Tag Archives: do it yourself

Restoration tech tips

Easy Rubber Parts Cleaning

Restoration Tech Tips 1 1/1/19

Restoration Tech Tips #1

A good way to clean your dirty old rubber & even some black plastic parts is to grab a can of your favorite foaming tire cleaner and soak them down with it and let it sit until all the foam has evaporated and them wipe away the excess. Easy !

Humidity Will Humiliate You

Restoration Tech Tips 2 1/1/19
Honda SL100K2 switch bracket

`Restoration Tech Tips #2

Avoid painting during times of high humidity unless you have a fully dehumidified climate controlled spray booth in your shop . Seriously don’t even do rattle can paint. I had to repaint this dadgum little bracket 3 times to get it right without any runs or with out the gloss black paint becoming chalky. Of course the third time I painted it was the next day after the humidity had dropped back down. If it’s really humid just wait until another day to paint.

Rust Removers Don’t Work Cold

Restoration Tech Tips 3 1/1/19
For the best deal on Evapo-Rust click here!

Restoration Tech Tips #3 No matter what your favorite rust remover is, none of them work well when it is really cold. If you’re planning to soak some parts in something like Evapo-Rust during the winter months you really should put it in a warm place to get good results.


In my last post I showed you how I added the all of the modifications to my cargo camper to make it suitable for sleeping in along with being a useful cheap toy hauler. Today I’ll just point out a few finishing touches that were needed to make it even more useful & comfortable.

The Cargo Camper / Cheap Toy Hauler in use on a happy day!
at Umstead State Park in N.C.

While not like having all the advantages of a full featured RV, this trailer is still a great place to sleep for the night. We still do some tent camping once or twice a year but as I’ve gotten older sleeping on the ground has lost a lot of it’s appeal to me. This way I have a warm (or cool) dry place to sleep, a way to brush my teeth, wash dishes, while still maintaining a little of that primitive camping experience.

Looking out the back door of the cargo camper
Looking out my back door!

One thing you will notice as you look at all of these pictures is that I’ve mounted a number of small d- ring tie downs to the walls and a couple of spots in the floor. This gives me multiple options for cargo control. there’s even a couple of them up close to the ceiling at the front that I put a clothesline on to dry towels & washcloths on. Later on I added a couple of them to the outside to be anchor points for my shade canopy.

cargo camper cheap toy hauler interior
A decent place to spend the night.

Now if you are the kind of person who want’s to be able to lounge around all day in luxurious comfort, then a cargo camper is not for you. For those of us who just want a place to lay our head at night after a days adventure exploring the world around our base camp it makes perfect sense.

cargo camper couch bed

Let’s talk a little bit about the equipment added to this trailer, in addition to the extra tie downs already mentioned. At first we slept on an air mattress for a couple of trips and it was nice until one trip where it went flat on the first night of a 4 day motorcycle rally. After that I did a bit of research and bought this Milliard Tri-Fold foam folding mattress. It’s far more comfortable than an air mattress, and when folded up and slid up to a wall makes a usable albeit low to the ground sofa. In fact it is so comfortable that my wife & I slept on it for a couple of months while we were stuck in the process of moving from one house to another for a long period of time. I highly recommend the Milliard Tri-Fold over any air mattress for an application like this.

cargo camper cheap toy hauler

Some places we camp have power hook ups & some don’t, so we always carry an extension cord and a couple of RV electrical adapters just in case we run into a situation where there is not a standard 15 or 20 amp receptacle to plug into. Of course if you really want to you could always carry a small super quiet generator with you. Later this year I am thinking of adding solar power to keep phone & computer batteries charged up as our off grid trips seem to get longer & more frequent.

Another thing you have to consider is what to do about using the bathroom. So far everywhere we’ve camped at has at least had porta-johns for us to use. Even so I bought one of the Reliance Products Luggable Loo portable toilets just so that my wife & I could have a place to go pee in the middle of the night without having to leave the trailer. On an extended trip in an area without toilet facilities I’d probably keep it outside in a small bath tent, but just to take a leak once a night for 3 or 4 nights it’s perfectly fine in the trailer. Being the cheap bastard that I am instead of buying the expensive odor neutralizing products the sell for it I just use kitty litter and heavy duty kitchen trash bags to control the odor and facilitate easy clean up.

Cheap fire pit carried in Cargo Camper
an inexpensive portable fire pit

In addition the the requisite camp stove, cooler, coffee percolator, folding tables & chairs etc. I grabbed this relatively inexpensive portable folding fire pit for when visiting places that do not have permanently installed fire rings. It’s cheaply made & kind of flimsy but as long as you remember this and use it within it’s limitations it’ll be just fine. One great advantage to this style of camping is that you can bring along your sturdier, more comfortable, less expensive, but much heavier folding table & chairs . Whereas when tent camping (especial on a motorcycle & when back packing) may require you to bring along lighter weight specialized equipment or to do without some things.

This cargo camper trailer has been serving me well for a couple of years now and some of information contained in these posts reflects updates that I’ve made to it over the years. Should you decide to build one of your own plan it out carefully and decide what you can & cannot do without in your cargo camper. If you are just joining us you may wish to check out part one of this series here; and then part two at this link.

motopsyco.com sign
one last finishing touch

Cheap Fake Cad Plating & ABS Plastic Repair


There are two things that are commonly found when working on old motorcycles, one is cadmium plated parts that are faded, rusted or discolored somehow, and the other is broken or cracked mounting tabs on plastic parts such as air boxes or side covers. Today we’ll learn how to do a reasonably good job of creating cheap fake cad plating with spray paint. Then we will tackle a minor repair of some ABS plastic parts. Most of the black plastic parts on motorcycles are ABS and on some such as early sport bikes such as EX250 or 500 Ninjas the bodywork is also.

Cheap Fake Cad Plating

Passport steering lock to get cheap fake cad plating

Let’s start with this steering lock that goes on my 1982 Honda C70. In the picture it doesn’t look too terrible, but this was after washing it in the parts washer with a Scotchbrite pad to get rid of some light rust.

Duplicolor adhesion promoter

Once it was dry I taped off the key slot and sprayed on a couple of coats of adhesion promoter.

chrome spray paint for cheap fake cad plating

After giving the adhesion promoter about 8-10 minutes to dry I gave the part a couple of coats of metallic “chrome” paint. This paint doesn’t really look like chrome but it really is a very bright silver.

Passport lock with chrome paint

After allowing the chrome paint to dry thoroughly, take a can of the metallic “gold” spray paint and from 18-20 inches away lightly fog the gold paint over the chrome. Just do one or two light coats. the idea is to lightly tint the part with gold but not to completely cover up the chrome.

gold metallic spray paint for cheap fake cad plating

It’s really best to do this in a well lit place so that you can see when there’s enough gold on the part and stop spraying it.

how to cheap fake cad plating

Here you can see my cheap fake cad plating next to one of the well sheltered original cadmium plated brackets from this same motorcycle. Naturally if you plan on having a 100 point national show winning motorcycle, real cad plating is the only way to go, but for your average rider or local bike night hero this is a nice inexpensive way to get a clean authentic look to parts that should look cad plated.

ABS Plastic Repair

A major source of aggravation are cracks in plastic parts and or mounting tabs broken off of them. But since since a lot of these plastic parts are made of the same ABS material as sewer & drain pipe there really is quite a simple solution. Glue them back together with common ABS cement that you can find at any local hardware store. The air box on this little C70 that I’m working on had been reinstalled at some point in the past without the metal spacers that are normally used to secure such parts to the metal frame without damaging it. The result was that one mounting tab was split & the other one was broken completely off.

fix motorcycle abs plastic parts

To repair the cracked side was simple enough, it jut needed cleaning up and having plenty of glue applied. For the other side that was completely broken out I put a standoff with a washer in the hole & gave it a good coat of cement, permanently attaching it to the air box. You can also buy ABS plastic sheet & use that to fabricate repair patches, replacement tabs & even custom parts that can be glued together using ABS pipe cement. Once you are done & the glue is dry it can be filed, sanded or even painted over just like any normal plastic.

Hopefully these two tips about cheap fake cad plating & abs plastic repair will help someone out, until next time.

