Bought a 87 Honda Elite 50 (non running) - where to begin?

Trying to get your Spree/Elite to run, or run better? Post your questions here.

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Re: Bought a 87 Honda Elite 50 (non running) - where to begin?

Post by Meatball » Sun Aug 25, 2019 3:37 pm

Starter: remove the starter by removing the two mounting bolts. You’ll see a green ground wire (from stator) on one of the bolts so make note of where that goes for reassembly. Theres also a plug connection of some sort on the starter itself. These connections varied throughout the years whereas sometimes its a simple squeeze/snap plug and other times you need to peel back the rubber to expose a tiny screw.

Once out, you can bench test the starter with a 12v source. Typically done with any jumper wires you have handy. Run the red (+) to the copper tab on the starter and touch the black (-) to anywhere on the outer metal body of the starter. If the starter doesnt spin this way, its cooked. Take a picture of the starter you have (showing the plug tab) and post it here. Someone will usually have one for a decent price.?
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Re: Bought a 87 Honda Elite 50 (non running) - where to begin?

Post by nhill40 » Sun Aug 25, 2019 4:04 pm

Thanks for the info, I'll pull the starter when I get a chance.

As far as your other advice, are you saying you think I need a new drive face?

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Re: Bought a 87 Honda Elite 50 (non running) - where to begin?

Post by Meatball » Sun Aug 25, 2019 6:35 pm

nhill40 wrote:
Sun Aug 25, 2019 4:04 pm
are you saying you think I need a new drive face?
Nope, but removing the drive face to service the vari rollers, belt, etc...is something you will be doing along the way eventually and destroying the crank splines is a typical pitfall for this motor due to bad design. Honda fixed the design in the next motor (AF16). Usually one of the first things I do when dealing with a “new to me” AF05 motor is check the condition of the splines. If theyve been destroyed....game over.

Also, depending on if this is an SE50 or SE50p, there may be a restrictor plate on the back of the variator that can be removed for better performance and top speed.
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Re: Bought a 87 Honda Elite 50 (non running) - where to begin?

Post by Meatball » Mon Aug 26, 2019 1:21 am

Saw the video, kick assembly visually looks proper. Binding can happen for a few reasons. For example, if the kick gear struggles to retract from the drive face during the upstroke of the kick starter arm, it may simply need lubrication. There are friction points in this assembly and they need lube for smooth operation. The kick gear gets sticky in the pocket it sits in and also the keeper spring thats wrapped around it. A few dabs of lithium grease on the spindle teeth wouldnt hurt either.

Another possibility is incorrect spacing between the kick gear and the drive face. This can stem from an incorrect drive face or improper length drive boss.

A good way to ensure long life of the teeth in the kick start system is proper procedure. Depress the kick lever down gently until you feel the teeth engage, then follow through with the kick. Too many times I see people mashing the arm down like a gorilla crushing beer cans and shear the teeth clean off!
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Re: Bought a 87 Honda Elite 50 (non running) - where to begin?

Post by nhill40 » Tue Aug 27, 2019 1:03 pm

Sorry, didn't see your follow up post till just now - a little lube would have occurred to most, but not me!

Sick as a dog the last couple days, so I might not get to it for another day or so, but eager to give it a spin.

I reckon I should also be on the hunt for a new crank case gasket, eh? There was only a couple inch long fossilized remnants of a gasket when I disassembled. Probably a long shot, but could the mm or 2 width of the missing gasket be enough to jam it up?

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Re: Bought a 87 Honda Elite 50 (non running) - where to begin?

Post by Meatball » Tue Aug 27, 2019 4:17 pm

Gasket is not needed. Its great for keeping water out if you ride in the rain or nice if your carb leaks to keep fuel/oil off your belt but thats it. Ive had 6-7 SE50’s, none of them had a gasket and it was never an issue for the kickstart functionality. For those that think its needed to keep dirt out, its not. The belt/clutch gunk that builds up inside from normal operation is all Ive ever found inside.

Some people use their scooter in all types of weather. I only ride on dry days for my own comfort and safety. For anyone riding in wet weather, the gasket is 100% vital. Water in the belt cavity will wreak havoc on belt/clutch performance. Also, rust and corrosion will happen very quickly inside there.
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Re: Bought a 87 Honda Elite 50 (non running) - where to begin?

Post by nhill40 » Sun Sep 01, 2019 12:36 am

Thanks again. Lubed it up pretty thoroughly, kicks through perhaps a little smoother, but still sticks.

Very frustrating because the behavior is so repeatable and predictable, but for the life of me I can't mentally visualize what might be happening internally to account for it. Makes me wish I could snake a camera in there.

