Author Topic: Jessezm's CB400F cafe  (Read 47004 times)

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Offline jessezm

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Jessezm's CB400F cafe
« on: May 17, 2010, 06:17:33 pm »
Yeah, yeah, another cafe racer build...

So I've been on the forums for a while now getting TONS of advice from all you awesome folks, and getting great service from fellow members like Honda Man (swing arm rebuild), the brake line dude, Bob Hamilton (cylinder boring), Roc City Cafe (tank and seat), etc.  I finally uploaded all my pictures to photobucket so I'm going to start with somewhat of a photo journal.  A wee bit of background:  I bought this '77 CB400f back in December.  It was very rough--rusted out cans, seized front brake, rotted tires, dented tank, rotting seat, etc.  Yet the motor had only 5k miles on it, and the owner did get it running for me and it revved real smooth, though lots of camchain noise.

I don't have any original pics of the bike completed  because I stripped it in my driveway the night she came home, and pushed the rolling chassis inside to my nice warm guest room (isn't divorce awesome?).  Here are a few shots of the disassembled bits, though:







Cont....

Offline jessezm

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Re: Jessezm's CB400F cafe
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2010, 06:23:10 pm »
My plan was a stripped down cafe, stock engine, just cleaned up with some new body work.  It was not to be....

I started off just attacking the easy stuff--polished the engine cases, did a really poorly prepped paint job to the engine, polished and rebuilt the forks, rebuilt the carbs and polished the bowls and bells, polished the hubs, etc...











cont...

Offline jessezm

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Re: Jessezm's CB400F cafe
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2010, 06:27:58 pm »




Then I tried my handy work at rebuilding the wheels completely.  Never done this before...  I used a post on the forums describing the whole process.  worked like a charm!

Heated the hubs to drive out the old bearings, then new bearings went in the freezer, hubs heated again and bearings installed with ease:



Had the rims powdercoated and laced them with new spokes from ebay (Thailand):








Offline jessezm

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Re: Jessezm's CB400F cafe
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2010, 06:30:24 pm »
Then I followed the instructions for truing the wheels.  $40 worth of tools from harbor freight saved me a LOT of money...






Offline jessezm

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Re: Jessezm's CB400F cafe
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2010, 06:34:07 pm »
Got some tires on that puppy.  They're one size over and I while I like the look, I am probably going to end up going to the right sized tires for handling, and also because the bike leans way too far over on the sidestand now...



These rearsets from the 400fourstore freaking rock!




Offline jessezm

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Re: Jessezm's CB400F cafe
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2010, 06:35:59 pm »
The pipes are really why I bought this bike.  They were rusty but no dings or dents or scrapes.  I got them ceramic coated and they look awesome now.  Here they are before coating, however:


Offline articblue

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Re: Jessezm's CB400F cafe
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2010, 06:46:31 pm »
Wow, awesome work so far, can't wait to see how this all comes together.
Eventually I'll get something that runs, but until then I'll wrench until I make it run.
Project 750

Also, another 'new' project 1975 Honda CB400F.

Offline jessezm

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Re: Jessezm's CB400F cafe
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2010, 06:50:24 pm »
It's sort of a long story, but basically I had ordered a custom tank and seat from BCR.  I waited 10 weeks for it, during which time I did all the work in the photos above, but when the set finally arrived, something was way off with the measurements.  I wrote about that elsewhere.  We ended up leaving things on good terms and I got a full refund.  But I was at square one with my tank and seat.  Next day I called Sean at Roc City Cafe, and he said he could help.  Because it was going to be another few months, I ended up getting into the engine...

I had the heads rebuilt at a local machine shop, and they did great work (sorry, didn't take pics, but they looked brand new).  I also sent out my cam to Web Cam and got their #2 street grind--nothing too radical.  Finally, I got the 54.5mm pistons that those ebay folks have been selling, and had the cylinders bored and honed, and, pistons coated by Bob Hamilton (another member here).

This also gave me a chance to redo the poorly executed paint job I did on the engine.  This time, I researched lots, and ended up stripping and sanding the engine cases to a luster, using an etch primer, then duplicolor cast iron coat engine paint.  Like 5 coats of it!  the first three went on too light, so I had to wait a week and then hit it again...

Then I polished the fins of the heads.  I build a makeshift A-frame to suspend the engine while I painted it so I wouldn't have to keep flipping it over and over...











Cont...


Offline jessezm

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Re: Jessezm's CB400F cafe
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2010, 06:51:04 pm »
Wow, awesome work so far, can't wait to see how this all comes together.

Hold on to your seats, dudes, there is a lot more coming right now!

