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Larry's CX500 project

26921 Views 114 Replies 27 Participants Last post by  CXResurrection
A year ago I started working on another full resto project after I finished my GL650I. On the old forum it was called "Not a Good beginning" After I got started on it (08-2009) I started to get swamped with total restorations and projects from a local bike shop as well as carb jobs. In the last year I have restored 6 bikes completely and 5 near total rebuilds. Since they were paying jobs, of coarse mine took the back seat.

These are a few I do have pictures of,

And A 72 CB450 And of coarse a dirt bike for the kids. There are more, but you get the idea. I got busy.

I got the frame and all the components painted as well as 90% of all the polishing done, that included the new reverse rims and all the electronics and controls, before the rush started in a couple weeks. But then it went to the side and was ignored. Over the next few months I was able to at least build a new engine for it since the original one had a blown piston. Everything inside the engine is new if I could get it. All new bearing shells, pistons, rings, vale guides, (bronze) the triple bypass stuff was done too as well as porting the heads. I even found time to paint the engine with automotive paint while I did some paint work on one of the restorations. This way if anything spills on the engine it won't stain the paint.

Well, after I retired in April of this year I have been able to get caught up with everything, including finishing my Carb rebuild book and getting it printed and ready to sell. Now, finally I'm getting back to work on my CX500D project. 2 days ago I pulled everything back out and started assembly. Since the frame and suspension has been together for a while, and the engine was done, it didn't take much for me to get going and put the 2 together. After that I just had to see what it was all going to look like mocked up. I bought one of the Eagle Screens with the flared lips to deflect the air and was jazzed to see what it all looked like together.

I really like it so far. I have always wanted one of the euro style shields on one of my bikes.

Now I'm working on the exhaust system. I have Sportster pipes going on it. But the Hbox needed to have the rear attachments replaced due to being rusted out. I went to the muffler shop and had them make a couple flanges for me to work with. After getting them cut down to length and cutting the slots in them, I machined a new sleeve that will weld to the front of the pipes so that they will slip in and seal the way the stock pipes do. It took a while, but I think it's worth it. Everything is ready to start welding together now. So after rebuilding a set of carbs that came in the mail for me to do today, I'll get it going and show you how it all looks with the exhaust on it. I just hope all these pictures were put in right!

It's been a long time but I'm really excited to be working on it again. I need to get it finished though because the waiting list is growing for bikes waiting to come in and get restored.
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I finally started the last phase of the project last night. The new tank had to be stripped and blasted as well as pulling the metal strip off where the stock Honda emblems screw into the tank. Were changing those for the round Honda wing emblems and the old mounts won't work. The metal strip has to be removed since I'm filling in the sides with body filler to smooth out the look of the tank. If I was to just fill in over them the strip would expand and contract at a different rate then the rest of the tank and cause the body filler to crack eventually.

Here are the steps I took to get it in primer by today. Note that the entire tank was also glass beaded to remove any rust on the tanks underside and top.

Grinding the spot welds out.

Ground out and ready for glass beading.

Blasted and ready for body work.

Sides filled in along with a skim coat on the top to smooth out the slight ripples from the factory welding the tank together. They all need a little help in this area sometimes.

All blocked out and ready for the high build primer.

After it cures for the night I'll start the block sanding process. I'm hoping this is the only coat of primer I'll need to put on it. We'll see when I start blocking it out tomorrow.

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It all really depends on what the particular bike needs. Of coarse the cost would climb the more the bike and motor needed as well as what the person wanted the finished product to look like. I will tell you that it's not cheap for what I do in an entire rebuild. If you have a bike your interested in having done send me an email and we'll discus it. But you'll need to know I have 3 more bikes to build right behind this one.


That metal strip on the tank that I took off would end up acting like a bi metal switch with the cool gas inside the tank and the hot sun on the outside. The strip would expand faster than the main metal of the tank and eventually pop ANY body filler out or crack it. The kitty hair bondo would not help at all in this situation. But since there is only 3 spot welds to get it off, why not do it right so there's no chance of a problem later down the road.

Oh yea Don, even Kragen or HF has the cheese graders. It sure makes shaping body filler much easier.
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Me too Pacman, me too!
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Yesterday ended up being a long day of sanding. I started out thinking that the fender and side covers had already been blocked sanded and they were ready to do the final 400 grit sanding, but I was wrong. So I ended up spending all day doing the 4 stages of block sanding to get the parts ready to paint. The worst part was that all the plastics have all those tiny nooks and crannies molded into them. And to make sure the paint never lifts at the edges all those edges have to be sanded down smooth so the paint sticks well forever.

