Category Archives: Motorcycle Repair and Maintenance

Articles about taking care of your powered two wheelers

Emblem & Badge Refurbishment

Author’s Note; Emblem & Badge Refurbishment originally appeared in the Vintage Japanese Motorcycle magazine earlier in 2017.

There are quite a few different methods you can use to restore motorcycle emblems that have paint that needs refinishing. You can repaint them by hand using small artist’s brushes. I have even spray painted tank badges using a solvent soaked rag on a sanding block to remove the paint from the high points of the lettering after spraying on the paint. Of course masking off the different colored areas was a pain.

Recently I learned of a much easier way to quickly and inexpensively refresh your tired looking motorcycle emblems & badges. To give credit where credit is due, I learned of this technique in a post to the Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club’s Facebook page by Toby Jones in which he spoke of using paint markers from a welding supply house and posted a couple of examples that looked really good. I’d like to say thank you Toby for sharing.

For this article I’m using the front cover badge of my C70 Passport as a Guinea pig to try this technique. The chrome on this part stilled looked good, but the long exposure to the elements had resulted in the paint flaking out of the lettering and accent lines.

C70 badges before
C70 badges before

 

Start by gathering up your supplies, you’ll need oil paint markers, a couple of shop towels, and little bit of odorless paint thinner. For this job I used artist paint markers but you can also get them from welding supply houses. My reason for using odorless paint thinner is that I did this in the house but if you’re working outside you can use whatever paint thinner you have.

emblem & badge refurbishment
Good old Sharpie oil paint markers!

 

Open up the marker and color in the areas that need paint just as if you were a kid playing with a coloring book. Have a shop towel handy with a small amount of thinner on it, not soaking wet, and every minute or so stop and wipe off any paint that has stuck to the chrome outside of the lettering.  Be sure to wipe frequently because it will make the paint harder to remove from the wrong places if you let it dry.

When completed, let it dry, and them wipe over the whole thing with a clean shop rag and reinstall it on your bike and enjoy the vast improvement in its looks.

After emblem & badge refurbishment
After emblem & badge refurbishment

1982 Honda Passport C70 For Sale

This motorcycle has been sold!

1982 Honda Passport C70 For Sale

1982 Honda Passport C70 For Sale

I have greatly enjoyed this little Passport over the last year and a half that I’ve owned but it is time to let it move on to someone who will love it and enjoy it for what it is. It has been completely refurbished. It’s not a true restoration, as the paint is Ford blue rather than the original Angel blue. All of the plastic parts except for the sidecovers are new aftermarket parts. It has new Michelin Gazelles, with all new tubes, rim strips, wheel bearings, and brake shoes. The muffler is a new replica. The carb has been cleaned and tuned. The fuel lines are new, and there are a pair of filters installed under the tank. It has a Shorai lithium battery, and an aftermarket headlight assembly with a replaceable bulb. Being a 1982 model it has a factory 12 volt charging system and CDI ignition.  It runs better than it looks, and it looks pretty good. The mileage is correct at 3352 miles but may go up as I will ride it occasionally to keep it running correctly.

1982 Honda Passport C70 For Sale

My price on it is $1400 firm but I may consider interesting trades for certain project bikes. I am located in Eastern South Carolina and would be willing to assist your shipper or meet you at a safe public location within 150 miles of my place.

1982 Honda Passport C70 For Sale

Contact me at motopsyco@motopsyco.com if you’re interested, but please be patient with me as I am still operating on batteries due to the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew so please allow up to 24 hours for a response.

1982 Honda Passport Restoration Part 3

As mentioned before I had a request from a reader to share more of my pictures from my 1982 Honda Passport restoration So here are some of the repainting & reassembly process. Due to all the rust and pitting I sandblasted the entire exterior of the frame and them primed it with a green zinc primer. and refinished a few other small parts by various means. For the cadmium plated parts click here to see how I handled those. Although not shown here I had the front rack redone with chrome powder coat.

 

 

At the time I was taking these pictures the rear rack was simply sprayed with that horrible looking chrome paint so that I could get the bike back together and ride it, recently I removed it and had it powder coated chrome also. The wheels are still all original with just the best cleaning that I could give them at the time. Since then they have been thoroughly vapor blasted and clear coated, followed by a careful painting of the hubs & spokes.  Some of the pictures may seem kind of random but hopefully this will be of some use to someone out there trying to restore their own 1982 Honda Passport. Sorry but there are no engine rebuild pictures because there was no need for an engine rebuild, just the usual carburetor & crankcase screen cleaning, followed by a valve adjustment and a new spark plug. In the near future I’ll do a post on the trials & tribulations of dealing with aftermarket body parts for these things.

