Carole Nash
Content Writer
Published: 3rd September 2018

Insidebikes’ Scott Redmond is currently working on his Honda CBR400RR project bike. The 1991 machine cost him £550 and we’ll be following him and the Honda as they get roadworthy over the winter months.


In this instalment, it’s the turn of the carburettors to meet Scotty’s elbow grease…


The temptation to leave my dirty bank of Keihin carbs bathing until another day was overwhelming but after a few days of them sitting on top of the heap of parts that I’ve taken off my CBR400RR I decided I better pull my finger out. The carbs were thoroughly filthy externally, looking more akin to something plucked from a two stroke. I once had a proper parts washer, but somewhere along the line I got shot of it, at times like this I wonder why I would have done something daft like that.


Like those weird twists within nature, one of the best things for cleaning up the outside of a skanky set of carbs is the very stuff that get pumped through them internally.


With a very sturdy plastic crate in place I popped my trusty plastic syphon inside an old petrol tank that I had in the garage. An instant parts washer! It wasn’t too long until I had about half a gallon of unwanted unleaded slushing about and I was good to go. Another rummage in the garage found me a selection of old paint brushes and, without further ado, I was off.


It wasn’t too long before the grime started to dissolve from the 27 year old carbs. In every nook and cranny there was varying depths of mechanical mess, after ten minutes or so they were looking about the best that I could hope for, nowhere near perfect, but much cleaner than they’d started off. This will make the task of stripping them down a bit more pleasurable.


After allowing them to dry off I can at last see what had lay under that muck.


The choke rail now moves freely, and all four carb tops are in good order with no cracks or repairs. The countless number of tiny screws, all look pretty rusty. I have already encountered one screw, that holds the choke cable in place, that was already chewed up and therefore stuck in situ for the time being. I fear that there’s a few more that will play up when I come to undo them.


Before I can contemplate pulling off the float bowls, removing countless tiny circlips and the like I need to make a nice clean space on the bench, not to mention finding an assortment of little tubs in which to place everything in. What is it about us motorcyclists and the need to put motorcycle parts inside old butter tubs and freezer bags?


More importantly I need to find my finest screwdrivers for the job. My everyday tools consist of everything that you need to strip down your typical used motorcycle into component parts, but when it’s a case of taking things apart and knowing that you’ll be responsible for putting them back together you do approach the mission with a difference stance. With most of my screwdrivers doubling up into drifts and all manner of jobs they weren’t designed to be used for I think I might treat myself to some new screwdrivers, well maybe just one or two.


My hunt for suitable Anchor containers and empty Ben and Jerry tubs begins right now…


Costs so far £550

Money back £25


What we’ve learned so far?

It’s pretty easy to make your own parts washer.

Cleaning away the crud will reveal further misery.

I have a legitimate excuse to scoff ice cream…