A Little Progress

Yes, the pistons are still stuck, and yes, the broken-off stub of the steering damper knob is still in there.  My whole chill-and-heat approach didn’t work, at least not on this problem child.

But, at least I got the wiring out of the handlebars.  Twenty-four hours soaking in water did indeed turn the mud dauber nests back into mud, and I was able to work the wires out.  I haven’t decided how to proceed with rebuilding them, but I have several options available.

There was still quite a bit of crud in the handlebars, though, so I got a length of very thin wire rope I had lying around from the replacement of our garage doors and affixed some coarse steel wool to one end.  Then, I fished the wire through the bars, forcing it through the muck, and by pulling the steel wool through repeatedly I got it pretty clean inside.  All the wet bits are drying now.

I got a bike lift using a Harbour Freight coupon, and I got it assembled right on the third try.  Hey, the instructions could have been a lot clearer!  I plan to use it to remove the engine, when I get that far (probably soon).

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m going to need the help of someone who knows a lot more about engines than I do.  Tonight I dropped in on a local guy who was recommended to me; he isn’t willing to take on a project right now, but he gave me a recommendation for another guy.  So, if I can make contact with the second fellow, I may be able to get some expert assistance at removing some of the roadblocks in this project.

Mud Daubers Leave Their Mark

Spent some time on it tonight. Forgot to even check if the engine was free yet or not; probably not, considering how things have been going. I probably need to put more pink stuff in there.

First thing I did was put the back wheel back on and let the front end back down. This went really well, actually. I think the rubber dampers are entirely serviceable; I’m not as sure about the condition of the brake shoes, as I don’t really know how thick they are supposed to be. I’ll post a photo later.

With that done, I messed with the broken steering damper some more. I’m getting close to saying the heck with it and buying a whole new steering stem. Or paying someone to get it out. It’s exasperating. I haven’t yet tried the hot-and-cold treatment, as I don’t have an “air duster” can handy. Tonight I used a punch to apply some force to it, then tried heat, then finally another blast of PB, trying the easy-out after each application.

I didn’t like applying heat to that part of the bike with the handlebars still on, as there are wires in there that might be damaged. So, I decided to remove the handlebars completely. I pulled the headlight so I could unhook the wires, and found mud dauber nests filling the free space inside. Got them out, then unplugged the high beam and horn wires and removed the bars.

Well, I tried. The throttle cable was stuck pretty firmly. More mud dauber nests, filling the handlebars. The cable sheath was in real nasty shape, so I just went ahead and cut it off, then worked it out while comfortably seated.

Then I tried to remove the wires. Same problem, but they aren’t as tough as the throttle cable, so I couldn’t just yank them out.

Exasperated, I filled a pan with water and put the bars down in it. I’m hoping the mud dauber nests will turn back into mud and come out easily. But nothing that has resisted me up to this point has given up easily.

I have also decided that I’ll need to replace much of the wiring harness. It’s been patched and scabbed too much. What parts I need to keep, I’ll fit with bullets so I can cut away the bad parts.

I had my wife take some pictures of the condition of the back wheel and brake, which I have attached.  The wheel is rusty, and so is the drum, and the brake looks thin to me (though I don’t know exactly how thick they are supposed to be).

Rear Brake Detail
Rear Brake Detail
Rear Wheel Detail
Rear Wheel Detail
Rear Brake Drum Detail
Rear Brake Drum Detail

Rear Wheel Off, But Not Much Progress

Last night, I spent a little time with the Dream. Yes, the pistons are still frozen. I decided that I wanted to tip the bike backward, to level the cylinders a bit so the solution would make it to the backs of the pistons. Of course, at this point I could just pull the engine, but I don’t really have a good way to handle it as yet. Probably should spend a little time on that.

Instead of doing that, I pulled the back wheel to provide clearance to tip it backward. The axle nut came loose surprisingly easily, and the axle itself looks very good. The bolt for the “rear arm” (the thing that keeps the brake from spinning around) was rusty-looking, but came loose without a fight. The thing that had me worried was the rear brake rod, but I soaked it good with PB and it came off with only the slightest argument. The rod is quite rusty all over; no guarantee I’ll be able to reuse it in the end. A lot of fasteners are going that way too.

Took me a bit to figure out how to get the wheel out; I had to tip the bike over 45 degrees to get enough clearance to pull it out.

