Honda Shadow Forums banner
1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Earlier this year, my neighbor approached me while I was working in my garage. He said he always sees me working on motorcycles and wanted to know if I could get his and his wife's bikes running that haven't run in ~7 years. I told him "not really. I'm not a mechanic. I just like tinkering with bikes, and I can't make any promises." He said I should give it a shot anyway. He just wants them running, but I kind of get carried away. It's weird working on somebody else's motorcycle.

I don't know anything about cruisers. I'm familiar with smaller sportbikes, dirt bikes, and standards. But I figure they can't be that different.

His wife's bike was a 1985 Kawasaki EN450. I'd never heard of them before. Funny little parallel twin belt drive cruiser. So I checked compression (good), set valve clearances, changed oil/filter, changed coolant and treated for rust w/ evapo-rust and like 10 flushes, new spark plugs, new thermostat, petcock rebuild, carburetor soft parts rebuild, new fork seals, new air filter, new battery, caliper rebuild, carburetor sync, and some other odds and ends. I was pretty happy with the result given that it fired right up. I was expecting to hate riding it, but I actually had a fun time around the neighborhood. I could sort of see the appeal--even though I kept putting my feet in the wrong place!
Wheel Tire Fuel tank Plant Vehicle


Well now I've got this behemoth staring at me, and I'm just laughing at how huge it is.
Wheel Tire Land vehicle Fuel tank Vehicle


So the bike is, as far as I can tell, a Honda VT750C 1998 American Classic Edition. Looks like it's a dual Keihin carburetor V-Twin with a 520 chain. I was actually kind of startled when I saw the chain was a 520 pitch as I assumed this thing would have a 525 or 530 given its size. I'm surprised to see the published HP and Torque values being what they are, but I suppose raw power isn't the purpose of this machine. I realize in the cruiser world this is "smaller", but it's still kind of hilarious to me that people would buy something this size as a first bike. It's physically huge! But the low seat height is kind of awesome.

Anyway, this bike only has ~6,000 miles on it, so I doubt it even makes sense for me to spend the time pulling off the valve covers. I'm planning to pull the tank to drain the 7 year old fuel, replace the fuel filter, and rebuild the soft bits in the carburetors. Tank looks to be rust-free despite the old fuel. I've also ordered a new air filter and intake boots. The petcock I should probably just order a rebuild kit right away, but I didn't see signs that it was leaking. It was missing it's lever though--ordered an OEM replacement for $20.

Wheel Tire Vehicle Fuel tank Motor vehicle


As you can see, it's a little different than what I'm used to, hah. I think the biggest challenge I'm going to have is with the fuel pump. I didn't hear it prime when the key was turned on like I was expecting, but it sounds like it may only run when the engine is turning. I'll need to figure out how to jump it and test for flow. I tried starting the bike for ****s and grins, and while it turned over fine, I didn't hear any indication that combustion was imminent.

I've gone through some of the stickies on these boards and some of the threads just trying to find out what to look out for. Sounds like there are some infamous electrical connectors I want to check for indication of burning. For the most part though, it sounds like these are well-behaved machines. I've got a PDF of the FSM downloaded.

I'm looking forward to hopefully getting to take a ride around the neighborhood and figure out what all the fuss is about. It's quite an active community here compared to a lot of motorcycles I've worked on, so there must be something the Shadow does right. I'm just kind of laughing to myself though at the mass of the thing. I can't even work out how I'm supposed to lift the rear to clean the chain and adjust the slack, lol. But maybe I'll see the light if I can get it fired.

