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Old Faithful Gets Refreshed Instead of Restored

Financial fate has thrown a monkey-wrench into my plans to do a full-out restoration of my faithful CB350.

Frame Painted, and Reassembly Just Begun


After the frame crack in North Carolina and its subsequent temporary fix while on the road, I returned to central Florida. To repair the frame correctly, it was necessary to pull the motor, grind down the temporary blobs of welding rod, and re-weld the frame properly. After so many miles of faithful service, I felt obliged, while the motor was out, to move ahead and do a proper restoration to the bike. I was determined to bring the old girl back to her former glory, but after months of checking prices on powder coating the frame and re-chroming the shiny bits, while waiting for sales to pick up enough to make that work possible, it became clear the resources were not going to be found anytime soon.

The more I thought about it, too, the more I reconsidered the necessity of all that expensive work. After all, except for the now fixed crack in the frame, the bike was mechanically sound and had never run more beautifully. I knew that this bike would always be my rider, not a bike-show beauty. She was made to ride and ride her I will. If all was mechanically sound then I was chasing my tail trying to make her something she never would be anyway.

The fact that the Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club National Rally was coming up in June in the fabulous riding area around Helen, Georgia, along with my having to ride my less-than-vintage Triumph Bonneville in the last few VJMC rides helped convince me to get Old Faithful back together and road-worthy, regardless of her cosmetic condition. So, rather than a restoration, the plan has evolved into a “refresh” instead.

I had accomplished a couple things toward the restoration before my change of mind and now had a matched pair clean-as-a-whistle original 350A carbs ready to go in. I also had new modern steering head bearings and rear shock attachment point bushings to go in. I also had found a fellow willing to take a peek inside my non-functioning speedometer and tachometer to see if they can be fixed. Those things were cheap enough and were needed. The powder coating would have to give way to a rattle can paint job, however, and perhaps the re-chroming of the rusty luggage rack and painting of the tank, side and fork covers would have to wait for another time.

New Steering Head Bearings


But Installation of the New Bearings Will Have to Wait Until I can remove this Stubborn lower Race


One of the Swingarm Bushings is Also Being Stubborn


I gathered all the black-painted bits along with the frame and borrowed my father-in-law's sandblaster. For the parts not easily visible on the bike, such as battery box, tool box, swing arm, et cetera, I gave them a quick rough-up with the sandblaster, making sure to return any rusted spots back to bare metal, wiped them down with StrongArm, primed them with automotive primer, then shot them with gloss black automotive paint. The StrongArm is a peculiar “oil” that can be used to remove rust and protect from further rusting and strangely can do this under a base coat with causing any issues with adherence of the primer an paint.

Frame Sub-Assemblies getting a Rattle Can Paint Job


The frame itself was largely devoid of rust, with a generally still good coat of original paint. I blasted the few scratches and tiny emerging rust spots, then primed, sanded, and finish coated it, too.

A couple things with the motor may have to be addressed next, and I am debating how to go about it or to leave well enough alone. The oil drain plug has been getting harder and harder to screw in and out and I do not know why. It has not been cross-threaded and once closed there is no oil leak. I may bring it to a machine shop to see if this can be resolved by something as simple as re-chasing the threads on the hole. The other issue is a continuing minor leak at the cam case gasket. This has been redone a couple times before and no matter what I do it always returns. It is no more than a minor nuisance, but I may see if the OEM gaskets are still available and put them in, as the ones that have been leaking have been after-market gaskets. Once I reassemble the cam case and its innards, I will recheck and adjust the valves while it is easy to do with the motor out of the frame.

My goal now is to get the bike back into rolling frame shape, then reinstalling the motor in time to hit the road for the rally in Helen, Georgia, in June. I have a 4,000+ mile ride from home to the top of Lake Superior on the Bonnie to fit in there before the rally, too. I better get to work.


Road Dog

"Ride Your Own Ride"

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