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Old 04-04-2016, 01:36 PM   #1
ysbohle
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Bike(s):
1978 Honda CB400









1978 Honda CB400t1 (Hawk1)

So where to start.

About 6 months ago I stumbled across this old POS on Craigslist.

dkOF6x8l

He literally had a box full of random he had taken off the bike. The guy did a real number on her (e.g. to fix a leaking gasket, he smeared silicone all over it and called it a day).

I've always wanted to rebuild an old bike and love the way the old Honda CB's look. So I bought this for $300. I was in a bit over my head but after hours of looking around and doing some research I've finally started.

I started out by testing the solenoid and doing a compression test. Unfortunately the test revealed that I'll need to rebuild the engine & rebuild/clean out the carburetor.

m8p1tLcl

7maI59Bl

The front forks were also leaking so I pulled those off to take apart, clean, and reseal. Jesus that was b**** to do. And I ended up stripping one of the heads on an allen bolt on the right fork. I'll have to find a shop that can get that out for me.

GGwQLGll

As you can see I also started pulling off and setting aside a lot of the things I plan to replace.

Parts started coming in. It's like Christmas.

LXDeRJ9l

kFvutGTl

bvjp0ALl

That's where I'm pretty much at right now. I'm planning to bring some pieces down to Ace Motorworks to have them powder coated and to replace the wheel bearings.

I'll be updating this as things progress and plan to include a full list of the parts I've used, in case anyone's interested. My end goal is a Cafe Racer/Bobber type bike, I'll post a picture if I can find one.

If any of you guys have any advice/criticism, throw it my way. This is my first project so and guidance is much appreciated.
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Old 04-04-2016, 02:09 PM   #2
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Think about a modern ignition system.
Check/clean as many wire connections as you can (including grounds on the frame) and put a little electrical grease on them to prevent corrosion.
At the auto parts store buy a can of Mothers Aluminum polish. Despite it's name, it will polish anything hard including plastic.
Check the steering head bearings and consider replacing them with tapered roller bearings from All Racing if they are not already roller bearings.
Check the swingarm pivot bearings/bushings for wear and at least lube them if not replace them. Since the bike is already this far apart, it's area that seldom gets the attention it needs. After this many years they may need attention.
All Racing sells virtually any kind of bearing you will likely need, they're a good resource.

What kind of shape is the gas tank in, on the inside?
What kind of tire is the one closest to the wall in the last pic you posted?
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Old 04-04-2016, 02:27 PM   #3
ysbohle
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bumblebee View Post
Think about a modern ignition system.
Check/clean as many wire connections as you can (including grounds on the frame) and put a little electrical grease on them to prevent corrosion.
At the auto parts store buy a can of Mothers Aluminum polish. Despite it's name, it will polish anything hard including plastic.
Check the steering head bearings and consider replacing them with tapered roller bearings from All Racing if they are not already roller bearings.
Check the swingarm pivot bearings/bushings for wear and at least lube them if not replace them. Since the bike is already this far apart, it's area that seldom gets the attention it needs. After this many years they may need attention.
All Racing sells virtually any kind of bearing you will likely need, they're a good resource.

What kind of shape is the gas tank in, on the inside?
What kind of tire is the one closest to the wall in the last pic you posted?
I noticed the steering head had some play in it so I ordered new bearings and seals for it. I stumbled across All when looking for wheel bearings.

Thanks for mentioning the swingarm bushings. Hadn't thought of that. I took that off last night to do a little measuring for my rear sets so it should be an easy fix.

The tank was in really bad condition. completely rusted and filthy inside, and dented. I also wasn't a fan of how wide the tank was so I ordered a new aftermarket tank online through Ebay. Should be coming in this week, and if all goes well it should fit the brackets that are currently on the bike *fingers crossed*.

The tires are Dunlop's Vintage Line. I believe the front tire is the one up against the wall.
Front Tire: http://www.dunlopmotorcycletires.com/tire-line/k70/
Rear Tire: http://www.dunlopmotorcycletires.com/tire-line/k81/

I'll be sure to clean up all the connections. Some of them look pretty grungy so I've been looking around for a decent cleaner. I'll pick up a can of Mother's and see how it goes.

What are the advantages of a Modern ignition system? The old one seems to do a decent job turning the motor over.

Thanks for the tips :]
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Old 04-04-2016, 02:32 PM   #4
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Thanks for the tire info. I found some chinese tires that were knockoffs, supposedly from the original molds used by Continental back in the day. they sure look like old contis but they are pretty cheap.
Good to know Dunlop makes these. They are close enough and no doubt better quality.
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Old 04-04-2016, 02:38 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ysbohle View Post

What are the advantages of a Modern ignition system? The old one seems to do a decent job turning the motor over.

Thanks for the tips :]
I was referring to the ignition not the starter. The old ignitions just were marginal when they were new and after all these years, they can sometimes give you trouble.
If you have good spark then you can always worry about that later.

