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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just picked up my '79 CX500C, I haven't even put a tag on it yet.

It's worthwhile to do my homework so I'm learning all I can now.



It seems that the CDI craps out on this model. WAG, what percentage of them do this? When? Is it just a matter of miles, or do the CDI units suffer damage from sitting/condensating, heat cycles, or miles? I was reading in the Haynes manual that there are two different CDI units, a silver-plated and a black one, with different resistances. Is there a difference?



What about the mechanical (water pump) seal? Just a matter of "when," or do many of them go for decades? This one weeps, haven't ridden enough to see if it will stop on its own.



And the stator--is that for certain going to go out within a reasonable time? What was the problem with this? Lots of other bikes have 100k plus mileage on the stock stator, what was the flaw with this model? I have not found a clear-cut set of instructions yet outlining how to test these things, sorry if I searched the wrong terms, would somebody direct me to the right info before I get stranded?



Well what else should I be asking? A search doesn't work if you don't know what to search for...



The bike starts on choke first try and idles beautifully off of choke within a minute, if the float bowl gaskets didn't seep I would not touch the carbs, but alas, they're all brown and gross and need some love and new gaskets. Are there any parts in the carbs that normally give up the ghost regularly, that I should have waiting when I do the float bowl gaskets?



This bike has some serious front end handling problems (why I got it so cheap). I know it's neck bearings, and plan to tighten them before I buy replacements as the bike only has 10k on it. Anybody have experience saying I'm wasting my time?



I've had a lot of questions already answered just by doing a search here and thanks for that. I'm just wondering if folks would like to speak up about issues I have yet to discover....
 

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I never had a CDI, so all I can offer is probably what you may have already found here. But I can say there is no marker for any of the issues to crop up. Preventative measures can be taken for the CDI by getting the Ignitech, there by maybe stretching the life of the stator.



Considering the '79 is over 30 years old, any item that is rubber, wired, or lubricated will have issues eventually. The fact your bike has low mileage gives you a significant edge with many of the major parts, like cam chain and such. But any item that needs to be regularly lubed will have set for a good bit of time, so that accelerated the demise of the consumables such and rubber and gaskets, etc. Metal items without lube for a period of time will show less problems, unless they were put into use with less than good working environments.



Best thing to do is take a very good inventory of the history, as best you can, and assume the worst. Chances are you will find you have less damage than expected, but always try to be prepared for them.



These are easy machines to work on if you are capable, and this forum has the best of the best here to help you along.



Joel in the Couve
 

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It's a time thing. Not in years, minutes or miles. But rather when it happens it happens.



My cdi died 2 years ago. It was working fine and I stopped at a motorcycle dealer to check out some gloves. Went out to the bike and it wouldn't start no matter what. Ended up walking 4 miles to get the car and it still wouldn't do much. After about 4 hours I got it home and it started just fine. Ran 15 minutes and I shut it off and it was screwed up again.



My stator on the other hand just started going on me in May so I swapped it out. But it still had some life in it.



As for the Mechanical seal mine was shredded and still working fine when I took the engine down last year. If you ever have the rear cover off it's best to renew all the rubber for good luck.



So don't worry till you have to.
 

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The CDI- time, mileage doesn't seem to matter much. As with many electronic components (such as car amps, car CDI's etc.) the actual components have a shelf life. Capacitors seem to go first. As I've said before, I wouldn't trust an original CDI box as far as I can throw it. Many riders have found that their CDI's were responsible for many a red herring they chased in vain, but it usually just gives up the ghost suddenly.



The mechanical seal is a hit or miss. They like to be used, and seem to fail less on bikes that are ridden regularly than on bikes that sit for years or decades. There's always an exception though, my '78 sat for more than 20 years, and the seal was just fine after I got it running again.



The stator- good question. They fail because the insulation fails. My CX had over 35k when I opened it up for the triple bypass, the stator was in such good shape I just left it alone. Time doesn't seem to effect them much. If I had to guess, I'd say irregular oil changes, fuel contaminated oil, etc. have much more influence on the life of a stator than miles or years do.



Here's what I found when I opened my '78, just left it alone:







YMMV.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the replies. This is really good information, I need this.



Regarding the CDI: so when it fails, you're stuck, stranded. I really can't see allowing an "iffy" part to stay on the bike. Guess I better look further into the Ignitech part, especially if that will prolong the life of the stator. I did a search and looked on the manufacturer site, but I have not found a "Cliffs Notes" summary of why this part is better than the stocker, or how it works. Anybody got a link or some more info? I found the Ignitech site to be extrememly confusing. I don't know this terminology. I barely can fathom the difference between the CDI and an ignitor. I thought in the timeline of motorcycle ignition systems, it was points, then ignitor, then CDI...but not with the CX?

Anyway, it seems I should read lots more about this Ignitech part. It is referenced in so many threads that I can't narrow down the kind of information I need...



Regarding the stator: it seems they often fail gradually? But you would have to pull the motor to check the insulation?

How does one check the condition of the stator? How do you know if it's failing?



The replies are much appreciated, thanks again...
 

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I have not had a standard CDI unit fail(I sometimes wish they would so I could justify buying an Ignitech unit<grin>).



There are things you can do to prolong the life of things on vehicles.If any part of the ignition system is weak it will put a strain on the other parts causing them to wear faster.



Get new spark plug caps and coils and keep the old ones for spares.



Replace the Main fuse holder(Even if it looks good).



