Getting familiar with my 1985 VT500C - Honda Shadow Forums : Shadow Motorcycle Forum

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Old 10-23-2011, 11:22 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Getting familiar with my 1985 VT500C

Hello,

I have a laundry list of minor quirks about the 1985 VT500C that I recently purchased. I have ordered the 83-85 official shop manual (the newer printing from Helms) for the bike, but I still ask the more experienced forum members whether my thinking needs to be corrected and if the issues below are indicative of any larger problems. I will try to provide notional solutions where I can, so I am not just dumping problems in the forum's lap.


1. Shifter: Going from neutral to first with the clutch pulled all the way in, the bike jumps forward a slight bit. Additionally, the bike fails to shift from second down to neutral and first on rare occasions, and once it did not leave neutral until I fiddled up and down with the shifter for a bit. Possible solution - I should inspect the shifting rod/lever and see if everything is tight. If the problem is internal, perhaps it is related to the oil? Also, the Ka-chunk when I shift gears seems to be quite loud, but I have no point of reference on whether this is normal since this is my first bike.

2. Slow oil leak: I have a slow oil leak. I don't know how long this has been going on, but I've owned the bike less than a month. I am led to believe that it is coming from a large hex bolt on the bottom of the crankcase, but it may only appear that way since it is one of the lowest points on the crankcase. Possible solution: I should replace all the washers next time I change the oil. Does anyone know what all the crankcase bottom/oil leak related washers are? I am having a hard time identifying them from the low res drawings on the cycle part sites.

3. Coolant change: I should change the coolant. I would like to do this before my manual comes in, but I don't know where the radiator cap is. Is it that cap which I have to remove a small plastic panel on the right side of the bike in front of the gas tank to access?

4. Tricky to start sometimes: The motorcycle takes some cranking to start. It's still cranking healthy since I shoved a lithium battery into it, but sometimes it takes a good deal of cranking to get it to start turning over. Possible solution: I think I need to clean the carbs. Doing that once riding season is over.


Any help is appreciated on these issues. I am sure I will come up with more as I get to know this bike.
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Old 10-23-2011, 11:54 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by TheMaelstrom View Post
Hello,

I have a laundry list of minor quirks about the 1985 VT500C that I recently purchased. I have ordered the 83-85 official shop manual (the newer printing from Helms) for the bike, but I still ask the more experienced forum members whether my thinking needs to be corrected and if the issues below are indicative of any larger problems. I will try to provide notional solutions where I can, so I am not just dumping problems in the forum's lap.


1. Shifter: Going from neutral to first with the clutch pulled all the way in, the bike jumps forward a slight bit. Additionally, the bike fails to shift from second down to neutral and first on rare occasions, and once it did not leave neutral until I fiddled up and down with the shifter for a bit. Possible solution - I should inspect the shifting rod/lever and see if everything is tight. If the problem is internal, perhaps it is related to the oil? Also, the Ka-chunk when I shift gears seems to be quite loud, but I have no point of reference on whether this is normal since this is my first bike.

2. Slow oil leak: I have a slow oil leak. I don't know how long this has been going on, but I've owned the bike less than a month. I am led to believe that it is coming from a large hex bolt on the bottom of the crankcase, but it may only appear that way since it is one of the lowest points on the crankcase. Possible solution: I should replace all the washers next time I change the oil. Does anyone know what all the crankcase bottom/oil leak related washers are? I am having a hard time identifying them from the low res drawings on the cycle part sites.

3. Coolant change: I should change the coolant. I would like to do this before my manual comes in, but I don't know where the radiator cap is. Is it that cap which I have to remove a small plastic panel on the right side of the bike in front of the gas tank to access?

4. Tricky to start sometimes: The motorcycle takes some cranking to start. It's still cranking healthy since I shoved a lithium battery into it, but sometimes it takes a good deal of cranking to get it to start turning over. Possible solution: I think I need to clean the carbs. Doing that once riding season is over.


Any help is appreciated on these issues. I am sure I will come up with more as I get to know this bike.
Coolant, the radiator cap should be under that right front cover, follow the procedure in the manual to remove the air, I do recommend honda coolant, hp from the bike dealer, or type 2 from a honda car dealer, any non-silicate etholene glyco base coolant will do though.

