8ES, B7EV, and N3C. The differences are small, but it looked like the depth of the insulator was about 1 mm more on the N3C and the B7EV, measured from the top of the threads to the bottom of the insulator. Then I noticed the top of the N3C insulator was slightly more recessed than either of the NGK plugs. So the longest insulator is the B7EV, and it could also be hotter because it is slightly more projected.
Now for the sad part. Mary Ann has bought a new Burgman Scooter, and she tells me I have to get rid of one of my bikes to make room for hers. This is going to hurt a lot. I have to choose between the BMW K1100LT, the CL450, and the Honda CD175.
The BMW is my touring bike, I can't give up going from coast to coast can I? It's only 15 years old, just barely broken in.
The CL450 Street Scrambler is the only cool bike I own. The Burgman 400 will not make up for the loss of a cool bike.
The CD175 is my first bike, my connection to Africa, the basis for my world famous web site. And I have enough spares to keep it running for the rest of my life.
There is no easy way out, except for endless delaying, which by the way I am very damned good at. The Burgman has been stuffed into the garage since December, and none of my bikes have been sold yet, on the excuse that prices will be better in the summer. But who cares what the price is? Because I won't be getting another bike with the money.
Sunday April 22, 2007 27381 miles
I put on many miles because of the pleasant weather this weekend. Also Mary Ann is out learning to ride her Burgman, so I go along with her. It seems like she will be wanting to keep the Burgman, as it is getting about 65 mpg (U.K. gallons). On one stretch of 100 miles, we put 8 liters of fuel in the CL450 and 5.2 liters in the Burgman, while we were riding together. Also she has learned to ride the Burgman expertly, partly I suppose because the controls are the same as her bicycle.
The CL450 is starting better with the B7EV spark plugs. This morning I simply bump started it going down the driveway. The speedometer needle is starting to flutter again.
I put a "For Sale" sign on my CL450 at the Brantford Vintage motorcycle meet. $1100. The people I talked to about it seemed nice, I wouldn't mind selling it to them, as they seem to take good care of older bikes.
Saturday April 28, 2007 27400
I went to the Kitchener Motorcycle Show today. They had the new Piaggio 3 wheel scooter on display. I used my CL450, which started on the 8th kick, after 4 priming kicks with the ignition off first. So actually 12 kicks in all. Anyhow, not that bad after a week of inactivity, and 100% humidity and 7c outside. But two days ago I attempted to start the bike, took 20 kicks with no success and then parked it again. I wish I knew why it started easier today.
I have not sold it yet, although I did get an offer of $800.
Monday April 30, 2007 Sunny, 15c
I got two liters of Mobil 1 10w-40 Motorcycle oil for $12 each. I changed the oil, and added a little Mobil 1 10W-30 automotive oil to top it up. The shifting improved noticeably, and in 4 tries I could not make it pop out of second gear. I also put on some new handgrips.
When I started it, I tried pushing it down the driveway instead of kickstarting. Usually it starts, but not this time. I forgot to turn on the choke. After I did, it took only one kick and the engine was running.
I can't sell this bike now that it starts and shifts smoothly!!!
Friday May 18, 2007. 27961 miles
I have put 3-in-1 oil on the chain (the type that's supposed to be for lawn mowers, 20 wt.) Oil is still near the top. Tire pressure was down (22 at the back, 18 psi at the front!!!) Now it's 25 front and 30 back. I had to adjust the front brakes which were getting loose. I tightened the chain adjusters 4/6 turn.
This morning I started the bike by pushing it down the driveway. Started the third time. Easier to count than kicks.
The speedometer is wobbling was fixed by spraying some graphite lube in the top (no pressure fitting). The clutch lever is getting sticky, maybe time for lubrication. Chain will need tightening. Rear tire is worn on one side, not the other (i.e rotated 180 degrees), and is seriously out of balance, but I don't feel it while riding, only when oiling the chain.
During the ride, I found there was very little vibration in my hands, although the mirrors were as blurred as usual. Wonder if I'm dreaming?