Clean every and all electrical connections and maintain them.Corroded multi connector blocks and bullet connectors will increase problems for all electrical devices and increase failures.

An example of this is that on more than one occasion the 3 Yellow wire connector from the Stators have been known to melt caused by corrosion whereas as 10 mins with some Switch cleaner and a small screwdriver



http://www.pdsrecording.site90.com/cxgl500/Electrics.htm



and carefully cleaning and removing corrosion from the blades and they can go on forever.



People often overlook wiring as a part of maintenance but any Breakdown company will tell you that well over 80% of roadside breakdowns are simple electrical faults and usually corroded contacts/fuses etc.



Pre-season(spring time-ish) I spend a couple of hours pulling apart all my connectors and clean them and re-solder if any are weak or need it.Old wiring needs care just like old engines.



One of the best maintenance sprays I've ever used after cleaning connectors is ACF50,



http://www.allyearbiker.co.uk/ACF50.html



I've been using this for over 7 years now and cannot recall any of the connectors I've used it on ever failing from corrosion.





My 2 cents.
 

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I had a similar situation as Cobram....last winter when I pulled the engine to fix my fly wheel/magnet issue we DID also replace the mechanical seal (I do recommend doing that if yours is leaking at all) but the cam chain and tensioner looked great (I think someone else already replaced that as there was so much adjustment life left in the tenisoner) and the stator was just fine too so we left it.



Now on the other hand IF AND WHEN I do have to replace the cam chain I will put a new stator in just for good measure cuz I know I'll be pushing it if I don't. However if the stator fails first and the cam chain still looks good I'm not gonna mess with the cam chain.
 

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I've had one Stator fail.Luckily I had a couple of spares from Crapped out engines I bought off Ebay.One deal I got 2 engines+frame and enough parts to build a 3rd CX500 for 75 Beer tokens.One of those ones is in my present ride and is still going good for over 4 years.



I don't mind dropping an engine but then I do have decent facilities and it gives me chance to paint up inaccessible areas and or the engine etc.I try and take something positive from any problem.I've just had a Tacho cable go so used the opportunity to renew coolant and re-flush the RAD and paint a few bits up.



If you enjoy these bikes and are going to keep one then always keep your eyes out for a cheap crapped out one.Spares alone from it will pay in the long run<sic>.Doing this and my two CX500s have barely cost me anything in the past four years now except where I've wanted to improve things like new valve stem guides for better heads,lower oil use
 

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I have not had a standard CDI unit fail(I sometimes wish they would so I could justify buying an Ignitech unit<grin>).



There are things you can do to prolong the life of things on vehicles.If any part of the ignition system is weak it will put a strain on the other parts causing them to wear faster.



Get new spark plug caps and coils and keep the old ones for spares.



Replace the Main fuse holder(Even if it looks good).



Clean every and all electrical connections and maintain them.Corroded multi connector blocks and bullet connectors will increase problems for all electrical devices and increase failures.

An example of this is that on more than one occasion the 3 Yellow wire connector from the Stators have been known to melt caused by corrosion whereas as 10 mins with some Switch cleaner and a small screwdriver



http://www.pdsrecording.site90.com/cxgl500/Electrics.htm



and carefully cleaning and removing corrosion from the blades and they can go on forever.



People often overlook wiring as a part of maintenance but any Breakdown company will tell you that well over 80% of roadside breakdowns are simple electrical faults and usually corroded contacts/fuses etc.



Pre-season(spring time-ish) I spend a couple of hours pulling apart all my connectors and clean them and re-solder if any are weak or need it.Old wiring needs care just like old engines.



One of the best maintenance sprays I've ever used after cleaning connectors is ACF50,



http://www.allyearbiker.co.uk/ACF50.html



I've been using this for over 7 years now and cannot recall any of the connectors I've used it on ever failing from corrosion.





My 2 cents.


One of these days we're going to have to get together and put together info such as this into a coherent FAQ for the CX. Searching this site is too much of a PITA, I know I've tried looking for older posts I KNOW are here to steer inquiries to, only to give up and type out the same info yet again.



To the OP, go to google advanced search (not the search on here), plug in this site address and "Ignitech" or "CDI", you should come up with posts which will give you the info you're looking for. Subject lines don't help much in searches, as the really good info is usually contained in a tangent unrelated to the original post or a thread hijack.
 

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Here's what I found when I opened my '78, just left it alone:



Steve, your stator is covered in red lacquer because you have a red CX. Mine is black, and my stator is much darker.






R
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I guess I'll jump in on the next group buy...I hope there's one before May!
 

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I guess I'll jump in on the next group buy...I hope there's one before May!


I'll do a quick one, there seems to be enough interest and 2 dead CX's waiting on one. I'll post separately and put the order in on Monday. Figure 3rd week of August or thereabouts for them to ship to buyers, barring any unforeseen issues with shipping or customs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Regarding the stator: it seems they often fail gradually?

How does one check the condition of the stator? How do you know if it's failing?
 

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THIS LINK gives the test procedure. You also might find this LINK helpful
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thank you, I actually took the info from this link and scribbled it down, and took it to the test ride. But I didn't test the stator because it was over a hundred degrees heat index and the seller was about to booger out on me in the heat. So was I, in full riding gear!



Anyway, the values are clear enough but excuse my ignorance: do I perform the ohm resistance check with the switch ON? or OFF? or the engine running? Does it need to have a good charged battery (my CX still needs a battery).



Thanks for more instruction....
 
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