1979 cb650 resto-mod

620dark

You can always get it running with time or money.
It looks like I have to do some sanding on the tank to deal with a run in the primer I didn't notice until I had laid down the color, but that's just annoying. I have to lay color down on the side covers anyway, so not a big deal.

I do have some of the last few parts needed to finish up this fine ride on their way to me.

First off, I ordered a replacement clutch lever perch from a SOHC CB650 Nighthawk - I have never liked the stupid pull choke thing that was stock on the '79, and the cable on this bike was missing the "ball" on the end of the cable anyway. The replacement perch relocates the choke control to a thumb lever that I think looks much nicer.



Next, I located replacement tank badges for the bike. I only have the right side badge, and it is a bit bent.



More pictures and posts after these parts are installed. Turn signals are pretty much all that's left. I haven't found any signals that I like, and the stock signals are stupid expensive. Any suggestions are much appreciated!
 

620dark

You can always get it running with time or money.
I made some progress with the bike this weekend.

I installed the new clutch/choke assembly off the '82 Nighthawk. Not only does it look much better than the old choke lever/button/whatever, it has a stranded cable instead of a piece of wire. It is smoooooth now. The only problem is that now I need to get a clutch lever for an '82 Nighthawk, as the '79 clutch lever barely releases the clutch. That is a problem.





I also removed the "pedestrian pokers" where the stock turn signals mounted. I'm going to mount aftermarket signals on either side of the headlight in the front.





I noticed that in the rear, there are holes to mount standard turn signals next to the "pedestrian poker." I'll cut off the pokers and install aftermarket signals there as well. That will keep the man from keeping me down.



I have to wet sand the clear coat on the tank and hit it with some polish after the clear drys for another day or so. I have some 1200 grit for the wet sand that will probably take a while, but I don't want to take too much clear off.

Closer and closer to being done with this beast...
 

620dark

You can always get it running with time or money.
I polished and waxed the tank and side panels, reinstalled the rebuilt petcock, and installed the new tank badges. This is the result:







What's left is the new clutch lever, and some fine tuning of the carbs. I also still need to come up with turn signals for the bike. Any suggestions of style? I don't want to put anything too modern on the bike...
 

Scott84

Member
Its looking good! I wish mine looked that good....I would go with a bullet style turn signal because they are generally smaller but thats just me.
 

620dark

You can always get it running with time or money.
Yea, I have been looking at a bunch of them on Amazon.com, but really wanted to see some in person. Do you have any recommendations?

Thank you for the kind words. It took about 8 rattle cans of primer, satin black, burgundy, and clear to make it look that nice, so if I can do it, you can do it too!
 

Scott84

Member
I don't have any recommendations I just like the style! I think that I could easily paint my bike but it needs a lot of work to get there! And i'm 250 miles from my bike in college... i'm having with drawls.
 

620dark

You can always get it running with time or money.
Ugh, that sucks being so far away from your bike. It may seem like you have a lot of work to do, but you know what they say about how to eat an elephant - one bite at a time...
 

620dark

You can always get it running with time or money.
More parts have arrived...I ordered up a set of turn signals from the fine folks at Dime City:

http://www.dimecitycycles.com/vintage-cafe-racer-caferacer-bobber-brat-chopper-custom-motorcycle-electronic-lighting-parts-mini-rectangle-aluminum-amber-turn-signals-blinkers-25-8301.html



I also got a set of valve stem seals. I finally realized that part of the smoking at idle I was dealing with wasn't due to mixture richness but rather oil burning. I'm a dumbass. At least the bike is a SOHC, so I only needed to order eight of them.

Finally, I picked up a set of the special rubber washers that hold the rocker covers down on the CB650. The original ones are pretty beat.

More pictures as I tear into the valvetrain to convert this bike from a two smoke back into a four stroke...
 

620dark

You can always get it running with time or money.
Oh, you have no idea on the valve seals - I just ordered a $60 tool from Lisle (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0012S61IO/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00) to finish the job. I was able to replace one seal (out of eight) and get a second seal replaced, but not get the spring reinstalled in about three hours. What do you mean the valve spring compressor I use on Ford 302s doesn't fit on a 650 cc Honda valve spring? I demand to speak with a manager about this outrage! :) I cobbled together a piece of steel that used a bolt into the head and an 18 mm wrench to compress the springs to get the keepers off, but couldn't reliably get the keepers reinstalled. PITA.

On the plus side, I did get the new turn signals installed and wired up properly. I think the flasher relay is near end of life, however. It goes "CA-THUNK blink blink blink blink." To be fair, it was full of water when I got the bike...