Wednesday June 13, 2007. 28072 miles
I have not been riding the CL450 much, but it only took about 20 kicks to bring it back to life. I changed the fork oil this morning, from ATF (recommended in the owners manual) to Spectro 10wt. fork oil. The ATF is about 30 wt. I think. I only added 120 cc left and 100 cc right, that's all I had. It's supposed to be 155 cc. But I was already running low on the fork oil because it was so stiff when full. I went for a test ride, and it seems like a much softer ride at the front. It used to be so stiff it would almost shake the handlebars out of my hands on a bump.
I have been riding my Honda CD175 lately. Two years ago when I first got the CL450, it seemed to be very rough and crude to ride. Hard to shift, vibration, harsh ride, sticky clutch lever, very hard to start, lots of other problems. By comparison, the CD175 was effortless, slick controls, and smooth ride. Now it seems turned around. The CD175 has gotten harsh and the CL450 is becoming slicker.
Thursday June 14, 2007 Sunny 25c
Yesterday I was riding around on the CL450 for the first time in about a month. I noticed a puddle of gas on the street after it was parked for a few hours. This morning Mary Ann smelled gas in the garage. I figured the gas tap was leaking again, like two years ago, so I took off the tank and finally realized that I had not turned the tap off. Because the CD175's tap turns off the opposite way from the 450, I made the inevitable mistake, turning it to reserve instead of off. So I painted the top of the lever on each bike red so that I would not make the mistake again. Note the CB350 tap turns the same way as the 450, so maybe the 175 is the oddball.
I also filled the battery with water, as the top of the plates were exposed. I am starting to think the easiest way to check the water level is through the filler holes, as it is really hard to see the level through the side of the case. And with the 450, you can put water in without removing the battery.
Friday June 15, 2007 Sunny 28c
The motorcycle started on the first kick, on the way to the Paris vintage motorcycle swap meet. I found a couple of incomplete turn signals for $5 with decent chrome, and managed to refurbish the rear turn signals on my bike. The old ones had grooves worn by a luggage rack resting on them. Too bad it took 10 kicks to start it in the parking lot of the show, with plenty of spectators too.
Mary Ann came with me on her Burgman 400, and I tried to get her to buy some "biker chick" paraphernalia, but she was not interested in the leather vests, chaps or half helmets. However I did come across some LED brake lights. I think all motor bikes would do well to adopt a system of LED brake lights similar to the third brake light on cars. There are many reasons why the third brake light is more effective at warning following motorists than our current system. We got the third brake light installed on the Burgman right at the vendor's booth for $50. We puzzled for a while how to remove the panels from the Suzuki Burgman but finally we got it done. Her third light system looks great on the road, although it is a little rough around the edges when seen up close. I can deal with the cosmetic issues later.
Saturday June 16, 2007 28100
Miles Sunny 27c
I returned to the Paris show today, and found a kickstart lever rubber that fits, and a tach cable. Both are now installed. I also saw a seat with a small rip at the back, and a front wheel that looked close but not quite right. I passed on both.
I found a 1972 CB450 brake cable which was too short. Yet according to my parts manual, the 1972 (K5) brake cable is part number 45450-347-000 for both the CB450 and the CL450. That has got to be a mistake, as the K5 CB450 had a hydraulic hose for the front brake.
During the motorcycle show a wind funnel hit and within seconds two four poster shade tents were floating at the treetops level, with many papers over twice that high. Pretty spectacular, wish I could have got my camera out fast enough to get a video.
The bike is getting harder to shift, I wonder if I got a lot of gasoline into the oil when I forgot to shut off the gas tap?
Tuesday June 19, 2007 28200 Miles
Sunny 27c with thunderstorms around
Michael Gets His M1
I have not sold the bike yet, and now I am letting my son Michael use it while getting his motorcycle licence. He came over to ride it today, after he passed his written test. I called my insurance company, and they want to up the premium from about $450 to about $900 to add him to the policy.
