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Author Topic: My new-to-me '84 CB700sc  (Read 10302 times)

Offline AHenry014

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My new-to-me '84 CB700sc
« on: January 06, 2016, 01:13:11 PM »
Hey all, intro thread here.  Got my hands on a ’84 Nighthawk S recently as part of a trade for my ’94 VFR750.  It was a hard decision to part with the VFR, as it is an amazing bike.  Timeless looks, great power/torque, smooth suspension,  and amazing exhaust note.  Only issue was the seating position.  I really didn’t enjoy leaning over.  On my commute, I found myself taking the highway instead of the back roads.  The more wind on my chest, the less weight on my wrists.  I eased the pain with some bar risers, but it just wasn’t enough.  Riding should be a joy, not a chore.  The VFR just wasn’t for me. 

I listed it on craigslist and got absolutely no bites on it for months.  I started poking around to decide what bike was next, to which I wanted to be another Honda.  I have had such a good experience with both the VFR and my Honda ATV never asking for anything.  I finally came across the Nighthawk S.  I fell in love with the looks immediately and after some research decided that it was certainly a winner in my book.  The only other bike I thought fit the “more upright and comfortable” bill was the CB900c, which I thought intriguing with the 2 speed high/low box it featured. I restructured my CL ad for the VFR to remove all the modifications, listing a price for it 100% stock….and listing the CB700sc and the CB900c as potential partial trades, which is when I finally got a bite. 

I was emailed by a nice fellow asking for more pictures and info on the VFR, to which I delivered.  The next email is where the excitement started.  He had found my ad due to the “CB700sc” keyword, and had one that he may or may not be interested in trading.  He was attached to the bike, and wasn’t sure he wanted to let it go, but was entertaining the idea of a trade.  Come to find out, he had purchased the bike about 3yrs ago from an older gentleman, registered it right away to be sure the paperwork was in his name, and then parked it until he had time and energy to put work into it.  He accumulated many parts for it while it awaited resurrection; two spare gauge clusters, two spare tails, a spare bikini fairing, new brake shoes, and some other misc. items.  The original cluster had a cracked lens and a broken needle.  The original tail had numerous broken tabs, and was held together with bits of wood and drywall screws.  The original bikini fairing looked to be the victim of a tip over, with a long scrape down the windshield and right side of it.  The tank was really clean inside, to which he said he had put stabilized fuel in it when he got it, and replaced it every year before winter.  We started the bike for the first time in three years, to which it leaked from the left most bowl for a minute or two, then sorted itself out (sticky float).  After a couple minutes on the choke, it was idling away fantastically, albeit a little bit too fast, and save for an engine noise I would dismiss as collapsed lifters from sitting.  We’ll get back to that engine noise later.  We ended up coming to an agreement, with cash on his end of course.  While signing over the paperwork, I noticed that the bike had only accumulated 6 tenths of a mile since he titled it.  He said he had only taken it for only quick ride to be sure everything was OK before sticking it in the corner and not riding it again.   

Once officially home and in my possession, i gave it a closer inspection.  The fuel level on the cluster was at empty, but it had a half a tank of fuel.  The front tire was beyond bald, with the rear not far behind.  The air box was missing one of the knurled bronze threaded inserts for the battery hold down bracket.  The tail of the bike was very loose, and both turn signals had a bit of a droop to them.  It had these awful looking and feeling foam hand grips, which came off immediately as I was supplied with the stockers. The tank had been painted at some point in the bikes life, but thankfully the painter masked the pretty red decals.  The previous previous owner had installed a brand new high quality seat cover, so that’s a bonus.  I put some air in the tires, fired her back up, and went for a quick ride to see what I had gotten myself into.  She rode great except for feeling a bit divey that I attributed to the bad front tire.  The carbs even feel as though they don’t need any real attention.  It had good power, with the rush at higher RPM’s that I read it would have.  The suspension and brakes felt good, as did the transmission.  This is my first bike with a gear indicator, so I was very excited to see that working correctly.  Once warmed up and back home, I let it idle in the driveway again.  Now that it’s seen some hot oil circulation, I expected the engine noise to subside, but it didn’t.  It sounded like a chain slapping around near the alternator.  It looks like ill be tearing the engine down to take a looksee.  Im curious about the alternator/starter chain, as the misc. box of stuff I got with the bike had a spare set of guides in it.  Not sure if these are replacements someone never got to install, or if they are the old ones that came out.  I see evidence that the engine had been removed from the bike, so I’m not sure what to think.

