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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi guys,

My name is George and I have just bought a 1987 Honda Rebel 450 with a little over 2k on the clock from the original owner. The owner did not ride it since 2002 but kept it garaged or in the shed the whole time.

This is my first motorcycle, and I am here for the knowledge. I wrench on my own cars (I do my own brakes, oil, transmission fluid, clutch changes, thermostats and whatnot, I feel pretty confident around cars and Hondas and Toyotas have always been my favourites).


The bike was never dropped and looks new, but inside the tank there is a thick "dulce de leche" coat of 2002 gas mixed with rust...

Obviously I am to clean the tank, put good gas in and replace engine oil, oil and air filters (I've googled my way through that, and that's how I ended up registering here, this seems like the ultimate rebel spot). The bike will need a new battery and once/if it will start, I will put new tires on it and will service the brakes too.

My main questions for now are:
1. What's the best way to clean the tank? Should I go with "paint solvent+handful of nuts" approach, or is there some protective coating inside that I need to spare and maybe use some chemicals without throwing any bolts in?
2. Once I am done with tank cleanup and oil and filters, is there any prep needed for start after sitting (aside from pulling out the spark plugs out and running the starter a little without them to get the new oil circulating in the engine)?
3. The petcock from the tank was closed, but I am sure there may be some gunk in the carbs, should I worry about this when the tank is off? Is there anything I can do to avoid taking the carbs off, maybe something minimal for starters like spraying some carb cleaner somewhere would do?
4. What did I miss? I am sure I miss something being new to motocycles, after all they are different animals than cars. If there is anything you think I need to do, please let me know.


Otherwise, that's the plan for now - getting it running while shopping for propper gear (helmet, gloves, jacket, boots, etc). If it can run with that effort, once it is, I will be getting the new tires as well. Of course, completing the motorcycle safety course before I get going anywhere... I am 34, this is a toy, so I am in absolutely no rush, and I want to do the things the right way and the safe way rather than chase the penny to save or look for a corner to cut on the maintenance route to get the bike faster out on the road...

Attaching a few pics of the bike as I bought it.
 

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Welcome to forum n enjoy your sweet 450. You are planing the right way to start with . you can clean tank with caustic soda and hot water for 24 hrs then flush well with water and let to dry well . Then coat inside with caswell tank sealer . As for the carbs the best way to get them cleaned by Honda rebel warehouse he does a great job at reasonable price .
 

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Welcome, nice find.

Fuel system care is key from tank to explosion. I also recommend JRW for the carbs. I had my tank sealed with Red Kote (?) by a business. Add inline fuel filter.

Its a Honda, so if it were mine, I would see what comes out of the carbs (if anything-when drained) and if it look 'OK", put in a battery, change the oil/filter, put new (properly gapped) plugs in, pull the tank for service and hook up a gas feed (they sell tanks for this ~$30), light it up and give it a whirl.

I do not think you need to pull the plugs and run the starter, seems like unnecessary wear to me. The new oil should circulate quite quickly as it does when the bike starts cold all other times.

Love the red ones.

Welcome
 

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Welcome to the forum. Here's a thread on tank cleaning: https://www.hondarebelforum.com/f39/tank-cleaning-7168.html

There is no factory tank liner in the Rebel. You can chemically clean it or get the loose rust out and seal it with Caswell epoxy tank sealer. It actually adheres better to light rust than a smooth tank. If it has pinholes, tape over them and then use Caswell. Be sure to follow the directions carefully.
https://www.caswellplating.com/epoxy-gas-tank-sealer/caswell-epoxy-gas-tank-sealer-mini-kit-up-to-5-gal.html

While the tank is off, pour some fresh gas into the carb, hook it up to a car battery with the car engine off, and see if it will crank and run well. You'll probably need to pull the fuel enricher lever towards you to crank it, even if the carbs are clean. Do not give it throttle when cranking. If it starts and runs ok, the PO probably drained the carbs. If he didn't you have some carb cleaning ahead of you. Spray carb cleaner usually is about as effective as spitting on the carbs.

