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Author Topic: Assembling my '74 CB550 - Putting it all back together  (Read 97890 times)

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Offline SohRon

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Assembling my '74 CB550 - Putting it all back together
« on: April 02, 2011, 01:11:45 am »
Well, I've finally found the time to get back to the bike project, and I'm pretty jazzed about it. My original thread covered the restoration of a '74 CB550K that I had bought cheap from a friend, but there turned out to be problems with that frame (and quite a few other parts, actually); in addition, my personal life was just becoming too hectic for words and was leaving little time for the project, so abandoning the build was in order, at least temporarily.

Now, all of that is finally behind me and it's time to concentrate on the bike. Here it is as it stands now

[img width=600 [/img]http://

(Note that if you click on the above pic it will open  to full isze)



I did a lot of work on this for the original build, so the main thing I've been concentrating on in preparation for reassembly has been cosmetics; basically I've been doing a lot of polishing and repainting. I've gone over all of the nuts, bolts and screws so they shine, reworked and refinished some components (right hand switch, brake MC, etc), and in general spiffed everything up so it looks pretty.

We'll start out with the frame. I got this one from ebay after my original turned out to be tweaked. Here it is after powder coating[/img][/center]



My first order of business will be reinstalling the headset, or steering bearings. These bikes (and most others of the era) were initially produced using ball bearings here; this was done in an effort to keep the price of the bike down ($1600 was the original price in 1974 - equivalant to $8000 - $9000 in today's money). These days, lots of folks are replacing them with tapered bearings. While there are both pros and cons to doing this, I want this particular bike to be closer to original, so ball bearings it is.

I bought a new ball bearing steering set from David Silver Spares (yes, they are still available), which actually turned out to be more expensive than the tapered bearing kit. The ball bearing "kit" consists of top and bottom inner and outer races, a new rubber dust seal and steel washer, and 37 steel balls; that is to say, thirty-seven individual 3X5 plastic baggies, each containing one small steel ball




I started out by inserting the top and bottom outer races into the steering head. I left the races in the freezer for a couple of days, so they were pretty frosty. I gently warmed the race seat with a torch, then used the old races to tap the new ones in place; just moving around and around the perimeter of the race was enough to drive the new part home





With both top and bottom outer races installed into the steering head, I supported the frame upside down so I could install the bottom bearing and steering stem




Here are the steering components: steering stem/lower fork yoke, top and bottom (already installed on steering stem) inner races, 37 steel balls (18 top, 19 bottom), the upper race cap (or thread), and the steering stem nut and washer




Coating the balls with grease, I installed all 19 in the bottom outer race...




...then inserted the stem down through the steering head and secured it in place with a couple of big rubber bands, giving it a couple of twists to lightly seat the balls (the rubber band trick works pretty well; not only does it keep the stem in place while adding the bearings to the top end, but it helps to keep the triple tree from flopping around after assembly)




Flipping the frame over, I added the balls for the top bearing;  18 all. While it might seem that there's enough space for another ball, the gap is necessary to keep the balls from rubbing against each other, which would cause scoring of the balls and failure of the bearing.




Inserting the top inner bearing race...



...then the upper bearing race cap (or thread)




Now, I did some research on this step because it seems that this is where many of the problems arise with this type of bearing. What can happen is that the thread gets overtightened and  the balls are pressed into the races so that they form seats, or dimples in the metal (and the balls themselves can be deformed), creating notchy steering as the balls pass over the dimple ridges, and a location "memory" that tends to want to keep the steering in one place.

Wanting to do things right, I turned to all four of the repair manuals I've been using (Clymer's; Hayne's; Chilton's and the official Honda Shop Manual) to get their spin on bearing adjustment. Here's what they have to say: Hayne's: "Using a c-spanner, tighten the adjuster nut beneath the top fork yoke until the bearings are free from play." Clymer's tells me how to prepare for adjustment, then gets relatively vague regarding proper adjustment procedures. The Chilton's book surprised me as it seemed to be the most comprehensive, saying: "Tighten the flat steering stem nut in small increments (italics theirs) until there is no fore-and-aft movement in the stem and it can move freely and smoothly throughout its range. Do not over tighten the flat stem nut" (again, italics theirs). The "Official" Honda shop manual throws a monkey wrench into the mix by advising me to "tighten the top head nut fully, then back it off to the point where the handlebar can be turned with reasonable ease". So, rather than tightening to a point as the others advise, the Honda manual says tighten the thread "Fully", then back it off to a certain point. This is where the problems arise, and the races get dimpled.

