VF400F info

Discussion in '1st & 2nd Generation 1983-1989' started by maximus86, Apr 23, 2014.

  1. maximus86

    maximus86 New Member

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    Hi!

    In search of a new project, I found a guy who's selling three Honda VF400F bikes. One of them has a VF500F engine, there are also quite a bit of spares, all bikes are non-runners at the moment, one 400 is in boxes.
    All engines are supposed to be running, the VF500F motor was rebuilt completely. He thinks it's doable to make 2 functioning bikes out of the parts heap, but has no time anymore to continue the project.

    I want to know everything I should know about these bikes and engines before I decide to buy them. Unfortunately there is almost no clear info to be found on these, other than the fact that they were excellent handlers, had a wonderful power delivery but reliability was sub-par. Apparently the VF500F had an oiling issue for the first model year? Nothing about the VF400F..
    I also found that the valves need to be adjusted very, very well, and if you f up one valve, you will ruin the whole rocker.

    I would like to get some input from owners of these bikes, especially the VF400F.

    - What are the good and bad things about these bikes?
    - Is reliability really that much of an issue?
    - Are there any direct swap front-ends or wheels? I don't like the air assist forks and inboard brakes
    - Does anyone know a good source of info on these bikes?

    I hope some of you might be able to help me on this.

    I found some guys who did an F2 fork and wheel swap on the VF500F, don't know if this is feasible with the VF400F.

    If I were to buy these bikes, it is to keep the stock looks but modernize the bikes a bit (and learn in the process).
    As indicated above, this would mean inboard brakes will have to go (unsprung weight, reliability, parts availability), the forks will have to go too
     
  2. maximus86

    maximus86 New Member

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    Already found some more info, and at least someone has attempted to mount NC30 forks and wheels to the standard VF400F:

    [​IMG]
     
  3. tinkerinWstuff

    tinkerinWstuff Administrator Staff Member

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    The 500 had issues but "oiling", by most accounts, is an Internet rumor.
     
  4. maximus86

    maximus86 New Member

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    Can you name some issues then, please?
     
  5. tinkerinWstuff

    tinkerinWstuff Administrator Staff Member

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    There were issues with cam shaft wear and valve stems but the cause was metallurgy and manufacturing techniques, not caused by oiling.

    Besides that, they're a fun bike and if purchased right and as a project, they can be a lot of fun. They are not generally well suited for poor young adults with no mechanical experience looking for reliable transportation to work or school.
     
  6. commrad

    commrad New Member

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    Any info you find on the 500 applies to the 400, same bike (but with a larger bore for the American market if I remember correctly).

    I can't believe I'm saying this but..... what tinkerin said.
     
  7. maximus86

    maximus86 New Member

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    Tthat's again solid info.

    Lol, I still young, but transportation is of no issue, money can be tight but what's the fun in being able to buy everything premade. Working on a budget is much more satisfying.
     
  8. maximus86

    maximus86 New Member

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    I went to have a look in person to the bikes, but have not made an offer yet.
    in total, there are supposed to be 3 complete bikes, all with title

    There are 3 x 400cc engines, of which 1 is disassembled, and one 500cc engine.
    Two bikes are completely disassembled, and in boxes, one is assembled but has not run for +5 years.
    Tanks have a bit of surface rust and crap in them, but seem okay. There is one collector that was welded, one pair of dented mufflers, and one pair of brand new repro mufflers. There are CD-roms with microfiches, and two books with the bikes.
    1 x black bodywork, 2 whites, the latter of which only one is looking well.
    Of the 3 fork pairs, 1 pair is shot from a collision, but I would be swapping forks anyway.

    For your viewing pleasure:

    [​IMG]
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    [​IMG]
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    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  9. commrad

    commrad New Member

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    never realized the 400 had round tube frames. The 500 is square tube.
     
  10. MPH Racing

    MPH Racing New Member

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    If you have the space get them. Rebuild one out of all the best parts and then sell all the rest on E-bay or what ever and probably pay for the rebuild.
     
  11. Badbilly

    Badbilly Official VFRWorld Troll Of The Year!

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    That's the smart move.
     
