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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Born to be Mild - Driving me Wild!

This is my CB650. It is a motorcycle that will take you cross-town or cross-country. Not a canyon carver, traffic light drag racer, or moto blitzkrieg. It was meant for solid and dependable transportation and is the darling of commuters and messengers who value comfort, dependability, and a light clutch over high strung Ricky Racer power and styling. It has the added advantage of being about as Plain Jane as a motorcycle can get. Even the most whacked out crackhead in SoHo is going to pass on stealing this one.

I was using it to get to work and local riding when I had an apartment in the Boston area. It was always ready to go and never required anything other than an oil and filter change at regular intervals. It has sat for the last 18 months and I decided to get it out to ride while I worked on the LSR bike. I could ride my R100RS on long trips but the CB650 would be the perfect local runabout.

Gumout - Carb + Choke Cleaner Jet Spray, 19 oz. (7460) 

Or so I thought! The first step was to remove the bank of carburetors and clean them. Three cheers for Gumout Carb + Choke Cleaner spray. I'm sure that there is nothing friendly in the stuff but it sure cleans out old gum and crap from jets and float bowls! Caution: Don't get it into your eyes - It burns like hell! Squirting it into a blind hole sends a stream right back into your face. However, it does work like magic and I recommend it with the caveat that some sort of glasses be worn when you use it.

Next step, patch a broken wire on the coil. @#$%*&* mice! Living in the country has its benefits. Gnawing rodents is not one of them. While I was doing all this I had refilled the battery with distilled water and put it on the charger. Amazingly it came back to life and seems hold a charge. Some time spent with the polish cloth and it was looking good to go.

A pull on the choke knob and a push on the starter button rewarded me with a very pleasant song. There is nothing like the  sound of Honda's SOHC-4 engines. It just seems to say, "Let's go for a ride and have some fun."

And then I walked around the back and noticed that the left (1-2) pipe was shooting out something dark. I was thinking it was soot from sitting so long but when I put my hand behind the muffle it came back dripping with oil! And I don't mean a fine mist. This thing was pumping out a spray that was oiling the garage floor for 8 feet!

I immediately shut it down and checked the oil level again. It was showing on the dipstick so I hadn't blown anything up. Yet. Since it was otherwise sounding good I decided to run it down the street in the ever vain hope that it was just something that was out of whack and needed to jiggle back in place. No such luck.

Today I'll pull the plugs and see what they have to tell me. I'll take a compression test to see if a blown head gasket or broken ring is indicated. With so much anti-emission plumbing on the engine I'm wondering if I plugged in a hose wrong when I got the carbs back together and it's sucking oil through that. The bike used to run well before I put it away so I'm hoping it's nothing catastrophic.

As they say, News and Views at 11.