Peace Y’all



Install a Trailer Hitch

Almost Anyone Can Install a Trailer Hitch

I have a confession to make; at one time the very thought of putting a perfectly good running motorcycle on a truck or trailer was horrifying to me. But as I’ve gotten older my once hard core has become a soft chewy center. Crash damage, arthritis, and a growing disdain for any kind of suffering will do that to you. The missus & I will still do a bit of long riding from time to time, and I still scratch my head when I see a full dresser riding solo on the back of a tow vehicle. If said Goldwing or ‘Glide is surrounded on the trailer by some fine vintage machinery, choppers or hardcore sportbikes I can understand. Having discovered the joy of vintage motorcycle shows & swap meets it’s not unusual for me to take multiple motorcycles plus miscellaneous trade items, making a tow vehicle necessary. If I’m only taking one motorcycle or scooter capable of making the trip, to the show with no plans to buy or sell anything I usually just ride the darn thing because without riding what’s the point of owning a motorcycle?

<1982 C70 Passport>
One of my trailer queens.

Now let me make an apology to all of you old geezers that I used to pick on about your trailer queens. I am well on my way to becoming one of you and own a couple of motorcycles that I would never even attempt to travel on.

<Westin Trailer Hitch>
Westin trailer hitch

Let’s get on to the meat of this how to, my previous tow vehicle was a Chevy van that served me okay for a while but last year I sold it and acquired a nice low mileage 2010 Toyota Tacoma that was the plain Jane work truck of my dreams that I thought did not exist anymore. So I ordered up a Westin Receiver Hitch
hitch to fit it, along with a Reese T-connector kit for the trailer lights. Now let’s see how it was installed.

<Reese Trailer Hitch Connector>
Open up the package, and read the instructions. Then count all of the hardware supplied to make sure it matches what you are supposed to have. Next gather up all of the tools you need to match the bolts in the kit & on your truck, van, or SUV. While what is shown here is specific to my truck & hitch the vast majority of installations will be very similar to this. Buy your trailer hitch from a reputable manufacturer and read the instructions.

<hitch receiver hardware>
Don’t forget, read the instructions first!

Like most of them this Westin hitch receiver uses the bumper brackets to attach it to the truck. The instructions called for me to remove 2 of them on each side and leave one attached loosely. Work carefully and don’t allow your bumper to drop down suddenly as this could cause damage to your vehicle and or injury to you.

<bumper bolts>


<bumper bolts loosened>

Please make sure you take reasonable safety precautions when you are doing this. You will be handling large heavy awkward items over your head in a cramped space. It’s possible to install a hitch alone but it’s better if you have help. At the very least you need someone nearby in case it falls and beans you in the head.

<install a trailer hitch>
My truck also had the above tapped holes in the frame that were put there for the location of a trailer hitch, make sure that if your vehicle has additional holes like this that your hitch will use, that the holes are clean and the threads are good before putting the hitch in place.

<a good floor jack>
Since I was working alone a floor jack was called into action to support the receiver as it was lifted into place. For most of us a good floor jack is a necessity to install one of these alone.

install a trailer hitch
Line up the bolt holes and start all of the bolts. Do not tighten any of them until you have them all started securely. Once you have every bolt started in its own hole, then you may need to install some shims if supplied and realign your bumper so that it looks right.

use shims as needed
use shims as instructed

After the shims are in place and the bolts are all snug, check your bumper alignment again and adjust if needed.

torque wrench install a trailer hitch
Now it’s time for the final tightening of the bolts, grab your trusty torque wrench and tighten all of the bolts to the specified torque for your application.

<reese t connector toyota tacoma>
Now it’s time to move on to the wiring connections, Old timers will remember the bad old days when hooking up a trailer lighting harness meant cutting and splicing wires. Then came the Scotchlock connectors that made the job quicker but weakened any wire they were attached to and made it more likely that the wire would fail a few years down the road. Now everything is plug and play for most vehicles.

<reese t connector toyota tacoma>
The instructions called for me to remove the right rear tail light so I did.

tee connector install a trailer hitch
Then plug the Reese T-connector wiring harness in between the trucks harness and the tail light.

trailer lighting control box
The only part of the installation that required any drilling was to mount the control box. Be sure to paint the metal inside the hole and let it dry mounting the box with screws & lock nuts. Please note on some applications these boxes can be mounted directly to the receiver hitch without any modifications. One other thing to note, many modern trucks have composite plastic beds that do not conduct electricity well, so make sure that you attach the ground wire to a metal component that is attached to the chassis. Using outdoor rated UV resistant cable ties secure the wiring neatly allowing just enough slack at the end to work with all of your trailers but without dragging the ground.

Toyota Install a trailer hitch Westin
Now slide in your hitch and hook up your trailer & test everything. I have been using this Westin Receiver Hitch
for a year now dragging trailers all over the eastern United State and have absolutely no complaints about it. It was easy to install to. Even if you still don’t feel up to doing it yourself at least now you know what it takes to install a trailer hitch. See you on the road!
Peace Y’all

The 20 Foot Restoration

Finally started the repairs & upgrades to the old TS185. It was in dire need of new steering head bearings and brakes. A set of matching dual sport tires wouldn’t hurt either, along with a thousand other little things. So the day before yesterday I pulled it all the way down to a bare frame.

<81 ts185 before>

This is not going to be a show quality restoration by any stretch of the imagination. You may have noticed that the title of this post is The 20 Foot Restoration. If you’ve never heard that term before it describes a vehicle that looks really good from a distance of 20 feet or more, but when you get up close you can still see the dings & other imperfections.

If the skid plate had been removable I probably would have left the engine in the frame for all of this as it runs excellent. But the skid plate is an integral part of the frame, and the area between it and the engine was packed with a mixture of red clay mud & two stroke oil. Plus there was some damage to repair.

<ts185 skid plate damage>

After getting it cleaned up reasonably well, I took some body hammers to it, straightened it up some,  and the welded all of the broken bits back together. Then I hit it with the wire brush & sandblaster before shooting a coat of rattle can primer.

<motorcycle frame on clothes line>

All of the frame bits & pieces are painted with some some cheap spray on truck bed liner, while parts such as the shock bodies etc. are being done in brake caliper paint. I disassembled the shocks & dropped the springs into a bucket of metal rescue to soak overnight. they’re not perfect but they look a lot better.

<oem ts185 shocks repainted>

After 2 days of hard work this was my stopping point last night, this morning I am going out to detail the engine as much as I can without actually taking it apart. and will continue the reassembly of this poor old thing.

<fresh painted TS185 frame>

<The VJMC>

A Motorcycle Blog Celebration!

Hi there,
My name is Floyd Finch III and I am the owner of this little motorcycle blog. Motorcycling has been one of two passions that I have consistently kept in my life since my childhood.

<The Motopsyco>
I believe every biker should have a little bit of outlaw in them.

At sometime early this morning in the hours just after midnight on March 23rd 2015 this little blog of mine passed the 100,000 all-time page view mark. While this may not seem all that significant compared to some of the mega-bloggers out there it makes me very happy. Hearing from readers in the comment sections or by email is a joy as well and hopefully I have helped a couple of people out.

Since founding this blog in February of 2011, my goal has been to help as many of my fellow motorcycling do it yourselfer home mechanics as I can, and to share the experiences that I have with those not fortunate enough to get out & do even the few shows & events that I take in.

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Of course let’s not forget the occasional product reviews as well, I really am honest in my opinions of the products reviewed here whether for good or bad. This will continue to be my policy in the years to come.

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fog thief close up

" data-medium-file="//i2.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/sdc12286.jpg?fit=206%2C300&ssl=1" data-large-file="//i2.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/sdc12286.jpg?fit=354%2C515&ssl=1" loading="lazy" class="wp-image-1254 size-full" src="//i2.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/sdc12286.jpg?resize=354%2C515&ssl=1" alt="fog thief close up" width="354" height="515" srcset="//i2.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/sdc12286.jpg?w=354&ssl=1 354w, //i2.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/sdc12286.jpg?resize=103%2C150&ssl=1 103w, //i2.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/sdc12286.jpg?resize=206%2C300&ssl=1 206w" sizes="(max-width: 354px) 100vw, 354px" data-recalc-dims="1" />
The Fog Thief!

This little motorcycle blog is beginning to exceed anything I dreamed of when I first started it. Although it was started as a hobby a good informative blog does incur some serious expenses so you may notice a few ads around the site. You know you’re going to shop online sooner or later and if you click on an ad here to start it would be a great boost for the blog without costing you a dime that you weren’t going to spend already!

