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Discussion Starter #1
Well I'm finally getting to posting my story.
I inherited my late father's bike about 10 years ago but it needed a "little" work, which I never got around to. Partly because I have a garage full of other bikes, for the family, and my own XT225 and it was more enticing to ride them than to work on this one. Recently my wife and I decided that we wanted to try some longer rides than we could practically do with my little 225 so I hauled the old Shadow out of my mom's garage into my mine. By the now the bike hadn't been run in over 15 years.

292295


The bike was complete and I knew it was in mostly in running order but had been "hard" to start. I discovered that meant impossible which is why it sat all those years. In addition to the starter problems I expected all of the normal problems of bike having sat so long: old gas, plugged up carbs, damaged tires from sitting flat and all the normal tune up stuff. It also had a broken signal light strut and a few cosmetic issues. I discovered that the tires were not as bad as expected, having been uninflated and out of the sun, so I left them for now. I discovered that apparently the carbs had been drained before parking which was encouraging.
The first step with the starter was to diagnose the problem. I tested the solenoid and the starter directly with a good battery and realized that the starter itself would not turn. I then pulled left cover to check that the starter gear was not stuck. It wasn't. I had previously put a shot of oil in each cylinder and pushed the bike in gear to check that the engine wasn't seized. It wasn't. Next I removed, rebuilt & reinstalled the starter. It wound up having completely worn out brushes and full of about 2 teaspoons of graphite dust. That step required a partial disassembly of the exhaust and coolant systems and deserves it's own detailed post which I'll do shortly.
292298

Then I changed oil and coolant and tested the starter with jumper battery but no fuel tank connected. It cranked well. Solenoid was good. Then checked compression. Don't know what spec is but it tested 115 & 125 psi so seemed ok. Then I checked the spark. Yellow! I thought I would quickly check the coil. It tested 2.2 and 2.4 primary and 22M secondary. Should be 2.3 and 26K but after rechecking all the connections it was close to spec. Installed new plugs. I guessed at the gap 0.028? Now a nice blue spark. The fuel petcock was leaking, fuel and the vacuum diaphragm, and is not serviceable and not available oem so here I'm waiting for parts. This was a problem too because the one they send me was wrong so I had to order a second one. They were good about the refund though but it delayed me. Anyway I tested the engine by pouring gas into the line with a funnel. It started well with jumper battery but wouldn't run with the jump disconnected. I realized that the old battery was acting as short. It had tested 1.5 V, so it must have had a few dead cells but I was waiting to replace it until I was about to actually use the bike. I jerry rigged the old petcock and replaced the battery and got it running for a test drive around the yard. About this point I discovered the next challenge. The front brakes didn't work, or rather they didn't release. Upon inspecting the master cylinder I discovered the most awful gooey mess.
292299

This was all last summer. Here the master cylinder should have maybe been replaced, but again limited parts availability, but I did get a rebuild kit which worked well, but the process of bleeding it was very difficult. I'll make another detailed post about what I learnt here too. It got to be fall and I didn't get this process finished until recently. The bike now runs but just barely on full choke until it warms up and then only marginally better. So I guess I'm at the point of cleaning the carbs which I had hoped to avoid but really should be done. I'll try some Seafoam first though. I have a fair amount of experience with single cylinder dirt bikes but I did get a lot of help reading the posts on this forum. This will be my first experience with a dual carbs. Thanks.
 

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1999 Shadow 750 ACE VT750CD3 Modified
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It is a good looking example. The VT500's are the most perky of all the Shadows, your time is well spent, you will like it when it is done. (-:

The carbs are fairly easy, save yourself some bother and don't separate them them from each other.
You can find a Service Manual here which I believe is incomplete, but covers the carbs well.

Overall it is almost like two water cooled xt225 engines on a common crankcase and crankshaft, one pointing forward and one pointing back, luckily they both run in the same direction. (-;
So really nothing too scary. the carbs are CV type Keihins instead of Mikuni, but the theory of operation is pretty much the same.

One important thing, use Honda coolant in the bike, use the Type 2 Honda premix car stuff if the bike stuff is hard to find locally. The water pump seals are picky about no silicates and the pump is specific to the VT500, I don't know anybody rebuilding them, and needless to say they are very hard to find, so be nice to it.
 

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1986 VT1100c
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Your story reminds me of most of my restos, just keep on as you have been, flush all fluids, clean wire connectors, don't buy lots of parts you don't need but buy those you do. As you progress keep testing and analyzing and search on past threads on the systems that seem difficult,,, it won't be a quick and easy project, it's a vintage bike and getting things safe and reliable enough to hit the road has taken me a year or more on a neglected ride,,,, be patient, wrench with a manual and determination,, expect success and be rewarded by perseverance! Wrench n ride safe😊
 

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Well I'm finally getting to posting my story.
I inherited my late father's bike about 10 years ago but it needed a "little" work, which I never got around to. Partly because I have a garage full of other bikes, for the family, and my own XT225 and it was more enticing to ride them than to work on this one. Recently my wife and I decided that we wanted to try some longer rides than we could practically do with my little 225 so I hauled the old Shadow out of my mom's garage into my mine. By the now the bike hadn't been run in over 15 years.