What I’ve done since getting the bike:
-New tires, Pirelli Sport Demons, factory size, static balanced
-New rear brake shoes, Versah grooved
-Replaced the tail with a good one I was supplied with
-Removed the cluster and disassembled all three that I had to create one gorgeous one. 
-Replaced cracked fairing with good one I was supplied with
-Flushed front brake and clutch fluids
-Petcock rebuild, including drilling the rivets to replace the selector seal
-New fuel level sender, as someone mutilated the one it had for some reason
-Plugs, OE NGK’s
-Final drive fluid

To do:
-Biggie: fix the engine noise
-Plug wires.  The originals are hard as a rock, and when replacing the plugs, i split the insulation on one.  Any suggestions for these?
-I am replacing the grips with a pair of OURY grips.  They get fantastic reviews, and look good to boot.
-New OE air filter.  I have since read that I could have used a UNI filter with no jetting modification.  Doh.
-Find a Schrader hand pump to get some air into the forks

If it does turn out to be the alternator/starter chain, I have a couple questions.  I know that the chain is NLA, and that a ‘92ish cb750 one fits, and as a bonus is a bit beefier.  I know that one or both of these guides are NLA, but I have a spare set should I need them.  Now I’ve read about people removing the rod from one of the guides.  I understand that the job of the rod is to “ratchet” (like a caulking gun), not allowing the guide to retract, allowing slack in the chain.  I also understand that this rod can sometimes remove itself from its home and find its way into important bits in the engine.  Can someone touch on this? 

Second question.  If the new chain is a better design, and assuming Honda didn’t do all that much case redesign, is using the newer CB guides an option? They appear to be different in the parts exploded views, but appear to potentially attach in the same way.  Just a thought.

Third question.  Is there a known bearing in the starter alternator area that is known to go bad? I really sounds like its coming from the alternator, but sounds too much like chain noise for that to make sense. 

I also plan to do the cam chain and its guides if it also needs them.  Otherwise Ill likely do the cam timing mod, and slap it back together with new seals where needed.  Any other pointers?  No better time than the off season to tear the bike down!  Now for some pictures, since everyone like pictures. 










I dont think the engine noise can be heard in this video, but it shows how well it runs otherwise. 
-Alex

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Re: My new-to-me '84 CB700sc
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2016, 02:12:01 PM »
Looks like you got yourself a great stock bike there, and with all the extra parts you shouldn't run into many issues that you won't be able to overcome.


I replaced my OEM plug leads with NGKs that I sourced off eBay.  Mine are red to match the decals, but anything will work of course.  One of the best upgrades I've made -- the difference in power was amazing.
I'd suggest that you also upgrade the brake and clutch hydraulics to braided stainless.  I believe Galfer make them but I don't know for sure.  I got a second-hand set that had never been installed but I don't know the brand.  Another valuable upgrade -- the improvement in the brake lever is amazing, and the clutch is more definite in its friction point.
Also recommend doing the coil relay mod and the headlight relay mod.
Change the front fork oil too.


Regarding the alternator chain, I wouldn't tear down the engine just to change that without there being some real reason to do so.  Many of these bikes have gone for tens of thousands of miles without any problems in that area whatsoever.  Yes, the 750 chain is wider and stronger (you don't need to do anything with the guides) but that makes little difference under normal running conditions.  It's not a high-stress part except during starting.  The rod acts just as you say it does, but sometimes it (or its mounting point) will shatter and cause the chain to tear.  Again, I wouldn't break down the engine just to mess with it unless there's a real issue.
I don't know of a bearing near the alternator that's known to cause trouble.  The starter chain actually runs right down the middle of the engine so I would expect you'd detect any sound equally from both sides; perhaps you're hearing something in the final drive?


Finally, if you do start tinkering inside the engine, go with the Vesrah gasket sets.  The cheaper ones just don't hold up.
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Offline JimLob65

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Re: My new-to-me '84 CB700sc
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2016, 08:26:14 PM »
That's one hell of a story, and it sounds like you have a potentially great bike in the making.  Congrats!!


I bought a 1986 CB700sc with less than 7k miles on it last spring.  What a fantastic bike!   I too put Sport Demons on it, and replaced the turn signal stalks and rode the hell out of it.  Good luck to you.  I hope all goes well with your project.

Offline AHenry014

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Re: My new-to-me '84 CB700sc
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2016, 06:06:16 AM »
I replaced my OEM plug leads with NKGs that I sourced off eBay....

I'd suggest that you also upgrade the brake and clutch hydraulics to braided stainless....

Also recommend doing the coil relay mod and the headlight relay mod...

