I call her Cattywumpus

Mcgoo

New Member
Hi,
I picked up a CM400c in pretty decent condition late last year I know these bikes are not big favorites, but I did get it cheap, which was key for me. It ran quite well before the winter - a bit "gutless" but not awful.

The actual direction I was looking to take with the bike was a bit undefined when I bought it. I liked the overall aesthetics of the bike well enough as stock, but wanted to change some things to improve them, not just for the sake of it. I love the looks of a well executed café or bobber build - but I wasn't sure this bike was the best candidate for either - and I didn't want to butcher a good sound bike through inexperience. I was also limited by my surroundings and physical location. I live in Boston... not near it, but in it... in a one-bed apartment... with no garage or workshop, and nowhere to pitch a car-port tent to work under... What I do have though, thanks to a good friendly parking garage operator, is the exclusive use of the corner of a public parking garage ... the dead corner where no car can park because of the column layout.. I have that for bike storage and "workshop". Not exactly ideal conditions for custom bike building - so I have kept the alterations to the bike to a minimum (no welding and frame cutting), but have still come up with a nice looking project bike. It's the first bike I've got stuck into and I've learned a lot along the way.

The intended use for the bike also changed midstream... Initially it was going to be a runaround bike for me, but 2 things changed that - 1) My girlfriend expressed an interest in actually riding bikes instead of being stuck on the back, and 2) I bought myself a Bonneville. So this bike, while it will still be a great runaround bike for me, will also need to double as a safe/solid first bike for my GF to learn on.

This is a couple of shots of the original condition of the bike...




 

Mcgoo

New Member
I call her Cattywumpus



The restoration was made challenging mainly because of the location I was working in - it soon became clear that all bearings were notchy, all grease was turned to rubber, most rubber bits were cracked, a mouse lived in the air filter - but the engine was clean on the inside, compression was 182 in both cylinders and there was a decent foundation to work with.



 

Mcgoo

New Member
Thanks!
This is what I thought of as the "point of no return" pulling parts off and repainting the frame... I used brushed on Por-15 on the frame, both as a rust inhibitor and because rattle can would have been a problem in my "workshop".



After getting her Rolling again - I tried some shorty 11" shocks and a single seat... I quite like the look of it, and can imagine with the subframe cut appropriately and a bobbed fender out back that it could be a nice bobber. It was right about now that it became more of a bike for my lady to learn on though so I shelved anything radical either for a different day or a different bike. Besides I really need a better workshop if I'm going to get into welding etc.
 

Mcgoo

New Member


I also cleaned up the cockpit considerably - lost the big idiot light and gauges in favor of something a bit less imposing - replaced the headlight bucket and indicators. I also replaced the big loopy bars with some chrome euro bars...
 

Maritime

Well-Known Member
Nice and clean, I put the same euro bars on mine, huge improvement in control over the mini apes from the factory.
 

Mcgoo

New Member
It was right around this point that I decided to ditch the stock wiring harness altogether. Well... except for the ignition side of the harness.. I kept that side as is for now - no need to go digging into the alternator if I don't have to, and the CDI and starter are sound. I haven't got to this bit quite yet, but will likely go for the GM coil mod that some folks have done with these bikes
.
I've done a huge amount to reading and thinking and researching over the past few months, and this site is a fantastic resource! Thanks so much - also HondaTwins is full of good advice and wit.

So... the wiring harness ... ordered a custom harness from a company called Sparckmoto. You may have heard of them - Sonreir - Senior Moderator here - made up my new harness - simple and clean - does all it needs to without all the redundant wiring that is on the stock harness. Matt is a super cool guy who asks all the right questions up front then gives advice willingly when it come to fitting to the bike. Anyway.. I'm not one to do a lot of pitches unless it is well earned - look into them if you need a harness... http://www.sparckmoto.com/...

so.. with all of the stock electrics out of the way I decided shift the electric tray somewhere under the seat.. but with no welding access I tried to fashion something with sheet steel - cut with tin snips, and either JB welded or bolted together....
that didn't work...
so....
Fiberglass....









I used a black dye to color the resin before applying it so I wouldn't have to worry about painting it after the fact.
 

Mcgoo

New Member
I'd never tried it before so Youtube was my friend for "glassing lessons" it went fairly smoothly - I used lots of paste wax on the metal tape (which was covering a cardboard mold). I left it for 3 days to set and it was hard when I came back to it - then I stripped all the cardboard etc. of from it and trimmed the ragged edges with tin snips... looks good now... I can easily fit my solenoid, small battery (8-cell antigravity), fuse, flasher relay into this space - the Reg/Rec is bolted to the underside with rubber spacers to protect it from the vibrations.
 

Mcgoo

New Member
I decided against the shorty shocks in the previous picture when I made the decision to make this a suitable bike for my GF. I found these sweet shocks on www.tecbikeparts.com when I was researching replacement shocks for the Bonny.. They primarily do triumph related parts but also some shocks for these old Honda's that we love so much. The US distributer is here...http://www.tecbikepartsusa.com... The shocks I got were set up to fit a CB400F - which I believe has the same stock shocks as the CM400c - anyway they fit easily onto the bike except I had to remove the stock helmet lock to give clearance to the remote reservoir.





I also opted for the MAC 2 into 2 exhaust - I've heard mixed reviews about this exhaust, but my options were limited - I didn't want to keep the stock system with the huge scavenging system under the bike - By removing that part the headers were too close to the front of the bike by 9 inches for a nice set of mufflers to look good. I also couldn't fab up some pipes of my own because of my "garage" situation - so MAC was my only choice - we'll see what I think of the mufflers once I put a couple hundred miles on her - if they suck I'll replace them, but at least I have the longer headers.
 

