If my CBX could tell it's story

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If my CBX could tell it's story

Postby portalespeanut » Tue Sep 03, 2019 7:17 pm

Admin - not sure where this should be, feel free to move or edit as needed

After a couple of months now with my '81 CBX, I wanted to follow up from my first post and initial observations. As I shared there, the new to me bike showed just over 10,400 miles and came to me as a nice 'work in progress' from the previous owner who had owned it briefly but knew little of the bike's history. He had left the bike with a 'trusted' mechanic to refresh the carbs, brakes, etc, had replaced the tires and had ridden it a little. Once I got it home, I looked the bike over, I began to ride it, and found a fuel leak at the Pingel petcock (new fuel lines, but no clamps), a greasey chain, poor front brakes, and a troubling rattle from the motor, especially when cold.
As I began to address these issues, I found myself wondering about the history of this 38 year old bike...what was it's story, it's history? Perhaps in the grand scheme of things it doesn't matter...but knowing some of it's history might be helpful in addressing it's issues.

Since my first post, and your helpful responses, this is what I've been up to with this 'mystery girl'...
First, the fueling issue was addressed, immediately. My first outing on this bike was 300 miles on Sunday afternoon, Father's Day, and upon discovering the leak, I scrambled that evening to find a way to clamp it off and get home. Zip-ties from Walmart sufficed to get me home. Geared clamp - no leaks, check! I've now been able to get fuel mileage in the mid forty's if I am careful, so that's good. BTY, the bike carburates well.
Next, I changed the oil to get a baseline on type and possible consumption.
After that, I addressed the front brakes. The pads were worn and glazed as suggested by Dave and EMS. New pads installed, and I now have good, safe brakes.
The oily chain/undercarriage was a troubling symptom, knowing that replacing a leaking output shaft seal requires splitting the cases if done by the book. (Which I have)
I did have a seal onhand, and after verifying that the oll cooler lines, or alternator weren't the culprit, I reluctantly decided to change the seal...without splitting the cases. With considerable aviation, and agriculture maintenance experience, I knew I could change the seal just by extracting it from the cases...which was accomplished quite easily. Once it was removed, I found what I believe to be the source of the leak. There was a 'gouge-like' mark on the countershaft right where the seal rides. It appeared to be from someone's effort to remove the seal at some point in the past? The seal appeared to be unmolested and original, so where did the shaft damage come from? This, and several other clues add to the mystery of this bike's history. I decided to dress the shaft as carefully as I could, and install the new seal (with the raised outer flange lip removed from the seal), thinking I was one step closer to removing the motor to address this (and other?) issues if it failed. Seal replaced, along with the o-ring under the sprocket retaining bolt, chain cleaned up, and I've had 500 miles of oil-leak free enjoyment. 7885
Sidebar - Every time I've checked the oil, on this bike, it's always been low...though not severely, enough to be troubling. I'd hoped addressing the countershaft leak would solve my oil consumption...but it appears not. More on that in a minute...
The troubling rattle in the motor has been another concern...(yep, I've been trying not to link that to the oil consumption). I did adjust the cam chains last weekend, and now the bike sounds much better.
Oil consumption - I'm going to continue to ride the bike and monitor the amount of oil I have to add. To this point, I've been adding about 1 quart every 600-750 miles. I'm about to check the plugs, do a compression check, and leak down check when I get the time. No white smoke, no other symptoms...again, I wish she could talk and tell her story.
I still have many items on my list to check on this bike...the alternator clutch and brushes as an example. One step at a time.

Thinking about the mysterious gouge on the output shaft, and several other strange oddities has me wondering if my bike may have been a 'School Bike' at some time. Along with the output shaft damage, there was considerable paint damage to the rear portion of the front fender from one or more brake fluid spills sometime in the past. Also, though it's not prominent, there's some numerical markings on the clutch housing, '853-01570' hand scribed. All of these things added together made me think, "School Bike?" the other night when I was mulling this all over. On the other hand, it may mean nothing, right? 7886
Whether my bike is a 'School Bike' or not, it matters not to me...I love this thing and every time I get to take it out, I grin from ear to ear. I am determined to continue to address the bike's issues and deal with them one at a time.
I imagine there are a few here who've owned their CBX's from the beginning, or know of the bike's history through the previous owner. But I'll bet most of us are just on a journey of 'getting to know' the story of our bikes...one fix at a time. For me, that journey is worth it!
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Re: If my CBX could tell it's story

Postby EMS » Wed Sep 04, 2019 8:37 am

If you care to let me know the VIN/serial number I may have some info of what the bike's past was. No guarantees.
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Re: If my CBX could tell it's story

Postby Rick Pope » Wed Sep 04, 2019 12:46 pm

Nice write-up. It seems you and the bike are getting along nicely.
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Either garage is too small or we have too many bikes. Or Momma's car needs to go outside.
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Re: If my CBX could tell it's story

Postby portalespeanut » Wed Sep 04, 2019 12:48 pm

Thanks for checking, EMS... :text-thankyouyellow:

The VIN is - SC0600BC302551.
The Engine SN is - SC03E-2303584
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Re: If my CBX could tell it's story

Postby portalespeanut » Wed Sep 04, 2019 1:21 pm

Rick Pope wrote:Nice write-up. It seems you and the bike are getting along nicely.


