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Author Topic: James' 77 550f.  (Read 30188 times)

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Offline luceja

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James' 77 550f.
« on: May 26, 2010, 11:47:09 pm »
So it turns out that a friend had a 550 about half dissembled, taking up space in the garage and he was glad to be rid of it. Most of the parts are here and most of it's in decent shape. History pretty unknown... Big concern is the motor- the whole top end is off.. why? Looks like someone scotch-brite surfaced the head and there's a bit of corrosion in a couple cylinders and things look murky down in the bottom of the motor. As for bits, the frame is pretty clean and should clean up fine. 4-1 headers are probably keepers, muffler isn't. Tank is clean inside, but I'm no fan of the color. Handlebars are silly, front tire is shot, gauges are tired looking, wheels are OK.

Goal is to get the thing running, look clean, and not cost a ton of money. First concern is the main mechanical stuff, then I'll worry about looks and other mod/details. Right off the bat I just picture lots of black and maybe a brown seat (?). I'd love to get two calipers going on those front forks.. unused holes will forever nag at me. No need to make plans now.. I'll just change 'em anyway.

Picked the bike up on Saturday and by Tuesday the only things still on the frame are the swingarm and the triples (need those big sockets). and I fit a trip to Seattle in there to boot. Labeled all the harness ends and bagged/labeled all the hardware..





Motor out!







Got that honeycomb crunch...




What is this thing?



« Last Edit: September 03, 2011, 10:16:08 pm by luceja »
'75 cb400f, '77 cb550f , CB160 road racer, '88 Hawk GT track bike, FZR400 race bike, and a bunch of old hondas in boxes.

Offline luceja

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Re: 77 550f - pile of crap to (hopefully) decent mild cafe
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2010, 11:52:58 pm »
So big concern like I said is the motor. It came with the top half all apart.

The head looks like it was scotch brited:



and doesn't look very true:



I stopped by paulages to get his thoughts on it. At least one of the intake valves isn't sealing.. on his advice I tool the head to dan hall's (machine shop) to get the head looked at. Nice dudes there.. They're going to do the valves and surface it... the first expense for this bike. Thank you again, Paul.

The cam has a bit of corrosion.. I'll polish this up and measure to see if everything checks out..




The folks at the machine shop didn't like the look of the corrosion in at least one of the cylinders. Their take is that I'll have to rebore and get oversized pistons. Before they rebore, I need to find out what pistons are available so they can match, right?






« Last Edit: May 27, 2010, 12:00:15 am by luceja »
'75 cb400f, '77 cb550f , CB160 road racer, '88 Hawk GT track bike, FZR400 race bike, and a bunch of old hondas in boxes.

Offline clayman74

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Re: 77 550f - kinda a pile of crap to decent mild cafe, hopefully
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2010, 12:55:37 am »
i just had the same run in with the funky lil speaker lookin device behind the headlight. its the turn signal buzzer... weird huh?

Offline luceja

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Re: 77 550f - kinda a pile of crap to decent mild cafe, hopefully
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2010, 05:03:12 pm »
OK: got the head back from the machine shop. Surfaced, valves done, new valve seals to the tune of ~170$, dan hall's in portland. not sure what they cleaned with but damn is it nice looking..

... hmm should I have measured/plastigauged the cam bearings before having work done on the head?



Next problem is pistons and cylinders. The shop has the cylinders and is going to look at them and come back with piston recommendations/size options. Anyone have any tips on sourcing pistons, or other options?

I could swear DSS had a bunch of various oversize kits around just last week, but nothing now. Aside from a few one-off pistons on ebay, I really don't know where the hell I'm going to find 4 matching oversized 550 pistons. Anyone know if there are more common pistons that could work?  Maybe I should just take a chance at ebaying some 550 cylinders and pistons from a part out? At that point maybe I should be looking at getting the top half of a 650.. mwahaha.


« Last Edit: June 01, 2010, 05:10:43 pm by luceja »
'75 cb400f, '77 cb550f , CB160 road racer, '88 Hawk GT track bike, FZR400 race bike, and a bunch of old hondas in boxes.

