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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all! I'm a new member here. I'll be using this page to chronicle my cx500 build!

I've received a fully stock '81 cx500 deluxe and about 85% of a '79 cx500 as trade for me building another motorcycle (or truck.. or FJ.. or.....) for a quirky guy I know, who has two large storage units full of random motorbikes (BMW, moto guzzi, laverda, aermacchi, ducati, various supermoto racers, etc). I'll be doing this on the cheap, but not too cheap. Hoping to stay within a few thousand for parts, though, I am working on converting a '77 yamaha xs750 triple to fuel injection, and I keep circulating that idea around my head for this bike as well. :D

This will be my wife's second bike. Her first and current bike is my 3rd (and most mild) build, a 2012 Suzuki tu250x. My first build was a severely wrecked (and split in two pieces) 2010.5 triumph t-100, which was featured on bonnefication, after its resurrection from the ashes. My second, which is actually still a work in progress because the carbs suck, is the aforementioned yamaha triple (VERY sweet bike). I still own all of them. I've been told I have an addiction, but I enjoy it, and my wife fully supports it, so from where I'm standing, there's no problem at all. :cool: Oh yea, and there's my daily driver, an 07 moto guzzi griso 1100. With the guzzitech gtr-x exhaust and a guzzitech fuel delivery-modifying module, it sounds like an angry mechanical grizzly bear. Temperament-wise, it's an untrained thoroughbred. If you give it small amounts of throttle at certain rpm, it bucks to let you know "you're doing it wrong!". If you transition on or off throttle with small amounts of throttle, the driveline lashes out to let you know "you're doing it wrong!". It wants THROTTLE, it's unapologetically flawed, and I've loved every second of my 6 years and counting with that bike; partly because of these character traits, and partly because despite these character traits, it has been supremely reliable.

Anyway, back to the cx. I have a question! Did the cx500 come from the factory with progressive fork springs? If you reference the photo below, you'll notice the springs are progressive, with tighter coils to the left side. I was going to buy a set of progressive springs for this anyway, so I'm wondering if these are factory or aftermarket? I have not had the chance to ride this bike yet. I was only able to get it to briefly run on starter fluid before I decided to accept it as trade. So, I don't know how decent the factory forks are on the cx. I was planning to start with new oil, seals and progressives, and go from there to see if I should go the extra cost to swap in some newer forks and trees, or if these are good enough.


And until I get more pics of the cx posted, if you folks would like, I can post some pics of my previous builds in the proper section, to whet your whistle for what's to come.

 

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Welcome aboard! I don't think the Progressive springs were stock units. Others will have better info on that. In the mean time, take a moment to edit your profile signature line with the bike details. This helps us help you.
Take a peek in the WIKI I link below, as it is chock full of great information. Best of all, there are free downloads of the Factory Service Manuals, and be sure to get the addendum for the year you have.

Joel in the Couve
 

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Those look like the springs that were in my 81' Deluxe forks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for pointing me towards the resources ramprat!

scott, do you know if those springs were stock on yours? The parts fiche photos I've seen are no help, and I haven't found info on them so far.
 

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scott, do you know if those springs were stock on yours? The parts fiche photos I've seen are no help, and I haven't found info on them so far.
I think so but check the FSM 81' addendum to be sure.
 

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Many folks get hung up on this "progressive spring" thing, confusing the company that makes Progressive brand shocks or springs with progressive wound springs. I can't tell if the stock springs were progressive by the fiche either. From a page I found surfing.....

This is referred to as a straight or linear rate spring. The alternative, is a progressive rate spring which allows a single spring to essentially exhibit multiple rates. By utilizing varied spacing spring coils, the initial rate may be 60lbs/inch, requiring 60 lbs of force to compress it one inch.
 

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Please post up some pics of your Suzuki TU250X if you can.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Many folks get hung up on this "progressive spring" thing, confusing the company that makes Progressive brand shocks or springs with progressive wound springs. I can't tell if the stock springs were progressive by the fiche either. From a page I found surfing.....
Right, I know there are progressive springs, and then there's the company that makes progressive springs with the trademark 'Progressive'. That's not the confusion. I'm just trying to figure out if the factory springs are progressive rate, or if these are some brand of aftermarket progressives (I don't care if they're the brand, Progressive). I've never seen a multi-coil-length spring that was not progressive rate, and these certainly are multi-coil-length. I'll keep searching, and it's not that important anyway, I was just surprised to see progressive rate springs when I pulled them out, so it made me wonder if Honda built these bikes like that from the factory.

Scott, I checked the '81 addendum and it says nothing about whether the springs are progressive or not. Also, no helpful pics.
I'll put some pics of the TU in a google drive folder and link to it. I haven't felt like using my DSLR recently, so the pics will probably all be from my phone. :rolleyes:
 

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I was thinking the pics in there were better but I guess not. I do know that the springs in your picture match the ones in my 81' Deluxe forks which leads me to believe they are stock. Mine were squishy, current forks are off a standard that I added the spacer too and they are much better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
scott, which spacer is this you speak of?

