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Pidjones' bicentenial build (a '76 RD400)

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I guess my attachments were too big when I first tried to start this.

Brought the '76 RD400 basket case home today (well, roller with engine in frame, but a BIG bin of parts came with it.)

I've already ordered new keys from the ebay vendor that cuts them by code#. There was a lot more there for it than I thought, but a few things that I'll have to find or make - one thing is the air cleaner cap. Also needs rear fender, rear "stay" tail light and bracket, rear signals, speedometer (the one with it was mangled), mufflers, one air cleaner joint, air filter (has a nice nest in place of one). I suspect that it needs a throttle cable, but that has yet to be proven. Needs a new chain and set cover, latch for the seat, grips (I have several new sets), tires. That should get me started.... to poverty.

I pushed the starter down by hand (no plugs) and it felt like the amount of resistance was correct. The reeds are still in place on it.

I want to clean X years of "stuff" out of the case - don't know how it was stored although it does not show typical signs of being left in the weather - more likely in the dry in a shed or barn. I want to check compression, but want to also protect it. How should I flush/oil/etc. or should I just go ahead and buy a gasket set and pull it apart? There is no gear oil in it, so I'll probably flush that side with Marvel Mystery Oil and then fill with an oil good for wet clutches like Rotella T6 5W40 (which I have used in my GL1800 since new, now with 123000 miles).

BTW, check out the unmolested disks on it!

I wonder why he changed the discs?

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The only safe way in going about this is to strip the whole thing down to bare frame and crankcases.  Hoping for any short cuts on a rebuild, particularly if you don't know it's history, will pretty much always bite you up the arse. 

Once stripped you'll know exactly what's needed plus it'll help decide whether you wish to have a 'correct' resto (good luck chasing all the rare parts you need) or rebuild it to your taste with the tons of after market stuff out there.

Top Tip: Don't rely on repro bearings and seals, buy OEM  ;)

My goal is a stock-looking (no chambers) rescue. Lower handlebars would be the only visual change. Pulling the engine is no problem. I would just rather avoid major engine work. How can I make it safe to just test compression?

Hi, you don't have to start the motor to check the compression, just make sure it is turning over clear of any obstructions and do your test. Just because a motor has good compression it doesn't mean that it is ok, i, like others would suggest splitting the motor to be on the safe side. It doesn't cost a fortune and gives you piece of mind. Good luck with your project.


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