The Ballad of Jane Honda: A vintage rebuild

Discussion in 'Pacific Northwet - Where it's green. And wet.' started by Randi, Oct 28, 2012.

  1. Randi

    Randi Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 20, 2012
    Oddometer:
    17
    Location:
    Spokane Valley, WA
    For a year now there have been Craigslist wars going on in my house, me looking up vintage Hondas, and my husband insisting that they are a horrible first motorcycle and telling me to go with his first bike - a Ninja 250. Either that man really loves me, or he figures I'll never come around because we got my vintage Honda.... in cardboard boxes. Today marks day one of this rebuild which, coincidentally, is also my first rebuild ever. I thought I'd throw it up here for others to see/critique/advise.

    [​IMG]
    Here she is on the back of the truck coming home. Jane is a 1973 CL 350 and in pretty good shape, just disassembled. Aside from being a bit rusty and in pieces, she's a solid bike.

    [​IMG]
    First order of business was to lay out all of her pieces on the operating table. She did have a lot of extras (unless I am missing something and she's actually a semi truck that needs 47 blinkers) so I sorted through and picked out the most viable parts and threw the others into the "box of shame."

    [​IMG]
    Some are extra, some aren't really hers. I'll save a few of her extras in case I lay her over and need some replacement parts, they rest will probably go in the Frankenbike heap in the corner of the shop.

    [​IMG]
    Tank and side covers will be repainted. I haven't decided yet if they will be harvest gold (like my first motorcycle was) with black accents, or if we'll give her an OD green base with cream and black accent. There is a great upholstery place down the street that I'm going to have quote a recover, otherwise I'll do it myself. Engine seems sound, although we haven't gotten into it too much. I have to cut some new gaskets because the ones she had were shot.

    [​IMG]
    The frame is being powder coated black and what chrome I can't clean up with a wire brush and some steel wool will be sent out for a more professional refinish. Most of the small pieces cleaned up really well with just a bit of elbow grease. Luckily I have the patience to sit for 5 hours buffing chrome- and a heated parts washer. If anyone has advice on cleaning up rusty chrome I'd love to hear it. Most is superficial- the only part too rusty to salvage because of horrible pitting were the front forks, but the previous owner bought replacement triple trees (notorious for busting on 70's Hondas) from an '80's CM400 that fit great so I've also grabbed a set of forks for an '81 CM400 for $14 on Ebay. Worth a shot and if they are junk I'm only out the cost of a couple of bombers of beer.

    Stay tuned. She'll be coming together this winter and hopefully chasing around all of you this spring!
    #1
  2. SportsGuy

    SportsGuy icanhazdirt?

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    545
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    redmond wa
    Awesome Randi! Congrats and best of luck! :)

    You could use those extra marker lights for "conspicuity lighting". ;) I could see one on the tip of the front fender, one each at the end of the handlbars, a couple on top of the rear shock mounts...and you'd have enough left over to string a few under the bike for that cool "street cred" look that's still hangin' on...

    My vote for paint is the classic white with blue & red accents. Classic Honda, clean looking at darn near period correct.

    [​IMG]

    Regardless - have fun. :)
    #2
  3. Live2Ride

    Live2Ride Not Famous

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Spoklahoma, Wa.
    What does Dillon know about bikes?









    :lol3 Congrats on the bike Randi.
    #3
  4. papaduc

    papaduc Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2002
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    386
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    Beaverton Oregon
    I vote paint it like your first bike.
    Either way, it looks like a great project and the perfect time of year to start one.
    #4
  5. woodsrider-boyd

    woodsrider-boyd Wow, these guys are fast

    Joined:
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    WA
    #5
  6. Randi

    Randi Adventurer

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    May 20, 2012
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    Spokane Valley, WA

    Not much, and what he does know he learned the hard way, like hitting a guard rail at 70 mph makes a Ninja 250 fit in the back of a Korean hatchback. :rofl
    #6
  7. Randi

    Randi Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 20, 2012
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    Spokane Valley, WA
    #7
  8. Squishy

    Squishy Positively charged...really!

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    Location:
    PNW
    :rofl:rofl


    Great winter project.
    #8
  9. Live2Ride

    Live2Ride Not Famous

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2005
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Spoklahoma, Wa.
    And he wanted you to get a ninja? Hmmmm. :D
    #9
  10. Ladybug0048

    Ladybug0048 Bug Sister

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2005
    Oddometer:
    11,455
    Location:
    Spokane Valley, WA (the dry side of the mountains)
    Congratulations on the cool "new" bike. I can't wait to see the finished project. When you get ready to take that first (or maybe second) run if you would like I'll pull my vintage 400 out and accompany you. :ricky

    My vote on the paint is to paint it any color YOU want. Good job on not allowing Dillon to make your bike choice for you.