This first picture shows the light coat of green misted on the tank. It's called a guide coat. As you sand down the part it allows you to see low spots and sanding scratches as you progress. When the guide coat is gone you know you've gone as far as you have to. Then another thinned out guide coat goes on so you can go to the next finer grit paper and remove those sanding marks. The grit's I use for all the blocking are 150, 220, 320 and finally 400. Now you know why it took all day to get them ready.

Here's all the parts sanded down to 400 grit and ready to go. Today I will be cleaning out the shop and putting up the paint booth. If everything goes right I SHOULD be able to get some paint on by this evening. At least I have two big races to watch today while I'm getting everything ready.

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I know! What an amazing lack of thinking on his part. He could have backed off and followed the lapped car and still won.

The 600 will be better to watch anyway. It's my brand.
I've waited a long time for Dale Jr. to finally get another win too. I was yelling so loud when he ran out of gas that everyone came running out of the house!
He just can't get a break. Your right Joel, both endings sucked.

OK, back on track here. Yesterday was a long day of cleaning and putting new plastic sheeting on the paint booth. If it wasn't for my buddy Ron I wouldn't have gotten it all done yesterday. All the bending and stapling over 1000 staples really got to my back slowing me down quit a bit. But we made it and I got the sealer sprayed on all the parts. Today will be nice because I'll be getting the paint done. Here's last nights progress picture. Hopefully the next post will include the finished paint job.

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Scott has chosen a med metallic silver with black strips. You'll see it pretty soon. I'm mixing the paint right now.
Here's the color. It has a nice coarse metallic in it so it should look really good in the sun. This is the base coat with no clear on it. Next is the strips after it dries for an hour or so.

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Sometimes we think were doing a good thing! I thought I was earlier when I hung the parts outside in the sun so they could dry a little faster. Well, it back fired! I have a rope stretched across from the house to a tree that I hang painted parts on. So that's what I did. To keep my hands off things I sat down and browsed around on the web. A few minutes before I was getting ready to go get the tank to start the stripping my son came in the garage and said "hey Dad, those parts outside are banging into each other in the wind and they're all scratched up". WHAT! sure enough the wind had moved the parts down the rope and had been sitting there rubbing on each other. After my initial reaction of @#%*!:>, it turned out not being too bad. Just a few scuff marks that needed a little scuff sanding and another coat of paint. Sooooo, I'm sitting here waiting for another hour waiting for the paint to dry so I can tape up the strips. They WON"T be hanging outside this time. Who say's you can't teach an old dog!
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Sorry about not getting back here to post the pictures of the paint earlier. I've been busy on it though. It took a few emailed pictures of the width of the strip before Scott settled with what we ended up with. After that was decided on it was a late night getting the black on it and then the clear. Yesterday was spent sanding and repairing the left side cover due to a run at the very bottom of it. After that was done and re cleared I spent the rest of the day color sanding the rest of the parts with 1000 & 1500 grit sandpaper getting them ready to buff out today.

Here's the strips painted on without the clear on them yet.

Clear coated and ready to color sand.

I just had to set things on the bike to get a look at the outlook of it.

After all this focus to get this bike done for the show coming up this weekend it may end up being cancelled. Or at least on my end of it. The forecast for the weekend is for rain all the way through the weekend. I won't take this out in the rain for it's maiden voyage. But I'll still try to get it ready just in case the weather changes. But with 3 days in a row being forecast I don't think that's going to happen.

Today I'll get all the buffing done and start the final assembly. The next pictures hopefully will be of it all put together.
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I can't get anything past you guys!

No worries guys. It was only on the with a 1/4" piece of double sided tape so I could see what it was going to look like. Dave W. told me it was backwards too. I hadn't even opened up the second packet to see the other one was for the right side I had pictured. But rest assured it will have the right one on the right and the left one on the left.

Here you go. Yes I know it's crooked. It's not permanent. I'm using the same tiny piece of tape too. This stuff is very strong. Somehow the rear fender just doesn't fit right there does it!

Since I'm here I'll tell you that all the color sanding and buffing is done. I spent my afternoon waiting and watching for the tornadoes that were very close to me. Nothing more than heavy rain and bad winds here though. I'll be glad when this winter crap is over!

