The perfect 100 point Restoration of the Legendary

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Part 9: Re-assembly and reconditioning of the Engine

We are finally at what I feel is the most important and exiting part of what makes a CBX stand out from all the rest. ** The Engine **.

The CBX engine is a masterpiece of design and engineering that is also esthetically beautiful. It is so exposed in full view, that it is probably the very first thing that one sees when you first glance at the bike. This explains why the bike draws so much attention from even people who know nothing about the bike. The designers of the CBX, knowing this, designed the engine with beautifully polished and nicely finished cases and covers so that it was as finely finished as the body work. It is like a jewel attached to a setting that is the bike itself.

Unfortunately, because of this, over time, the elements take their toll on all that glitz. The polished aluminum was clear coated to help protect it. The problem is, that moisture penetrates the clear, and corrodes the aluminum under it. This is why that no matter how much you try to clean up the corrosion, or polish it out, it wonít clean up. The only way you can do it is to strip the clear coat off with paint stripper. Sometimes the clear coat yellows, but the aluminum under it is fine, without corrosion. This is an easy solution. Just polish the aluminum with Semi-Chrome by hand until you get the factory satin finish that it was when new. Be careful not to over do it, or it starts looking too polished, almost like chrome. I think these cases look best with the satin finish that they originally had.

In some cases, the aluminum is corroded under the clear. Donít give up hope on these items, there is a cure. You can restore these to look as good as new again. But it takes allot of work, depending on how bad they are. If you follow these steps, youíll save allot of money trying to find new ones or perfect un-corroded ones.

First, strip off the clear. I use Jasco Paint Stripper as mentioned in the products used part of this article. It is pretty simple to use. Just brush it on with a paint brush, let it sit for a couple of minutes, and you will see the clear bubble up and separate from the aluminum. After it looks like itís all wrinkled and or bubbled up, just wipe it clean with paper towel. Once you have removed all of the clear, you are now ready to get rid of the corrosion. This is done using wet sand paper. I know, itís hard to imagine sanding on these beautiful case covers, but that how it was done originally. Just donít worry about it. It will look beautiful when you are done.

The choice of which grit of sand paper you start with will depend on how bad the corrosion is.

If itís really bad, I start with 80 grit, sand it completely until all of the corrosion is gone. As the corrosion starts to disappear, you might start using a finer grit gradually. Move to 120, then 220, 400, 600, 1000, and finish it off with 1500. Keep in mind that each time you move to a different grit, be sure to sand the entire area so that you keep it consistent. Also, after the corrosion has disappeared, start sanding the item in a direction that is close to the way the factory did it so that the sanding marks are similar to the way they were from the factory. As you reach the 1000 and 1500 grit level, you see the luster start showing thru. You then realize, wow, this is going to look really nice when I am done.

The picture below is what the clutch cover on my CBX looked like after I had finished sanding it with 1000. I then used the 1500, and polished it by hand with Semi-Chrome.

I say by hand because, if you use a polishing wheel, other mechanical methods, it will look like chrome immediately. Notice the shine this case cover has even before I started polishing it. When you start polishing it with Semi-Chrome, it doesnít take much rubbing at all before it starts developing the luster it had from the factory. Its funny, it will take an hour of sanding to get it looking like this picture, and about 5 minutes of polishing to get it looking like the factory satin finish.

The following page will show the final product. I chose not to re-clear my pieces. I just touch up the polishing with Semi-Chrome once a year or so. It takes 5 minutes each time.

Itís up to you whether you chose to clear it again. If you do, I would just use a heat resistant clear paint, using the same method as I used earlier, curing it in the oven, etc.

This is the clutch cover after sanding the corrosion off. It is now ready to be hand polished with Semi-Chrome to obtain the satin luster it had from the factory.

These covers had your typical corrosion on them. They are like new again using the method sand and polish method. The "Honda" logo on the cover in the right picture was in good condition, so I just sanded over it gently so as not to sand on the black. It is indented from the main surface, so if you careful, it can be done without repainting the black. Notice again, I replaced all the screws with new un-marred ones.

This photo of the finished bike shows how the clutch cover turned out. Also notice, I did all of the carb covers as well. You must do these by tilting the motor down in order to remove them from the carbs. This is a mute point if you removed the engine anyway.

The Final item we will address is cleaning and re-painting the engine and the painted covers such as the valve cover, oil filter housing, etc. In the picture below, you see that I have stripped the engine of all the bolted on case covers etc. This makes it easier to clean and refinish the engine itself. The first thing I did was protect all the open holes such as the exhaust ports, etc. Then I washed the engine down with degreaser using a spray bottle, and a small brush. Then I rinsed it carefully with a hose, and at the same time I used a brush and Comet. This got most of the years of road grunge off. I used a lot of different sizes and types of brushes. One useful type is a wire brush that looks like a pipe cleaner. These are great for getting in between the fins.

The engine after being cleaned and repainted in the front

After rinsing the engine down, dry it completely, preferably with an air hose. Let it sit and dry completely overnight or let it sit out in the dry air for a few hours. It is important to let it dry thoroughly because the next step is painting the silver on, and you donít a hidden drop of water to screw up you paint job. The engine on this CBX was in relatively good condition paint wise. The front had your typical 25 years of baked on road grunge on it, but the sides and the back areas still looked like new. So I sprayed the front of the block with the Silver paint mentioned earlier, and that was it. I blended it to the sides, and is a perfect match. Take Note! Do NOT paint the cylinders or the head. These are raw aluminum from the factory and should be left that way. They will come clean by wire brushing them and washing them with the comet and wire brushes. Or, you could have them bead blasted. You can see in the picture above, it turned out pretty good.

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This Site Was Updated on: Saturday March 29, 2008 07:32 AM

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