Offline paulages

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Re: 77 550f : simple maintained semi-cafe restore
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2010, 10:04:41 am »
they'll be able to tell you how far out you need to go with the pistons. as far as sourcing is concerned, i can't really help you more than where you're already at, but i can suggest that you PM Soos. If i remember right, he had some 61mm CB750 pistons that were cut to fit the 550/650. if not, he could probably cut a set for you cheaper than buying NOS oversized stockers if you can find a set to start with. i'll look at the shop and see if i have any.

re your head: they disassembled, jet-washed, measured everything, surfaced it, cut the valve seats, and reassembled. their prices just went up a bit.
paul
SOHC4 member #1050

1974 CB550 (735cc)
1976 CB550 (590cc) road racer
1973 CB750K3
1972 NORTON Commando Combat
1996 KLX650 R

Offline wannabridin

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Re: 77 550f : simple maintained semi-cafe restore
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2010, 11:28:04 am »
nice start to a good build!  now what's up with all your portland people on here!  it seems like everytime i look on here, someone else from portland is starting a rebuild!  hell, all of OR for that matter!!
1976 CB750K, currently under construction:
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Offline luceja

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Re: 77 550f : simple maintained semi-cafe restore
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2010, 11:56:05 am »
Thank you Paul - the folks over at Dan Hall's have been knowledgeable and super nice. To take a small rant, part of the reason I don't like work I can't do myself is I don't even know the details or appreciate what I paid for. I think anyone who is into hobbies like building these old bikes, or cars, or whatever, is bound to be the kind of person who likes to do things themselves, and that part of that is knowing how all this complex #$%* we otherwise take for granted works, at least for me. Quoth Jefferson: "Never trouble another for what you can do for yourself." Then again, I don't have a machine shop, and Jefferson did own slaves. Either way, I'm stoked to have a straight, clean head to build off of. Thinking about it now, it's going to be incredibly satisfying to finish assembling this thing and fire it up.

So now DSS has .25 piston kits for 56$/piston.. those four little pistons would be the most expensive part of building the bike... hell, would cost more than the bike did. So if the shop thinks I can get away with just .25 bored, I may take that route. I pm'd Soos. I'll read up on having pistons cut down.. i.e. what pistons can I start with, what do I do for rings, etc. There seems to be no shortage of 750 pistons on ebay for a pittance. That route just sounds much more fun than buying stuff off the shelf and having it shipped from England, especially if it's less expensive. It seems like NOS pistons come and go from DSS pretty regularly so I guess I don't have to rush that part.

Started pulling the bottom half apart last night. A few of the case bolts made a bizarre air-sucking sound when I broke them loose.. cool. The oil drain bolt was rounded so I filed it down to 11mm, tapped a 6 sided socket with a breaker bar on there and it gave way. The oil pan contained what looks and smells like it used to be a large clump of human hair-



and there's some signs of rust/water in there..



The PO had drilled the heads off some of the clutch cover bolts they must have rounded, so that whole scene is iffy and I'm not sure how to free the clutch cover decently, and I need to figure out how to get the flywheel/rotor business off. Then the case be 'parted.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2011, 02:57:33 pm by luceja »
'75 cb400f, '77 cb550f , CB160 road racer, '88 Hawk GT track bike, FZR400 race bike, and a bunch of old hondas in boxes.

Offline luceja

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Re: 77 550f : simple maintained semi-cafe restore
« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2010, 11:59:18 am »
nice start to a good build!  now what's up with all your portland people on here!  it seems like everytime i look on here, someone else from portland is starting a rebuild!  hell, all of OR for that matter!!

Thank you. I hope that us folks in Portland also end up finishing some rebuilds!
'75 cb400f, '77 cb550f , CB160 road racer, '88 Hawk GT track bike, FZR400 race bike, and a bunch of old hondas in boxes.

Offline fastbroshi

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Re: 77 550f : simple maintained semi-cafe restore
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2010, 03:07:43 pm »
nice start to a good build!  now what's up with all your portland people on here!  it seems like everytime i look on here, someone else from portland is starting a rebuild!  hell, all of OR for that matter!!

+1, you guys probably have enough to make another forum!
Just call me Timmaaaaay!!!

Offline luceja

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Re: 77 550f : simple maintained semi-cafe restore
« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2010, 05:01:09 pm »
Does anyone have any input on this idea:

Scrap my corroded block, get a cylinder block in decent condition, normal bore, and use my pistons (assuming they are normal bore), or do I have to have the cylinders bored an go oversize no matter what?

Also, took a shot at polishing the cam lobes and I'm thinking I'm going to need a new cam :\
'75 cb400f, '77 cb550f , CB160 road racer, '88 Hawk GT track bike, FZR400 race bike, and a bunch of old hondas in boxes.

Offline paulages

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Re: 77 550f : simple maintained semi-cafe restore
« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2010, 06:10:46 pm »
Does anyone have any input on this idea:

Scrap my corroded block, get a cylinder block in decent condition, normal bore, and use my pistons (assuming they are normal bore), or do I have to have the cylinders bored an go oversize no matter what?