Get a Yuasa battery. They are high quality and last for many years if properly maintained.

I've seen Gorgeous George on TV, but doubt he's you.
 

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First, squirt oil on the valve guides, then turn the engine over manually with ignition OFF, to avoid sitting-stuck valves damaging the pistons, to pump oil into the system, and as a basic test.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I've seen Gorgeous George on TV, but doubt he's you.
You've figured where my nickname is coming from! Stuck to me since the school years )

Thank you for the warm welcome guys! I am out of town for this weekend, but once I am back I will keep posting on the progress. I hope I won't have to have the carbs cleaned, but at the same time I doubt that I will avoid that. We'll see...

I've been inside CVCC Honda Civic carburetor once or twice, without much success though. This seems much easier, though (at least for the 250 carb video I found on YT, not sure if 450 is just double that). On the other hand the rebel warehouse price seems more than reasonable to spare myself from this.

Once again, thank you all and I will keep posting on my progress. I guess I need to find a proper section on this forum to start my journal.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Alright, so I finally got to the Rebel... I have started with cleaning the tank. 1 round of Works therapy didn't cut it - small rust was gone, but worst rust spots at the bottom remained and stayed chunky and attached to the surface, so I went for the mechanic abrasion... I know people like the lazy ways around it, throw the tanks in the dryers wrapped in winter coats, etc. But since I have a new dryer at home and my wife would definitely kill me at the attempt of doing so... I used a long piece of rope, passed it trough front end bolt holes, then over the ceiling beam in my garage and then tied at the back end bolt hole of the tank. This looked something like an old-fashioned baby cradle... I dumped a handful or two of the bolts and screws I had around, and just rocked the cradle while it was hanging, zero effort to hold the tank, easy-peasy... Rust was gone in 15-20 minutes of shaking. Half way into it... I took the bolts out as all rust stuck to them (i guess static formed because of rubbing or something, rust literally was like magnetized-stuck to the bolts). I used magnetic pickup tool to fish them bolts out, and washed them with gasoline in a small container. Then dumped clean bolts back in and did some shaking again. Then one more round of Works chemo therapy... Distilled water with baking soda, clean distilled water rinse twice, dumped a 32oz bottle of Marvel mystery oil into an empty tank, slushed it around the tank so it would cover all surfaces thoroughly, and dumped it out of the tank...

Clean as a whistle! Filled up to the top with fresh gasoline!

While I was at the tank cleaning (which lasted 2 days overall 1 attempt per day), I opened the drain bolts on the carbs, nothing came out but there was goooey substance at the tips of the drain bolts as I took em out, I guess noone drained them before last time it was parked in 2003... I sprayed carb cleaner into the fuel suply line that I disconnected from the petcock with the bolts opened, until something started to come out. Let it drain out. Put the bolts back in. Sprayed more. Let it sit, drained and did it again a few times... I will still need to rebuild the carbs, but I guess this at least would let them soak a little after drying out, and will wash some of the gooey gasoline remains to ease the future cleanup and soften the gaskets and other stuff...


I put everything back together, tried to install a new petcock, but somehow all petcocks listed at Amazon as compatible with Rebels are 18mm thread, while Rebel takes 17 from what I later found here on the forum... So I finally found the one that said 17 and ordered, meanwhile installing the original one... Tried starting the bike. It fired up! Runs only on choke, and only one cylinder seems to fire up. But it runs!

Next up are the NGK Iridium spark plugs, oil and oil filter (all fluids and filters are Honda OEM as per the manual, lesson I learned with Honda cars)... I will also check for the spark, to see if this may be the reason of one cylinder misfiring...

So, that's how I spend my last weekend!
 

