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1975cb550_wes
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   Posted 1/13/2012 5:43 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Howdy.

I just bought a 1975 Honda CB550. It is in non-working condition. I only paid $200 for it in hopes that I can teach myself how to work on bikes. (I also have a 2005 Triumph Bonneville) This is my first restoration project ever. I was wondering if any of you have any advice on where to begin. I'm at a loss. Any and all help would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Wes
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Richard47
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   Posted 1/14/2012 3:49 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.

Hi Wes, and welcome.

The first thing to do is to think on what you want the bike to be. Do you aim just to get it running or, at the other extreme, turn it into a show winning bike? Or maybe something in between. The first option will probably see you spending a little more than the bike is worth and the show winner will cost you far more than the value of the bike. I like to get my old bikes looking as original as I can but having some regard to the final cost. I'm happy to spend more than their value as I regard restoring bikes as entertainment rather than a commercial venture.

You need as much information as you can get. I like to get as many different workshop manuals as I can. A factory manual is nice, Haynes manuals are good, Clymers are OK but tend to be too generic. Look on eBay for these. Also look on eBay to see what new-old-stock parts are available and what you can get used. It's a common bike and there should be lots of stuff available. Sadly, the price of decent stuff has sky-rocketed of late.

You are fortunate as the chrome plated parts on your bike seem in reasonable shape, it should be possible to achieve a smart bike without spending a ridiculous amount. You will need to budget to replace all the rubber items as they will be age hardened and perished.

I would start by getting the bike running before you start spending too much. Cleaning the inside of the gas tank will probably be needed (it may need to be sealed if it is rusty but for now you should remove any debris), new fuel lines and an in-line filter would be good, a cleaned gas tap too. The carbs will most likely be in need of cleaning as  the jets, particularly the pilots, tend to block easily. You need to unblock these physically, not just squirt carb cleaner at them. Problems with overflowing carbs due to worn/dirty needle jets and dodgy floats are commonplace.

Once you have dealt with the fuel system you should see if you have a spark at the plugs. Obviously you need a decent battery. Change the oil and give the camshaft a dose of fresh oil too, it will probably be dry. The oil filter bolt is known to be liable to lose its hexagon, you need a really good fitting socket on this.

You can now see if it runs and assess what you have and where you want to go from there. Good luck!


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