Author Topic: Free 550F!  (Read 9190 times)

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Offline sanglasmick

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Free 550F!
« on: March 17, 2012, 08:04:29 am »
Ok, once I have started this thread, I now feel obliged to do some work! This bike (for want of a better description) came to me in an unusual way!
I got a call one Thursday from a friend, who asked if I wanted a free Honda 550 which was stripped about two years previously. The owner wanted it gone from his shed by the weekend. Usual story, lost interest and needed space in a hurry. My problem was, it was my wedding anniversary weekend and my in-laws had come to stay, so I couldn't go to collect! The bike was over 200 miles away on the far side of our small country! I live in Wexford and the bike was in Dingle, Co Kerry.
I mentioned this to one of the guys I work with, who told me his Father was going to Kerry on Saturday! I couldn't believe my luck. I knew his father and rang him on the off chance that he may be able to collect it for me. Thankfully he said he would be able to collect! So instead of a 400 mile round trip I had to collect the bike on Monday evening about 7 miles from my home!

Turns out the story I heard about the bike wasn't strictly true. The original owner was driving one evening when a bee or wasp got into his helmet! In a panic he ditched the bike to get his helmet off in a hurry, tripped and smashed his head against a rock, needing steel plates to sort out the damage to his head, he decided to give up biking. He gave the bike to a friend who was going to restore it, but never did anything with it for about 20 years! His son then took on the project, and stripped the bike about 2 years ago. But thats all he did. Then it came my way.

The bike itself seems to be nearly all there, showing 45000 kms about 28k miles, but its on foreign registration plates and all paperwork is lost. I think its a  CB550F2 from around 1977 but I think the engine may be from an older model. Frame number 2109332 and engine number CB550E-1148367. If anyone can tell me more info I would appreciate it. The registration plate shows MF28HS but no country of origin. I'll worry about that later.

For now the frame and swingarm, and various brackets have gone for blasting so I can start painting. I need to build this bike on a budget and would love to have it running for Summer 2013. Will try to post some photos.
http://forums.sohc4.net/index.php?topic=103837.0
1977 CB550F2, 1974 Sanglas 400E, 1981 XJ750A.

Offline LesterPiglet

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Re: Free 550F!
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2012, 08:41:33 am »
That looks rubbish mate, I'll nip down and remove that for you free of charge.  ;)
The engine is 77 I think. Mine is a 77 with engine no. 1144xxx
Why can't I get lucky? Have fun with that.
'Then' and 'than' are completely different words and have completely different meanings. Same with 'of' and 'have'. Set and sit. There, their and they're. Draw and drawer. Could care less/couldn't care less. Bought/brought FFS.


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Offline sanglasmick

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Re: Free 550F!
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2012, 11:46:38 pm »
Thanks Lester,

I thought the frame was 77 but engine earlier?
http://forums.sohc4.net/index.php?topic=103837.0
1977 CB550F2, 1974 Sanglas 400E, 1981 XJ750A.

Offline sanglasmick

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Re: Free 550F!
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2012, 05:38:25 am »
Been a bit busy in the shed, trying to make some sense of the mess! No seriously, I have been making a DIY pumped parts washer, and planning a blasting cabinet for medium sized parts.
Have a 50L compressor ordered, which hopefully will be strong enough for soda blasting. Will let you know how it goes.

Still waiting for frame to come back from blasting!
http://forums.sohc4.net/index.php?topic=103837.0
1977 CB550F2, 1974 Sanglas 400E, 1981 XJ750A.

Offline LesterPiglet

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Re: Free 550F!
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2012, 06:27:52 am »
I'm keeping an eye on this.
'Then' and 'than' are completely different words and have completely different meanings. Same with 'of' and 'have'. Set and sit. There, their and they're. Draw and drawer. Could care less/couldn't care less. Bought/brought FFS.


