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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi... I have a friend who put his CX500 into a barn under a tarp about 30 yrs ago. He says it had a bad stator when he put it away. He seems like a guy who used it lightly and cared for it. He'd let me have it for under $500 he's guessing, but might go lower if prognosis is bad. (He has the windshield.) I'm wondering if it's worth the bother. The last time I had a moto was 30 yrs ago, a Yamaha 650Spec. I work on my minivan. I am partial to dirt-bag and "patina." I'm good at working from Youtube advice! I love Youtube! And I'm liking the looks of this forum and the reputation of this bike: rugged sounds good to me! I would leave this bike as-is except for getting it running and getting it safe enough for casual tooling around. So that's my starting point and my goal... Thanks for your thoughts!

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1982 gl500
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78 Posts
That bike has a lot of rust on the outside, I wonder what the inside of the engine looks like.
 

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If the engine isn’t stuck I think it’s salvageable. I wouldnt pay more than $200. Gonna require fair amount of cash and work to get it back on the road.
 

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I agree with others, it will probably run with some effort, but not worth $500. On the plus side, the tank and seat look decent, assuming the tank doesn't have pinholes from rust.

At a minimum, that one will take $300-500 for tires, battery, carb parts, brakes, etc. assuming you do all the wrenching.
 

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'84 CX650E that is evolving into a GL500
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We've seen worse brought back to licfe here (some would even argue that some of the ones in regular use by some of us look that bad - on the outside). If the frame is straight and the engine isn't stuck it can probably be resurrected but be prepared to spend at least $300-400 plus a lot of hours making it safe & reliable and even more if you want it to look nice too.

Welcome to the forum. Please add your location and when you get it your bike's model and model year to your profile so that you don't have to remember to tell us every time and we don't have to keep asking when you forget (see Forum Settings link in my signature).

And welcome to the world of antique vehicle ownership (they own us, not the other way around). The bike you know you are going to let follow you home is about 4 decades old and the Previous Owners may or may not have done the maintenance necessary to keep it safe & reliable so it is highly recommended to download the Factory Shop Manual for your model (available through the CX Wiki - link in my signature) and go through all of the service procedures, regardless of whether your bike has reached the specified mileage.
I also recommend looking on all rubber parts with suspicion because rubber does not age gracefully. Check the date codes on your tires and replace them if they are over 5 years old no matter how good they look & feel (old rubber simply cannot flow around the irregularities in the asphalt well enough to grip, especially if it is cool or wet). If your bike still has the original rubber brake line(s) (should be replaced every 2 or 3 fluid changes = 5 or 6 years) I recommend shopping for modern stainless braided ones (they last practically forever and double the life of the fluid). And don't forget things like the rad hoses and the boot between the engine and swingarm (they can crack on the bottom where you don't see it).
 

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Looks like its all there but quite infested with the tin worm. My guess is you'll have to rebuild all the major systems of the bike IF the engine is salvageable. I second sacruickshank's comment about $500 being steep and Thumper's comment about the owner giving it to you and being happy it's getting a second lease on life.

Cheers
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks all! I take care of a dozen old bicycles that get hard use and haven't had a mechanical failure yet. And they are basically all ugly. But they work! I'm good at following the Youtube how-to's! And I keep multiple of each elderly lawnmowers, snowblowers, and chainsaws running as well. ...All ugly. I'm talking trashed. How do they still work? I also work at a community salvage bicycle shop keeping lots of bikes rolling...

I added my location...

I'll google this but will also run it past you: I have a car-size battery charger with a jumpstart option. Will that work for testing this bike's willingness to turn over? What setting should I use? I was advised to change the oil before seeing if it will turn over. Should I even see if it might spark up? I could check for gas, drain, replace with a bit just to see if it makes a noise...
 

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'84 CX650E that is evolving into a GL500
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Check the oil that's in it (level, smell, feel for grittiness &c) with the dipstick and if it looks OK you could try starting it with the oil that's in it but just don't run it for more than a couple of seconds.
If it has a battery it will be garbage anyway after that many years so you probably can't hurt it.
Unless he drained the carbs & the tank before storage it probably won't start until they are properly cleaned (or replaced) anyway but at least you can see if the starter will turn the engine.

