Honda CX 500 Forum banner
1 - 20 of 43 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
132 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, just found a 1978 CX500 at an estate/barn sale. I've been looking for one because I think they're neat bikes, this one is a one owner bike, has less than 2600 miles on it and was stored for at least 20 years with the carbs off, tank drained and rags stuffed in the intakes. Has surface rust and is dusty, but all there and the engine turns easy (I accessed the crank bolt before I bought the bike).



I read that when Honda replaced the cam tensioner bolt under recall on these early Cx's they stamped three dots on the number plate on the engine case. This one does not appear to have these three dots.



Did Honda always stamp the engine case after the recall?



The engine case has corosion all over and even the serial number is hard to read on the number plate, so maybe I missed the dots, I'm wondering if the recall was performed on this bike.



I've also read that the stators on the early Cx's weren't that good, though I've owned other bikes that are notorious for 'bad stator design' but have never had a stator problem.



Is the stator a major concern?



I haven't started working on this bike, but would appreciate any pointers/tips anyone can provide.



'81 Maxim 550

'81 Virago 750

'82 Virago 750

'78 CX 500
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,275 Posts
If you have difficulties determining the engine number, you should get a decent hint from the frame number. A one-owner bike with known history could be expected to have its original engine in the frame (not absolutely sure, but very likely).



The recall was for 1978 standard models only, up to engine number CX500(E) 2034366. (E) stands for engine - the rest of the characters should be very similar (or identical) with the frame number.



This should help a lot.



The three punch marks aren´t very obvious. You´ll have to clean the area around the engine number, maybe you´ll be able to see the number then. They stand, each of them for one part that was modified. It´s not just a bolt, but the major part of the tensioner mechanism (plate, guide, tensioner blade).



B.t.w. It would be nice if you added some details (location) in your signature. That may help you (and us) in the future (advice - parts - help). .



Regards



Sture
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,601 Posts
It's possible that the recall was done and the dealer was in a rush and didn't put the three dots on it, I've even heard of some that only got two dots or some that the dots were so tiny you could hardly see them. You'll have to look closely but if it hasn't been done then it's almost a must to do it yourself.



The parts are still available from Honda, although you can often find a good set of all you need off of FleaBay if you find someone that's just starting to part out a low mileage bike (many years will work) so all you need is to spot a person that's newly parting one out then use the "Send a question to the seller" link and ask them if they'll take all the parts off for you. I would include a fiche picture of everything associated.



I've got to head off to the dentist (ugh) and then run some errands or I'd look it all up for you, however I'm sure some others here will be glad to chip in and give you the info you need so you'll have it on hand if you can't find any evidence the recall was performed.



Regardless be sure to read through the sticky notes at the top of this forum, there's a ton of info on there including places to download complete manuals, etc.



Don't worry about the stator, if it isn't broke don't fix it. There are resistance readings you can use to test one and if the bike hasn't seen a ton of miles or low oil abuse they often don't become a problem.



Get the basics done first and get it running, then we can help you address everything else as you go along.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
132 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Sture,



Thanks for the reply! I hope to have some time over the weekend to look more closely at the bike.



The CX will be my first real project, my other bikes were all pretty easy fixers. I'm hoping the low mileage/non-usage of the bike will work in my favor.



I'm almost positive it has the orginal engine. I'm sure I'll have many more questions once I get the project started.



Thanks,

Adam
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
132 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It's possible that the recall was done and the dealer was in a rush and didn't put the three dots on it, I've even heard of some that only got two dots or some that the dots were so tiny you could hardly see them. You'll have to look closely but if it hasn't been done then it's almost a must to do it yourself.



The parts are still available from Honda, although you can often find a good set of all you need off of FleaBay if you find someone that's just starting to part out a low mileage bike (many years will work) so all you need is to spot a person that's newly parting one out then use the "Send a question to the seller" link and ask them if they'll take all the parts off for you. I would include a fiche picture of everything associated.



I've got to head off to the dentist (ugh) and then run some errands or I'd look it all up for you, however I'm sure some others here will be glad to chip in and give you the info you need so you'll have it on hand if you can't find any evidence the recall was performed.



Regardless be sure to read through the sticky notes at the top of this forum, there's a ton of info on there including places to download complete manuals, etc.



