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Discodan

1998 CR 500R Restoration

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Hi Guys,

 

I very excitedly picked up a 1998 CR 500R US import from the quarantine facility on Friday after patiently waiting a couple of months for it to arrive from Utah.

This is my first nut and bolt restoration, so I though I would share the journey as I always enjoy reading other build threads.

 

The bike arrived without any brake pads due to restrictions on importing asbestos, but otherwise it was all there. On first inspection it all looks as it was described on the ad, pretty rough cosmetically but overall in fair condition. I decided to throw some fuel in it and see if it would run after the journey and surprisingly it started after only 3 kicks, however there was a fair plume of white smoke so I suspect the head gasket was cactus. Time to start the strip down....

 

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The strip down was pretty straightforward, the only trouble I ran into was seized swingarm and linkage bolts, nothing a bit of heat and gentle persuasion couldn’t fix. 

Frame is in good condition with no dints in the rails and the head stem bearing races have no signs of wear.  Swingarm is a little beat up but minimal pitting and deep scratches, linkages look perfect besides the bearings.

I’m pulling down the engine tomorrow, so hopefully no nasty surprises!

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I'm in the process of slowly building a 2000 model, I'll keep an eye on this thread. We will have to organise some big bore 2 stroke rides in the near future.

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On 9/4/2019 at 1:00 PM, Dann said:

I'm in the process of slowly building a 2000 model, I'll keep an eye on this thread. We will have to organise some big bore 2 stroke rides in the near future.

Nice, how far along are you??

I didn't even get to ride the bike before tearing it down so I'll definitely be up for a big bore day!

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This week's progress.....

Started stripping all of the cast aluminium parts so I can send them off to get hydroblasted. All of the bearings and hardware came out of the swingarm and linkage without too much drama which was nice.

I stripped down the engine and everything was in better condition than I expected. The previous owner obviously didn't care too much for cosmetics, but looked after the engine well. I've taken to the cylinder down to TSP to have the cylinder measured accurately an according to Dave it's still on the original bore. I probably could have just put another piston in it, however I'm going to have it rebored and honed to the first oversize as the pistons are prone to skirt failures if there's any slop.

Splitting the cases was relatively straightforward, although it got a little hung-up on one of the locating dowels due to some corrosion. The internals all look good, bearings and seals were all in good condition, but I'm going to replace them all anyway. I was in two minds about having the crank rebuild as there isn't any play in the bearings, but I may as well do it at the same time. Bearings slipped out of the cases with a little heat, only one requiring a little gentle persuasion.

Next step is to get the hydroblasting done and the frame sandblasted and painted. It'll be nice to see some fresh bits to keep me motivated!

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3 hours ago, Discodan said:

Nice, how far along are you??

I didn't even get to ride the bike before tearing it down so I'll definitely be up for a big bore day!

In my case the bike is in pristine condition with just about everything original except for the clutch perch, reed block and front plate, probably been ridden less than ten times in nineteen years. 

I'm in the process of replacing all the unobtainium genuine Honda parts with aftermarket, an expensive venture. I basically haven't done anything to it yet just been buying stuff when I have some spare cash, I'm getting closer to having everything now. 

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Starting to make a bit of progress now.. I picked up my nice shiny bits from the hydro blaster and they came up an absolute treat! I've just finished painting the frame and couldn't help myself but to mock up some of the rear end to give myself some motivation. I'm into the tedious boring bits at the moment, such as cleaning up all of the bolts and cross checking the parts diagram to make sure everything is there and I've also decided to do my own zinc plating to keep the bike as original as possible. The plating process has been pretty satisfying as the rusty old bolts are coming up like new again so it's worth the effort.

Now I'm just waiting for all of my parts to arrive so I can start reassembling this thing.

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Great thread; I love the 500 2 strokes (although I prefer Green). I reckon a big bore get together / ride as part of next years RCHGFA rides would be good (and a good motivation to get the bikes done by then).

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Update time....

So a big box of effing expensive genuine parts finally arrived from the states which means that I've finally been able to start putting things back together. I also got the straightened radiators back and also the seat from Mario at Topline who did a bloody amazing job!

The bottom end of the engine went back together without too much trouble, after heating the cases in the oven the bearings just slipped in. The only issue I has was putting a small washer in the wrong spot which meant that the transmission didn't shift properly, so I had to split the cases and rectify the problem and now it's all as smooth as butter. I'm just waiting on the RHS crankcase gasket to arrive because I'm an idiot and forgot to order one and then I can button up the last of the engine.

