Author Topic: Installing stock 4X4 exhaust: CB500-550K  (Read 15993 times)

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Offline SohRon

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Installing stock 4X4 exhaust: CB500-550K
« on: January 15, 2011, 09:25:34 am »
This 4x4 exhaust system was first introduced on the CB500s and continued on the CB550Ks up 'til 1977, when they were given a major revamp (more on this later). These are the stock "HM323" pipes, and were marked "CB500" even after the 500 evolved into the 550... they are still correct for the CB550 application, and remain unchanged from the CB500s; the two are, in fact, completely interchangeable. Installation is fairly easy and straight forward... the only real difficulties are mainly due to their size and weight, making them somewhat cumbersome to fiddle with. This is how I installed them on my bike; this is not the only (or, possibly, the best) way to do it - some like to install at the head first - but at least the following will give you an idea of what's involved.

Here they are in nice, sparkly new condition with the mounting brackets and center stand cushion (inset) already installed



I got these from BikeBandit a couple of years ago and paid something like $700 - $800 for them; nowadays, since they're no longer being made, I've seen people wanting stupid crazy prices in the thousands of dollars for a set like this. At this point, they may be the most valuable part of the bike...


Here's a look at the hardware I'll be using to mount the pipes



From top to bottom are the exhaust mount "joints", below those are the joint spacers (or "collars"), then the four copper gaskets, the mounting nuts and split washers, the rear mount bolts, and the balancer tubes and clamps. Smack in the middle bottom, trying to remain inconspicuous but failing miserably, are the passenger foot rests, which I'll install along with the pipes.


I began by inserting the copper gaskets into the exhaust ports




These should fit snugly and hold themselves in place by frictional pressure; if they're loose and won't stay in place, check to see that you have the right gaskets or, more likely, the old smashed up gaskets are still in the port and need to be removed. Gaskets in the ports are a relatively common malady that can cause all kinds of mischief because it's not always obvious that they're still there; they kind of get squished flat and can appear to be part of the port.  The gasket area around the port should be flat with no ridges or steps. If you do find old gaskets in your ports, they're easy to remove using a flat-bladed screwdriver.

Now comes the fun part: installing the pipes themselves. I began by laying them out in order on each side of the bike. It's easy to tell which pipe goes where if you follow a couple of simple rules: first off, the mounting brackets are oriented inward toward the bike, so that'll let you know which pipe goes on which side of the bike; and, secondly, the balance tube flanges extending from each muffler should point toward each other, so that lets you know which pipe goes on the bottom (inside) and which on top (outside). The top pipes are installed on the outer cylinders (NOs 1 & 4); the bottom pipes on cyls 2 & 3.  Simple enough. The longer mounting brackets are installed on the bottom pipes, while the short ones go on the uppers...



Next, I "hooked" each header in the exhaust port openings so that the pipes were oriented roughly in the correct position. The flange on the end of the header is caught by the port opening and fins and will hold the pipe in place while it's being attached at the muffler




One thing to note about the above photo is that I've slid the joint for each pipe down onto the muffler so that it'll be ready for later. Once the rear mounts are attached, it's nearly impossible to get these things on, so now's the time to install them. They should be oriented so that the step in the joint "face" is pointing forward (inset). It seems like it would be a good idea to actually mount the joints onto the studs at the port, thereby aiding in holding the pipes in position, but doing so causes the pipes to bind and makes installation at the muffler difficult, so they're just sitting there for now, patiently awaiting their moment in the spotlight, all the while tossing out crude remarks about trains going through tunnels, ring toss, and other vaguely suggestive observations of a questionable moral character...

With everything in place, I inserted the rear mounting bolt (with washer) through the hole in the footrest bracket (below right, inset), then through the corresponding hole in the top (outer) muffler bracket (in this case, pipe #4).  Pivoting the pipe upward, I aligned the bolt with the hole in the frame mount "ear", then pressed it through, entrapping both brackets on the outside of the "ear". With the bolt holding everything in position, I prepared for the next step by installing the balancer tube and clamp onto the flange on the bottom (#3) muffler (inset)



This next bit is a real juggling act. As the bottom pipe is raised into position the header flange must stay in place in the port while the muffler bracket is inserted from behind onto the mounting bolt extending from the rear of the frame mount "ear". Simultaneously, the balancer tube is slipped onto the flange protruding down from the top muffler, entrapping the tube between the mufflers. It all happened so fast that I'm not really sure how I accomplished this feat, but I think I withdrew the mounting bolt until only a slight nub protruded from the rear of the "ear", inserted the balancer tube up onto the flange in the top muffler, and then pressed the bolt on through the hole in the muffler bracket. There's a bit of finagling to do in order to get everything into the proper position, but once it's there it's all held in place with a loosely installed nut and split washer (inset). I don't want to tighten anything down yet as I'll need some "wiggle" room for the next step


Something to note in the above pic, especially in the inset, is that the frame mount "ear" is sandwiched between the muffler brackets: top in front, bottom in the rear.


