'78 Honda Twin Project

Discussion in 'Technical & Maintenance' started by TonisToo, Oct 5, 2017.

  1. TonisToo

    TonisToo Active Member

    So this followed me home…

    1978 Honda CB400T with 11,000 kms. Plus it’s brother… a nearly complete, running when parked, parts bike.

    You probably saw this being advertised for sale recently if you have a habit like me of perusing the classifieds. I met the guy in CBS and it was just too good a deal to pass up. I feel like I stole this from him. Nice fellow. He bought it about 4 years ago and only put a few thousand kilometers on it. The tires are virtually new. Like many people he had too many projects filling the garage and two young kids at home. He just got back from working in Russia in the oil and gas industry. No time for motorcycles.

    I had been thinking about a winter project again. Something to tinker with in the garage to stave off boredom and depression. Something requiring more cosmetics and bolt on parts as opposed to major mechanical open heart surgery (haha see what I did there?). Even if this turns out to be a giant pile of failure in the form of dismantled parts in the Spring, the price I’ve paid will be worth it in personal entertainment value alone. Disclaimer: this project won’t be at the level of our friend Herr Deacon’s work and I don’t claim to be any sort of bike mechanic. But when it comes to motorcycles, I’ve always found people here to be interested and helpful.

    I drove it home to the east end from CBS in the evening. It was 6 degrees and blowing a gale. My hands almost froze and it started to rain after it got dark. I was questioning the wisdom of this purchase all the way. But, the bike started easily in the cold and shifted like a brand new machine. It feels light compared to the R80 even though it weighs 400lbs. I sensed some occasional hesitation from the carbs when I held the throttle wide open to unleash all 27 horsepowers from the 40 year old air cooled twin. I suspect (hope?) this is from old gas and the carbs needing a good clean and maybe a sync. The brakes are a bit iffy. Old technology. The rear feels good, operating the front brake requires swearing and praying. I adjusted the play in the front lever and it feels a bit better. Electronic ignition, no points. Once I got it home there were a few more surprises. Under the warm garage lights I found some damage to the headlight trim ring and the front signal light ears. There’s a LOT of crud and dirt and virtually all of the chrome is pitted. The original seat is in excellent condition, no holes or tears and the foam is still comfy. The original owner’s manual is found in a neat closed pocket underneath the seat. The tank has a weird vinyl “bra” and a small ding. The locking helmet holder functions better than the one on my modern GS. I did have a moment of regret and thought about selling today to cut my loss but really I’m in it for hardly any money so on we go.

    Check this out… kick start only! Love it.


    My first bike was a 1977 Honda CT70.


    This one will be a different than the BMW R80RT project. I don’t plan to spend money on higher dollar items like a new Corbin seat or progressive fork springs and I don’t need new tires. With items scavenged from the parts bike and a shit ton of shop towels, cleaners and elbow grease, I hope to have a decent fun ride for the Spring. The bulk of the cost will come from paint. I plan to have someone repair the ding and paint the tank and two side covers. Selling pieces of the parts bike I don’t need will fund the project as I don’t want to end up with junk cluttering the garage and I just don’t have a lot of room indoors for the parts bike. The other thing is the handle bars… I can’t stand how they are swept back. I will change them to something a little wider with less sweep. Although over the lunch hour I rotated them upwards and it is significantly better. The fenders might get a trim. I don’t like chrome and there is a lot of it. I hope I can clean it up reasonably. I tested a couple of spots and it looks doable. I have no plans to paint or power coat any of the chrome parts at this time. I’d like to polish the engine case. I will change the oil and inspect the chain and sprockets.

    A lot of people make projects out of this model, lots of café racers out there. My plans for this bike would be more “brat” style I guess. This bike below would ultimately be what I would like it to become minus all the nice black parts. I also have the spoked wheels of course instead of the Comstar tubeless alloys. But the parts bike has the alloys and the associated hydraulic front disc brake. I will consider a swap depending on condition. That might be within the realm of my mechanical skills.