It started on the fifth kick after three days of sitting, which is promising. I received another tip over the internet that hard starting could be due to moisture under the points cover, and if I ever have trouble again I am going to take the cover off and blow a hair dryer on it.
The tank was looking a bit scratched and faded, especially in the pinstripe area. It helped to use some rubbing compound followed by "Liquid Crystal" wax. I did it by hand, I was afraid to rub through the paint if I used a power attachment.
^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ Summer Passes by Quietly and is gone^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ : (
Tuesday September 17, 2007 29596
Miles Sunny 25c
Michael took the motorcycle safety course last weekend and qualified for his M2 license. He put on a total of 1300 miles mostly commuting to work all summer. I just checked the bike over. The oil was low, so I added about 500 ml of Mobil 1 (mostly 10W-30, some 20W-50.) The front tire was low, I pumped it to 30 and it lost 2 psi overnight. I guess a slow leak, which I first noticed back in May 2007. The tachometer gear was loose at the engine, leaking oil, making the engine oily . I added distilled water to the battery. I put some Motorex Racing chain lube on the chain. It goes on like foam and dries to a white paste which does not fling off. I have never used chain lube like this before. It was $18 for 500 ml from Cycle Improvements in Waterloo. Michael's only comment on the bike was that the turn signals didn't work once, but they are working now. It's starting reliably I asked him if he used the kick or the electric start, he asked "There's an electric start? I thought that was another horn button."
Tuesday September 26, 2007 29712
Miles Cloudy 22c some rain
Fixing the slow leak in the front tire. I found out that there was a leak at the edge of my old patch, about one bubble every 30 seconds. I found a new tube at Cycle Improvements, it was a Duro 110/90x19. This inner tube fit the rim perfectly unlike the old Kenda 3.25x19 which was too tight and got pinched during installation. The Duro went in easily and did not get caught between the rim and the bead as I was levering the bead over the rim.
I also replaced the rear tire, took off
the old Cheng Shin which was unbalanced and worn flat on one place on
the tread. The new tire is a Dunlop K70, and it seems well balanced
with no weights and the yellow circle aligned with the valve stem.
Unfortunately I have a Kenda tube in there, 3.50/4.00x18. It's not as
bad as the Kenda was at the front but I find it a bit small and it
did get trapped between the rim and the bead, and I pinched it with
the tire iron when trying to free the valve stem. I hope I didn't
cause another leak.
The splines on the gear shift lever are loose, and I can't tighten the bolt because the gap is already collapsed. So I took it off, clamped it in a vise to close the gap, and used a hacksaw to cut a new wider gap. When I put it back on and tightened it up, the looseness was gone in the gear lever splines. The shaft itself still moves in and out a bit but that will not have any effect on the splines. I got the hacksaw tip off the Internet.
The kick start lever has the same looseness, but not because the gap is closed. It is just harder to tighten because the gap does not go across the entire lever. So I simply tightened the nut some more, and it's better now but still wiggles a bit on the splines.
Tuesday October 2, 2007 29808
Today I was not at my most peaceful state of mind for working on the bike. Michael dropped it off at 9:00 AM then started walking to work. I was going to troubleshoot the intermittent turn signals. Sometimes they don't work at all, when they work, they are slow. After a few minutes I realized Michael had the only key to get under the seat (and gas tank). The ignition switch, being new, has a different key. I chased after him on my bicycle, but couldn't find him. I returned home and did what I could. I cleaned and tightened the terminals on the relay. I also cleaned the contacts inside the handlebar switch and sprayed silicone lube in there. Now the lights blink, but still slow. And I'm not sure what I did to get them working, but now if I jiggle the flasher relay, it keeps on working, so that's good.
Then I tried painting the letters on the handlebar switches (L/ R) for the turn signals etc. I use a tiny brush and red paint to fill in the recessed letters then wipe up the excess. Unfortunately I wiped off the excess while holding the bottle of paint in my left hand, which I dumped on the bike and on my boots and driveway. I cleaned off the tank, the seat, the exhaust pipes, my boots, and my hands and dabbed the driveway bricks a little.