The swingarm bearings can make the bike handle squirrely if they need attention.

Also check out the rear shocks. Usually not much you can do with them but there are plenty of aftermarket replacements out there. Again that's something you can deal with later. They are no big deal to replace.
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Old 04-04-2016, 02:46 PM   #6
ysbohle
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bumblebee View Post
I was referring to the ignition not the starter. The old ignitions just were marginal when they were new and after all these years, they can sometimes give you trouble.
If you have good spark then you can always worry about that later.

The swingarm bearings can make the bike handle squirrely if they need attention.

Also check out the rear shocks. Usually not much you can do with them but there are plenty of aftermarket replacements out there. Again that's something you can deal with later. They are no big deal to replace.
I've been doing my best to avoid Chinese made stuff. Just out of habit and bad experiences with Chinese made parts in the past.

The Ignition Coil and CDI seem like a pretty easy system to swap out so I was gonna hold off on that until it was necessary. I've already got alot of money tied up in everything else.

I ordered a set of Hagon Rear Shocks and Front Springs. I've read that they make a decent set for older bikes.

I should probably get that list up of what I ordered :]
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Old 04-10-2016, 02:00 AM   #7
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It's been a few days since I've been able to work on the Honda.

The tank I ordered off Ebay finally arrived. Unfortunately it doesn't fit. The measurements given on the Ebay post were off and the fuel valve location makes it impossible to mount. I'm gonna take it down to a local shop to see if there's a solution to this.

Original Tank:
SDwLbrLl

Aftermarket Chinese Junk:
6EdFtl8l

I love the way it looks. Hopefully I can find a way to get this new tank mounted. Any advice?
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Old 04-10-2016, 02:42 AM   #8
ysbohle
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As promised, here's a list of what I've ordered so far. I won't be listing all the small gaskets and screws I've ordered/replaced, just the cosmetic/performance goods.

Shorai Lithium Iron Battery
SMEBike Jet Kit for modified CB400 (helps balance air/fuel ratio)
Airtech Clip ons
All Bearings (various pieces)
Emgo Shorty Muffler
Acewell Speedometer & Tachometer
Acewell Temp Sensor for Hondas
Acewell Fuel Gauge Sensor
Dime City Cycle Rear Set & Linkage
Emgo Shorty Levers
New Handle Bar Switches/Controls
LED taillight/turn signal
Dime City Cycle 5 3/8" Headlight
Pod Filters

I've ordered replacement bushings and gaskets for everything I can find, but if you have any suggestions or recommendations, I'm all ears.
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Old 04-17-2016, 03:55 PM   #9
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Dropped off the wheels and a couple other things to get powder coated.

8XqwmANl

While I was there I was talking to the technician and he mentioned that the old '78 CB 400s had a CDI unit inside the alternator, so the exterior one mounted on the frame (used by the push button starter) wasn't necessary if you wanted to set it up with just the kickstarter. Any of you guys know how accurate this is?

If it's true, I may end up doing that so I can use the tank I bought on Ebay. Also reduces the wire clutter.

I got the new footpegs mounted. Here is the stock set up:

58ktTJSl

(previous owner laid it down) But I really didn't like how clunky it looked at how far forward the feet were (felt like a cruiser).

sEHcJDZl

Measuring the shifter.

fzcmHcvl

Love this new setup, and it also changes the shifting in 'GP Style'. I think that's what its called anyway. Basically, 1 up, 2-5 down.

The carburetors were in awful condition. As I mentioned previously, I think one of the gaskets was leaking so the previous owner smeared silicone over the area to try and patch things up. I think they also attempted to take it off and disassemble it. The connection point for the choke cable was disconnected. I tried finding something online but can't seem to get the choke operational again. May have to bring it in if I can't make any headway.

kCA3FFSl

Forgot to grab some pictures of the process, but tearing the thing apart and cleaning up the internals is pretty straightforward. I bought a rebuild kit with replacement parts.

pBhxhk4l

Mounted back onto the engine. Turned everything over and the compression went up to 100. Unfortunately I can't keep it running. I think it's misfiring so I need to balance out the fuel/air ratio.

VXtR8f6l

In the meantime, got the headers wrapped with 1" black wrap. Really like the way they look now.
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Old 04-17-2016, 11:04 PM   #10
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I might be a little late, but check valve lash / clearance. tight valves can cause compression loss. another possibility could be incorrect cam timing. low compression will also affect jetting, I wouldn't rejet until I knew that the motor could run or is getting rebuilt
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Old 04-18-2016, 07:44 PM   #11
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Great progress man keep it up !!
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Old 05-22-2016, 11:57 PM   #12
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So its been a while since I've had a chance to work on the bike or post. I manage a small Floral Wholesale company, so I was a bit busy the past month b/c of Mother's Day.

