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Author Topic: Seamus - '74 550  (Read 21810 times)

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Offline theofam

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Seamus - '74 550
« on: February 03, 2010, 10:31:08 am »
As an Irish descendent, I always wanted to name a son "Seamus" (pronounced Shay-mus).  I thought, if a kid could get through life with a name like that, the world would be his oyster.  After all, the Irish would rule the world, if it weren't for their drinking!  My wife had other plans - I couldn't quite sell her on "Seamus."

Over the past few months, I decided at 41 it's time to overcome my MDD - mechanical deficit disorder.  I also realized I LOVE the look of gleaming pipes cascading out of a four-cylinder engine.  So, it became my mission to scour craigslist for a "project."

Two weeks ago I picked up a '74 CB550.  Using the word "project" is kind, as I think rust outweighs remaining steel and aluminum on the bike.  I've sat in the garage, staring at the bike, asking it if it was a boy or a girl.  I even looked up underneath the engine, but, given typical Irish endowment, I couldn't tell.  Well, today, I realized it is indeed a boy, and his name is Seamus.

Here is Seamus, just moments after being born on January 17, 2010.  Like any baby, he's got crusty, gooey gunk all over him.  But, I think he's beautiful.



When Seamus was born, he didn't have carbs, so he didn't make a peep when he came into the world.  I connected him up to his big sister Ruby (Jeep Rubicon) via jumper cables, and he came to life!  The neutral and oil pressure lights lit, the left blinkers worked front and back, the right blinkers stayed solid (hoping this is a bulb filament issue), and he had no brake light.  I flicked him from Off to On, and hit the starter.  Seamus tried to spin to life, but he was missing some food.  I sprayed starting fluid into the intake ports and, Voila, he started up (albeit for a few seconds)!

So, this is the start of our lives together.  As with all kids, Seamus will undoubtedly teach me more than I'll ever be able to teach him.  Seamus' ancestors lived a spartan past, so, he, like them, will sport only what's necessary to get by.  Seamus will not be restored to his original glory, as too many parts are missing.  He wants to be a racer - a pub racer.  How is that different than a cafe racer?  When you get to the cafe, a coffee will cost you $1.  A beer at a pub, $2.50.  So, you need more money left in your pocket after completing a pub racer, therefore the pub racer's budget is lower.  I don't know how I'm going to make it, but my budget for Seamus is $1,000!

Here are expenditures thusfar:

Budget
$1,000
$ Remaining
CB550
$250.00
$750.00
State Patrol VIN Certification
$20.00
$730.00
State Title Search on Frame & Engine
$4.40
$725.60
Surety Bond for Title
$100.00
$625.60
State Title Issuance Fee
$18.08
$607.52
Carb Rebuild Kits (4) - Ebay
$72.00
$535.52
Carb Leaf Springs (4) - Salvage
$10.78
$525.74
Headlight & Bucket
$15.99
$508.75
Front Brake Caliper
$45.78
$462.97

I drool over the build quality and ideas of this forum's members.  As a noob to CBs and anything mechanical, I'm going to make mistakes.  When you see them posted here, please step in - I value, welcome and, most of all, need all feedback.

First, does anyone know what seat this bike is supposed to be on?  It's missing the seat-side of the latch, and, where it was originally bolted on is about four inches forward of the latch mount on the frame.



I've found pipes online that will blow the majority of my remaining budget.  I suppose, like anything, you can spend as much money as you want should your heart desire.  Mine doesn't.  So, my #4 pipe looks like someone got mad at it!  I can't figure out how to pull this one out.  I've a buddy with a dent-remover, stick welder gun.  Can I have him weld a couple of those to the dent and yank it out?  I know it'll never be smooth, but I'm not looking for perfection.  I'm thinking, if I can get the majority of the dent out, scuff up the chrome real good and rattle can the pipes with some flat black, I may be able to pull it off!


Any advice on the petcock?  I'm not sure what to look for with these other than, "looks like gas is flowin'!"  I've seen rebuild kits.  Think I should clean it up and rebuild or replace?


Once I knew he would start, I started disassembly.  Here's what I did Day One:

After I took off the tank and seat, I thought back to the day I jump started Seamus.  As soon as he had power, lights came on - without an ignition switch.  I couldn't figure out how that happened, until I found this under the tank.  Looks like the PO put a jumper across the ignition wiring.  I still can't figure out how you could run the bike like this with a battery, unless you pull one of the ignition jumper leads off after turning the engine off and reconnecting it before starting the bike.