  12. maximus86

    maximus86 New Member

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    Are the gasket sets for the VF400 the same as the VF500?
    I cannot seem to find a gasket set no matter how deep I dig, apparently the current (maybe soon "previous") owner was unable to find a set too..

    Same question for the swingarm. If I were to buy this, conventional brakes have to go on, this means I would either swap VF500 wheels or CBR600F2 (as others did)
    Would that be feasible? I saw one guy who swapped the VF500 front into his VF400 but the topic does not seem to be updated anymore
     
  13. Mohawk

    Mohawk New Member

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    The 500 engine is a bored out 400, so all bottom end gaskets should be the same. The head gasket is probably the ONLY different one, as there are no base gaskets as the bores are cast into the upper crankcase. They were great bikes & new shock, forks & 17" front would give better tyre choices.
    The pic above is of a VF400F chassis fitted with NC30/NC35 engine, front & rear ends. Practical Sportsbikes mag in the UK, is building a replica after seeing it in the Japanese race series.

    If you can get that lot for a good price & have the space to keep & work on it & get it transported, then do it. The VF500 was good for approx 130mph, mine made 59rwhp at 47K/miles. It was a great bike, but the first time I rode a CBR600F4 I realized how handling had moved on ! But I did like my VF500 :)
     
  14. commrad

    commrad New Member

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    here you go on the F2 wheel swap, Jamie is a great guy to deal with. http://www.daughertymotorsports.com/v4section.html#wheelswap

    as for the handling. My 500 will out corner any 600 I've ran into with a modified CBR600 Fox twin clicker on the rear, gold valves and springs in the front. Only thing that has ever out cornered it was an Aprillia 250 race bike.
     
  15. commrad

    commrad New Member

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    oh yeah, I didn't know Jamie did fork valves or I would have him do the forks instead of Race Tech.
     
  16. maximus86

    maximus86 New Member

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    It's the head gasket I was indeed the most worried about.
    The owner mentioned he had to have one made for the engine he rebuilt. Front gasket was easy to find, rear gasket, due to what I assume is the crankcase breather, was impossible to find.

    That pic, except for the single side swingarm, is the direction I'm seeing myself going. It's stunning.

    I am still in the cost-estimate phase. The plan to bid around 1000EUR for the lot. I want to be able to build one bike for around 2500eur, including suspension and new gaskets and seals throughout.
    I have no idea what a CBR600F2 front end and wheels would cost me, and then I still don't have the brakes. Investigating that now.
    If an exhaust from the VFR series would fit, that would mean another less thing to worry about. Only other mod I would foresee is a programmable CDI.

    I would be able to buy, transport and store the lot. (albeit not in a warm garage, but in an unheated shed, which might not be the best idea in Belgian weather)

    When I was there, I just sat on the bike that was assembled, and was amazed by the wonderful seating position. I like bikes that seem to fit like a pair of worn jeans. If I end up not buying this, I'll probably start looking for a VF500F as a base. (because of the much, much higher amount of info that can be found on these)
     
  17. maximus86

    maximus86 New Member

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    Thanks for even more info!

    I already sent an email to Jamie yesterday, still waiting for an answer. I've read about the stuff he did/is doing.

    @commrad, do you still have the VF500 forks then?
     
  18. commrad

    commrad New Member

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    yeah but the upper tubes are bent. I totaled the bike when a woman turned left in front of me talking on a cell phone. That's what paid for the upgrades. I plan on taking the ones on the bike apart at some point and rebuilding my old ones, the lowers I have on there now have road rash on both sides (ebay forks).

    If you can find the upper tubes at a decent price you can have these lowers once I swap them out if you pay the shipping. I don't know but the 400 upper tubes may work. Do some homework on that one, I don't have access to the 400 parts list as there were not imported here.
     
  19. commrad

    commrad New Member

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    oh yeah, you'd have to have the dampening rod too or straighten these.
     
  20. maximus86

    maximus86 New Member

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    I think it would be better to look for a set of 500 forks on this side of the pond then :p

    Was just curious, as I assumed most people swapped the forks too when swapping the wheels.
    IIRC, the F2 wheels allow you to keep the speedo drive, right?
     
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