Change the front fork oil too...

Regarding the alternator chain, I wouldn't tear down the engine just to change that without there being some real reason to do so.  Many of these bikes have gone for tens of thousands of miles without any problems in that area whatsoever.  Yes, the 750 chain is wider and stronger (you don't need to do anything with the guides) but that makes little difference under normal running conditions.  It's not a high-stress part except during starting.  The rod acts just as you say it does, but sometimes it (or its mounting point) will shatter and cause the chain to tear.  Again, I wouldn't break down the engine just to mess with it unless there's a real issue.

I don't know of a bearing near the alternator that's known to cause trouble.  The starter chain actually runs right down the middle of the engine so I would expect you'd detect any sound equally from both sides; perhaps you're hearing something in the final drive?

Finally, if you do start tinkering inside the engine, go with the Vesrah gasket sets.  The cheaper ones just don't hold up.

These spark plug leads the type that you screw the plug end onto? Similar way to secure at the coil end? The small amount of research ive done says that i just get the wire in 7mm diameter, and reuse the spark plug ends i have now.   

The bike thankfully came with braided lines, so that was a welcome bonus. 

Never heard of the relay mods.  Ill look into that, thanks. 

Noted on the fork oil. 

As for the engine noise, im not sure it is something i can ignore.  i find myself to be quite mechanically adept, and the noise doesnt sit well with me.  Although it is something i could live without doing, i dont really mind tearing the engine down to take a look.  Ill try to get a video of it for you guys to take a look at.  This is my first Honda inline 4, so im trying to figure out what noises are supposed to be there, and what noises arent.  The noise is very much more apparent on the alternator side, but then again its the only thing 'engaged' when its running, so maybe it and/or its housing is transferring noise. 
-Alex

Offline AHenry014

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Re: My new-to-me '84 CB700sc
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2016, 06:09:17 AM »
That's one hell of a story, and it sounds like you have a potentially great bike in the making.  Congrats!!


I bought a 1986 CB700sc with less than 7k miles on it last spring.  What a fantastic bike!   I too put Sport Demons on it, and replaced the turn signal stalks and rode the hell out of it.  Good luck to you.  I hope all goes well with your project.

thank you sir!
-Alex

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Re: My new-to-me '84 CB700sc
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2016, 10:25:44 AM »
7mm wire and re-use the coil ends you already have.  The plug ends should already be attached unless you're building from a kit.
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Offline AHenry014

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Re: My new-to-me '84 CB700sc
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2016, 01:13:52 PM »
thank you.  ill poke around and try to find a set.  I think red would be fabulous!

edit: these? only ones i could find that seem to fit the bill.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Honda-CB750-CB900-CB1000-Spark-Plug-Wires-Red-Nighthawk-CB-Custom-750-900-/391358056776?hash=item5b1ec20948:m:m99adwaCQpmMH0g4kfUQXOQ&vxp=mtr
-Alex

Offline AHenry014

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Re: My new-to-me '84 CB700sc
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2016, 01:41:03 PM »
Also! Got a package from BikeBandit yesterday.  I forgot to mention that when i got the bike, the final drive vent was taped together.  I ordered a new Honda one and got it installed.  Got the New OEM air filter installed and also the new OURY grips.  They feel great.  I cant wait to actually ride with them.  I grew up racing BMX, so i know a good grip when i feel one.  Ill be getting two more sets, one for the ATV and one for the jetski.  Ive always either used windex or hair spray for grip installation.  Neither worked for me this time.  May have been due to the temp in the garage last night (below freezing).  I ended up using 3m MT90 adhesive.  They slid right on and cured fairly quickly.  Ill be checking tonight to be sure they are secure.  Ill take a video for you guys this evening to witness the chain noise im talking about. 
-Alex

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Re: My new-to-me '84 CB700sc
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2016, 02:49:11 PM »
thank you.  ill poke around and try to find a set.  I think red would be fabulous!

edit: these? only ones i could find that seem to fit the bill.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Honda-CB750-CB900-CB1000-Spark-Plug-Wires-Red-Nighthawk-CB-Custom-750-900-/391358056776?hash=item5b1ec20948:m:m99adwaCQpmMH0g4kfUQXOQ&vxp=mtr


Those are very similar, but the set I have doesn't have the bent outer plugs.  They'll probably still be an improvement over what you have.
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Offline AHenry014

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Re: My new-to-me '84 CB700sc
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2016, 08:25:42 PM »
Great, thanks. I'll make sure they are 7mm to fit the coils before buying. Here is the engine noise video I promised. The engine had been warned for about 5min at this point.
-Alex