Les Ross.            Certified by a Professional

Offline Rob69

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Re: Free 550F!
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2012, 06:52:26 am »
Been a bit busy in the shed, trying to make some sense of the mess! No seriously, I have been making a DIY pumped parts washer, and planning a blasting cabinet for medium sized parts.
Have a 50L compressor ordered, which hopefully will be strong enough for soda blasting. Will let you know how it goes.

Still waiting for frame to come back from blasting!
You can't go wrong for free and it looks like the engine and sub-assemblies are all intact. I've been around motorcycles for 32 years and have even worked at a dealership for a number of years, but I'm in the middle of my first ground-up restoration. Which reminds me, my parts should back today from being chrome plated. Expensive.

Offline vincentlefre

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Re: Free 550F!
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2012, 12:47:26 pm »
Nice find! Pretty certain that'll be a '77 engine. My engine number is only 361 bikes away from yours and it's a '77.

Offline sanglasmick

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Re: Free 550F!
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2012, 12:28:04 am »
Got my frame back from the Blasters on Friday evening, at last! They did a great job of removing the original paint and the brown base coat the PO had put on. Only problem was getting it all primed quickly as we had to go out Friday evening and wouldn't get back until lunchtime Saturday.

After blasting the frame looked very grey, but next day, parts of it and some of the brackets were turning black. I think this is the start of oxidisation, or rusting. I rubbed it down with 600 grade wet and dry paper, used dry and then used an etch primer from an aerosol. I have never had issues with aerosols so long as you use good brands. I use Upol acid etch, and then I will use their high build primer before the top coats.

I also finished my parts washer during the week. So next I will strip the engine so I can see what its like and get it ready for painting. The frame can wait a week or two until the weather gets a little warmer here in Ireland.

Don't know how to add video of parts washer but here's some pics of the work to date.
http://forums.sohc4.net/index.php?topic=103837.0
1977 CB550F2, 1974 Sanglas 400E, 1981 XJ750A.

Offline sanglasmick

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Re: Free 550F!
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2012, 12:30:06 am »
Don't know why but pics didn't attach last time.
http://forums.sohc4.net/index.php?topic=103837.0
1977 CB550F2, 1974 Sanglas 400E, 1981 XJ750A.

Offline sanglasmick

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Re: Free 550F!
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2012, 11:25:08 am »
I have decided to try and stay positive through this build, as sometimes after you start and things go wrong you see the whole mountain and not just the next step. So if you have read the start of this thread, you'll know this project cost me not a cent to start with! No matter what I find I really shouldn't complain.

On a positive note, my parts washer works a treat, and cost me €7 in total. That was just for the quarter turn lever valve for draining the tank when I need to change the fluid. I won't include the €10 for green or marked diesel, which I'm using as a degreaser. Ok, ok before all the shouts start! Diesel is only used as an initial de-greaser to remove the heavy crud. But it also has great releasing/creeping properties and is not easily flammable.

Long weekend off here in Ireland. Had Good Friday, (don't understand the term, pubs/bars closed and can't buy beer or wine anywhere), and today, Easter holiday Monday off as well as the usual Sat and Sun off. Decided to see what surprises the engine held. I was always going to strip it anyway to paint cases and top end. I hadn't really looked at it except the day I got it, when it would turn over by kick start and make the correct sort of huffing and puffing sounds! Also all five gears could be selected easily.

Today you can see the rocker cover and top breather cover bolts had all been left loose by someone at some stage. I don't even know if this is the original engine. Anyway with rocker cover off, some bad news started to unfold. Seems these engines can be hard on rockers and camshafts. On mine the inlet and exhaust atppets of followers on one and two are shot and the inlet on number 3. The equivalent damage is obvious on the can lobes too! Sh*t! Anybody got a spare 650 camshaft (why not? It needs a camshaft, it may be as well be good un)and are willing to post it to Ireland? Oh Yea and five followers too!

