Saturday, November 28, 2009

"New" Seat Pan on the Way

Another rusty seat pan, really? Yep. I bought another rusty seat pan off of e-bay. The last one was a cb175 pan that the seller said was a cb200 it was in such bad shape the seller refunded the $10 I paid for it (but not the shipping.) So I have a cb175 throwaway pan.

So another one came up on e-bay. This time I asked the seller to post a photo of the pan. It was rusty and has a rusted hole in it. Because I'm the only idiot who will buy crap like this I was the only bidder .99 + $14 shipping. So we are waiting for this rust bucket to arrive.

If its unusable its $15 for latches, hinges, bumpstops etc. But to make the seat I want I figure were going to do some welding so the rusted out part(s) should be repairable.

Here's a cool seat idea from the $50 mod thread on I like the simplicity of the seat and I'm thinking I'm going to mock one of these up on my "new" pan.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Rear Fender

This weekend, we put the bike up on the lift and decided to mock up the rear fender supports. The goal was to use a bone stock fender and rotate it around the tire and to mount it on the swing arm and then to make struts shaped like 7's that attach to the fender at the stock location.

When we pulled the shocks to check the travel it became apparent that the stock brackets welded to the fender are too wide and will run into the frame. So back to ebay... now I've got a "new" (rusty) rear fender coming that we will cut off the brackets and make some straight struts, then re-chrome the whole thing.

Here's a shot with the fender mocked-up and a photoshop seat like the silver one I saw on ebay.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Wish List

With Christmas coming on fast I've been digging around to see what kind of trouble I can get into. Heres a couple of possibilities:

SantaClara Honda has this little beauty that might give us a little hotter spark.
"So, I have done a little research and come up with a system that will work with almost any conventional system. The only limitation is that the coil you use must have 3 ohms or greater resistance. All the old Hondas I've checked meet this requirement. The system also includes a built in red LED that indicates when the points opens which makes accurate static timing a breeze. Currently I'm testing the system on a 1974 Honda CB200 and it is working perfectly. We plan on offering these for sale on our website after we have tested it long enough to establish confidence. The expected price will be around $35 each." read more here
How about the seat project? Straight off the boat from Thailand a custom Cafe seat for a CB175. (It will not fit on the Cb200 but its the right approach.) Steel pan and body powdercoated to match the tank and rims? Hummm...

Dear Santa: I've been a fairly good boy...

Monday, November 9, 2009


Pulled the left carb and cleaned everything. Pulled the petcock and it had rust in it again! So we pulled the tank emptied the gas into a clear container. The rust floating in the gas helped us determine that our tank had let go a few additional treasures. So we flushed the tank with water again and dried everything out. Then I ran down to the gas station to buy a gallon of clean gas.

After putting everything back together and resetting the carbs to the stock 1-1/4 turns on the air/fuel setting (the small screw on the lower left of the carb) and the throttle screw to 2-1/2. She fired right up and I rode it down to the gas station for a fill-up. I left the gas station and made a bonzai run down the main road hitting 65 with crisp throttle response all the way through the power band came up to the stop light and she idled at about 2K. I think we have a winner. I still have a little wobble in the front-end so I might just send it over to Sam's Cycle shop to have them true the front wheel.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Battery fully charged and I went for a ride tonight and the bike died on cue. I pushed it home and found the left float bowl was dry. No gas? Pulled the lines, no gas. Pulled the tank and the petcock it was full of rust from the tank. Cleaned the petcock and took it for another ride. The bike died. Sooo... this weekend we'll pull the carbs and see if there is any crap in them. I was thinking I will replace the fuel likes with clear lines so I can keep an eye on the gas flow. We'll see.

Dead Battery

Electrical? My son was riding home yesterday and the left side started cutting out. Then the bike died. We went over with the jumper block and it started right up rode another mile and died again. We did this for 5 miles until we were home.

I rode it the last two segments and noticed when it fired both cylinders were running then first the left side would start sputtering, then the left side would shut down, then the right side would sputter and then shut down.

We're charging the battery and we'll see how she runs. Maybe the charging system isn't doing its job? Maybe we need it on the trickle charger at night? Electrical? Hummm...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Give it a Name

So we had a little fun yesterday, my son and I rode to work together. He's got a temp gig near my office and so we fired up the bikes and rode to work together. We hadn't ridden the CB200 at "speed" because I was leery of the old tires so this was a good shake down run. With the new tires and exhaust the bike looks and rides completely different. As we were blasting along at about 50mph I had an epiphany the bike sounds like a swarm of Killer Bees. Now it has a name... the Killer cBee.

On to more practical issues... we had a little smoke coming from the right pipe. It seems I wrapped a little too close to the header clamp. After loosening the hose clamp I was able to scrunch the wrap down about a 1/2" and it seems to be fine now. More serious however is the bike was stuttering at 6000 rpm. I thought maybe it was running lean because of the new pipes. Last night I pulled the carb needles and set the clips to the lowest position. After a couple of test runs I pulled the plugs and they were black (too rich). So I changed the clips back.

