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Motorcycle Repair/Honda CL350 cam sprocket bolt question


Hi, Bill. I’m reinstalling my CB350 engine that I had the timing chain replaced last winter by a local shadetree mechanic I know. The mechanic, who’s been rebuilding Honda engines for decades and had his own shop in the 70s, did something that has me a bit worried, though: To finish up, he had to loosen the cam sprocket, taking off the two bolts. Now I know they MUST be put back on in proper order, but when he took them off, he casually tossed them aside, which freaked me out, and I made mention of the fact you can’t get those mixed up. His response was along the lines of, “You can’t mix them up; they need to go in such-and-such a way.” I forget his exact words, but whatever they were, he seemed either oblivious to the fact that they CAN get mixed up, or else he knew they could only go back in a certain way (I don’t know where he could get that from). The engine’s  done and in the bike ready to go, so should I be concerned? As I say, this guy’s been doing bikes for 40 years so he should know his stuff. If he did screw up, is there any way I would know through engine noise or anything similar that the bolts were working their way out before serious damage occurred, that I could kill the motor and save it before meltdown? Thanks!

Vince, you are right, there are two different bolts that go on the camshaft sprocket installation  #14/15

#14 has a shoulder on it to help index the sprocket properly.

That said, if you mix them up, tightening the wrong bolt in the wrong hole will break the edge of the camshaft mounting boss. 50-50 deal here. You can check his work by popping off the top cover and looking at the sprocket bolt and where it is located.

The shouldered bolt goes in the short side of the sprocket recess.

Rotate the engine until you can access the shouldered bolt and remove it for inspection and/or check that the edges of the camshaft are not fractured. If everything looks normal, then replace the top cover and torque the nuts back down to 15 ft. lbs.

Bill Silver  

Motorcycle Repair

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Bill Silver


Need help with vintage Hondas from the 1960s? I am an expert with 250-305cc bikes in particular and most all of the other pre-91 models, in general. I do NOT claim to have a great deal of experience on Gold Wings, Cruisers, ATC/ATVs and dirt bikes.


I have owned/ridden/maintained Honda motorcycles for 35 years. I have written five books on Honda repairs and collecting. I was a service manager for two Honda shops back in the 1980s.

VJMC (Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club) of North America

VJMC newsletter, as editor for two years and as contributing editor currently.

3 years auto shop in high school, teacher's aide in Automotive Technology in Jr. College, Diesel mechanic course in college, self-taught mechanic and automotive writer.

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