I got through my test ride without an incident. It is a big contrast to my Kawasaki Vulcan 900. The CL450 seems to have a softer suspension, and rocks forward and back more than the Vulcan. Acceleration feels about the same, but the engine is rough at low rpm, and vibrates at high rpm compared to the Vulcan. The CL450 is lighter and has a smaller turning circle for U turns. Also it's nice to be able to stand up on the pegs for bumps. But the small gas tank, vibration, and age of the bike prevent the 450 from being a good touring bike.
I checked the tire pressures again, 25 psi front, 29 psi rear. Still not sure if there is a slow leak.
Here is a nice picture of the bike from today. Fall2007.jpg
Easter Sunday March 23, 2008. Sunny,
-1c, dry roads
After a very snowy winter, the streets are dry now. Michael rode over here on the CL450 today. Apparently it is not the first time he took it out. I sprayed some chain lube and replaced the right gas line, which had cracked in the middle. It was the snowmobile gas line I put on during the first winter overhaul, and I used some of the original line I still had in the basement. The bike is now being parked outside with a tarp over it.
May 27, 2008. 17c 31589 miles
I added air to the tires, tightened the chain and lubed it, it was loose enough to be hitting the frame. The rear light was not working, the grounding ring had come off and I had to disassemble the light and peen the ring back on. I also straightened the handlebars and front turn signal a bit, adjusted the clutch and rear brake. Lubed the stands and brake levers. Also the positive lead to the battery had corroded away, Michael had spliced in a length of wire which I covered with inner tube rubber.
Finally, I saw the oil level in the crankcase was too high, maybe somebody added some oil otherwise it may be a gas leak.
June 2, 2008. 31684 miles
I changed the oil to Mobil 1 (car oil) mostly 10w-30, but also some 20w-50 mixed in. I used my new mixing/pouring jug, and ended up overfilling a little, because I just added 2.8 litres as the cap says, but apparently some of the old oil had not drained.
I reinstalled the crash guard, as the bike has fallen down at least twice in the last year. Then I installed the front brake switch, after reading the circuit diagram in the manual. Now it's ready for the safety inspection in a few weeks.
July 4, 2008. 32177 miles
The Safety Certificate got off to a bad start. Michael was told it would cost $700, because the tires were weatherchecked, the steering bearings needed replacing and the drive chain was loose against the sprocket.
I started off by replacing the drive chain, which cured the problem of slack between the chain and the sprocket. It was $40, and other than needing to cut off eight links, it was an easy job. After that, I checked the steering nut, which was too tight. When I retorqued it, the steering didn't bind any more.
The tires were made in 2003, and I am disappointed that they are weather checked in only 5 years. Reading the Government of Ontario's website, I don't see that weather checking is even mentioned.
Lately, I have received emails where a young person has seen some ad for an old 70's Honda, and they would like to fix it up and get an inexpensive and fun form of transportation. My advice has been "don't do it." Fixing up old motorcycles is not a way to save money. It may be fun, for a person who is retired, and looking for something to do. And if that something can remind him of the good old days, so much the better. But for cheap transportation, look at a bicycle, check out newer used motorcycles in the 350 -500 cc sizes. Even check out public transportation, or a used car.
Even a good, running, used motorcycle can be an object of endless tinkering. For example, here are the things I did to my CL450 just this afternoon.
Straightened the handlebars.
Replaced a heat shield screw that I saw was missing
Lowered the idle speed to make starting and gear shifting easier (maybe)
Shopped for and found and installed a new U bolt on the crash bars.
Covered the cracked control cables with electrical tape. (Here's a tip for anyone with cracked control cables. The electrical tape is great except that the end becomes unwound within a few weeks. So at the end, wrap a strip of aluminum tape about 1/4 inch wide around it like a little collar. It looks good and stays wrapped.)