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Alright, so I finally got to the Rebel... I have started with cleaning the tank. 1 round of Works therapy didn't cut it - small rust was gone, but worst rust spots at the bottom remained and stayed chunky and attached to the surface, so I went for the mechanic abrasion... I know people like the lazy ways around it, throw the tanks in the dryers wrapped in winter coats, etc. But since I have a new dryer at home and my wife would definitely kill me at the attempt of doing so... I used a long piece of rope, passed it trough front end bolt holes, then over the ceiling beam in my garage and then tied at the back end bolt hole of the tank. This looked something like an old-fashioned baby cradle... I dumped a handful or two of the bolts and screws I had around, and just rocked the cradle while it was hanging, zero effort to hold the tank, easy-peasy... Rust was gone in 15-20 minutes of shaking. Half way into it... I took the bolts out as all rust stuck to them (i guess static formed because of rubbing or something, rust literally was like magnetized-stuck to the bolts). I used magnetic pickup tool to fish them bolts out, and washed them with gasoline in a small container. Then dumped clean bolts back in and did some shaking again. Then one more round of Works chemo therapy... Distilled water with baking soda, clean distilled water rinse twice, dumped a 32oz bottle of Marvel mystery oil into an empty tank, slushed it around the tank so it would cover all surfaces thoroughly, and dumped it out of the tank...

Clean as a whistle! Filled up to the top with fresh gasoline!

While I was at the tank cleaning (which lasted 2 days overall 1 attempt per day), I opened the drain bolts on the carbs, nothing came out but there was goooey substance at the tips of the drain bolts as I took em out, I guess noone drained them before last time it was parked in 2003... I sprayed carb cleaner into the fuel suply line that I disconnected from the petcock with the bolts opened, until something started to come out. Let it drain out. Put the bolts back in. Sprayed more. Let it sit, drained and did it again a few times... I will still need to rebuild the carbs, but I guess this at least would let them soak a little after drying out, and will wash some of the gooey gasoline remains to ease the future cleanup and soften the gaskets and other stuff...


I put everything back together, tried to install a new petcock, but somehow all petcocks listed at Amazon as compatible with Rebels are 18mm thread, while Rebel takes 17 from what I later found here on the forum... So I finally found the one that said 17 and ordered, meanwhile installing the original one... Tried starting the bike. It fired up! Runs only on choke, and only one cylinder seems to fire up. But it runs!

Next up are the NGK Iridium spark plugs, oil and oil filter (all fluids and filters are Honda OEM as per the manual, lesson I learned with Honda cars)... I will also check for the spark, to see if this may be the reason of one cylinder misfiring...

So, that's how I spend my last weekend!
congrats on the tank, I find that adding something abrasive like you did is defiantly necessary in cleaning a nasty rusty tank. I cleaned mine with vinegar/baking soda (soaked in vinegar for a week, then adding baking soda to the tank to agitate it all and wash it all out with the hose for about a half hour then lacquer thinner rinse and compressed air dry). As for the petcock, I learned this the hard way. all those petcocks that say they fit that dont look exactly like yours, probably dont fit. I ordered one of those and was lucky enough to receive my money back, but I then had to find and order a used one that was in good condition. If yours does work make sure you plug the vacuum outlet on the left side of the engine that went to the old petcock if the new one doesn't have it. If you see something on ebay thats priced pretty high, message the seller. Ive probably received over $150 in discounts from ebay sellers on parts for my 450 by simply messaging the seller stating its an old part asking why is it so expensive then counter offer reasonably. just a tip from a shrewd negotiator :wink2: And for the carbs, it really isnt that difficult and IMO worth the charge and wait of sending it away. you can pick up a can of chemdip from your local autoparts store for like $30 and do em yourself. you literally need one specialty tool (which you would already need even if you sent them away) which is pilot screw driver to tune the AFM. You also gain a specialty tool... knowledge. As for your single cylinder misfire, the 450 has dual carbs so one could be dirtier than the other causing lack of fuel to that cylinder so other than testing the spark I wouldnt spend your time doing anything until those carbs are certainly clean. If you choose to rebuild yourself I'd order 2 rebel 250 kits off ebay and only use the bowl gasket, float bowl valve, pilot screw seat, and bowl screw o ring as the rest of the parts were visibly different. I can confirm this one works on my 250
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Carb-Carburetor-Repair-Rebuild-Kit-For-Honda-Rebel-250-CMX250-C-1986-12-USA-SHIP/312735798188?ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649
and as the carb kits are cross-compatible between the 250 and 450 I dont see why 2 of these wouldnt work so long as you disregard the other parts. good luck! hope this helps :grin2:
 