Offline jessezm

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Re: Jessezm's CB400F cafe
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2010, 06:54:19 pm »
I used all kinds of crap to clean this puppy up, from aircraft stripper to kerosene with an air gun, scotchbrite, sandpaper, simple green, wire brush, etc, etc...







Here's 6 2X4's and some deck screws and 30 minutes later:


Offline jessezm

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Re: Jessezm's CB400F cafe
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2010, 06:56:48 pm »












Victory is MINE!!!


Offline jessezm

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Re: Jessezm's CB400F cafe
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2010, 07:02:20 pm »


At first thought it was too dark, but now I am really, really digging the color of the engine.  And the stainless allen bolts and brushed tappet covers and polished fins and engine covers really set it off

Next, I moved on to my most dreaded task:



I got the headlight bucket sorted out, though I may end up having to come back to it...  I'm using aftermarket mini speedo and tach with indicator lights incorporated into them, and aftermarket switches from K & S technologies



And we have POWER!


Offline jessezm

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Re: Jessezm's CB400F cafe
« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2010, 07:08:35 pm »
Next I had to tackle the rats nest in the rear.  I had cut off the rear frame loop in anticipation of Benjies battery/electrics box and loop that would go with his seat.  But alas, that was not meant to be, so until my seat comes in from Roc City, I have to hold off on re-bracing the rear of the frame and relocating the battery (which I plan to put under the bum stop).  For now, I conjured a little bit of evil genius, and with only a 18" X 24" piece of 16 gauge steel sheet, a hammer, a small chunk of 2X4, and an angle grinder, I did this:













Cont...

Offline jessezm

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Re: Jessezm's CB400F cafe
« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2010, 07:11:37 pm »















Offline jessezm

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Re: Jessezm's CB400F cafe
« Reply #14 on: May 17, 2010, 07:14:59 pm »
Now time to eliminate some wires and clean things up!







Now We're getting somewhere!!!


Offline jessezm

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Re: Jessezm's CB400F cafe
« Reply #15 on: May 17, 2010, 07:25:47 pm »
Oh, here are some shots that Bob (http://www.ebld.net/goldenagemotorcycles/) took of the pistons and cylinders while he had them:











« Last Edit: May 18, 2010, 07:33:15 am by jessezm »

Offline jessezm

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Re: Jessezm's CB400F cafe
« Reply #16 on: May 17, 2010, 07:49:53 pm »
So I had never rebuilt a top end before and was pretty nervous about installing the pistons.  Bob had warned me that there was very little chamfer left in the bores to help with squeezing the rings in, and he was definitely right!  The first go-round I broke a ring after hours of careful trial and error.  I waited a week and tackled it again with renewed hope and advice, and a better "feel" for it.  Second try was a charm, using large hose clamps to compress the rings, and a wood block over the heads to evenly and ever so gently tap, tap tap.  They went on very smoothly that way.

I buttoned the motor up with a new cam chain, tensioner, and blade.  I was lucky that the adjuster mechanism had not seized and actually had really good spring in it.  after torquing the heads down I went to set the valve clearances to the .004" that Webcam calls for, but something was off.  Turned out I had installed the cam 90 degrees off!!!  And I thought I was being careful...

So I went back in, and this time did it right, making sure to clean the threads of the cam sprocket and apply red loctite and torque to about 20ftlbs.

Yesterday (yep, that pretty much catches us up, folks!) I set the static timing and tested the electrical system.  I've pretty much got every wire burned into my head at this point, so hopefully troubleshooting should go smoothly.  So far, I've got good, fat spark on all wires (dyna-s ignition and 5 Ohm coils installed).  However, I noticed that While I've got 12.2 volts going to the coils' power wire when disconnected from the dyna ignition, it drops to 11.3 volts if I plug the ignition in.  Is that common, or a big deal?  I'm not sure why I'd be losing a full volt to the ignition...  Anyone?

Offline Little_Horse

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Re: Jessezm's CB400F cafe
« Reply #17 on: May 17, 2010, 08:11:21 pm »
I like your build, I can't really help with your electrical question other then to say I wouldn't worry about there being a problem loosing the 1 volt unless fuses are popping. Keep us posted.
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Offline jessezm

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Re: Jessezm's CB400F cafe
« Reply #18 on: May 17, 2010, 08:11:48 pm »
So to wrap up, here's what I've done so far since December:

--rebuilt and polished carbs, painted the rack.  Starting point for my jets is 90 mains, 38 pilots, needles raised one notch, air screw out 2 turns, floats set at 21mm (though I hear 24mm is all the rage)

--rebuilt brakes, new braided single line, new pads , new piston, aftermarket MC from Mike's XS, polished the caliper

--rebuilt wheels--new bearings, spokes, brushed the hubs, powdercoated rims, polished brake plate, drilled rotor off ebay

--Hondaman rebuilt my swingarm

--Installed tapered steering bearings

--clubman bars, new aftermarket controls and gauges, new cables all around (except for the tach)

--Dyna coils and ignition

--hot cam, 466cc big bore, had the heads cleaned and rebuilt, repainted engine

--new chain and sprockets

--rearsets from 400fourstore (kevin has been a HUGE help!)

