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Old 09-14-2014, 02:28 PM   #1
68Timber
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'74 Honda Z50

I'll state up front I have zero need for this and it was a bad idea to bring it home with two project trucks already in the drive, but hey, it happened. I found this on craigslist and happened to have empty pockets that day, but I texted it to a friend and he ended up buying it. Several months down the road he'd bought a new house and hadn't started on the bike when he offered it to me for what he had in it.

It didn't run, so it was cheap. The PO had installed shocks off a 70 to get the seat height up but the orginals came with it. Also, the original gas tank was rusted through on one side but my friend had bought a new aftermarket replacement that came with it. So it's all there except for the original tailpipe. It also came with new tires and tubes. Here's what came home.
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Old 09-14-2014, 02:36 PM   #2
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Re: '74 Honda Z50

The plan was to clean the carb and get it running first then make it pretty. But the original plastic intake spacer was cracked around the bolt holes when I started. So I cleaned the carb, started cleaning on the original shocks, and then I got impatient. So I went ahead and started taking it apart.
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Old 09-14-2014, 02:49 PM   #3
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Re: '74 Honda Z50

I left the forks and swing arm on the frame and broke out the pressure washer. Underneath it had been blue once and green before that. It will be blue again, that was the color tank my friend bought. I also got the tires cut off and the wheel halves separated and run through the blast cabinet and got everything in primer.
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Old 09-14-2014, 02:58 PM   #4
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Re: '74 Honda Z50

Here's where I ran into a snag. The replacement tank was painted the correct '74 Honda blue. All the paint I'm using is rattle can, but I do want it to look right, and the cheapest I could find the correct paint in rattle can was $90-something a can online. I was in Car Quest and saw GM Bahama Blue for $7 a can and decided to run with it. But the tank wasn't going to match, unless...
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Old 09-14-2014, 03:04 PM   #5
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Re: '74 Honda Z50

Yes, I sanded the cracks out of the primer. That was Rustoleum Filler Primer, and it cracks while drying if you lay it on too thick. So I used a regular primer and sanded it smooth with 400 grit and sprayed it with the Bahama Blue. It came out really nice. I have cleared it since this picture and don't have any regrets sanding down a painted and ready to go tank - it really does look nice. I'll get a better pic later.
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Old 09-14-2014, 03:10 PM   #6
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Re: '74 Honda Z50

So, from what I've seen online, the frame is supposed the be black and the forks match the tank and side cover. So, more sanding and painting... The wheels are done with the new tubes/tires installed. The wheels were painted with GM rally silver since I had a few cans.
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Old 09-15-2014, 10:05 AM   #7
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Re: '74 Honda Z50

Pretty neat little project
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Old 09-15-2014, 10:26 AM   #8
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Re: '74 Honda Z50

Too cool!
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Old 09-16-2014, 09:35 AM   #9
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Re: '74 Honda Z50

I've still got my 1969 Z50 K1, which was my first motorcycle. It needs to be completely restored, but it'll happen as soon as I can get a couple of other projects done first. My bike is the factory candy red with the candy red/silver tank.

I also have a "barn find" 1968 Honda CT90 that runs like a top. I love vintage Japanese bikes because they are a real flashback to my youth.
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Old 09-16-2014, 02:05 PM   #10
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Re: '74 Honda Z50

Quote:
Originally Posted by tommys72 View Post
Pretty neat little project
Quote:
Originally Posted by jchav62 View Post
Too cool!
Thanks guys!

Quote:
Originally Posted by chevyrestoguy View Post
I've still got my 1969 Z50 K1, which was my first motorcycle. It needs to be completely restored, but it'll happen as soon as I can get a couple of other projects done first. My bike is the factory candy red with the candy red/silver tank.

I also have a "barn find" 1968 Honda CT90 that runs like a top. I love vintage Japanese bikes because they are a real flashback to my youth.
I know what you mean. There was a old green and original XL75 at the Moultrie swap meet last year I wanted to bring home. My bud thought I was nuts. Post a pic of your Z50 if you have one, and very cool that you've hung on to it!
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Old 09-16-2014, 08:56 PM   #11
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Re: '74 Honda Z50

I always liked the blue 1st gen Z50s... good lookin little bikes...

CLick the link in my sig, we retro modded my old 79 Z50. Little thing sure surprises people when they see my big a$$ comin... LOL

125CC CDI ignition, Extended forks and swingarm, 10" wheels cafe'd bars and a QA 50 seat,
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Old 09-17-2014, 03:49 PM   #12
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Re: '74 Honda Z50

Quote:
Originally Posted by screamin_c10 View Post
I always liked the blue 1st gen Z50s... good lookin little bikes...