Tire Wheel Vehicle Fuel tank Automotive lighting


So that's why there is a Shadow in my life for a while now. Cheers.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,925 Posts
Can't tell exactly what size sport bike you have there but if it's a 600 or better you'll be sorely disappointed in the Shadow. Feel free to post in the technical section if you find yourself with questions. There's some pretty sharp cats hanging out in there at times.
With only 6k on the odometer a good cleanup of the fuel system is probably all you need. Good luck and keep us appraised on your progress.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Can't tell exactly what size sport bike you have there but if it's a 600 or better you'll be sorely disappointed in the Shadow. Feel free to post in the technical section if you find yourself with questions. There's some pretty sharp cats hanging out in there at times.
With only 6k on the odometer a good cleanup of the fuel system is probably all you need. Good luck and keep us appraised on your progress.
Oh no no, that's just a sheep in wolf's clothing. It's a 20 year old SV650 with some crashed GSXR fairings I fit to it this winter. I'm not much of a speed demon--not on the street. I picked up track riding a few years ago after I had a scare on a motocamping trip where I crossed a double yellow on a reducing radius turn. Scared the crap out of me knowing that if a car was there, I'd have died. And it was all down to rider skill and confidence--I wasn't aware of what motorcycles can do if they need to. So it was either give up riding or learn how to ride. I was told that the track was the best place to do that, and now I've got a new addiction.

I'm actually pretty intrigued by the Shadow 750--having not known anything about it until this weekend. I've been soaking up all the YouTube videos out there over the last couple days. I just didn't realize that a relatively inexpensive Honda cruiser existed. I'd have just assumed that this was an $8,000+ bike looking at it with an untrained eye for the first time. Speed limit is 70mph, and I never run over 80mph on public roads anyway. As long as it can get out of its own way and sounds nice, it looks the part. I can definitely understand the appeal.

Anyway I realized I can probably just pull the rear fender off and lift the rear wheel. Most of the parts I ordered should be coming in this weekend, and I can get my hands dirty on a new project! I've already accepted I'll likely need to post in the Technical section--thank you for the encouragement, squidchief.
 

·
Registered
1995 VT1100C2
Joined
·
4,522 Posts
These engines are rock solid and many people have revived them after years of storage with just basic maintenance items and some Seafoam. You will need:
Coolant
Brake fluid flush
Oil/Filter
Maybe air filter
Maybe tires.
But many members have just cleaned out the old fuel, used a car battery to start and off to the races. However, if you are good with carbs then can't hurt to clean properly because there will be gum in main and pilot.
 

·
Registered
03 750 ACE / Michigan
Joined
·
211 Posts
You seem to be approaching it with an open mind, so I think you'll be able to see the appeal. There are a lot of interesting bikes out there if you don't lock yourself in to one type only. This Shadow is built for easy cruising two-lane blacktop at, say, 45-60 mph. It does that extremely well. It does a lot of other things well, too, but that's the sweet spot. Handling will be heavy compared to what you're used to, but around here we call that "stable" 😉 and it'll behave pretty decently in a corner anyway. Heck, you might even come to love the wide bars. I do.

I think you'll have fun.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Coolant
Brake fluid flush
Oil/Filter
Maybe air filter
Maybe tires.
But many members have just cleaned out the old fuel, used a car battery to start and off to the races. However, if you are good with carbs then can't hurt to clean properly because there will be gum in main and pilot.
If the petcock is any indication, there is no getting around the fact that the carburetors need to come off. I was able to drain ~2.5 gallons worth of fuel in the OFF position, lol. I'm sure at least one jet is going to be clogged, and there's a good chance the float bowl gaskets won't seal upon reassembly, so I'm just going to replace all the rubber parts. I usually reuse jets/needles if at all possible since any time I've used an aftermarket kit, I've never gotten it to run right compared to OEM. I knew I should have just ordered a new petcock the instant I saw the bike. Those things can't help themselves but fail!
Wheel Tire Automotive tire Automotive lighting Motor vehicle


I've never done a full size tube tire. I've gotten pretty good at changing tubeless tires with levers, sweat, and swearing, but I'm not sure that I want to take on a tube. The 20 year old rubber should be replaced, but I'm not sure if that'll be me though. The rest of your suggestions I will do though.

but around here we call that "stable" 😉 and it'll behave pretty decently in a corner anyway. Heck, you might even come to love the wide bars. I do.