Every year since 2011 the readership of this blog has shown serious solid growth, starting in 2011 I had 1982 page views, 2012 brought in 12,173 views, a huge jump in 2013 pushed readership up to 31,706 for the year, in 2014 there were 43,227 page views on this blog. My goal for this year is to push that number up to over 50,000 for the year with more to come in the years afterward.
So this is my most sincere & hearty thanks to all of the readers, and to those of you who have made products available for review. At this time I would like to encourage everyone who would like to keep up with all that is happening around here and to always have notification of my latest tutorials, tips & reviews please scroll down and sign up for my email list at the very bottom of the page below.
If you have a question that you would like to ask me directly or a product that you would like to have reviewed or if you are interested in advertising on this site please shoot me a line to: [email protected]
Thank you,
Floyd Finch III aka Motopsyco

<the man the myth the legend motopsyco>

Twin Leading Shoe Motorcycle Brakes Explained

Since I first posted this a couple of days ago it was pointed out to me that this article was not quite as beginner friendly as my normal do it yourself articles about explaining WHY you do some things. So if you don’t know the difference between a single leading shoe brake & a twin leading shoe brake or even how to identify which one you have or just to learn how they work please go to More About Vintage Motorcycle Drum Brakes and then come back to this page.

Twin leading shoe drum brakes are the ultimate development of motorcycle drum brakes. By using two lever arms and two cams to raise the leading edge of the brake shoes into the rotating drum they were able to generate a greater stopping force than a standard drum brake which pushes the leading edge of one brake shoe & the trailing edge of the other shoe into the drum. It was discovered early on that the shoe with the leading edge being forced into the drum generated much more friction than the trailing shoe. So until the development of powerful reliable disc brakes in the 1970s the twin leading shoe motorcycle brakes were pretty much the ultimate performance set up. Even after their performance was eclipsed by hydraulic disc brakes they were still considered adequate for small & medium sized machines right up into the early 1980s. Today there are still a few low end bikes fitted with drum brakes on the rear, but they are of the standard type, as even the low buck machines rely on powerful front discs for most of their stopping power. As far as I know today twin leading shoe motorcycle brakes are only found on antique, vintage, and custom bikes.

As always don’t forget that you can enlarge any picture on this blog by clicking on it.

<vin<cm400 twin leading shoe brakes>

What we are going to look at today is an example of what may be the last of the of the factory installed twin leading shoe motorcycle brakes. The nasty cruddy looking part you see above is from an 81 Honda CM400E. The “E” stood for economy. The CB & CM variants of this bike got disc brakes on the front. By 1981 these were considered obsolete and were used on this model as a bit of parts bin engineering to meet a price point. This particular front wheel & brake backing plate had been painted at least 3 times in different colors What you see in the picture above is after using some aircraft peeler & some light soda blasting to clean it off a bit. Then I disassembled it and and dropped all of the chrome bits in the Metal Rescue tub and put the rest of it in the parts washer before wire brushing the backing plate. Please note, if you are doing a restoration you do not want to wire brush aluminum parts like this but this one is going on a rough edged custom and the brushed finish will be perfect for it.

<vintage Honda twin leading shoe brakes>

This is an exploded view giving you a look at the typical parts of a front hub using this style of brake.

<old motorcycle twin leading shoe brakes>

On this one I will not be reinstalling the speedometer gear as my plans call for a custom electronic speedometer. The first thing to do is apply a light coating of high quality grease to the shafts of the brake cams and push them into the backing plates.

<old twin leading shoe brakes>

Second part is to put the clean, lightly oiled felt seals into place as illustrated below. While I am sure there is probably a specified oil for this I’ve always just used whatever was handy in my oil can and have never had any trouble. That being said I am not responsible for any trouble you may have if you do not research and use the factory recommended oil.

<vintage Honda twin leading shoe brakes>

Third step here is to slide the washer with the wear indicator tab  back down onto the brake cam over the felt on the side that you removed it from which should have a pointer cast into it like in the picture below. This little part has splines and has an alignment groove so that it will only fit one way. It it doesn’t just just slide back on you have it turned the wrong way and need to move it around the until the wide spline lines up with the wide groove.

<vintage Honda twin leading shoe brakes>

A plain thin washer slides down to cover the felt on the other side of the axle hole.

<vintage Honda twin leading shoe brakes>

The external return spring is dropped into place next.

<vintage Honda twin leading shoe brakes>

On of the really nice thing about most old Japanese bikes are the presence of dots on the brake cams & arms to help you line them up correctly the first time.

<vintage Honda twin leading shoe brakes>

Put the arms on one at the time aligning the dots. I normally have brake rod loosely installed between the two arms before assembly just because I think it is easier than connecting the two brake arms afterward. If it is easier for you to do it the other way then that is fine too.

<vintage Honda twin leading shoe brakes>

Do not tighten the lock nut on the brake arm yet! Install the brake shoes first!

<vintage Honda twin leading shoe brakes>

Adjust the brake rod as necessary to get both shoes to move at as close to the exact same time as possible. If you are a real demanding performance nut build yourself a jig and use a couple of dial indicators to ensure that the pads  are moving together exactly. For the vast majority of us eye-balling it will work fine and any teeny little mismatch that occurs will be wiped out within a couple of stops

<vintage Honda twin leading shoe brakes>

Now you can tighten down that lock nut. Here’s a little video to show you how the cams move the shoes when the brakes are actuated.

Now its time to get to work on the rest of the front wheel so that it can be installed on the front of Project wAmmo!

<vintage Honda twin leading shoe brakes>

Peace Y’all

Metal Rescue Reviewed!

Mission Main Street Grants

<Workshop Hero's Metal Rescue>
Workshop Hero’s Metal Rescue

For this ‘Psyco product review let’s checkout Workshop Hero’s Metal Rescue
rust remover. In the past I have always used good old phosphoric acid for removing rust. In fact I have a 15 gallon tank of the stuff carefully stored away for cleaning old gas tanks & stuff like that. It really removes the rust quite well but it is also toxic, smelly and will corrode the base metal while removing the rust. To use it requires rubber gloves and eye protection.
Last year at the VMA swap meet in Eustis Florida, I bought a gallon of Metal Rescue from a vendor and brought it home, then I poured some out in a small container & dropped a couple of extremely rusty parts in it and left them overnight. The next day they were a little better but not as good as I hoped so threw them into the acid tank and stuck the Metal Rescue on a shelf under the workbench until last month (January 2015).
I’m in the very beginning stages of ruining a wonderful dirtbike by restoring it, so I decided to try the Metal Rescue on some of the chrome bits that really needed cleaning up. First I got a good bucket large enough to hold the parts with a good fitting lid to seal it up and poured the entire jug of rust remover into it.

After waiting a day I opened it up and this is what I found, meh give it another day.

This is a picture of the same after 3 days, I am not a happy camper at this point.

<is this stuff gonna work?>
So I pick up the jug to look for a way to file a complaint and read the part of the instructions that says; “For best results, use at room temperature (68°F or 20°C) or above. Metal Rescue™ works optimally at room temperature (68°F or 20°C) and above, so it may require heating in cold temperatures.” Looks like using it in an unheated shop in January is out of the question unless you live closer to the Equator than I do or on the opposite side of it.
Determined to get my money’s worth out of this product I carried the bucket into the house and put it in the laundry room to warm up. When I checked on it the next day 90% of the rust was gone and on the fifth day of soaking the heat shield looked like this!

<Metal Rescue heat shield>

<Metal Rescue heat shield>
The rust was completely removed from both sides and I was very impressed. It probably would have helped a lot if I had read the instructions first. Since then I just keep this bucket of Metal Rescue in a safe place in the house. It is chemically safe with no hazardous ingredients and if you take care to ensure that no hazardous substances get into it, Metal Rescue can be safely disposed of in most sewer systems but check your local laws first.

<rusty ts185 headlight ring>
To give you an idea of how much I like this product, I bought some more and put it into the bucket with what I already have. With the solution at room temperature it took less than 24 hours to clean up this headlight ring to the condition that you see here. Plus I was able to leave it assembled with all of the plastic parts & springs while it soaked something you would not dare do with acid.

<Metal Rescue headlight ring >
The instructions do warn that if you leave plain steel parts in the Metal Rescue
too long that it will turn them dark after removing the rust. Plated parts don’t seem to be affected by this. The screws in the picture below illustrate this. Since I am going to be re-coating these screws it’s not an issue for me, but if you are restoring something that calls for a natural metal finish you should be aware of this.