There is an aluminum crush washer on the drain plug for the oil, You should replace that when you do the oil.
is the oil coming from up higher than that or is it being blown up?

sounds like the clutch is dragging. is it a hydrolic clutch?, it may need to be bled, or the clutch master and slave rebuilt/resealed. if its a cable hows the free play excessive? make sure your linkage is in good condition, lubed and nothing loose.
even I occasionally have trouble with it getting stuck in a gear and have to release the clutch to realign the gears, usually when I come to a stop without down shifting through all the gears, then try to down shift and DAMB!
incorrect oil viscosity I suppose can also cause some hard shifting or clutch drag.

are you using the choke to start it, does the choke have little or no affect, do you give it throttle, could be to little or to much fuel.
have you tried it with choke on and choke off?
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Last edited by Scrapdog2grand; 10-24-2011 at 12:00 AM.
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Old 10-24-2011, 07:46 AM   #3 (permalink)
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-I'm using the prestone extended life "mix with any color". Looks like it meets what you said from the stuff on the back of the bottle.

- I'll be sure to get that washer, but are there any others on the crankcase? There's at least two large bolts (one could use a normal wrench to move, the other needs an alan wrench). I took a video of the bottom of the crankcase after a ride. I will try and get that posted tonight.

- Cable clutch. I don't have a point of reference to judge what excessive free play is. By linkage do you just mean the clutch cable or also the shifter pedal as well? I will look into lubricating both. On thinking of it more, I think my shifting situation is the same as yours - if I absent mindedly don't get through all the gears before stopping then it doesn't like to shift. My greater concern rather than viscosity is that the oil may be low due to the slow leak.

- Actually, I haven't been using the choke much at all. It doesn't give too much trouble starting from cold. The issue comes in when I let the bike sit for a short amount of time (like when filling gas) then try to get it going again. If I let it sit for longer, or actually if I start walking it along with the clutch pulled in (probably unrelated or luck) then it starts up.
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Old 10-24-2011, 07:57 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Lithium battery???? Make/model of that battery please.

Sent from my DROID X2 using Motorcycle App
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Old 10-24-2011, 08:08 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Fresh bike to you so...

remove the seats and the tank.

Buy new master and slave repair kits for the clutch and front brake.

Strip the clutch master and slave cylinders clean and fit the new kits..the clutch line is solid and may have a pinhole leak, look for a damp patch all the way along it, if you find one order a braided hose and fittings to replace it, fit a new bleed nipple and new bolts. bleed the clutch using DOT4 fluid, if you find it is still soft crack open the top banjo nut and bleed from there.

Ok that's the clutch, now the brakes.

Strip the front brake the way you did the clutch and replace the brake pads if they are worn, the brake hose is probably ok so replacing it is up to you.

Remove the back wheel and check the brake shoes they are probably worn down to the metal, clean the inside of the drum and fit new shoes and springs, champher all the edges of the new shoes with a file so that they won't bind. Clean the old grease of the splines and pack with new grease, refit the wheel and adjust the brakes so that they turn but are a bit tight, repeat after the first few uses..

Drain the shaft drive oil and replace it.

Drain and replace the coolant, using the correct type.

Replace the air filter.

Look carefully for the oil leak, if it is just a bolt, place a large drip tray under the bolt and remove it, note if it is loose, remove the oil filler cap, if the bolt is the drain plug the oil will pour out and you will have to replace the washer, remove and replace the oil filter, then replace the oil..I would use mineral oil, 10/40..but there are several schools of thought that say different..take other advice on that before you decide..

Fit a new fuel filter and new sparkplugs

Top the tank up with fresh fuel, pull the choke forward switch on the petcock and start the engine, once it is running, feel both the exhaust pipes to make sure they are both hot, if one remains cold you are only firing on one pot.

push in the choke and take it for a short ride.

readjust the back brake.

If everything seems safe, take it for a fast ride of about five miles, use both brakes.

readjust the back brake.

