'83 Honda Nighthawk restore.

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boltbusterdw
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'83 Honda Nighthawk restore.

#1 Unread post by boltbusterdw » Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:34 am

I Finally bought a Nighthawk! I always wanted one, so when a friend mentioned he had one that sat in his garage for the past 6 years that he needed to get rid of I couldn't resist. I was going to just clean the carbs and put a new battery in. The bike has 13,000 miles on it.
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After tearing into the bike, it was really dirty and rust had started on the frame and bolts. The aluminum needs to be polished out too. I decided to tear it down to the frame and start from there. I plan on powdercoating the frame, getting the engine cleaned up and remounted, then clean and reseal the shocks next(after installing tapered head bearings). I did manage to remove the engine from the frame without taking the cam cover or the oil pan off. It was no fun though :yikes: My Clymer manual said to remove it from the left side but no way that was going to happen...it came out the right side. Now...to make a tool to get the swing arm off :umph:
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I finally found a more constructive use for my golfballs too!
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boltbusterdw
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Re: '83 Honda Nighthawk restore.

#2 Unread post by boltbusterdw » Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:35 am

Frame back from powdercoat...

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New tapered stem bearings...

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Engine back in. It was just as hard getting it in as it was getting it out! Also putting the guts back in and figuring out the wiring harness...

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boltbusterdw
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Re: '83 Honda Nighthawk restore.

#3 Unread post by boltbusterdw » Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:36 am

On the engine I removed all the clearcoat that was peeling off of the valve cover and side plates and then polished them out. If they only sold elbow grease at the hardware store :-) Guess I'll have to keep it waxed, but I don't plan this bike seeing any rain in it's future. The right side has been buffed out in this pic, the left side was really oxidized where the clearcoat had worn off. The difference was night and day, although the pic doesn't do it justice...
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All the chrome on the bike looked like this...
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I soda blasted all the chrome with my $20 Harbor Freight gravity fed sandblaster loaded with Arm and Hammer baking soda from Wally world. I was amazed how well it worked. Same part here...
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boltbusterdw
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Re: '83 Honda Nighthawk restore.

#4 Unread post by boltbusterdw » Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:44 am

Waiting on some parts so I did a little cleaning on the controls. The Dot 5 brake fluid is amazing for bringing back the black in faded plasstic. My ugly handlebar controls were grey. I disassembled them, soda blasted then wiped them down with the fluid after soda blasting them.
before...
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after cleaning
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As it sits now...awaiting fork parts.

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boltbusterdw
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Re: '83 Honda Nighthawk restore.

#5 Unread post by boltbusterdw » Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:50 am

Some weekend progress. Rebuilt the forks with new seals, wipers, and progressive springs. The new springs were about 2" longer than the originals. I cut the old spacers down to 1" to get the proper preload. Here they are for comparison, original spring on bottom.

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I came across the last part that needed clear coat stripping(fork brace) and polishing. This stripper from Autozone is awesome, spray on and brush the clear away as these pics show.

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I opened up the speedometer to give it a good cleaning. Found an old spider nest in there along with other crud.

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Once the forks were mounted I got the fuse box wired in and the electrical controls mounted to the handlebars. Lots of wires crammed in behind that fuse box. :(

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I'm sending the skins out for paint this week so I attempted to fix my right side panel mounting tab that was broke off instead of paying upwards of $100 on Ebay. I made a new stem from aluminum to epoxy into the plate. The previous owner screwed the plate into the lip of the tank with a sheet metal screw. That is why there is a hole in the second picture. :rant:

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Paint color will be black with Honda wings on the tank and Nighthawk on the side covers. I'm going to cut the "650" off the original decals. My paint guy recommended that he add red pearl to the paint that brings out a red color in the bright sunlight. He's going to prep, paint, install the decals AND clear everything for $250! But, it's more of a payback for some previous favors.

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Re: '83 Honda Nighthawk restore.

#6 Unread post by madjak30 » Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:26 am

Man!! Awesome work, I always loved those Nighthawks...my buddy had one in high school and I was always jealous...but I had a muscle car, so he could afford fuel and I couldn't...but I was more popular in fall/winter...

Makes me want to get in the garage and get to work on my bike...but I will have to wait until this cold snap passes...it's -34C right now...Brrr, frikkin cold!!

You'll have a sweet ride when you are done!! and the best part is, you built it...not a purchase...jealous again...

Later.
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boltbusterdw
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Re: '83 Honda Nighthawk restore.

#7 Unread post by boltbusterdw » Wed Mar 14, 2012 4:29 pm

Finally got the skins back from paint. Decided to go with a metallic black.

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The original flat black parts of the front fender and right side plate are now gloss black to have a slight contrast to the metallic black. Also a gloss black stripe on the tank along the crease lines. Very subtle but in bright sunlight you can make it out. All the paint was actually the same color, with and without the pearl color additives. The metallic is more subtle than the pics show, not really sure why. In the shade it all looks gloss black.

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I also ordered progressive 412 shocks for the rear, and getting new tires put on tomorrow. The bike has been on standby as everything needed to go forward with project was $$$. Hopefully I can get it off the stand in a few days. I'm also waiting for both clutch and brake master cylinders to come back from powdercoat.
I removed the old tires and am in the process of giving them a good cleaning before the new rubber gets mounted. Here is a before cleaning pic...

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Re: '83 Honda Nighthawk restore.