<metal rescue screws>
What’s the bottom line, is it worth 25 -30 bucks a gallon? Yes, especially when you consider that if properly stored it can be used over & over combined with the fact that it is biodegradable and contains no VOCs, solvents, acids, bases or hazardous ingredients. Just be sure you read the dadgum instructions on the jug first. It really does work much better when it is warm.
Peace Y’all

D.I.Y. Motorcycle Head Service

D.I.Y. motorcycle head service is possible for the home mechanic at times, under the right circumstances. Of course if you are one of those fortunate individuals who happens to have a fully equipped machine shop and know how to use it you can do anything. But for the ordinary person restoring an older motorcycle or atv that wants to save a buck or two it is still possible to do an acceptable job provided certain conditions are met.

<diy Head Service 1>

My patient for this job will be the CM400 that I used for the valve adjustment tutorial a couple of weeks ago. After adjusting the valves and putting oil in the cylinders it still had about a 45-50 psi difference in compression from the left to right sides so I pulled it apart for a top end overhaul. It turns out that the right cylinder had oil rings that were stuck from sitting and that the gaps were aligned on the other two rings.

<honda Head Service 2>

Before disassembling it, I cleaned the head fairly well  and removed the carbon from the combustion chambers. This makes handling the parts much nicer and inspection much easier. No matter what method you use to remove the carbon do not allow any type of abrasive or wire brush or scraper to contact the flat sealing surface of the head. Yes I know you may have to use some type of scraper to remove the gasket residue from the head but be very careful not to scratch or gouge it in any way. I actually used soda blasting to clean this head but made sure not to hit the mating surfaces with it.

<cm400 Head Service 3>

Now I must make a couple of quick disclaimers here. First there are some defects that if discovered during the inspection process that will mean you need to take your head to a machine shop to be repaired anyway. Second, unless you own a set ball micrometers to check them with, you will basically be guessing that the valve guides are okay based on the condition of the valve stems. Chances are that if like me, you are working on something old but with relatively low mileage they are okay BUT it is not guaranteed and excessively worn valve guides can cause oil consumption & smoking even with new seals. Third, this is not the high performance option, if you are building a hotrod and looking to squeeze every last drop of performance out of it you can then I suggest you contact a reputable high performance machine shop for a good 5 angle valve job and new valve guides. This is to get your old heap running as good as possible for the least amount of dough you can spend. The fourth and last disclaimer is to always put safety first in the shop. You will be dealing with strong springs under compression. There is a chance that a tool could slip releasing a spring to go flying out at high speed and hit you or to pinch your fingers between the spring & the tool. Only use a good quality valve spring compressor
in good condition, make sure you read the instructions that come with it, & wear some eye protection too.

<tools for motorcycle & atv head service>

Even so there are some specialty tools you will need to get if you do not have them. In the picture above at the bottom center the thing with the two suction cups on it is a valve lapper with 2 tubes of grinding compound one coarse & one fine. Moving clockwise around the head are the valve spring compressor, a caliper dial or digital whatever you have, a light rubber or plastic hammer just in case something needs a tiny bit of extra persuasion, a micrometer (if you don’t know how to read a micrometer you can either learn how or just buy a digital one.) Next item to the right is a pick up magnet and a flat screwdriver, a few pertinent pages photocopied from the service manual and a new gasket set with valve seals. If you want to learn to use a micrometer watch the 2 videos below.

<set up vlave spring compressor>

Set your valve spring compressor into place over the first valve you wish to remove and turn the compression screw inward until the spring is compress enough that the valve keepers either fall out or you can reach in with a magnetized screwdriver and pull them out.

<removing valve keepers>

It is very important that you keep your valves, springs, & other parts together so that they can be reinstalled in the same opening from which you removed them. This is especially critical for the valves as they wear into their valve guides and seats as the engine is operating. If any of the valves do not come out, or if removal is difficult you may have a bent or seized valve, put everything back together  and find a good machinist. The cure for a damaged valve requires replacing the valve & seat as a unit. The valve guide drivers and reamers required for this job are really a bit much to purchase & learn to use for just one head.

<Hond CM400 valves>

Once you get all the valves out give the head a good visual inspection looking for anything that looks galled, burnt, or cracked

<bare naked head top>

Be sure you check inside the ports to especially around the valve guides. Next check the valve seats which are the hardened steel inserts around the outside of the large holes in the combustion chamber. If any of valve seats 0r guides are burnt, badly scored or pitted , have cracks in them or easily visible excess wear then you need to put it back together & take it to a competent machinist

<bare naked head bottom>


If all looks good make sure the head is not warped beyond acceptable limits. for this you’ll need a good straight edge and a feeler gauge in whatever size your service manual specifies

<check head for warp>

Place the straightedge firmly across the head in several locations and try to insert the feeler gauge between it and the heads gasket mating surface. If it goes between the two anywhere then a machinist will need to shave the head to level it back out.

<hold straight edge like this>

Now it’s time to grab the micrometer and check the diameter of every valve stem in several places up & around each one. If any of them are worn beyond the service limit, chances are the valve guides are shot too and this is no longer a normal do it yourself job. Double check them for straightness at this time also,


<measure the valve stems>

After that get a caliper and measure the extended length of all of your valve springs. Replace any that do not fall into the specified range for your motorcycle.

<measuring valve springs>

Once the inspection process is complete and you are satisfied that all of your parts are in good condition & can be reused go ahead & clean  the valves & guides thoroughly. Most of the time you can just scrub the intake valves clean in the parts washer, but the exhaust valves usually have a hardened scale stuck to them so I use a brass wire brush to clean them with. For the valve guides I use a gun cleaning brush, but any small round brush with plastic or brass bristles that fits through them will do. I try to avoid using brushes with steel or stainless steel bristles on parts like these because I only want to remove the grease, carbon, and scale without affecting the base metal.

<motorcycle valve lapping>

Pick out whichever valve you want to start with and put a small amount of valve grinding compound around the head of the valve on the surface that contacts the valve seat in the head, and place that valve back into the hole that it was originally removed from. Grab the valve lapping tool & stick one of the suction cups on it to the valve like this and then rotate it back & forth to clean the mating surface. The most efficient way to do this is to hold the lapping stick between your palms and pretend you are trying to start a fire with it. Stop occasionally to check on your progress and replenish the lapping compound if needed. I use a coarse compound to start with & then switch to fine grit, but it is possible to make do with just the fine grit if that is what you have.

<valve lapping>

Stop and inspect rather frequently, you are not trying the grind the entire  surface of the valve & seat flat. What you want is a uniform,well polished shiny ring all the way around the valve & seat at the point where the two meet. Once you have that, to keep polishing is just putting unnecessary wear on your engine parts. It should only take you a few minutes per valve to accomplish this, so keep going until you have all of the valves done.

<Honda CM400 valve stem seals>

With all of the valves lapped you now need to wash them and the head again and completely remove all of the valve grinding compound so that it doesn’t make its way into your freshly overhauled engine and grind up parts that don’t need it. Then open up your gasket set and find the valve seals. I have the seals for this engine laid out above.

<installing valve seals>

<Honda cm400 exhaust valve seal>

The two larger one are for the exhaust valves and the four smaller ones are for the intake valves.

<motorcycle Valve seals>

Once you have all of the seals into place it is time to start reinstalling the valves remembering to put each valve back into the hole that you removed it from to start with. First push the valve back into the hole.

<installing motorcycle valves>

<motorcycle intake valve>

It should go in smoothly, make sure that it doesn’t push the new seal off of the valve guide. Put the matching valve spring(s) and retainer back into place over the valve stem.

<valve springs and retainers>

You will have to carefully hold the retainer while you put the valve spring compressor into place to compress the valve spring(s).

<using valve spring compressor>

Compress the springs until you can see the grooves for the valve keepers well enough to reinstall the keepers.

<using valve spring compressor>

Put a thick coat of grease on each retainer to stick it to the valve stem when you put it into place.

<grease the valve keepers>

If at all possible use a pair of tweezers or needle nose pliers to put the keepers on the valve stem. If you find that you must use your fingers to get them both into place be extremely careful and make sure that the compressor is securely clamped and not going to suddenly pop loose and crush your fingers while you are positioning the keepers. You have been warned.

<insert valve keepers>

When you have the keepers in place on the valve stem then slowly unscrew the clamping screw and if necessary keep the springs and retainer straight as you release the pressure. Remember if your compressor has a release handle on it like mine does, do not use it to clamp & release the valve springs. Always use the clamp screw. The release handle is there to allow you to move it from one valve to another without having to fully unscrew the clamp every time. When you have fully released the pressure & moved the clamp your vale should look like the picture below with both keepers trapped securely between the retainer & the valve holding the whole lot securely together.

<final shot of the valve installed>

Repeat these steps until all of your valves are securely reinstalled in the head.