So while I was waiting on the powder coated parts, I was able to get the engine up and running. Turned out all I had to do was shorten the fuel line and tune the small fuel screw. Compression is now at 115 and 111. Let the engine idle for a few minutes to warm and up and it sounds great. Didn't hear anything out of the ordinary so it looks like I won't be tearing apart the engine. *phew*

Anyway, here are the parts that were powder coated. I had Ace Motorworks replace the wheel bearings and install the tires with new tubes. I know having a shop help me out is technically cheating when compared to some of you hardcore DIY guys, but my skill & tool set is pretty minimal so I decided to get some proper help when I need it.

5ofLkadl

i9yCe3Al

jVBuUmql

I had everything powder coated satin black. Love the way it came out.

Put the front forks back together with the new springs from Hagon and new seals. And yes, I forgot to put the dust caps on. I'll get around to that when I remove everything to get the frame powder coated.

k9mfazql

I removed the old bushings and grease nipples on the swing arm. I put the swingarm back on temporarily to get a rolling bike so I could continue working on it.

hrZYgr1l

Rear wheel is also mounted temporarily. Hagon rear shocks fit perfectly and used stock bolts.

Unfortunately, I had to remove the exhaust wrap in order to get the mounting bracket on. I'll have to wrap them again later this week

SV3cSKIl

Here's how she sits now.

Next steps are to finish getting the tank and everything adjusted and into place. Cut off the bracket for the rear seat. Get the clip-ons and handle bar controls mounted. Rearsets mounted. And to find a way to design a brace for the seat.

In regards to the color scheme, I'm thinking to have the engine components sand blasted to clean them up and then have the tank painted matte white. Once I get a few more pieces on there I'll start tinkering around with Photoshop to figure out how I want the color scheme to come out.

Managed to get the engine revved and it sounds great with the new exhaust and muffler set.

As always, if you notice that I'm doing something rather stupid or dangerous, call me out. I'm learning as I go so any advice is appreciated.
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Old 05-23-2016, 07:09 AM   #13
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Looks to me like you're doing great. Just keep going and don't lose sight of the goal, a rideable bike.
Don't worry what anybody days or what you think anybody would say, if you think you need help, get it. This aint a TV show, it's the real world, better safe than sorry.
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Old 05-24-2016, 10:25 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gixxerguy86 View Post
I might be a little late, but check valve lash / clearance. tight valves can cause compression loss. another possibility could be incorrect cam timing. low compression will also affect jetting, I wouldn't rejet until I knew that the motor could run or is getting rebuilt
Thanks for the advice! Things seem to be running well as is. I'm gonna hold off on the rejetting until I have a chance to ride the bike a few times to get a feel for it.
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Old 05-26-2016, 02:33 PM   #15
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the bike has come a long way from the OP. good luck with it. you look like you are doing well. at the beginning, i was worried it was going to go the way of so many of my bad projects, but you look like you're doing great.
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Old 06-05-2016, 10:28 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loosenoose View Post
the bike has come a long way from the OP. good luck with it. you look like you are doing well. at the beginning, i was worried it was going to go the way of so many of my bad projects, but you look like you're doing great.
Not gonna lie, it's been pretty frustrating so far. Hopefully things turn out looking alright.
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Old 06-05-2016, 10:32 PM   #17
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well good luck to you, man.
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Old 06-05-2016, 10:48 PM   #18
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Been busy recently but managed to put some time in on the bike over the past couple days.

So I re-wrapped the headers and then treated the wrap with a high-temp silicone coating to help maintain the color. Gotta figure out a good set-up to mount the exhaust. As it sits now, it's not straight or secure. (sorry forgot to grab a picture of this).

I got the front brake caliper rebuilt, but the powder coating offset things a bit so I'm having trouble with clearance on a couple parts. I'll have to brake it down and file parts of the powder coating down.

In the meantime, got the clip-ons and light set up. Nothing is exact yet, just trying to get an idea of the final look. (sitting a bit low in the image).

vic83nbl

I found a cb360 gas tank at the local salvage yard that had minimal rust. I got it all cleaned out this afternoon. I used vinegar and alot of shaking to polish up the interior. Unfortunately, it's leaking

eXWyKdPl

I'll work on that issue next I guess.

Here's how she sits now. I cut off the rear bracket to clear things up. I left a bit to extra on there in case I screwed things up. I'll get all that tidied up at a later time.

Z3KYfSal

Managed to test out the riding position and it's coming along great. The way things are set up now, it's a pretty aggressive riding position. Not the most comfy but suits the bike.
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Old 09-09-2016, 01:06 PM   #19
ysbohle
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So it's been a bit since I've updated I brought the bike up to Ace Motorworks to have them help me out on the electrical work, welding, and painting.

Stopped by last week to discuss the project and here's how she sits right now.

VOH4sFjl

Decided to toss out the original idea of using dual Hagon Shocks in the back, and instead Ace is going to retrofit a monoshock under the seat to clean up that backside.
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