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Old 04-10-2011, 10:08 PM   #1
homersapian
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Default Honda CB350 Four Motorcycle Restoration

My dad has a Honda 350 Four motorcycle that has been sitting in a covered shed for at least 20 years. I have a feeling that he stopped riding it because me and my siblings were young. Anyway, we are all out of the house now, and my sister and I want to get it fixed up for his birthday this summer. A few questions....

What all needs to be replaced? I'm assuming at least tires, battery, filters and fluids, anything rubber, possibly chain, spark plugs, clean out the gas tank....

How much would it cost to have somebody do this for me vs. do it myself? I don't have a lot of experience with motorcycles, but am willing to learn. I feel comfortable changing tires, filters, battery...basically anything exterior. I get nervous when I think about trying to clean the carbs or adjust timing.

One option i'm thinking about is doing the stuff I feel comfortable with and then taking it a shop around here to do the rest of it. I want to at least do some of it myself because I want it to be a special gift for his birthday. He's been a great dad and made a lot of sacrifices for us, and now we are able to give a little bit back.

Any thoughts?
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Old 04-10-2011, 10:13 PM   #2
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Default Re: Honda CB350 Four Motorcycle Restoration

Those are great bikes and they are rising in value now as the supply of good examples dwindles and people realize the quality of these older Honda motorcycles.

I think you are on the right track, have a pro go through the carbs and get them sync'd properly. You should be able to tackle the replacement of tires. chain, etc, just get a manual and you'll be fine.

Have fun with the project, your dad sounds like a lucky guy! -Paul
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Old 04-10-2011, 10:24 PM   #3
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Default Re: Honda CB350 Four Motorcycle Restoration

your going to have to break down the carbs and clean the jets for sure , old gas crystalizes in there and clog the jets ,floats , and needles , when i got my honda it had sat for almost 2 yrs and would no start at all , cleaned the jets and it ran like a champ

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Old 04-11-2011, 07:39 AM   #4
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Default Re: Honda CB350 Four Motorcycle Restoration

Those are smooth runners. A friend of mine bought one new in 1974 and I remember when he started it up, it didn't even seem to crank. You pushed the starter and it was running.

It's good to know your limitations--I don't seem to have that skill and find myself with lots of half done projects!
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Old 04-11-2011, 08:29 AM   #5
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Default Re: Honda CB350 Four Motorcycle Restoration

I have always liked the 350 Four. Contact Jim & see who he can recommend. http://sabinperformance.com/
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Old 04-11-2011, 09:36 AM   #6
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Default Re: Honda CB350 Four Motorcycle Restoration

Fuel, tires,etc. If you are nervious doing the carb work yourself, take it to a reputable Honda shop and pay them to do it. If you dad pickled the engine and drained the carb when he stored it, you may not have that much to do.

Did you try the kick starter to see if the engine turns?

Chris

Last edited by Shadowdog500; 04-11-2011 at 09:40 AM.
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Old 04-11-2011, 09:55 AM   #7
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Default Re: Honda CB350 Four Motorcycle Restoration

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Originally Posted by homersapian View Post
What all needs to be replaced? I'm assuming at least tires, battery, filters and fluids, anything rubber, possibly chain, spark plugs, clean out the gas tank....
Chain should be OK to leave as-is so long as it is not corroded or kinked.

I think you've pretty much covered it. Personally, I would do the tires last (since they are the most $), after you've made sure it will run OK.

Tires I do myself, but it is a bear, so at least see how much local places charge. You may be able to save $ by buying tires online and having a local place put them on IF the local place will install someone else's tires.

Carb - not too complicated if you are mechanically inclined enough. If you're bothered by the thought of disassembling the carb itself you may save some $ by removing it yourself and letting the shop clean it.
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Old 04-11-2011, 09:59 AM   #8
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Default Re: Honda CB350 Four Motorcycle Restoration

That bike has four carbs, and they may have to be balanced after being cleaned. If you want the shop to do the carbs, it may be best for them to take them the whole bike. If you take it in to get the carbs done, I would probably have them do the entire engine tuneup. Adjusting the valves and setting the points is not that hard on that bike, and probably wont take them much time at all.