Also, took a shot at polishing the cam lobes and I'm thinking I'm going to need a new cam :\

finding some cylinders or liners that are within specs is definitely possible. the problem is, it will be a crap shoot finding some that are usable unless you are able to measure before buying.
paul
SOHC4 member #1050

1974 CB550 (735cc)
1976 CB550 (590cc) road racer
1973 CB750K3
1972 NORTON Commando Combat
1996 KLX650 R

Offline luceja

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Re: 77 550f : simple maintained semi-cafe restore
« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2010, 06:29:46 pm »
I guess the question is how likely are things to be within spec?

Elkie has cylinders in good condition for a reasonable price that may be in spec, but aren't measured. I have pistons which also may be in spec and also aren't measured. Paul, do you have the ability to look at / measure the pistons to see if they are even worth considering, or is that something I should leave to Dan Halls?

Failing that, Soos does have some cut 750 pistons as you remembered. They would require a .330 cam and would def. require boring. (what is the stock 550 cam?) The interesting thing there is that I may need to replace my cam anyway because of corrosion on the lobes, so this may be a better route, though I have no idea what the complexities and costs are there.

Fun stuff, thanks all.
'75 cb400f, '77 cb550f , CB160 road racer, '88 Hawk GT track bike, FZR400 race bike, and a bunch of old hondas in boxes.

Offline paulages

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Re: 77 550f : simple maintained semi-cafe restore
« Reply #12 on: June 02, 2010, 10:46:08 pm »
I guess the question is how likely are things to be within spec?

Elkie has cylinders in good condition for a reasonable price that may be in spec, but aren't measured. I have pistons which also may be in spec and also aren't measured. Paul, do you have the ability to look at / measure the pistons to see if they are even worth considering, or is that something I should leave to Dan Halls?

Failing that, Soos does have some cut 750 pistons as you remembered. They would require a .330 cam and would def. require boring. (what is the stock 550 cam?) The interesting thing there is that I may need to replace my cam anyway because of corrosion on the lobes, so this may be a better route, though I have no idea what the complexities and costs are there.

Fun stuff, thanks all.


i can measure for you if you bring them by.
paul
SOHC4 member #1050

1974 CB550 (735cc)
1976 CB550 (590cc) road racer
1973 CB750K3
1972 NORTON Commando Combat
1996 KLX650 R

Offline luceja

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Re: 77 550f : simple maintained semi-cafe restore
« Reply #13 on: June 03, 2010, 09:20:28 am »
i can measure for you if you bring them by.

Will do, thank you man.
'75 cb400f, '77 cb550f , CB160 road racer, '88 Hawk GT track bike, FZR400 race bike, and a bunch of old hondas in boxes.

Offline luceja

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Re: 77 550f : simple maintained semi-cafe restore
« Reply #14 on: June 03, 2010, 04:15:55 pm »
so the pistons I have are shot. two of the skirts have cracks, one looks like the piston was just dropped or hit, possibly by me. The likelyhood of piecing together stock cylinders and pistons and hoping they are in spec to avoid the cost of boring is getting pretty low.

1. I need new pistons, rings, etc. 2. I need cylinders bored for said pistons. 3. I may need a new cam depending on how the lobes clean up.

If it weren't for the fact that I just put money into the head, I'd be really tempted to chase down a 650 top end hybrid thing going.. doesn't seem like it's hard to find the parts on ebay, at a glance.
'75 cb400f, '77 cb550f , CB160 road racer, '88 Hawk GT track bike, FZR400 race bike, and a bunch of old hondas in boxes.

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Re: 77 550f : simple maintained semi-cafe restore
« Reply #15 on: June 03, 2010, 05:47:30 pm »
I have a MINT 650 cam I would sell you for $100 including shipping.

Would work well with some "Soos" modded pistons.

~Joe

Offline luceja

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Re: 77 550f : simple maintained semi-cafe restore
« Reply #16 on: June 06, 2010, 04:26:11 pm »
Definitely stoked that the forum members are totally coming out of the woodwork to help with pistons, cylinders, etc. I appear to have lost some of my message history so I can't respond to a couple of messages I left hanging out there..

I'm thinking the cheapest way to solve the piston/cylinder issue might be pursuing something like this: (http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/1976-1975-77-HONDA-CB550-CB-550-CB550K-CYLINDER-PISTONS-_W0QQcmdZViewItemQQhashZitem5d296902e5QQitemZ400126706405QQptZMotorcyclesQ5fPartsQ5fAccessories) - 80$, and the hope is that since it's matching pistons and cylinders from a good running motor, there won't be an issue there beyond honing and gasket surfaces, which I guess I have to do no matter what.

Gonna pick up some gasket remover and try to get the damned covers off the motor so I can split the case and see what's going on inside.

Meanwhile, got stainless bolts for the motor and played around with cleaning up and priming some bits out of boredom.



'75 cb400f, '77 cb550f , CB160 road racer, '88 Hawk GT track bike, FZR400 race bike, and a bunch of old hondas in boxes.