I began the final procedure by sliding the joints up the header to their position at the port. The collars are installed around the pipe with the flanged end toward the joint, where they slip into the "step" described earlier. The other end butts up against the flange on the header (inset). As far as orientation of the collars is concerned, Honda doesn't really specify how they should go, either vertically or horizontally; I've positioned them vertically after a forum member suggested they might drain water better that way... makes sense to me, so that's how I've done it



Now, the pipes will have some manufacturing tolerances to them and those big copper "O-rings" take up a lot of space, so when it comes time to slide the joint/collar/header assembly into place in the port not much of the stud is left exposed behind the joint for the nuts and split washers to fit onto. The trick here is to install the nuts, torque them down to specs, then remove them one at a time so that the washers can be added. You don't want to forget the split washers as they're a safety feature, and it's not a good thing to have your pipes coming loose in the middle of a run...



Right side complete; time for the other side, where it's "second verse same as the first" (and if you know what song that line came from and can even sing a couple of bars, you are old...)



The final step, with everything properly fitted, is to tighten up all of the nuts and bolts I've left loose, finishing up with the screws on the balancer tubes



And there we have it: shiny new pipes for the bike. Here's a shot of the completed installation




One thing to mention regarding interchangeability: while the CB550 and CB500K exhaust is interchangeable, that doesn't hold true within different years of the same model bike. Due to frame modifications, the exhaust for the '77-'78 "K" bikes will not fit on the pre-'77 frames without some fairly extensive modifications involving hammers, drills and other implements of destruction; and vice-versa. While it definitely has been done, I wouldn't want to take on the task. The right accessories for the correct applications is the way to go, IMHO.

Here are some shots comparing the number 1 exhaust from an early (pre-'77) CB550K and a later ('77-'78) bike just to illustrate some of the differences






More to come, so check back for updates.

'til next time
« Last Edit: May 21, 2014, 10:16:01 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 IndyFour

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Re: Installing stock 4X4 exhaust: CB500-550K
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2011, 08:47:31 am »
IMO, these pipes are pure BIKE SEX and really complete the look of the 500/550.  Seeing brand new ones mounted on a bike just makes me weak in the knees.  :o  They sound great, look fantastic, and just really are a focal point of the stock bike and give the 500/550 a personality all its own.

Unfortunately, My set is now hanging from the ceiling in the garage as they have met the end of their useful life (cracks, rust, JBWeld, etc.).  If I could justify the expense, I'd buy a new set....but oh well.  They are nearly impossible to find used (in decent condition).

Thanks for posting.  They look great....and the bike as a whole looks great too!   :)
1974 CB550K
2000 VFR800FIY
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Offline Deltarider

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Re: Installing stock 4X4 exhaust: CB500-550K
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2011, 08:51:44 am »
Quote
This bolt runs through the rear footrest mount, the top exhaust mounting bracket, the frame "ear", then the bracket for the bottom pipe; top bracket on the outside, bottom on the inside
Read this with interest. I wonder if it is supposed to be the same for the 500. I had a look at my 500 and noticed all mufflers are mounted on the outside... but I could have made a mistake... Anyone?

BTW, well done, Sohron.
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Offline SohRon

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Re: Installing stock 4X4 exhaust: CB500-550K
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2011, 10:17:43 pm »
I'm fairly certain that the 4x4 K exhaust on the CB500 and 550s are the same without modifications between the two, but I'm no CB500 expert. As far as routing the pipes is concerned, as shown above, inside pipes (2&3) run on the inside of the frame; in fact they are specifically formed to fit around the oil filter housing. Outside pipes (1&4) go on the outside. Be sure your brackets are oriented correctly, too, with the brackets mounted to either side of the frame mount.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2011, 10:30:39 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 Oddjob

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Re: Installing stock 4X4 exhaust: CB500-550K
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2011, 06:54:15 am »
Tut Tut SohRon you forgot to mention fitting the main stand rubber, not like you to forget something  ;)
I prefer to mount mine using cap nuts on the exhaust studs as it helps stop them rusting as much, also I tend to orientate the exhaust collets vertically as I prefer not to give water a horizontal surface to collect on. Just personal little things but I've found they help a little.

Is BikeBandit a shop or a member? if a shop do you have a website addy? also in the comparison pics of the later type exhausts what's the engraving on the back of the 500s one, near the balance pipe area, can't remember seeing that before but it has been a while since I've looked at mine, they are currently full of oil and hanging up in a storage unit so aren't available to check.

Offline SohRon

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Re: Installing stock 4X4 exhaust: CB500-550K
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2011, 08:42:30 pm »
Tut Tut SohRon you forgot to mention fitting the main stand rubber, not like you to forget something

Ah, well, when you're as old as I am you're lucky to remember to get up in the morning, so I'm not gonna let that little rubber puck bother me!  ;D

I've heard that tip about the collars before and I think it's a good one. I'm actually getting ready to revise the thread, so I'll probably address it then.