Thanks for the info, phreak.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Some pics of the bike. The tires were so hard and inflexible, spoons weren't even thinking about working. There is an automotive shop on WSMR main post where I can use all the equipment, and I've mounted/dismounted motorcycle tires with automotive tire machines many times, but I didn't feel like going over there, so I just cut them off. Everything else has been nice and easy. It was fairly well maintained.

THIS link is the google drive folder where I'll dump all the photos if you'd rather just peruse the pics. (Also in my sig line)








AND a pic of the '79 that came with it.
 

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wow that '79 looks worse than I feel some days lol. Your project bike looks clean though and thats the main thing. welcome to the board.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks, slacker. I've been to Wasaga Beach (a long time ago). I grew up across the border in NY. I spent a lot of time in various places around Ontario. That was back when you didn't even need your passport to cross the border. They just asked your nationality and where you were going. Due to the lower drinking age, as soon as we all turned 19, my friends all wanted to cross the border every weekend, and because I didn't drink, I was always the DD.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Some new pics. It's been slow progress while I make key decisions. Now it's the waiting for parts game. I had a conversation with Murray and learned some stuff about the bike, the factory carbs, his carbs and other stuff. Any day that you learn is a good day.

Cut off the subframe, got rid of the rust in various places, painted it all with semi-gloss black frame paint (the painted pic will come later).




The rubber boot around the pulser wires has rotted away, so I'll need a fix for that.



Swingarm is ready to weld on a single coil-over bracket, and I smoothed out the gnarly weld seams on top of the SA.


The coil-over.


And I've started powder coating a few bits and pieces, like these coolant tube brackets. I'll probably only be powder coating black or clear on this bike.


The bike is going to be mostly aluminum (or aluminium), chrome and black, with a few small bits of blue. I did these with blue metal flake enamel (Testors model paint) after scraping off the black (which was already starting to come off anyway).
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Teardown is complete and many parts are rebuilt. To rid the bike of that dull grey oxide, I've been sanding all the bare aluminum (or aluminium for the rest of the world) with 600 wet/dry, 2000 wet/dry, then buffing compound and finally, mother's aluminum polish. If the parts fit in the oven I use for powder coating, I then clear powder coat the Al parts to preserve that fine, brushed look, and prevent future oxidation.

I'm waiting on engine seals and gaskets. When those arrive, I'll be rebuilding pretty quickly. The only real time-consumer remaining is the wiring harness. I was originally skeptical about the 11k miles on the gauge, knowing they could be from a different bike. After getting into the engine, I'm pretty convinced that is correct for this bike. Everything looks mint. The inside of the coolant system was clean as can be. Not a hint of non-distilled water being used. Still replacing all engine seals though, including the mechanical seal. Adjusted the timing chain. Checked and adjusted valves, which were only very slightly out.

I've replaced the old plugs with ngk iridium, and I've replaced the plug boot resistors and Al rods with brass rods from speedmotoco.

New seals, dust covers and progressive springs. I was going to stick with the factory progressives, but after measuring them, one was 6 mm shorter than the other, and was just out of spec. Honda 5 wt oil went in. The paperwork with the progressives said to not fill higher than 5.5 inch, even if the factory-specified volume would bring it higher than that, stop at 5.5". This equaled right about 175 cc per side. It also said to start riding at 0 psi on the air assist and adjust from there. One thing I noticed was the springs were noticeably shorter than the factory springs, but they were also wound tighter, so we'll see how they work.

The carbs were cleaned in my sonic cleaner, multiple cycles with simple green, then carb brushes and rods through the tiny ports and passages. I sanded and polished the caps and sanded the fuel tubes, then clear PC on the tubes. All new parts in the carbs, except the idle mixture screw. Those that came in the kits were junk, and the old ones looked pretty damn good, so they went back in, albeit, with new seals, washers and springs. New air cut valves, accelerator pump, and bowl screws. I was thinking about powder coating the carb bodies in the satin black I'm using elsewhere on the bike, but I didn't. Maybe another time. The two brackets which hold the carbs together did get that treatment though.

Mounted bridgestone spitfires after brushing and polishing the wheels. Not too much of a polish, just enough to reflect some sunlight in those brushed lines. The wheels have some dings and such, but that's ok. I don't have the time needed to give these wheels the attention they would need to look perfect, so marks of age they keep. All Balls sealed bearings and such, front and rear. Using the automotive equipment on WSMR main post made short and easy work of the mounting. Having access to the resources on a military base has its perks. It cost me $2 to use a fully stocked automotive shop, and I take full advantage of that for all my vehicles.

I bought an 8-cell, 240 amp lithium iron phosphate battery, which will be hidden behind the bottom rear of the engine. It weighs about 1.5 lbs, significantly less than 1 kg.