I talked to my motorcycle "Guru" friend, and he sided with the Honda manual, but with qualifications. "What this book doesn't show," he said, "is that you've got to keep the steering stem moving while you tighten down the nut. Folks (not his word, BTW, but I'm keeping it clean) just get in there holding the steering stem motionless or even with the wheel still on the ground and moose down on that nut like there's no tomorrow, and they're surprised when they end up with notchy steering."  He said that the way he'd always done it was to insert the stem and nut, then tighten down the nut as far as it could go by hand. "If you do it right," he said, "that'll almost get you there. Then you apply the spanner and the trick is to tighten the nut using the steering stem, not the wrench". And he pantomimed keeping the wrench stationary while turning the stem. "When you get to the end of the steering travel, just re position the wrench and stem and continue until you start to feel resistance, then back off the nut a touch and you're done. What you're doing here is seating the balls in the races, so the idea is to keep the bearings in motion while you're doing the tightening. That way you'll never get notchy steering".

I don't know if anyone else does it this way, but after he explained it to me like that, that's how I adjusted the headnut. The steering moves smoothly from stop to stop. Just like butta.

So, here the bike is complete with its new steering bearings. While the original ball bearing setup may not be for everybody, I expect with proper maintenance that it will last for another forty years, at least. Vive la difference, n'est-ce pas?


The next post will cover installing the frame onto the engine and commencing work on the front end. Can't wait.

'til next time
« Last Edit: July 07, 2017, 09:42:17 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 bwaller

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Re: Assembling my '74 CB550 - Once more unto the breach
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2011, 04:00:51 am »
I'm glad you're back in the saddle... er so to speak! That is a great first photo.  8)

Although there are always adjustments and places that paint may need to be removed, but how nice is it to have all the grunt work done so you can just assemble a motorcycle out of all new or cleaned parts. Well done.

Offline fastbroshi

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Re: Assembling my '74 CB550 - Once more unto the breach
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2011, 05:59:03 am »
  Ron, great pics as always.  The site is sure to attract outsiders just for a peek into your procedure here.  About the glossiness of your powdercoat - that's exactly the reason I'm considering a matte finish.  I thought to myself when seeing and handling the glossy ones that it would probably be prone to a bunch of scratches, as soft as it is.   
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Offline apex_seeking

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Re: Assembling my '74 CB550 - Once more unto the breach
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2011, 06:23:57 am »
I love the pics and how through you are with your write ups. Subscribed.

Offline Duanob

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Re: Assembling my '74 CB550 - Once more unto the breach
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2011, 11:19:19 am »
Happy to see you back on the horse Sohron! Good luck this time. Hope to see you riding this thing soon. Always enjoy your buold pages.
"Just because you flush a butt-load of money down the toilet, doesn't make the toilet worth more",  My Step-Father the Unknown Poet

1976 CB550K2 Resurrected
1976 CB550F2 Barn Find
1979 CX500 Delux "HONDA-GUZZI"

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Offline CBDee

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Re: Assembling my '74 CB550 - Once more unto the breach
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2011, 04:48:49 pm »
Good to see you back at it. How in the world did you get that picture? Ill be looking forwards to seeing this done!
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Online Stev-o

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Re: Assembling my '74 CB550 - Once more unto the breach
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2011, 08:53:05 pm »
Hey Ron...

+1 - nice to see you back at it! Looking forward to the next installment.
'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 SohRon

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Re: Assembling my '74 CB550 - Once more unto the breach
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2011, 09:03:01 pm »
Well, to those who welcomed me back, thanks! It's good to be working on the project again!

About the glossiness of your powdercoat - that's exactly the reason I'm considering a matte finish.

The high gloss is pretty fragile. You almost have to handle it with gloves. Also, it attracts dust like a magnet, so you get these little dust shoals developing in strange places. It definitely wouldn't work for a bike that sees a lot of highway milage. Since this bike will be a garage queen, it shouldn't be a huge problem, at least for a while.