Tipped the bike back and blocked up the front wheel, then put some more of the pink stuff in. Others have complained about the acetone/ATF mixture separating, but I haven’t seen it, though I do shake it up before pouring it in.

I decided the bike was a bit more precarious than I liked, so I used some nylon strap I have laying around my garage to tie the handlebars to the truss overhead. With that secure, I decided to go ahead and pull the countershaft sprocket, if I could.

It was a bit of a fight to get one of the bolts loose, but I did, and once I had done so I was able to remove the keeper and then the sprocket itself. It’s visibly worn, with a scalloped edge visible on the back side and the teeth worn to angles. At least they aren’t hooked.

I think the former owner must have put a new chain on the old sprockets, since the chain adjusters are very near to the loosest (i.e. newest) position. They are badly rusted too, but as I wasn’t pulling the rear sprocket/damper assembly, I didn’t bother with trying to break them loose. More parts I’ll probably need to replace in the end.

I ran the gearbox through the gears again, and had trouble getting it to shift above second gear. I don’t think there’s any oil in the crankcase (or if there is, it’s just sludge) but since I can’t turn the engine over, it wouldn’t help to pour any in right now.

Oh, and I tried one more time to remove the broken bolt from the steering stem. Tried heat, then penetrating oil. No joy. I’m thinking strongly that I’m going to go for a full thermal shock treatment… hit it with heat first, then spray some “duster” spray into the hole I drilled through the stub with the can inverted so the really cold liquid comes out. With any luck, I’ll get a nice ping or two and the rust holding the stub in place will break loose.

A bit bummed not to have made any real progress, I called it a night.

Pink Stuff and Disappointment

Note on previous post:  Brewsky @ honda305.com forums pointed me to NGK LD05F plug caps as good replacements for the damaged ones on my bike.  I also learned from member Jethro that Autolite 4173 spark plugs are equivalent to the somewhat rare NGK D6HA plugs that are recommended for the Dream.  Thanks, guys!

I had some ups and downs tonight, but overall I’m feeling a bit negative.  I started by mixing up some of the pink stuff, acetone plus ATF, in a jar that once held maraschino cherries; it looked more than a little like cherry juice, but it sure didn’t smell that way.  Poured some in each cylinder until it started running back out.

Next I pulled the valve covers and took a look inside; things look surprisingly good in there, and I was able to verify that all four valves are free.

So I turned my attention to the steering damper knob.  I’ve been spraying it with PB since I got it home, every night, but had not been able to move it.  I put a bit more force into it tonight and broke the darn thing off flush with the top of the steering stem.


After carefully removing the damper friction discs (and coming up one short, according to the schematic), I carefully drilled a hole straight through the bolt stub, applied some heat, then after it was reasonably cool I poured on some of the pink stuff.  I was surprised at how it seemed to clean up the whole area.

I drove in my easy-out, put my crescent wrench on it and promptly broke the easy-out.

Crap, again.

I found a punch and drove the broken-off piece of the easy-out through the bolt stub and into the steering head.  So at least I still have my hole in the stub to work with.  I poured a bit more pink stuff on it, documented (photographed) and bagged up the damper parts, and called it a night.

I guess I’ll have to get another easy-out and have another go at it.  I won’t have time to work tomorrow, so hopefully the time will be well spent by the pink stuff as it eats its way through the rust.

I suspect I can screw the bolt stub into the steering stem rather than out, letting it fall through the hollow tube.  Having never seen one taken apart before, I don’t know that for sure.  Hopefully someone will chime in and let me know.

Showering in Diesel Fuel

I got some acetone yesterday, and I thought I had ATF in the garage, so tonight I planned to mix it up and put it in.  I propped up the front wheel to make the cylinders more level, and then I grabbed the air hose to blow the diesel out of the engine.  It was my intention to catch the majority of the diesel thus removed with paper towels; that didn’t work out quite like I planned, and I got pretty well hosed down with it instead.

Gah.  Nasty.

One shower later, I went looking and discovered that no, I don’t have any ATF left.  Crap.  Guess I’ll get it tomorrow.

Oh, and of course, the engine is still frozen up.

Still, in an optimistic mood, I began to consider what I’ll need to do to start it once things are moving.  I’ll check the valves to ensure that they are all free, of course, and the carburetor will get a good cleaning.  With that done, I’ll need the usual things: fuel, air, and spark.  It’s the latter that I’m concerned about right now.