View attachment 292295

The bike was complete and I knew it was in mostly in running order but had been "hard" to start. I discovered that meant impossible which is why it sat all those years. In addition to the starter problems I expected all of the normal problems of bike having sat so long: old gas, plugged up carbs, damaged tires from sitting flat and all the normal tune up stuff. It also had a broken signal light strut and a few cosmetic issues. I discovered that the tires were not as bad as expected, having been uninflated and out of the sun, so I left them for now. I discovered that apparently the carbs had been drained before parking which was encouraging.
The first step with the starter was to diagnose the problem. I tested the solenoid and the starter directly with a good battery and realized that the starter itself would not turn. I then pulled left cover to check that the starter gear was not stuck. It wasn't. I had previously put a shot of oil in each cylinder and pushed the bike in gear to check that the engine wasn't seized. It wasn't. Next I removed, rebuilt & reinstalled the starter. It wound up having completely worn out brushes and full of about 2 teaspoons of graphite dust. That step required a partial disassembly of the exhaust and coolant systems and deserves it's own detailed post which I'll do shortly.
View attachment 292298
Then I changed oil and coolant and tested the starter with jumper battery but no fuel tank connected. It cranked well. Solenoid was good. Then checked compression. Don't know what spec is but it tested 115 & 125 psi so seemed ok. Then I checked the spark. Yellow! I thought I would quickly check the coil. It tested 2.2 and 2.4 primary and 22M secondary. Should be 2.3 and 26K but after rechecking all the connections it was close to spec. Installed new plugs. I guessed at the gap 0.028? Now a nice blue spark. The fuel petcock was leaking, fuel and the vacuum diaphragm, and is not serviceable and not available oem so here I'm waiting for parts. This was a problem too because the one they send me was wrong so I had to order a second one. They were good about the refund though but it delayed me. Anyway I tested the engine by pouring gas into the line with a funnel. It started well with jumper battery but wouldn't run with the jump disconnected. I realized that the old battery was acting as short. It had tested 1.5 V, so it must have had a few dead cells but I was waiting to replace it until I was about to actually use the bike. I jerry rigged the old petcock and replaced the battery and got it running for a test drive around the yard. About this point I discovered the next challenge. The front brakes didn't work, or rather they didn't release. Upon inspecting the master cylinder I discovered the most awful gooey mess.
View attachment 292299
This was all last summer. Here the master cylinder should have maybe been replaced, but again limited parts availability, but I did get a rebuild kit which worked well, but the process of bleeding it was very difficult. I'll make another detailed post about what I learnt here too. It got to be fall and I didn't get this process finished until recently. The bike now runs but just barely on full choke until it warms up and then only marginally better. So I guess I'm at the point of cleaning the carbs which I had hoped to avoid but really should be done. I'll try some Seafoam first though. I have a fair amount of experience with single cylinder dirt bikes but I did get a lot of help reading the posts on this forum. This will be my first experience with a dual carbs. Thanks.
Nice! My Shadow Brake Master and Clutch also looked like that, then I bought some new kind because I want some chrome stuff for the new paint Job I'll be doing on it.. Then after I had over haul it, then I will use it well as it ages with it's new life after I rebuild it of coarse.
 

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Nice story. I did the same sort of thing this year with a $500 barn find 77 Goldwing. It is fun getting things working one item at a time like brakes, ignition or carbs. The excitement the first time you get the engine started etc.

I didn't think that I had the strength to put the bike on the center stand but after rebuilding all three wheel cylinders, the bike rolled easily and I found that I could put it on the center stand.

Keep us posted on how things are going.
 

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I didn't think that I had the strength to put the bike on the center stand but after rebuilding all three wheel cylinders, the bike rolled easily and I found that I could put it on the center stand.
A trick I learned from a somewhat "butch lesbian biker chick" is to place a bit of 4x2 in front of or behind the rear wheel, roll the bike up on that then put the stand down. My older Shadow doesn't have the proper 'lever' off the centre stand, so it's either a couple of really strong blokes to help lift or put it on the 4x2. Once there, it becomes quite easy to get it the rest of the way onto the stand - my grandmother could do it!
 

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Upon inspecting the master cylinder I discovered the most awful gooey mess.
I understand the desire to keep it stock, but there are a number of after-market master cylinders that should pretty much bolt straight on. Keep an eye on the banjo bolt size for the brake line, and you may need to change the spade terminals on the brake light switch, maybe change the starter wiring a little but basically a "bolt on".