How in the world did you get that picture?

My driveway runs right next to my house, so I laid out two large sheets, placed the parts on them, then took the shot while leaning out of a second story window. I Photoshopped the sheets away, and left the parts as they were photographed. I chose a cloudy day, so the light was just right for the shot.

There's a mildly interesting story associated with the pic, actually. I noticed, as I was laying out the parts, that my next door neighbor seemed to be interested in what I was doing. Finally, after I had it all laid out, he called me over to the fence with a concerned look on his face. "Look, he said, "This is really none of my business, but what are you doing with the bike?"

He has been following the progress on the bike since the beginning, even helped me lift it on and off the build stand a couple of times. He used to own a 550 back in college and has a lot of fond memories of that bike, so he has been a real supporter throughout the whole project.

I told him that I was laying it out for a photoshoot so I could use the shot for this thread on this forum. He looked relieved. "I was afraid," he said, with an obvious relief that was kind of touching, actually, "that you were taking pictures to sell it on Craigslist or something! I was worried that you'd lost your mind!"

I assured him that that wasn't the problem because that precise thing had happened a long time ago and really had no bearing on the present. Anyway, it would take a lot more than that for me to sell at this point...
"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 RAF122S

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Re: Assembling my '74 CB550 - Once more unto the breach
« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2011, 11:11:01 pm »
Sohron,

Glad I stumbled across your thread. I'm eagerly watching the rebuild and glad you are taking a bore sight on everything again.
Good luck with the build-up. 

David-RAFster122S
David- back in the desert SW!

Offline kap384

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Re: Assembling my '74 CB550 - Once more unto the breach
« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2011, 11:17:13 pm »
Glad to see you back on track SohRon!
1965 Honda CB450K0
1972 Honda CT70K1
1974 Honda MT125
1975 Honda MR50
1975 Honda CB400F Supersport
1977 Honda CB750F2 Supersport
1979 Honda CBX Supersport
1983 Honda CX650T
1995 Honda VFR750
2016 Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin
2015 KTM 200 XC-W
1963 Suzuki T10
My 1977 CB750F restoration - http://forums.sohc4.net/index.php?topic=66779.0
My 1975 CB400F restoration -
http://forums.sohc4.net/index.php?topic=145196.msg1651779#msg1651779
'More Stock Than Not' thread - http://forums.sohc4.net/index.php?topic=90807.500
My CT70 Resurrection - http://forums.sohc4.net/index.php?topic=145221.0

Offline theofam

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Re: Assembling my '74 CB550 - Once more unto the breach
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2011, 08:21:02 am »
SohRon, it's great seeing you back on the 550 build.  I often use your previous build thread as an encyclopedic reference!

Looks like we're both racing toward an early May completion date.  Maybe we could run IT around the Denver area the week of May 2nd for some pics!

Offline SohRon

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Re: Assembling my '74 CB550 - Once more unto the breach
« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2011, 03:14:16 pm »
Sounds good. Here's hoping it all works out!
"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 lone*X

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Re: Assembling my '74 CB550 - Once more unto the breach
« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2011, 08:17:50 pm »
ShoRon, it is great to see this going back together.  I am jealous like you wouldn't believe.  Your opening picture of the bike spread out for a single shot is a real shocker for me.  My 550K1 is completely disasymbled, like yours, although not nearly as pretty.  Still a lot of polishing and painting to do.   I will be following your new thread with great interest.  How about a link in your signature line to your original thread?  Your attention to detail and the clearity with which you describe your processes will be a huge benefit to all us 550 owners.
Lone*X  ( Don )

75 CB550K1 - One owner, me.  Close to being back on the road.
VTX1800C for two up cruisin.
Several others have come and gone but whose keeping track.
52 years on two wheels and counting.....
"The best safety feature of any motorcycle is the one God put between your ears.  It's also the least utilized"

Offline SohRon

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Re: Assembling my '74 CB550 - Once more unto the breach
« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2011, 06:20:11 pm »
Thanks for the comments, Lone-x!  Sorry, but the old thread isn't applicable anymore, so I pretty much deleted quite a bit of it.  Two remnants of it can be found in the tricks-n-tips forum under the electrical (Right hand switch) and exhaust (Installing 4x4 exhaust) sections.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2011, 06:23:05 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 Marco83

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Assembling my '74 CB550 - Once more unto the breach
« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2011, 06:48:17 pm »
Very detail build. Please post more photo

Offline Toxic

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Re: Assembling my '74 CB550 - Once more unto the breach
« Reply #15 on: April 05, 2011, 04:37:16 am »
Nice pic of the parts,  I saved it in my 'puter.