--rebuilt front forks, Redwings for the rear

--rewired with solid state rectifier/regulator, new flasher relay, replaced about 50-60% of the bullet connectors with OEM style crimp connectors from vintage connections (I love this kit!!!), new AGM battery

--Hand -formed a custom electrics box.  This is my first time working with sheet metal so be kind!!!

WHAT I HAVE LEFT:

So I really am stuck till I get my tank and seat in.  Then I have to have a rear frame brace/loop fabricated for me (wish I could do this myself but I don't have the tools yet), and figure out where to put the battery.  Once I get that set, I have to strip it all back down and have the frame powdercoated (don't want to do it before I have it welded, obviously.

Then I get to put it all back together again and see if she works!  I've got a brand-new Morgan Carbtune waiting to help me with the synchronizing.  I am using K&N pods, so I expect a lot of fine tuning and frustration in my future, but I'm ready.

Unfortunately, Sean had a bit of an accident and his healing collarbone has postponed the delivery of the tank and seat (how dare you!), but the extra delay has really given me the chance to think through everything.  So I'm hoping that another 30 days or so is all it will take...  

All in all, this has been an awesome project so far.  I'm sure I've left out tons of details and speed bumps that I hit along the way, but feel free to ask any questions or offer any advice.  This was my second build, but I've been way more hands on with this one.  Here are a few shots of my first, an XS650 Street Tracker, bored to 750cc, hot cam, Shell Thuett heads, electronic ignition and hot coils, etc, etc, etc!


 

Offline Rich361

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Re: Jessezm's CB400F cafe
« Reply #19 on: May 17, 2010, 08:50:39 pm »
Thats a sweet looking bike!!!  Love the engine colour....  Just painted my engine and now I want to change it!!!
1975 CB400F

Offline cdoggy81

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Re: Jessezm's CB400F cafe
« Reply #20 on: May 17, 2010, 09:22:30 pm »
Great work so far!

Offline fastbroshi

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Re: Jessezm's CB400F cafe
« Reply #21 on: May 17, 2010, 09:36:34 pm »
I hadn't even thought of ceramic coating old rusty pipes.  I don't think we got to see yours, how about it?  Those 400 headers are pretty sweet. It's a tie with the 550F header though.
Just call me Timmaaaaay!!!

Offline vargas

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Re: Jessezm's CB400F cafe
« Reply #22 on: May 17, 2010, 09:56:01 pm »
wow...... nice freakin build. all i have to say.

Offline silver fox

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Re: Jessezm's CB400F cafe
« Reply #23 on: May 18, 2010, 05:15:30 am »
Hi Jessezm,

Lovely job your doing there mate, it will be a stunner. Do you have any part numbers of the switchgear you are using, and where did you get it from??? Also, what throttle are you using?

Many Thanks
Keep the pics coming in

Cheers
SF

Offline jessezm

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Re: Jessezm's CB400F cafe
« Reply #24 on: May 18, 2010, 06:05:19 am »
Hey, thanks for the great compliments!  Most of my inspiration has been from this forum and its members.  Here is a link to the page with the switches:  http://www.kandstech.com/index.php?page=switchescontrols#

Mine are part numbers 12-0055 and 12-0202.  12-0055 has a high beam LED indicator incorporated into it, which surprised me.  Now I've got 3 blue lights when my brights are on--one at the switch, one in the bucket (which came off a CL360 I think), and one on the speedo!  The other cool thing about the left side switch is that it has an optional pass-through which I was able to use to hook up my brake light switch rather than having to route another run of wires from the aftermarket master cylinder.  I ditched that ridiculous pressure switch and ran a single braided brake line, then cut off the mounting tab on the lower triple tree and painted it black.

As far as the throttle goes, it was just an aftermarket push-pull throttle from ebay.  I believe it is Emgo, and not of great quality at all.  In fact, it's a little long for the grip and I'm going to have to shorten the tube a little I think (though I haven't really looked at it closely yet)

Hi Jessezm,

Lovely job your doing there mate, it will be a stunner. Do you have any part numbers of the switchgear you are using, and where did you get it from??? Also, what throttle are you using?

Many Thanks
Keep the pics coming in

Cheers
SF
« Last Edit: May 18, 2010, 06:19:02 am by jessezm »