Custom Honda Z50 Build & Garage Happenings

Discussion in 'Some Assembly Required' started by pancholasvegas, Jul 2, 2020.

  1. Ozarkroadrunner

    Ozarkroadrunner Been here awhile

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    I was stationed in Cleveland, OH in the early 80s. We went back to Arkansas on leave and a dealer I knew gave my boys a QA50. I didn't have room for it in our Bronco so I took it apart and put the frame, forks & wheels in a box shipped to Ohio via USPS for $10. I had room for the tank, seat and engine. It gave all three boys a ton of fun.
    #41
  2. Ozarkroadrunner

    Ozarkroadrunner Been here awhile

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    A friend of mine raids my garage gathering 1" stainless Harley bars. He uses them for headers on Honda and Lifan motors. They offer a lot of bends and straight sections. Blemished bars go cheap at swap meets.
    #42
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  3. MiteyF

    MiteyF Long timer

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    Fucking clever. I'm putting that one in the back of the ol' thinkin' bowl.
    #43
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  4. pancholasvegas

    pancholasvegas Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2017
    Oddometer:
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    Iowa

    Jesus Christ... this is the kind of ingenuity I wish I was blessed with.
    #44
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  5. pancholasvegas

    pancholasvegas Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2017
    Oddometer:
    77
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    Iowa
    Some small updates - got a few parts in the mail. New fork bolts/washers, tank hold-down and rubber mount. New front and rear fenders as well. Unfortunately, they had a few blemishes and one had a tiny dent in it.. hoping I can get them exchanged for a getter set. Gonna give them a call tomorrow. Frame is with my buddy at the welding shop to finalize the relocation of axle mounts. I trust his welding much more than mine. Found a small crack in the frame he’s gonna weld up for me as well. Hoping to have the frame back by the end of the week so that we can get everything moving along still.
    #45
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  6. pancholasvegas

    pancholasvegas Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2017
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    Iowa
    Been a while since there were any project updates, but life has been very busy lately between planning a wedding, building a pole barn, an inland hurricane coming through my hometown and various other excuses.

    Here’s where we pick up:
    The frame is with my friend at his fabrication shop. He’s handling the final welds on the axle plates for me as my welding skills leave much to desire, he’ll be able to make it much prettier than I.

    We’ve received fenders for the front and rear, some very minor imperfections in them, but compared to the cost of getting originals, it’ll be something I have to live with.

    I failed to notice that the repop tank I ordered didn’t come with the little nubbin at the rear mount of the tank to affix the gas tank strap. I ordered a weld on replacement for a stock tank on eBay, but unfortunately it won’t fit the repop tank, so I’ll need to fabricate something to get past that point. Really wishing I bought the mini-lathe at harbor freight last time it was on sale now... FC57A267-AC7B-4A1E-A062-4681538ACA9D.jpeg

    No build would be complete without a new set of tires, so I treated myself a bit and picked out these cool Shinko street style whitewalls. They should look pretty trick compared to the old knobbies 3409629E-4E3E-4753-9778-CD8D79DD3821.jpeg

    I went and broke down the wheel assemblies and swapped over the new rubber. Examining the hardware holding the wheels together, looks like someone in its past life has already been here. Wrong hardware all over. 2B5EC8D0-01B6-4A4B-89F9-DF67928F5D59.jpeg

    For those who haven’t broken down these old Honda split rims, they can be horrible as they rust in between the split and basically fuse themselves to the bead. I’ve done enough of these now to where I’ve got it down pretty well using some auto body panel removal tools. 057A6946-8F79-4859-A853-E7D1DF3C01AD.jpeg

    With the new tires mounted and wheels reassembled, when I receive the frame, I’ll be able to test fit all the fenders and wheels.

    I ended up finding a pretty good shape GMC in the area to purchase after selling my Tacoma. Yes, a bit of rust around the rear fender wheels, but a friend at the body shop and I will be able to address that. Sure beats having a truck payment. Only 80,xxx miles and plenty more to go. My friends have now started calling me gramps, as I apparently own an old man truck now.

    While waiting for the frame to get finished up, I pulled one of the old CT70s I had in the basement out so that I’ve got a little run around bike for the neighbor and beer/cigar runs at the gas station. I’ve had this bike in the basement for the past 4 years. Pulling it out of hibernation only required a fresh spark plug, some gas, and an old battery plugged back in. These bikes will run without a battery with some wiring switched around, but that can blow out the bulbs due to excess voltage. My understanding is that even an old battery will work, as the battery essentially acts as a capacitor. I did pull the carb and run it through the ultrasonic cleaner, because I do recall the bike having some carburation issues before being put into storage. Now it runs well enough to get me in trouble with the local PD after an attempt to ride up to the local racetrack with no plates. I did notice that the rear brake was sticking after application, and would only free up by grabbing the linkage by hand, or would break free at speed - eventually. Pulled the rear wheel and swapped out the shoes with another verified good set that I had in the garage, pulled the brake actuator out of the housing and cleaned/greased, and we are back in business. This is one of my favorite bikes and the one that got me really interested in mechanics. A9720298-59E9-4961-BF44-858B9F2C8EDE.jpeg