Please continue the updates.

I don't know why your powder coat is "fragile". Yes they attract dust and finger prints but no way should it be scratching that easy. Thankfully I've never had a powdercoated frame do that to me.

Offline Aladinsane07

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Re: Assembling my '74 CB550 - Once more unto the breach
« Reply #16 on: May 05, 2011, 12:17:02 pm »
I've been eagerly awaiting this thread, and I missed its opening by a month!

Glad to see you're back at it.  Good luck along the way.

Offline Oddjob

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Re: Assembling my '74 CB550 - Once more unto the breach
« Reply #17 on: May 10, 2011, 08:04:24 am »
Like the pics. I do have a couple of questions though. Like yourself I'm the kind of guy who trys to restore bikes back to original, ok it's not to everyones taste but I prefer my bikes to look like how I remember them. Unlike a lot of others though I tend to change parts which IMO Honda didn't get right in the first place, original Honda CB500 clocks are a good example, they sit at the wrong angle, they tend to bounce the needles when your going quick, only one illumination bulb etc. So I changed mine for the CB550F2 clocks which IMO looked better and worked better. My questions though are these, are you intending to go the whole hog and even refit the frame stickers? they are still available and I found they made the bike look even more original, what are you doing about the steering lock, i can see by the pics you've not installed it yet and TBH I'd have done that before fitting the headstock, lastly and this was just pure fun on my part I started to see if I could spot any parts in the look down pics which were missing, it's a real pity you could make the pic zoomable as the engine itself looks very nice and I wanted to see it in more detail, I spotted a couple of parts which weren't there, seat being the biggest part I couldn't see.
I haven't read your original thread so excuse me if you stated about these questions in there, just curious about little things, which IMO make the world of difference between what's a good restoration and what's a great restoration.

One comment. if the paint on the frame is so brittle aren't you worried about parts which need to flex in order to work, fork tube clamp area on the bottom headstock is one example, as they tighten will the paint crack off?

Offline Ecosse

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Re: Assembling my '74 CB550 - Once more unto the breach
« Reply #18 on: May 10, 2011, 02:55:22 pm »
a wee late to the party but i too am glad you're back at it!

great documentation as usual.


edit: nice story about your concerned neighbor... was good for a laugh!

and while i wouldn't go back to ball bearings for my 550 i respect you sticking with originality.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2011, 03:08:05 pm by Ecosse »
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Offline Greggo

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Re: Assembling my '74 CB550 - Once more unto the breach
« Reply #19 on: May 10, 2011, 05:31:19 pm »
Can't wait to see the BOTM nominee that will come out of this thread!

Offline SohRon

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Re: Assembling my '74 CB550 - Once more unto the breach
« Reply #20 on: May 17, 2011, 05:36:08 pm »
This session will cover mating the engine and frame and, if I'm lucky, installing the forks.

This is the engine, which was refurbished by a friend. It's a major deviation from '74 in that it is a '77, but it will have to do until I can get a '74. Meanwhile, if you ignore the stator housing it looks just like the real thing... The paint is "Dupli-Color Cast Coat Aluminum", rated to 500 degrees and fortified with magical ceramic ingredients



First order of business was to remove the oil filter housing. Then the engine was balanced on its right side using a couple of boards. This is nice, soft yellow pine I'm using here, so I'm not concerned with marring the finish on the clutch cover, but if you use this method, you might want to cover the boards with some protective cloth, or whatever




With the engine ready, I turned my attention to the frame. I'm wrapping the engine cage with bubble wrap using two different sizes: 1/4 inch for the front frame rail because I wasn't sure that I could get the frame started with the 1 inch stuff; and, of course, 1 inch wrap for the remainder. It doesn't look very glamorous, but I'm more concerned with function here



Grasping the frame by the front and mid down tubes, I carefully lowered the frame over the engine. The trick is to keep the frame as level as possible while lowering it; then, when the bottom rail clears the oil pan, kind of "hook the pan with the lower frame rails and swing the upper part of the frame down onto the engine, resting it on the engine at the frame attachment points.