Thanks, Rick. We are getting along well. I worked at a Honda dealership in 1976-77 while in college (yea, I'm old), and we heard rumors of the CBX, but I was gone when they came. Was raising a family in 1981, and told myself, "Someday!" Well, someday has finally arrived. Love this bike. :D
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Re: If my CBX could tell it's story

Postby Rick Pope » Wed Sep 04, 2019 2:10 pm

Seeing your screen name, portalespeanut, and having been through there, I have to ask if you're involved in the peanut industry.
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Re: If my CBX could tell it's story

Postby portalespeanut » Wed Sep 04, 2019 4:57 pm

Rick Pope wrote:Seeing your screen name, portalespeanut, and having been through there, I have to ask if you're involved in the peanut industry.

Haahaahaa!...Rick, few would know about that! Actually, I grew up in the eastern plains of New Mexico on our family farm near Portales...no peanuts though, our farm was only wheat and grain sorghum. For a while Portales was 'famous' for it's Valencia peanuts...the ones you find still in the shell. I do still live in New Mexico, Roswell to be exact, and now help manage a John Deere dealership. If You're ever in this part of the world, let me know and I'll buy You lunch!
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Re: If my CBX could tell it's story

Postby Rick Pope » Wed Sep 04, 2019 7:06 pm

Haha, tomorrow I'm taking my one owner 4450 to a dealer to sell on consignment. Over the winter I'll liquidate more things. Likely nothing you folks would use out there. All equipment for no-till row crops.

After 50 years playing the farming game, it's time to get out and enjoy the country.
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Re: If my CBX could tell it's story

Postby EMS » Thu Sep 05, 2019 11:32 am

Sorry, portalesp-nut. I have no info that you probably don't know already. Your bike is a late production '81. Either March, more likely April of 1981. One of the last weeks of production.
Don't know why you would think it could be a school bike. I don't think it is. Most of these - 80% of what I have seen - have no bags anymore and carry some other signs of neglect.

I am a huge fan of NM myself. Spent two vacations riding out there. Traced the steps of Billy the Kid and the Regulators - Ft Sumner, Lincoln, Las Vegas, Santa Fe and stayed in Ruidoso during an Aspencade Rally one year. Enjoyed riding the roads around there. One comes to mind: County Road 6563 from Cloudcroft to the Solar Observatory. Nice sweepers, almost as many turns as on the Tail of the Dragon...
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Re: If my CBX could tell it's story

Postby portalespeanut » Thu Sep 05, 2019 11:48 am

Rick Pope wrote:Haha, tomorrow I'm taking my one owner 4450 to a dealer to sell on consignment. Over the winter I'll liquidate more things. Likely nothing you folks would use out there. All equipment for no-till row crops.

After 50 years playing the farming game, it's time to get out and enjoy the country.

Rick, farming is a great way of life...but not always a great way to make a living. :D BTW, Your 4450 would be in high demand here!...the valley here grows lots of alfalfa, and that would be prime rake/baler tractor. It should bring a premium as those are timeless tractors...good luck with the sale. Oh, and when Your out this way, let me know, I'd love to connect in person!
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Re: If my CBX could tell it's story

Postby portalespeanut » Thu Sep 05, 2019 12:18 pm

EMS wrote:Sorry, portalesp-nut. I have no info that you probably don't know already. Your bike is a late production '81. Either March, more likely April of 1981. One of the last weeks of production.
Don't know why you would think it could be a school bike. I don't think it is. Most of these - 80% of what I have seen - have no bags anymore and carry some other signs of neglect.

I am a huge fan of NM myself. Spent two vacations riding out there. Traced the steps of Billy the Kid and the Regulators - Ft Sumner, Lincoln, Las Vegas, Santa Fe and stayed in Ruidoso during an Aspencade Rally one year. Enjoyed riding the roads around there. One comes to mind: County Road 6563 from Cloudcroft to the Solar Observatory. Nice sweepers, almost as many turns as on the Tail of the Dragon...


