Reviving a Barn Find or Project Bike

With a little spare time on his hands, Keith Fellenstein brings back a Honda CL450.


Since we’ve all found ourselves with more time to spend in the garage, maybe you’ve found time to revive that “someday” project bike. In this How To, we’ll show you some of the things you need to do to revive a bike that’s been sitting for a while. The bike in question is my Honda CL450. We’re continuing to work through some issues resulting from its long slumber. You’ll need appropriate wrenches, solvents and oil, and it never hurts to have a shop manual to reference. Any parts needed can be sourced from a variety of our advertisers. Let’s get started with the battery. Unless you’ve periodically charged it, it’s going to be bad. Find out what type, size and voltage before you get started. You’ll need good voltage to test out the electrical system. My preference is sealed batteries, no chance of acid ruining hard to find chrome parts. — Keith Fellenstein


1. Find out what spark plugs you need and buy new ones. Buy extras too, the non-resistor plugs for these old bikes are getting hard to find. Get a small packet of anti-seize too. Looking at the old plugs can give you a clue to hidden engine or carburetion issues. Check to see that the plug caps are securely fitted to the wires, as loose ones will misfire at all the wrong times.


2. Fuel? Probably bad. If you added gas stabilizer before storing it might be OK, but even with that you’re better off with fresh gas. Disposing of the old gas is a problem, but often you can use that gas in lawn mowers if you mix it with fresh gas. If it’s not at all usable, check with your city or county to see if they have a hazardous waste recycling program.

3/28/2021 2:29:38 PM

michaelm, I wouldn't use the Permatex on the chrome that you can see, as it does blacken whatever corrosion it finds. Luckily there wasn't any rust on the show side of the mufflers.

1/9/2021 8:13:51 AM

Thanks for the tips on a place to start. I'd appreciate some clarification on two points for the use of Permatex for the exhaust rust (I have a '72 CL175). From what I've read, the spray leaves the surface black, I'm unsure if that's what your photo above is showing. Would you be using it on the front side as well, where it shows under the shield? Also, is the heat from the muffler within the range of the products use (200* F)? Thank you.

1/8/2021 11:43:51 PM

good start. My 1st '4 hire' was a frozen piston so not sure where you'll go w/this. Imagine its a completed article (no? 3/4 finished?) so my comments wont evolve this much but that's where I C the new (not all ways "young") ones do the most damage... Let's see where this goes. Expectin nother great "how to"...

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