 

620dark

You can always get it running with time or money.
So, I received the Lisle valve keeper tool and got a chance to put it to work. I was able to replace the remaining seven valve seals in about 40 minutes. That tool was worth every dollar, and I highly recommend it to anyone who has to take on this job. It really was as simple as setting the tool in place and whacking it with a hammer. Like magic!

Here's a good video on how it works; I would have taken more pictures but was kind of busy trying to hit the tool and not my hand:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1DmJQ4Fods

Here's the pictures of the teardown to get to the valves. I used rope packed in through the spark plug holes to prevent the valves from dropping. I rotated the piston for each cylinder to top dead center to compress the rope and hold the valves. It was fiddly, but as the air compressor has decided to die, I couldn't use the fancy air pressure tool to hold the valves shut. It also helped to use thick wheel bearing grease to hold the keepers in the retainer. It's a good start up lube too.









The best news of all? After putting the bike back together, resetting the valve clearances (go for 0.10mm on the exhaust; the stock specced 0.08mm is too tight once the bike gets hot), setting the idle screws to two turns out, and getting the float bowls full again, the bike ran great. No smoke at all, even after running it hard for 30 minutes; the valve seals were the culprit. That makes all this work worth it.

I'm still tweaking the air box cover - since the original didn't come with the bike, I've made one out of part of a bottle of Mobil1 motorcycle oil. Plus 5 hp for using that plastic, let me tell you! It was a process of rev the bike, find out where it gets starved for air, cut the opening in the plastic a bit bigger, rinse, repeat, until I found an opening size that let the bike rev to redline without choking. I suppose I could run the filter uncovered and jet up, but right now I'm just glad to have it running well. It makes the bike a lot easier to start as well.
 

620dark

You can always get it running with time or money.
Here's a part from across the pond...

...it's called COVER, AIR CLEANER. Part number 17220-426-670, NOS, still in the original packaging. Mmm, minty fresh! This should help with fine tuning the bike, that and some accelerator pump arm adjustments. I think I screwed up the pump arm to plunger clearances last time I worked on the carbs, doh.



 

620dark

You can always get it running with time or money.
I think I'm about done with this one - I need to repaint the side panels, but it starts, stops, and goes and looks good doing so. My brother's interested in it, so I might send it on to him next.

I picked up a '93 CBR900RR, and have a crapload of parts on the way, so that's the next project...
 

620dark

You can always get it running with time or money.
Of course, because I cannot stop fiddling, I bought another '79 CB650 carb rack off of Ebay cheap. The carbs arrived yesterday, and I dug into them to prep them for a dunk in some Pine Sol. The main reason I bought these carbs was for the intact plastic choke "arm" and a set of intact choke plates and choke shafts. Also, for the unobtainium choke cable retaining clip.

I originally thought I might be able to rebuild this rack and just swap it out with the rack on the bike now, but I'm thinking it will be a lot less work just to swap the choke "arm", plates, and shafts. I've a lot of work into the current rack of carbs, and these carbs are a bit rough for my tastes.

Picture time!

Here's what I'm working with - kind of grungy, and they stink of old gas. But, they are complete!



Ah, the rare intact plastic choke lever!



Oh man, these carbs are filthy!





Ready for a bunch of Pine Sol and some hot water. Bonus sexy toes shot.

 

Scott84

Member
Oh man those are bad! I might be interested in one of the carbs come December when I can finally look at my bike again on my winter break from college. I had one of the pilot jet heads snap off when I tore the carbs apart. :mad:
 

620dark

You can always get it running with time or money.
Scott84 said:
Oh man those are bad! I might be interested in one of the carbs come December when I can finally look at my bike again on my winter break from college. I had one of the pilot jet heads snap off when I tore the carbs apart. :mad:
Let me know - the parts all cleaned up very nicely after a bath in the Pine Sol. I haven't tried to remove any of the pilot jets on these carbs. I'm sorry to hear of your misfortune - you might also try to carefully drill out what's left starting with a small drill bit and working your way larger. A Harbor Freight drill press is pretty useful for this kind of thing :)
 

620dark

You can always get it running with time or money.
So I pulled the choke assembly off the "spare" carbs and swapped them over to my original carbs. I also installed my new batterystuff.com AGM battery ($25 off for small business Saturday, woo!).

That, and a washer's worth of jet needle shimming, and the bike now now fires up on first starter button poke, even when it's 45 outside. I'll take that.

The proper plastic choke arm made a big difference, and I was able to put about 20 miles on the bike. It's running a bit rich, so I'm going to try to find some of the adjustable height jet needles to fine tune the mixture.
 

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