I pulled the pipes, too.  You can see the #1 pipe has a rust hole toward the front of the muffler.  Is there hope for fixing holes like these?  I've searched the site, but I can't find anything definitive.  I recall one member was going to try this: http://www.aluminumrepair.com/, but I didn't see updates on whether it worked.


I started to disconnect the wiring harness inside of the headlight housing.  I downloaded a CB550 wiring diagram off this site.  A big "thank you" to whomever uploaded it!  Much to my pleasure, I the wiring looks AWESOME!  I've seen others' bikes with melted wiring, and I feel for them.  Fortunately, it looks very clean.  A PO had disconnected the turn signal buzzer, but, other than that, everything seemed unmolested.


I also got the controls/switches removed from the handlebars (along with the handlebars).  Man, I'm not looking forward to internally wiring Seamus' next set of handlebars!  I'm kicking around Clubmans or clip ons.  Please chime in if you've internally wired Clubmans - looks like a booger with that tight bend!


I got all wiring disconnected back to the coil, where I decided it was a good stopping point.  So, after Day One, here's where I stood:




Offline VonYinzer

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Re: Seamus - '74 550
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2010, 10:46:43 am »
First off $250 is a good price for that bike with all its papers. Even if it is missing carbs. Nice pickup there. Anyhow, running wires through clubmans is a pain in the a$$ but can be done with some patience. Use hairspray (weird right?) as a wire lube. Works like a dream. Just work quickly. If you do want clubmans I suggest rearsets as well. They are not at all comfortable without them. For your pipes, just cut the mufflers off and find some slip-ons. Or look for a decent set of aftermarkets, used. They are out there. And avoid the starting fluid from now on... :-\ Keep the updates comin'.
THIS BIKE KILLS FASCISTS!!!!

Offline theofam

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Re: Seamus - '74 550
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2010, 11:01:39 am »
Day Two:

I didn't get much done.  I did get the coil, battery box and plenum/air filter chamber off Seamus.  Here are the latest pics:




With the above removed:


I've spent some time trying to figure out how to get rust off the various chrome bits.  I found this link:  http://www.vintagebmx.com/community/index.php?showtopic=4004702.  Check out the results the bmx guys are getting!  I ordered up 2 lbs. of oxalic acid from http://www.chemistrystore.com for about $13 (with shipping), and just dropped some parts in last night.  I'm also trying to find a cheap solution to a parts tumbler, so I'm trying some nuts and washers, too.  It's only been 16 hours, but I'm seeing some results in the bucket.


Here's a before pic of my header fin (don't know what it's officially called yet).  I'll post an "after" pic in the next few days.

Offline Little_Horse

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Re: Seamus - '74 550
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2010, 11:06:54 am »
First off I agree, $250 for a nearly complete bike is great. Second, a $1000 is a reasonable amount for a budget if you can build or modify everything or nearly everything yourself. I was able to keep my "cafe" racer at around $1200. Keep the pic and updates coming.
"Little Horse Cycles" facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Little-Horse-Cycles/185809474769493

LHC is my start up cafe racer shop specializing in custom parts, bikes, restoration and recreation

The 500 builds http://forums.sohc4.net/index.php?topic=64250.0

Offline theofam

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Re: Seamus - '74 550
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2010, 11:07:12 am »
VonYinzer, papers cost me an additional $150 through the State of Colorado.  In fact, I don't even have a title yet - fingers crossed it's in the mail within the next 2-3 weeks given no existing liens or previous owners could be found.

Cool thing is Seamus did come with carbs.  They just weren't installed.  They seem complete, short of those pesky leaf springs that cost me $10.78 and 2.5 hours of digging around in a salvage yard of carbs.  I just got the rebuild kits off EBay for $72.00 shipped (should have used partsnmore), DOH!  Could have saved $20.  Oh well, part of the learning process.

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Re: Seamus - '74 550
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2010, 11:07:30 am »
Cool!  Good stuff!

Welcome!

Keep us updated.

~Joe

Offline theofam

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Re: Seamus - '74 550
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2010, 12:22:13 pm »
Dangit cornandp, I thought I'd get back out to the garage for awhile, but I've been reading your build thread for the last 2 hours!!  It turned out AWESOME!  I don't have the tools you do, not even close, so I'm questioning my $1,000 budget.  I guess I'll not have the ability to do all the custom touches.  But, it'll still be my ride!