I really hope the Previous owner enjoyed doing the damage and if he was in a drag I hope he/she won! I would love to think of this poor bike being ridden hard in it's youth, and having a ball whipping all else around it. It will get all the remedial care it needs now like a triple bypass and maybe a few minor transplants. Then it will eat healthy food (regular oil changes) take some aerobic exercise, (Sunday spins, in the dry), go to the Gym, (or a few classic shows where hopefully it's admired like the forty something year old that it probably will be before its finished!) and loved, like every old folk deserves. (Not that forty is old......God to be forty again!)

The good news is the bores are good. There seems to have been some care taken to hone bores and maybe even gas flow. This will need cleaning up and further examination. Certainly the head and barrels have been off , don't know what for, maybe never will, but apart from the cam damage this motor looks well looked after so far.  There is a broken fin behind number four cylinder, but this will  not affect it's running so probably will  not be repaired, unless I find someone over here who offers a repair very reasonably priced. There is a recession here!

So, I will need gaskets and seals galore! Anybody got any preference on brands? In particular those to avoid as I can't help myself buying at bargain prices (read cheap!) And a cam and some followers. Ebay here I come!
http://forums.sohc4.net/index.php?topic=103837.0
1977 CB550F2, 1974 Sanglas 400E, 1981 XJ750A.

Offline sanglasmick

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Re: Free 550F!
« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2012, 11:29:48 am »
Forgot to mention the plugs, number one seemed to be running nice, but the others were jet black! And the same with the valves in number one cyl, it looked a nice coffee brown.
http://forums.sohc4.net/index.php?topic=103837.0
1977 CB550F2, 1974 Sanglas 400E, 1981 XJ750A.

Offline sanglasmick

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Re: Free 550F!
« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2012, 04:40:11 am »
Might be useful to someone.

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/steven.cooper2/CB550_list.html

I just bought a camshaft and rockers from this guy. Steve Cooper is his name. Very helpful guy. has some good stuff at reasonalbe prices!

Painting my frame today!
http://forums.sohc4.net/index.php?topic=103837.0
1977 CB550F2, 1974 Sanglas 400E, 1981 XJ750A.

Offline Killer Canary

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Re: Free 550F!
« Reply #12 on: April 13, 2012, 10:07:11 am »
Is this the VJMC Steve Cooper, writes a column in Classic Motorcycle Mechanics?
If it's worth doing at all it's worth over-doing.
Honda CB400F CB550, GL500, CBR929, MT250
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Offline sanglasmick

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Re: Free 550F!
« Reply #13 on: April 14, 2012, 11:47:47 pm »
Yea, that's what I thought Killer Canary.
I asked the question in one of our emails but in the replies he never said? So I'm not sure if it's the same guy. ???
http://forums.sohc4.net/index.php?topic=103837.0
1977 CB550F2, 1974 Sanglas 400E, 1981 XJ750A.

Offline sanglasmick

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Re: Free 550F!
« Reply #14 on: May 21, 2012, 02:53:22 am »
Hello again! Have been busy with other stuff for a while now, but will get into the 550 again soon. Been rebuilding a gearbox for a mate with a 1978 KZ1000 which was jumping out of second gear, and sorting out a faulty ignition system for the same friend on his Spectre 1100. Oh yea, forgot the charging system on his KZ750 bobber, and starting and cam chain issue with his KZ650! That's what friends are for.

Got an offer that was too good to be true on the painting of the 550 frame. I have worked in the motor trade for many years, in Parts, and have got to know a lot of panel beaters and spray painters. I try and tell everyone that I'm into bikes as you never know what they come across and what bargains you can pick up. Anyway, one painter I have known for many years asked if I was building anything at the moment. I told him the story of getting the 550 and what stage the build was at. He very kindly offered to lay on the top coats of gloss black on the frame and various brackets for a very reasonable €50. A couple of days later I dropped the parts to his shop and waited like an expectant Father for his call. Four days later the call came, he said he re primed for a better finish and would deliver to my work later that day. I couldn't wait.