    So anyone else got any ambitious winter projects planned? Follow along if you’re interested as work will begin once the dreaded salt gets spread on the roads. Drop by the garage to check progress this winter. I’d love to have a pdf of the service manual if anyone can find it online. Wayne, I may need the paint code for that Honda blue you had laid down on your truck. Tips on cleaning aluminum and pitted chrome are welcome. And if anyone wants to buy my R80 it would sure free up some space. I’ve had two interesting 2 wheel trade offers worthy of consideration.
    keith likes this.
  2. Trash

    Trash Active Member

    Breathing life into old iron.
    What better way is there to spend a long Winter?

    If I had known you were looking for another Winter project, I would have sent you my old rider mower for restoration!
    TonisToo likes this.
  3. -Cy-

    -Cy- Member

    Very nice little project.

    My old Intruder needs some work, was kind of a hand me down from the old man. Needs new wiring (some definite gremlins starting to appear), carb sync, chrome also pitted (interested to see how you tackle this one or any tips people give). But with two little ones around the knees I'm not sure how far into it I will actually get! lol

    Attached Files:

  4. TonisToo

    TonisToo Active Member

    Looks like it's in good shape and you have a nice work space there for it. Wiring problems have got to be the worst. I have little patience for that sort of thing. I know what it's like to try to find time when your kids are small. I finally have one at MUN and the other in the last year of high school. Perhaps they might be interested in helping me out on this which would be nice. Hopefully you get a chance at your project soon.
  5. Dougger

    Dougger Member

    Bill's young fella is looking for an old twin motor if you want to part out the parts bike.
  6. TonisToo

    TonisToo Active Member

    Ok thanks, I will check into it later once I figure out what I need off it. According to eBay prices the various pieces of the parts bike is worth about $120,000 separated out. Sweet!
    keith likes this.
  7. Wayne

    Wayne Well-Known Member

    That first pic the bike looks amazing for that age. I would leave 100% as is. Maybe the second bike could be the project.
  8. TonisToo

    TonisToo Active Member

    Yes, it mostly needs a good cleaning, then go from there.
  9. Clipper

    Clipper Member

    Love the older bikes and the old Hondas. Regret selling my 81 KZ440 ( C model not the LTD) back in 2004. Looks like there will be lots of hours spent in your garage! Enjoy.

    I think I'm just up around the bend from you...Im on on Hyde Park.
  10. TonisToo

    TonisToo Active Member

    I would imagine most of us on here has either owned or ridden a Honda at some point. No excuse for you not to drop by some time this winter!
  11. skibum69

    skibum69 Active Member

    Have fun with that
  12. TonisToo

    TonisToo Active Member

    This bike is soooo filthy! Thank you Spray 9, nitrile gloves and shop towels.
  13. Trash

    Trash Active Member

    Knowing the condition you keep your vehicles in, the term "filthy" is subjective, to say the least! ;)
    I have never heard of Spray 9. Is that a restoration product?
  14. Wayne

    Wayne Well-Known Member

    And liquid Vim is a great rust remover from chrome :p
  15. TonisToo

    TonisToo Active Member

    Haha Spray 9 is awesome, cuts off the grease perfect. Good for removing stains from clothing. When I wash my vehicles I use it on the tires, spray on, little scrub with a dollar store scrub brush and hose off. Beautiful!
  16. TonisToo

    TonisToo Active Member

    Great tip. Will give this a shot. The motor is out now. Considering buying a bench grinder and using the wheel to buff the aluminum. Did a bit with the drill and Mothers Aluminum Polish. Time consuming but great result. Don't know much about different color buffing polishing compounds.
  17. Wayne

    Wayne Well-Known Member

    I find Simple Green is pretty good. And if you look carefully, you can buy a 4 liter jug in concentrate form at Canadian Tire, in the isle with the house cleaners, and sometimes on sale ;)
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2017
  18. TonisToo

    TonisToo Active Member

    Thanks I have heard of this before but didn't see any size jars at Canadian Tire Hebron Way. Spray 9 is on sale at Princess Auto.
  19. RossKean

    RossKean Active Member

    Spray 9 is great stuff. Just be sure to rinse it ALL away, especially from unprotected aluminum. It is a very alkaline cleaner/degreaser and will etch the aluminum surface if allowed to stay for too long.

    Picture for Trash!

    Trash likes this.
  20. keith

    keith Active Member

    I have one you are more than welcome to borrow.

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