Yours is beautiful.  Hope you get the tank and tire soon.

Offline Ecosse

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Re: Seamus - '74 550
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2010, 04:28:57 pm »
i hear tell if you rub your gas tank and say his name three times, two tired will appear on your thread and bestow upon you 550 wisdom.

welcome to the forum fellow 550k0 owner.



edit for misspell.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2010, 11:52:09 pm by Ecosse »
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Offline Little_Horse

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Re: Seamus - '74 550
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2010, 06:55:13 pm »
thanks for looking at my build. If you don't have the tools you find "friends" with them. If you don't have the skills you find "friends" with them,  ;D. At any rate if you are resourceful you might surprise yourself. Some things are worth paying to have done right. Like upholstery and paint though. I am looking forward to seeing what you can do, one thing at a time and soon enough you are done.
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LHC is my start up cafe racer shop specializing in custom parts, bikes, restoration and recreation

The 500 builds http://forums.sohc4.net/index.php?topic=64250.0

Offline theofam

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Re: Seamus - '74 550
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2010, 09:17:04 pm »
Ecosse, I'll try it tomorrow!

cornandp, you're right.  Time to start some guns-for-whiskey (or welding-for-beer) exchanges with buddies!

Offline theofam

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Re: Seamus - '74 550
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2010, 05:25:22 pm »
I got a carb bowl soda blasted today!  I know, I know, not much progress.  But, I did get a soda blaster cabinet built.

http://forums.sohc4.net/index.php?topic=65208.0

BRING ON THE CARBS!

Offline Little_Horse

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Re: Seamus - '74 550
« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2010, 05:43:27 pm »
I was wondering what everyone was talking about when the sid soda blasted. Thanks for the links to how it is done.
"Little Horse Cycles" facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Little-Horse-Cycles/185809474769493

LHC is my start up cafe racer shop specializing in custom parts, bikes, restoration and recreation

The 500 builds http://forums.sohc4.net/index.php?topic=64250.0

Offline Ecosse

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Re: Seamus - '74 550
« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2010, 05:47:47 pm »
that's a nifty cabinet!

and a little progress is still progress.  8)
1974 CB550K     
                 
            Help stop TORTURE and SLAUGHTER of cats, dogs, and other kept animals.                                                  www.animalsasia.org

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Offline theofam

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Re: Seamus - '74 550
« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2010, 08:15:18 pm »
Cornandp, you bet!

Thanks, Ecosse.  Torchmonkey has some cool ideas, including his engine rotisserie.  Check it out, too:

http://forums.sohc4.net/index.php?topic=61848.75

Offline theofam

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Re: Seamus - '74 550
« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2010, 12:36:25 pm »
Yesterday I removed Seamus' brain (electrical harness).  I also got the grab bar, rear fender, inner fender, tail light/turn signals, gear pedal and left-side cover removed.  I found this - YUK! 



I couldn't even determine what this moldy thing did until I looked it up in the manual.  Looks like my oil pump needs a solid cleaning!  Can't quite figure out how my oil pressure light even lit when I jump started Seamus a couple weeks ago.  This pump is really corroded.

I also noticed there is a ton of oil crusted on the bottom of the motor.  I'm concerned I may need to get the motor torn down and gasketed to seal it up (hadn't budgeted for that in my $1,000 target).

A few days ago I promised I'd post follow up pictures of my oxalic acid experiment.  Here are the before/after pics of an exhaust pipe flange.  Anyone ever notice these things look like surprised blowfish?

Post oxalic acid on the left, dirty blowfish on the right:



More detailed photos of the same blowfish:

Before:




After:





Anyone know what type of metal these are?  I don't know if I should try to polish them up, or repaint.

Off to chase the kids for the weekend.  Next week, I hope to start grinding off unnecessary brackets, blast and rebuild the carbs, and, fingers crossed, buy a MIG (not in my $1,000 budget).


Offline SohRon

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Re: Seamus - '74 550
« Reply #15 on: February 06, 2010, 03:48:34 pm »
That Blow fish is called a "joint"... I don't know why they call it that; I couldn't figure out which end to stick in my mouth, personally. The new ones I picked up (NOS) weren't painted, so I'm not sure if that's necessary... I'd say polish it up.

