Thursday, September 30, 2010

...And So it Begins

Well, the bike started running really terribly yesterday. Upon getting home, I had one badly fouled plug. The first thing I thought about doing is a carb cleaning, but for what? Two more weeks of riding? This is the NW. It's quite likely the weather forecast would change just as I'm getting everything back together, and the sun will go away until June. I opted to just start the tear-down now. Unfortunately, I was tied up until just after 10pm last night, so I wasn't able to get too much done before I simply had to go to bed.

It'll likely be another late start tonight, but here is a pic from last night, just before I called it for the evening. I've got the headlight assembly, front turn signals, gas tank, exhaust, mirrors, levers, seat and seat cowl removed.

Tonight I'm shooting for the handlebars, side covers, battery box and airboxes, brake light, both fenders, carburetors and all the cables.

I'm trying to go over the best ways to keep this organized in my head. I'm thinking I should be okay. First of all, I want to keep it simple. One thing at a time. I plan to take a lot of pictures for reference, and keep parts organized in little labeled bags.

I'm not really sure what needs to be done when it comes to the head. I know I want to have it looked at, and possibly resurfaced/honed/bored/whatever, but I'm not sure what I have to do to it in preparation (pull the pistons, clean it up a bit and what else). Also, I'm not sure if I want to paint it or leave it. Also, what's the best way to clean the block? I'll be polishing the crankcase covers, stator cover, etc., but is sandblasting or something the best way to clean the block?

Monday, September 27, 2010


Well, at least one day out of the weekend was nice. On Saturday I rode down to Portland to watch OSU get man-handled by Boise State. Then, afterwards, it was a trip back up to Vancouver for the PNW Riders Vancouver Bike Night. Somewhat small turnout, as the group is in between meeting places, but it was a great group of people.

The bike has developed a bit of an oil weep. The leak appears to come from the left side carburetor intake boot. It's not a major leak, so I'm not going to worry about it right away.

Right now I'm dealing with an enormous internal conflict. I really want to start tearing the bike apart, but I'm not yet ready to give up my one or two days a week that I'm able to ride. I really need a new bike. Something newer and reliable. Just need money first. Damn the obstacles.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Monday, September 20, 2010

Obligatory cliche pics

The last pictures before the tear down......

I'm starting to have to resist the urge to start taking it apart. The poor weather can be a good thing.....


This is, without a doubt, the best looking CJ360T cafe racer I've ever seen.

If I can get mine looking half as nice, I'd be a happy man.

Decisions, Decisions...

I attempted to clean my centrifugal oil filter this weekend while changing the oil, but no go. The right side crank case cover is stuck on the engine quite well. I'm curious as to what the previous owner used to seal the gasket, because the sealer he used is a different color from the Hondabond HT I picked up. I also wish I knew what to use to get that crank case cover off. Back to the forums I guess....I'm looking forward to getting all this knowledge stored away so I don't have to ask stupid questions of people....

On the bright side, I did get the oil changed, and while I had the exhaust off, I cleaned it up, and cleaned and lubed my drive chain. I've also tentatively decided the direction I'd like to take the build in:

Tank: 1981 GS450E, though it may be hard to find. I am determined, and have plenty of time (I'm starting the search now).
Seat: I'm going to modify the seatpan, making it a solo seat, and move the stock CJ360 cowl forward, chopping the fame in the back. I'll attempt to find a way to keep the tool compartment accessible. There is just something cool about having the factory tool kit.
I know for certain that I'll be going with a Benjie's headlight bucket with the integrated factory speedo. I'm going to ditch the tach, and place the neutral/signal indicator lights in the tree somewhere (perhaps in the riser mounting holes if I go with clip-ons). Still deciding whether or not I want to relocate the battery, as that would involve ditching the factory side covers and air cleaners, and going with POD filters. I'm not sure I'm up to the task of jetting.
Exhaust: Unless I find something better, scrambler pipes off a CL360. I basically just want the exhaust moved somewhere else. It's too much of a hassle to remove the exhaust to get to the oil filter. See above about pod filters.
Suspension: Stock front forks, but lowered 1", perhaps with a little bit of preload. Progressive rear shocks. Bronze swingarm bushings.
Color scheme: Two tone - dark grey and black, with the frame powdered in dark grey. Wheel spokes painted black, wheels chrome.

I'll decide on rear sets once I decide permanently on the handlebars. I like the CB400F bars, but might decide to use clip-ons. If I do, I'll probably pick up some Tarozzis.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Introductions are in order.....

You have somehow managed to find yourself staring at my '77 Honda CJ360 build. Lucky you. What lies beyond this point, I'm not really sure. I've gone back and forth in my head about what I'd like to accomplish out of this process, and I'm still undecided. I guess that's just part of the adventure.

I'm a 32 year old IT Professional living in the amazing and picturesque Pacific NW. I have a wife and two kids, two dogs and a passion for motorcycles. My wife and I share many things, but a love of two wheeled speed is not one of them. I owned bikes before we were married (never worked on them myself), but only recently have I been able to talk her into letting me acquire one. Of course, there were some restrictions.

1. It had to be cheap

Okay, only one restriction.

After some looking and a bit of luck, I happened upon this '77 Honda CJ360T for next to nothing in late June. I had never heard of a CJ before, but it looked pretty close to the CBs I'd seen many times. The bike would run, but not very well, and the turn signals did not work. There was a decent amount of surface rust on the exhaust, forks, signal stems, basically anything chrome, but nothing too serious. It was, however, complete, and had a title.

Here is the bike the night I picked it up.

My original plan was to get the bike back on the road, and ride it for the summer, before tearing it down over the winter to rebuild. I also wanted to do some cosmetic modifications....mainly those grandlebars were annoying the hell out of me.

Pictured is the right side carburetor. The left side was noticeably worse, but I'm not sure what happened to the picture I had of it.

Upon removing the carbs, I found that the air filters were in need of replacement. The left side was easy enough to find, but the right side had to be ordered from Holland. I also drained and refilled the tank, cleaned the petcock, and replaced the inline fuel filter.

Carbs rebuilt and reinstalled, new air filters installed. I adjusted the valve clearance, replaced the points, and adjusted points and timing. My inexperience coupled with the wrong tools made these steps a pain in the ass. I strongly suggest anyone doing the valve clearance on one of these old Hondas pick up a Motion Pro tappet gauge. They're the perfect size, and bent to shape. I tried bending a straight feeler gauge first, but was unsuccessful in getting a good reading from it. Even with the right tool, it took me a few tries and probably a week to get everything nailed down.

All cleaned up.

Rewired the turn signals, replaced the flasher and the signals work!

Next step was replacing a clutch cable that didn't seem to be engaging properly.

The inside of the sprocket cover. Nice and clean, eh?

Dirty clutch guts.

I'll do a better job of cleaning these parts up this Winter. Right now, though, I want to ride. This will do.

Now everything seemed to be running well. And, since there were a few more weeks in the season, I thought it might be fun to try and swap the handle bars out and get a few rides in before the weather changed.

New NOS handle bars (Off a '76 CB400F), grips, levers and a set of EMGO bar-end mirrors should make a huge difference in the appearance and feel of the bike.

I hate stripped screws. Seriously.

Got that bastard.

Finally got the old bars off.

New bars, grips and levers mounted.

I figured I might as well do the turn signals while I'm at it. After some rerouting and tweaking of the cables, she looks like this.....

The end of the season is getting close. I'm starting to look forward to the tear down, and get an idea of what I might be looking to accomplish. In this initial post, I've attempted to squeeze two months worth of ownership into one rambling juggernaut, but subsequent posts will be more segmented to match the project I'm working on at the time.