Oh, Check for rust in the tank. If you have rust use POR-15. the old stuff reacts with the new fuel.

My first bike was a '75 CB 550 Four, Super Sport. I loved that bike and wish I still had it today. It was my primary transportation for my first few years of driving. Lots of good memories on that bike. Current bike is a '75 HD Sporster. AMF, best of the best.

Chris

Last edited by Shadowdog500; 04-11-2011 at 11:54 AM.
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Old 04-11-2011, 10:03 AM   #9
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Default Re: Honda CB350 Four Motorcycle Restoration

Cool bike. I would like to see some pictures. My dad rode his '71 CB350 (twin cylinder) for years when we were young. He gave it to me after I moved out on my own, and I got it running smoothly again. One of those vacuum carbs gave me some trouble. It was still in really nice shape, having been in the garage all it's life with low miles. I sold it years ago, as I don't really enjoy riding a motorcycle.
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Old 04-11-2011, 11:37 AM   #10
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Default Re: Honda CB350 Four Motorcycle Restoration

Personally, I would go for a newer bike to restore if it's going to get ridden much. If you just want a museum piece, it might be good.

Those old CB350 twins and fours were my dream when I was a kid. Probably 18 years ago a friend found a CB350 four with 300 miles on it in perfect condition and he wanted me to go look at it with him.

I took my bike along - which was a few years old, but pretty modern at the time. A guy had bought is 17 year old daughter the bike so they could go on a motorcycle trip together. She rode it on one trip with him, about 250 miles, and wouldn't get on it again. He kept it in perfect condition, hoping she would ride again - she never did, and when he started having health problems he decided to sell it. It was pristine.

So we went for a ride - my buddy on the CB me on my bigger bike. I couldn't figure out why at every light, by buddy hung way back. Until we switched bikes. The CB worked perfect, but it was powerless. No torque or acceleration at all, and the brakes and suspension were terrible. As soon as my buddy got off that bike and onto mine, he felt the same way. He didn't buy the bike.

Despite that, a few years ago I got nostalgaic and bought a cb350 twin with only a couple thousand miles on the clock . I fixed it up to near new condition, put new tires on it, took it out on a 30 mile loop and never got on it again. Same thing. It was simple, lite - actually I think the twin had more torque than the four - but it just didn't feel very safe compared to my new bikes. I sold it a couple years later.

Old bikes are like old cars. Fine for a jaunt around the neighborhood, but for any serious riding, just not very practical.
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Old 04-11-2011, 01:07 PM   #11
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Default Re: Honda CB350 Four Motorcycle Restoration

Carbs will be the main problem, if your dad drained them then less so.
Tyres, tubes, battery, oil and filter. Check front brake hose and pads. While the rear wheel is out check the brake, after 20 years the friction material may have come away from the shoes.
Grease every pivot and lever in sight, while the rear wheels out is a good time to grease the swinging arm bearings too, they only got a dab at the factory.
I had the UK 400 version, nice bike, hope your dads turns out great!
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Old 04-11-2011, 05:19 PM   #12
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Default Re: Honda CB350 Four Motorcycle Restoration

Also check the inside of the gas tank for rust. There are prep kits to clean them and then coat it to prevent further rust. (Dennis Kirk) is a good source for those materials. Good luck on a very worthy project!
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Old 04-11-2011, 05:34 PM   #13
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Default Re: Honda CB350 Four Motorcycle Restoration

I am a sucker for old Hondas. I was a motorcycle mechanic for 20plus years and there is good advise here. Carbs, Battery, ALL Fluids, Cables and Brake line,Fork seals and Possibly tubes if they are rusted,Tires and Possibly bearings.
The Honda will LIVE with some good work.
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Old 04-11-2011, 05:45 PM   #14
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Default Re: Honda CB350 Four Motorcycle Restoration

I've fixed up a few older bikes. I'll probably never do it again unless they're free - and I need a project to keep busy.

They just end up costing too much for something that has little value even if it's perfect condition.

My first bike was a Honda CM400. I really liked it..It was basically free, but still took a few weeks worth of work and about $500 to get it road worthy.

It wasn't something to ride long distances..But fun to putt around on backroads.