On my test runs I felt the left cylinder cutting in and out. Its either fuel or fire. So I switched the fuel lines to see if the petcock outlet was blocked and starving the cylinder. No difference. So I switched the fuel lines going into the carbs to see if the line was crimped or the in-line fuel filter was blocked. The bike still was missing on the Left side. So we've got to look at the fire. This weekend we'll need to do some real testing. It probably something minor but the Killer cBee is being a little testy right now.

So I was looking online for "Killer Bee" graphics and found this article on CB160 racing... "I could swear a swarm of killer bees must be heading toward me."

Monday, November 2, 2009

New Shoes

One of the best improvements you can add to an old bike are new tires. Our CB200 had the original tires which were both dry and cracking. After reading the news groups and scouring the internet I determined that I would use 90/90-18 on the front and 100/90-18 on the back which would still fit inside the stock fenders. The tires I purchased were Duro Cruiser tires.

Dismount & Mount
To mount the tires we pulled the wheels one at a time. First we did the front tire. I put the bike up on the center stand and put a floor jack under the front motor mount. On both wheels just pull the cotter pin on the castle nut and unbolt the axle, slide the axle out and the front tire will roll out. On the rear you'll need to disconnect the brake stay and the brake lever. Take a close up picture of rear of the bike paying attention to the washer stack so you remember how it all goes back together.

Remove the valve stem and deflate the tire then dismount the tire with a set of tire spoons. Some people will use a screw driver for this but you are likely to ding your rims, pinch the tubes and/or hurt yourself. To remove the tire push one side of the tire into the center section of the rim. This will give you the slack you will need to get the tire irons started on the other side. Pull the slack side upward, place a rim protector on the rim in the gap, then insert the bent end of the tire iron into the gap. Peel enough of the tire up to get the second tire iron in and begin peeling the tire off the rim. Insert the second rim protector as soon as it will fit and work around the tire in opposite directions until the top side of the tire pops free. Remove the deflated tube and flip the wheel over and repeat the process.

To install the new tire wet the bead area of the tire with soapy water. Place the tire opening over the edge of the rim and push down firmly. Work the tire down as far as you can, then place the rim protectors on the rim at each edge of the tire-rim overlap. Using the straight end of the tire iron, work the bottom bead past the top edge of the rim. Push the side of the tire that is already on the rim into the rim center to get the slack needed to clear the rim on the far side. The lower tire bead should be on the rim at this point. Put the deflated tube into the tire and feed the valve stem into the rim. Repeat the install process with the top bead. Inflate the tire with compressed air to seat the beads. Once you hear both beads seat, or pop, release the air and replace the valve stem core. Inflate the tire to the manufacture'rs specified pressure in my case this was 40lbs.

To reinstall the front wheel I had to deflate the tire and then it would slide into place. I pressured it back up and its tight but everything cleared perfectly. Since our fender was already out the back tire went right in. The only modification needed for the wider tire was to move the break stay to an outside position on the bracket. We reused the same shoulder bolt but put on and aircraft nut since the cotter pin hole was no longer accessible.

The new tires definitely look and ride much better. The sizes are perfect and we figured out how to reuse the stock rear fender (unmodified) to make a swing arm mounted low fit fender. Stay tuned and we'll get that project underway.

Exhaust and Tires

Saturday it was time to install the new exhaust. Since one of my pipes had broken-off I have one bad and one good OEM muffler. Since I haven't found another header I decided to see if I could remove the good muffler and salvage and both headers for potential re-use if we ever want to go back to stock.

With the header pipe and a destroyed muffler to use as a test dummy, I pulled the bad exhaust off the bike. I found you could rotate muffler on the header pipe which meant the muffler was not welded onto the header. The only thing holding the two pieces together was a steel ring that was pressed on to create the seal. With my vice grips and bench grinder I was able to chew through the ring and the two pieces simply slipped apart!

I decided to create my own slip on system so everything could be taken back apart. My system consisted of a 6" length of 1-1/2 diameter exhaust tube purchased at Pep Boys, a couple of pan-head screws and some Exhaust System Joint and Crack Sealant. The 1-1/2 tubing was a nice tight slip fit right over the header. I left the flange on the header applied a liberal amount of sealer and just butt fit the two pieces together. I drilled a 1/8" hole and locked the two pieces together with a sheet metal screw. The sealer forms a "weld-like" bond but it is one that can be cracked apart for disassembly.

The mufflers have an 1-1/2-ish intake. This is not a slip fit, my guess is its 1-5/8" or some crazy metric size. So I made a run down to Autozone to "borrow" an exhaust spreader. (Autozone allows you to borrow tools, just leave a deposit and bring it back within 5 days.) The plan was to expand the exhaust tube to get a good tight slip fit. The problem was the 1-1/2" expander wouldn't fit into the 1-1/2" exhaust tube they were the same diameter. I would need a smaller size expanded which they didn't have at Autozone.

