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Author Topic: 74 cb550 in the frozen tundra....Damn near done!  (Read 34253 times)

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Offline Bakeoff

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74 cb550 in the frozen tundra....Damn near done!
« on: December 19, 2010, 02:08:55 pm »
This fall I picked up the bike knowing that I would be bored all winter and needed a project.  And as it goes, I haven't had as much time to work on it as I had hoped, but the wood burning stove in the garage is finally getting some use this year.  With it sitting around 10 degrees in Minnesota, I've kept the garage around 55-60 while I've been working.

Anyway, here's the bike the day I brought her home with a leaky head gasket.



And this should explain why I'm not working on a car like I have every other winter since I was 16.



Within a couple days I got to work.  Call it being stupid or being truly hardcore, I decided to weld the new tail to the frame instead of making it a bolt on affair.  Here is a shot of the mock up, just using tape to check out the shape after welding on the tubing.



The previous owner informed me that the front forks were from a 750, and I really wanted to sink the front down a little.  Instead of modifying the 750's, I figured I'd pick up this little rattle trap for $200 (no title, missing tons of parts, LOW compression). 



Within 40 minutes of having it home, she looked like this.



Got the forks swapped over.  And you can see the tail is done, along with the seat pan.





From the parts bike, not knowing it it would cross over from 500T to the 550, I went to work venting the rear drum.  I figured, if it didn't come out, as least I still had the original 550 part to work with later on.  I'm pretty happy with the results.



I wasn't a big fan of the bars and gauges sitting up so high.  Instead of buying clubmans or clip ons, I decided to make some clip ons.  I also ordered headlight brackets and gauges from Dime City.  As a side note, Herm was a huge amount of help while getting going on my roommate's 72 cb500four and definitely stepped up with questions I had on this bike.  I have a man crush on their shop.   :P

Back to the clip ons!





You might also notice the CBR F2 brake leverl/MC.  That came as the result of a planned dual disc upgrade....More on that later.



Obviously, I shaved the stock top triple.  And please keep in mind, the gauges are only in place as a rough mock up.  The top triple will be welded shut at some point, at which time I'll finalize mounting.  I only have a mig, so any aluminum work is out sourced to a very busy machinist friend.



I ended up finding a set of Koni shocks for a GL1000 on ebay, just silly cheap.  It turns out both are stripped at the bottom and I'll need to helicoil them.  But, being an inch longer, I'm really hoping they help with turn in.  If nothing else, the back sitting higher now just gives her a mean stance.  You can also see the drilled drum in this pic.  There will be a close up farther down.



Last night, this was the bulk of my work...
The stock rear wheel/sprocket setup is an eye sore to me. 



By the time I was done with it, here's what the back wheel looked like.  The stock wheel bearing cover with O ring is still in there somewhere.  It just took a lot of creative cutting!







And I'll throw in the gratuitous welding shot.



I think I have about 10 days of actual work, including hours of staring at it, brainstorming, and actual wrench time.  Like I said, it has a leaky head gasket, so I have a seal set waiting to go in.  I also want to gusset the frame, get the dual discs going, and have a few other tricks up my sleeve.  I've been modifying cars and riding LIGHTLY modified bikes for years.  I just figured it was time to get a beast of a bike project under my belt and might as well do a build thread on it. I'll be back to post more as the build slowly unfolds. 
« Last Edit: August 03, 2011, 09:39:23 pm by Bakeoff »

Offline Stev-o

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Re: 74 cb550 in the frozen tundra....
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2010, 03:50:39 pm »
First off welcome!  Wow - you've been busy, all looks good.

The oil leak may not just be the head gasket, the 550 is known for "puck" leaks too. You can get them at the dealer for about a buck.

Read:
http://forums.sohc4.net/index.php?topic=63761.0


'74 "Big Bang" Honda 750K [836].....'71 Honda 750K project.....'76 Honda 550F.....K3 Park Racer.....K5 Fiddy Dolla Special!......CB500 Fiddy Dolla Special too!!............plus plus plus.........

Offline theofam

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Re: 74 cb550 in the frozen tundra....
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2010, 05:25:31 pm »
Bakeoff, the tail looks fantastic.  I really like the lines of it.  I've fingers crossed Santa brings me a drill press so I can do something similar to the rear drum cover and also drill the rotor.  Keep us posted on progress!