Many years back my brother left his '85 500 with me. I tested it once when my very worn and very tired GN250 died and, well he'd spent a lot of time rebuilding the engine and it'd done little more than 'running in' Ks. It was the biggest and best thing I'd ridden, and my love with Shadows was born.

Sadly he'd not sell it to me, and he wasn't well off, so I spent some months and a fair bit of $$$$ doing it up for him. Turned up at his place with a small group of other riders, he didn't know I was riding there let alone what.

The look on his face when I gave him the keys was worth it :)

A short while later someone who knew how I liked Shadows offered me an 86 700 at a fairly high price, and was a bit surprised when I was there to take it for a test ride and came back 10 minutes later with his asking price in hand, didn't even quibble.

They are a great bike and will treat you well, especially if you treat them well. It looks to me from the picture that you're doing just that.
 

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Oh, one thing - please have a good look at the RH side of your frame around where the swingarm joins the rest. Some of these can have rust issues (though as yours was stored inside, it is probably fine!)
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292359
292360


After some repairs, a powder-coat could be a nice finish
292363
 

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One important thing, use Honda coolant in the bike, use the Type 2 Honda premix car stuff if the bike stuff is hard to find locally. The water pump seals are picky about no silicates and the pump is specific to the VT500, I don't know anybody rebuilding them, and needless to say they are very hard to find, so be nice to it.
I wonder if there's an electric water pump that can be used? Bypass the normal pump and fit in something aftermarket?
 

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1999 Shadow 750 ACE VT750CD3 Modified
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I wonder if there's an electric water pump that can be used? Bypass the normal pump and fit in something aftermarket?
I believe I read about that approach being taken and I think it was probably right here in this forum a few years ago.
It could be many years ago and on a different type of bike entirely, given my memory. (-;

Wowsers there are now repair kits for them: Honda 83-86 VT500C Shadow, 83-84 VT500FT Ascot, Water Pump Overhaul Kit Like OEM | eBay
Expensive enough to make the right antifreeze look like a good deal.
 

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I believe I read about that approach being taken and I think it was probably right here in this forum a few years ago.
It could be many years ago and on a different type of bike entirely, given my memory. (-;

Wowsers there are now repair kits for them: Honda 83-86 VT500C Shadow, 83-84 VT500FT Ascot, Water Pump Overhaul Kit Like OEM | eBay
Expensive enough to make the right antifreeze look like a good deal.
Ouch. At those prices I'd be ending my normal practice of "as close to stock as possible" and going with a "I'll tuck a cheaper option away somewhere and maybe try to make it look stock"!
 

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1983 VT500C
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A trick I learned from a somewhat "butch lesbian biker chick" is to place a bit of 4x2 in front of or behind the rear wheel, roll the bike up on that then put the stand down. My older Shadow doesn't have the proper 'lever' off the centre stand, so it's either a couple of really strong blokes to help lift or put it on the 4x2. Once there, it becomes quite easy to get it the rest of the way onto the stand - my grandmother could do it!
Seems like a lot of work to do that...why not just stand on it, haul back on the handlebars,
and it pretty much pops right into place? Well, after it's been properly greased...have
noticed that few people actually clean or lube the center stand on a regular basis.
New spring doesn't hurt either...only a few bucks.

Jack the bike up, remove the screws that hold it on, pull everything apart, lube the collars well,
tighten everything back up, replace the spring, and you're good for 10-20 years ;)
 

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Seems like a lot of work to do that...
It's actually quite easy especially if you have enough of a flat surface and/or the bike is under power. Lay the 4x2 on the ground (4" side down, or up) just in front of or behind the rear wheel, roll the bike onto the 4x2 (using front brake and clutch as needed for control), push the stand down and roll it back. On these Shadows and I believe on some Goldwings the tyre height is such that it's about 2" off the ground when the stand is down, so it really is a matter of rolling not lifting.

why not just stand on it, haul back on the handlebars, and it pretty much pops right into place?
Not all of us are young and fit y'know :). Me, I can get severe pain in my ankles which is bearable to walk on but lifting a bike with even that much effort? I also have problems with just about every other joint as well :) There are days I'm fine (most) and days I can't walk (almost today). Some days I might have no more than an ache in one finger, others every joint is hurting (again, today is one of them). Most days I could manage the bike with ease, some I need some assistance.

Not all bikes pop up easily either. My 700 doesn't have the lever (and I've never bothered to look for a new centre stand, use them so rarely), just a straight bit of pipe welded to the stand (before I got her). Makes it impossible for anyone bar the really strong to do. Back when I first got her I used to pick up and carry 50-120Kg loads of metal several times a day 6 days a week, yet I still could seldom get her up on her stand on my own till I was taught the 4x2 method.

have noticed that few people actually clean or lube the center stand on a regular basis.
New spring doesn't hurt either...only a few bucks.

