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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-05-2007, 12:15 PM Thread Starter
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New Member, New Rider, New (to me) Bike

Hello everyone, Finally after years of doing nothing or being told no, I was given the go ahead to get a bike. I will be going through the MSF traing course soon and hope to be roadworthy within the next few weeks

I just purchased an 86 Shadow VT700C, this bike is in excellent condition, and just around 30k miles. Is there anything about this bike I should know? common problems, issues, etc. I'll freely admit I know next to nothing but I want to learn (thats what it's all about right?) and i didnt want to drop tons of cash on something that im sure ill have my fair share of newbie mistakes with. Also, does anyone have technical specs on this bike, I looked it up and seems that there is very little published on the 86 but lots on the 85. I'd like to know everything there is to know about this bike as im sure it will consume my life.

Thanks for any help, tips or suggestions
rmurad38


1986 VT700C
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-05-2007, 01:24 PM
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welcome aboard! You made a great choice with the vt700, it should serve you well with few if any issue for many years. Assuming the bike has been maintained half-way decently, you really don't have anything to worry about. They're not really prone to any specific problems and are very reliable. Occasionally someone has trouble with a melted plug which has to be bypassed or replaced (I've never had any electrical problems) or thinks it's running too hot (often the needle will rest just at red if you sit in traffic - don't worry its likely fine).

I have a '88 vt800, which is (in stock form) cosmetically virtually the same as your vt700 - but unfortunately I don't have the specs on the 700. I'm sure one of the other happy 700 owners will chime in. In the meantime, why not go on ebay and get a shop manual for the bike - it'll tell you everything you want to know and will be invaluable for maintenance.

If you do have a problem, there are several guys with vt700's on the board who have a tremendous amount of technical knowledge to help you out.



1977 XS650 _________________ 1988 VT800
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-05-2007, 01:40 PM
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First of all, welcome to the group.

Second, congrats on getting your ticket and the thrill of riding a vintage motorcycle. You've chosen a great one! Many members on this board (me included) have the 1986/1987/ 1988 VT800 models, which are pretty much all the same bike, even the 800. (Just bored out a bit bigger!) The advice you'll get from these folks is excellent, and I'm certain it will keep you and your bike on the road for thousands of miles to come.

Like always, no one here has actually seen your bike, so the help you get from us is only as good as the accuracy of your descriptions. Pass any advice given through a sanity check before getting out your wrenches.

That being said, I think you'll find this bike to be amongst the most durable and rugged that Honda has ever made. You will want to do some routine maintenance ion it before you put too many miles on. I'm sure the person you got it from said that they changed the oil, changed the coolant, replaced the muffler bearings (kidding on that one!) and a million other things to make the sale. They probably are not lying, either. But I like to change the oil, change the filter, change the coolant, lube the cables, change the final drive oil, change the brake and clutch fluid, inspect the brakes and top off the battery. Not only does this assure that it has been done, and done to your satisfaction, but it also does well to familiarize yourself with this particular machine. The familiarity will come in very handy should any troubles arise.

If you don't already have the service manual for this bike, lay out the $50 and get one of eBay. The service manual for the 1986/1987 VT700C comes up frequently, and the 1987 manual is equally suited to your machine as the 1986. Don't hesitate to get one. It's worth every penny. if you have extra cash lying around (yeah, right!) get the Clymer manual for it as well. This gives you two manuals to cross-reference between, since there can be mistakes in either.

You get you started:
Engine oil: 10W-40 of your choice. NOT energy conserving. Some swear by synthetics, but on an old bike that you are unfamiliar with, best to stick with conventional oil until you feel like dealing with any leaks that may show up due to a synthetic changeover. Use a Honda filter for the first one. it's about $10, and then you can change over to a filter of your choice. See the "oilology" thread at the top of this forum. Right around 3 quarts is what it holds. Put in 2.5, and check the oil, then add until it's full.

When checking your oil: it should be on level ground, on the center-stand. Remove the dipstick, wipe it off, and put it back in without threading it in. Then remove it and take your reading.

Coolant: Be sure to use a silicate and phosphate-free coolant. Prestone Extended 5/100k is what I'm running. Silicates and things will eat your water pump for breakfast.

Clutch and brake fluid: DOT 3 or DOT 4. Either is fine. Be sure to bleed the banjo bolts well, they hold more air than they let on!

Cable lube: use any quality cable lube or ATF (automatic transmission fluid). Do NOT use WD-40 to lube anything on a motorcycle! WD-40 is a solvent, not a lubricant. (The WD stands for "Water Displacer")

Many folks here have both the Honda manuals and the Clymer books. if you need a description, a procedure or a schematic of something, post a request. You'll get a PDF from someone in a day or two, pretty well guaranteed!

If you want to get out and enjoy the ride right away, change the oil and the coolant, and do everything else next week.

Enjoy the bike!
--Justin

Currently Running Stable:
2010 Honda NT700V
1986 Shadow 700
1986 Honda Trail 110 (Postie Bike)
1987 Honda Rebel 450
1973 Honda Mini Trail 50
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-05-2007, 03:42 PM
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I agree with Justin 100% (btw, he's one of the guys I was talking about) start by doing all the basic maintenance items he listed. You'll be amazed at how comfortable you'll be with the bike mechanically after you get it all done (and none of it is very difficult). I just wanted to add a few things:

(1) I'd stick with DOT 4 brake fluid - you can go from 3 to 4, but I understand you can't go from 4 to 3 - so if you have 4 in there now and start using 3, you'll end up in trouble. Stay safe with Dot 4.

