Original Owner Bringing 6600 Mile '97 Back to Life
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  • 4 Post By Greg1137

Thread: Original Owner Bringing 6600 Mile '97 Back to Life

  1. #1

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    Original Owner Bringing 6600 Mile '97 Back to Life

    I'm a new member and posted this in another thread. I've decided to start a new thread to follow my progress...

    I'm closing in on 50 years old and am the original owner of a '97 Blackbird that has only about 6,600 miles. Around 1995 I didn't have a significant other and had just moved to a new city. I didn't have much to do so I rode my motorcycle everywhere when the weather would allow. I took weekend day trips to nowhere in neighboring states. In '97 I traded in my 750 Nighthawk on a 1200 Bandit. I put 6000 miles on the Bandit in 6 months until someone left-turned in front of me and totaled the bike. Fortunately, I wasn't totaled too. The following spring of 1998 I bought a leftover brand new Blackbird at my local Honda dealer. It was so new that I actually got to see it in the original shipping box, still unassembled! I rode the wheels off of it the first year I had it but then met a woman who wasn't too fond of motorcycles and also took much of my time, and so the Bird started to sit every now and then. The next year I bought a classic convertible car and the bike sat even more. Over the years I hung onto it and still managed to ride it a couple times a year and keep it running. In early 2015 I moved back to my hometown and the Blackbird was put in my uncle's barn for storage until I could buy a house and bring the bike home. It had no insurance, expired plates, and gunked up carbs so I needed a trailer to get it. I also married into stepchildren that took up all of my free time so the bike went to the bottom of my priority list. I finally was able to pick it up this month and bring it home. I gave it a much need bath, pulled the tank, and put a small squirt of WD-40 down each carb throat to lube the cylinders. I put a new battery in it so I could turn it over to get the WD-40 in the cylinder bores. It cranked for about 5 seconds and then started running! It died about 10 seconds later and I realized that the choke wasn't even on. So I put the choke on cranked it again and then it ran for a good 20 seconds on 5 year old gas. It needs new fuel lines, a breather, and an oil change at a minimum but it seems like she survived her storage. It will take a little time getting used to her again because I haven't ridden in years and my body and my eyesight aren't what they used to be, but I'm sure that my "Grandpa's Rocket Ship" will put a smile on my face again.

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  3. #2

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    Re: Original Owner Bringing 6600 Mile '97 Back to Life

    So far I've got the tank and airbox off and the carbs removed. The tank valve wasn't sealing real well so I've ordered the rebuild kit with the replacement diaphragm. The fuel lines seemed a little hard so I ordered those too. Last on my parts list was the little foam breather filter in the airbox that crumbled when I gently touched it.

    I read some horror stories on here about rusted tanks. I was surprised to hear that because I had always thought the BB tanks had a clear coating internally. I had left half a tank in mine while it was stored (I know, I know!). Fortunately there is only one small spot of rust visible that's maybe a 1/4" in diameter. I think a good flushing is all that's needed.

    I also noticed that the vacuum lines on the right side of the carbs have a crack so they'll need to be replaced. Is there a cheap source for the vacuum hose? It looks like they use 3.5mm. Can I get that at an auto parts store?

  4. #3

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    Re: Original Owner Bringing 6600 Mile '97 Back to Life

    Yes you should be able to. It's just a standard rubber vaccum hose.
    Don't forget to flush all the brake lines, master and slave cylinders.
    Route 191 formerly Route 666 Some say that this section of the
    road has 1100 curves in 95 miles.

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  6. #4

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    That's just remarkable. And as things get sorted, you're going to be the privileged chap who has a sub-7000 run Bird from new... That's gonna be real special 🙂

    Wishing you many happy and safe miles on this re-discovered ride.

  7. #5

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    Re: Original Owner Bringing 6600 Mile '97 Back to Life

    Well the petcock repair kit was a major disappointment. After going through all the work of pulling the petcock and replacing all of the parts, I looked into one of the fuel ports and could see daylight between the plunger (my term for the rubber part that stops the gas flow) and the body of the petcock! I took it apart and compared the old plunger to the one in the kit, and the original plunger is slightly taller/longer. The one on the right in the picture is the original. The replacement plunger is not long enough to meet up with the seal face of the petcock body and stop gas flow. I put it back together using the new diaphragm and my old plunger. I tested it with a vacuum pump and the seat lifts properly. It was dripping a bit before I took it apart so I assumed that the elastomers had hardened. Upon disassembly I found that my original plunger has not hardened. Hopefully it was just a little dirty and not seating properly. I have sent an email to the vendor questioning if they sent me the wrong kit.


    IMG_20190928_164115.jpg
    Last edited by Greg1137; 09-30-2019 at 9:55 AM.

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    Re: Original Owner Bringing 6600 Mile '97 Back to Life

    I started to take the carbs apart yesterday. It was probably 15+ years ago when I was last in them. Apparently I changed out all of the mains to 142'ss because the outboard jets were Factory 142's. Isn't stock 142 on center cylinders and 140 on the outboards? Many years ago I also took a Dremel cutoff wheel and cut slots across the pilot screws so that I could use a normal screwdriver to adjust them. There were little chunks of grit in the bowls but the pilot jets looked clear. The tiny O-ring on the pilot screws are also still soft. I also have recollections of changing out the floatbowl screws to stainless allen-head screws. The little shorty screwdriver on the far left is one that I made by chopping off the long end of a double headed screwdriver. This little guy is short enough to allow for adjusting the pilot screws with the carbs installed on the bike.



    IMG_20190928_180601.jpg

  9. #7

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    Re: Original Owner Bringing 6600 Mile '97 Back to Life

    I found that my pilot screws were all turned to 2-1/2 turns out. It looks like it's supposed to be 2-1/2 for California tunes and 2-3/4 for 49 state bikes. I wonder if I used the California number years ago? Anyone know what a good starting number of turns is? I live near St. Louis, MO, about 600 feet above sea level.

  10. #8

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    Re: Original Owner Bringing 6600 Mile '97 Back to Life

    Start at 2.5 and go from there.
    Route 191 formerly Route 666 Some say that this section of the
    road has 1100 curves in 95 miles.

  11. #9

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    I flushed out the carbs this evening. Clean out the bowls, removed pilot and main jets and flushed with carb cleaner. Also blasted upper float chambers and removed pilot screws and sprayed in there. Everything was pretty clean upon dissembly other than a few specs of gunk in the bowls. Reassembled everything and have the carbs and airbox back on the bike. Next step is to get some fresh gas and put the tank back on, then fresh oil and filter. If that all goes well I'll do a brake fluid change.

    I was having some issue putting the throttle pull cable on. It's one of those tasks that requires 3 hands. One to hold the throttle open, one to curl the cable and one to push the cable end into place. I figured out a nifty trick that I'd like to share. Use a piece of string or a few nylon tie wraps together to grab the throttle stop. Thread it forward through the carb assembly and then pull it tight to open throttle. Once it's open use some visegrips to clamp your tiewraps to the other cable. The photos should make it clear. Then you have two free hands to put the cable in place. Once I did this it took about 10 seconds.
    Attached Images Attached Images


 

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