Pete and Laz

Pete and Laz
Yeah, Pete it's rough...but it's a runner.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Off with it's head...

Coming out of a rainy weekend ...had a stretch of nice fact it's getting very Spring like around here. Decided to do a tear down of the CB 550 and see exactly what was causing the smoke screen effect it had developed. My guess was a 'blown' head gasket....or some broken rings possibly...

As I was doing some yard work...I started to pull most of the bike apart .The nice thing about the 500 and 550's is that you can pull the top ends without pulling the entire motor from the frame. ( Which, in this case is going to happen at a later date..just doing an 'exploratory' to determine the patients condition...).

After pulling the rocker cover off...I was greeted with what looks to be a well oiled and nicely broken-in camshaft.

Took me a few minutes to remember how to get the cam chain off the sprocket so that I could pull the camshaft and see the lower bearing surfaces ( which on these bikes is part of the head casting ). Everything looks pretty good here.

The rocker arm assembly...upper cam bearings very nice, and the wiping surfaces of the rockers look excellent. Some of the valve adjusting screws had some pitting to them...I'll probably replace them.

The cam lobes and cam journal surfaces look good too...

The cam chain adjustment guides have gotten very brittle and worn, so they and the cam chain will get replacements.

The cylinder that was emitting the smoke screen...oil had been leaking into the number one combustion chamber. That and the overly rich carburetors gummed things up in there. 

so...some progress made on Project 'Gentlemen's Express' as I'm calling this one...

The pistons and bores looked good...will have to clean them up and check clearances....

The bottom end seems ok...but will pull it down and check all the bearings and such down below...this will be going on for awhile.

Next to see about getting Project  "Grey Porridge' CX 500 running and back on the road.

Oh unfinished 350 Honda project...that seems to have lost steam... 

 Also coming on the DirtQuake bike...which is the Honda SL 100 from last year...have a clutch to fix and some tires to change and brake shoes to till next time.

Out in my carport I found some old slides from 1974...a bit oldy- moldy....roof is in need of repairs.This is a shot of my brothers old sixties S-90 Honda. Big bore kit, Harmon and Collins full race cam, port and polish job, Barnett race clutch, and a straight pipe. It was a wheelie machine Guess you can blame that 'On any Sunday movie that had come out several years before....I'm hoping to find some old pics that haven't suffered the same fate as this slide...

Just did a new post at my other blog....the automobile one. Spotted some Model T's on the road. Click on------------->


  1. Looks like you're getting your hands dirty Larry!
    Were the old CB Honda paint colors year specific? (like the current BMW GS650's for instance) Can't quite tell from the pic, but looks like yours is dark brown. Seems like most of the 550's I remember from the 60's and 70's were dark brown and the CB 750's were mostly red.

  2. Well Herm...sort of. The very earliest 750's were red, gold, and a turquoise green...up to 1970. My '78 550 came in a 'Candy Garnet Brown' and an 'Excel Black' with stripes in red and gold. Mine is the excel black, though it's very faded and the clear coat has it does look browner. You've given me an idea for a post on check back. The first 750 I got a close look at, that belonged to a Junior High School friend's father, was the deep red candy color. Yeah, in my memory too, most of the one's sold in least early on were red. The first one I got to ride was a Gold one a High School friend had. If my mother hadn't nixed the idea of my first bike being a father and I would have gone for a red one,in '69. Years later I did finally buy a '71 that was originally red.