The spark plugs are, as mentioned before, out of the engine; one is broken, the other missing outright.  So I need plugs.  I’m not sure if the engine will run without the battery, which I’d naturally like to avoid purchasing until the bike is closer to rolling condition, but if I have to buy one, I will.  Much of the wiring harness looks good, except, unfortunately, for the wire connected to the points, so I’ll have to work that out.

My real problem at present is the coil and plug wires, which are apparently a single unit, despite what Bill Silvers has to say here:


He is talking about a ’62 model in that post, whereas mine is a ’66 model, so that might make a difference; however, on the CMS website here:


the parts listing indicates that all CA77 models used the same coil and plug wires arrangement.

The coil tests out to 3.8 Ohms across the small wires, which I’m going to call close enough to the 4.5 Ohms Bill prescribes to make me willing to try it.  I just have to do something about the plug wires, or at least the caps, which are pretty busted up.  I’m going to post on the honda305.com forums for advice on the matter; hopefully someone has a good idea for me.

Home » Showering in Diesel Fuel » July 8, 2012
Plug Caps 100_2082.jpg
Plug Caps 100_2082.jpg
Plug Caps 100_2083.jpg
Plug Caps 100_2083.jpg

Oil Cap is OFF, Finally.

I got the oil filler plug/dipstick out tonight. Recall that I said I broke the handle part; as I noted elsewhere, my plan to remove it was to Dremel a slot in the top, then use a large screwdriver (one of those that you can apply a half-inch wrench to for leverage) to remove it.

Short version: Slot yes, remove with screwdriver no. I still couldn’t budge it.

So I decided to use the Dremel to cut a notch out of one side, then used a cold chisel and hammer rather gingerly to loosen it. Somewhere along there I applied heat, and I used a bunch of PB besides. Finally, it broke loose and came out.

Amazingly, I’m pretty sure I didn’t get any shavings into the crankcase. I threaded the plug back in a couple of turns to keep crud out of the engine, and moved on to that troublesome frame hole with the broken screw in it.

I had a brand-new “easy out” of the sort that can be turned in either direction; it was my hope to turn the stub of the bolt in rather than out, as I am pretty sure that rust on the end of the bolt is what caused it to jam up and break in the first place. But no luck… it won’t move, and I’m pretty sure now that I’ve screwed up about half the female thread to boot… the easy-out just kept taking shavings out of the bolt rather than moving it.

The hole that is troubling me is the left-hand (i.e. front) tool tray bolt. Since the tool tray seems to also be the retainer for the battery, I’ll have to do something about it. I think I can just cut that threaded bit off the back, then use an ordinary nut in place of it; it’s not hard to get a hand on it from the front with the carburetor housing off.

I pulled the horn and opened it up, and it looks pretty clean inside; there were some cobwebs in the horn opening, which I fished out with a piece of wire. But it still sounds like a sick cow when I honk it with a fresh battery. Not sure if it’s supposed to sound like that or not.

Anyway, I made some progress. But the pistons are still stuck. I’m going to try the acetone-and-ATF cocktail just as soon as I can get some acetone.

Success! The Back Motor Mount Bolts are OUT.

I got the back motor mount bolts out! All it took was admitting to myself that they weren’t coming out whole.

I had spent the last several days repeatedly soaking the bolts in PB. I also tried application of heat, with no luck (though it did a fine job of burning off the oil). I considered all sorts of unlikely clamp arrangements to force the bolts out backward, but to no avail.

Then it occurred to me… remove the heads from the bolts, then use the nuts on the other ends to pull the bolt through the case holes. I used a stack of washers, to which I added as needed, to ensure that the nut never quite made it down to the point where the threads ran out. In short, it worked.

I slipped a spare junk bolt into the left-side hole before removing the right-side bolt, to support the engine until I’m actually ready to remove it. I’m not sure my provisions for removing the engine are adequate, so I’m going to rethink them for a few days before proceeding.

Still have a broken bolt in a case hole to remove. It’s a small one; I may give in and just cut the permanent nut off of the frame and substitute a normal tap.

In other news, my cousin notified me that he found the title, and that the bike is actually a 1966 model year.

