Saturday, November 1, 2008

Initial Delivery

Earlier this year I hauled an old WWII T-6 airplane project to it's new owner in S. Texas. When picking the plane up in Marion, NC I spotted an old 1968 Honda CL 350 in the hanger and saw that it was in almost perfect original condition with 95% of all the parts in place.

I asked about the bike and he was surprised I recognized it since it was hidden behind and under a bunch of old crap and he also seemed surprised about my knowledge of the old thing. I told him my dad bought one when I was about 13 or 14 and it was the first bike I ever rode on the street. It was identical to one he had down to the color and the original tires on the thing. The ow
ner said it had been his brothers but hadn't been run in about 10 years or so. The last registration was in 1982 so it's probably been longer than that. The owner was an old A/P mechanic and had filled the gas tank with oil and left the petcock open so the carbs filled with oil as well. Because of that the tank is in perfect condition as are the float bowls.

We struck a deal and he gave me the bike with the promise of the title when he got home to Florida. The value of the deal to me was about $100 worth of extra fuel I needed to haul a bigger trailer for the T-6.

During the trip home, the T-6 shifted and some sheet metal cut the tie down and the bike fell on it's left side damaging the tank, pipe shield and headlight ear. There was an engine mount for a radial engine strapped to the rear seat and it damaged the rear fender as well. Nothing major but a real shame given it's great condition.

When I got home, I drained the oil from the gas tank and carburetors and changed the engine oil. The petcock leaked like a sieve but I ran some fuel through the tank and carbs, hooked up a jumper battery and tried to start it. It cranked fine but wouldn't start. I put some fresh plugs in it, cleaned the points and set the gap. Damn if the thing didn't start right up. Cool. I've been riding it around the neighborhood since it looks like the previous owner didn't have a clean title and the title I have is from NC from his deceased brother. It appears that I'm going to have to go through the hassle of getting a "bonded title" for the thing.

Anyway, the purpose of my post is to see if anyone here has had any experience with a ground up restoration on old bikes or cars. Specifically, I'm looking for information on how to repair/restore all the bolts and nuts to like new condition. Many of them have chrome plated heads so they'll have to be re-chromed while there rest will probably need some sort of cad plating. The other problem is how to restore the engine cases/cylinder to "as new" condition. These old bikes came with a clear coat on them and even after a couple of years they tended to chip and discolor and this bike has severe case of this. I'd like to see if I can do the cases without tearing the motor apart but that might not be possible.

Another big problem I foresee is how to restore the carburetor bodies to that nice new gray condition.

The bigger chrome pieces like fenders, rims etc. will be sent out but I'm not sure about the plating of the bolts. I was thinking of investing in a tumbler to clean things up but I don't know where to start as far as quality and cost for this equipment goes. I've also seen home kits for the cad plating but I'm not sure of those either.

If you know of any good web sites that deal with the specifics of a restoration let me know. I'd like to put together a good pictorial of the restoration like Damon did on his Racer.

Anyway, wish me luck.
These are the pictures my wife took. Never mind the old guy riding it. Yea, Yea, I know, I'm not wearing gloves.

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1 comment:

Me said...

good luck! awesome to see a restoration project like this. looking forward to future posts.