I think you'll have fun.
I like that! "Stable", heh. After pulling some of the clothing off so I could clean up and inspect/lube the chain, I can see that the stance actually does look extremely planted. All the dress just throws off the visual interpretation and makes it look a lot bigger than it really is. Crazy how low to the ground it is.
Tire Wheel Fuel tank Vehicle Automotive fuel system

Tire Wheel Automotive tire Motor vehicle Tread


Anyway, I'll update this once I get something meaningful done. Thanks for the words of encouragement.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19,191 Posts
Just a few more and I`ll be doing the 175,000 miles oil change on my Baby...
( just like the one you`re working on only Black)

I changed all the fluids and filters @ 40,000 when I bought her, She`s a Champ,
Dennis

All I got to say about riding it,
NO DON`T Do It = You`ll be HOOKED >>> I AM

I change oil every 5,000
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
So, I'm not actually going to be able to tear into the carburetor until Saturday, but I pulled it out last night. That's not so noteworthy in itself, but I'm a little bit confused. I'm almost certain that the "fuel" that was stored inside of it is not gasoline. When I was draining it out from the petcock last night, I thought it looked way too clear for 7 year old gasoline, but I didn't think anything of it. I drained it directly into a waste tank of gas I need to take to the recycle center, so it mixed with some nasty stuff, and I can't go back and check it.

But I was flipping the carburetor around a bit tonight just to take some pictures, and the liquid coming out of the bowls is absolutely clear and smells just like mineral spirits. Maybe paint thinner. It feels thicker than gasoline. Maybe I'm going crazy, but I'd expect old fuel to be a yellowish color, and to still smell like gasoline.

Ultimately, I guess it doesn't matter. It's all coming out anyway. I'm just not ruling out that it was full of paint thinner to prevent rust buildup in the tank for long-term storage (which worked, btw). My favorite thing I've found on both this Shadow and the Kawasaki EN450 I worked on previously was that a bunch of the rusted spots were covered up with silver sharpie to hide the rust. It was driving me nuts on that Kawi thinking something just looked off about the coloration of some of the bolts and lower triple clamp. I was labelling a parts bag when it hit me like a ton of bricks... I took the sharpie over to the triple and started coloring and it matched perfectly! Now I'm finding silver sharpie all over in tasteful places. It's actually kinda clever.
Fuel tank Automotive lighting Automotive tire Automotive exhaust Automotive design


Picture from the Kawi below. I've only noticed a few bolt heads covered on the Shadow so far. And that was only after several days, so it actually hides pretty well, haha. The red circle is the only lines I made with my own sharpie.
Fluid Cosmetics Finger Nail Thumb


Note: there was a bunch of fuel valves off internet sites where the RES/OFF/ON markings were incorrect so when you get it, check them out.
I bought a full OEM replacement since I wasn't certain which rebuild kit would actually work right. There were several that seemed like "maybe", but I didn't want to guess. Hopefully the one I purchased is actually OEM and not a more expensive scam. Thank you for the heads up.

Those bare bones look pretty good. You can do a lot with a Shadow from a Classic stocker, Bobber, Short chop, Chopper, Cafe style. It can take on multiple personalities.
Thanks for the intro to variations! A few of those seats aren't quite my style, haha. I quite like the look of that white one though. Just looks like a motorcycle should look to me.
 

·
Registered
1995 VT1100C2
Joined
·
4,522 Posts
Neighbors bike. Can't you ask what they put in the fuel tank? (I probably would remember even 7 years later if it was something unusual). The batch of fuel valves I mentioned worked OK just mislabelled ie RES was OFF or something like that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Neighbors bike. Can't you ask what they put in the fuel tank? (I probably would remember even 7 years later if it was something unusual). The batch of fuel valves I mentioned worked OK just mislabelled ie RES was OFF or something like that.
I probably could have, and I probably should have, but I didn't. I've gotta work on my people skills.