Tightened the kick start lever. For this, I removed it, used a 2 pound mallet and an anvil to close the gap a little, then reinstalled it, and for the first time it is tight on the splines!
Adjusted the brake pedal screw to lower the pedal, so it's easier to reach with my foot. I guess Michael crashed and must have bent the lever up a little.
Tightened the tachometer drive nut on the engine, and wiped up the oil all around the area.
I found a way to bend the after market mirrors so that they can see a bit higher.
Went for two test drives.
All that in one afternoon, on a running bike. Now imagine what it's like to get a non running bike with pieces missing. Lots more than that to do. Parts scattered all over the place, whatever you do, don't try moving to a different apartment or you'll never find them again. And no test drives until it's all done.
July 8, 2008. 32800 miles
I finally got the officially required safety inspection done to transfer the ownership of the bike. Yesterday I drove to Toronto and found a shop that didn't insist on replacing perfectly good tires. That was a pretty exciting ride, actually. On the 401 with the CL450 in the middle of all that traffic. I noticed that they tightened the drive chain quite a bit and lubed it. I guess it usually stretches a lot in the first 200 miles, and I was running mostly at 60 mph all the way down to Toronto. This is also one of the very few bike shops where the customer gets to talk to the mechanics while they work on the bikes any more. It is a true old fashioned "no bullshit" shop as their website says.
This morning I phoned Dalton Timmis, a broker who offers inexpensive insurance for classic bikes. I wanted to know what the phrase "limited pleasure use" meant on their website. OK, it means you don't drive the motorcycle over 2000 km. per year. As she said "not a normal motorcycle, a bike that's used in parades and rallies". Also they need to have a professional evaluation done of the bike's value as a classic. That might have been OK when the bike was mine, but not for Michael.
July 1, 2009, 34500 miles
The CL450 has been parked outside for a year, and has been commuting in good weather. Michael brought it over today for an oil change, using regular oil, and to get the drive chain adjusted and oiled. I also checked the tire pressure. Everything is holding up reasonably well, though the weather is taking a toll on the finish. It does seem like adding 2.8 l. as the filler cap says will always overfill it a bit.
January 6, 2010, 35000 miles
Michael now lives where he can park the CL450 inside for the winter. And now he lives at the top of a big hill, the best possible place for this bike, as he can let it coast down the long hill for a free bump start. Solving one of the most stubborn problems I had, the hard starting.
May 9, 2010 36885 miles Weather 3c windy and cold.
Last night I got a call from Mike that the bike was broken down, and was parked at Tim Horton's. So I went to pick it up with my trailer and bring it home. This morning, I saw the chain had come off the rear sprocket, so I put it back on and tightened it. It needed about 5 turns of the adjuster screw to get it in the ballpark. I also had to loosen the rear brake adjuster to compensate. Then I lubed the chain and also tightened the front brake lever which was pulling back all the way to the grip. We have had a lot of rain recently, maybe the chain lube got washed out.
I went for a short ride around the block, and although it started reasonably, it was running intermittently on one cylinder. I had fresh plugs for it in the tool box, and now it runs fine. The old ones were black, after 3 years and 10,000 miles. I was using NGK B7EV, and so far, they have work better than the other plugs I have tried.
June 16, 2010 37200 miles Weather 24c sunny, windy and humid.
Michael brought the bike over because it was running badly. Actually the bike was intermittently dying, and I think that was because the battery terminals had come loose. While the bike was over here I fixed a few other items.
The battery I bought back in 2006 is finished, it will not hold a charge, and a few of the cells are almost dry. Zdeno's had a battery YB12A-A, for $60, which is the modern replacement of the old 12N 12A-4A. We also picked up a turn signal flasher relay for $6, because the turn signals were not blinking. And two new front turn signal bulbs from the Parts Source for $2.79, both of them were burned out. Also lubed the chain. The front brake cable is sticky, maybe get to that next time. We left the new battery on the trickle charger for a few hours before he drove off.