This one is to show the difference between sanded and not sanded before buffing.

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Well, as you have read earlier I was trying to finish this to take to a show this weekend. I made it! But it's been raining hard here today and it's forecast for all weekend. But I decided I'm going rain or shine even if I have to truck it to the show.

I'll put some of the details in here later that were tackled along the last week, but for now I have a couple details to take care of tonight before I'm content with it to put in the show. It's been a lot of work to make the goal of putting my first bike in this show. 8 days ago it wasn't even painted. I'm not getting my hopes high that I place well. Just getting this ready and in the show is trophy enough for me.

Here's a few pics of the finished bike. Not very good, but I'll work on better pictures tomorrow at the show.

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OMG what IS that noise!!! I haven't heard an alarm clock in over a year! Oh yea, I'm going to a bike show today. UP and raring to go I got on the computer to see what the weather radar looked like. Damn, still raining. Oh well, I'm going anyway. So I jumped in the shower and got out to the garage just in time to hear Ron knocking at the garage door. We had to get the bike wrapped and ready to load. Then the rain stopped. OK, loaded it up with no cover and headed out. We got rain half way there but since it was at highway speed the bike stayed dry with the rain going over the top of the truck. When we got into the town and had to sit at a couple lights for a minute of coarse the bike got a little wet but not too bad. We pulled into the show site with two minutes to spare and got entered. I found out later they had relaxed on the deadline due to the rain. SO we would have been fine even if ewe were late.

They put the CX in the classic category which it turns out was the largest category they had there. At least 15 bikes in it, AND the theme bike for this years show was the 500 Suzuki 2 strokes. They were included in the same class. Looking around at all the quality of the bikes that were there I was just happy to be entered and didn't expect much from the results. I was after all the ONLY cx500 in the show.

As the show went on I made a few acquaintances with some very nice guys as well as parts sellers. I even traded one of my carb books for a large box of CX/GL parts that a guy had at his booth. That started a few more questions and a few more guys bought them too. Of coarse I talked a lot about carburetors today.

As the day progressed mingling around and talking to the people there I started to get feedback from them that the CX was the bike they voted for. Hmm, maybe they do like it after all. I even talked to one gentleman that was really impressed with the detail that I put into it. Turns out he was the originator of this show 16 years ago. It meant a lot to me and was honored to be recognized by him.

Ron and I were having a great time, and the food was great. OH YEA, I forgot to tell you, the rain stopped about a half hour after we got there and didn't come back all day except for a short 3 minute sprinkle. We were living right I tell you! Living right!

OK the time came close to the announcements and awards of the placed winners for the day. Mind you that the votes for every bike there was done by the spectators not by special judges. SO every award was going to be by the people. It seemed as time crawled while we all watched them counting the votes. 30 minutes seemed like 2 hours. Ron and I sat on a bench with a couple other guys chatting away about our bikes like we had all been friends for a long time. I got drilled about the detailed process of how to polish. Then one of them said he was a dentist and I drilled him
about some of their tools that they use that I would love to get my hands on.

When the loud speaker crackled to life we all shut up and listened. They started with a few awards that they would have given out yesterday on the sunset ride IF it hadn't been pouring rain. Then one by one they announced 3rd to 1st for each category. OK, time for the classic category. 3rd place was a 350 RD Yamaha. 2nd place was my CX500 DELUXE. And he pronounced the DELUXE with extra enthusiasm too. I got a kick out of that. 1st place was the Kawasaki KZ900 that was not only parked next to the CX but the owner was parked next to me on the bench. I was jazzed to be in the top 3. And the KZ that one was VERY nice. He's owned it for 23 years and it showed he took pride in it too. He even sent the tin work over seas to have the paint done by a company the only does KZ restorations. The both of us went up to ask how close it was at the end. There was only a 3 vote difference from 1st to 2nd. That made me smile and him give a sigh of relief.

So in the end it was fantastic to make it too the show, have no rain, meet some really nice people, get an award for the work done on the bike and spend the day with a good buddy to share it with.

Here are a few pictures of the event.

Ironically here is a shot of the 3 top winners in my class.

This group shows some of the bikes also in the same class as mine, except the cafe racer. These were some of the theme bikes of this years show.

Here's the winner with his KZ900. It was much nicer than my picture shows.

