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September 21, 2014, 04:05:24 PM

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by Slackmaster Stan

This is my Honda Hawk (CB400T) check out the information below:

In the beginning...

Just Looking

I was looking for a new motorcycle to enjoy the summer weather and the open road. I already own an '83 Honda Shadow, but it had been sitting a couple years with a leaky gas tank. So given that I had many other things to be doing and better things to be spending my money on, I started looking for a new motorcycle.

I came across the Hawk on eBay being sold locally. When I saw it in the picture she spoke to me. I am not sure what she said, but I was definitely drawn to her. The flames and mild customizing of a 25 year old motorcycle appealed to my love of old things. I really enjoy things that are built well, working well, with a natural patina that shows it age. So I decided to check her out. The test drive went well and it obviously started and stopped. This was good enough for me and we agreed upon a price and worked out the payment, title, and delivery arrangements.

That new bike smell

So far so good. I realize now that there were many things I should have looked at more carefully at, but at the time who cares when there are cool flames on the tank. Luckily the problems to date are not major and have gotten me intimate with my new girl (don't tell Kerri). So during first month and 1000 miles of ownership I have dealt with the following:

Light bright, making things with light, barely

After I got home I noticed there I had no brake lights. This probably explains the car that tried to rear end me during the test drive. The previous owner (PO) decided the stock brake light was just not asthetically pleasing. So in its place went an aftermarket tail/park/tag light assembly. In addition the stock grab bar and attached turn signals were removed and bullet turn signals were attached next to the taillight on the fender.

The PO had good taste as these add a nice custom look to the bike and get rid of the big plastic clunky taillight and signals. The real problem was wiring. The taillight assembly had both the parking and brake light attached to the brake light bulb and a ground wire was attached to the parking light. All of these wires were loose under the fender and had already suffered from tire rub and other abuse. Luckily this is no sweat for me, and I got stuff soldered, shrinkwrapped, and rerouted.

This all worked well for about 750 miles until the bulb holder decided to come loose from its taiwanese pressed mount. After taking the propane torch to it, burning up the contact base, finishing the brazing and then replacing the burnt contact base I have been in good shape.

Mirror, mirror on the bar...

Once again the PO didn't really like the look of the non-original square plastic mirrors (as seen above) that were on the bike. So in their place went some truer to the original classic round chrome mirrors. Well these mirrors looked good, but in a classic form over function mentality they didn't actually work. Well, assuming that having a great view of your shoulder is your major expectation from a rear view mirror, they were working fine. As you well imagine, this wasn't what I was looking for, so I put the previous mirrors as provided by the PO back on the bike.

These mirrors work much better. They are not perfect they have a tendency to go out of adjustment quickly. So in the future I may look for some classic round chrome mirrors with enough reach that I will be able to see behind me.

An apple a day keeps the mechanic away

Well I had the bike a few days and was trying to hunt down a service manual and actually trying to figure out if she was running as well as she should. I decided to take her to the local Honda dealer and have a oil change, tune-up and valve adjustment so that I could get her in good shape and have a baseline for future maintance.

I took her in and a few days later she was ready. She was running a bit better, idling a lot higher (as she should be), and I could tell the chain had been adjusted. For the moment I was happy.

Soon I had received a service manual I had won on eBay and I started perusing it and reviewing maintance that was done and needed to be done. Over the next 100 miles, the throttle cables came loose, breather hose was missing, air filter screw was missing, and the chain needed to be seriously cleaned. I can't specifically blame any of these on the dealer, but as I had explained to them that I had just bought this bike and I was wanting to find out what shape it was in and get it running well, I would have expected all these items to either be taken care of or at least noted and presented to me.

This is typical for any professional service that I pay for. I go ahead and pay for the service because I want something done right and I don't know how, don't have time, too lazy to do it or all of the above. The final results end up being unacceptable and I end up doing things myself. This is what has happened to me in regards to cars and oil changes. My oil changes have been goofed up so many times, that I found myself double checking everything. I have finally gave in and decided to get my lazy ass of the couch and do it myself. Let's see how long that lasts.

Shocking conclusion

In the last of the bone PO manuevers, we get to the shocks. It seems that the PO was of short stature (much like myself) and had taken a torch to the shock springs. Well this resulted in a drop of about 3 inches. This in and of itself was okay, but the side effects were not. First, the bike stands almost vertical on the side stand which makes it really rough to park on a slope. Second, the tire would rub the fender on any significant bump (makeing the lighting problem above even worse). Finally the springs were cockeyed in the shock assembly and were made very ineffective and potentially dangerous.

