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The Mighty CB400/4

Discussion in 'Modifications and Projects' started by VtrElmarco, Mar 20, 2006.

  1. Hello All.

    For those of you who can get to Friday night coffee at southbank, you may be aware of a very special motorbike that sometimes frequents this little get together.

    It is a very cute, little, red CB400/4 attached to a massive black sidecar. It formerly belonged to the Chairman, but it has now been freed from the massive anchor that was the sidecar and now belongs to me (As soon as I can get the money to the Chairman :wink: ). I have bought this little bike as an interim ride after the sale of my fantastic Silver VTR1000. :( I hope to get it RWC'ed as cheap as possible and wobble around on it for 6-8 months before I purchase the next proper bike.

    I took the GF along to look at it hoping she would be a voice of reason, and when we got there she just giggled and squealed:

    "It looks so cute!"

    So there went the voice of reason... :roll:

    I jumped onto the ROCK HARD pank of wood that is the seat and fired her up. No dramas at all as she kicked over straight away. The motor is a little rattley, but long term reliability is not a major concern. She has a lovely fruity exhaust note and pulled away quite well until it ran out of petrol. Apparantley bikes require the fuel tap to be turned on. After remebering this I was underway again.

    Initial handling was terrible due to several reasons. I badly needs some new ROUND tires to repalce the SQUARE ones currently on it. Side cars do not help edge wear for tires. It also needs some new steering head bearing as the extra weight of the sidecar over the years has left a VERY notchy bearing race. This is a cheap fix, but will require some work to get to them both. It also needs a front fork rebuild (1 fork seal leaking) which is not a great drama as well. But after all this is fixed, I can see a sweet little handling bike underneath a few of these problems.

    The rear of the bike is in great nick though. Brakes are in good nick as well as chain and sprockets. All wheel bearings are also good, and the rear shocks are in great condition after being changed for some longer ones to fit the side car. I will leave these on as it will make the bike steer nice and quick, but I will back off some of the preload to stop it kicking me off the seat over bumps.

    Well that is enough for now, and I am off to look for some tires for my naff little wire spoked wheels...

  2. CB400/4 = sweeet ride.
    A mate had onbe in the early eighties and I've been meaning to pick one up ever since. Great fun to ride and very pretty to look at.
    I'm jealous.
  3. What do you mean "the next proper bike"? Proper? Proper!!! The price just went up $100!!! :LOL:

    Glad you weren't with me on Sunday. Reefton was awash with clunkers - Enfields, a Matchless, CB750 and an immaculately restored 400/4 - complete with those beautiful headers.

    Brought a momentary tear to my eye. Have fun with it.
  4. Sorry mate but that sounded worse than what I meant! :LOL: Damn interweb.

    In the future I will be debating to either go a full restoration (not to concourse standard because those guys are super anal...) or go post classic racing on it. Not quite sure on the direction I will take as yet. I do love the CB750 SOHC models. They look fantastic despite being a UJM.

    Chairman, do you have the full model description with year handy?

    This could help with finding parts.

    Take it easy, Mark.
  5. CB400/4F (I think - check the headstem for the compliance plate). Found the manual - you'll have it tonight.
  6. Well the mighty CB400/4 is inching slowly towards getting a RWC. Jobs I have done so far include:

    Putting on some new ROUND tires on the front and back wheels. I have got some great tires called Pirelli City Demons. Love the name. No idea of the grip levels though... :grin:

    (A big shout out has to go to the guys at Pablos. They really enjoy doing work like this)

    Both fork legs have been removed and sent in for some new oil and fork seals. I would have liked to do this myself, but the job only looks easy, and I have a feeling there are many 'trick to the trade' that I don't know about.

    I have also purchased now steering head bearings. They are a lovely new tapered set and will replace the trully flogged out ball set that are currently in the bike. I will attempt this job myself on Sunday, so if you can hear some extremely loud cursing coming from the west of Melbourne, you know what is going on.

    New jobs to do in the future include sourcing a front brake caliper and seal set as well as new pads and brake lines. The old caliper has no bleed nipple (he he nipple..). I will try to find a caliper at a wrecker and put a new seal set through it. I would also like to make up some custome braided brtake lines for the front end and put some fresh fluid through the whole system.

    Much polishing will be done on some wire wheels over the weekend, becuase with a little elbow grease, I think they will come up a treat.

    I am also debating whether to whip the motor out of the frame now to replace the cam chain, tensioner, head gasket and adjust the valve clearances. This is a long series of little jobs and I am debating whether to muster the effort for this at the moment?