    I did take some time this weekend to go ahead and pop off the muffler from the donor exhaust pipe I plan on using to leave me with just the header to start up the building of the custom pipe that will be required. 80651B1A-5EBD-4EC9-A014-2C6C744E49E3.jpeg
    I plan to make an attempt to stop at the steel supply shop to find some appropriate sized pipe to get started on the layout and bends for this pipe to come together this week. I’m very interested in putting a fishtail style exhaust tip on this build, but everything for sale is obviously for a full size application. A friend of mine has some experience in small parts metal stamping, so he’s proposed getting together to see if we can form something from sheet metal - but that is a ways off from this point. My other idea was to buy a full size fishtail and cut/weld it down to a more manageable size. We shall see.

    More to come, the ideas don’t stop.
    #46
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  7. pancholasvegas

    pancholasvegas Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2017
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    Iowa
    Bonus picture of the white walls mounted. 516F645A-4E79-4AAA-BF83-FF9F54EFD2BE.jpeg
    Now, obviously the wheels will not stay two separate colors. I’m debating between powder coat, paint, or picking up a fancy new set of polished aluminum rims. Leaning towards the polished aluminum...
    #47
  8. pancholasvegas

    pancholasvegas Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2017
    Oddometer:
    77
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    Iowa
    Well here’s a bit of a status update.

    Frame is back in the shop with a 1.25” drop on the rear. I’m not quite sure if the drop is dramatic enough for me, so may end up going a bit lower, but here’s a picture at ride height for at least some views. AFCAECCB-3436-4B5C-B47D-C72523028597.jpeg
    Obviously the front still needs to go down some.

    I ended up scoring a bench top lathe for a hell of a deal on Facebook marketplace. 42896CD8-77E3-4D6E-B83F-A83B2C86957A.jpeg

    Far from being the baddest machine around, but I picked up some indexable tooling and it seems to work pretty good!

    You may recall that I mentioned the pin for the gas tank I ordered wasn’t going to work. What better way to get familiar with machinery I’ve never used before! To have some fun, and maintain some semblance of “Mostly Honda Parts,” I used an old Honda CT70 axle, and turned that down to make a new nubbin/pin to weld to the tank for the tank strap.

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    Above you can see the new pin compared to the old for reference.

    As some of you may know, the forks and springs are held together with a pin on the Z50s - I didn’t have any spare pins around, so used what was left of the axle to make a couple pins to use as placeholders in the meantime for mockup purposes. I don’t have a cut off tool for the lathe yet, so I had to use the cutting wheel to cut these into sizeable pieces after turning them down to the correct size. They got hit with the grinder to remove the poor cuts, of course. For mock up, they’ll do.

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    Yes, probably not very exciting to all of you, but I’ve never used a lathe before I bought one and have no experience with them other than a copy of Machinery’s Handbook that I picked up at a book store for $10.00. I can say now though, the mind doesn’t stop thinking of what we can build instead of buy - next.
    #48
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  9. sasho

    sasho Dual Personality

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    Moar!! :lurk
    #49
  10. pancholasvegas

    pancholasvegas Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2017
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    Iowa
    Small Update - after taking some more measurements, I’ve elected to lower the bike by another .5”, totally with a 1.75” drop in the rear. Once we’ve got that welded up (couple days), I can move forward with the rest of the build. I’ve ordered the longest throttle cable that I could find, which will dictate how high I can go with the bars. I’ve got a couple ideas on how I want to approach that. My initial plan was to utilize the factory triple tree clamp and then extend the factory bars to the desired length, but now I’m considering using a late model clamp, and purchasing some already higher aftermarket bars. Doing this will require will require me to cut off the factory internal throttle section of the stock bars, and weld that section to whichever bars I purchase to maintain an internal throttle.
    #50
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  11. Ozarkroadrunner

    Ozarkroadrunner Been here awhile

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    Apr 12, 2014
    Oddometer:
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    Georgia and Arkansas
    You can also slot in the new bars. I did that a few years ago when I used a small bore Honda internal throttle on a CB750K chopper. I had a machinist mill the slot.
    #51
  12. pancholasvegas

    pancholasvegas Adventurer

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    Dec 7, 2017
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    Iowa
    I’m curious if I could slot the bars myself using the cutoff wheel on a dremel? I would imagine it doesn’t have to be 100% surgical precision? Tapping the thread for the throttle stop shouldn’t be too difficult and I’ve got all the bits for the internal throttle already.
    I did just order a set of 13” bicycle handlebars to experiment with. I also received my new throttle cable in the mail. Measures out about 34” total length. I’d imagine that’s enough to play with.