Stuck Motor Mount Bolts

Pistons are still stuck. 24 hours in diesel plus carb cleaner; have already tried regular penetrating oil. Was hoping to get the Gibbs Brand oil around here somewhere, but no luck as yet.

I decided to go ahead and pull the engine out and open it up. After all, it spent at least a decade, maybe two without its plugs… no telling what’s in there. So I put a dolly under the engine, and put in enough blocks to support the engine when it comes out, and got down to loosening things.

Well, the upper bolts (attaching the head to the frame) loosened easily. Of course, I left them in place until I could get the others loose also; and therein lies the rub.

I started, naively, trying to loosen the bolts in the rear mounting holes from the outside, but I couldn’t budge them, even with a breaker bar. After cleaning more of the crud from the inside of the frame, I found the nuts and washers heavily rusted, but amazingly I broke them loose with an ordinary wrench and removed them; they are pretty buggered up, though, and I expect to have to replace them.

With the nuts off, I assumed it would be easy to remove the bolts. Nope. They are in there tight… I still can’t move them, even with a breaker bar. So I convinced myself that they must be threaded into the holes in the crankcase, and rusted in place.  However, a question asked online resulted in the answer that, no, there are no threads in the case holes.  Now I’m going to have to figure out how to get them out without breaking the upper engine case in the process.

More Disassembly, and Some Breakage

I found the oil-filler cap age-welded to the cases, and unwilling to come off. I soaked it with PB and gave it some time to loosen, but I still managed to break it. I’m not liking the idea of drilling it out… I had hoped not to split the cases. But if I must, I must.

Pulled the battery and air cleaner, and both sides of the housing that covers the oil filler cap, and vacuumed out more dead insects and mouse nest bits than I care to think about. Found one dead mouse, reduced to a dessicated hide by time. Broke off one screw removing the battery holder, and will almost certainly have to drill it out. The air cleaner is shot, torn up and then inhabited by mice. The metal end caps were badly rusted too; must have been holding water. The air cleaner tube (that’s what the parts diagram calls it) has some cracks but might actually be serviceable, at least for a little while.

So far, the stuck pistons and broken filler cap are my only show-stoppers. I have prepared a dolly to receive the engine, but I think I’ll leave pulling it out for another day. It’s been a long one already.

Started the Tear-Down

Started the tear-down this evening. Sprayed PB through the spark plug holes in a (probably vain) attempt to free up the engine. Injured myself for the first time… slammed the bathroom door on my finger. My injuries never come from the thing I’m doing, but from the things I do in between.

The former owner’s son had taken all the screws out of the right-side case cover, but could not remove it due to the footpeg, exhaust, and brake lever being in the way. I removed the aforementioned obstacles and took off the case cover. All seems well inside, after I removed a mess of mud dauber wasp nests from the vicinity of the countershaft sprocket.

Am worried the engine might be stuck due to an infestation of the aforementioned wasp nests. Egad. I’ll know as soon as I can get the head off, but of course that means dropping the engine first.

Turned my attention to other details. Removed the 1978 license plate. Disassembled the petcock; the sediment bowl had a badly buggered-up head, but a six-point socket sufficed to remove it. Cleaned the interior and verified that it appears to work correctly; put it back together. Removed the badges for cleaning, and familiarized myself with the rest of the tank tear-down, but left it assembled so I don’t lose any parts.

Bagged up all the loose bits and labeled the bags, mostly correctly. Removed other side of the exhaust system, and separated the headers from the mufflers. The mufflers are rusted through near the point where they connect to the headers, and both are missing their cores. Just a couple of straight pipes with holes in them.

The fog cleared from the odometer, and I saw that it has 19,615 miles on it. Examined the controls; the throttle is not apparently functioning correctly, though that could be crud in the carb. Couldn’t find the starter button, until I realized the previous owner (or the one before him, or someone servicing it) had gutted the switch housing and put it back on wrong. Will have to replace that too, obviously.

First priority for me is to get the engine free. Nothing is visibly broken in that arena, and as best as I can tell the transmission is okay, so I’m hoping that getting the pistons loose will be good enough. Once that’s done, I’ll try in earnest to get it to actually run; only then will I begin expending the currency involved in making it pretty.

One note: The petcock nipple is out of the petcock. It appears to be a pressed-in part; I’m told I can just hammer it (gently) back in place and all should be well.

So far, so good, said the man who had fallen nineteen stories off a twenty story building…