when honda 350 tensioners fail


Active Member
last summer around this time, i got this CL350 for free. it was headed to the trash and offered up to me to save from the scrap heap. i figured it looked too good to trash even with all the crud in the tank. it hadn't run since 1994 and sat under a tarp. i took it home and cleaned the carbs, put a fuel line in a pop bottle connected it to the carb and 5 kicks and she fired right up. with that i decided to clean the tank and go ahead with renewing the old girl. once on the road it was noisy and the previous owner had died so any information about the bike's mechanicals was gone forever with the PO. so there was this odd mixture of sound....first there is a sound that is mildly annoying and can last weeks. a grinding metal on metal sound, and not ferrous to ferrous, its softer but still quite annoying. thinking the valves needed adjusting, maybe this could fix the strange sound, i began thinking i was setting the valves wrong. checked double checked taken to a motorcycle mechanic where it was reset and double checked. i was new to twins and motorcycles altogether, so i let it go and said, this bike's 38 years old it gonna make some noise. i was wrong....the sound got worse and on the last valve adjust i found little bits of blck non magnetic stuff in the top cover. it looked like plastic of some sort but i had no idea what it was. two days later the sound got louder and the grinding worsened. two miles from home there was a loud ping and definite metal bouncing around in the engine. the bounce metal stopped which worried me and i took off for home , pulled in and oil was leaking everywhere, on my leg on the pipes and my month long riding days for the summer were over. after opening her up i realised what was happening too late. the tensioner wheels had disintegrated putting slack in the chain. the grinding was the chain trying to come out of the motor first picture. the tensioner was beat to a pulp with the chain and sent up it the cam where the pieces got jammed between the cam and the camcase.....the aluminum cam casing lost the battle and cracked.



first view of what i was going to find inside


what i found inside




luckily the chain didn't come all the way out


since im cheap and the bike was cheaper, i went to a friend with a tig welder and went at it. it was dificult to weld but not impossible, the trick was to lay down a thick bead to fill the cracks and then go back over it to blend the new material into the base metal. i had heard that honda used a alloy of aluminum and magnesium in their cylinders which supposedly makes it impossible to weld. well, this myth was proved untrue purely by accident


not purdy but it works


welded the cracked cover too


looking for good penetration


crack finder in a bottle


after 3 trys at welding, a little paint and almost good as new


some new parts


some parts cleaning




baking apparatus






and she runs
usually i bake paint in a single toaster oven, but that clutch cover was way too big. i went to good will and for 5 bucks i picked up another one almost just like it. made sure they both stayed on while open and covered them with aluminum foil and then covered it all with bricks. unfortunately, the first couple parts were equally times and temp'd but the number of bread crumbs was different and i got a slightly different color. ( probably had nothing to do with bread crumbs)....but ghetto all the way, but seriously, my parts washer?!?! nice!
Well done on bring her back. Now go and get a HepA+B+C shot and buy yourself a parts washer ::)

great work, and a really nice glossy finish on those covers.

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