It looks like the acid did a pretty good job on the rust. Did it just take out the rust, or was the base metal affected at all? How long did it take? Inquiring minds want to know!

Nice documentation. Keep it up! And I really appreciate the soda blasting tip!
« Last Edit: February 06, 2010, 04:09:17 pm by SohRon »
"He slipped back down the alley with some roly-poly little bat-faced girl..."

Assembling my '74 CB550: http://forums.sohc4.net/index.php?topic=86697.0
Assembly of the Right-hand Switch (a rebuilder's guide):  http://forums.sohc4.net/index.php?topic=80532.0
Installing stock 4X4 exhaust: CB500-CB550 K: http://forums.sohc4.net/index.php?topic=82323.0
CB550 Assembly Manual: http://forums.sohc4.net/index.php/topic,151576.0.html

Offline Little_Horse

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Re: Seamus - '74 550
« Reply #16 on: February 06, 2010, 04:30:49 pm »
they are cast steel I believe. They won't polish very easily, they originally where plated now I think most people just paint them, I did. When you say buy a MIG are you talking about a welder? If you are what kind are you looking at getting? I may have some advice for you as welding is my occupation.
"Little Horse Cycles" facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Little-Horse-Cycles/185809474769493

LHC is my start up cafe racer shop specializing in custom parts, bikes, restoration and recreation

The 500 builds http://forums.sohc4.net/index.php?topic=64250.0

Offline Caseygroh1

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Re: Seamus - '74 550
« Reply #17 on: February 06, 2010, 05:41:19 pm »
I thought I'd just let you know that you have a 1975 model. there are a few things different between the 74 and 75 that most people don't notice. the build date on the frame tag probably says 74, so that's probably why you thought it was a 74. I'm just trying to clarify for you so you know exactly what bike you have.
74 CB550
75 CB550 cafe project

Offline Ecosse

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Re: Seamus - '74 550
« Reply #18 on: February 06, 2010, 06:17:46 pm »
I thought I'd just let you know that you have a 1975 model. there are a few things different between the 74 and 75 that most people don't notice. the build date on the frame tag probably says 74, so that's probably why you thought it was a 74. I'm just trying to clarify for you so you know exactly what bike you have.

i'm in the dark; what are the differences between '74-'75?

looks like '74 blinkers.  ???
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Offline theofam

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Re: Seamus - '74 550
« Reply #19 on: February 07, 2010, 09:06:59 am »
SohRon, thanks for the laugh on which end of the joint to stick in your mouth!  I don't think the oxalic acid affected the base metal.  In the real rusty spots, the shiny stuff is gone.  It looks dark brown, like it ate through whatever shiny finish was on there.  So, I think I'll paint them.  I soaked it for three days and, mid-way through, knocked some of the rust off with a wire brush then continued the soaking.  I'm going to soda blast another one to see how that goes instead.  Will keep you posted.

Caseygroh1, you've piqued my interest!  The build date tag on the neck of my frame is 5/74.  Was Honda building 1975s that early in 1974?  I've initiated the titling process as a 1974, so I may be stuck with that even it is a 1975.  Like Ecosse asked, how can you tell it's a 1975?

Cornandp, when I said MIG, I was talking about a jet.  I kinda like those old Russian MIGs, and I've an airport close, so I figured, what the hell.   :D  Just kidding!  Yep, I'm shopping for a welder.  I'd love your advice, as it's clear you know what you're doing!  I was thinking MIG simply because I can't afford a TIG.  I'm wanting a used unit around $500, hopefully with a regulator, knowing that I'll need to spend extra for a bottle and hood.  I've 220 in my garage, so I was thinking a Lincoln 175 or a Millermatic 180.  I like the infinite voltage settings on the Millers versus the 5-notch voltage setting on the Lincolns.  Lemme know your thoughts.  Or, if you know of an inexpensive TIG out there that would suffice for motorcycle-only work, that would be cool, too.  I'm all for better looking welds and less grinding time!