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OEM cmx450 Rebel carb gasket kits "16010-MM2-671" are still available..
Search around for the best price..
they should include the extra o-rings that are used on fuel joint tube that the 250 doesn't have according to the parts fiche
 

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If someone measures the 450's O-rings, we can tag the thread so others can find it.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
If someone measures the 450's O-rings, we can tag the thread so others can find it.
Well, I surely can try to, once I will get to this, possibly in a week or two. have several things going on, so it's not every weekend that I work on a rebel.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Thank you guys for being an awesome resorce. I have been able to get my 450 running finally!

I have gone through the "toilet bowl cleaner" approach with the tank. It's been terribly bad, so I had to throw some nuts and screws in the mix, which finally did the trick (thank God for whoever invented the magnetic pickup tool)!

New oil, new air and oil filters, I cleaned my carburetors (dang, I forgot to measure the o-rings, but I may be taking them off again, so I will!). Best write-up on this in my opinion is this thread: 450 Carburetor Pictorial

Just got an inline filter in the mail, will add that soon to the fuel setup.

New battery, new petcock off Amazon (not a vacuum actuated one, but at least a matching thread to mate to the tank). I am not quitre sure, but whenever I shut the bike off, I get some dribbiage on the left side of the bike. Haven't had time to dive into this, I suspect this may be simply due to the gravity-fed petcock filling the bowl and then it simply starting to drain out through the hose which may be old and leaky. Leaking stops as I close the petcock. If the above scenario is not confirmed, then I am taking the carbs back off, and will measure the o-rings I promise.

One more thing before I can ride it, need to take care of the front brakes, they seem to be stuck. Not sure if simple bleeding will help or if I will have to rebuild it completely. Also, is there any sort of gasket that needs to be changed when opening the brake fluid reservoir? If so, can it be bought somewhere? I am in search of a part number for this, would appreciate if anyone knows.
 

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Thanks for the carb pictorial link. It's now stickied in the 450 section.

You'll need to develop the habit of shutting off the gravity feed petcock since it is no longer vacuum operated.

The master cylinder diaphragm serves as the cover gasket.
 

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450 petcock connects to the L cylinder for vacuum. With gravity feed petcocks, you need to plug that port, otherwise the system is open (below the tank) and it will drip if you do not shut off the petcock. I epoxied a screw into a 1" piece of the tubing to cap it.

If the front brakes are stuck, you will likely need to rebuild them. Not hard at all. If they sat for so long, you likely have dry rubber seals and maybe even some e corrosion around the pistons. Rebuild kits and NEW pistons are readily available and complete working replacements as well.

No gasket around the MC reservoir. There is a plastic cover that secures a rubber diaphragm which is also a 'gasket'.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Alright, so I rebuilt the brakes (just took the rubber parts out and scraped all the gunk out, the rubber rings were in perfect shape, still flexible and nice. I took it for a spin around the block and carburetors definitely need more love. So, I ordered the rebuild kit off eBay and it finally arrived.

I will take a second try with the carbs, and while I am there, I will also put inline fuel filter in, with new fuel line.

I also bought a crash bar from eBay, and need to look into installing it.

Bought the helmet, bought the gloves, getting closer to riding it.
 

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I suggest ordering some of those 90 degree fuel filters, I had a regular 1/4" filter on but it pinched the line in two spots resulting in fuel cutting out sometimes. Ive got my 450 totally apart right now and threw one on, perfect fit.
 
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