Offline gearhead997

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Re: My new-to-me '84 CB700sc
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2016, 02:03:30 AM »
Nice looking bike.  I miss my 84.
Btw. Envious of the air tire changer. cheers3

Offline AHenry014

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Re: My new-to-me '84 CB700sc
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2016, 05:39:15 AM »
thanks! The tire changer was one of the best tool investments ive ever made.  I use it constantly, whether its for the bike, the quad (it will rim clamp down to a 9" wheel), or my vehicles.  Wish i had room for a balancer.
-Alex

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Re: My new-to-me '84 CB700sc
« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2016, 05:52:41 AM »
Yep, that's definitely a noise I wouldn't be happy with.  You're right that it sounds like a chain, but it could also be an unloaded bearing.  Have you tried a stethoscope to see if you can localise the sound?  If it didn't seem so low down I might suspect the starter clutch.  Maybe also the cam chain guides or tensioner.  In any case, it looks like a teardown might be necessary after all.
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Offline AHenry014

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Re: My new-to-me '84 CB700sc
« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2016, 07:26:20 AM »
i did the old screwdriver to ear technique, but it didn't really localize the noise.  The best i could come up with is that the bolts that hold the alternator cover on were the worst offenders with the screwdriver.  All that's telling me is that its transferring noise from the center of the engine, where the chain is.  As you can see in the video, the noise is worse on the alternator side, but also heard from the starter side.  I may poke around with the starter and alternator to see if i find a junk bearing, but im betting its that chain!

I also found out last night that if i have it off the stands and let the clutch out in first at idle and let the rpm's drop to 800 or so, i get a nasty chain slapping noise. A mechanically gifted friend was over last night and concurred that is sounds like chain noise.   
-Alex

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Re: My new-to-me '84 CB700sc
« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2016, 12:05:37 PM »
Certainly doesn't seem likely to be the cam chain then.  I'd start by pulling the oil pan which should give you an eyeball on the internals clearly enough to spot any wear or excess play.  My gut tells me it's the alternator chain tensioner.  If there's no actual damage to anything else, you may only need to remove the camshafts to be able to get the crankshaft out and replace the chain and tensioner.
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Offline AHenry014

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Re: My new-to-me '84 CB700sc
« Reply #15 on: January 08, 2016, 12:35:59 PM »
sounds like a plan! will report back with findings.  It will be a while though.  I promised myself id finish my car project before tearing into this.  Probably a couple weeks. 
-Alex

Offline Hog Dog

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Re: My new-to-me '84 CB700sc
« Reply #16 on: January 08, 2016, 06:34:51 PM »
Welcome to the NHF.  Great introduction story.  I know VFR have a great motor, but I could not live with the riding position.  Hope you enjoy the 700.
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Offline AHenry014

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Re: My new-to-me '84 CB700sc
« Reply #17 on: February 09, 2016, 06:06:21 AM »
A small boring update.  The car is done and driving, so the bike is next. While working on finishing up my car, i heard a strange and very bad pop from my right elbow area whilst torquing a bolt.  The pain wasnt too bad but i know i did more than just sprained or pulled something.  A trip to the ER, two specialists and an MRI later, turns out i tore my bicep clean off at the elbow.  Oops.  Went under the knife this past thursday to get it fixed.  I wont be able to do much without help for a couple weeks, so the bike project has to be pushed back a bit, but it will certainly be ready for this riding season.

In other news, i was very excited this past weekend when a friend of mine sent me a CL ad listing two cb700sc's for 500 bucks.  I was told one was nice (an '85), but had a starter issue (i guessed the chain of course) and the other was a basket case but likely had a good motor.  I was told the nicer one had paperwork.  I thought hey, for 500 bucks, how can i go wrong?  Well, they were way worse than i thought. The "paperwork" had sat in a bin next to the bikes, outside, for many years, so it didnt look like much of a title anymore. Both sat out in the new england elements for what looks like a couple years.  Both sat with no carb protection (boots removed or top off box), so who knows what the insides of each look like.  They were both rodent infested.  The basket case with a potentially good motor sat with no starter, so again, who knows what the insides of that look like due to water intrusion.  Really, the only thing "good" was the paint and plastics on the "good" bike.  I was told it was painted and then restickered.  Even still, the inside of its tank needed cleaned of course.  I thought about grabbing just the nicer one, but was told they werent being separated.  I passed on them.  With no paperwork, it was going to be tough to get either of them on the road.  And as parts bikes, there wasnt much there for me.  It really sucks to walk away from two hard to find bikes, but the deal just wasnt for me.  They are on the RI craigslist under "700s" if anyone is interested. 
-Alex