Offline Little_Horse

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Re: Seamus - '74 550
« Reply #20 on: February 07, 2010, 09:25:47 am »
Both the lincoln and miller machines you listed are good machines, I have used both. If you can get the miller though it is by far a better and smoother running machine. There is a miller TIG welder I use for field work a "Miller Maxstar 150 STH" it is a 110 volt setup, inverter technology that works great. I have welded 1/2 thick plate with it in TIG mode just fine. It also can weld stick. Its a little bit more money, I paid $1300 for it new but that included a regulator and a thumb control. You could get a foot control if you want that more. Local welding shops are hurting because of the economy so I would hit up a couple of them and see what they can offer both new and used. So the pros and cons of both systems. Wire feed is very easy to use but makes horrible looking welds and is a mess. If you are skilled you can control this a bit. Wire feed is cheaper to buy. The wire feed welder will take up more space. The Tig welder is very small and portable and can weld much thicker material. It leaves clean welds but takes more practice to use. The TIG welder costs more initially but if you need to weld stainless it will cost you less to run. The Tig welder also can run off of 110 and 220. So you just have to decide what you want to do with the welder how much you want to spend. If I needed to buy a welder for myself personally and not for work I would save the coin for a tig welder. Have any questions feel fre to ask.
"Little Horse Cycles" facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Little-Horse-Cycles/185809474769493

LHC is my start up cafe racer shop specializing in custom parts, bikes, restoration and recreation

The 500 builds http://forums.sohc4.net/index.php?topic=64250.0

Offline sinister902

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Re: Seamus - '74 550
« Reply #21 on: February 07, 2010, 09:49:15 am »
I look forward to seeing how you put your own touches on this bike, keep up the progress!

Offline Ecosse

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Re: Seamus - '74 550
« Reply #22 on: February 07, 2010, 11:57:25 am »
so... how about some creative brainstorming for an irish themed livery.  ;D

"seamus" on the tank in celtic font? that sort of thing?

you may be preoccupied with trivial things like getting him road worthy but we on the sidelines are thinking of big picture, important, things like paint choices and other ways to spend your money.


slĂ inte!




 :D
1974 CB550K     
                 
            Help stop TORTURE and SLAUGHTER of cats, dogs, and other kept animals.                                                  www.animalsasia.org

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                                                A WORTHY EFFORT: http://www.honorflight.org.

Offline theofam

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Re: Seamus - '74 550
« Reply #23 on: February 07, 2010, 12:34:37 pm »
Cornandp, thanks for the advice.  Man, I only wanted to spend $500 on a welder, then you get me researching Miller's Maxstar 150, and now I'm wondering how much I can sell my dog for on craigslist!  That's a cool looking setup.  Hmmm.  Lot's of noodling to do on the welder front.  I took a 3-hour class locally on MIG welding, so I naively think I'm ready to start - kinda like taking a guitar lesson and trying to play Hendrix.  Thanks for the offer to answer any questions I have, as I'm sure I'll have many.

Sinister902, thanks for the interest.  I'm curious to see what Seamus ends up looking like, too!

Ecosse, I'm liking you more each post.  Kinda feel like you're in my head!  My wife is concerned about my sleep habits over the past three weeks.  I normally sleep like a rock, but I've been waking up between 5-7am with thoughts of what to do to Seamus.  Funny you mention Seamus on the tank in Celtic/Gaelic.  I literally dreamt that 2-3 nights ago wondering how I could get someone to CNC "Seamus" in Gaelic to match the Honda tank badge posts in order for it to snap in to the existing holes on the tank.  No clue where to start with that one, but I think it would be way cool.  As for color, I've been thinking Kelly green with a white stripe(s) on the tank and cowl.  But, a Guinness brown/black as the main tank/cowl color with a head-colored cream for the stripe(s) could look really nice, too.  Your thoughts?  Slainte.

Offline Caseygroh1

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Re: Seamus - '74 550
« Reply #24 on: February 07, 2010, 09:21:37 pm »
the differences in the 74 and 75 were enough for honda to designate the 75 as a K1 instead of the K0 that the 74 is. There are a few small differences most people don't notice. The side stand is different on the 74 than all other 550 models. it has no rubber and no little prong for pulling it out with your foot. it looks like the early 750 stands. also, the front sprocket side cover has the shift pattern cast into the side. if you look at it, you'll see 5 4 3 2 N 1 towards the front. the 74 did not have this, its just smooth. the turn signals are different, they are much bigger and have a flatter face on the 75.  I think the only other thing different is the petcock. the 75s and up use a thread on petcock, the 74 is sort of oval shaped and has screws holding it on on the inside of the bowl. it also doesn't have the filter screen going up inside of the tank. hope this helps some people distinguish between the early 550s ;D
« Last Edit: February 07, 2010, 10:01:53 pm by Caseygroh1 »
74 CB550
75 CB550 cafe project

 

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