If it was me and knowing what I do about these bikes I think I would just try turning the engine with a wrench; There is a round cap on the front of the engine below the rad which should open with a 17mm socket and behind that is another 17mm hex on the end of the crankshaft. Turn it clockwise as if you were tightening a bolt and if you can turn it 360 degrees or more the engine is probably OK.

These bikes came with Capacitor Discharge Ignition until '80 or '82 (depending on the model) and Transistor amplifier Ignition (TI) after that. The CDI is powered & triggered by special windings on the alternator's stator and failures of those windings are fairly common. I think that is a CDI bike and if it is and the stator is suspect it might be a good idea to test the stator before wasting much effort trying to start it only to find that it can't make sparks.

Someone more familiar with CDI please post the instructions for doing that.
 

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1978 CX500, 1982 GL500 Silverwing Interstate, 1980 CX500 Custom
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135 Posts
Good luck!! I have a similar project, a variant of this bike that sat in a field, uncovered, for 16 years. I am working to get it running, and with a lot of work and sare parts from ebay and this forum I estimate it will cost around $1,000 to $1,500 to get it looking somewhat nice and running.

If you want to see if it will turn over freely, I would like to suggest trying manually before you hook up a battery and crank it over. If you look to the front of the engine, you should see a removable over-sized bolt (it's 17mm). When this is removed, you can peer through the inside and see a 17mm bolt - connected to the Crankshaft. With the bike in neutral, use a long socket to try turning the bolt in a clockwise direction (looking from front to back).

It can be made easier to turn by removing the spark plugs. It it turns freely a few times - great!!

Now if you have a battery (preferably a new fully charged one, not the one left in the bike!!), think about trying a Compression test on each cylinder. If you don't own one, you can borrow them from AutoZone, or maybe a local shop. Put a small amount of oil in each cylinder, and remember to open the throttle wide. each cylinder should have about 150 PSI, and be within 10 psi of each other.. That means your piston, rings and cylinders on the engine are good :) (FWIW - when I tried on my "Field find" - the spark plugs broke so i had to remove the heads...)

Good luck with this, post pictures and watch you tube. Get the factory service manual from this forum. You'll have a blast doing this. And, or course, a few large expenditures!!

Cheers, Adrian
 

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I would be more worried that there was gas left in the carbs then the rest of it. But until I know otherwise it's a non running parts bike that could have a junk cdi. I didn't read what others wrote but I wouldn't get false hope that it wouldn't be a money pit. But many here have spent double or triple a bikes value to get it the way they want it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
thanks all! .... is there an easy way to tell if gas was left in the carbs? so Blindstitch, you're thinking this would be one of the major glitches I shd check for?

thanks also, folks, for the manual crank info.
 

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1978 CX500
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The owner who parked this bike and let it decay to its present condition certainly did not care enough about it to prepare it in any way for storage
 

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'84 CX650E that is evolving into a GL500
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Not necessarily. The original owner of my GoldWing prepared it for storage properly (including draining the tank) and then was involved in an industrial accident that made it impossible for him to ride a motorcycle again. That part of the story makes sense but I if you had a 3 year old GoldWing you couldn't use wouldn't you either sell it or if you kept it for sentimental reasons look after it? This guy kept it in his garage for 4 years and then decided to have the garage floor cemented so he rolled it outside and parked it next to the hedge and left it there.
6 years later someone I know was delivering something to him and made an offer on it. He had to cut down a tree that had grown up between the engine & crashbar before he could move it.

At least this guy left it under a roof with a tarp (not that it looks like that did a lot of good).
 

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Agree with the above....you may also want to poke around those lower engine mounts (the frame) to make sure its not rusted through/falling apart.....its "hollow pressed steel" there and may require major repair....
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
i wonder how it got such bad rust -- at least surface. it was under canvas tarp. fairly well fit cloth. good storage place. not wet. lower level of an old farm barn. i guess just humidity?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Condensation? The tarp would have kept any moisture that condensed on it from evaporating...
...I think a canvas tarp can breathe. seems more like canvas wd be basic protection -- dust, dirt, animals... it's not waterproof. but the barn is dry. ...i suppose humidity? MI is a humid state. 30 yrs...
 
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