(2) I'm a big fan of using a Mity Vac to bleed my brake and clutch. I think it saves a lot of headaches and it's a pretty cheap investment.

(3) for engine oil, I personally use Mobil Delvac 15w 40 (its a crude based oil for diesel engines) and the honda filter (mostly because it's black). There's a million oils you can use, I only offer that this has worked well for me.

(4) unlike the newer shadows, ours have the final drive oil checked and changed on the center stand.

(5) if you get ambitious, change the fork oil too.

Oh, a piece of trivia - Justin mentioned that the vt700 and 800's are virtually identical - he's right. In fact, the vt800 engine is actually not even bored out as much as you might think. the vt700 is actually a 750cc engine sleeved down to 700cc's, so the 800 is only bored out for an extra 50cc boost. Otherwise, the 4 speed tranny, wire wheels and a few other cosmetic differences are all that seperate the 2 models.


1977 XS650 _________________ 1988 VT800
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-06-2007, 01:37 AM
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Welcome to the forum and congrats on the new ride.

http://s33.photobucket.com/user/eldo....jpg.html?o=11
"John" 2002 Sabre
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-06-2007, 09:49 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you everyone! I appreciate the suggestions! I will be taking delivery of the bike today or tomorrow and plan on going over it with a fine tooth comb, anything that can be cleaned, polished, or reconditioned will be as I dont yet have my license to drive it lol!! I'm sure i'll be posting frequently asking about everything as I start really seeing what I've purchased!

thanks again

rmurad38

1986 VT700C
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-06-2007, 12:11 PM
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86 700 is a great bike! I got mine with about 33K on it and it rolls up and down the highway every day with no problems.

Do the maintanence and it should last you a while.

--BB



'74 Ironhead Sportster
'86 VT700 Shadow
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-06-2007, 01:43 PM
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Hope your adventure in picking up your bike today, or hopefully at least by tomorrow, went well.

Lang is right about the fork oil. I totally forgot about that one! He's also right about the VT700 being sleeved down from the original 750. If you want a bit of fun doing a treasure hunt on Google, look for the reason why the Shadow was a 750 in 1983, a 700 in 1984-87 and then up to 800 in 1988. I'll give you a hint: "Think Harley!"

There's one more very important thing that I forgot to add to the list: Remove the dashboard light panel (two screws on the sides of it, and it pops right out) and make sure all of the bulbs in there work! When I picked mine up two of them were burned out. The tail light indicator bulb was burned, which is no big deal at all, but the fuel warning light was burned out also! This model does not have a fuel reserve. When the fuel runs low, it lights the lamp on the dash to tell you to fill up. I was riding my bike home from Maine (5 hour ride) on the day I got it and I thought that I was getting amazing gas mileage until it died on me because the fuel light was burned out! Luckily, my brother was following me in his car, and we brought a gas can for just such a possibility. But check all the lights!

Also, when you get it, turn the ignition on, and see which lamps light. Several of them light for a few seconds and then go out when you first turn on the ignition, just so you can check the bulbs. Familiarize yourself which which lamps light, and get in the habit of looking at them every time. It will save you grief in the future!

Also, if you have a paved driveway, do your work there. I don't, so I do all of my work on the front lawn, and I can't tell you how many hours I've wasted looking for small bolts and nuts and things that have fallen into the grass. One of these days, I'm going to get a sheet of cheap plywood, and roll the bike onto that when I'm working, but I haven't done that yet.

Cheers!
--Justin

Currently Running Stable:
2010 Honda NT700V
1986 Shadow 700
1986 Honda Trail 110 (Postie Bike)
1987 Honda Rebel 450
1973 Honda Mini Trail 50
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-06-2007, 03:24 PM
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Do not overlook the tires but look over the tires and be sure they are free from sidewall dry rot cracks and the tread is good on them. Welcome and have fun!

Three things that are not long hidden; the sun, the moon and the truth.

2005 Aero


1972 Honda XL250 Motorsport
2006 Rebel - daughter (Now gone)
1974 XL100
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-04-2010, 12:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lang
welcome aboard! You made a great choice with the vt700, it should serve you well with few if any issue for many years. Assuming the bike has been maintained half-way decently, you really don't have anything to worry about. They're not really prone to any specific problems and are very reliable. Occasionally someone has trouble with a melted plug which has to be bypassed or replaced (I've never had any electrical problems) or thinks it's running too hot (often the needle will rest just at red if you sit in traffic - don't worry its likely fine).

I have a '88 vt800, which is (in stock form) cosmetically virtually the same as your vt700 - but unfortunately I don't have the specs on the 700. I'm sure one of the other happy 700 owners will chime in. In the meantime, why not go on ebay and get a shop manual for the bike - it'll tell you everything you want to know and will be invaluable for maintenance.

If you do have a problem, there are several guys with vt700's on the board who have a tremendous amount of technical knowledge to help you out.
Lang- apparenlty I'm on of the "thinks it's running too hot" guys out there. I hadn't really had much of a chance to ride the shadow any great distance until the past cpl weeks.
The temp gauge tends to sit more toward 3/4 when I'm running at a decent clip (65-70mph), but as soon as I need to downshift (I hate traffic) or hit a red light, it does sit just below red. I checked the coolant level, it's full, no cracks or leaks that I can find and I just changed the oil yesterday.
Do y'all think I should get it checked "just in case" or that I shouldn't really worry about it?


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