    Dillon, :thwak Don't you know trying to make someone elses bike decission will get you into trouble every time. Just because a Ninja got you excited doesn't mean that will be the best bike for someone else. Too many guys ruin their favorite gal to riding by try to tell them what they should want to ride. :deal My first thought when you told me Randi wanted a vintage Honda was that a modern bike would be better for getting the feel for riding because they are just easier. Then I realized I learned to ride on a vintage bike, although at the time it was a modern bike. :lol3

    I'm looking forward to this build. Randi, good for you with getting in there and going for it. :clap
    #10
  11. Luke

    Luke GPoET&P

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    Beaverton, OR
    You're gonna need a lot more coffee. :lol3
    #11
  12. WU7X

    WU7X The Old Fart

    Joined:
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    Spoke Can, WA
    Congrats Randi! Looks like a wonderful project. BTW, Dillon can be had for cheep; keep some good German beer iced in the frig and he will be dough in your hands. think you probably knew that already. :lol3

    Actually, Dillon is a great wrench. He did an incredible job helping me get Fiona back on the road. You have a great team between you, Dillon, and your father-in-law. :clap
    #12
  13. Randi

    Randi Adventurer

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    May 20, 2012
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    You should come over sometime and check her out, Dale. I'll even save the princess chair for you so you have a place to sit and watch. :D
    #13
  14. oregoncoast

    oregoncoast Racing Like a Noob

    Joined:
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    Duh!
    What a great project!

    I'm sure I have some parts lying around that might be helpful to you, don't be shy about asking!

    Also, this place has some very good prices on a surprising number of old Honda parts like carb rebuild kits, gasket kits, cables, etc. The pistons and a bunch of other stuff I bought from them got us across the finish line in Baja this year:

    http://www.siriusconinc.com/

    Don't forget, that your CL350 is basically a CB350 with some cosmetic differences. So when searching for parts on ebay or wherever, be sure to also look at CB350 parts.

    Get friendly with an online Honda parts fiche, like this one:

    http://www.hondapartshouse.com/home.aspx?gclid=CK7e-p7DpbMCFaN_QgodjgEAxg

    The one at bikebandit creates their own part number whereas others give you the actual Honda part number. Which makes it easier to search for the right part at the best price. I would also get my best internet price and then see if the local dealer would match, more often than not, if they could get the part, they would.

    And this is the nectar of the god's for taking care of rust:


    [​IMG]



    Have fun! I look forward to reading about your progress!

    #14
  15. vnp514

    vnp514 Been here awhile

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    Sep 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    631
    Location:
    Eastern Washington State
    This project should keep the winter blues at bay.

    Subscribed!

    Pete
    #15
  16. Mr. Fisherman

    Mr. Fisherman PROUD 2B Riff Raff!

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    Drinking from the Stanley Cup!
    Sweet! Looking forward to watching the progress :lurk

    You have had some pretty good advice given. Take your time and have fun with it.

    Have you given thought to your first ride yet? It is never too soon to start day dreaming about where you'll go. It can help fuel those not so fun build days...
    #16
  17. Randi

    Randi Adventurer

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    Spokane Valley, WA

    I did some volunteer work this summer at Camp N-Sid-Sen along the back of Coeur d'Alene lake and kept thinking the whole way there how much better the trip would have been on a bike. Maybe I'll run her down to Harrison once she's up and running.
    #17
  18. TwinDuro

    TwinDuro Befuddled Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Oddometer:
    348
    Location:
    Pac Nor-Wet, WA
    Awesome project Randi! Looking forward to following your rebuild! :clap

    IMHO the CL350 will make a great first bike! Not only will you become intimately familiar with it's mechanicals and workings by the time you are done fixin' Jane up, which is invaluable, but the CB/CL350s are a just a flat-out fun bike to ride. They are plenty forgiving for the beginning rider (keeping in mind of course that it's a 40 year old motorcycle), but are still plenty exciting when you gain more experience.

    My first "real" bike was a '70 CL350 bought as a parts bike when I was just getting into motorcycles as well. Fixing it up to the point of being able to ride it was a fantastic learning experience, and one that I wouldn't trade for the world. Once it was running and riding, thumbing the starter-button, shifting into gear and letting out the clutch for the first time was something that I'll never forget, it was that awesome! :D

    For cleaning chrome, a trick I learned from a buddy years ago that's worked fantastic for me is white vinegar and a fine brass-brush. For some reason, the acid in the vinegar and the gentle action of the brass brush really cleans up nasty chrome nicely while not putting new scratches onto it.

    As OC said, the Evapo-rust is truly "the nectar of the god's" for removing rust! BTW, the cheapest place I've found it is at Pep Boys.

    #18
  19. Randi

    Randi Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 20, 2012
    Oddometer:
    17
    Location:
    Spokane Valley, WA
    Front forks arrived in the mail today. Jury is still out on whether or not they will work. Seems to be the right diameter but will need some tweaking to be just right. Dillon is going to help me salvage some parts of the old forks to cobble together one working set. I also have a new seat cover coming that will require some assembly on my part, but overall not bad. This weekend my FIL is picking up a sandblaster for his garage and I'll get to blasting some things for painting!
    #19
  20. Randi

    Randi Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 20, 2012
    Oddometer:
    17
    Location:
    Spokane Valley, WA
    Looks like the front forks will work just fine. We will have to use some of the viable pieces off of the old ones and put them together with the ones I picked up off of Ebay to make everything fit right, but it seems to have been a worth while purchase. Speaking of Ebay, I took Ed's advice and picked up a pre-made seat cover for pretty cheap and reupholstered the seat myself today.

    Here is what the seat looked like before:
    [​IMG]

    And after a little bit of work it now looks like this:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The foam was in great shape so it went pretty smooth after I figured out a way to secure everything and McGyver'd my own trim pieces for it. I still need to add the strap back on which will most likely require some grommets since the hardware was too rusty to salvage. Other than that she's ready to go (and mighty comfy too).

    Also picked up a sand blasting cabinet today and Dillon will be getting it assembled and ready to start blasting parts for painting.
    #20