I've been on and off on working on the bike. Haven't looked at it in about 10 days since I was out of town for the last week. Got home and immediately realized I connected the choke plungers incorrectly.. fixed that. Carburetor is now sitting on the bike on some new intake boots and got a thorough going through last week. I set the A/F screws to 2 3/4 turns out as a baseline. Both were at 3 1/4 when I took them off the bike. Interestingly, the bike had a 110 and 105 main jet (or was it 110 and 108?). Whatever it was, the front was slightly different than I expected based on the manual. The carburetor was also realllly clean looking when I pulled the bowls off.

Both pilot jets were absolutely blocked though. I fought for quite a while with a brass wire, fishing line, starter fluid, and a compressor to clear those things. There was no way I was getting the bike started without pulling those pilots out. I rebuilt with K&L kits just using the rubber and replacing the float valves. Glad I checked the float height on the new ones because one of them was wayyyy off. Manual says 7mm and one was at ~5.2mm before adjustment. The other fell at 6.8mm, so I left it.

Motor vehicle Automotive tire Automotive design Rim Gas


Tested to make sure no float leaks.
Tire Wheel Car Automotive tire Motor vehicle


So that was about ten days ago. Got back home today from a work trip jet-lagged to hell but wanted to see if I could get the bike running to satisfy my curiosity. After fixing the choke cable routing (oops), I realized I needed to disable the fuel pump somehow if it's going to run on a an auxiliary tank. That fuel pump plug is an absolutely pain in the nut-satchel to get to. I didn't actually get to it--I just pulled the 3-prong fuel pump relay instead. I also installed a new battery and battery charger pigtail tonight.

So, I wanted to know if it'd fire. And to my great surprise, it fired right away! To my dismay, I saw a fuel leak up front.
Tire Wheel Fuel tank Vehicle Automotive lighting


So I panicked thinking I needed to take everything back apart. And then my dumbass got bikes mixed up and thought that the carburetor vent was actually a vacuum line for a vac-operated petcock... so I plugged it and tried again. Then there were many more leaks!

So once I uncapped the vent line I went around and just retightened things and tried again... The bike ran for about 10 minutes without and leaks afterwards. I still don't trust that it's not going to spring a leak again--but I don't think it's a sticky float. I'll synchronize the carburetors later this week before I put the gas tank and seat back on. I don't want to waste a bunch of time tightening things up if it all just has to come back off.

Tire Wheel Vehicle Automotive tire Automotive lighting


Oh, I replaced the old petcock as well. Hopefully this is OEM and not one of the zany opposite-day ones I was warned of earlier in this thread. Guess I'll find out later this week.
Tool Wood Gas Measuring instrument Machine


So I guess we'll see. Either there's a major leak and I have to re-do everything or it's totally cool and I should button the thing back up and figure out if it rides. I kinda want it out of my garage within the next couple weeks since my own project bike (1984 Honda VF500F) just got it's frame powdercoated and I got a message that it's ready for me to pick up, hah.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
My manual indicates front #105 rear #110 slow #40 and base carb for synch is rear cylinder.
Thank you--I knew it was one of either 105 or 108 for the front. This bike has a 108 in the front. That's not so worrying to me--but it is worrying that I can't be certain that the jets are OEM hardware. They look like it, but Chinese knock-offs are floating all over and often introduce way more headache than their worth. I knew somebody had been in that carburetor before when I saw the brass welch plugs had already been drilled off to access the A/F mixture screws.

Hopefully just needless worrying.
 

·
Registered
2009 Shadow Spirit 750
Joined
·
116 Posts
Welcome and thanks for sharing the journey with us.
Like you...I've owned and ridden many different kinds of bikes over the years...fast sport bikes are fun too. but since most of my riding was on regular roads and not track... I gravitated towards cruisers. To me they have enough of the right kind of HP. Not sport bike power, but to me in traffic the safest riding position is upright where you can more easily see things around you. Not leaned over the bike. Plus they are really nice for those long cross country road trips. You can stretch out on the bike.
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top