Offline AHenry014

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Re: My new-to-me '84 CB700sc
« Reply #18 on: February 22, 2016, 05:43:11 AM »
Got the bike apart yesterday with a ton of help from a buddy (im still healing and not supposed to use my right arm at all).  No real "Eureka!" moment, but heres what we found.  There was a small bit of carnage.  My presumption was correct that someone had been in there to replace the guides.  There was one important case bolt missing from the bunch, and a bunch of fasteners were loose.   Once getting the cases separated, a small balled up piece of metal came out of the clutch area.  We unfolded it, and still have no clue what it is.  The only thing i can say about it is that its got a deliberate hole in it, but otherwise unrecognizable. 



Then it was time to investigate the alternator chain.  It felt nice and tight in its guides, though it appeared to be nearly at the end of its adjustment.  The guides do appear to be newer, as they look way nicer than the spare set that came with the bike.  I can report that both chains appear to be original.  I am certain about that for the starter chain, but not sure about the cam chain. 


Nothing else in the chain or guide area looked out of place, which is irritating.  Though here is where it gets interesting.  One of the trans shafts, that connects to the outdrive box, was installed incorrectly.  The large bearing at the end of it near the clutch was not correctly aligned with the dowel, and squished it when the motor went back together.  It sat crooked and squished enough to taper the end of the shaft, and tear up the rest of it. 



Beyond the shaft and bearing issue, i will certainly be doing both cam and alternator chains, possibly the cam chain guide attached to the tensioner (if it is available and not cost prohibitive), and the clutch friction discs and springs.  Everything else looks good.  I really shouldnt reuse the trans shaft.  Anyone have a spare? I cant seem to find a part number for it anywhere, and no dice on ebay.

and a bit of a picture dump for your viewing pleasure.  You can see the mentioned shaft, shaft end, and bearing in a couple of these.



-Alex

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Re: My new-to-me '84 CB700sc
« Reply #19 on: February 22, 2016, 05:49:27 AM »
The mangled piece of metal looks like it may have been a cup washer at some point, perhaps?
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Offline AHenry014

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Re: My new-to-me '84 CB700sc
« Reply #20 on: February 22, 2016, 06:52:27 AM »
thats certainly a possibility.  Looked all over and couldnt find anyplace it may have come from.  Also, it looks like this is the shaft i need, #13 on the left:
http://www.bikebandit.com/oem-parts/1984-honda-night-hawk-700s-cb700sc/o/m151718#sch401917
-Alex

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Re: My new-to-me '84 CB700sc
« Reply #21 on: February 22, 2016, 08:09:31 AM »
I doubt that you're going to find a standalone trans shaft.  Really your only option will be to find a salvage engine or transmission on eBay.
With the chains, remember that new ones are going to be shorter than the ones you're taking off so the tensioners won't be anywhere near their limits.  You're probably looking beyond the reasonable life of the bike if you're thinking about needing to replace those as well.
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Offline AHenry014

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Re: My new-to-me '84 CB700sc
« Reply #22 on: February 22, 2016, 08:38:10 AM »
yea the tensioner side guide for the cam chain looks OK, just wasnt sure if it was a "while im in there" thing to do.  I mentioned above about looking at those two parts bikes.  Currently waiting for a response to see if he still has them...
-Alex

Offline AHenry014

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Re: My new-to-me '84 CB700sc
« Reply #23 on: February 22, 2016, 10:31:30 AM »
update: struck a deal for both parts bikes.  Picking them up this evening. 
-Alex

Offline AHenry014

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Re: My new-to-me '84 CB700sc
« Reply #24 on: February 23, 2016, 06:10:06 AM »
picked up the parts bikes.  They arent as bad as i remember them being.  Will get pictures up soon.  I only need the one shaft out of one of these engines, so i have to decide which to tear down, and which to keep as a spare lump. The nicer of the two bikes is the one that i assume has a broken alternator/starter chain from the guys story.  Started, made bad noises, shut it down, now starter just whurrs, and doesnt turn the engine over.  Im going to pop the alternator cover off and try to turn the rotor by hand.  If it turns, bad chain, if not, maybe starter clutch. The other bike is in unknown condition.  If the outside of the carbs is any indication of how the inside looks, then i doubt ill be able to get anywhere with that one.  I imagine this is the engine ill steal the shaft from. We shall see.
-Alex

 

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