Offline BruceDeuce

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Re: 74 cb550 in the frozen tundra....
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2010, 05:32:00 pm »
Pretty quick work Bakeoff. Where bouts in MN are you I have family in Faribault.
78 Honda 550 Four (K)
79 XS650 Special
72 Suzuki TS400J Apache
72 Kawasaki G3SS 90
73 Aermacchi X90
86 Honda 450 Rebel restored
03 HD Deuce Screaming Eagle
Yamoto 50cc Quad
06 Loncin 110 Quad
85 LT250EF Quadrunner

Offline bluesmoke69

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Re: 74 cb550 in the frozen tundra....
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2010, 07:19:31 pm »
Nice work keep it up!!

Offline Bakeoff

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Re: 74 cb550 in the frozen tundra....
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2010, 10:09:45 pm »
First off welcome!  Wow - you've been busy, all looks good.

The oil leak may not just be the head gasket, the 550 is known for "puck" leaks too. You can get them at the dealer for about a buck.

Read:
http://forums.sohc4.net/index.php?topic=63761.0



Good to know on the oil leak.  I already have a gasket set, so I'd assume those are in there.  I've rebuilt a million Honda car engines from CVCC's to Integras and back.  I figure I shouldn't be too lost on this one once I get in there.

Bakeoff, the tail looks fantastic.  I really like the lines of it.  I've fingers crossed Santa brings me a drill press so I can do something similar to the rear drum cover and also drill the rotor.  Keep us posted on progress!
I did the rear brake with a hand drill and about 40 minutes of work, including laying out the pattern.  Even with a drill press, remember to use a center punch so the bit doesn't skate across the uneven surface.  ;)

Pretty quick work Bakeoff. Where bouts in MN are you I have family in Faribault.
I'm up in Plymouth, about 15 minutes west of Minneapolis.  Nice to see another snow bound enthusiast on here!
Nice work keep it up!!
Thanks.

Just an FYI, the seat (not oem, but nice) is for sale as well as the wheels for the 500t. I gave the 500t rear wheel the same treatment as the one for this bike.  And the 550 gauges are for sale.  Dry cracked faces, but otherwise in good shape.  If you need any of these parts, send me a PM so we can keep this clean.  ;D
« Last Edit: December 19, 2010, 10:13:13 pm by Bakeoff »

Offline Bluegreen

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Re: 74 cb550 in the frozen tundra....
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2010, 01:28:16 am »
Looks really good man! Have you given any thought to swaping over to the 500T tank?

Offline Bakeoff

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Re: 74 cb550 in the frozen tundra....
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2010, 07:59:27 am »
Originally, I thought about that.  But the 500T tank has some obvious bondo on it and...  I know I had a better reason...  In any case, that tank is sitting under my work bench, should anyone be interested in it.   :)

Offline Kong

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Re: 74 cb550 in the frozen tundra....
« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2010, 08:23:01 am »
I'm interested in, and impressed by, your seat design.  You said you had welded the tail section down but you didn't mention the seat pan itself though it too appears to be welded down.  It also seems that you've covered the rear tank mount with the seat pan - so I suppose you've either made a new mount or at least that part of the pan isn't welded down and I'm missing something here.

So I guess what I'm asking is if you'd please, would you mind giving a little more information on what your built and what your thinking was when you laid out your seat and tail section?  Also, if you indulge me, have you thought about your tail lighting situation and how it will be incorporated into what you've got?

PS: I'm also real interested in that rear wheel clearance hump you put in there.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2010, 09:03:00 am by Kong »
2002 FXSTD/I  Softail Deuce
2001 Acura (Honda) CL Type-S
1986 Honda Rebel, 450
1978 Honda CB550K
1977 Honda CB550K

Offline greenjeans

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Re: 74 cb550 in the frozen tundra....
« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2010, 08:31:27 am »
Great shape on the rear tail section.   Looks fast standing still.  I'll be watching this one.
Yep, I'm the kid that figured out how to put things back together...eventually.

Offline Bakeoff

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Re: 74 cb550 in the frozen tundra....
« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2010, 09:20:36 am »
I just remembered why I didn't like the 500t tank.  I'm about 6'2" and the knee recesses stop short by about 2" and hit my legs strangely.   ;)

I'm interested in, and impressed by, your seat design.  You said you had welded the tail section down but you didn't mention the seat pan itself though it too appears to be welded down.  It also seems that you've covered the rear tank mount with the seat pan - so I suppose you've either made a new mount or at least that part of the pan isn't welded down and I'm missing something here.

