Honda CB 550: Complete Carb Rebuild Part 3

Carbs in the vice...

So, here it is folks.  The last installment in this saga.  I’m ready to consider the carbs on the Honda CB 550 done!  I got all the o-rings and gaskets in place, and the carbs were finally assembled.  But I figured, why not try to make them look nice too.  Not that these things are ever going to be sexy (if you find carbs sexy, that is a matter for a professional therapist), but I can get them looking clean and polished.  The soda blasting had taken care of the bodies quite well, but I knew that the aluminum  caps and the float bowls could be polished to a chrome-like shine.

Carbs assembled and polished

Knowing that I will probably pull these carbs again for adjustment, I opted for just making them shine a bit.  Not looking to get the full chrome look, I started with the buffing wheel, instead of the typical wet-dry sandpaper.  If any of you are looking to get a great look from metal, the first step is to start with sandpaper, always sopping wet, and working your way up from about 220 grit to 800 or 1000 grit.  Only then would you move on to the buffing wheel with rouge compounds.  But I want to get this bike going ASAP, so I skipped a step (or 5) and fired up the Harbor Freight grinder, which is modified to hold 6″ buffing wheels.  The grinder has space for two wheels, and is set up with one Sisal wheel, for more cutting action, and one Cotton wheel, for the final finish.  Ideally, you would have a step or two between these, with increasing grit rouge, but again, I need this thing done.

A little while with each wheel, and the caps and the float bowls were looking decent.  I called it a day with the polishing, and slapped them on the carbs.  Wish the photos were better, but you get the idea.

The last step was to adjust all the slides in the carbs, so that they are equally raised by the carb sync screws.  This is called a bench sync, and is the precursor to the sync you will later do on the bike, with specific vacuum gauges, to fine tune the adjustments between all four carbs.  Once I had the 4 carb slides lined up evenly, I placed the idle screw up against the contact plate, so that it will be engaged when they are finally back on the bike.  I will do one last blast of carb aerosol cleaner, through all the carbs, before they are installed.

That’s a wrap…. now let’s see if they actually work.

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