<Honda CM400 Head>

I have tried to be as honest as possible with you about the possible pitfalls and risks of D.I.Y. motorcycle head service, but if you are willing to take your time, check everything carefully, and work in a meticulous fashion there’s no reason that you cannot give it a shot. Just be willing to take the risk of trying on your next restoration or overhaul and you’ll find yourself having that much more satisfaction with your handiwork once the engine is up and running.

<D.I.Y. Motorcycle Head Service>

Of course since I want this one to look as good as it works I covered up all of the mating surfaces & plugged all the ports before spraying my favorite ceramic filled engine paint on it. If you need tools and supplies just visit my webstore’s tool sections and search for what you need. If you can’t find something there let me know & I will point you in the right direction even if it means sending you to someone else.

<motorcycle head>

Happy Wrenching!

Peace Y’all

Honda CM400 Valve Adjustment

Today I’m going to show you how to perform a Honda CM400 valve adjustment. This basic procedure covers 1978-81 CM & CB400T Honda twins. This engine is from a 1980 CM400. Please refer to a proper CB/CM400 service manual to verify the exact procedures & specifications for your motorcycle. I will give the valve lash & misc. other tune up specs at the bottom of the page.

<cm400 valve adjustment tools>

Gather up the tools you will need along with a copy of the appropriate service manual. Please note that it is not necessary to remove the engine from the motorcycle to perform this procedure, I already have this engine out so that I could do some some fabrication work & painting to the frame. This is the long delayed Project wAmmo bobber that I should have finished months ago, but now I am back on it with a vengeance. You will need to remove the fuel tank, gear shifter, and whatever other parts are necessary so that you can remove the valve cover & the left side crankcase cover. Once all of that is done then remove both sparkplugs.

<cm400 spark plug removal>

After you remove the spark plugs, switch sockets & turn the engine in the direction indicated by the arrow on the alternator rotor. The big rusty flywheel looking thingy you see in these pictures for those of you who have never seen one before. This one had to have some of the rust sanded off so that I could see the markings on it.

<honda cm400 alternator rotor>

Turn the engine and watch for the intake valve rocker arm on the side you are adjusting to move down and then back up. These little Honda twins have a 3 valve per cylinder layout with 2 intake valves & 1 exhaust valve per cylinder.

<cb400 rocker arms illustrated>

Once the intake rocker arm returns to the top continue to turn the engine slowly and line up the next “T” mark on the flywheel with the pointer on the engine case, as it comes around. If the exhaust rocker arm starts to move you have gone to far & must circle the engine all the way back around & start over. Do not turn the engine backwards to get to the timing mark if you miss it.


<Honda cb400 timing marks>

Then verify that the piston is indeed at top dead center. On this engine it is fairly easy to do just by looking into the spark plug hole.

<Honda cb400 piston tdc>

With the piston at top dead center for the cylinder you are adjusting both the intake & exhaust valves should a little bit of play in them unless the engine has severe wear or improper maintenance that has caused valve recession which will close up the gap. Too much lash is also detrimental to your engines performance and will cause your engine to tap very loudly. Too little lash will eventually lead to a burned valve if it doesn’t close completely.

Loosen up the lock nut for whichever adjuster you choose to start with, here I am starting on the exhaust side.

<cm400 exhaust valve locknut>

Then insert the proper size feeler gauge, loosening the adjuster with a flat screwdriver if needed.

<Honda cb400 exhaust valve lash>

Then carefully tighten the adjuster screw & lock nut until the feeler gauge is able to be removed & re-inserted with just a little bit of drag, but the next size larger feeler gauge should not fit. It will be necessary to hold the adjuster screw with the screwdriver as shown below while you are tightening the lock nut. Be sure to recheck your lash after you tighten down the lock nut for good, sometimes you may have to readjust to compensate for the adjustment screw moving when you torque the lock nuts.

<Honda cb400 intake valve lash>

Once you have all of the valves adjusted properly replace the engine covers being sure to inspect & replace all gaskets & seals as needed.

Valve lash and some miscellaneous tune up specs are below:

Intake valve clearance 0.10mm +/- 0.02mm    0.004″ +/- 0.0008″

Exhaust valve clearance 0.14mm +/- 0.02mm    0.006″ +/- 0.0008″

Idle speed 1200 rpm +/- 100 rpm

Spark plug   NGK-D8EA  or ND-X24ES-U

Spark plug gap  0.6~0.7mm    0.024~0.028″

Oil capacity  3 liters    3.2 U.S. qt.s

Hopefully this has helped someone out.

Happy Wrenching!

The GTC Torque Converter for Minibikes & Go Karts Installation and Review

Here’s what came in the box. I ordered it from GoKarts USA mainly because it was listed as being a direct bolt on fit to directly replace the cheesy jackshaft plate & tensioner that this minibike came with. Despite what is said on some of the forums around the internet, this is a good quality unit that is made right here in the good old U.S.A. Yeah sure it’s got a couple of imported components in it, but suck it up sunshine that’s just the way the world is, we’re all on one rapidly shrinking planet and the market place is making it smaller everyday despite the best attempts by idiot politicians and knuckle dragging nationalists to stop it. Still it’s nice to see something made here that is of good quality and is price competitive. The backing plate is especially well machined & finished to the point that it is almost a shame to cover it up with a belt guard.

<contents of the GTC kit box>

Now this is not going to be a full complete step by step set of installation instructions, just an overview with a few tips. If have lost your kit instructions or have purchased a second hand unit without instructions please click here to get a set from the GTC website.  As always you may click on any picture here for a larger view.

First you have to remove the original plate with the factory clutch & intermediate sprocket.

<Baja MB165 jackshaft chain tensioner>

Make sure you remove all of the spacers from the end of the crankshaft, if you are doing this to an older engine oxidation may cause the spacer to look like an integral part of the crankshaft. If you don’t remove it the drive pulley won’t line up and you’ll be scratching your head for a few minutes like I was.

<baja minibike crankshaft spacer>

This tab is no longer used and will have to be flattened or removed for the torque converter to fit.

<remove this tab>

The kit comes with longer bolts to mount the plate if needed.

<GTC kit bolt>

This particular installation just reused the stock bolts

<GTC mounting plate on Baja minibike>

A picture of the driven shaft with the snap ring and washer installed.

<driven pulley shaft GTC torque converter>

Here it has been started through back of the mounting plate.

<installing the driven shaft>

Next get the chain sprocket, key & spacer,

sprocket,spacer, & key

and slide them onto the driven shaft as shown here.

<This is what drives the rear wheel>

The next shot shows the driven pulley with it’s associated hardware, slide it all into place and install the nut finger tight at this time.

<GTC driven pulley>

Here is the driving pulley & the belt. When you cut the tie wrap to install it take not of how the various parts & pieces fit together so you can re-install them correctly.

<torque converter drive pulley & belt>

I should have cleaned up the screw threads in this hole before I got this far, be sure to learn from my mistakes. BTW your engine must have an existing tapped hole in he end of the crankshaft or you cannot install a torque convertor. Be sure to check this before you spend your money as a few of the Honda clone engines are missing this feature.

<baja minibike tapped crankshaft>

The other drive pulley parts

<gtc drive pulley parts>

Stick the belt into place & begin assembling the drive pulley onto the end of the crankshaft.


<drive pulley parts on crankshaft>

Now that you’ve gotten everything assembled it is time to tighten it all down.

<GTC torque converter Baja minibike>

You really need to use a torque wrench and tighten the bolts & nuts to the torque specified in the instructions. Even a cheap one is more than good enough for everything the average home mechanic will ever do. If you over tighten the nut on the driven shaft it will pop the snap ring loose from the other side. Sure GTC could redesign the shaft to eliminate the snap ring but are you prepared to pay an additional 20 or 30 dollars for the kit to cover the cost of the additional machining and wasted material? Just use a torque wrench and you won’t have to worry about it.

<use a torque wrench dammit>

I did this install several months ago and have been driving this thing around the farm at least two or three times a week. While it did not transform my otherwise nearly stock MB165 into a 50 mph speed demon it did bump the top speed up enough to be much faster than a stock Baja minibike. Perhaps on a smooth surface with the governor removed it would but it is already able to outrun it’s own steering and stability out here in the deep soft sand & mud where I live.