So I guess what I'm asking is if you'd please, would you mind giving a little more information on what your built and what your thinking was when you laid out your seat and tail section?  Also, if you indulge me, have you thought about your tail lighting situation and how it will be incorporated into what you've got?

PS: I'm also real interested in that rear wheel clearance hump you put in there.

I suppose I could have included those pics too!

The tank retains all of the stock mounting.  The seat pan bolts down (will require removing the side covers) and will be covered at some point. I figure I'll get to that some time in February, when the snow gets to be out of control.  Ignore the silly drawing on the seat!





The hump in the seat is to accommodate the stock plastic inner fender.  

I played with tail light designs for a long time.  One includes two stock turn signals, swapping out the lenses for some red ones.  I even jammed dual filament sockets into the housings to see if I could make it work.  Sure, it worked, but it looks a little "Johnny 5" for my taste.  Since I have a 600rr with an tail light with integrated turn signals, I thought that could be a good option.  Here's the stock RR light thrown in there (had to trim it to fit), and I have an aftermarket light with integrated signals to replace it if I decide to keep it.



Oh yeah, thanks for the compliments on the tail.  I used the original grab handle from this bike as well as one from my roommate's cb360t.  A little chop here, grind there, torch, bang, weld, bang, weld, weld weld.  It came together pretty well! 
« Last Edit: December 20, 2010, 09:28:44 am by Bakeoff »

Offline Bakeoff

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Re: 74 cb550 in the frozen tundra....
« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2011, 08:02:49 am »
After the holidays and an ugly break up with the girl, I should be getting back to work on this soon.  I just sent money to cdoggy for a Dyna S ignition.  Once I find a deal on coils, I'll be set there!  My birthday is next week, so I might take a day off work to just dig in again.  I think my plan of attack will be to get the tail light mounting all sorted out and maybe start working on reinforcing the swing arm.  But I'm still up in the air on that project.   :-\  I might even dig the ol' sewing machine out and get the seat done.

Offline Toxic

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Re: 74 cb550 in the frozen tundra....
« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2011, 09:34:35 am »
jeez why wouldn't you keep that tail light it looks perfect.

Great looking project.

Offline Bakeoff

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Re: 74 cb550 in the frozen tundra....
« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2011, 11:03:17 am »
The tail light is just sitting in there.  A bracket to bolt it to is in order.  ;)

Offline greenjeans

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Re: 74 cb550 in the frozen tundra....
« Reply #14 on: January 06, 2011, 02:34:03 pm »
You feel like giving a quick tutorial on that tail section ?     Just hammer and dolly for the rolled edge ?  Looks great, good line.
Yep, I'm the kid that figured out how to put things back together...eventually.

Offline Stev-o

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Re: 74 cb550 in the frozen tundra....
« Reply #15 on: January 06, 2011, 04:46:27 pm »
Don't worry 'bout the girl, there will be others!

Now you'll have more time & money for important things like your bike build!!
'74 "Big Bang" Honda 750K [836].....'71 Honda 750K project.....'76 Honda 550F.....K3 Park Racer.....K5 Fiddy Dolla Special!......CB500 Fiddy Dolla Special too!!............plus plus plus.........

Offline brett_bike

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Re: 74 cb550 in the frozen tundra....
« Reply #16 on: January 06, 2011, 08:33:10 pm »
The seat looks great, I will be following this build.

I moved from MN about 14 years ago to "follow the dream" out here in Colorado. The last time I was back to visit family/friends there seemed to be a pretty good vintage/cafe scene happening.  Primarily over in nordeast Minneapolis dere. 

Looking forward to your build.

Offline Bakeoff

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Re: 74 cb550 in the frozen tundra....
« Reply #17 on: January 07, 2011, 12:40:41 pm »
You feel like giving a quick tutorial on that tail section ?     Just hammer and dolly for the rolled edge ?  Looks great, good line.

I just cut down the grab bar from this bike and another one until I found the lines I liked.  After tacking them in place I used the tape to make a template.  Since it was flat, it made it real easy.  I used a razor blade to cut out the tape so I'd have a nice stencil to work with.  Then stuck that to the sheet metal, cut it out with the handy dandy harbor freight electric nibbler.  Then I just curved it around the two grab bars and tacked the edges in a couple places (basically just at the top and rear centers).  Then tacked the bottom corners down and started working the hammers along the edge, just using the bars to form it.  I didn't bother with a dolly at all.  Every inch or two, I'd make another tack to keep things in place.  After all that, it was just a matter of finish welding, grinding, and smoothing it out.