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Re: Bought a 87 Honda Elite 50 (non running) - where to begin?

Post by Wheelman-111 » Mon Sep 02, 2019 2:27 pm

Greetings:

The outer cover might be too close to the drive sheave. Try a couple of washers between the case and the cover if you don't have the gasket.
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Re: Bought a 87 Honda Elite 50 (non running) - where to begin?

Post by nhill40 » Wed Sep 04, 2019 6:17 pm

Interesting, I'll give that a try and report back - thanks!

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Re: Bought a 87 Honda Elite 50 (non running) - where to begin?

Post by Meatball » Wed Sep 04, 2019 11:56 pm

I have a new belt cover gasket if you feel the need for one.
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Re: Bought a 87 Honda Elite 50 (non running) - where to begin?

Post by nhill40 » Tue Sep 10, 2019 10:50 pm

Sorry to have gone dark - been variously sick & busy.

I can't believe what I'm about to type...I just rode the damned thing around the block tonight!!!

I owe you guys a ton, what a great feeling! This might seem like a small achievement and, in the grand scheme of things, it certainly is, but it meant a lot to me for my confidence to get this done. I don't remember if I mentioned it in the first post, but I have some ambitions of doing some amateur racing (like Formula Vee) and I feel like I am well behind the curve in terms of the kind of mechanical aptitude I need to have for such a hobby. This little scooter is hopefully the first step down that road.

Back to the scooter, I think the long term fix is to make a gasket of decent thickness for the crank case. The washers are what did the trick to get it running. I think the kick mechanism and the drive face were just too smooshed together and it was simply getting jammed up. Less than 1/8" of space was enough to get it free spinning again. I had to kick and kick and kick and kick and kick, but it finally started. With just a smidge of throttle, it now starts up with one gentle kick.

It produced a remarkable cloud of white smoke when it first fired up. It makes a bit of white smoke now, but nowhere near like when it first fired. Left to it's own devices, it'll die after a few seconds of idling, but just a teensy bit of throttle keeps it running. When it's actually revved up, it runs like a little clock.

I would love to do some tuning on it now - I'm not talking hot rodding kind of stuff, I mean like basic maintenance and adjustments. Beyond that, it needs cleaned up and the body work reassembled.

Well, that's my story! I really can't say thank you enough - I've had a lot of fun, but I would have been lost without your help!

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Re: Bought a 87 Honda Elite 50 (non running) - where to begin?

Post by nateberrier » Wed Sep 11, 2019 11:55 am

If you want to get the thing tuned up, I would start with a new belt. That will show you some massive improvement.
Keli variator (you can look up the ones for aero 50s on ebay) is a cheap way to get some smoother acceleration as well.

Smoke is pretty normal, usually the oil pump leaks a little esp when sitting, and you end up with a bunch of smoke when starting it up. My 86 Aero did this before I swapped it.

Probably the best thing overall is fresh gas and putting some miles on it. I know on all three of my scoots that they seemed to burn off a bunch of oil in the exhaust for the first 2-3 rides. Also gives you a starting point once you have fresh gas and oil in the system to start really troubleshooting.
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Re: Bought a 87 Honda Elite 50 (non running) - where to begin?

Post by nhill40 » Thu Sep 12, 2019 2:58 pm

So, if the scooter seems a little sluggish to get going on initial acceleration, would the new belt help on that?

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Re: Bought a 87 Honda Elite 50 (non running) - where to begin?

Post by nateberrier » Thu Sep 12, 2019 3:42 pm

nhill40 wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 2:58 pm
So, if the scooter seems a little sluggish to get going on initial acceleration, would the new belt help on that?
If you have an old belt, I would suggest getting one, but its possible that the carb could need a little adjustment for initial acceleration. some of my bikes have just been like that though. stiffer clutch springs can help too.
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Re: Bought a 87 Honda Elite 50 (non running) - where to begin?

Post by nhill40 » Sun Sep 15, 2019 12:05 pm

Cool, took crankcase apart to make my gasket today. Belt actually looks new-ish... ordered a new one anyways (wasn't particularly expensive), will have a backup I guess.

I also adjusted the rear brake...lever was very "soft". Took the rear brake housing apart and did a visual inspection. Shoes look very worn, but not done for, so I just adjusted the brake wire and now they "grab" very nicely.

Other than that, ordered a new front blinker lens (old one broken off). Assuming my crankcase gasket does the trick (I made one out of the thicker cork, which is about the exact same thickness of the washers I was using), I think it's about time to start putting the body back together.

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