    I did hatch another pretty wild idea I’m considering. I’ve been thinking about how the front brake a lot. These new bicycle bars don’t have a perch for the brake cable, which is why I was leaning towards using part of the factory bars welded on to keep the perch. That if I use an aftermarket set up, it won’t be a very clean look. With this being a “neighborhood and garage” bike of such a small bore, I’m not so sure that I need a front brake. If I go the route of a front brake delete, I was considering pulling out the shoes, brake cam, and brake arm. Would then Tig weld the brake cam/brake arm hole shut and grind/sand to a smooth finish to maintain a clean look. This is the stuff that keeps me up at night.

    On another note - now that we’re lowering the bike by another .5”, I’m going to need to rework the rear fender. At this point, I’m considering riveting extensions to the lower mounting point on the rear fender to take up make up the length I need.
    #52
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  13. tinwelp

    tinwelp Professional Idiot

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    746
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    I'm loving your build, but I'm confused at your last post. Removing your primary means of stopping seems a bit rash to me, but hang on... if you've the facility to be welding up brake plates for a sleek look, why don't you just weld the brake lever perch to your new bars? Otherwise I see you fixing one problem (the missing perch) by creating a new one (being unable to stop very well).
    I'm sure whatever you decide will be right for your build. I'm just over-curious.
    Carry on Sir.
    Cheers... Paul
    #53
  14. pancholasvegas

    pancholasvegas Adventurer

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    Iowa
    Paul,
    You make a great point! Rewelding the perch to the new bars is definitely an option, as would be lengthening an existing brake cable to support front end braking.

    On the chance of front brake delete, the only reason that’s being considered is because realistically this bike is never going to be on a public road, and I doubt the final engine sizing will exceed 70cc. With the combination of ride height and small displacement, I’m basically just building something for fun and to satisfy my own curiosity and try to build a “chopper,” influenced custom.

    I’m glad to hear you like watching as we move forward, I’m excited to keep moving on it, but things always take longer than you want.
    #54
  15. pancholasvegas

    pancholasvegas Adventurer

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    Hung out at the van & chopper show this weekend with some friends from out of town. Unfortunately we had a death in our friend group, so it wasn’t all fun and games - we did end up having to attend a service.

    They had a small swap meet at the car show, and I scored what I do believe will be the perfect brake light for this bike. Unfortunately, I had to buy all 4! I tested em on the bench and they are operational, however they are 12 volt... could it be as simple as putting in a 6 bolt bulb to make them fire up off of 6 volt?
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    #55
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  16. MiteyF

    MiteyF Long timer

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    Bay Area
    If you want to let go of one of those lights, my 50 isn't so far along that I couldn't use one. Shoot me a PM if you want to let go of one of your 3 spares (or trade for some 50 parts)
    #56
    villageidiot likes this.
  17. villageidiot

    villageidiot Long timer Supporter

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    6v bulb and Bob is your uncle.
    #57
  18. pancholasvegas

    pancholasvegas Adventurer

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    Dec 7, 2017
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    Iowa
    Feeling extreme satisfied this afternoon...

    Got an internal throttle setup squared away. I ordered a set of 13” tall handlebars for a bicycle and got them in the mail the other day and set to it. Figured it’d be simpler to mod some existing bars instead of having to bend up my own.

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    Spent most of the night last night trying to think of the best way of knocking this out as I don’t have a mill - which I’ve heard makes things much easier.

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    Started off by taking a good hard look and getting some measurements based on the factory bars and playing with everything to find out how to replicate.

    Figured I’d better do a practice round first, so rounded up some conduit I had sitting around and got to cutting it up with the dremel and drill press. 44EF42DB-A7CB-443D-993E-6A3A58ADDB21.jpeg

    Not bad. Tested out the throttle linkage in the conduit for test fitting. 1F74AC55-E09C-4D8D-8FAC-C9E20D11AE3E.jpeg

    Everything looks alright enough for a test. Now onto the real deal.

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    Cutting slowly and checking to make sure I’m some semblance of straight often.

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    Test fitting and making sure the slide action is smooth. Every so often I’d hit it with the sander on the dremel to smooth out rough spots.

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    Multiple test fits of the tube to ensure i had cut the slot long enough to allow the throttle cable to extend enough. Basically working blind as it’s all internal obviously.

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    Satisfied, finally drilled the final hole for the throttle stop.

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    All finished. Might not be much to most of you, but I feel pretty good about it.

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    #58
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  19. rick danger

    rick danger The further adventures of

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    Clicked on this thread to try and get motivation to finish the last bike in my collection. All the bikes I had as a kid in the '70's. This is the last one. I've had a thousand dollar box of stuff for it sitting on the shelf for 10 years. The little bike that started a life long love of motorcycles exctly 50 years ago. 20201028_083847.jpg 20201028_083941.jpg
    #59
  20. pancholasvegas

    pancholasvegas Adventurer

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    Iowa
    Fantastic collection my man. Love the Can-Am hanging out back there. I hope that you're getting a little inspo from the post - even though it is a deviation from a standard resto.
    #60
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