The bubble wrap is the way to go, IMHO, especially the one inch stuff. It works so well that, as I lowered the frame down, I had a hard time pushing it onto the engine. The wrap held the frame in such perfect suspension that, when it was half way down, I was able to walk away and set up the camera for the frame lowering shot. It was nearly impossible to touch the engine with the frame as the bubble wrap just didn't allow it. If I sound enthusiastic, I guess I am. I'll never use any other method. I was so pleased when it was done, that I nearly took it back off again just to experience the thrill one more time...



With the frame resting on the engine, I "pinned" them together using a couple of loose bolts on the lower front engine mounts. One on top



and one on the bottom. These pins help to hold the frame in position so that the real work can begin



Here is the engine mounting hardware: front mounting brackets, various spacers, and a whole lot of bolts, including the two big hanger bolts (BTW, I acquired these nearly pristine hanger bolts in one of those eBay "bucket o' bolts" auctions. I got easily $250 worth of usable materials from a $35 auction; well worth checking out). Not shown here is the rear engine mounting bracket, but it will be obvious when we come to it



With the pins holding the frame in place, I began the official assembly by inserting the lower rear engine hanger bolt. This will eventually support the driver's foot pegs as well as holding up the engine...



...it requires this little doughnut shaped spacer puck on the bottom (right) side



Next comes the upper hanger bolt and it, too, has a little spool-shaped spacer that it fits through on the left side of the engine. Something I need to mention here is that I've scraped away the powder coat on both sides of the mounting lug (inset) for frame to engine and general chassis grounding. I've smeared some dielectric grease on the exposed metal to cut down on rust here. More on this later



These two big bolts really pull the frame and engine together. I replaced the top "pin" with the lower front hanger bolt. The nut fits into a little alcove cast into the crankcase. I'm keeping all of these bolts and nuts loosely attached so that there is some "wiggle" room left to finesse the frame into position on the engine



Next I installed the front hanger bracket. It's pretty straight forward in function. I loosely attached the outer bracket on the inside of the frame with two bolts...



...while the inner portion rests on the engine and is attached with a large bolt whose corresponding nut and washers...



...fit into another little "alcove" cast into the crankcase



With everything together, the frame and engine was flipped over on its other side so that the remaining nuts, bolts and brackets could be added. BTW, the strip of carpeting I got from a local installer really helps to cut down on the wear and tear on both the bike and the knees...

And, once again, let's hope that this is the only situation where I see this side of the engine...



With all of the hanger bolts in place, and with the assistance of three women and a 3-year old child, I lifted the frame/engine assembly onto a small rolling platform I have that used to carry a Xerox machine (so weight's not a problem), then added the rear engine mounting bracket. This is another deviation from '74 in that this bracket was painted black, originally, but was left bare in later years.



A couple of things to notice about the above pic are A: the upper bracket bolt and the upper hanger bolt nut are only temporarily added at this stage as I'll be needing them for other applications later. For now, they're just helping to hold everything together; and B: the mounting "lugs" on the down tube have been scraped free of powder coat on each side, and the engine mounts have been cleared of paint as well (inset), so that a good engine to frame ground exists through the upper hanger bolt. All of these ground exposures have been daubed liberally with dielectric grease to try and keep corrosion at bay.