Offline Flying J

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Re: 77 550f : simple maintained semi-cafe restore
« Reply #17 on: June 06, 2010, 09:50:22 pm »
Id jump on that cam if i were you, or go look for one. If your going with the bigger pistons you may as well get a better cam. Ill be watching this one. I need to rebuild one of my 550 motors and havent decided what im going to do yet. I did do a light porting on my spare head and have a 650 cam ready for the rebuild. Those 750 pistons sound intresting.

Offline luceja

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Re: 77 550f : simple maintained semi-cafe restore
« Reply #18 on: June 06, 2010, 09:58:23 pm »
I have a MINT 650 cam I would sell you for $100 including shipping.

Would work well with some "Soos" modded pistons.

~Joe


I saw it was sold on the 550k build thread. Thank you for the offer!
'75 cb400f, '77 cb550f , CB160 road racer, '88 Hawk GT track bike, FZR400 race bike, and a bunch of old hondas in boxes.

Offline paulages

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Re: 77 550f : simple maintained semi-cafe restore
« Reply #19 on: June 07, 2010, 01:00:01 pm »
Definitely stoked that the forum members are totally coming out of the woodwork to help with pistons, cylinders, etc. I appear to have lost some of my message history so I can't respond to a couple of messages I left hanging out there..

I'm thinking the cheapest way to solve the piston/cylinder issue might be pursuing something like this: (http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/1976-1975-77-HONDA-CB550-CB-550-CB550K-CYLINDER-PISTONS-_W0QQcmdZViewItemQQhashZitem5d296902e5QQitemZ400126706405QQptZMotorcyclesQ5fPartsQ5fAccessories) - 80$, and the hope is that since it's matching pistons and cylinders from a good running motor, there won't be an issue there beyond honing and gasket surfaces, which I guess I have to do no matter what.

Gonna pick up some gasket remover and try to get the damned covers off the motor so I can split the case and see what's going on inside.

Meanwhile, got stainless bolts for the motor and played around with cleaning up and priming some bits out of boredom.





hopefully that seller didn't #$%* up the cylinders deglazing them to make them sell better...
paul
SOHC4 member #1050

1974 CB550 (735cc)
1976 CB550 (590cc) road racer
1973 CB750K3
1972 NORTON Commando Combat
1996 KLX650 R

Offline luceja

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Re: 77 550f : simple maintained semi-cafe restore
« Reply #20 on: June 07, 2010, 01:35:20 pm »

hopefully that seller didn't #$%* up the cylinders deglazing them to make them sell better...

Anything you would specifically ask.. like "how did you do the deglazing?"? I asked if he could measure the pistons and cylinders, he can do the pistons but not the bore.
'75 cb400f, '77 cb550f , CB160 road racer, '88 Hawk GT track bike, FZR400 race bike, and a bunch of old hondas in boxes.

Offline paulages

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Re: 77 550f : simple maintained semi-cafe restore
« Reply #21 on: June 07, 2010, 07:17:50 pm »

hopefully that seller didn't #$%* up the cylinders deglazing them to make them sell better...

Anything you would specifically ask.. like "how did you do the deglazing?"? I asked if he could measure the pistons and cylinders, he can do the pistons but not the bore.

you might ask what grit hone he used, and if it was a ball hone... pictures of the cross hatch? someone who doesn't know what they're doing could go to far or out-of-round a cylinder pretty fast.
paul
SOHC4 member #1050

1974 CB550 (735cc)
1976 CB550 (590cc) road racer
1973 CB750K3
1972 NORTON Commando Combat
1996 KLX650 R

traveler

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Re: 77 550f : simple maintained semi-cafe restore
« Reply #22 on: June 07, 2010, 08:47:40 pm »
sorry to hear you see your 550 as less of a bike than a 400.

My cafed' 550 really rips!

~Joe

Offline luceja

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Re: 77 550f : simple maintained semi-cafe restore
« Reply #23 on: June 09, 2010, 12:50:01 am »
sorry to hear you see your 550 as less of a bike than a 400.

My cafed' 550 really rips!

~Joe


It's not that at all. They're almost the same bike, it's just that the 400 I have is 'all together' in stock form, it makes more sense to focus on messing with the 550 which is just a pile of parts at this point.
'75 cb400f, '77 cb550f , CB160 road racer, '88 Hawk GT track bike, FZR400 race bike, and a bunch of old hondas in boxes.

traveler

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Re: 77 550f : simple maintained semi-cafe restore
« Reply #24 on: June 09, 2010, 04:30:54 am »
ok cool.....I have just noticed that people have alot more love for the 400's and not so much for 550's....and I'm not sure why.

~Joe

 

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