BikeBandit is an on-line parts seller. Here's the address: http://www.bikebandit.com/

That stamped literature on the pipe is a caution that modifications to the pipes will be in violation of EPA laws and isn't recommended.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2011, 11:33:22 am 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 CoachDoc

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Re: Installing stock 4X4 exhaust: CB500-550K
« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2011, 08:25:24 pm »
Question: how do you tell which pipe is which? I just ordered a new set and I can't remember how I sorted the stock pipes back when I still had them.

Offline bjatwood

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Re: Installing stock 4X4 exhaust: CB500-550K
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2011, 08:05:08 am »
How did the pipe install go Coach? Any pics??
Brian
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Offline SohRon

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Re: Installing stock 4X4 exhaust: CB500-550K
« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2017, 09:30:56 am »
Looks like photobucket is no longer hosting free images and I'll be damned if I'm going to pay $400 a month for the privilege. I'm not sure what course I'll take with this thread as I feel it has been useful for many. It may be that I'll finally write the book I've been threatening to do, in which case the thread will disappear from the site, which will kind of defeat its purpose; that is to make the information free and easily accessible to all. I apologize for the inconvenience. Downloading the images to the site is an option I'll have to consider. Stay tuned for further developments.
"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 Can550

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Re: Installing stock 4X4 exhaust: CB500-550K
« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2017, 10:01:51 am »
I had removed my pipes for cleaning and now when I put them back on, left side sits properly with lower pipe little inward and upper one little outward (\)

Right side pipes are sitting more like (|)

Photos of install would have been a great help though :(


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Offline Oddjob

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Re: Installing stock 4X4 exhaust: CB500-550K
« Reply #10 on: July 07, 2017, 02:49:42 pm »
Make sure each bracket is fitted correctly. They go on the outside and inside of the rear footrest hanger not both on the same side.

Offline Can550

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Re: Installing stock 4X4 exhaust: CB500-550K
« Reply #11 on: July 07, 2017, 07:04:58 pm »
Make sure each bracket is fitted correctly. They go on the outside and inside of the rear footrest hanger not both on the same side.
That's exactly I installed them. Wish there's way to see if pipe is bent inward. I even replaced upper right bracket doubting its curve


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Offline Oddjob

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Re: Installing stock 4X4 exhaust: CB500-550K
« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2017, 08:05:35 pm »
Have you got the left hand pipes going round the sidestand bracket correctly? they go either side.

I always find it easier to not tighten the front bolts up, just leave them loose so you can still move the pipe as needed.

Offline Can550

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Re: Installing stock 4X4 exhaust: CB500-550K
« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2017, 07:30:26 pm »
Left side seems perfect. It is the right side that feels off. I have posted a video for engine sound observation and opinion. It shows pipes too and right side is visibly off (unless it's just me noticing )


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Offline Oddjob

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Re: Installing stock 4X4 exhaust: CB500-550K
« Reply #14 on: July 10, 2017, 08:00:16 am »
Sorry but I thought the little (I) symbols denoted where the connector bands sat, they should be exactly over each other so the band sits square. The best indicator of whether the pipes are correctly installed are those bands.

Offline Can550

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Installing stock 4X4 exhaust: CB500-550K
« Reply #15 on: July 10, 2017, 12:47:54 pm »
Sorry but I thought the little (I) symbols denoted where the connector bands sat, they should be exactly over each other so the band sits square. The best indicator of whether the pipes are correctly installed are those bands.

Ah!

Connector band on left sits perfect but right side
A- doesn't cover tubes coming out of each pipe
B- sits crooked


(Markings were to show how pipes sit on either side "\" being left and "|"being right)

Good start to investigate further.

Thanks


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« Last Edit: July 10, 2017, 12:55:17 pm by Can550 »

Offline Oddjob

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Re: Installing stock 4X4 exhaust: CB500-550K
« Reply #16 on: July 10, 2017, 07:22:54 pm »
Yep right side is incorrectly fitted, left looks fine. Release the exhaust clamps and the footrest bolt (just release don't remove) and see if you can move the pipes to be over each other like the left.

Offline Can550

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Re: Installing stock 4X4 exhaust: CB500-550K
« Reply #17 on: July 10, 2017, 07:33:41 pm »
Yep right side is incorrectly fitted, left looks fine. Release the exhaust clamps and the footrest bolt (just release don't remove) and see if you can move the pipes to be over each other like the left.

Didn't succeed earlier but will certainly give it a sot tomorrow when it's cold (just finished with valve, cam chain and ignition adjustments)

I'm wondering if bike had fallen or pressed against wall or something like that to push right side pipe/s ?


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Offline Can550

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Re: Installing stock 4X4 exhaust: CB500-550K
« Reply #18 on: July 12, 2017, 02:09:14 pm »
Tried realignment of pipes, seems a bit better but not perfect. At least linkage (between both pipes is sitting right on each other).

As advised, loosened manifold bolts, foot peg bolt and wiggled it a bit to max possible tolerance. Aligned linkage tubes, tightened rubber+metal clamp/band, then tightened foot peg and last manifold bolts.


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