Friend gave me a motorcyle a few days ago that needs some work, I miss having project cars so I figured this would be as good as anything.
What I know:
No title (working on abandon'd veh title, bike was given to him without a title)
1981 Honda CB400T
Definately needs either a new tank or atleast a hell of a referb job done on existing tank.
Wondering if it's worth fixing, check out the pictures.
Here's here's the best part,...... I have ZERO experience working on motorcycles -- all my background is working on Jap cars (mitsubishi's specificially).
Anyone see off hand something that makes this bike not worth fixing? Forks need to be re-sealed/oild.... looks like whatever used to be an intake pipe is now missing, whatever covered the electronics is missing.... ignition switch is missing (hence why I'm not going to start work prior to title in hand, just incase it's not "clear")
I would love to have this thing up and running within 6 months, but I have a feeling that's asking a lot.
Honestly, I think by the time you get it running, you will have put enough money into it that you could buy a nice used newer bike. Of course, you could donate it to the next Harley rally, so they could use it for the Honda drop.
Like the other poster said, it would cost a lot more to get it running than it's worth. You could easily buy a used bike for what you'll put in it. Then again, if you want a project, do it anyways.
If you're handy enough and can do all the work youself, it would make a cool little cafe racer. You'll probably have to pull all the parts (engine/frame/wheels/forks/etc) and paint/powdercoat them or polish. You might be able to get it up and running for 1K-1.5K.
1) You can pay someone about $50-75 for a title search, if you don't want to do it yourself...
2) Good condition Tank would be ~$50 on e-bay
3) Try and start the thing as-is. You may be suprised. I bought a bike that had been sitting in an IL garage long enough to get a medium-sized yellowjacket's nest under the license plate (fortunately there were no yellowjackets inside when I got it, just the abandoned nest)... All it needed was a carb cleaning ($3 for a can of cleaner, and some time) and a battery, and it spun right up...
Those old bikes are boneheadedly simple - 2 carbs, 2 coils, 2 plugs and either a points ignition or a real simple, non-adjustable electronic system (1st-gen electronic ignition)...
They're also real hard to break, and you can get boat-loads of parts off eBay for next-to-nothing...
If you want it looking good, not just running, you're looking at a tank, 2 side panels (you're missing the plastic side-covers), and possibly a seat...
Probably $300 if you use E-bay, and it will be looking/running good...
The folks saying 'It's gonna be expensive' are all assuming you will be using new parts...
If you use e-bay parts, you'll be just fine - you can get good condition tanks, VERY good seats, and such, very cheap... I got a seat for my Suzuki 450 (1982) for $30, in like-new condition off E-bay... Carbs - complete sets - can be had for under $20... Pretty much everything you need, you'll find there, most in the 5-50$ range...
If that fails, then go to www.ronayersmotorsports.com with the mfr P/N... They have VERY good prices on new parts...
www.bikebandit.com has the parts diagrams online, and for some bikes (Suzuki), they had the MFR P/Ns listed. They are, however, VERY expensive, so I just used their part-finder to get the part #, and bought from RonAyers
Old Jap bike parts don't come cheap. You will easily dump enough money on it to buy a running bike with a clear title. As said earlier he gave you his junk. If you do decide to keep it I am pretty sure I have a repair manual for the old Honda 400's. If I can find it you can have it for what the shipping costs.
I think it's worth keeping. I've worked on them before and they're not bad little bikes at all. I'd pull the carbs and clean them, it should be pretty easy to get them off with the intake boots missing. Then fill them with fresh gas, just filling the float bowls with make it run for a few minutes.
I didnt see too many parts for it on ebay, but did find a guy with one missing the ingnition swith, here's what he did. " Being most of the electronics were there, I jumpered across the brown and brown/white wires on the ignition switch connector to put 12V to the ignition circuit. I verified spark at the plugs during my compression test. "
Just keep checking ebay every couple of days and you should find everything you need. If you don't want to replace the tank, you can use a Kreem Tank Liner kit, I've fixed some pretty rusty tanks with it.
Most importantly, take YELLOWV up on his offer for the manual and you should have no problem getting it road worth.
Just my $.02
From a former Honda parts guy.....me.
This was a common bike, nothing special about this model, really.
Tanks may be unavailable new.
I recommend Yamaha's tank cleaning/sealing kit as opposed to the cream Kreem kit.
Kreem is difficult to get to cure properly, if conditions arent just right.
If it doesnt cure properly, your carbs are gonna be a REAL mess. The yamaha kit has a metal sealer in the nuetralizer solution, that cant get peeled, chipped out by gas filler nozzles.
Throw in a handful of BB's or nuts and bolts during the etching phase and agitate, this will help in removing the rust scale that will drive you nuts with frequent carb cleans if you don't do it. You'll need to remove the petcock, and use rubber lab plugs to seal it up.
Speaking of carbs, be very sure to check float needles for wear. If you run a finger nail down the Viton tip, and feel a groove, replace them, they wont meter fuel properly.
Float needles and Carb o-ring kits will run about 45-50 bucks per carb, all tolled.
The diaphragms in those CV carbs can dry rot over time. If they leak, you may have to purchase slides to get them, as they arent avail seperately. That cost factor is dang high, beyond the value of the bike.
If you decide to do the project, have the seat re-foamed and skinned by Sargeant's Cycle Upholstery. They do dang nice work at fair prices.
All in all, to be honest, I would say bag it, you will never get your investment back out of a bike of this age and engine displacement.
Lucky for him. K&L is offering fewer and fewer applications these days.
K&L parts quality can be mediocre, depending on the item.
Most techs I know prefer not to use them if at all possible, as they can lead to come-backs.
But when it's all you can get, sometimes ya just gotta roll the bones!
One idea I am sure you will agree with, Eli, is to take the frame number to/call a dealer and verify the yr..
Those carbs were used on more than one model using that engine, but not all yr/model combinations.
Honda service manuals can be ordered online from Helm, Inc., the US Honda sub-contractor.
BTW I hate CV carbs with a passion!
You and me both!
If it was mine, a set of Mikuni flats slides, 2mm over would be the way to go.
Although, I gotta say, the Dellorto, yeah I said Dellorto, flat slide on my Gas Gas 280 TXT works great.