Don't worry 'bout the girl, there will be others!

Now you'll have more time & money for important things like your bike build!!
Meh, things are up in the air now.  #$%*in' relationships.  In any case, its been too cold to bother getting the stove going in the garage, so it was a great time to deal with drama.  lol  We'll see what happens, but the bike will not go on the back burner!

The seat looks great, I will be following this build.

I moved from MN about 14 years ago to "follow the dream" out here in Colorado. The last time I was back to visit family/friends there seemed to be a pretty good vintage/cafe scene happening.  Primarily over in nordeast Minneapolis dere. 

Looking forward to your build.
Nordeast is hoppin' with all sorts of vintage stuff!  If you can make it back to town for the Bearded Lady Motorcycle and Freakshow, I've gone the last two years and had a blast.  Hotrods, lead sleds, scooters, bikes, live music, scantily clad women.  Nothing wrong with that scene at all.  Glad you didn't forget the accent.  We're one step away from ending sentences with "eh"! 

I might get my ass out to the garage tonight, so we'll see where I get on it!

Offline Bakeoff

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Re: 74 cb550 in the frozen tundra....
« Reply #18 on: January 14, 2011, 04:24:04 pm »
The Dyna S came the other day.  And I finally got my ass out to the garage.  Fitting the tail light with integrated turn signals took a while.  I'm maintaining the stock plastic wheel well.  By the end of the night I finally got things worked out between a torch, hammer, and a few other tools.  I need to find a couple M6 allen bolts and then I'm in business. I'll get some pics up soon.

Offline SixGun

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Re: 74 cb550 in the frozen tundra....
« Reply #19 on: January 15, 2011, 01:20:48 pm »
That tail is lookin sweeeeet!!

Offline Bakeoff

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Re: 74 cb550 in the frozen tundra....
« Reply #20 on: February 03, 2011, 07:19:31 am »
Picked these bad boys up off ebay yesterday for $11 shipped.  I want to see if I can work them onto the ends of the clip on and still get turn signal bar ends like I'd planned.  If not, something will get retro'd on there to make a usable mirror and keep it legal.



If it would warm up above 10 degrees, I'd probably get a fire going in the garage so I could work.  As is, its been dipping to -5 by the time I'd get out there in the evening.  Then it takes an hour or two to get the garage comfy to work.  F that. 

Offline unitedguitar

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Re: 74 cb550 in the frozen tundra....
« Reply #21 on: February 03, 2011, 07:33:28 am »
I bought some of those mirrors and I got them put into the end of my clip ons but had a heck of a time trying to get them on my buddy's clubmans. It definitely takes some work to get them situated properly and they come loose every so often. Yours may be better than mine were though. It just seems that the mechanism that holds them on is way over engineered. It has the screw and then three parts that slide against each other to expand and grab on to the inside of the bar. Unfortunately with mine the mechanism started to fail and I had to use vise grips to get it to actually expand. Good luck though. I truly hope you don't have the same issues.
Ben Whitener

Offline Bakeoff

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Re: 74 cb550 in the frozen tundra....
« Reply #22 on: February 09, 2011, 10:50:19 am »
Okay guys, I need some advice.  I have the Dyna S ignition waiting to go in.  I'm looking at coils and wires.  Other than exhaust, this thing is staying pretty stock, unless I can find a 650 cam to throw in, but that's not likely. 

Should I be looking at the 5 ohm or 3 ohm coils?  Does it really matter?

and

Is there any reason not to get normal graphite plug wires instead of copper?

Offline joshuanagao

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Re: 74 cb550 in the frozen tundra....
« Reply #23 on: February 09, 2011, 11:50:42 am »
I think the recommendation for the 500 and 550 is the 5ohm.  That's what I put on my 500, and remember reading somewhere.  Checkout Z1enterprizes, they have the best prices by far on the dyna systems and coils.

Offline bluesmoke69

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Re: 74 cb550 in the frozen tundra....
« Reply #24 on: February 09, 2011, 10:05:06 pm »
I here you it to dam cold to work in the garage !! >:(

 

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