"Maggie" - 1986 Magna - Maintenance Log

ctag

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#1
Please meet Maggie, my 1986 Honda Magna VF700C:





I spent this past summer perusing craigslist, drumming up Honda Shadows and Goldwings while slowly building a budget for my next bike. Then, one day I read about someone's Honda Magna. I learned about how they're a slice of history as the scene starters for muscle bikes; how they exist not just as cruisers, but as sport cruisers with overdrive; and how they're fatally flawed with low oil pressure to the cams, requiring meticulous attention to maintenance intervals or aftermarket kits to obtain reliability.
I was hooked.

Some time passed, and then I finally found the OTP (one true post) on craigslist: a Magna owner who's text description expounded not speed or horsepower, but reliable care and clean stock status. I had to have it, and one anxious week after contacting the seller, a friend and I drove up to Tennessee and met this bike's single original owner, Billy.

The Magna was in unbelievably good condition; way better than the craigslist pictures. Billy even purchased a new battery just to be sure everything was set for me to ride back. Dumbfounded by his generosity and my good fortune, I gladly bought the bike and brought it home. Riding it back on the highway was nerve racking, but also one of my favorite trips in any vehicle to date. This bike just flies, and the engine purrs, and there's less frame vibration than my old Virago 250. The seat is comfortable, the brakes are reliable, the suspension is perfect, and the speedometer works! No Honda I've owned until now has had a working speedometer!

So now I'm starting a maintenance thread, and looking forward to this next chapter of vehicle ownership :D
 
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ctag

fill it with wires!
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#2
So the first thing I did after buying this beautiful bike was park under a tree and get sap all over it :slap: Washed it this morning and used some leather cleaner and protector on the vinyl seats. Also bought a portable cover.

 


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ctag

fill it with wires!
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#3
Today was wash and wax day. Everything cleans up nicely :D

I've put about 200 miles on the bike. Getting about 75 miles to a tank, and 33 mpg city with non-ethanol fuel. Interstate riding nearly blows me off the seat, so I need a small windshield or something to try that again.

The portable cover is a lot more difficult to install and remove than I wanted, so I'm not sure I'll be carrying it around to toss on the bike at the office parking lot or anything.

I've been seriously procrastinating on doing the basic maintenance that comes with a new used vehicle. The bike's just in such great shape already that I keep putting it off.. I need to:
  • Change oil/filter
  • Check tires for slow leaks
  • Check air filter
  • Check driveshaft oil
  • Check coolant mix
  • Check front fork pressure
Longer term stuff:
  • Test all of the TRAC anti-dive settings and pick one
  • Replace front brakes (which are in new condition, but squeal - probably because they're old and oxidized?)
  • Repair/replace front left blinker stem
  • Get an LED license light (to draw less battery power in park mode)
 

ctag

fill it with wires!
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#4
Almost had my first accident today.

Last weekend I went with a friend and picked up some new riding gear, but the gloves I got were too big, so today I went to exchange them. The road up to the store is a 45mph highway that people do 60 on, and there's been some construction going on for the past year, so I should have been a little more cautious. But I got up to an intersection and tried to stop too fast, heard an alarmingly loud screeching sound, and only realized that it was coming from me as the bike began to slide sideways out from under me. By the time I'd processed enough to let go of the brakes and try to get the wheels spinning again, the bike had already stopped and I'd reflexively put my foot out and kept it from hitting the ground (without twisting an ankle or something). So pure luck all around. I think there was some dirt or sand on the road from construction that let the wheels lock up so easily, but that doesn't make me blameless for applying the brakes so forcefully and suddenly.
 


ctag

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#6
New brakes, semi-sintered type:


And new K&N air filter:


The air filter is model HA-1210 and takes 10mL of oil when being cleaned. I hate how hard that information is to find for K&N filters :angryred:
 
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ctag

fill it with wires!
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#7
Changed the final drive oil. New stuff is Royal Purple 75W-90. I want to change it again soon, just to really flush out the glitter that was floating around.. And because there's still plenty left in the bottle.

The cap/nut on the final drive is too easy to round off :cry: Maybe I just buy a dozen and replace them every time I change the oil :rolf:
 

ctag

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#8
Replaced a broken side-cover grommet today:


And bought some overpriced OEM fuel line to replace the rotted stuff on the petcock:

Apparently you need 5.5mm ID line, not 1/4 inch.