Another step I've taken in this direction is that all of the bare metal brackets, nuts, bolts, screws and washers have been treated with either a coating of Rust-Oleum "Rust Inhibitor" or Boeing "Boeshield T-9"  in an attempt to keep corrosion down on these parts. I'm using the Boeshield in places like under the fenders and on the lower engine hangers as it's a bit heavier than the Rust Inhibitor and should help in these heavily exposed areas




Once the frame/engine assembly was complete it was time to turn to the forks. I want to install the front wheel and the center stand so that it will be a little easier to maneuver the bike around the garage. These are the forks: new seals, etc, filled with 5.6 oz of PJ1 20w fork oil and ready to go (NOTE: These fork tubes were badly rusted from mid-point up just where the headlight mounting "ears" fit, as you can see from the pic, but are otherwise in fine condition. They were sandblasted, then coated with Rust-Oleum Rust preventive paint. It doesn't really matter, after all; it will all be hidden behind the headlight mounting "ears" anyway



... which are mounted with the forks using rubber grommets, along with the fork "gaiters")...



The top fork yoke (or "Bridge", if you prefer) ties the forks to the head stem. Here it is with its chrome-plated nuts displayed (bolts, too!). Note the little "D"-shaped washer with the clamp bolt. This has special applications I'll cover when we get to it



I started mounting the forks by inserting the grommets into the headlight mounts (AKA "ears"). The bottom (largest) grommet is beveled on one side and flat on the other; I inserted the flat side against a little shelf on the inside of the "ear",  with the beveled side pointing down. The top grommets fit down into a little "well" on the top of each mount and don't require any special orientation, so I just popped them in



Next, I attached the mounts by inserting the bottom steering yoke clamp into the opening provided in the bottom of each "ear", making sure that the grommet wasn't pinched and that it was aligned correctly with the clamp. These hang out together, making rude and suggestive remarks, just waiting for a good, stiff fork tube to be shoved up their...



With the headlight mounts in place, I placed the top bridge over the steering stem and secured it loosely with the big stem nut and washer, then grabbed the right fork, dropping the gaiter down over the tube (wide end down), and proceeded to insert the tube up through the bottom triple-tree clamp, headlight mount (make sure it doesn't pinch the grommets), and up into the top yoke clamp. Haynes' book tells me that "the bottom edge of the chamfer on each fork leg must coincide with the top face of the upper fork yoke". Whew!  In this case, a picture really is worth a thousand words...



Both tubes inserted in the clamps; it's time for the clamp bolts.



When inserting the bolts, I made sure that I included this little "D"-shaped washer in the gap on the top tube clamps



It acts as a spacer for the clamp; leave it out and you'll likely crack the yoke. The flat spot fits up against the fork tube



Once all of the fork clamp bolts, nuts and washers were in place and tightened up, I torqued down the big headnut, then finished up by installing the rear yoke clamp bolt and nut. I'm leaving the bottom yoke clamps loose at this point for "wiggle" room, and I'll want to give the front end a couple of centering bounces once I get the bike on the ground before I torque them down



The next items to consider are the "Gaiters" (No, not "Gators". Frankly, I wouldn't want one of them climbing up my steering forks. Just a little quirk I have...). They bridge the fork bottoms and the headlight mounts. There are grooves inside each end that fit into corresponding slots in the headlight mount and the fork bottoms. One thing I feel deserves special mention is this: the gaiters have these little drain holes in them



Make sure these are oriented down and to the back of the fork before you attach the gaiters as the gaiters are a serious beeee-otch to move once they're in place. I speak from experience.


So, at last, here it is with an engine and forks. Next time I'll cover installing the center stand and front wheel



'til next time
« Last Edit: May 01, 2017, 05:09:34 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 Ecosse

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Re: Assembling my '74 CB550 - Frame to Engine; Forks
« Reply #21 on: May 17, 2011, 06:12:33 pm »
have we run out of superlatives to describe your documentation prowess yet?
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Offline Greggo

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Re: Assembling my '74 CB550 - Frame to Engine; Forks
« Reply #22 on: May 17, 2011, 11:06:49 pm »
Great Post!

Offline Randy

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Re: Assembling my '74 CB550 - Frame to Engine; Forks
« Reply #23 on: May 17, 2011, 11:34:47 pm »
Wow...Those pics would make a great article for a Mag... thanks for the inspiration
1973 CB500k, 1972 CB750 (New Arrival), 1978 Vespa P200 (New Arrival)

Offline Simon96Taco

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Re: Assembling my '74 CB550 - Frame to Engine; Forks
« Reply #24 on: May 18, 2011, 11:10:32 am »
Inspiring - great work!

 

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