<Baja heat warrior torque converter>

Four months ago when I installed this it was purely out of curiosity to see if it would really be an improvement, and it really is. The initial low speed engagement is much smoother than with a factory clutch allowing it to be driven at a lower speed than was possible with the clutch, while still increasing the top speed. The belt has proven durable and still looks fine after four months of hauling my big 200+ pound ass around the farm, down the dirt road, through the woods.  And when it does eventually wear out the belt is a little over half the price of a factory clutch. So is this worth spending the extra $200 buck on? If you are serious about actually riding your minibike, the answer is yes especially since the GTC TC2 is a direct bolt on that does not require engine mounting spacers to fit a stock Baja frame. Granted at this price it should come with the plastic belt guard but that really is my only complaint. At this time I’m running mine without the guard for a cool but possibly dangerous open primary look, but I don’t let kids ride it either.

Here’s a little video of the completed minibike so you can see how it works.

Peace Y’all


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’97 Honda Shadow 1100 Carb Cleaning & Jetting ~ Part 2

In the last installment, I had removed this set of carburetors from a 97 Honda Shadow 1100, after washing all of the loose crud from the exterior it was time to begin dis-assembly. This is not going to be a full on complete step by step tutorial, but we will cover all of the highlights that are specific to this job. Here you can see that the float bowl is off and although the interior of this carb does not look that bad there is a thin film of of fuel varnish on all the surfaces so I definitely going to clean that out.

Don’t forget, that if you need to you can enlarge any picture on this blog by clicking on it.

<001 dynojet honda shadow kit>

As always when working with multiple carburetors, it is best to dis-assemble one at the time and to lay the parts out in a reasonably orderly fashion so that you can reinstall the parts back into the carb body that you removed them from. Below you can see the float bowl, float, jets, etc. are lying on the table and I’ve removed the top and am about to pull out the spring and slide.

<002 97 shadow 1100 slide spring>

Since my ultrasonic cleaner is small to prevent part mix ups I only put one carbs parts at the time in it. One nice thing about dealing with the Shadow carburetors is that both of the air cut off diaphragms are on the outside of both carb bodies and can be reached without breaking the carbs apart, this makes it much easier to clean those critical passages.

<003 carb parts ultrasonic cleaner>

Now it’s time to begin the modifications that will really wake your old Honda up and make it sing a new song of power and glory! You should wash the slides off good and inspect the diaphragms for holes, or rips, if you find any problems you will need to replace the diaphragm before proceeding but if all is well, look insde at the retainer and using either a proper JIS screwdriver or an 8mm socket twist the retainer counter clockwise about 1/4 of a turn until it pops loose and will fall out, remove the needle (aka the metering rod) being sure to note if there damage to the retainer or it’s spring.

<004 shadow ace jet needle retainer>

The Dynojet Research needles are packaged as shown, refer to the instructions in your jet kit for assembly instructions to match your particular application.

<005 dynojet research metering rod>

Here’s a quick shot of the slide, retainer & jet needle.

<006 metering rod removed honda 1100>

The next picture down is a comparison of the shape of the stock needle to a Dynojet needle. This difference in shape makes enough of a difference in flow that it should be used with the matching jets supplied in the kit. Likewise you can’t use your leftover kit jets in another bike without purchasing the correct needles.

The stock Honda needle is on top and the Dynojet needle is below it.

<007 needle jet comparison>

To simplify reinstalling the needle first insert it along with any spacers into the slide, then place the retainer into the end of an 8mm socket like this and then turn the slide upside down

<008 reinstall shadow ace jet needle>

while holding onto the needle as shown in the following picture andinsert the retainer into place and turning it to the locked position.

<009 metering rod install honda shadow>

Before I finish cleaning the bodies the idle mixture screws need to be removed. They are located under these caps on the sides of the carburetors. If you live in a state that requires visual emissions equipment inspection you should purchase new caps when you buy your carb kits or your bike will fail inspection if it does not have these caps on it.

<010 mixture screw cover>

Centerpunch the holes and the very carefully drill through the caps stopping as soon as the drill bit breaks through the caps so you do not damage your carbs.

<011 drill it out>

Then you a sheet metal screw of the right size (supplied in the Dynojet kit as is the drill bit) and screw it into the hole far enough to get a good grip on it & then

<012 screw it in>

yank it out with a pair of pliers. If you are just installing the jet kit without cleaning the carburetor turn the screws all the way in until seated and then back out 3 turns for your initial setting. If your are cleaning the carbs as I am here carefully remove the mixture screws, their springs, washers and o-rings and then thoroughly clean the carb bodies.

<013 pull it out>

In this shot below things are going back together now, just reverse the diss-assembly process checking all of your parts,float height, gaskets etc. and correcting any problems you find.

<014 honda ace carburetors>



<015 dynojet research jets>

When it is time to put in the main jet you have a decision to make based upon the modification level of your motorcycle. Since this particular bike had a pair of large tube drag pipes on it, I went ahead & put the largest jets in the kit in it. Don’t just automatically put the biggest jets in especially if you are running stock or quite aftermarket pipes and the factory air filter setup.

<016 97 honda shadow 1100 carbs>

You should also be prepared to do a bit of tweaking especially to the idle mixture screws to get a good idle with a good throttle response as you come off idle. One must also be prepared if necessary to pull the carburetors completely back out if need be to try a different set of jets or alter the jet needle cir-clip position for the best running. If you pay attention to the instructions in the kit this is not likely but it is a possibility.


<017 Carburetors ready to reinstall>

There you have it, if you’re contemplating doing this to your bike at home first make sure that it is running well, and that it has new plugs, and that the ignition and charging systems are up to spec, and that there are no other problems such as cracked intake boots that would cause you to have drivability issues. If you put a jet kit in a motorcycle that is not running right to start with, you are very likely to have a motorcycle with a jet kit in it that still does not run right.

Just take your time, read the directions, and keep everything as clean as possible and you should be able to make your old Shadow run & sound even better than it does now.

Peace Y’all

<97 Honda Shadow Ace>







97 Honda Shadow 1100 Carb Cleaning & Jetting ~ Part 1

<97 Honda Shadow American Classic Edition>

Let’s jump into another “how to” post! Above is today’s patient a 1997 Honda Shadow, a great riding 1100cc v-twin that while still running very well, needed a little tweaking.  These motorcycles came from the factory with the carburetors set up toward the lean end of the spectrum for emissions reasons. This led to some drivability issues on some of them, when you combine the original lean jetting with a set of drag pipes, and 17 years of ethanol contamination it was running mighty lean indeed. The engine had a tendency to run hot, hesitate on acceleration, and frequent backfiring on deceleration. So I am going to pull the carbs off, clean them up a bit and install a Dynojet Research jet kit in them. To hear what this bike sounds like before the carb tuning click here go to my youtube channel.

First get the bolt out of the rear of the passenger seat.

<001 ace seat bolt>

Then remove the 2 from beneath the drivers seat one on either side

<002 ace shadow seat bolt>

Lift it up and set it out of the way.

<003 honda shadow seat remove>

Locate the petcock and shut off the fuel.

<004 honda 1100 petcock off>

Remove the bolt at the rear of the tank,

<005 shadow 1100 tank bolt>

and the other one at the front of the tank.

<006 shadow ace tank bolt>

Disconnect the fuel line from the petcock.

<007 remove fuel hose>

afterwards lift the tank high enough to remove this vent hose from the bottom

<008 honda shadow tank vent>

After you have removed the gas tank and placed it in a safe location this is what you should see.

<009 honda 1100 air inlet>

The yellow plastic container is there to catch any oil that happens to emanate from the crankcase ventilation system, so unbolt it,

<010 shadow ace oil breather catch>

pull the hoses loose, and set it out of the way.

<011 crankcase vent hose honda>

Next loosen the hose clamps on the rubber piping that leads from the frame to the inlet of the carburetors.

<012 honda shadow air hose removal>

Now we can finally see the carbs!

<013 there be the carburetors>

Time to remove the throttle cables, remove the 2 screws (indicated by arrows) and you will be able to get the cables out of the pulley on the end of the butterfly shaft.

<014 1100 shadow throttle cable>

The cold start enrichener is next. These 2 little plungers take the place of choke flaps on the most of the last production carbureted motorcycles. Instead of blocking the air they just add more gas. It works well but is a bit more aggravating to remove. I used to have a special home made tool for getting these out but it has been at least 10 years since I saw it last so I just you whatever combination of open wrench & needle nose pliers that allows me to remove & reinstall them without boogering them up.

<015 honda enrichener aka choke>

Here I am holding one of the enrichment plungers so you can see what it looks like on the inside.

<016 cold start enrichner honda ace>

Go around to the right side of the bike and pull the hoses in this tee junction that was connected to the crankcase vent reservoir and fold them back out of the way.