The brakes still need 200 miles or so to be fully broken in. I haven't been riding much due to weather and the carbs still being out of whack. Speaking of which, the carbs still need to be tuned to work with the new air filter. And one/both of the wheels is squealing in a way that makes me think the bearings need to be pulled and re-packed with grease..
 

ctag

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#12
Went back to the stock air filter after I couldn't figure out what was required to get the carbs to play nice with the K&N one.

Today I took the turn-signal thumb-switch apart, cleaned it a little, and reassembled with some silicon dielectric grease. It works much better now, which is great =)
 

ctag

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#13
Something on the Magna squeaks while riding. I suspected the wheel bearings, but upon inspection (Ah, see? I'm learning! Check first, buy parts after) the bearings seem fine.

Get the wheel off.


The speedo cable fell out. So I cleaned it up.


Regreased the speedometer gear, and found that the mount which holds the cable on is cracked..


Cleaned the brake rotors as well. Gave it a wash, and a quick spin around the neighborhood brings no more squeaking. I suspect it'll start up again soon though.
 

ctag

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#14
The coolant tested good for the weather we've been having, but it was dirty, so yesterday I changed it. Flushed the old stuff, tried to wash out the overflow bottle without removing it, filled with water, ran, flushed the water, filled with cleaner solution and water, rode around for about an hour, and then flushed and filled with 50/50 pre mixed.

Oh, and I took some pictures :D




My friend noticed that there was oil on the final drive case, and sure enough it needed to be topped off. I cleaned it and will check to see where it's leaking from, but I suspect it's the joint to the shaft drive tube.
 

ctag

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#15
So when I got the bike, the brakes squealed. I replaced the front pads, and they still squeaked sometimes, though less often.

Today I asked on Reddit, and got the answer. I had forgotten to use brake grease when installing the pads :angryred: Took it apart, cleaned it, and put some grease on it. Now the front brakes are pretty much silent! Now I can hear that the rear drum brake also squeaks, but I'll have to figure out how to pull the wheel off and get to the shoes to add some grease.





 

ctag

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#16
Well I wrote the previous post, and then immediately decided to go back out and try disassembling the rear brake drum.

Disconnect the brace and pedal:


Pull the axle:


Remove the spacer on the right side by the drum. Then pry the wheel to the right to get the drive gear free of a inner axle sleeve:


Took a lot more prying than I'd care for:


Take the drum assembly off, and clean the interior of the wheel:


Just by looking at the cotter pins, and how there weren't any scratches on the metal plate behind them, I'm pretty sure these are the factory original brake shoes...


Before:


After:


Greased and reassembled:


I didn't know what to do with the drive spines, so I cleaned them, then put some moly lube and high-temp bearing grease on them.


All back together!


That did the trick! Now the bike stops without all of the shrieking :thumbs up
 

ctag

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#17
Today was the first oil change, and boy was it a mess :|

I lost the owners manual that came with the bike, so I'm using specs from online...

K&N Filter:


Oil:




I'm super glad that the filter comes sealed, it spent a few months outside before being used!


The draining went well, but when I went to reinstall the cylinder head oil bolt, it sheared off in the engine.






And Home Depot changed the hours recently from closing at 10pm to 9pm. I showed up just as the employees were locking up :cry:

But I found a trim bolt from my Del Sol that has matching threads!


It works! Hopefully I can find a more permanent replacement soon...


That's all! The bike rides so much better with working brakes and clean oil :D
 

ctag

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#18
Installed the OEM replacement oil bolt last weekend, and then on Monday Maggie went to the bike shop. I asked them to just give it a good look over to make sure I haven't missed anything in my little bit of maintenance, and to evaluate if the carbs need work since the throttle's given me some trouble recently.
 

ctag

fill it with wires!
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#20
Over the weekend I did a stupid. Took the bike to a local walking path and parked on a slightly sloped spot, facing downhill. Some wind pushed the bike forward and it fell over :x







Luckily the centerstand, crash bars, and handlebar took the impact, and it looks like I got away without scratching any paint or chrome. Phew!

I righted the bike and gave it a few minutes to settle fluids (and for my heart rate to come down) and then it started right up.

The next morning I put the clutch lever in a vice and got it straightened out pretty well.




Besides not parking downhill again, I learned to park in gear. My previous bike wouldn't start in gear, and had to be rolling to switch into neutral, so I was in the habit of just parking in neutral. But this Magna doesn't lean on the kickstand as heavily, and it will click into neutral at a stop, so I'm going to start parking in gear, since that would prevent rolling forward and collapsing the stand like this :thumbs up
 






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