#8 Unread post by High_Side » Wed Mar 14, 2012 9:10 pm

Great 1st thread boltbusterdw. I read this with hope that you would keep it stock, as I had a black '83 that I bought in '85 that was a great looking bike back in the day. Your final product is shaping up to look just like it only better. Great job - I can't wait to see the final product.

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Re: '83 Honda Nighthawk restore.

#9 Unread post by boltbusterdw » Thu Apr 12, 2012 5:31 pm

Some more progress, after cleaning all the grime off the wheels(2 evenings and 2 large boxes of q-tips) :knary: I had new Dunlop 404's installed. After clearcoat stripping, polishing and repainting the black stripe and Honda logo on the seat trim, I reassembled the rear fender/tail light assembly. The spring retainers that hold the trim in place are a real PITA, along with the rubber o-rings.

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Ready to install...

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Oh yea, my Progressive shocks came in too. Wow, do they look sooo much better than stock (I hear they ride as good as they look :smiler:)
Here are the new tires/shocks/fender assembly...

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And the front. This thing is starting to resemble a motorcycle again!

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I also got my 2 master cylinders back from powdercoat today. That is the next item on the list. Rebuilding them and installing new sight glasses.

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Re: '83 Honda Nighthawk restore.

#10 Unread post by boltbusterdw » Thu Apr 12, 2012 6:20 pm

I'm getting ready to rebuild both master cylinders. I made special plugs to protect the bores while getting powder coated, and removed the yellow cracked sight glasses.

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plugs removed

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I bought this sight glass window kit from a guy on Ebay for $15. It didn't come with o-rings though, just 2 windows and stainless reservoir screws.

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I've been working on the exhaust too. Here are some "before pics...

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I soda blasted them then spent last night polishing them with steel wool and Naval jelly. I then switched to Turtle wax chrome polish/rust remover. Blasted the rust off and painted over the cast iron with high temp paint this morning. As they sit now...

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Here are the clamps. Can you guess which 2 have been soda blasted? The blaster has been a real life saver.

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boltbusterdw
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Re: '83 Honda Nighthawk restore.

#11 Unread post by boltbusterdw » Thu Apr 12, 2012 6:23 pm

Got the pipes finished up. They turned out pretty well considering how they looked before.

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Here they are with the chrome side covers on.

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For comparison, Before:
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After:

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Somehow I forgot to order new gaskets so I'll have to wait to install the pipes until they come in the mail :(

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Re: '83 Honda Nighthawk restore.

#12 Unread post by boltbusterdw » Thu Apr 12, 2012 6:28 pm

Some weekend progress. I soda blasted the carbs and disassembled and cleaned the internals with carb cleaner. New stainless steel hardware along with new float bowl gaskets. I soaked them in pinesol for 3 days when I originally took them off and would not recommend that, as it seemed to make the brass parts stick to the aluminum, not to mention rusting the hardware.
In preparation for blasting

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ready to reinstall.

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Rebuilt the clutch slave cylinder along with both master cylinders as the clutch was not working when I got the bike. It was pretty cruddy inside.

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I got the master cylinders mounted, and carbs back in. Just remember to hook up the throttle and choke cables BEFORE installing the carbs. Don't ask me how I know this :frusty:

Here she is so far

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After taking that pic, I realized the machining center behind the bike is another vintage Japanese machine. A 1984 Mori Seiki still running today after all the years, the Japs were definitely on their game in the '80's!

Back at home I was getting ready to reinstall the float in the tank when I heard some rust rattling around in the tank. I used an aquarium vacuum along with my shop vac to get it out. Guess I should of done this before paint, but no harm done.

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Not much left to do now! Waiting for stainless brake lines to come in the mail along with new grips. I need to put all fluids in the bike and get a new gel battery. My church is having a car/motorcycle show in 2 weeks, my goal is to have it done by then.

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Re: '83 Honda Nighthawk restore.

#13 Unread post by dr_bar » Sun Apr 15, 2012 3:56 pm

Awesome rebuild, can't wait to see the final product. You should be real proud of yourself...
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Re: '83 Honda Nighthawk restore.

#14 Unread post by boltbusterdw » Fri Aug 24, 2012 3:43 pm

all finished

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Re: '83 Honda Nighthawk restore.

#15 Unread post by pchast » Fri Aug 24, 2012 10:54 pm

Beautiful work!
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Re: '83 Honda Nighthawk restore.

#16 Unread post by sapaul » Fri Aug 31, 2012 1:59 am

I agree, top job there, looks stunning. Hope you many many safe and fun filled miles
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Re: '83 Honda Nighthawk restore.

#17 Unread post by MmeMagpie » Sat Sep 01, 2012 2:44 am

Wow. I'm jealous. And it makes me miss my CB650C a little bit :)
Ooooooh. Shiny!

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Re: '83 Honda Nighthawk restore.

#18 Unread post by boorhadly » Sat Apr 06, 2019 7:56 pm

Whatd you use to polish the aluminum handrails, n howd you get the black "poo poo" off of them?

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Re: '83 Honda Nighthawk restore.

#19 Unread post by NorthernPete » Wed Apr 10, 2019 2:23 pm

I’m going to assume since the op hadn’t been active since 2012 it’ll remain a mystery.
1988 VN1500

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Re: '83 Honda Nighthawk restore.

#20 Unread post by NorthernPete » Wed Apr 10, 2019 2:24 pm

I use mothers polish personally.
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