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Super Moderator
'84 CX650E that is evolving into a GL500
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18,932 Posts
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). It looks like your bike still has the original rubber brake line, which should have been replaced every 2 or 3 fluid changes (= 5 or 6 years) so 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).

Re BYPASS:
The so-called "triple bypass" (nothing is actually bypassed) may not necessarily be needed.
A couple of decades ago when a predecessor of this forum was young we all believed that you had to remove the engine from the bike and remove the rear cover to:
1) Replace the water pump's mechanical seal (as described in the FSM)
2) Examine the camchain to determine how much life was left in it (& by the time you had it open you might as well replace it).
3) Replace the alternator stator when any part of it failed. It is also pretty common in CX500s with CDI for the parts of the stator specific to the CDI to fail and at that time the only alternative was to replace the stator.
Since you had to open the same part of the engine to replace the mechanical seal, camchain and stator it became popular to do all 3 when one of them needed to be done instead of taking it apart again in another year or 2 for another job. Since many forum members were of the age where they or people they knew were having arterial bypass surgery someone came up with the term "triple bypass" for the 3 procedures commonly done together and it stuck.

BUT now we know better.
  • Forum member Shep developed his procedure for replacing the mechanical seal without taking the engine apart.
  • I believe CXphreak was the one that figured out how to determine camchain wear by looking at the adjuster through the timing mark port.
  • There are now several options for aftermarket electronic ignitions to replace the CDI that don't need most of the parts of the stator that fail, including the Rae-San products from forum member Rayman.
NOTE: The GL500, '82 CX500C and all 650 models don't have CDI so their stators, being only for keeping the battery charged are far less prone to failure (the charging part of the CDI stator is pretty reliable too).

In addition, as these bikes age starter clutch wear is showing up more often (most commonly on 650s but not exclusively) and since you have to pull the flywheel to do both it makes sense for anyone who is replacing the camchain to replace at least the starter clutch springs and possibly caps & rollers at the same time. This would either turn the "triple" into a "Quad Bypass" or change the definition of "triple" to camchain, stator and starter clutch since the engine no longer has to be opened to replace the mechanical seal.

SO unless
1) You have determined that the camchain needs to be replaced,
2) The charging part of your stator has failed or
3) Your starter clutch is skipping
you don't need to open the rear of the engine.
 

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Super Moderator
'84 CX650E that is evolving into a GL500
Joined
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18,932 Posts
I bought an "endoscope" camera years ago thinking it might be useful in the shop and I think I may have mentioned that I wanted to try to look at the camchain with it but before I got around to it someone had tried using a dental mirror and it had become the recommended method. I thought it was you that first tried that and I'm sure you made it popular by recommending it a lot.
 

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Super Moderator
'84 CX650E that is evolving into a GL500
Joined
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18,932 Posts
I tried using the forum's search to find the first thread that mentioned dental mirror and camchain but the search didn't find anything before 2018 and I know it was before that.

Spencer: Just to forewarn you, this sort of side tracking of a thread is pretty common on the forum and sometimes interesting or useful information even comes to light when it happens.
Thanks for sharing, didn't know the current consensus on this. Would you say these aftermarket ignition systems are a better option than replacing the stator (I did find a couple of CDI units online - although they're expensive)?
I haven't had a CDI CX so I have no personal experience with either the CDI system or the modern replacements but from what I've read on the forum as long as the charging part of the stator is OK upgrading to either Rae-San or Ignitech is a good option. I believe the Ignitech requires some of the stator's CDI stuff but Ray makes several options including one with hall effect sensors that completely eliminates all of the old system.

My only concern about changing would be that the modern systems are powered by the charging system so there would be less power left over for electrical accessories but enough people have run them without issues that I'd only be concerned if things like handlebar heaters, extra lighting and a stereo were requirements for you and even then modern stereos and LED lights don't need nearly as much power as those things used to.

It is also possible to upgrade to the later type of stator that doesn't have the stuff for the CDI (with all the space available for charging windings it has about 100W more output) but that would require opening the engine so a lot of people wait until they have it open for something else (camchains don't last forever) to do that.

Mark (CXphreak) can tell you more about CDI and the alternatives than I can.
 
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