They had small bikes there that were just as detailed as any other bike was. The blue one here belonged to a friend I used to work with at Folsom prison. He's won his class.

This is part of all the bikes entered in the show.

Most smile maker of the day is this shot. WooHoo!!! Hmm, about that price!

Well guys there she sits. A first time out 2nd place winner. Pretty proud day for me. I haven't had anything in a show in over 30 years at least. I had a great time and couldn't have finished the final push yesterday without Ron here helping. Thanks Ron!

Well, it's time to wait for the rain to go away in a day or two so I can go ride it and break in the new motor. I want to make sure everything settles in before you come and get it Scott.

It's also time to sit back and relax for the night. I'm worn out!

If you want to see more pictures of the show go to THIS LINK HERE.

Thanks for following along with this long build. It's been fun.

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I can not tell a lie, YEP!
I did.

I will tell you the I saw the tally sheet. And 1st & 2nd had over 40 votes each and the 3rd place bike had 12 votes. So I feel very honored to be that high in the voting numbers. Gee thanks Melody.
I thought may 1st babies stuck together.

Thanks for the congrats any way.
I'm walking on clouds tonight.
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I know, I have your restoration. One can only wonder what G-Loria would have done in that show........

We talked about that yesterday. In the 3 years I have gone to this show there has never been a full dressed fairing bike there. I know she would have done very well if I had talked you into waiting till after the show. I was tempted but decided against it. You'll have to find a show some day and enter it in to see how she does.
Maybe he and I can work out some sort of "joint custody" agreement....

We're only about 800 miles apart. lol

It's a well known fact that most kids do better being left with their parents! Maybe leaving this child here with it's father IS a better idea!
File with the courts to get visitation rights!
You can visit on weekends!
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I suppose your right! OK, I'll get the adoption papers ready!
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The mufflers aren't painted, they are chrome Harley pipes. The only thing painted is the H-box. And that's done in the flat black high heat paint. It holds up well after it's backed on though. I have not used their chrome colors.
Oh I got ya now. Yes the welds were smoothed out and then I used the aluminum high heat paint from DupliColor to spray the ends and the welds. Paint # is DH 1606. It works very well if you put it on good and then bake it. But if you have a consistent high heat through the exhaust it will cure it just fine.
Wow,it's been a week already! Thanks for the nudge Scott. But as you know I was busy on Breech's cx cafe bike minutes after you left. And I'm already close to finishing up another job for Sinjin. But your right, it's time I brought this build up to date and to it's closing.

If some of you have followed some of my work and builds in the past you'll know I'm sure that I have made my share of mistakes. This project was no exception. After the show was over I took a break and did some spring cleaning around the shop and my 10'x20' shed. I won't bore you with pictures of that, but I did take two truck loads of crap to the dump. I now have more room in the shed for CX/GL parts.

During this time I couldn't get it out of my head that the inside of the tank was still bare metal. Even though it was perfectly clean I couldn't see not sealing it. after all this thing has to go another 30+ years. So I took a day off from cleaning and decided to seal the tank so it could dry before Scott came to pick it up. I rinsed out the inside with acetone to clean the metal again, set up the blankets and poured the sealer in. Now remember, I had just used the acetone and my hands were clean and dry. Very dry! I rotated the tank around for about 20 minutes to ensure it was all coated well inside. Satisfied with the coating I rolled it on it's side to set it on the floor. You guessed it, it slipped out of my hands and hit the floor at the top right corner. It dented in the hardest place there is to get a dent out. I'm sure the whole neighborhood heard me yelling too. Lots of choice words cussing myself out.

OK so now I have to fix this. Since the sealer was still wet I quickly got it all rinsed back out with acetone before it cured. fed up by it all I let it sit till the next day. I tried to push the dent out from the inside but it wasn't cooperating. So, out came the drill so I could use my dent pullers to pull it out. That worked pretty good but now I had to weld up the holes. So I set up the mig welder for that. Just as I hit the trigger I heard this hissing sound. Turns out there was a bit of sealer still in there somewhere that was putting off fumes still and the spark lit it up. The hissing sound was the flames shooting up through the filler AND out of the second hole just under the one I was trying to weld. Guess where my thumb was. Right over that hole. It torched a nice big hole in my thumb before I even knew what was happening. Now I'm getting pissed! So I throw down the welding gun and head into the house to get the ice pack. As I turn to walk I realized I still had my welding helmet on. I turned to set it down as I walked along. Damn! I wasn't watching where I was going and stepped on one of my sons matchbox cars. Of coarse this one has sharp edges and wing looking things sticking out of it. Yep, right into my foot it went. This was not turning out to be a good day AGAIN! Looking back though it was like a seen out of a comedy skit. But I wasn't laughing like you are right now. Yes you are, and I don't blame you. It's funny as hell if your outside looking in.

