Honda CB 550 Carb Developments, or…staring at the bike

Link arms on the old carbs

Down to the garage I trudge, hoping for a break.  I need these carbs to get straight, or else I’ll never get to the other fixes I have planned, before my trip.  The float needle issue is starting to get to me.  I have now been messing with the carbs for about a week or more.  This needs to end, and end quick.  I roll her out to the sidewalk in front of Moto Preserve, and open up the petcock, making sure to have a small container beneath the overflow tube.  This is normally when the gas starts pouring out….

But, no gas leaks.  Must be a fluke.  I drain the float bowl, and give it another shot.  Again, it fills, but with no leaks.  Maybe the carb gods are shining down on me.  I fire it up, let it idle for a few minutes, still no leak.  Good signs.  After repeating the above steps about 5 times, I finally give in to the fact that the needle may actually be working properly at this point.  Is it possible I will not have to remove the carbs again?

…New issues.  The other day, I recognized that the RPM were sticking, hanging a little too long, when I release the throttle.  Not a good thing.  This can be caused by several factors: throttle is getting hung up on the bar end mirror, the throttle cables are getting snagged on a burr in the housing, the cables are not adjusted to the right tension, the carb slides are gummed up, the mechanisms (link arms) that raise and lower the slides are screwed…  The list feels endless, so I just sit and stare at it for a while.

I have a sneaking suspicion that the answer is my worst fear, that the link arms are the culprit.  Of course, this is the worst case scenario, because it will require removing the carbs, and dismantling them almost completely, to fix it.  Good times…

I sit and stare a little more.  I am so ready to ride this thing, and be done with the carb work, I can taste it.  I need to move on.  Sometimes there is very little progress to be made, when the motivation is for anything but the work you know you need to do.  I mess with the throttle cable a bit, fixing the tension, and then decide i need to go for a ride, to test out the non-leak, and the throttle situation.  I make it all the way to the auto parts store, and still, no leaks.  Small victories.  On the way back to the shop, I find a fairly abandoned back street (tough in this neighborhood, and  let her rip.  The throttle sticks, and almost acts as an unwanted cruise control.  I can let go of the handle and it stays revving at a good 3000 RPM.  Not what you want when you need to stop abruptly in traffic.

I spend the rest of the day, and into the evening, futzing around the shop, not really getting anything done.  I am frustrated with myself, and with the bike.  I know that this will be fixed, and it must be, sometime soon.  But now, I just want to sit and stare for a while more.  Back to the drawing board…

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