When he dropped off the parts my heart sank. I had spent time explaining to him which surfaces would be "on show" and which would not be seen. It looked OK to start, nice glossy frame but some primer showing through on the underside of the centre brackets, swing arm glossy on the inner edge only!, battery and regulator brackets had been put down on cardboard while still wet! and card had stuck to them! I know I can re-do the bad bits, but I shouldn't have to! I couldn't say anything to the painter as I still do Parts business with him, and I didn't want to show disappointment.

Lesson learnt, "I'll do it myself said the little red hen", If I can do it, I will do it. If I cant, I will either learn how to, if I can't do that I will not pay for a cheap alternative, I will pay an expert! It's cheaper in the long run!

My blasting cabinet is coming along too. I will post pics when it's up and running. Will try soda blasting the engine, too many scary stories about sand/grit/glass blocking oil ways! This, I will learn to do!

Have decided to build up the frame, then mount rebuilt bottom end and assemble the top end while engine is in. Where I live it's not easy to get someone with the savvy to help, so this is probably the best option.

I have said in an earlier post that I need to stay positive through this build, well someone else's bad painting ain't going to stop me!
http://forums.sohc4.net/index.php?topic=103837.0
1977 CB550F2, 1974 Sanglas 400E, 1981 XJ750A.

Offline CafeDawg

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Re: Free 550F!
« Reply #15 on: May 21, 2012, 08:13:23 am »
sanglasmick,  first off I feel your pain, I've got a basket case of my own 76 CB550 with engine issues but also like you I got it cheap $75 for a 95% complete bike, so I try not to complain ( I do better some days than others).  As for engine/frame numbers have you download the manual from here on the sight? Great resource if you haven't and I believe all the serial #'s are in their.   Doing it yourself seems the best way to go, at least that way there's nobody but urself to be upset at.  I've got a buddy does Autobody when he's not in the bar which is to say not often and he's been promising me paint on my 750 and blasting on my 550 frame for months.  Ended up buying a small blaster and doing it myself, using soda on the carbs and chrome works like a charm.  I like the parts washer set up, looks up to the task and gotta love the cheap price tag, hope the blast cabinet turn out as nice.

Anyway keep at it and I'll be following along.

Respect
CD
Respect & Understanding. U get what U give!
1976 CB550 basket case cafe rebuild
http://forums.sohc4.net/index.php?topic=106235.0
1978 CB750F evolving, daily rider
http://forums.sohc4.net/index.php?topic=89745.0

Offline sanglasmick

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Re: Free 550F!
« Reply #16 on: June 15, 2012, 07:31:08 am »
Hey CD,

Saw your thread! Nice seeds!! My motor is not as dry! as yours but will still need work. Love the space you're working in and I see you have company...Man's best friend.

Got my paint sorted at last. Have been away on holidays for a week or so and just getting back into the shed this evening. Hoping to have the blasting cabinet up and running this weekend. Will post pics.

Got a couple of parts back on my frame so the build has started in earnest, if a little slowly.

If blaster works it will speed up the progress, as the budget for the build is non existant at the moment.....lots of time but no funds!
« Last Edit: June 15, 2012, 07:57:24 am by sanglasmick »
http://forums.sohc4.net/index.php?topic=103837.0
1977 CB550F2, 1974 Sanglas 400E, 1981 XJ750A.

Offline sanglasmick

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Re: Free 550F!
« Reply #17 on: June 17, 2012, 03:44:49 am »
Got to do my first bit of grit/sand blasting yesterday! Another first with this build.
I will post pics of the cabinet I built when it's finished, but for now its just a box of sorts, with a blasting gun fed into it. The gun has a cannister which needs refilling too often, so I will have to rig a recycling system to use directly from a tank. Still for now it works OK. There is no budget for the bike, never mind a blasting cabinet, so I am very grateful to a good friend who donated the blasting gun and a bag of sand to the cause.

I started with one of the engine mounting plates which holds the clutch cable, that took about 10 mins to do. Then I started on the top fork yoke, but that took about 2 and a half hours, so there is still lots to learn about blasting! Then I did one of the handle bar mounts to show the difference between before and after.

