First Generation Ascots > The Thumper Years: Modified To Full Customs

Ratty and bratty FT500 -83

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Well, it's been a while. Unfortunately not much has transpired since my last post, moved to an apartment and had no space for the bike so didn't ride it too many times during 2017 since it was stored at my parent's house. I did however fix the leaking front end with new seals and dustcovers, also tackled what I thought was the gear shifter axle leaking, turned out to be the seal for the axle that drives the sprocket. Took the old one out and realised I have to SPLIT THE DAMN CRANKCASE TO REPLACE IT because of the outer lip on the seal. Just magnificent, so that happened and ended the 2017 season.

Took a quick pic after doing the front forks, there were some homemade custom raiser pieces of pipe inside the forks on top of the springs, took those out while I was in there. (later edit: well, I guess I'm an idiot since CMSNL shows that those "pipes" I took out were actually originally there. No wonder the front forks felt like sh*t. Too bad CMSNL only has one of these in stock, so I'll have to order it and take measurements of it to get another one and refit those.)

... aaaand here's how it looked for the whole season of 2018. I didn't really want to take the engine apart on the yard, also waited the whole summer for a gasket set. Finally last fall I got a place to actually do some car and bike stuff with a few friends, so I took the engine apart.

Did the valve seats as they were kinda crusty, needed to change the valve guide seals anyway.

Nearing the end of the teardown, I ran into a small problem with this oil passage preventing me from removing the timing chain. I do have a new one so cutting the old chain isn't a problem but installing the new one would be kinda difficult, so any advice? Checked CMSNL and it seems to be just a small pipe, so do I just pull it out?

Slightly off-topic but I'm trying to fix up the bike so I can have something fun to drive around in the summer since this blue hunk of junk will take at least a year to complete ::)

Nice project you've got going there.
The stripping bolts on your camcover are a honda regular issue. I had to put new inserts in 5 of mine.
About your jet questions.
That rubber thingy needs to stay in that tube, it's standard on all euro bikes. The jet under the rubber thingy is your main jet so the one you need to replace.
I've replaced my pilot and main jet when I went for an aftermarket open filter. Still need to do some fine tuning but she runs quite alright now.
The other screw on your carb is the air mixture screw. This can help with fine tuning the carb.
Do yourself a favor and find a workshop manual a lot of the questions you have can be solved with it.


Engine has been rebuilt with fresh seals, gaskets, balancer and timing chain. Had to convert some of valve cover bolts to studs to make it all work reliably. Runs like a dream, no more grinding noises made by a slacking timing chain and also feels like it vibrates less than before, which is good since I had some doubts whether I lined the balancers all up correctly.

Next thing is to ditch the original airbox, looking at making a smaller one since I'm really not a fan of running an open filter, also would like to incorporate the crankcase breather into this new smaller airbox to avoid water/dirt/cats/dogs getting into the engine. Battery relocation is also something I'll have to think aboot. Otherwise it's just some tidying up, refitting the original gauge cluster, new sprockets and chain and some new rubber for the summer. Not in a hurry since the snow will be here for at least another two months.

Oh, and the exhaust has several leaks starting from the headers all the way to the muffler. Need to do something about that too ;D

Been a while, still alive tho. And the bike's running too. Although it has developed an occasional knocking/grinding engine noise that seems to occur whenever it pleases (seems to happen more frequently when under medium load or engine braking hard), and it usually goes away by hitting the redline, or by just keeping on driving. Rarely makes the noise when driven WOT. First time this noise occured was when I was downshifting without the clutch. No metal shavings or anything unusual in oil. I've had the engine covers off and nothing seems loose. Truly baffling. Guess I need to do compression and leakdown tests next winter as it also consumes some oil. Most likely needs engine opened again :(

Got some pics for you special few who care about these bikes. Fabbed up a new exhaust some time ago, made some seat brackets along with frame mods and welded some tabs for rear light and turn signals. Also did an electrical/air box and battery box which can be considered prototypes aka they suck and I'll redo them in the future. New (same as old) China special headlight, secondhand speedo from a Suzuki TU250X. Chain, sprockets, rubber, some other small things here and there. The whole bike needs some mechanical care, tidying up and repainting but it'll do for now. Been doing about 3000-4000km each summer, so probably closer to 10k since I last posted ???

New tail light:

Seat brackets:

New exhaust almost done:

And couple scenic ones from this summer:

Edit: just noticed in an older post that the fuel consumption used to be "5,7l/100km or 41 mpg". I have a sample size of about five to seven tankfuls this summer and it's now around 4,4l/100km or 53mpg after new exhaust, airbox and rejetting. Doesn't seem to matter if it's wide open throttle highway blasting or slow forest crawl, consumption stays pretty much consistent between tanks.

Nice work.
Haven't been well enough to get out on mine lately, hoping to be fit for summer.


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