I received the chromed mojave tank from India, a month earlier than I expected, and very well packed. I'll have to re-tap the threads for the petcocks so I can use a more standard size, and I bought some simple but well-built petcocks, designed as ducati replacements. The locking fuel cap I bought will not work with this tank, so I'll need to find another option. I don't know if this tank is going to work on this bike, but we'll see. I'm looking for a higher capacity tank to swap on for longer rides as well.

I'll be modifying a front fender I bought for this project, and building my own rear fender from a fender blank. I have a variety of turn signals and running/stop lights, but haven't decided on which I'm using yet for the rear. The front turn signals will be integrated into the headlight. I'm working with a guy to fab up a license bracket, which he will likely start selling after we get mine sorted out.













 

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Now that tank is friggin cool looking, I just wonder how it will work with the sun in NM lol.

I also remember when you could cross the boarder without a passport just by telling them where you are going and for how long. Crazy eh! lol

So your bike is coming along quite well, I like the blue you chose its got nice pop but lets get to the biggest question I have...Living in a place called "Missile Range" how's that? I picture a large desert that has been bombed to sh!t and a couple houses with tumble weeds blowing through town before Clint Eastwood strolls in with his poncho on. LMAO I know it sounds like stereotyping but up here we don't have many places with Missile in the name so forgive my ignorance and day dreaming lol.
 

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I'd like to hear how that battery works on your bike. I opted for a stock option because of all the horror stories on the Li batteries.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
Now that tank is friggin cool looking, I just wonder how it will work with the sun in NM lol.
Ya, chrome in the sun. Either my wife (for whom this bike is being built) is going to get a nice tan on the under side of her chin (and maybe blinded), or I might have to do a satin black stripe down the center of the tank.

Living in a place called "Missile Range" how's that? I picture a large desert that has been bombed to sh!t and a couple houses with tumble weeds blowing through town before Clint Eastwood strolls in with his poncho on. LMAO I know it sounds like stereotyping but up here we don't have many places with Missile in the name so forgive my ignorance and day dreaming lol.
lol, well, the missile range is over 3200 square miles, so, larger than the land mass of Delaware and Rhode Island combined. It was the birth place of US rocket technology (after we stole it from the Germans, along with a bunch of their scientists, anyway) as well as the US space program. It was the site of the first nuclear detonation on earth, and the development site for a great many weapon systems and platforms, including UAVs and the first and subsequent weaponized lasers; as well as other, non-weapon technology. Many things are still developed and tested here, none of which I can talk about, and most I officially don't even know about. I do get to watch missile launches on the regular. I don't actually live on main post on the range. I live in the closest town, over the mountain range. I'm a geophysicist and environmental scientist on the range, so I say I live there because I spend most of my waking time there. It is an amazingly beautiful and historical place to work. I'm working on a proposal for the site where Wernher Von Braun tested the 500,000 lb-thrust rocket engines that developed into the initial space program. There are bits of history preserved all over the range, from the 1940s-'50s (I actually found a complete, unbroken original coca cola bottle laying in the desert), to remnants of the homesteaders and ranchers of the 1800s before the US government took ownership of the area (this is the general area where Billy the Kid kicked the dirt and hid in the mountains, supposedly also hiding gold), to much earlier native american artwork, petrogpyphs, pottery, arrowheads, tools and other stuff; even older sites with remnants from the Mogollon; and much older sites still. Then there's the wildlife. First, the oryx. See the pics below. Really cool animal, and they're everywhere. They are muscular, lean and fast, and they do kill each other with those rapiers on their heads. The herds uprange aren't even really scared of people, due to very strictly controlled hunting (just enough to control population growth). They've gotten used to the human presence. I can drive uprange and there will be oryx grazing on the side of the road, not even paying attention to me driving by. There are ringtail, coyote, fox, bear, mountain lion, rabbit, rattlesnake, owl, tarantula, tarantula hawk (look those up), velvet ant (not actually an ant), several different type of hawk are very common, and other, much rarer birds. The coyote have actually become a problem. It's not unusual to see them walking down the road in the middle of main post like a lost dog. As calm as they look while mostly ignoring your presence, they are NOT docile. Striking an oryx while driving is always a danger. It WILL total your car. Guaranteed. They are.. large animals. The second picture is not me, but shows the scale pretty well.

I'd like to hear how that battery works on your bike. I opted for a stock option because of all the horror stories on the Li batteries.
There are horror stories? Like, Dean Koontz level horror? H.P. Lovecraft? Mary Shelley?! Bram Stoker!?! ;)
Seriously though, I'll have to look up what you're talking about. I haven't heard these stories yet. As long as the charging rate isn't too high, and the battery isn't over-discharged, it shouldn't be a problem. I also have a LiFePO4-specific charger to help keep it maintained.



 
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