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MC How-To

Step by step: From general maintenance to complete restorations, we share tips and tricks for working on classic bikes.


Installing Rear Swingarm Bushings on a 1973 Honda CB500

 Here is a simple "How-To" project: installing fancy new rear swingarm bushings on a 1973 Honda CB500.

Sweet aftermarket bushings 

While stock bushings are readily available from BikeBandit.com, we opted for these sweet aftermarket bushings from Charlie O'Hanlon at Charlie's Place in San Francisco, Calif. Charlie had Kibblewhite Precision Machining Inc. make a batch of these a few years ago and still stocks them. Made of C630 nickel-aluminum bronze, they should be long wearing. And because they're shouldered, they're much easier to install than the stock bushings, which require careful installation. Cost is $60 a set, about the same as stock bushings.

Take the bushing and press it into the swingarm recess by hand to get started 

Take the bushing and press it into the swingarm recess by hand to get started. Unlike the stock bushings, you don't have to worry about setting these to a specific depth: Just press them in until the shoulder meets the outer edge of the swingarm.

Set a piece of wood underneath the swingarm 

Set a piece of wood underneath the swingarm. Take another piece and place it on top of the bushing. Use a hammer to pound the bushing into the swingarm. Flip the swingarm over and repeat the process with the other bushing.

Our swingarm shaft was tight in the bushings, so we used a small ¾-inch brake cylinder hone to open up the inside of the bushings just a bit 

Our swingarm shaft was tight in the bushings, so we used a small ¾-inch brake cylinder hone to open up the inside of the bushings just a bit. Work slowly and evenly, side to side.

 Use a piece of emery cloth to clean the swingarm bolt and to make sure it is smooth and free of any burs 

Use a piece of emery cloth to clean the swingarm bolt and to make sure it is smooth and free of any burs.

 Using a grease gun, fill the swingarm bolt with grease until it comes out the small hole shown here 

Using a grease gun, fill the swingarm bolt with grease until it comes out the small hole shown here. Repeat this at the other end.

Slide the shaft into the swingarm, through the bushings 

Using your finger, rub a good amount of grease around both ends of the shaft. Slide the shaft into the swingarm, through the bushings.

Add the swingarm end-cap washers, and insert the swingarm into the frame, being careful to correctly line up the holes for the swingarm bolt 

Add the swingarm end-cap washers, and insert the swingarm into the frame, being careful to correctly line up the holes for the swingarm bolt. Once the swingarm is lined up correctly, slide the swingarm bolt through the swingarm.

Pump grease into both sides of the shaft until you start to see grease coming out from under the edge of the swingarm cap washers 

Add the nut to the other side of the bolt and tighten it to 25ft/lb, making sure the swingarm doesn't bind. Pump grease into both sides of the shaft until you start to see grease coming out from under the edge of the swingarm cap washers. That's it!