I decided to go the other direction. I pulled out my Saws-all and cut two cross cuts the width of the blade into the new mufflers. These cross cuts allowed me to reduce the opening to a tight slip fit on the exhaust tube. The exhaust pipe goes in about twice as far as the cuts and bottoms out on the slip in baffle.

The mufflers come with a chrome universal mounting bracket with one hole drilled in it. The muffler has a bolt sticking out the side and you need to find a place to hang the steel strap. To keep the stock rear peg mounts I needed to re-use the stock muffler brackets which have two holes. So I drilled a second hole in the strap and bolted it to the stock bracket. Then I measured and drilled a third hole in the strap for the muffler to bolt into. This process had me taking the exhaust on and off the bike multiple times to make sure everything lined up correctly.

Once it was all dry fit, I pulled the exhaust and drilled a 1/8" set screw hole in the muffler and exhaust pipe. Then I pulled it apart applied more Exhaust System Joint and Crack Sealant and put it all back together. Finished exhaust... no welding.

With two exhaust pipes in hand I pulled out the 1" wrap and proceeded to wrap the pipes. I was taught to start at the muffler and worked my way forward. This way the air is flowing over the seams not running into them. Think of it like rain going over shingles on a roof.

Two wraps at the base of the muffler and a hose clamp to keep it in place. I continued wraping by overlapping each wrap with 1/2 the width of the wrap and finished about 3" from the head of the exhaust. You need to leave room to get the exhaust clamp and clamp locks in place. I finished the wrap by crossing the last wrap under itself and carefully cutting off the "tail" with a box knife this in effect creates a knot at the end of the wrap. Then a second hose clamp over the knot keeps it from untieing.

The end result is a cool old-school exhaust with a header pipes that could be reused to remount stock mufflers. These mufflers create a little deeper exhaust note and I think they sound pretty good! It'll be interesting to see if we will need to re-jet the carbs to make up for the lower restriction exhaust.

Tank Arrives

The tank showed up the following day. I was surprised the post office even delivered it because there was still gas in the tank and the petcock was dripping and had eaten a hole in the box! When I got home there was the distinct smell of gas in the hallway and my wife said "I think someone shipped you a bomb." then she rolled her eyes and walked away.

The tank is perfect and has almost no rust inside. Given the condition of the rest of the parts I was shocked. The donor bike was originally a silver '75 just like ours (that's why I suspicious of the head-light bucket.) The tank had been rattle canned flat black. Which seems to be the most popular color for home resto mods. Given the condition of the tank I decided to have it powder-coated red along with the rims. So I decided to get down to business.

First order of business was to disassemble the wheels. I laid the front wheel on the work bench and took some pictures. This will help to get the spoke pattern correct when its time to re-lace the wheels. Next I removed the speedo drive plate its held on with four phillips-head screws. I put all the parts in a plastic bag and moved on to the spokes. I removed the rubber band the covers the spoke nipples and using a large flat blade screw driver I loosened the spokes after I was half way around everything was loose and I unscrewed the rest of the spokes. This allowed me to pull the hub and spokes out of the rim and then I removed the spokes from the hub. I followed the same procedure on the rear wheel.

The rear wheel has a two-piece hub. One side is the brake assembly that just sits in the hub that acts as a drum. The two shoes are held in place by two springs and they are expanded by rotating the brake lever. These shoes are readily available so I'll get a couple for the re-assembly process.

Now I have 72 rusty spokes, 2 rusty 18" rims, and a dingy front hub and a rear hub and brake assembly. I'm going to send the rims out to strip and powdercoat, I'm going to have the hubs polished and I'm going to buy 80 new 6-1/2" spokes.

Next up was the tank. First I removed the petcock. The bowl on the bottom unscrews and there is a large phillips-head screw holding it in. Next was the rubber pad from the top of the tank. After some head scratching my buddy Jim figured out you pull the rubber down at the base of the tank and it unhooks from a bracket. Then it can slide forward to unhook from the front bracket. There are four tiny phillips head screws holding the chrome trim and four more holding the Honda emblems. This tank has the key latch which is also held in place by a screw. The emblems, latch and screws all want into a zip lock bag and got marked "tank". I learned along time ago to bag and mark everything because who knows when you'll get back to a project. The emblems make the content of this bag obvious but its just good mojo. Last but not least we used a punch to remove the hinge pin holding the gas cap. This pin is peened over so we were careful and tried to not knock off the head. We used a real small punch and were able to roll the mushroom back up. It looks like we might be able to reuse the pin!

With that the "Friday night take stuff apart" session was over. The parts were loaded into Jims truck and I need to come up with some money for the powder coater and the polisher. To do's include getting a new set of brake shoes, a rubber seal for the gas cap and a good cleaning and soaking of the petcock.