1982 Honda Passport Restoration Part 2

Cody, this post about my 1982 Honda Passport Restoration is for you!

I finally have my 1982 Honda Passport Restoration 99.5% done, at this point all I’m waiting on is some custom made decals. Apparently the tank decals for the blue paint version were a one year only special and are completely unobtainable as N.O.S or reproduction parts. Yes I’ve checked every supplier in North America, Europe, and the Orient, so unless you actually have a set in your hand to sell don’t bother telling me to check with so and so because I already have.

A reader named Cody picked up one of these in boxes and is putting it back together and asked me to share the detailed pile of photos that I took as I disassembled & reassembled this bike so I’m going to put them into a gallery here for all to see. In addition to gleaning all of the free information available on the internet you really should get a service manual. I use the Clymer Repair Manual M310-13 because it covers every small Honda with the horizontal engines up to 1999. Keep in mind as you peruse this gallery of wiring harness connector images that this is a factory 12 volt model with electric start. 1981 and older models are all 6 volt and may be different .

This is all of the pictures that I took as I was tearing it down, I frequently referred to these and the service manual as I was re assembling this little Honda Passport Restoration project. I’ll post the pictures I took when putting it all back together next.

Peace Y’all

Is A Lithium Motorcycle Battery For You

Lithium Motorcycle Battery Pros & Cons

If you have not heard the buzz about lithium batteries for motorcycles then you have probably been hiding under a rock somewhere. There are many different brands available, and although prices have dropped some you may have noticed that they command a premium price. The question for most people is lithium motorcycle battery worth it? Most of the time yes, but sometimes the answer is no.

Of course there are a number of advantages and some disadvantages of lithium batteries in general. The single biggest advantage they have for the motorcycle restorer or customizer is that they contain no acid. There’s nothing worse than to have your battery burp a little acid out through the overflow tube and dribble it all over you freshly restored paint & chrome. Even if you carefully route the vent tube the acid still seems to corrode the battery box, frame etc.

Figure 1 Battery acid damage to a Gold Wing

<lithium motorcycle battery>

For the collector & show bike enthusiast who does not ride their motorcycles very often, a lithium battery has a very slow self-discharge rate. Especially on older motorcycles that have zero current draw when the key is switched off a fully charged lithium ion battery will usually maintain enough current to start the motorcycle for up to a year. Please note that it is recommended by all manufacturers that you disconnect and remove the battery for storage. If your motorcycle has any current drawing accessories such as a clock or an alarm system the battery must be checked & charged on a regular basis if you plan to leave it connected to your motorcycle.

In racing or other high performance applications lithium ion batteries have the advantage of weighing much less any other currently available battery configuration with equivalent specifications. I cannot recommend them for total loss ignition systems on race machines unless you are willing to be extremely diligent about checking and recharging them, and you accept the fact that this is basically a non-warrantied experimental use in the eyes of the manufacturers. If your racer has a charging system that meets the minimum charging requirements of your battery then you should not continue to handicap yourself by running a heavy lead acid battery.

Customizers love these batteries because they can be installed in any position even upside down. There are a few different from factors, most appear similar to a standard battery, but there are a few oddly shaped batteries available. Li-ion batteries are much smaller & lighter making them much easier to hide in café racer bum stops or under seat trays.

Figure 2 Conventional and Shorai Lithium Gold Wing batteries for comparison

<lithium motorcycle battery>

Warranties are usually better on these batteries running on average 3 years from most suppliers if they are installed in a factory recommended vehicle with a good functional charging system.

This leads to the biggest caveat of them all. Your motorcycle or other powersports vehicle must have a charging system capable of maintaining a steady charging rate of 13.6-14.4 volts during operation. If you have an older motorcycle that has a marginal charging system that is not capable of maintaining this charging rate and you want to run this type of battery some charging system upgrades will be needed. If yours is a fully functional mint condition classic motorcycle with all original parts, I personally would not change it just to run a li-ion battery. For one that is a frequent driver, or just needs a new charging system, look at some of the aftermarket upgrades available, it might be worth your while upgrade your charging system even if you don’t choose a Li-ion battery.

