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Old Faithful's Refresh Nears Completion

The refresh of my 1968 CB350, Old Faithful, is nearing completion.


As I mentioned in an earlier post, the costs of doing a full restoration combined with some financial setbacks caused me to reconsider and change the restoration to a refresh. This bike is a rider and will never be a show bike, but while she was torn down, I decided some improvement was in order, the biggest being replacement of the loose original steering head bearings and races with modern, tapered, bearings from Motion Pro.

The first order of business was to get the old bearing races out of the steering head. Luckily, I could reach the bottom of the races with a long screwdriver. A few taps with a mallet had them out. Next, was getting the old bottom press-on race off, which I accomplished by application of months of patience and StrongArm. I daily pried and pried and pried on the bottom of the race with a flat screwdriver, levering against the race using the steering stop block as fulcrums. I was about to give up, when I noticed that one side was slightly higher than the other. I pried on the opposite side of the race and could see minute progress. Encouraged, I pried on the opposite side, then back and forth to keep the progress even, and all of a sudden the race let go and I had a naked shaft!

Now I turned my attention to pressing on the new bottom bearing on the shaft and the races in the steering head. To make these tasks easier I placed the shaft assembly in the freezer along with the races that would go in the steering head. The races and shaft being sufficiently shrunk by the cold, they all went together without a fight.

Here is the bottom race in place in the steering head.


The bottom bearing in place on the steering shaft.


And finally, the completed assembly torqued down with improved bearings inside and ready to receive the fork tubes.


Once the steering head assembly was complete, I continued reassembly on my workbench top, adding parts until I finally had a rolling frame once again. I happily rolled the bike out of the shop, down our backyard hill, and back into the bike garage, next to its sibling.


I lieu of a total makeover, I had figured I owed Old Faithful some cosmetic niceties. I stripped the wheel hubs of a yellowed clear coat and set to work with wet sandpaper, followed by a cloth wheel on a drill and the application of a couple different rubbing compounds. With the wheels hubs polished and shining, I turned my attention to the engine side cases and the lower fork tubes giving them the same treatment.

Here's the engine with newly polished aluminum side covers.


Next up was rerouting the original wiring harness. It was confusing at times and required pulling and rerunning the harness several times to get it right. With much trial and error, and pensive and perplexed glances at my wiring diagrams, I started the process of plugging everything electrical back together.


The wiring completed and the final bits and pieces bolted down to the frame, the bike is now almost ready to test-fire. I will be adding new fork and engine oil, and then reinstalling the battery that has been on the tender this last year, then crossing my fingers I will thumb the starter button.

The national VJMC rally in Helen, Georgia, is in a couple weeks, so hopefully I won't have too many bugs to work out before heading north on the 350, a road bike again.

Old Faithful looking like a motorcycle again.



Road Dog

"Ride Your Own Ride"

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