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  • Tear down & get into it!

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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
G'Day Team,

Journey to the cafe racer dream has started with the purchase of a $500, little bit rusty, little bit not working (engine seized, brakes disconnected, seems not to engage first gear ...) but more or less complete 1981 edition! Let's just say VERY original condition ....

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I am thinking that rather than going directly to a tear down, the first few steps are to free the engine (this thread looks helpful: Seized engine on cx500 with unknown history: what next), change all the fluids, reconnect brakes etc. Get her going first, then plan the build.

Ultimately aiming for something like PopBang's awesome CX project: Has PopBang Delivered The Best-Looking CX500 Yet?

What is the wisdom of the forum on first steps?

Thanks!
 

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Welcome....
Have cast my vote.... get her goin first....
Wont deny you a Cafe interpretation; but stock with minor mods..eg one of or few... bars,seat,exhaust,carbs... they grow on you
 

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If you compare that bike to mine, that bike definately looks brand new.

Ride it! :)
 
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That's a good candidate for customization but the best advice anyone can give you about modifying any vehicle is to get it safe & reliable in more or less original condition and use it for a while before you start making any changes so it can tell you what changes it needs to make it do what you want/need better. That approach almost always results in something you actually want to keep and use but making changes based on style or on what someone else (who may or may not really understand how the changes affect the way it works) has done often results in a piece of expensive yard art that you can't stand sitting on for more than a few minutes and might even be dangerous.

BTW: 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 probably hasn't 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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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Welcome....
Have cast my vote.... get her goin first....
Wont deny you a Cafe interpretation; but stock with minor mods..eg one of or few... bars,seat,exhaust,carbs... they grow on you
Thanks bahn88!
Good advice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
That's a good candidate for customization but the best advice anyone can give you about modifying any vehicle is to get it safe & reliable in more or less original condition and use it for a while before you start making any changes so it can tell you what changes it needs to make it do what you want/need better. That approach almost always results in something you actually want to keep and use but making changes based on style or on what someone else (who may or may not really understand how the changes affect the way it works) has done often results in a piece of expensive yard art that you can't stand sitting on for more than a few minutes and might even be dangerous.

BTW: 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 probably hasn't 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).
Thanks Sidecarbob, great advice, thank you. Will report once engine is free!
 

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Step 1, get the engine free or figure out it's toast. Do you know about the bolt at front on engine to turn it over?
 

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Step 1, get the engine free or figure out it's toast. Do you know about the bolt at front on engine to turn it over?
Unless you already know the engine isn't seized, below are a few details on checking the engine
  • use compressed air (or a hose if needed) to get rid of any dirt in the spark plug well area
  • pull out the spark plugs. If you weren't able to do that first step, now use a vacuum cleaner to get rid of any loose dirt in the spark plug wells. you don't want that dirt falling into the cyl
  • squirt some PB blaster, MMO, or regular oil into the spark plug holes, then let it sit overnight
  • use 17mm wrench or socket to remove the nut/cap just below the radiator
  • use 17mm socket to slowly turn the crankshaft clockwise. you might need to go a little CCW to free things up, but don't go much
  • if the pistons are moving, go through several CW rotations of the crankshaft. If it moves freely then congrats, your engine is not seized.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks team! Good news: we have an engine that turns! As it came without a battery i hooked up to the car for some juice and got ignition Lights! In itself that was very exciting, however it did not start, just clicked. I presume this is perhaps massive overload of AH from the Jeep Grand Cherokee vs 40y.o. Honda??, so I did not press my luck.

any hints welcome, but off now for a bike battery and some more research.

cheers
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Unless you already know the engine isn't seized, below are a few details on checking the engine
  • use compressed air (or a hose if needed) to get rid of any dirt in the spark plug well area
  • pull out the spark plugs. If you weren't able to do that first step, now use a vacuum cleaner to get rid of any loose dirt in the spark plug wells. you don't want that dirt falling into the cyl
  • squirt some PB blaster, MMO, or regular oil into the spark plug holes, then let it sit overnight
  • use 17mm wrench or socket to remove the nut/cap just below the radiator
  • use 17mm socket to slowly turn the crankshaft clockwise. you might need to go a little CCW to free things up, but don't go much
  • if the pistons are moving, go through several CW rotations of the crankshaft. If it moves freely then congrats, your engine is not seized.
Thanks sacruickshank, did above, and apart from the crank inspection nut only responding to a new 6 sided socket, i got her turning.
 

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Thanks team! Good news: we have an engine that turns! As it came without a battery i hooked up to the car for some juice and got ignition Lights! In itself that was very exciting, however it did not start, just clicked. I presume this is perhaps massive overload of AH from the Jeep Grand Cherokee vs 40y.o. Honda??, so I did not press my luck.

any hints welcome, but off now for a bike battery and some more research
Hopefully this isn't too late but do not try to start your bike with the car/truck engine running. From what I've heard it's way too much juice and could fry your bike's electronics. OK with just attached to car battery with engine not running.

The clicking could be the starter solenoid trying to engage, but the starter motor itself maybe be frozen.

Also, with these old bike it's extremely likely the carbs will need to come off and be disassembled for through ultrasonic cleaning. Then replace worn or damaged rubber bits (O'rings, curoff valve diaphragms, float bowl needle valves, float bowl gaskets, etc.). I won't go into all the details as there are many excellent online articles and physical books on the subject.
 

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Hopefully this isn't too late but do not try to start your bike with the car/truck engine running. From what I've heard it's way too much juice and could fry your bike's electronics. OK with just attached to car battery with engine not running.
This is a myth. The amount of current that flows depends solely on the voltage supplied and the resistance of the load; Sine the car/truck charging system voltage is the same as the bike's no more current will flow through any part of the bike while connected to a running car than would flow if the bike was running.
I have jump started bikes from running cars or trucks many times.
 

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You just won't NEED to run the car because the draw from the bike will be too small to deplete the reserve in the car's battery.
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks all. Car was not running. I just wanted to test what electrics were working. Not much, but enough encouragement! Pretty sure the clicking was right next to the battery box.
 

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Usually, but if you crank the bike's engine a lot or the car's battery isn't in great shape you could run it down (DAMHIK)
seems like you'd really have to spend some time cranking to drain a car/truck battery??
 

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It depends on the car or truck (= how big its battery is) and what condition the battery is in. And how cold it is out.

It is safer to start the car and let it idle while you boost the bike from it so that the car's charging system can re-charge it if you drain a lot out of it.
 

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Thanks all. Car was not running. I just wanted to test what electrics were working. Not much, but enough encouragement! Pretty sure the clicking was right next to the battery box.
Thanks for sharing! Сan't wait to see your progress.
 
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