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…

1965 Honda Dream Barn Find, or, I Must Be Crazy

I’ve long wanted to own a mid-60’s Honda. My top choice would have been a Scrambler, but the 305 Dream has always ran a close second. Years ago, I had an opportunity to acquire a CA77 and blew it… and I’ve long regretted that.

My wife knew of my interest, and so when she heard that a distant cousin of mine had a “1965 motorcycle in boxes” in his shed, she contacted him about what it was and if he’d sell it. The answer: a black 1965 Honda Dream 305.

I picked it up today. I haven’t seen the title yet, as he’s still looking for it, and I can’t quite make out the odometer reading, but I think it’s around 20,000 miles. “In boxes” referred to the seat, tank, side panels and sundry other small bits; the chassis still rolls, though the back tire won’t hold air. Sadly, at some point or another, my cousin’s son set out to restore it, and lost interest after barely starting (hence the boxed parts). He removed the plugs along the way… I have only one of them, and it’s broken.

Here’s a picture, taken by my wife Tracy, of me with the bike at my cousin’s residence:

First problem: The engine seems to be locked. I’ll have to take it apart to be sure, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the pistons are rusty. My cousin asserts that it still ran when he stopped riding it… the back tire blew out, he said, and though he claims he didn’t actually go down, he lost all interest in further riding. That was in 1978, apparently, as that’s the year on the plate. So the only reason I can think that the engine would refuse to move is that the piston(s) have rusted. Hopefully it’s not too bad, but until I get the head off, I won’t know.

He told me the frame was cracked; when I picked it up, the only crack I can see is in the rear fender, which I’m told is a common issue. Given the rust spots all over the frame, I think stripping it down to the frame and getting it repaired and repainted is the smart thing to do. Given that I’ll have to do that, I’m considering repainting it Honda red. Not all that excited about black.

The wheels are popping chrome everywhere, so rechroming is probably on the horizon as well. The bars also need the treatment. Of course, everything rubber on the bike needs replacement, except strangely, the kickstarter and shift rubber doesn’t look all that bad.

Gah. Seriously, I must be crazy. Looking at the number of things that need doing, I have to admit I have some fear that I may not be able to finish it. But I’m not the sort to give up without a hell of a fight.

Here are a few pictures of it, loaded into my truck:

Back end, obviously.
Back end, obviously.
Crack is visible here. Note the chain link plate being used to retain the taillight... I'm guessing it's broken.
Front wheel.
Front wheel.
In Missouri in the 70's, only the left side mirror was required, so the right hand mirror was probably removed long ago. Left hand mirror is a mess.
Left side of engine.
Left side of engine.
Right side of engine.
Right side of engine.
Chain enclosure is entirely missing. Rubber cover for chain lubrication is in the box but pretty worthless at this point.
Has been recovered, no strap or chrome strip; I can live without them, but the foam is shot so it gets redone anyway.
Side panels and rectifier.
Side panels and rectifier.
The rubber around the rectifier is shot. There's a minor ding in the right-side panel.
A little rust inside, but not too bad. Electrosolution should fix it. Badges don't look too bad either.