Well the fix is easy... get new shocks. This is easier said than done. It seems that the Hawk for at least a couple of years used a shock with a clevis on both ends (look at the picture, maybe you can see it). This is not very common. The dealer said I could get a replacement for $150/pr, the salvage guy offered me a crappy pair with good springs for about $40/pr, and I ended up getting a good pair (or two, or three) from eBay for even cheaper (yes I am an eBay junkie).

The new (used) shocks are on and now she leans like a real bike onto her side stand. The ride is higher and now I am even less likely to flat foot on a stop unless I stop in a valley, but both of my feet can touch the ground so I am doing OK. I think she actually looked better with a little squat, but that really doesn't matter too much.

Modifications

Following is a list of modifications that have been done by either a PO or myself. These modifications are what I can identify based upon the specs and pictures I can find for a stock 1978 Honda Hawk I (CB400T).

PO Mods

  • Tank repainted
  • Side covers repainted
  • Round mirrors changed to square black plastic
  • Square mirrors changed to non-stock round mirrors
  • Seat recovered
  • Helmet lock removed
  • Shocks lowered
  • Seat grab bar removed
  • Rear turn signals removed
  • Bullet turn signal added to read fender
  • Tail/brake light assembly removed
  • New aftermarket tail/brake assembly added on rear fender
  • Grips replaced
  • Chain guard removed
  • After market replacement exhaust installed

My Mods

  • Non stock round mirrors replaced with square mirrors
  • New grips
  • Shocks replaced with used original style
  • New seat King/Queen style ($50, thank you eBay)
  • Helmet lock replaced with stock
  • Ignition lock replaced with lock keyed to helmet lock
  • Rebuilt ignition switch and kill switch
  • Replaced peg rubber with better used from eBay
  • Replaced chain guard with stock
  • Tool bag on front forks
  • Repainted instrument pod enclosure

Future Mods

  • Add center stand (not stock on Hawk I)
  • Add tach (not stock on Hawk I)
  • Build custom solo seat
  • Replace mirrors with round chrome stock style mirrors
  • Add crash bar

Documentation

I have several repair manuals and other manuals for the Hawk I think I scored every one of these from eBay.

1978 Hawk Review Cycle Magazine September 1977

This is a review of the first model release of the Honda Hawk I, II, and Hondamatic. Lots of good things to say, the scan is a little dark and I will try to get a better one in the future. Download PDF (18.1mb)

1978 Honda Hawk I, II, and Hondamatic Owners Manual

Not my original, but an original manual scored off of eBay. Great for some basic information on the Hawk.

Clymer Honda 400-450cc 1978-1981 Service - Repair - Maintenance Manual

This is still available new. I do not really like this one, because there are two many models crammed into one book. This is always the case with this type of manual.

Clymer Hawk 400cc Twins - 1978 Service - Repair - Maintenance Manual

Effectively the first edition of the Clymer manual above. As this exclusively covers my make, model and year I like this one a bit better.

Honda Shop Manual 1978-1981 CB/CM400s

Factory shop manuals are always extremely useful. This is where I finally found the breakdown of the clutch lever and lifter on the right side of the engine so I could figure out that my oil leak was the cause of a $.05 o-ring. Easy fix. My local Honda Parts dealer told me this manual was no longer available.

Official Honda 1978 Hawk I II Hondamatic DIY Maintenance Guide

This is a great little Honda publication. Extremely detailed regular maintenance guide. Doesn't include the in depth repair information that a shop manual or Clymer manual contains. The details on maintenance are probably more detailed than the Clymer. Even includes wiring diagrams. If you find one of these, then snatch it up.

Spare Parts

Following are some of the spare parts I have gathered. Some of these may be for sale or trade and I may have a few not listed:

'78 Hawk parts

  • shocks
  • ignition (w/key)
  • helmet lock (w/o key)
  • seat catch (left & right frame side)
  • seat pan
  • seat
  • chain guard
  • tail light
  • grab bar
  • rear turn signals
  • left side cover
  • right side cover

'80 Hawk parts

  • owner's manual
  • carburator
  • shocks
  • ignition (w/o key, untested)
  • helmet lock (w/o key)
  • chain guard
  • gas tank rubber mounts
  • voltage regulator (untested)
  • under metal seat fender
  • tail section trim
  • passenger pegs
  • fuse box & mounting plate
  • misc wiring harness
  • frame braces
  • throttle cable
  • clutch cable
  • left & right handlebar switches
  • rear axle and adjusters

Wanted

  • instrument pod with tach
  • right side engine cover from Hawk II
  • side cover bolt
  • tach cable
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