CLick the link in my sig, we retro modded my old 79 Z50. Little thing sure surprises people when they see my big a$$ comin... LOL

125CC CDI ignition, Extended forks and swingarm, 10" wheels cafe'd bars and a QA 50 seat,
That's cool! I'd like to do a custom (but cheap) mini some day but it would definitely have to be on down the road. What kind of exhaust is that?
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Old 09-17-2014, 04:04 PM   #13
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Re: '74 Honda Z50

cool little project. be careful those small bikes can be addicting.got a llttle ct 70 myself.keep it to terrorize the neighborhood
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Old 10-01-2014, 01:24 PM   #14
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Re: '74 Honda Z50

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cool little project. be careful those small bikes can be addicting.got a llttle ct 70 myself.keep it to terrorize the neighborhood
Thanks, and I've already been looking for another one.

I was waiting for the paint to fully harden before putting it back together, but the front forks were nagging at me. The upper fork bridge has two holes in it for tabs on the upper spring holders, so they won't spin in the forks I guess. Except the tabs on these upper spring holders had cracked off and left the party at some point, and it got to bugging me. And I didn't know how to take the forks apart, so I had to order a Clymer manual. So I'll get to clean these up and reassemble them with the new upper spring holders when they get here. Except now I'm thinking I can paint the and frame better if I don't have to mask anything? Scope creep, I guess, but it'll be nicer for the effort. I hope!
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Old 10-02-2014, 07:24 PM   #15
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Re: '74 Honda Z50

That's a good looking blue John. Chrome fenders? A new 40 year old mini is something you don't see everyday. What are you going to do with it when finished?
We used to use those and mini bikes as pit bikes at the drag races.
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Old 10-02-2014, 08:36 PM   #16
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Re: '74 Honda Z50

Thanks Jim. I have no idea what I'm going to do with it, I guess the boys can ride it around the neighborhood if they want. Maybe I should flip it for something I won't care if they scuff up. I don't know, I haven't thought much past "make it shiny and stare at it".

I hosed the fork internals with brake cleaner last night to get the caked-on grease out of the springs then disassembled them. I ran all the individual parts through the parts washer tonight. I've sanded and primed the forks again, I'll try to put down a better coat of blue this time. Fun fun.
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Old 11-22-2014, 04:45 PM   #17
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Re: '74 Honda Z50

Small update, I got the forks disassembled, cleaned up, and reassembled with new seals and other misc parts where needed.
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Old 11-22-2014, 04:50 PM   #18
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Re: '74 Honda Z50

And back on the frame, swing arm/rear springs too.
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Old 11-22-2014, 04:59 PM   #19
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Re: '74 Honda Z50

Got the brakes cleaned up with new shoes. The bearings were in good shape, so I cleaned them up. See pic two, I knew they looked familiar, and the digital caliper read .44. Cool, so out with the nylon bore brush that came with the Kimber, and cleaned up the bearings with Hoppes #9. In the third pic you can see the engine is the focus now. I'm not going to rebuild it, just want it running good. Beer break...
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Old 12-18-2014, 11:37 AM   #20
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Re: '74 Honda Z50

Nice little bike.

My wife's Uncle has a few of the Honda Trail 70's. I might have to work on him to sell me one at a fair price for someting fun to tool around on..
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Old 12-18-2014, 01:42 PM   #21
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Re: '74 Honda Z50

Thanks man. I ordered a clutch nut removal socket from the local Honda shop so I can check and make sure the clutch discs are in spec before I button it back up mount it in the frame again. If I could get just one weekend that I didn't have to go out of town for something I might could finish this thing.
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Old 12-18-2014, 08:21 PM   #22
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Re: '74 Honda Z50

The end is in sight now John. All you lack is finishin up. It sure looks like new.
Hmm. I wonder how one of those built into a mini chopper would work or a trike?
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Old 12-19-2014, 08:25 AM   #23
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Re: '74 Honda Z50

Jim, actually I was thinking of a 80's or 90's model with motard tires, a pipe, and mini-apes. I'll have to find a good runner at a cheap price though.
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Old 06-14-2015, 11:21 PM   #24
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Re: '74 Honda Z50

I let this sit a while but have been messing with it again lately. It might even run again. I cleaned and degreased the engine. The side covers are off, I used PB blaster-soaked-red scotchbrite pads on the engine to give it a reasonably even finish.
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Old 06-14-2015, 11:33 PM   #25
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Re: '74 Honda Z50

I'd never messed with a centrifugal clutch before, but it seemed like a good time to figure it out, at least well enough to put new friction discs in. The steel shims looked great and were reused. All Honda parts... I masked off the center section and gave it a new coat of satin black. I cheated on the side cover and painted it with Chevy rally silver since that's what I have and still dig it.
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