1997 Honda 750 Nighthawk

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Work log on Frankenhawk

Update May 20 2009

Well I don't normally keep updates that close to realtime so you'll need to be patient. And I tend to spend my time actually working on the stuff I want to get done so there are no pics up to the end of this page. I'll catch us up to now and try to take some pics of how it stands now for the next uptdate.


Stripped off the tank, broken plastics, instruments, headlight bucket and bracket, and turn signal stubs, and mirror. Pulled the battery, rear fender, airbox, and carbs. Moved the back half of the wiring harness to the front area to get it out of the way. Only things on the back half now are frame, swingarm, wheel/tire, and frame.


Inspected the frame and found...hmm...well no cracks or broken welds but the frame is actually tweaked right in front of the tail-frame joint. Kind of "rolled" back from its shallow angle to no angle. Amount of travel for the other frame parts probably around 1/8 to 1/4 inch. I know no bike shop would touch it because of this—at least, not one in the US. Rest of the world fixes bike frames regularly.


Collected a 6-ton bottle jack, a couple 3in chunks of angle iron, a slabe of ¼in plate, frame chains, and 20 inches of square axle tubing for a brace-bar.

Set the jack on the plate over the bend in the frame. Set the brace-bar on top of it. Wrapped a chain around the brace-bar and a solid point of frame, protecting the frame with the angle iron. A chain on each end of the brace-bar.

Yes, this can turn into quite the balancing act.

Slowly apply pressure with the jack in the middle or near the side that should move and watch the frame bend like a straw. I did this in small steps at four different points on the frame until the stock seat fit all the catch points as it should; front stop, center hooks, and rear latch. If you count the airbox/battery frame space as 0° then there is a 22° sweep up.

Re-inspected the stress points; no cracks that I can see and no twisting. Front and rear still line up clean, chain still has straight path with no twist. Looks good enough. After a couple good rides I'll be able to tell if she needs any bracing.


While looking into the welding options I tore down the carbs and rebuilt them, lubed all cables, adjusted the chain, and straightened the plate holder. I also rolled it outside and gave it a degreasing on a day that decided to rain only after I put it on to soak. Ah, well.


When looking at getting the left peg welded back on I had two options. One is a friend who owns a grain elevator and concrete plant and does repairs on his own equipment. Call it "farm welding"—it'll work but may not be best here. The other is the welding instructor at the local highschool shop. My wife works there and knows him. After finally getting a way to schedule in the time, I went with the welding instuctor. He has several different kinds of welding rigs and knows the best way to keep the metal from getting fatigued.

Loaded the bike up again, took it to the school, unloaded, he welded the stub back on, loaded it up, took it home, and unloaded. Total turn around time about an hour. The cost; a hand shake and promise to bring it around when it's on the road. And the weld is so clean it is hard to tell from the factory welds. Sweet!


Next I'll put the carbs, cables, airbox, and battery back on and try to get it started. If all goes well I should be able to start syncing it soon—mabye even this weekend.

I should have it running shortly and, with another $200 or $300 in parts, I should be able to get it on the road before the end of the month. Not pretty, but legal. Oh, and I'll need to locate a headlight mount bracket (think it's called a stay) now because the wire-like bracket broke while trying to straighten it.


Parts to locate (either salvage or ebay) to get it legal:

I won't know the state of the brakes or horn until after it's running again. If anything else is bad I should have spare parts to fix/replace them.

And because of the high cost of stock gauges ($300 for speedo) I'll probably go aftermarket digital like TrailTech Vapor, Acewell, or those 2" minis that don't have a vendor name. A single Acewell 27xx (2752) or 28xx would look best followed by a pair of minis. Vapor may look odd on the rounded lines of the Nighthawk. I'll have to coble up a bracket for whatever gets put on. I just noted that kosonorthamerica.com sells several different ones—some are really nice.

I may do the whole frankenstein thing for the headlight if I have to fake up a mount bracket. Especially since the only ebay bucket I can find is $125. Maybe an older Goldwing bucket I saw for $6 will do. A 7" bucket won't even look that different. And I can clamp to the upper fork tubes if necessary.


The tank may end up frankenstein'd too. At $500 new—and nothing ebay—I may must have to make a jig off the banged up one and test it against junkyard tanks until something fits. But that's down the road a little yet...who knows what'll show up.

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