<017 shadow crankcase vent hose>

The rear spark plug wire runs through a loom that is attached to the right carburetor so remove it and the enrichener  on this side.

<018 rear plug wire standoff 1100 shadow>

You can reach under the carbs now & loosen the clamps holding the carbs to the spigots.

<019 carb boot clamps honda shadow>

With a rocking and twisting motion you should be able to pop the carburetors loose, but dont rush to pull them up out of the frame just yet.

<020 pop the carburetors loose>

Before you try to pull them all the way out remove all of the fuel lines and vent hoses, being sure to note which hose goes to which barb.

<021 pull off all the hoses>

These carbs come out of the top, just tilt them up sideways and turn them as needed, this is actually much easier than most Japanese cruisers of the same time period that require you to remove the carbs from the side.

<022 shadow carbs come out the top.>

Here are the carbs sitting on the workbench ready for cleaning. The next step is into the parts washer to get all of the exterior crud off for dis-assembly.

<023 dirty nast filthy carburetors>

Keep checking back as I will be posting part 2 of this series very soon.

Peace Y’all

Part 2 of this how to article is up & you can reach it by clicking here.



Rock Oil’s Rockeze Maintenance Spray, a Psyco Product Review

Have you ever been caught off guard by a product?  It does not happen often, and most of the time it is a bad experience. There is however the rare occasion when you try something new and it works much better than you expected. Today, I am going to tell you about one of those times when I was pleasantly surprised by how well something worked.

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Rock Oil Rockeze 400ml maintenance spray


About a month ago I was granted the privilege of becoming a stocking dealer for Rock Oil products, and placed an order for various products to have on hand for sale & use. When I received my shipment there was a free sample of something labeled Rockeze maintenance spray. Reading the directions on the back it said to be used a penetrating oil & water displacer.

Now as an old motorcycle / metalworking hobbyist I use a lot of this type of product and tend to buy it in large quantities. I’ve used Kano Kroil, PB Blaster, Liquid Wrench, & of course WD40. By and large my personal experience is that all of these products work, and they all work about the same. Kroil might have a slight performance advantage due to its industrial strength formulation, but it is expensive and not as readily available as the other three.

With that in mind, my initial reaction to seeing this product was “meh,” but decided what the heck I will give it a try. A couple of weeks ago I bought an old minibike that the chain was completely seized up on, so to move it around the shop I had to pick up the back wheel. I just walked out there and soaked the chain down with this stuff and left it to soak overnight. While spraying the Rockeze I noticed that it was a darker color and a little bit thicker than the normal spray penetrants that I have used in the past. The next afternoon I rocked the minibike back & forth a couple of times and the chain broke free and has stayed that way.

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Over the next week I used and misused the product in the same way that I do with all penetrating lubes. I used it to remove water from metal parts, as a drilling & cutting oil to help keep my drill bits and bandsaw blade cool while cutting metal, and to provide lubrication for stuck fasteners and parts. One particular use that impressed me was removing the float pin from a severely corroded carburetor. Normally this is a job that calls for a pin punch, a small hammer, and a great deal of patience. After letting it soak for an hour this one was easily removed with a pair of needle nose pliers.


<rockeze spray & cb360 carburetor>
Believe it or not I got all of the jets out without mangling them.

<cb360t float pin in bad shape>
Look Ma no hammer! & no broken post either.

At first it took me aback that such a product came without the long flexible straw that one normally finds on American brand products of this kind. Being British the people at Rock Oil do things their own way. The spray nozzle has a short straw made into it, which actually gives you very good control of the spray direction.


As I mentioned earlier, Rockeze is a darker color, and it is thicker than the other stuff I have on hand, and stays in place better, but this does not seem to affect its ability to soak into corroded nuts and bolts. For the ultimate test this past Saturday, my wife and I completely disassembled two complete motorcycles to sell the used parts, and I was very happy with the job that it performed, and for once I can say that there is a better penetrating lubricant on the market.

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This is what the spray nozzle looks like. It works very well.

At the time I received my can of Rockeze, it was not on sale in my store and quite frankly if it had not done so well it would not be there now. So click here to go check it out, and it will be on my table at various events that I will be attending this year.


Peace Y’all


How To Adjust Valve Lash (1980 Honda CB650 SOHC)

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Honda CB650 SOHC Valve adjusters

" data-medium-file="//i1.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lash-1.jpg?fit=300%2C225&ssl=1" data-large-file="//i1.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lash-1.jpg?fit=474%2C356&ssl=1" loading="lazy" class="size-large wp-image-2951" src="//i1.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lash-1.jpg?resize=474%2C355&ssl=1" alt="" width="474" height="355" srcset="//i1.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lash-1.jpg?w=3648&ssl=1 3648w, //i1.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lash-1.jpg?resize=150%2C112&ssl=1 150w, //i1.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lash-1.jpg?resize=300%2C225&ssl=1 300w, //i1.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lash-1.jpg?resize=1024%2C768&ssl=1 1024w, //i1.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lash-1.jpg?w=948&ssl=1 948w, //i1.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lash-1.jpg?w=1422&ssl=1 1422w" sizes="(max-width: 474px) 100vw, 474px" data-recalc-dims="1" />
Here I’ve already removed the tank and all of the necessary engine covers.

Since I have already put enough miles on this bike since I got it running to warrant an oil change I decided to re-check the valve adjustment for two reasons; one is that as long as the engine had been sitting without running I want to keep a close eye on it for a while & two so that I could show everyone how I do it. As you can see in the photo above I’ve already removed the gas tank, all four spark plugs  and all of the appropriate engine covers. The first thing to do before you adjust the valve lash is to adjust the cam chain tensioner. On a 1980 Honda CB650 this is done by loosening the nut on the rear of the cylinder just a little bit. Do not remove it just loosen it some

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Honda CB650 Cam Chain Tensioner Nut

" data-medium-file="//i2.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lash-2.jpg?fit=300%2C225&ssl=1" data-large-file="//i2.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lash-2.jpg?fit=474%2C356&ssl=1" loading="lazy" class="size-large wp-image-2952" src="//i2.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lash-2.jpg?resize=474%2C355&ssl=1" alt="Honda CB650 Cam Chain Tensioner Nut" width="474" height="355" srcset="//i2.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lash-2.jpg?w=3648&ssl=1 3648w, //i2.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lash-2.jpg?resize=150%2C112&ssl=1 150w, //i2.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lash-2.jpg?resize=300%2C225&ssl=1 300w, //i2.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lash-2.jpg?resize=1024%2C768&ssl=1 1024w, //i2.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lash-2.jpg?w=948&ssl=1 948w, //i2.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lash-2.jpg?w=1422&ssl=1 1422w" sizes="(max-width: 474px) 100vw, 474px" data-recalc-dims="1" />
This is the nut you loosen to adjust the cam chain tensioner.

Then put the correct size wrench on the hex spacer behind the nut at the ignition unit on the right side of the engine. Then rotate the wrench clockwise slowly 4 to 5 turns as you simultaneously tighten the lock nut that you loosened at the beginning of this step. This is also the first thing you should try if you own a motorcycle and you can hear the cam chain rattling, but if after making the correct adjustments you still have a rattle then it will be time to start replacing parts. Keep the wrench that you used to turn the crankshaft handy, you are gonna need it a few more times.

"}" data-image-title="" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="//i2.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lash-3.jpg?fit=300%2C225&ssl=1" data-large-file="//i2.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lash-3.jpg?fit=474%2C356&ssl=1" loading="lazy" class="size-large wp-image-2953" src="//i2.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lash-3.jpg?resize=474%2C355&ssl=1" alt="1980 Honda Ignition Pulse Generators" width="474" height="355" srcset="//i2.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lash-3.jpg?w=3648&ssl=1 3648w, //i2.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lash-3.jpg?resize=150%2C112&ssl=1 150w, //i2.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lash-3.jpg?resize=300%2C225&ssl=1 300w, //i2.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lash-3.jpg?resize=1024%2C768&ssl=1 1024w, //i2.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lash-3.jpg?w=948&ssl=1 948w, //i2.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lash-3.jpg?w=1422&ssl=1 1422w" sizes="(max-width: 474px) 100vw, 474px" data-recalc-dims="1" />
The Clymer manual describes this as a 15/16″ nut. That is wrong this is a 24mm. OOPS

Here in this picture taken on the left side of the engine you can see 2 of the three openings in which we will be working to check & set the valve lash. The adjusters for the intake valves are on the back of the head in front of the carburetors and the exhaust valve adjusters are on the front of the head behind where the exhaust pipes stick out. The first step is to get the number 1 cylinder to top dead center. Take your large wrench and rotate the crankshaft clockwise and watch for the intake rocker arm on the first cylinder to drop down into the head and start to rise back up. Then look at the timing marks on the ignition advance unit (photo is further down the page) and continue to slowly turn the engine until the 1.4 T mark is aligned with the pointer that is cast into the crankcase.