EMS, thanks for checking!...I know more now than I did before You shared the probable build dates. Not sure why I began to wonder if it was a school bike...one sleepless night, I was pondering the countershaft oddity, and the numbers scribed on the clutch cover, and that thought came to mind. I found myself wishing these old bikes had 'logbooks' like the aviation industry has...it'd be fun to read the history of some of these bikes. :o

About New Mexico, sounds like You've been all around my old stomping grounds! As You said, there's some wonderful winding roads in the Cloudcroft area and all around. If You're ever out this way, please let me know...we'll find some good roads, and good Mexican food!
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Re: If my CBX could tell it's story

Postby Larry Zimmer » Thu Sep 05, 2019 7:12 pm

Hi, Portales,

If it's any help, my 82 has been doing 700-750 miles/qt for the past 30,000 miles that I have owned it. Depends a bit upon how hard it is ridden. (38000 on it now) Runs just fine for my needs. No leaks anywhere. As you, no particular 'smoking'. Given that, I've decided that oil is cheaper, and definitely easier, than a teardown. Ride on!
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Re: If my CBX could tell it's story

Postby daves79x » Fri Sep 06, 2019 7:50 am

It really does not matter, as Mike said, whether your bike is a school bike or not, but my experience has been that the higher serial number bikes were indeed more likely to be school bikes. Your build date is on the frame tag. No matter, you have what you have. Many CBXs from new used a quart of oil every 1000 miles if ridden hard, and many did not. If the bike can be made right otherwise and runs fine, doesn't leak or make funny noises, I'd just run it.

The road from Cloudcroft through the Mescalero reservation was one of the most memorable of my 1980 cross-country trip on my '79 CBX. Indeed a great area.

There are several CBXers in NM. I just facilitated the sale of an '81 to a fellow in Silver City. And our own Mike V (Coppercollar) lives in Albuquerque. Mike is a very good wrench, he may help you out if you need something.

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Re: If my CBX could tell it's story

Postby portalespeanut » Fri Sep 06, 2019 5:46 pm

Larry Zimmer wrote:Hi, Portales,

If it's any help, my 82 has been doing 700-750 miles/qt for the past 30,000 miles that I have owned it. Depends a bit upon how hard it is ridden. (38000 on it now) Runs just fine for my needs. No leaks anywhere. As you, no particular 'smoking'. Given that, I've decided that oil is cheaper, and definitely easier, than a teardown. Ride on!


Hey Larry!...Thanks for the input. Knowing there are bikes out there that may burn some oil, but have racked up many miles is an encouraging thing. My bike was noisy when I first got it, and didn't really sound like cam chains to me...at least not like the 3 CB750's I've owned. After servicing them, the bike sounds much better, so that had to be what I was hearing. As You said, adding some oil is certainly easier than a teardown!...I plan to continue to put some miles on this bike and see how it does. BTW, I'm inclined to 'baby' it and not ride it hard...to me it's irreplaceable and I don't want to abuse it.
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Re: If my CBX could tell it's story

Postby portalespeanut » Fri Sep 06, 2019 6:16 pm

daves79x wrote:It really does not matter, as Mike said, whether your bike is a school bike or not, but my experience has been that the higher serial number bikes were indeed more likely to be school bikes. Your build date is on the frame tag. No matter, you have what you have. Many CBXs from new used a quart of oil every 1000 miles if ridden hard, and many did not. If the bike can be made right otherwise and runs fine, doesn't leak or make funny noises, I'd just run it.

The road from Cloudcroft through the Mescalero reservation was one of the most memorable of my 1980 cross-country trip on my '79 CBX. Indeed a great area.

There are several CBXers in NM. I just facilitated the sale of an '81 to a fellow in Silver City. And our own Mike V (Coppercollar) lives in Albuquerque. Mike is a very good wrench, he may help you out if you need something.

Dave


Thanks, Dave. I agree...it really doesn't matter if mine was a school bike or not. Some of the things I've discovered about the bike just seemed unusual, but that's probably true of any machine that survived 38 years, and multiple mechanical 'assaults'. To me this bike is a treasure, and so I've tried to be easy on it, hoping it might take me to the 'end' of my riding days. On the other hand, it's 100's of miles to anywhere out here, and the speed limits are high, so that can take it's toll. I know these bikes are sensitive to heat and am trying to be mindful of that. The oil consumption is just something I'm going to watch...we'll see.

The road new Cloudcroft You referred to is a favorite of mine, and I'm hoping to ride as much a possible in the near future. If You're ever back this way again, let me know, I'll show You some others too! :-)

Glad to know about other CBXers here, and would love to meet Mike someday. I have a daughter in Albuquerque, and might try to find him next time I'm there. Thanks again for your ongoing wisdom and insight!
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