Jack the bike up, remove the screws that hold it on, pull everything apart, lube the collars well,
tighten everything back up, replace the spring, and you're good for 10-20 years ;)
Reminds me of the final drive oil. Manual says every 12,000km but I've known bikes to be looked at at 100,000 or so (60,000mi) and the oil is fine.

I probably should do that stand soon. Seems to work fine so I guess it's right though. Just like my clutch oil seal the other day... :)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
It is a good looking example. The VT500's are the most perky of all the Shadows, your time is well spent, you will like it when it is done. (-:

The carbs are fairly easy, save yourself some bother and don't separate them them from each other.
You can find a Service Manual here which I believe is incomplete, but covers the carbs well.

Overall it is almost like two water cooled xt225 engines on a common crankcase and crankshaft, one pointing forward and one pointing back, luckily they both run in the same direction. (-;
So really nothing too scary. the carbs are CV type Keihins instead of Mikuni, but the theory of operation is pretty much the same.

One important thing, use Honda coolant in the bike, use the Type 2 Honda premix car stuff if the bike stuff is hard to find locally. The water pump seals are picky about no silicates and the pump is specific to the VT500, I don't know anybody rebuilding them, and needless to say they are very hard to find, so be nice to it.
Yes it will be a fun ride. I'm looking forward to it.
Regarding the coolant: Right now I have Prestone premix in it which claimes be silicate free and compatible with Aluminum. What is different about Honda coolant?
 

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1999 Shadow 750 ACE VT750CD3 Modified
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There is probably no functional difference and who knows maybe they even are the supplier for the Honda stuff.
For me the price is about the same.
One says it is just like butter, the other is butter. (-;
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Oh, one thing - please have a good look at the RH side of your frame around where the swingarm joins the rest. Some of these can have rust issues (though as yours was stored inside, it is probably fine!)
fter some repairs, a powder-coat could be a nice finish
Thanks,
I understand the desire to keep it stock, but there are a number of after-market master cylinders that should pretty much bolt straight on. Keep an eye on the banjo bolt size for the brake line, and you may need to change the spade terminals on the brake light switch, maybe change the starter wiring a little but basically a "bolt on".

Many years back my brother left his '85 500 with me. I tested it once when my very worn and very tired GN250 died and, well he'd spent a lot of time rebuilding the engine and it'd done little more than 'running in' Ks. It was the biggest and best thing I'd ridden, and my love with Shadows was born.

Sadly he'd not sell it to me, and he wasn't well off, so I spent some months and a fair bit of $$$$ doing it up for him. Turned up at his place with a small group of other riders, he didn't know I was riding there let alone what.

The look on his face when I gave him the keys was worth it :)

A short while later someone who knew how I liked Shadows offered me an 86 700 at a fairly high price, and was a bit surprised when I was there to take it for a test ride and came back 10 minutes later with his asking price in hand, didn't even quibble.

They are a great bike and will treat you well, especially if you treat them well. It looks to me from the picture that you're doing just that.
The master cylinder wasn't too bad once I got into it. The reservoir was a bit gummed up and pitted but the bore was good and the rebuild kit came with all the springs, seals & piston so with bit of elbow grease it cleaned up ok. The problem I had was the difficulty bleeding the line, even after bench bleeding the master cylinder. I'll post that story shortly. Oh and thanks for the tip about the frame. Mine is actually in very good condition with respect to rust. I know it was stored indoors the whole time my dad had it since the mid 90's and appears to have been stored indoors prior to that as well. I do have a little rust on one tail pipe though.
 

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eggabeewa I see your missing the radiator Cap Cover, It's a plastic piece that covers the radiator cap from coming off.
I love my 85 VT500c Shaft drive with less then 13,000 Original miles. Already planning a trip from Northern California to Florida to visit my parents and then a trip to North Carolina and then back home.
Yes I have over 10 yrs in the saddle. The furthest I've ridden was Florida to Texas on a motorcycle. Parts for these are coming up short and harder to find. I'll look on Ebay for anything newfor my old bike and if I see a part That I might need latter down the road O Yeah I'm buying it! I just paid 75.00 for a complete Jack shaft assembly from the Swing arm back to the rear hub Cluster. And it looks new.
I have a new Starter for it. just little things that will hard to find later on. Or too Expensive.
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Discussion Starter #18
Nightrider62,
Thanks. I realize what you mean about the cover. There is a plastic cover on the other side and I see a clip for one on the right. I guess it's been lost along the way. I understand your thoughts about parts too. I've realized that part sourcing may be an issue and with mine at 60000 km I'll just hope nothing major breaks.
 
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