It felt like I wasn't getting anywhere as I was doing the tedious things such as refinishing the swing arm which by the way is a lot of sanding and then careful finishing with a scotch-brite pad to bring back the brushed aluminium look. I literally sanded through my fingertips but holy shit does it come up nicely!

So now that I've (mostly) finished building the engine it was time to put it into the frame, it was such a satisfying to see the 500cc sitting there looking brand spanking new. With the engine in place I could now install the swing arm and radiators and looking at the bike it's now coming together very nicely.

I feel like I'm on a bit of a roll now so hopefully it'll be finished within a couple of weeks. The only major thing I've got left to decide on is the wheels. The front rim had a big flat spot, so it either needs to be repaired or replaced, but i've not been able to locate an original so I'm debating wether to just order some brand new Excel rims or try and track down an original from in good condition. The bike is all original and NOS parts besides the the plastics, the piston (because TSP reckons the Wössner pistons are much better than stock) and a shiny FMF Fatty,  so I'm leaning toward finding a straight rim from somewhere.

Anyway hopefully I can update some more complete pics real soon!

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Long time between updates, but.... Almost done! Life + a lot of fiddly jobs got in the way of finishing the project off. 

Everything has been fitted now besides the rear wheel, the silencer and the fork guards. I'm waiting on the silencer mounts from Honda which were an 8-12 week ETA, also trying to track down a decent value spoke kit for the rear wheel as Honda want $240 for OEM spokes! 

Anyway looking forward to wheeling it outside and firing it up next week. 

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Mate,

Very nice!

Looks like all oem plastics ?

Worked out what its cost ya to date? or prefer not to know?  hehe

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1 minute ago, Geoffro said:

Mate,

Very nice!

Looks like all oem plastics ?

Worked out what its cost ya to date? or prefer not to know?  hehe

Thanks Geoffro!

The plastics are UFO, unfortunately the plastics original plastics couldn't be salvaged as the UV damage was too great. But everything else is OEM (besides the pipe) and if I was to do a quick tally in my head I reckon I would have spent close to $14k plus hundreds of hours of my time. It's been a huge undertaking and I wouldn't change anything. I could of probably saved thousands using aftermarket parts, but I wanted to be as true to the original as I could. 

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Yeah, nice mate, very nice!!!

I could have got you nos front and rear fenders a month or so back.. but in all honesty, those UFO ones look pretty good!!

I search for nos stuff for a lot of my resto's, and with the prices and hours, days, months or searching, and then paying too much, i reckon its a mugs game..

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11 hours ago, Geoffro said:

Yeah, nice mate, very nice!!!

I could have got you nos front and rear fenders a month or so back.. but in all honesty, those UFO ones look pretty good!!

I search for nos stuff for a lot of my resto's, and with the prices and hours, days, months or searching, and then paying too much, i reckon its a mugs game..

Haha always the way!

It drives my partner insane the amount of time I spend trawling ebay and other sites looking for bits and pieces!

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So the 500 is pretty much done now, just waiting on the throttle boot and the muffler rubber which had to be back ordered from Japan. I laced and trued the rear wheel with a chopstick clamped to the swingarm (who needs a fancy truing stand) which was actually much quicker and easier than I expected. I also finally got the rear spring back after being painted in 2 pack and fitted it to the shock. I then fitted some new Dunlop D952 tyres as these are the closest I can find to 90's MX tyres, but f@ck me the sidewalls are so stiff on these things! It's by far the hardest tyre I've ever had to fit.

So now it was all back together, there was only one thing to do (besides wrap the tyres in gladwrap so they didn't get dirty) and that was to fire it up for the first time. I filled it full of fuel, nothing was leaking which was a good start....  strapped a boot on and kicked it, and kicked it, and kicked it... didn't want to start. I started second guessing myself until I realised I forgot to put the spark plug cap on properly! After cursing myself I gave it 2 more kicks and off it went! It was such a sense of relief more than anything as I've spent so much time and money to get it to where it is now. Anyway I let it warm up and gave a few quick blasts on the throttle and it was so crisp, I couldn't believe it! These 500's have a reputation for rattling your teeth out with the vibrations, but it was actually super smooth, more so than my old KTM 300. 

Now the biggest question is, do I ride it, or sell it in showroom condition...

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Dan, well done mate-she looks cool, all that work mate-you have to ride it before you sell it-or you would always wonder how she went.

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4 minutes ago, Gypsy501 said:

Dan, well done mate-she looks cool, all that work mate-you have to ride it before you sell it-or you would always wonder how she went.

Thanks mate! I want to ride it more than anything, but just wondering if it would knock a couple of grand off the price if I did!?

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