Honda motorcycles headache…

Sometimes it takes some brute force on the honda motorcycles...

Sometimes it takes some brute force on the honda motorcycles…

The cleaning has begun, and what typically follows is the tear down (it sometimes starts during the cleaning if you’re over-excited!).  So it was with the Honda XL250…

Honda Motorcycles use of Philips-head screws…

An impact driver can be your best friend...

An impact driver can be your best friend…

 

 

 

In an effort to get certain parts off this Honda XL250, we quickly realized that this classic had truly been used in the woods and dirt.  Remnants of Steve McQueen-era 1970’s trail riding was found in every nook and cranny.  So we dug in, and began to clean her up.

Honda Motorcycles had the bright idea to use Philips-head screws on many parts of their bike.  One of the best improvements you can make to these old bikes is to replace all the screws with allen-head stainless steel bolts.  The problem is, after 40 years, some of the screws begin to get ornery.  Stuck and frozen in place (and time!), these bolts and screws have found a home, and don’t want to give it up the ghost.  That’s where violence comes in.

These screw extractors suck!

These screw extractors suck!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When metal of two different properties have bonded together over the course of 40 years, it’s time to get pounding.  This is the situation we ran into when we tried to remove the muffler guard for repainting.The first step should always be to try an impact driver.  These are large screwdriver looking devices with extra stout bits on the end.  I pick one up at every garage sale, apparently they have become disposable to most homeowners.  You slap it on the screw, and whack it good with a hammer.  There is an internal ratcheting system that allows the force of your blow to move the screw ever-so-slightly…if you’re lucky.  Even after heating the stuck screws with a torch, the impact driver still couldn’t help.

If that doesn’t work, on to the screw extractor [shown above].  This stop on the road to removal is most often futile.  It always seems like a nice idea, but I have never seen them work.  They get themselves in just far enough to snap in two, and then you are stuck with a stubborn screw, as well as a hardened tool bit that can NOT be drilled.

The cap has been drilled and removed...

The cap has been drilled and removed…

 

Save yourself some trouble, and jump right to the cordless drill (corded even better if you have it – and can handle it!).  Center the drill bit in the hole created by the stripping you did to the Philips-head – while trying to be friendly to the damn thing.  Drill straight through until you sense you have reached a depth that is about equal to the length of the bolt.  Don’t go too far.  You don’t want to go through and hit something valuable on the other side.

The photo above shows what happens when the drill bit doesn’t make it all the way through – but snaps the cap off.  When this happens, you can either hope to get a grip on the reining shaft with some vice grips, or you my have to resort to welding on a small post and removing it with that.  Looks like we may have to go with the latter.  If you’re dealing Honda Motorcycles, or any other bike of the ’70’s vintage, expect to deal with much of the same…

Stay tuned…

 

4 thoughts on “Honda motorcycles headache…

  1. The Japanese actually used Japanese Industrial Standard screws (not Phillips). So, when an unsuspecting American uses a Phillips screw driver, the JIS screw heads “cam out” ruining the screw. I invested in a set of JIS screwdrivers for restoration work. They make a big difference.

    1. True, and I do have some JIS as well. But none for the impact driver. These were in there nice and tight. No regular driver was getting them out, no matter what end was on it.

      These will be replaced with a full set of stainless Allen bolts. Even easier!

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