CDI Units for Honda 1982 Sabre

| 8/5/2013 6:40:40 PM

Tags: September/October 2013, Keith Fellenstein, Honda, tech corner,

Motorcycle Classics tech expert Keith Fellenstein

Editor’s note: If you’re having trouble with that old Suzuki, BSA or BMW, Keith Fellenstein is your guy. From motorcycle tuning tips to detailed motorcycle engine repair, he can draw from a wealth of experience to help guide you to success. Send questions to: Keith’s Garage, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609, or send an e-mail with “Keith’s Garage” as the subject.

Honda CDI troubles

Q: I’m having a problem with the CDI units on my 1982 Honda Sabre. I have a dead one and can’t seem to find a replacement CDI unit anywhere. I believe the correct part is a Hitachi TID 12-04 MBO 202. Are a matched pair of MBO 202 units necessary, or do other sets work? I took a pair of spare units off a 1983 Honda Magna parts bike I have. This bike uses the same engine and the same coils. I am getting spark on all four cylinders, but the timing seems to be wrong. — Mark Norris/via email

A: I wish I could be more helpful here, but once the manufacturers went from old fashioned but totally repairable points/coil ignitions to CDI and transistorized electronic ignitions, parts became a problem. It was easy enough to get parts back when the models were just a few years out from production, but now that these bikes are in vintage territory electronic parts are nearly impossible to find. The manufacturers no longer make or stock these parts, and there isn’t enough demand for aftermarket suppliers to remanufacture them. You’re left trying to find a bike in a junkyard with the parts you need, and hope that those parts haven’t failed in the same way as the ones you already have. With that in mind, you can try the Bike Boneyard. While I was researching this question I found that they have a Sabre parts bike listed, and they list the parts you need to replace your ignition system. MC

9/13/2013 9:15:47 PM

I had forgotten about Ignitech and their variety of ignitions for just about everything.

9/13/2013 5:47:14 AM

Try these guys; Worked on mine.

9/12/2013 8:20:58 AM

The CDI has a built in timing advance based on RPM. From my experience trying to mix different CDI modules, this is usually the problem. I've managed to replace the CDI module and coil on 2 bikes with electronic ignitions and new coils but the problem there is the energy for the electronic ignitions comes from the battery/charging system and with lighting a lot of bikes don't have enough power. I've come across a couple aftermarket CDI modules with adjustable timing advance and they look like they should work better but I haven't tried them yet. I've seen several articles showing guys how to do use replacement modules on 2 strokes and scooters. Greg

keith fellenstein
8/22/2013 12:44:06 AM

Thanks Dave, I'm glad there's a resource to replace those old CDI ignitions.

dave etler
8/22/2013 12:15:39 AM

Check in with the folks at They make a terrific modern ignition for old bikes, which they program for your model, and they say they can set it up for most bikes. Those of us who drive cx500s swear by them.

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