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Project 1970 Honda CB350 — Part VI

The engine is painted and back in the frame and parts are finally going back on our 1970 Honda CB350.

| July/August 2016

  • With the engine back in the frame our CB350’s starting to look like an actual motorcycle again.
    Photo by Richard Backus
  • Back home: The worst part of installing the engine was making sure we didn’t mar its fresh paint or the fresh paint on the frame. Thanks to lots of painter’s tape protecting the frame, we got it back in without damage.
    Photo by Richard Backus
  • Back home: The worst part of installing the engine was making sure we didn’t mar its fresh paint or the fresh paint on the frame. Thanks to lots of painter’s tape protecting the frame, we got it back in without damage.
    Photo by Richard Backus
  • A new cover and new foam transformed our seat.
    Photo by Richard Backus
  • Getting the engine in was fiddly, as Q&A man Keith Fellenstein and editor Backus discovered.
    Photo by Richard Backus

The is the sixth in a series on our 1970 Honda CB350 build project. Read Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV and Part V for earlier stages of the project, and Part VII and Part VIII for the later installments. You can also watch video of our Honda running for the first time.

Tear-down always feels like progress; one minute you have a complete motorcycle and the next, pieces. You haven’t actually gotten much done, but it sure feels like it, especially compared to the long stretch between tear down and build up, where it seems to take forever for anything to happen.

Our project 1970 Honda CB350 has been trapped in that middle ground for months, with lots of big pieces waiting to be cleaned, fixed or replaced before any major forward motion could take place. Yet suddenly, it seems like we’ve turned a major corner as things start coming together and we tick off one job after another.

Chief among those was cleaning and painting our CB’s engine before installing it back in our freshly powder-coated frame. Cleaning went stupid slow, maybe because we tried too hard to avoid caustic cleaners. In the end, spray degreaser and a trip to the car wash yielded huge results, with the engine finally clean enough to paint. That next step went smoothly, laying down several coats of Dupli-Color high-temp ceramic primer and paint. We’d planned on using VHT high-temp wheel paint, but abandoned it when we couldn’t spray a coat without it sagging or lifting. We know people who swear by VHT, so maybe we had a bad can? Whatever the case, Dupli-Color’s Cast Aluminum Coat looks amazingly close to the original Honda color and went on beautifully.

We also installed our new front forks from Forking by Frank, which, predictably, are perfect. The sad news, however, is that we got the last set Frank’s will ever make. According to Bill Judge at Frank’s, the CB350’s fork tubes, with a separately machined and welded top plug to fit the upper steering yoke, just takes too much time to make to be profitable, so they’ve phased them out.

Another satisfying conclusion was finishing up the seat, which ultimately absorbed a huge amount of time thanks to the rusted original pan and our difficulty finding a replacement. Proving good things come to those who wait, we located a pan, cleaned and painted it, and finally installed our new seat foam and cover from Sirius Consolidated.

7/25/2016 12:45:36 PM

Hey Toby. Keith's right, it was Cast Aluminum, not Cast Iron. Apologies for the incorrect reference, I'll get it fixed. Richard

7/24/2016 3:58:08 PM

Toby, that may be a mistake, I think we used Duplicolor Cast Aluminum color, not Cast Iron.

7/23/2016 6:52:16 PM

Hi , I've been following along with your CB 350 restoration project , since I am currently doing about the same with a 1975 Honda CB 550. Great articles ! One question; I want to match your paint color used for the engine (Dupli-Color’s Cast Iron Coat). I bought a can of this online , but it looks a LOT darker than your result. Is it possible that you used a different color by Duplicoat ? Any information is greatly appreciated ! Again , GREAT article !

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