"}" data-image-title="" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="//i2.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lash-4.jpg?fit=300%2C225&ssl=1" data-large-file="//i2.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lash-4.jpg?fit=474%2C356&ssl=1" loading="lazy" class="size-large wp-image-2954" src="//i2.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lash-4.jpg?resize=474%2C355&ssl=1" alt="Honda SOHC Cam & Rockers" width="474" height="355" srcset="//i2.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lash-4.jpg?w=3648&ssl=1 3648w, //i2.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lash-4.jpg?resize=150%2C112&ssl=1 150w, //i2.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lash-4.jpg?resize=300%2C225&ssl=1 300w, //i2.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lash-4.jpg?resize=1024%2C768&ssl=1 1024w, //i2.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lash-4.jpg?w=948&ssl=1 948w, //i2.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lash-4.jpg?w=1422&ssl=1 1422w" sizes="(max-width: 474px) 100vw, 474px" data-recalc-dims="1" />
The camshaft & rocker arms are in the left hole & one of the adjusters is in the right hole.

At this point both the intake & exhaust valve on cylinder number one should be loose enough both rocker arms to be wiggled. If not you either have a valve that is way too tight or you did not stop turning the crankshaft at the right mark, either way you should verify which problem you have before moving on. a simple way to see if the cylinder is at top dead center is to take a long small diameter wooden or plastic dowel and insert it into the spark plug hole. If the piston is at the top of the cylinder the dowel will not go in very far at all.

With the number one piston at TDC on a 1980 CB650 you should be able to adjust both valves on the number one cylinder, The exhaust valve on number two, & the intake valve on number three. Once you have those done you need to repeat the step above but this time watch the intake rocker of cylinder 4 on the right side of the motor cycle. With that one at TDC you can adjust both valves on number four, the exhaust valve on number three, and the intake valve of number two.

Lets talk about tools for a little bit. All of the shop manuals show a special tool for adjusting the valves, but the simple truth of the matter is that for a number of engines you don’t need them and this CB650 is one such example. For the lock nut, I just clamped a pair of Vise Grips around an old cheap 10mm socket that I have on hand and then just used the proper size of flat-head screwdriver to turn the adjustment screw with. Works great for me on this motorcycle, your mileage may vary, if you break something I’m not responsible, etc.

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tools for valve adjustment 1980 CB650

" data-medium-file="//i1.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lash-5.jpg?fit=300%2C225&ssl=1" data-large-file="//i1.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lash-5.jpg?fit=474%2C356&ssl=1" loading="lazy" class="size-large wp-image-2955" src="//i1.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lash-5.jpg?resize=474%2C355&ssl=1" alt="tools for valve adjustment" width="474" height="355" srcset="//i1.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lash-5.jpg?w=3648&ssl=1 3648w, //i1.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lash-5.jpg?resize=150%2C112&ssl=1 150w, //i1.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lash-5.jpg?resize=300%2C225&ssl=1 300w, //i1.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lash-5.jpg?resize=1024%2C768&ssl=1 1024w, //i1.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lash-5.jpg?w=948&ssl=1 948w, //i1.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lash-5.jpg?w=1422&ssl=1 1422w" sizes="(max-width: 474px) 100vw, 474px" data-recalc-dims="1" />
Macgyver was an amateur!

Speaking of tools let’s get the feeler gauges to set the valves with. The ones that I use are from Snapon and are about a foot long. The also came with a nifty holder that is very handy for working with the really thinner sizes in hard to reach places. The intake valve lash setting for this generation of Honda CB650 is .05mm (.002 inches) and the exhaust setting is .076mm (.003). So to do this job I will get out three feeler gauges in sizes .002,.003 & .004 (.1mm). Why three sizes? I’ll explain in a minute.

& camshaft. This is where you measure the lash on this engine. Basically what I do is turn the adjustment screw until I can just slip the feeler gauge into place with just a little bit of wiggling. You should tighten the lock nut each time you do this as it may affect the final adjustment. If you tighten the lock nut and find that your lash setting has changed tighten the adjustment screw a bit to compensate, re-tighten the lock nut and check it again. Usually after I do all of this, and I am satisfied with my setting, I then take the next larger feeler gauge (.003) and try to insert it into the gap. If it doesn’t fit great I move on to the next one but if it slips in I readjust the lash until the correct sizes slips in fairly easy but the next size up wont go in. You may wonder why not just set it a little tight and not worry about it? I like to set these things exactly as needed for the best performance. The other reason is the way that motorcycle engine valves wear. Very rarely is there any wear at the top of the valve, most of the wear occurs where the valve closes at the valve seat in the head, this causes the valve lash to get tighter as the engine wears & not looser. This is especially problematic when you are running old motorcycles on the toxic, corrosive, & environmentally unsound corn juice that passes for gasoline in this day & time. If you must err on the side of caution it would be a little tiny bit better for your valve lash to be just a hair too loose than to be to tight.

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For really thin feeler gauges like this .002 I recommend a holder like this one from Snapon tools.

Next take the .003 feeler gauge & set the exhaust valves as shown here. Then use the .004 gauge to make sure your adjustment is just right. It is especially critical not to over tighten the exhaust valve lash. If the valve wears down and is not able to close all the way due to a lack of clearance you may get a burned valve & a big repair bill.

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If you have a late 70s or early 80s Honda with the factory electronic ignition you definitely want to perform this next step. First get yourself a set of nonmagnetic feeler gauges. DO NOT not use steel feeler gauges to set the magnetic pickups aka pulse generators on these bikes.

"}" data-image-title="" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="//i2.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lash-8.jpg?fit=300%2C225&ssl=1" data-large-file="//i2.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lash-8.jpg?fit=474%2C356&ssl=1" loading="lazy" class="size-large wp-image-2959" src="//i2.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lash-8.jpg?resize=474%2C355&ssl=1" alt="Brass non-magnetic feeler gauges" width="474" height="355" srcset="//i2.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lash-8.jpg?w=3648&ssl=1 3648w, //i2.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lash-8.jpg?resize=150%2C112&ssl=1 150w, //i2.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lash-8.jpg?resize=300%2C225&ssl=1 300w, //i2.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lash-8.jpg?resize=1024%2C768&ssl=1 1024w, //i2.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lash-8.jpg?w=948&ssl=1 948w, //i2.wp.com/www.motopsyco.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/lash-8.jpg?w=1422&ssl=1 1422w" sizes="(max-width: 474px) 100vw, 474px" data-recalc-dims="1" />
Non-magnetic feeler gauges are a necessity to set air gap on the pulse generator of most OEM electronic ignitions of this time period.

The range of settings for the air gap between the pulse generators (black boxes in the picture below) and the trigger mounted on the end of the crankshaft is .012-.016 inches (0.3-0.4mm) You can also see the pointer & the timing marks that I mentioned above in this picture.

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1980 CB650 timing marks, pulse generators & advance plate

Believe it or not I have never seen any motorcycles with this gap set correctly from the factory, but the system is still good enough so that most bikes run without any problems whatsoever. Still if you have one of these and it runs okay except for a little surging & hesitation the pulse generator air gap should be the first thing you check. To set mine I just rotate the engine until the trigger ( little square nib sticking out of the crankshaft ) is aligned with nib on the pickup, loosen up the adjustment screws, stick the feeler gauge in place, & hold it all together while tightening the screws back down. Then rotate & repeat to do the other one.

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This makes a huge difference in engine performance if it is set correctly.

There you have it, put a little lube on the advance mechanism behind the plate, reinstall all of your covers, spark plugs & fuel tank. Now it’s time to fire it up & check it out. Once you are sure that you did everything correctly & your engine is sounding just the way it should take it out for a ride & enjoy the fruits of your labor!

Peace Y’all

How to Deal With Stuck of Frozen Screws & Bolts

I was invited to be a Guest Blogger over at the Clark Heintz Tools blog, so I sat down and wrote for them what I hope is a nice informative article on one of the most vexing problems anyone can have when working on a motorcycle or bicycle. Click here to go check it out.

There is even a picture of the infamous old  Honda oil filter bolt showing just exactly what you might have to do to remove one…..

If you like the post let them know, if you don’t let me know.

Peace Y’all