I need to experiment with grit grades and get my lights rigged up, and I want to try soda too, but all in good time.

Still, this is one of those things that I said I'd learn to do and this was a positive first step on that particular road.

Beers are deserved!!
« Last Edit: June 17, 2012, 03:47:39 am by sanglasmick »
http://forums.sohc4.net/index.php?topic=103837.0
1977 CB550F2, 1974 Sanglas 400E, 1981 XJ750A.

Offline LesterPiglet

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Re: Free 550F!
« Reply #18 on: June 17, 2012, 03:48:30 am »
I would say if it's taking that long you either need more air pressure or coarser grit.
That looks like a satisfying job.
'Then' and 'than' are completely different words and have completely different meanings. Same with 'of' and 'have'. Set and sit. There, their and they're. Draw and drawer. Could care less/couldn't care less. Bought/brought FFS.


Les Ross.            Certified by a Professional

Offline sanglasmick

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Re: Free 550F!
« Reply #19 on: June 17, 2012, 10:23:19 am »
I'd say you're right on both counts Les.

Problem is I could only afford a 50 litre  compressor, and as I said the grit was free, (donated), but I will try coarser grit soon, and report!
http://forums.sohc4.net/index.php?topic=103837.0
1977 CB550F2, 1974 Sanglas 400E, 1981 XJ750A.

Offline CafeDawg

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Re: Free 550F!
« Reply #20 on: June 18, 2012, 08:18:11 pm »
Those are the constraints of DIY equipment.  I've got a small  compressor and I wait longer for it to refill than I do to actually blast.  I'm running soda and 36% aluminum oxide through my blaster and like I said works good for some stuff especially where pitting can be a concern but not on tough stuff like the frame.  Finally gave the frame to my friend and he got it all done while I was on Vacation, now I just have to pay the man....so much for more parts this month.  Still nice that it's done.    Like they say you can have it done right, done fast or done cheap but ya can't have all three, so pick your poison. Definitely share some pics of your set up when you have it dialed in.

Respect
CD
Respect & Understanding. U get what U give!
1976 CB550 basket case cafe rebuild
http://forums.sohc4.net/index.php?topic=106235.0
1978 CB750F evolving, daily rider
http://forums.sohc4.net/index.php?topic=89745.0

Offline sanglasmick

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Re: Free 550F!
« Reply #21 on: July 18, 2012, 06:34:53 am »
Pics of progress up tonight. Deffo!
http://forums.sohc4.net/index.php?topic=103837.0
1977 CB550F2, 1974 Sanglas 400E, 1981 XJ750A.

Offline sanglasmick

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Re: Free 550F!
« Reply #22 on: July 18, 2012, 02:28:45 pm »
Pics as promised!

Thanks a bunch to Sohron for his great reference on the air box. I knew what to look for thanks to him.

Blasting cabinet is still under development. Need to organize recycling the sand and get the lights working. The fridge has a fluorescent tube along the hinge of the door, but the tube is blown and is not a standard fitting.

Clocks are not yet refurbished, just placed to show my five year old daughter what it will look like.

The aim of the build is to have a standard looking bike, but with sensible mods. Stainless bolts, where possible, braided brake lines, maybe a second disc brake. But the bike has to be useable.

Slow progress, but progress none the less. I haven't worked on the bike for quite a while, but now can't wait to do more.

Cheers.
http://forums.sohc4.net/index.php?topic=103837.0
1977 CB550F2, 1974 Sanglas 400E, 1981 XJ750A.

Offline sanglasmick

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Re: Free 550F!
« Reply #23 on: July 18, 2012, 02:30:03 pm »
Cabinet pics would nt load earlier so here goes.
http://forums.sohc4.net/index.php?topic=103837.0
1977 CB550F2, 1974 Sanglas 400E, 1981 XJ750A.

Offline liPPy

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Re: Free 550F!
« Reply #24 on: July 18, 2012, 02:32:26 pm »
Looking great so far! Keep up the good work!

 

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