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1978 Honda CX500
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, just started going through bike and learned about the cam tensioner recall. Of course bike should have been recalled. Called Honda and they don't have the parts. How bad off am I? It starts right up, rode a little, needed choke on, now bogging. Baffles in muffler shit...
 

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1978 CX500 "The Grub", 1983 GL650I "Nimbus"
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What's the date of manufacture on the headstock label? If it's a later '78, it might not be subject to the recall. Post your VIN, and someone will check it against the list.
 

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1978 CX500 "The Grub", 1983 GL650I "Nimbus"
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Welcome to the forum, by the way.
 

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1978 Honda CX500
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks!! 3/78 I called Honda and it would of been recalled. Bike has 4,723 miles. I've added a few to that. Did a lot of sitting the past 44. The engine casing isn't marked.
 

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1978 CX500 "The Grub", 1983 GL650I "Nimbus"
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Some of the parts are easy to find on eBay. The tensioner and guide a little less frequently. I wonder how the original tensioner and guide would perform with the upgraded brace?
Does anyone know if there are current aftermarket guides of decent quality?
 

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1978 Honda CX500
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12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Honda told me I would need 4 parts to fix. O-ring, gasket, chain, and tensioner. My first bike, other than a mini, early 80's when I was a youngster. Need to figure out idle issue and front brakes. Thanks!
 

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'84 CX650E that is evolving into a GL500
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O-rings are commonly available, gaskets are available through the aftermarket or can be easily made and camchains for these bikes are easy to find (David Silver Spares had the best deal the last time I heard) The tensioner blade (a lot of people commonly refer to the tensioner adjuster as "tensioner" but the actual tensioner is the blade that the adjuster pushes against) is another matter because some problems have been reported with the aftermarket ones for some models.
The plate that supports it all needs to be replaced too. Good information here

I seem to remember someone posting about performing the upgrade specified in the recall a while ago (might be a year or more) and I think they just used parts from a later engine.

BTW: Most bikes manufactured for the North American market are made during the last quarter of the previous year so that the distributor & dealers can have stock in time for the January bike shows so a built date in the actual model year is uncommon and March is actually late in the model year's production.

Welcome to the forum and welcome to the world of antique vehicle ownership (they own us, not the other way around). Your bike is about 4 decades old and may or may not have had all of 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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1978 Honda CX500
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Very much appreciated your thorough thoughtful response. Got service manual and found a used Clymer manual on ebay. Got oil changed, new plugs, got horn cleaned up and working again. Next task figure out front brakes. 😎
 

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'84 CX650E that is evolving into a GL500
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You may find this useful

BTW: Aftermarket manuals are almost mandatory for non factory trained mechanics working no most bikes but the Factory Shop Manuals for the CX/GL500/650 family of bikes are so well written & well organized that most of us seldom open the aftermarket ones.
 

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1978 CX500 "The Grub", 1983 GL650I "Nimbus"
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Wow, that's clean! It must have been stored out of the sun and away from humidity.
 

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So what happened with the tensioner.....?
You should be able to check recall against engine numbers.....

Fwiw i have the new Nos metal plates if you need them...got them with the guides/blades i was after for a rebuild...
If you need these metal bits (not the rubber/plastic bits.let me know... (its Nos..unused)

Fwiw My 750 was part of a deceased estate idle for years passed through a few vintage owners hands......so i know the situation......
 

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1983 cx650E
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Honda told me I would need 4 parts to fix. O-ring, gasket, chain, and tensioner. My first bike, other than a mini, early 80's when I was a youngster. Need to figure out idle issue and front brakes. Thanks!
I would think Honda should pay for or source aftermarket with a no guarantee policy....and perform the work or pay allowance to have it done....... Not saying they will, but they should.


Interestingly, there is a guy on a Facebook group who was gifted a black 78'with about 8000 miles. Kept in a pole shed/barn. He has the same situation of a recallable bike without any evidence of it being repaired.
 

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1983 cx650E
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So what happened with the tensioner.....?
You should be able to check recall against engine numbers.....

Fwiw i have the new Nos metal plates if you need them...got them with the guides/blades i was after for a rebuild...
If you need these metal bits (not the rubber/plastic bits.let me know... (its Nos..unused)

Fwiw My 750 was part of a deceased estate idle for years passed through a few vintage owners hands......so i know the situation......
Could the nos tensioner be remade? From what I remember reading the first attempts at a improved camchain blade weren't as successful as later ones.
 

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1978 Honda CX500
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12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
So what happened with the tensioner.....?
You should be able to check recall against engine numbers.....

Fwiw i have the new Nos metal plates if you need them...got them with the guides/blades i was after for a rebuild...
If you need these metal bits (not the rubber/plastic bits.let me know... (its Nos..unused)

Fwiw My 750 was part of a deceased estate idle for years passed through a few vintage owners hands......so i know the situation......
Thanks! Number on engine would have been part of recall. I'm still thinking how I'm going to handle as I go though the bike. Good to know the parts could be found.
 

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1978 Honda CX500
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12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
When I called Honda they opened a case, had to call me back next day and said the parts were no longer available, with the exception of the o-ring which authorized dealers still carry. She gave me the other factory part numbers needed and that was about it. Because the other three parts aren't available she said none of the authorized dealers would take on repair if I sourced parts. She did say Honda has bought bikes back, didn't give me a figure but said it's not a lot. I thinking I'll call back next week and push a bit harder and see where it goes. How bad would using at lower speeds while I go through and fix up other stuff?
 

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1978 CX500 "The Grub", 1983 GL650I "Nimbus"
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12,263 Posts
BTW: Most bikes manufactured for the North American market are made during the last quarter of the previous year so that the distributor & dealers can have stock in time for the January bike shows so a built date in the actual model year is uncommon and March is actually late in the model year's production.
The Grub is dated April 1978, and it had the recall work done. March production would not be late in the run.
 

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'84 CX650E that is evolving into a GL500
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I've never had a bike (including ones I parted out) that was made in the actual model year. Maybe the CX was more popular than anticipated and they had to make more of them later to keep up with demand.

Anyway, expecting any company to cover a recall 44 years later is not reasonable. In this case the parts needed are all the same as used in the ones produced after the recalled ones so the parts would probably have been available for about 10-15 years after they were made but after that they would only stock parts that sold well enough to merit having more made or were also used in newer models (as that o-ring is likely to be).
Were recall notices are been sent to the registered owners of all vehicles involved in '78 like they are now? If they were and the registered owner didn't take it to have the work done in a reasonable time the manufacturer can't be held responsible for that expense long after the vehicle is past its expected life.
 

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1978 CX500 "The Grub", 1983 GL650I "Nimbus"
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12,263 Posts
When we special ordered our 1996 Saturn wagon, we were told production went thru July. Then they took the factory offline to retool for September. March would be midyear production, in that case..
 
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