Don't worry about the stator, if it isn't broke don't fix it. There are resistance readings you can use to test one and if the bike hasn't seen a ton of miles or low oil abuse they often don't become a problem.



Get the basics done first and get it running, then we can help you address everything else as you go along.


Thanks Marshall,



Good to know about the parts!



I hate ebay, but sometimes it's a necessary evil. My plan is to check the electrical (including the stator ohm check) and clean all connections, clean carbs and put it back together, make it run and go from there. It did come with the shop manual, so I think I'm in good shape regarding the basic stuff.



Will I know right away if the recall wasn't done when I get it running? I'm guessing that the cam chain will be noisy.



Will Honda have a record of the recall? I realize checking may be difficult since the bike is 32 years old!



This is also my first Honda road bike (have had a few Honda Dirtbikes), I've been told that it only takes one to make a convert!



Cheers
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,275 Posts
"Will I know right away if the recall wasn't done when I get it running? I'm guessing that the cam chain will be noisy".



I think you shouldn´t put the question exactly like that. The problem with the old tensioner design was that its parts were weak. They broke. But not at once and not all of them.



With that low mileage of yours it would be wise to make certain - either within recall limits and fixed - or outside limits - no problem.



Say that your bike qualifies for the recall (earlier than 2034366) and that it hasn´t been done yet and also that the tensioner parts are still undamaged. Then you wouldn´t hear any strange / bad noises that would tell you that there are the old design tensioner parts inside...



If, on the other hand - the chain is noisy - you should drop and fix the engine, regardless. Doesn´t matter what type of tensioner you have, then. A loose / slapping chain is bad!



As I see it.



Sture
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
132 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ok,



Serial of my bike is 2001377, but the engine looks like it ends with 135!? So falls within recall limits, but engine number not identical to frame number. Looks like this is an early bike, the original title is dated 06/09/78 and mfg. date is 10/77.



So what's the best method to clean the area around the number on the engine case in order to locate the punch marks without removing them if they're there?



Cheers,

Adam
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
96 Posts
Honda engine and frame numbers are never identical. They should be fairly close, but they never, ever match. I have heard it guessed that that's because they pulled engines out of sequence for QA tests, but that may be so much smoke.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,422 Posts
I'm with Sture on this one.As it appears to be a low mileage bike from the early production runs I would have the engine out and renew the Cam-chain and guide/tensioner if possible as the parts,even if good,could be over 30 years old.

That way the main service points start with you and you will have a record of what has been done.Doing this and other good servicing and you could well have a bike/engine that may give you well over 100,000/150,000+ miles of reasonably trouble free miles with another cam chain change around 50/70k miles depending on useage etc.





See this log of a high mileage CX500,



http://globalcxglvtwins.hostingdelivered.com/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=289
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
132 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks Shadowjack, that's good news.



Thanks Shep. So I need to think about where to get the parts, i think someone earlier in the thread said that they are available at the dealer. I'll probably stay away from eBay on this one unless I can find new parts. I'll need to drop the engine in order to clean up the frame anyway.



I'm thinking I'll clean the carbs and check mostly everything then put together and make sure the bike runs before dropping the engine and going further, would you guys agree that this is a sound course of action?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,601 Posts
They should be punched into the aluminum so any cleaning (carb cleaner, good soap etc) won't wash them off.



It's rare to find one that didn't get in under the recall but if you've got one just address it. You've got one of the easiest bike ever made to work on but if that recall hasn't been done you're subject to the tensioner breaking then the chain slaps the heck out of everything. Even us that aren't subject to this have to keep up regular maintenance on the cam chain tension as well as the valve clearance adjustments but it's no big deal to do that.



A note about oil before you get to that part. A fair majority of us have found that the Shell Rotella 15W-40 is excellent and their 5W-40 synthetic works as well. (but is far more expensive) These oils are made for long haul diesel engines thus have a high level of the zinc content that we need seeing that out transmission shares the same oil as the engine, it also doesn't have any of those "energy saving" additives which can cause your clutch to slip in short order. Even straight 10W-40 is fine, but NEVER put in any of those newer ones that have the "energy conserving" stamp rating on the bottle.