Mcgoo

New Member
So.. This is pretty much where the bike stands at the moment - I'm having the tank, both fenders and the chain guard painted.
 

Mcgoo

New Member
Thanks! I must look pretty odd dragging my tool bag and "parts" into and out of the garage - but it's really quite comfortable once I'm set up - It's just a pain not being able to store tools in an organized way in the workspace and the lack of power sockets of course....
 

irk miller

You've been mostly-dead all day.
DTT BOTM WINNER
Looking good. You do know cattywumpus means its a total fucking mess, right?
 

Mcgoo

New Member
You do know cattywumpus means its a total fucking mess, right?
Yeah - sort of... I was thinking more "lopsided", "askew" "odd" but "total-fucking-mess" also fits. the main reason I picked the name is the subframe that makes any modification difficult without looking a total fucking mess.

- I nearly went with Jabberwocky, but somehow Cattywumpus stuck
 

Mcgoo

New Member
So I had a couple of setbacks in my plan this weekend.
As with all things in life when the end is almost within reach it moves a bit further out of reach.
My goal is to get the bike running safely so we can get some summer fun rides in while the weather is holding out in the 70's.

I wanted to mount my carbs this weekend and thought I had a cunning plan to get me there - I'm replacing the stock carbs with a pair of Mikuni VM30's. The stock carb setup was okay, but by most of my research it would only function with the stock airbox and the addition of pods or more open pipes would lead to an almost impossible tuning nightmare. Perhaps this wouldn't have been the case, but I got myself these Mikuni's for Christmas so one way or another they're going on this bike.

And that was my problem this weekend. There are 2 methods of mounting that I have come across:

1) Use the stock intake manifold - the inside diameter of the stock intake boot is 44mm - the outside diameter of the mating part on the Mikuni is 40mm... also the stock intake boot is a bit too shallow by approx. 1/4 inch. To make the carb fit some people have carved (or had machined) out some of the inside of the boot to make it a bit deeper then used O-rings (or in one creative case a bicycle inner tube) to close the gap around the spigot and for a seal.

2) Use the Mikuni intake manifold - The spigot fits the manifold perfectly, but the screw holes are too close together to mount to the engine. Also the Mikuni boots hold the carbs closer to the engine than the stock boots did causing a bit of a clearance issue and a tight bend on the fuel line from the petcock. Some people have drilled the screw holes on the boot to make it fit the engine.

I had a pair of the stock boots and a pair of the Mikuni boots - I wasn't quite decided on my plan of action, but these parts are not cheap so I didn't want to make a move unless I was fairly sure of success. I also wasn't really happy with either of the solutions above since both ways leave the possibility of chasing air leaks forever.

Then I had a eureka moment! - Do both... The stock boots are rubber and metal and the Mikuni's are only rubber... So what if I stripped all the rubber off the stock boot, leaving me with a metal piece that fits the engine holes perfectly - then braise a 1/8 inch aluminum disc to that (with a 35mm hole lining up with the manifold hole) - then bolt the Mikuni manifold to that - providing a nice tight fit to the carb, and also holding it a bit further from the engine.

So I set to it..



The next stage was to attach the aluminum discs to these stripped down boots... So... it turns out that whatever metal is inside the stock boots is not aluminum as I had assumed - I think it may be zinc, or some zinc alloy ... whatever it is it melts at approx. 700 degrees... just as the aluminum braising rod melted into the flux - the metal boot twisted out of form... useless... Back to the drawing board on this one... ???
 

Mcgoo

New Member
So - after a bit if research I decided that I was way too far into this project to be defeated by a carb manifold boot.
So I went back to the drawing board - literally - I needed something that would bolt directly to the intake mount on the engine as well as accept the Mikuni boot on the carb side.
I found a website called emachineshop.com - it literally is a machine shop that you download software for - draw something up, and they make it for you - it's not cheap - I only need 2 of these things but if I did a run of say 10, or 20 and sold the spares it would be much more cost effective.

This is what I drew up (from the top) - it's basically designed as 2 discs, 7mm thick each, offset by 45 degrees. It's milled from a single piece of aluminum with the appropriate bolt holes (threaded on the side of the carbs) with the gusset for the gasket on the engine side and a 37mm hole through the middle for the intake.



The bad news it will take 19 days to get to me - so I just need to wrap up the other stuff and be ready to bolt this up when they arrive.
 

Mcgoo

New Member
So... taking a break from polishing my stator cover, and I'm starting to wonder if I'm in the wrong section here... I'm seeing a lot of really accurate restoration jobs in other posts.. This isn't really one of those... but it's not a café racer either really - well maybe it is.. it doesn't have rear-sets and clubman bars... but it is hopefully a performance upgrade from stock.. is that a café? I don't know... maybe....

Is this project too boring to have a thread on?
 

HerrDeacon

Active Member
Not boring at all man, keep at it. I'm just totally impressed that you can do this work in that kind of area, kudos to you.

I have the same dilemma about my current project, I have it in the Restorations section but it won't be a true total restoration.
 

Mcgoo

New Member
HerrDeacon said:
Not boring at all man, keep at it. I'm just totally impressed that you can do this work in that kind of area, kudos to you.

I have the same dilemma about my current project, I have it in the Restorations section but it won't be a true total restoration.
Thanks HD! - the location is far from perfect - I've made having access to a garage a priority for my next apartment, but in the meantime this will have to do.

I'm sure there are a lot of bikes being worked on out there that are somewhere in the middle of resro/café/modernization.... I was just blown away by some of the work being done on bikes by the folks on this site, and it makes my little project seem a bit light on interest...

On the upside though I got my tank and fenders back from the painter! I like!
 
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