August 6, 2010 38432 miles Weather 24c partly cloudy.
Another motorcycle rescue operation today. It took me a few minutes to see that all the sprocket retaining bolts had sheared off, and the sprocket was rotating freely on the hub, held in only by the circlip. We trailered the beast home, and just to make it more pathetic, the front tire was also flat. When I got home, I checked the parts book and found out that these bolts have a part number, with a note to “make use of” another part number 41200-346-000. I took the sprocket off, removed one of the broken retaining bolts, and took the broken bolt and its part number over to Zdeno's, our local motorcycle salvage yard, where they must have a thousand junked bikes out the back. Gerry looked politely at my dirty broken bolt and suggested I go to the “back” where the mechanics work, and someone would help me. Soon, someone was working on my case, expressing amazement that I was still running a bike that old and rare. The real problem was this: the 1972 retaining bolt is different from the bolt on the more common 1972 CB450. Not only that, it is even different from the 1970, and 71 CL450. Apparently the difference is the spline on the part that goes through the sprocket. On the other bikes, this part of the bolt is smooth. OK so that's the bad news. Then he cross referenced the part number I gave him and both mechanics stared at the computer, surprised that my part number was from a GL1000 (The early Gold Wing). I said “The Gold Wing doesn't even have a sprocket!” . I must have copied down the wrong part number. But the mechanic didn't give up, he said “Even the shaft drives have a carrier with retaining bolts.” So he went out into the yard, located a 1976 (?) Gold Wing, pulled off the back wheel, pried out the carrier, and removed four of the six retaining bolts. The bolts matched perfectly, and even had the notorious splines. Then he said “Wait for me at the front desk while I ask Al for a price”. When he emerged from the conference, he reported that Al had declared their value at $4 each. I expressed amazement, and he quipped, “You can pay more if you want to.”
Ever since I first got the bike, the rear sprocket has been a little bit loose. I tried to fix it once when I had the wheel apart, but was unable to. I figure that maybe the sprocket was supposed to creak like that, but I didn't like it too much. maybe the bolts were a bit worn. With the new bolts, it was tight.
Monday August 9, 2010 38432 miles Weather 27c occasional showers, many mosquitos
Yesterday I couldn't take the bike for a test ride: the front tire was flat, and I had no rubber cement for my patches. So I waited until this morning, when the motorcycle shops were open again to buy a new tube. I have found in the past that Kenda 19” tubes are too small in diameter, and so get pinched between the bead and the rim. My last tube was a Duro, which mercifully was a full 19” diameter tube. So I went to the very same shop hoping to get another Duro inner tube (actually 19x3.50-4.00), but they didn't have one. Instead they had a “Tuff Tube” , 3.50x4.00 made by Kenda. These tubes are twice the thickness of ordinary tubes. I compared the two tubes side by side, and it looked about the same, so I took it. And a new, and wider rim strip, since the flat had been caused by rust particles in the inside of the rim. (I also wire brushed and painted the inside rim yesterday). The tube was still too tight and got caught under the bead during the installation. But so what, it's a “tuff tube”, it should be able to take it, so lets just go ahead with the installation. In the end, it seemed to hold air.
But I was not finished yet by any means. As I was putting the wheel back on, I found the front brake pivot was almost seized up, so I took an extra hour to pull the brakes off, clean and lube the brake pivots and reinstall. When I was finished, the brakes were almost useless. Dragging all the time, yet still unable to stop the bike hard. Then I also saw that the rear brake light was no longer working, because the wire spring hooked to the rear brake lever had snapped off. Time out! Need to find my Zen again.
There were a bunch of other problems I worked on also yesterday. The ignition key could not be removed from the switch, so I had to oil it, and now it comes out. The left hand grip was loose, so I glued it back on. One screw was missing on the left rear turn signal lens.
Monday August 10, 2010 38432 miles Weather 27c sunny, still a few mosquitos
No success today with the brakes. And the speedometer cable snapped, so that needs to be fixed too.