As Shep and many have always said, change it frequently as it isn't hard to do. If your drain plug is a bit messed up TAS has factory replacements, filters are available most anywhere but make sure you've got that washer that goes between the spring and the filter in there. It may be there already but often sticks to the old filter and gets thrown away sometime in the past, still an available part.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
11,455 Posts
A general question to the group......IF his engine WAS a candidate for the recall, would Honda still honor it??
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
132 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I've heard that about the shell oil before, haven't used it but I do oil changes on my other bikes every 1000 miles or so just because they're old!



I amended my last post to address sheps comment. Marshall, do you agree with my plan to get it running (not ride it or anything, just make sure everything works properly) then drop the engine and change the cam chain?

Does anyone know which parts I will need to do the cam chain properly?



Parts Cost?



Is there anything else I should address while I've got her cracked open?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
132 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
A general question to the group......IF his engine WAS a candidate for the recall, would Honda still honor it??
good question!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,999 Posts
A general question to the group......IF his engine WAS a candidate for the recall, would Honda still honor it??


I doubt it,,I think this has been asked before. I seem to remember someone asking and the answer was no.





I have a 78 that was subject to recall and it does not have the punch marks but at some time the new parts were installed in it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,601 Posts
As far as the recall goes good luck, it may take a letter to Honda as most of the dealers won't even touch a bike this old. You might get lucky and they'll send you the parts if you argue a bit and agree to do your own labor. Honda may even have records on the ones that were modified by serial #s if you send them both the frame and engine VINs.



The parts involved? I can't recall but I think it was mainly the tensioner stuff, there are people here that know but just haven't chimed in yet.



Yes, I'd get it running, but be sure to go through the cam chain and valve lash adjustments before you start it. Change the oil and filter, change the air cleaner element and clean the heck out of the airbox, there could even be a dead mouse in there for all you know - it's happened.



Shell Rotella is cheap at Wally World or most anyplace by the gallon but if it's been sitting a long time expect to change it again after around 100 miles as it cleans the old sludge out. It may take a couple of oil changes until it's clean but pay particular attention to the color of the metal flakes in the oil. If they're mainly aluminum that's fine, if you see any copper/bronze stuff then you may have a bearing problem.



You may be amazed, a few hours of work and you'll be driving it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,771 Posts
A few years ago I was told that the work would still be done free of charge if it had never been done. It was a Honda dealer that told me this ... but then Mr Honda has died in the meantime and things may have changed.



I do know that BMW honors any recalls involving safety if they were never done ... and I know a person who got a free front wheel to replace his original 1981 R65 snowflake wheel around 1999-2000.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,275 Posts
From an earlier post: Honda engine and frame numbers are never identical.



I beg to differ.



For two of my four CX-es the numbers match exactly. For one the numbers differ by 1. For the fourth one 17.

As I remember it, M´lady´s CB 400 also matches exactly. But - it´s true - normally there´s a difference.



As for the recall:



I just talked to the warranty guy at Honda Sweden (told by my local Honda dealer to call him) that they don´t honour the recall, since about 20 years. He also said that one dealer really did it a couple of years ago, but then as goodwill only. There was nothing in it for that dealer, financially.



About 10 years ago I remember I saw someone (US?) managed to get it done, but also - only a few years ago - that one had been denied it.



So - maybe worth a try. Good luck.



I can´t list the parts involved just off of my mind - someone will no doubt do it before I´ve had the time to look. If your chain isn´t stretched, it would be the tensioner parts only + some gaskets and seals (and a copper washer).



Sture
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
132 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks guys, I'll Just plan to do the chain and tensioner myself, working on it's part of the fun anyway. I'll think about contacting Honda regarding the parts or at least see if they have a record.



In any case you guys make a good point regarding these parts potentially being 30+ years old, so the work will be done.



I'm going to get started this weekend. I'm ordering new carb parts today, I'll definitely keep you all posted on progress!



Thanks again,

Adam
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,422 Posts
Thanks guys, I'll Just plan to do the chain and tensioner myself, working on it's part of the fun anyway. I'll think about contacting Honda regarding the parts or at least see if they have a record.



In any case you guys make a good point regarding these parts potentially being 30+ years old, so the work will be done.



I'm going to get started this weekend. I'm ordering new carb parts today, I'll definitely keep you all posted on progress!



Thanks again,

Adam




Book mark this thread as it will help you pick the parts you need,



http://choppercharles.com/cs/forums/126066/ShowPost.aspx
 
1 - 20 of 43 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top