With proper precautions (see the manufacturer’s instructions) these batteries can handle some water spray or a very brief dunking, if you frequently run long deep water crossings on your dirt bike or take your atv and drive it around in the water with nothing but the snorkel sticking up above the water then these batteries are not for you.

Another factor to consider for some is that if something goes wrong & your battery goes dead away from home it can’t be jump started. Once discharged below a certain point these batteries have to be charged back up with the manufacture’s recommended charger, or you risk damaging the battery. So if you’re the life of the party & plan to use the stereo system in your Gold Wing to provide music for the whole campground until late at night & then get your buddy to give you jump start the following morning so you can get home then you shouldn’t even consider a lithium battery.

Since this was published in the Vintage Japanese Motorcycle magazine I must note that if you need a six volt battery, at this time the only manufacturer offering a six volt lithium motorcycle battery is Shorai.

Cold weather operation is a little different & takes some getting used to. When the temperature drops below freezing a li-ion has very different operational characteristics. They actually require a bit of a warming up period to deliver full voltage. For my own personal driver, a 1980 Honda CB650, when the temperatures are at or below freezing I will switch the key on and make sure the headlight is on high beam for about 30 seconds before hitting the starter button. If the engine turns too slowly to start I let go of the button and wait a few more seconds at which point the battery is fully warmed up and will spin the starter normally.  It’s just a little thing & I realize most people are not masochist enough to ride a motorcycle in the freezing cold if they have a car, but it is a difference in the behavior of lithium & lead acid batteries that you should be aware of.

To me the advantages of the lithium motorcycle battery outweigh the disadvantages and I hope that this gives you enough information to help you make an informed decision about whether or not you want to purchase one.

This article originally appeared in the Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Magazine in 2015. To learn how to join the club and receive this fine publication 6 times a year visit www.vjmc.org

Disclaimer; Motopsyco is an authorized Shorai battery dealer and will be more than happy to help you with selection of your new battery, so if you can’t figure out which one you need from this battery finder link, feel free to contact me by email at motopsyco@motopsyco.com.

 

Cheap Fake Cad Plating & ABS Plastic Repair

 

There are two things that are commonly found when working on old motorcycles, one is cadmium plated parts that are faded, rusted or discolored somehow, and the other is broken or cracked mounting tabs on plastic parts such as air boxes or side covers. Today we’ll learn how to do a reasonably good job of creating cheap fake cad plating with spray paint. Then we will tackle a minor repair of some ABS plastic parts. Most of the black plastic parts on motorcycles are ABS and on some such as early sport bikes such as EX250 or 500 Ninjas the bodywork is also.

Cheap Fake Cad Plating

Passport steering lock to get cheap fake cad plating

Let’s start with this steering lock that goes on my 1982 Honda C70. In the picture it doesn’t look too terrible, but this was after washing it in the parts washer with a Scotchbrite pad to get rid of some light rust.

Duplicolor adhesion promoter

Once it was dry I taped off the key slot and sprayed on a couple of coats of adhesion promoter.

chrome spray paint for cheap fake cad plating

After giving the adhesion promoter about 8-10 minutes to dry I gave the part a couple of coats of metallic “chrome” paint. This paint doesn’t really look like chrome but it really is a very bright silver.

Passport lock with chrome paint

After allowing the chrome paint to dry thoroughly, take a can of the metallic “gold” spray paint and from 18-20 inches away lightly fog the gold paint over the chrome. Just do one or two light coats. the idea is to lightly tint the part with gold but not to completely cover up the chrome.

gold metallic spray paint for cheap fake cad plating

It’s really best to do this in a well lit place so that you can see when there’s enough gold on the part and stop spraying it.

how to cheap fake cad plating

Here you can see my cheap fake cad plating next to one of the well sheltered original cadmium plated brackets from this same motorcycle. Naturally if you plan on having a 100 point national show winning motorcycle, real cad plating is the only way to go, but for your average rider or local bike night hero this is a nice inexpensive way to get a clean authentic look to parts that should look cad plated.