Early this morning, I went out and tried to do an adjustment of the rod linking the two shoes of the front brake. Then I went out for a test, and the front brake still will not stop the bike, however the back brake is quite grabby. I did buy new handgrips, since they are both loose. On the trip I noticed the speedometer was dead. Back home, I installed the new handgrips, and took the wheel apart again, and cleaned the brake shoes and drum with “Safety Clean”, and sandpapered both of them them also. I also oiled the cable, and greased the lever end slug. I did another test run and still the brakes are no good. I can pull the lever all the way to the grip and still move the front wheel by pushing the bike. If I adjust the brakes any tighter, they drag.
At least the front tire still has over 30 psi of air.
Another thing to notice is that when reassembling the speedometer drive to the hub, you have to get it exactly right to land in the grooves. If you don't it will be a problem, and the drive edge will stand up about 2 mm from the hub. If you get it right in, it's flush.
Tuesday August 11, 2010 38432 miles
I got the brakes back to normal. Not exactly sure what it was, but this morning I removed the wheel again, and switched the brake shoes. Maybe it's important to keep them in the same position when they are worn down, and these shoes are nearing the end of their lives. I also did a much better cleaning job, spraying Loctite “Safety Solvent” onto clean paper towels and wiping the shoes and the drum surface until they came up clean. Actually, the shoes never came completely clean, but much better than before. I also lubed the fixed pivot post of each brake shoe, and the flat cam surface. One or all of these measures seemed to do the trick, and the front brakes are back to normal. I also had to re-adjust the rod between the two leading shoes again.
Then I went to Zdeno's to buy new summer gloves, earplugs and chain wax. And order a new speedometer cable, but they didn't have any listed, so eBay might be the best place.
>>>>> A year passes......
Sunday July 24, 2011 38432+ miles
One problem with the CL450 has been dragging on for a couple of years. The splines on the gear shifter shaft are worn, and the original gear shift lever spun on the shaft without changing gears. Michael obtained a new gear lever, and that was just barely holding to the remaining few good splines, even though the bolt was tightened all the way down. A while back, I was told that the best way to repair it is to drill a few holes between the shaft and the gear lever, drive in some nails about the same size as the drill bit, then tighten up the gear lever bolt. It's almost like you are creating a few new splines. So Michael drilled two holes and inserted some finishing nails, then tightened the lever bolt and it seemed to be tight.
There has also been some white cloudiness in the finish of the gas tank, which was removed with rubbing compound.
So once again, the bike is looking and working ok, and still being used for commuting, and local trips. Looking for a new speedometer cable, though, and new brake and clutch cables.
Monday August 29, 2011 38432+ miles
The finishing nails from last month were starting to work loose, so we took them out and replaced them with nails one size bigger. They are holding tight for now.
The drive chain was worn out, at the end of its adjustment, and with one damaged roller and one broken off roller. And a few links were kinked. So Mike bought a new #530 chain with 94 links, and a master link with a clip for about $40. We cut off two links and installed it on the existing sprockets.
As the bike was running a bit rough, we adjusted the cam chain (which actually seems to be at the end of its adjustment), and we did the timing adjustment. It seemed like the timing was way off, about 10 deg. after top dead centre (if that's possible). Anyway, we set it as close as possible and restarted the bike.
One last thing, I noticed that the crankcase relief tube was blowing smoke, so we checked the compression. 155 psi on the right, only 75 psi on the left. I squirted oil into the left cylinder, and immediately it came up to 155 psi also. So I guess the rings are worn out on the left. I don't know exactly how many miles they lasted, but I would guess about 24,000.
Wednesday September 7, 2011 38432+ miles
The new finishing nails are also working loose on the gear lever, but the bike is out of commission now. It was losing a litre of oil in less than 100 km. and the left cylinder stopped running.
I dumped about 50cc of “Wynn's Engine Tune Up” into the left cylinder. If it's only stuck rings, a chemical treatment might get them loose.
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