Here's the two offending holes. Project/finished again/DSC_1620.jpg

Needless to say I walked away from it for another day. All went as planned the third day finally. Got the body work done and primed so I could sand it down and spot in the paint the next day.

I got to thinking about it though. I wouldn't want to buy a restored bike that had a repaired paint job even though you wouldn't be able to tell it. SO, after all that work I got out the stripper and started over. Stripped it all down, glass beaded it again, redid all the body work and got it primed and ready for paint again.

I'm not going to bore you with all same details of painting the silver, the black strip and then the clear. You've seen all that previously. It was the same old thing again.

Next day I let the paint cure while I worked on another bike. The next morning I got up and started in on block sanding it for several hours getting it ready to buff out. 1000, 1500 and finally 2000 grit. I buffed out the top of the tank first, and wiped it down to see how it was looking. Wow, nice and sparkly. WHAT! SPARKLY? The black isn't supposed to be sparkly! DAMN IT AGAIN! Long story short, I found that somehow I had contaminated the cam of black paint with a very tiny amount of the silver flakes from the silver I had on the tank. Sooooo, I sanded down all the clear, went and bought another $200 worth or new paint and redid it AGAIN. This time I did a test panel for the black first to ensure nothing got contaminated. All was well this time trust me. There's no more antics to report thank goodness. Your already laughing hard enough as it is.
The worst part of all this was that every time I thought I was done I took the paint booth down, then had to put it all back together again.

OK, so the bike is done now. It's time to get it registered and ready for Scott to come pick it up. The day I took it to DMV they decided to change the rules where they were not allowed to climb up into my truck to verify the vin numbers. So after sitting there for an hour I decided to talk to a supervisor. That paid off well because she showed why she was in charge. She said hand me the paperwork. YOU climb into the truck and read off the numbers. I know you couldn't have memorized all them. What a smart lady. The best part was that she took me straight to her window and did all my DMV work without waiting for my # to be called. Right now your thinking it's going too smooth right. Yep. I was told a long time ago this bike wasn't in the system anymore. That makes it a lot cheaper and easier. Well the guy never turned in the paperwork telling DMV that it was off the road and going for parts. She found the bike in there computers still and the cost with all the fines was going to be $500 to put it back on the road. My head hit the counter. After she realized I had another $300 worth of stuff to take care of for my other vehicles she had me fill out a form that ended up taking the fines off and dropped the bike reg. to $250. It wasn't cheap either way but it was better than $500.

OK, were done and the bike is road worthy. So I went home and took it for a ride. NOW we have another problem! I LOVE THIS BIKE! Gotcha! OMG this thing rode nice. I was going to hate to see this one leave. All the mods and upgrades did better than I expected. Smooth ride and handling with the air assist forks, way better braking even if the pads and shoes had not seated in yet, lots of power with the fresh motor and ported heads, and the best of all was that on the freeway I wasn't reaching for another gear. The 650 clutch pack was awesome. The whole package had me falling in love with it. So again, just like I did with Joel's GL500I I built, I took this bike home and stayed off it till Scott came to get it. I think it had 42 miles on it when I was done. Not much but enough to know I liked it.

I decide this time to try and get some nice pictures of this one before it left for it's new home. With the color scheme I thought the black background would do it justice. I think they came out pretty good. Here she is.

Well the day finally came that Scott was driving 13+ hours one way to pick her up and take it home on a round trip red eye run. Here he is with the bike just before he loaded it onto his very nice trailer. He sure knows how to spoils a bike. He even had fur lined straps to strap the bike down with.

And as usual, the picture of another build leaving for it's new home.

Scott, it's been a pleasure building this bike for you and with you. Your choice of color and strip pattern made this a very nice combination. I've enjoyed to communication between us the entire time. I know she'll be taken good care of in the beginning of it's new second half of life. Ride safe my friend!


Now it's your turn to finish the story!
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