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Old Faithful Gets New Paint

Old Faithful's Refresh Continued…

I had mentioned earlier that the restoration of Old Faithful, my trusty 1968 CB350, had hit some financial snags and, rather than a restoration she was going to get a “refresh.” That refresh was largely successful and entailed stripping it down to the frame and getting a frame crack repaired, followed by a rattlecan paint job of the frame and a thorough cleaning and reassembly of the bike, including new head bearings. What had to be neglected was rechroming the shiny bits and painting the body parts.

Rechroming is still on hold, although there are only a few bits that need to be redone, notably the OEM luggage rack that is oozing rust that won't Strongarm away.

Luckily, I bumped into a fellow, Norm, who was willing to paint the body parts for a very reasonable rate (less than half of what I had been quoted by restoration painters). Norm loves old bikes and I think the challenge of the job and that love of all things with two wheels and a motor motivated him to do the best job possible on the old girl.

You might recall the story of my horribly botched lining job that resulted in the pristine original tank paint in near perfect condition becoming a scarred mess of scratches and dents. Normally I lean toward liking bikes in an “as-found” condition, but this bike's as-found condition was considerably better than what it had became under my clumsy hands.


I've ridden this bike for approximately 25,000 miles since that incident and doing so she has gained the right to the title of Old Faithful, carrying me (relatively) trouble free all over the eastern United States. It's about time she was rewarded for her faithful service with a new coat.


Norm lovingly smoothed her bumps and bruises and did a marvelous job of matching the original colors. Color matching was by far the most difficult part of the job but persistence won out, and now Old Faithful wears her original colors with pride. There may be a very slight bit more of metal flake in this new coat, but, to be honest, it bested Honda's attempt, and I love the result.

Reassembly was nerve wracking, with the fear of putting a smudge or scratch on this new paint being something for which I could not forgive myself.

There was some struggle putting on the front shocks. I kept telling myself there must be a “right” way to do this job. The male slider portion of the shock runs up inside the triple trees and is attached at the top by a bolt, the hole in which it sits being the fill hole, and by a clamp on the lower tree. Once the slider is pulled up to full length the top bolt can reach it and tightening it will pull the slider up against the top tree and the lower clamps can then be secured, keeping it from retracting back into the lower portion

The problem is that the slider goes through the fork covers and is inaccessible during this operation, and, being faithful to gravity, as soon as you insert it far enough that you have to let go, it quickly retracts down into the lower section, being impossible to retrieve. Well, not impossible.

I found a trick online in which you use a section of 5/16 fuel hose to shove down into the slider bolt hole and run it up through the lower tree and covers and out at the top through the bolt hole in the top tree. This, theoretically, will give you something to pull the slider up with, so you can tighten the clamps to hold it in place, remove the rubber hose, insert the bolt in the top and screw it half way, release the clamp, tighten the top bolt seating the slider against the bottom of the top tree, then finally retightening the clamp, finishing the installation.

Apparently, however, all fuel hose is not equal, at least not as far as the outer diameter is concerned, and the hose I had kept slipping out of the fork slider. Working with a neighbor, clamping and pulling and reattaching the hose, then unclamping, and repulling (well, you get the picture) we finally accomplished the job with not a mar to be seen on the fork covers.

A refill of the forks with hydraulic fluid and some gas in the tank, and she will be ready for her next 30,000 miles.



Road Dog

"Ride Your Own Ride"

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