ABS Plastic Repair

A major source of aggravation are cracks in plastic parts and or mounting tabs broken off of them. But since since a lot of these plastic parts are made of the same ABS material as sewer & drain pipe there really is quite a simple solution. Glue them back together with common ABS cement that you can find at any local hardware store. The air box on this little C70 that I’m working on had been reinstalled at some point in the past without the metal spacers that are normally used to secure such parts to the metal frame without damaging it. The result was that one mounting tab was split & the other one was broken completely off.

fix motorcycle abs plastic parts

To repair the cracked side was simple enough, it jut needed cleaning up and having plenty of glue applied. For the other side that was completely broken out I put a standoff with a washer in the hole & gave it a good coat of cement, permanently attaching it to the air box. You can also buy ABS plastic sheet & use that to fabricate repair patches, replacement tabs & even custom parts that can be glued together using ABS pipe cement. Once you are done & the glue is dry it can be filed, sanded or even painted over just like any normal plastic.

Hopefully these two tips about cheap fake cad plating & abs plastic repair will help someone out, until next time.

Peace Y’all

 

 

Honda C70 Passport Restoration Part 1

Honda C70 Passport Restoration The Beginning

It all started out innocently enough with me picking up this little diamond in the rough. It obviously hadn’t run in a while and was very weather beaten. Initially I had no plans to do a complete Honda C70 Passport Restoration but you know how these things tend to snowball.

Dilapidated Honda C70

With a little help from my beautiful assistant it was soon running like a top.

Pretty lady spinning wrenches Honda C70 Passport Restoration

Initially I had no plans to do a complete Honda C70 Passport Restoration but you know how these things tend to snowball. Let me go ahead and be perfectly clear from the start, this is not intended to be a 100 point purely stock restoration. The goal here is to produce a very nice looking scooter to use for transportation at larger events like the Barber Vintage Motorsports Festival or the Destination Eustis Motorcycle show & swap meet.

After cleaning the carbs, adjusting the valves, changing the oil etc. I took the little thing out for few a test runs and am very pleased with how it runs & drives despite the fact that it had dry rotted and mismatched tires on it. So I started ordering the pieces it was missing such as the chain cases. Where the original equipment stuff is available for a reasonable price I’ll use that, when not there are plenty of reproduction parts available on the internet from Thailand and other countries. The quality of the reproduction parts is all over the map, so be prepared to ship some things back or tweak them to get everything working and looking good.

C70 reproduction Chain case

Then one evening a few days ago I lit a fire in the heater and started pulling it apart.

In My Happy Place

One of my favorite things to do as I am pulling a bike apart is to take lots of pictures. Thanks to digital photography it is now easily affordable to document every nut & bolt that you remove if you want to. On older bikes like this that use a lot of bullet connectors it is a great idea record every single wiring connection. Sometimes there are different colored wires that attach to each other that you may not remember otherwise. There are also incorrect wiring diagrams in some service manuals for some machines so every bit of extra information helps. Plus when you put it all back together & it works right the first time, your friends will think you’re a genius!

Honda C70 Passport restoration with Shorai Battery
Click here to buy a Shorai Battery

Yes I really do use Shorai batteries for damn near everything, They’re especially great for motorcycle collectors who often let their bikes sit without running and there’s no acid to boil over and ruin your shiny new paint job. Last year I wrote an article for the Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Magazine detailing the pros & cons of using lithium batteries in motorcycles, that article will probably show up here on the blog in the near future.

Motopsyco sandblasting a Honda Passport C70 Restoration

Since there was quite a but of surface rust & some light pitting the frame & forks were taken down to bare metal by sandblasting. Since I did not remove the fork from the frame I very carefully sealed off the bearing cup areas to keep the sand out.

zinc dichromate primer

After it was completely stripped, it received a few coats of zinc phosphate primer for maximum rust protection.

Ford blue engine paint

Since this is to be a parts runner and not a show bike instead of buying an expensive urethane paint in the original Honda Angel Blue I opted for 3 cans of Duplicolor ceramic engine paint in Ford blue. These paints are very durable & hold up quite well to gas and oil spillage.

Honda C70 Passport Restoration Starting the Assembly

Motopsyco Honda Passport C70 restoration

After getting all of the little bits painted it was time to move on to reassembly.

Wiring Honda Passport C70 restoration

All of those pictures I’ve taken are really coming in handy to reroute the wiring harness.

fake cad plate

Figured out how to create a reasonable looking fake cadmium plate using spray paint, will do a step by step post at a later date.

engine kill switch

The switch gear was scrubbed clean and the taped off so the kill switch and starter button could be painted red again. All of the black buttons & switches still looked good so those were left alone.

rebuilding my C70

I had stopped at this point to do some much needed body repairs to my truck and should be getting back to it next week, so be sure to subscribe below to receive regular updates.