Now if it feels good take it for a long run to burn up the old fuel and clean the cobwebs out of the carbs.

The bike will love you for it and you won't have spent a fortune.

John.
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Old 10-24-2011, 04:07 PM   #6 (permalink)
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...Actually, I haven't been using the choke much at all. It doesn't give too much trouble starting from cold. The issue comes in when I let the bike sit for a short amount of time (like when filling gas) then try to get it going again. If I let it sit for longer, or actually if I start walking it along with the clutch pulled in (probably unrelated or luck) then it starts up.
If your bike starts when cold but has trouble restarting when a little hot, this is a known issue with VT500s. Your two CDI units/ignitors might need replacement. They are right over the engine, get hot and over the years, break down.
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Old 10-24-2011, 06:06 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheMaelstrom View Post
-I'm using the prestone extended life "mix with any color". Looks like it meets what you said from the stuff on the back of the bottle.

- I'll be sure to get that washer, but are there any others on the crankcase? There's at least two large bolts (one could use a normal wrench to move, the other needs an alan wrench). I took a video of the bottom of the crankcase after a ride. I will try and get that posted tonight.

- Cable clutch. I don't have a point of reference to judge what excessive free play is. By linkage do you just mean the clutch cable or also the shifter pedal as well? I will look into lubricating both. On thinking of it more, I think my shifting situation is the same as yours - if I absent mindedly don't get through all the gears before stopping then it doesn't like to shift. My greater concern rather than viscosity is that the oil may be low due to the slow leak.

- Actually, I haven't been using the choke much at all. It doesn't give too much trouble starting from cold. The issue comes in when I let the bike sit for a short amount of time (like when filling gas) then try to get it going again. If I let it sit for longer, or actually if I start walking it along with the clutch pulled in (probably unrelated or luck) then it starts up.
By linkage I am referring to the shift lever. and where the cable (if you have a cable) meets the lever and goes into the gear box.
If you have a cable, the freeplay should be around 1/4 to 1/2 inch of freeplay at the end of the lever, I dont have the exact spec for your ride.

the drain plug should be a 17mm bolt. not sure about the allen, that may need to be resealed, I'd clean it off and run it, see where its coming from.

please check the oil.
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Old 10-24-2011, 06:20 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Totally copying John Hopkins' post for later use. However, I don't think that I have master and slave cylinders for my clutch - it's a cable clutch. The rest will be very useful I think once I get the Helms manual in.

It's getting fairly cold in D.C. (where I live), so I will do that set of maintenance and clean the carbs out once it gets too frigid to ride for recreation. I am trying to push the end of riding season so I can get more miles under my belt before I have to take a break. I'll look into the CDI/ignitor thing too. Thanks for the help to both of you.

To JChargu - It's a Ballistic Performance 8 Cell EVO 2 battery, which cost about $170. Since your bike is a 750, you may need the 12 cell. The 8 cell for me had better life, better longevity, and higher CCA even than the previous owner's battery. The issue is that it's so much smaller you may have to use foam to pad out the battery compartment. You will also probably need extension wires. Here's a link for the line: Motovation Ballistic Performance Components Lithium Battery


To Scrapdog - This is a short video of the underside of the crankcase after a ride. I do not think the leak is coming from the drain bolt, if my assumption that the drain bolt is the one on the side of the case is true. Based on watching the video, I think now that the leak is coming from the filter or from some place on the back right of the bike, higher up on the crankcase.
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Old 10-24-2011, 08:44 PM   #9 (permalink)
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That oil I believe is coming from the allen bolt and blowing back,
I believe its a drain plug as well, it has a 20mm crush washer.
but does that have jb weld or something like that around it?
thats what it looks like in the video, I may be wrong.
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Old 10-24-2011, 09:06 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Manual is in the general stick section. Scorpion makes a nice battery for the bike. Very picky on the choke for starting. Coolent is easy, directions in the sticky manual. Drain bolt should have a the crush washer left hand side. Torq values in manual. If the 85 is liek the 84 with a wet clutch don't use anything with amisol cause it will slip. PM me for an 84 owners manual if you like.


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