This year I'm sick of working on bikes..So sick of rebuilding carbs over and over. Buying a new fuel injected bike this week!

Last edited by Tom2; 04-11-2011 at 05:47 PM.
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Old 04-11-2011, 09:34 PM   #15
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Default Re: Honda CB350 Four Motorcycle Restoration

I'd start here.

He goes through the steps of evaluating what's wrong and what order to tackle things.

I wouldn't spend a dime on tires, oil, cables, hoses or anything else until you've determined that the engine isn't seized, and that it's got decent compression.

Old Hondas are easy to work on and damn near bulletproof. If you've got good compression and spark, then tackle the carbs. You'll probably need to get them sync'd by a shop, but you can certainly clean them yourself.. it should run even if the carbs are out of sync, it just won't run well.
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Old 04-11-2011, 10:11 PM   #16
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Default Re: Honda CB350 Four Motorcycle Restoration

Well, your going to want to check the vavles, they are soild. Go over the breaks, rebuild the forks( might want to even if they arnt leaking).

Basicaly your going to want to go over the whole bike to make sure everything is ok.
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Old 04-11-2011, 11:59 PM   #17
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Default Re: Honda CB350 Four Motorcycle Restoration

Excellent bike and well worth the save. I've had 350, 550, 750+ fours and they are highly tunable and a pleasure to ride.

Now the carbs. Might be alittle more than others here have said. If you have to do a complete tear down and boil (not a real biol, just submerge all parts in carb cleaner from auto parts store) then reassembly and balancing may be a challange for the novice. Multi carbs need multi vac guages to set adjust the balance. No big deal and can be made from auto parts store supplies.

Sitting that long, I'd change the oil with some cheap stuff and kick the starter (foot) for several minutes at a time several times. Drain and discard. Then put the good stuff in it.

The front forks have oil in them also. I'd also replace the brake fluid and bleed it. Might consider just rebuilding the master and slave cylinder. These things are so fun to drive, I'd hate to have a brake failure and speed. BTDT.

The frront and real wheel bearings need replaced. Even if they are sealed, I do not recall, the grease decomplses (dries out) in 15-20 years. Planned obselescance. Consider repacking the forks and the swing arm bearings/bushings.

Back in the 80s there was this Japaneese-American that raced all the cross 4 Hondas and sid a LOT to increase the performance of this series of bikes. He did Cafe racing.

Now you can get back at Dad for him telling you to take it easy and don't come home with any tickets!

Dave, Loves honda cross 4s.
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Old 04-13-2011, 09:35 AM   #18
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Default Re: Honda CB350 Four Motorcycle Restoration

I'll try to get some pics this weekend. Thanks for the advice, everybody.

I don't think my dad did anything special to the bike before parking it, but I know it was running when parked. I'll see if the motor spins when I get some pics, and if so, I guess I'll start moving forward.

This list is starting to get a little long...how much am I looking at just in parts?

Battery, fluids, filters, tires, tubes, gaskets, fuel line, bearings, carb cleaning and setup, spark plugs, cables, brake lines, hoses, misc.
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Old 04-13-2011, 09:56 AM   #19
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Default Re: Honda CB350 Four Motorcycle Restoration

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Originally Posted by homersapian View Post
I'll try to get some pics this weekend. Thanks for the advice, everybody.

I don't think my dad did anything special to the bike before parking it, but I know it was running when parked. I'll see if the motor spins when I get some pics, and if so, I guess I'll start moving forward.

This list is starting to get a little long...how much am I looking at just in parts?

Battery, fluids, filters, tires, tubes, gaskets, fuel line, bearings, carb cleaning and setup, spark plugs, cables, brake lines, hoses, misc.
It's going to start to add up quick. E-Bay will be your friend.
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Old 04-13-2011, 01:22 PM   #20
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Default Re: Honda CB350 Four Motorcycle Restoration

Just keep it simple at first and get the motor running correctly. Don't worry about ordering, tires, forks, brakes just yet.

But yea, this is why I just got home from the Kawasaki dealership with a new bike. Working on these old ones can add up real fast, not to mention whatever value you put on your time/labor/frustration.
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