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Unfriendly Benly adventure continues… sick and twisted.

CA95 crankshaft vs. CB92 crankshaft details, including twisted crankshaft findings. NEW crankshaft on the bottom
CA95 crankshaft vs. CB92 crankshaft details, including twisted crankshaft findings. NEW crankshaft on the bottom
Bill Silver

After searching the web, contacting forums and generally begging and pleading for a new crankshaft I thought I found one with my friends at Western Hills Honda in Cincinnati, OH. When parts wizard Terry checked his computer, the inventory list showed TWO new crankshafts in their inventory. The last part numbers for the CA95 crankshafts are 13000-207-020, superseded from a 13000-206-000 and even earlier from a 13000-205-385 part from a CB92 Benly Super Sport. I was informed that the “current retail price was $741,” but a request to management might reduce the price downwards. For reasons only known inside of AHMC, the crankshaft retail price for a CB92 is $2,083, even though it is essentially the same part as far as I know. I suppose some Honda engineer might have insights as to what changes were made from one version to the next, but they appear to be identical externally.

I was told to call the next day, as the warehouse where the cranks are stored was away from the retail store and they were short-handed that day. So, I patiently waited for 24 hours and called again. The bad news was that they were unable to find either one of these long-stored items where they were supposed to be. Off-handedly, I inquired about a 205 code part, which also came up on their computer list as “in stock” (somewhere). I had been offered the non-existent crankshafts for $400, so I hoped that the price would remain the same for one that they did have in stock. My follow-up call was more encouraging in that they did find a crankshaft, but it was not in the original box, so they were unsure if it was a 205 or 207 code part. It did have the correct main bearing configurations which indicated a late model crank, so I asked for it to be shipped out right away.

It took seven days to get from OH to San Diego and the cherry UPS girl left it on the garage floor and sprinted away. The box looked fine and the crankshaft was wrapped up in a cocoon of bubble wrap and other packing materials for the UPS Ground journey. So far, so good… or so I thought.

After unwrapping the crankshaft, and lubing up the bearings, I noticed that the rod side clearance was MUCH less than the old crankshaft clearances. It was necessary to change out the primary drive gear from the old crank snout to the new one, so the lockwasher tab was bent back and the 4 prong nut removed. This actually takes a deep socket version of the normal tool to use to remove crankshaft nuts on the small twins, so I had to spin it off with a dull chisel. When I went to replace the nut after the gear was removed and installed in the new crankshaft the nut wouldn’t thread on. I took a closer look and found damaged threads on the end of the crankshaft, but just in one small spot, as if the crankshaft had been dropped on concrete or something similar. Using a metric thread file, I was able to clean up the damaged area and the old nut spun back onto the crankshaft snout with ease. The nut was tightened down and the lock tab bent back into place. I had already installed the kickstarter shaft and transmission gears in the upper case half, so it should have been a snap to just drop the crankshaft into the case and start tying it all back together again. Of course, a rather disturbing issue came to my attention when I went to spin the crankshaft in the bearings. It would turn about 80% of the way, and then suddenly become “tight” in one spot! As the crankshaft was turned back and forth it was apparent that the center main bearing was moving up and down in conjunction with the crankshaft binding feel.

Standing back a bit to take in the whole picture, I realized that the flats on the crankshaft, next to where the rods are attached were not flat and parallel with each other. The crankshaft was twisted out of index by forces or reasons unknown. There was no way I was going to install it and even attempt to fire the bike up with a twisted crankshaft. I called up my wizard machinist friend Bruce, and explained the situation to him. He has done many, many crankshaft repairs, but I don’t know if he had done one on a small Honda twin before. We have arranged a meeting on Monday, so he can evaluate what I have and what he might be able to do to repair this “new” crankshaft. Fingers-crossed, I await our meeting next week to see if we can salvage this project or not. My long-suffering friend who owns the Benly called to commiserate with me about the difficulties I have faced in getting his bike repaired and was perfectly willing to just come down and pick up the basket case, as it is, if a suitable repair can’t be made. What started out as a $100 repair job (which is what we both guessed in the beginning) is headed into the 4 figure mark now, with no assurances that there will ultimately be a happy conclusion to this Unfriendly Benly adventure.

More to come soon….

Bill “MrHonda” Silver