    Well that should keep me busy for a few weekends, and I hope to get a RWC before my trip away. :LOL:
  7. umm a very nice bike that
  8. oh how well I remember the couple of times I rode the upholstered brick that passes for a seat on the 400/4; RC36 had one many aeons ago. I had an XS-650 Yamaha at the same time, one of the nicest seats of any bike ever, and the 400/4 would put you off riding on a trip to the shops!
  9. Good luck with getting it all shiney and new looking, can't wait to see it around.
  10. Nothing wrong with a UJM.......you may find yourself addicted.

    Regards, Andrew.
  11. Dam' straight. Nilly every bike I've ever owned has been a UJM.
    P.S. One of the nicest bikes I ever heard was a Z650. Dunno whose it was; I grew up in a little town in eastern Vic and it used to come through every morning and night, but he never stopped. Dad and I used to wait to hear him in the mornings. It used to start the day well.
  12. You should hear one with pods, 4 into 1 and a glasspack muffler! :twisted: :twisted:
    A real easy sound to love.

    Regards, Andrew.
  13. I know you have all been waiting with baited breath on the progress of my mighty red CB400/4. It has actually progressed baclkwards in a good way...

    Think about that for a minute :?:

    I have removed the whole front end and managed to get the old steering head bearing out with a bit of gentle persuation. They were shagged silly. I still have to remove the bearing races from the bottom triple clamp, and this is currently in the freezer soaking in penetrene much to the delight of the GF.

    If anyone has a snazzy way of removing this races, please let us know.

    The front caliper has also been sent for a rebuild, so at least she will stop if she every gets rolling again! :grin:

    I am hoping to get the forks back this week, and put her back together minus caliper over the weekend.

    Thanks all. :grin:

    Edit: I also forgot to add that I used a screw extractor for the first time the other day. Bugger me stupid, but it actually worked. Time to source a new speedo cable screw. All metal BOW DOWN TO MY ENGINEERING MIGHT!!
  14. Sounds like it's coming along nicely, keep us posted, pics would be great!

    Just a quick question: where did you send the caliper for the rebuild?

  15. Thanks Rog'

    The caliper is just being sent to a personal friend with much more experience in this area than me. There could be some difficulty in the bleed nipple area (heh he nipple) and some funny size threads may be required.

    I am unsure of how to do pics at the moment, but I will look into it an see what I can do.

    The gods of metal have struck back last night, and I am unable to remove the bearing race from the bottom triple clamp. It may require localised heating instead, or more force. I am undecided in which direction to go, but I like the more force way :grin:

    I have also got back the rebuilt forks done by the dead set legends at Pablos. They will not be perfect due to some mild pitting, but they are a definite improvement. The rear wheel was also balanced and the bearing was set with some loctite due to it being a little loose.

    Goal for the weekend is to put the rear wheel back on and align. And also remove the bearing race.

    (I may just admit defeat over the gods of metal and take it to the engineering workshop here at the plant for some experts to attack)
  16. Ah ok, thanks for the quick reply - I was wondering if it was worth taking it to a specialist but I think I'll give it a go myself. I'm going through pretty much the same process with the XL600 that I picked up a while ago.

    How much did the fork rebuild cost you? I've heard nothing but good things about Pablo's so I might give them the business as well.

    Cheers again.
  17. Hey Rog'

    I think I could do the brake rebuild myself as well, but the bleed nipple is the problem.

    The fork rebuild cost $ 130 bucks (new seals and oil) which I though was very reasonable. Pablo's tend to be more interested in the project bike stuff than the larger dealers I find so I will stick with them for the weird sort of stuff like the CB400. :grin:
  18. Hit that bottom bearing race on the triple clamp with a grinder until its almost through making sure that you do not grind into the shaft / yoke then grab a big cold chisel / brickies bolster and give it a wack it will crack and then fall of takes longer to write this then to do it He He Good Luck with the project
  19. Alright Brucey. :LOL:

    This is the type of high tech precsion engineering that I like. It will give this a try on the weekend mate. Thanks for the info.

  20. Heres another one to get the races out of the head stock dont try and knock them out grab the arc welder and run a 1/2" stich weld along the face of the roller area it causes the hardened material to contract and they fall out.

    It also works when bearings are seized in alloy wheels remove the rubber seal, punch the cage with a screwdriver and lever out the remains balls,cage and inner race wipe grease away and hit it with the arc and out it falls.

    Its the only way of adding metal to something i know to make it easier to get things apart

    PS Got to love the gods of steel bit PS also use grinder to sharpen the chisel before the wack and a file to remove the burr afterwards.

    GO THE 400 Four

    PPS has it got the Yoshi pipe on it yet