Wednesday, 12 February 2014

The story of my Honda CB500F

Begin November 2013, Buying my motorbike 
I bought my Honda CB500F at the "Honda Big Wing" dealer in Udon Thani (Thailand) also called "Nat Motorsale Limited Partnership". After a smooth and friendly sale I did ride home with my motorbike.

Frame-number  : MLHPC-4570-E-5200015
Engine-number : PC44E5200015
Color                 : White

At the end of November 2013 my motorbike had his/her first service check at 1000 km at the Honda Big Wing dealer in Udon Thani (Thailand). Everything was checked, oil + oil-filter replaced. I did oversee the work done, I have checked the oil-level before leaving. Everything was OK.

6 January 2014, the first time I noticed oil missing
After coming home from a trip to North Thailand I checked the oil level .....

6 January 2014 at 4344 km riding
6 January 2014 at 4344 km riding
As you can see at the second photo there was actually not much to see as there was almost no oil. So I did ride to the local Honda dealer in Khon Kaen where the local mechanic confirmed that the oil level was too low. I called the Honda Big Wing dealer in Udon Thani (Thailand) and I was told to add 100 cc by 100 cc until the oil level is ok. The mechanic of the local Honda dealer did add 400 cc to the level as you can see in the next photo.

6 January 2014 after topping-up with 400 cc of engine oil
After adding the first 400 cc another 400 cc was added. So now in total 800 cc was added to a level as you can see in the next 2 photos taken the next day. So I had lost 800 cc of the 2700 cc that was put in the motorbike at the 1000 km service check. Actually more as the level is still not full.

7 January 2014 with cold engine (notice the oil is black)
7 January 2014 with warm engine (notice the oil is black)

7 January 2014, The motorbike tested
The next day a mechanic from Honda Big Wing Udon Thani (Thailand) came to check the motorbike at my house.
  • First check of external oil leaking : None
  • Second check of leaking of the oil ring behind the front sprocket : None
  • Third check the muffler : Wow very dirty!
The next day 2 mechanics from Honda Big Wing Udon Thani (Thailand) came to my house to pickup the motorbike with the promise to send the motorbike to Bangkok for testing. Up to that day I had been riding about 4355 km with my motorbike.

Actually they did never send my motorbike to Bangkok, but started to test themselves. They did never ask me or told me but I was told later that they made a test-ride with it of about 100 km and indeed they did notice oil consumption of about 100 cc. And still arguing "That is normal"!

The next 4 photos show the "exhaust test" done by Honda Big Wing Udon Thani (Thailand). On my request also the valve-settings have been checked. Settings were within specification, but a bit on the high side. But all OK according to Honda Big Wing Udon Thani (Thailand) and A.P. Honda (Thailand).

Notice the black spikes

And that is where all the problems started with excuses like ....
1. Oil consuming is normal (well maybe for a Honda CB500F)
2. You should not use a after-market muffler (what I only used for 50 km)
3. You ride too long (what I cannot ride for more as a few hours at once?)
4. You ride too fast (what I never do but I did not know this is a scooter?)

A representative from A.P. Honda Co. Ltd. (Thailand) even showed me "red-line test" results to proof oil consuming is normal. What is a red-line test? Well they use the engine for 20 hours at 8500 rpm. Yes, then any engine abused for 20 hours will consume oil. That is not what I do, that is not how 99% of the motor-bikers ride.

15 January 2014, The Cylinder-Head-Cover replaced
The Cylinder-Head-Cover was removed & replaced by a new one at the Honda Big Wing dealer in Udon Thani (Thailand). At that day a representative of A.P. Honda Co. Ltd. (Thailand) was there to monitor the work done. According to him the old Cylinder-Head-Cover was probably made "out-of-specification". I have NEVER been informed if this was the case yes or no.

At the first photo you see the inside of the 2 small chambers that are in the Cylinder-Head-Cover. They are a part of the emission control system. You can clearly see in both chambers a layer of consumed engine oil. This was also confirmed by the representative of A.P. Honda Co. Ltd. (Thailand).

The inside of the top-side of the Cylinder-Head-Cover
At the second photo you see the inside of the Cylinder-Head-Cover, where again you can clearly see remains of  engine oil on the 2 small pipe's in the middle.

The inside of the Cylinder-Head-Cover
The Cylinder-Head-Cover and the Cylinder-Head gasket have been replaced. After that the engine was re-filled with standard Honda engine oil.

Serial number of the Cylinder-Head-Cover?

16 January 2014, Oil level checked at home (clean oil!)
My motorbike was returned to me the next day and on the last photo you can see the oil level. When my motorbike was returned it had 4579 km on the odo-meter. So while it was being tested by Honda Big Wing Udon Thani (Thailand) it had been riding about 224 km!

27 January 2014, The second time I noticed oil missing

21 January 2014, muffler still clean
21 January 2014, at 4725 km
On 26 January and 27 January I made a 714 km 2 day return trip from Khon Kaen (Thailand) to Nakhon Phanom (Thailand).
Begin of trip at 26 January 2014, oil still clean
Begin of trip at 26 January 2014, at 5046 km
Second day of trip at 27 January 2014, black spikes on the muffler again
Second day of trip at 27 January 2014, low & black oil
Second day of trip at 27 January 2014, at 5760 km
As you can see on 26 January 2014 at 5046 km the engine oil level was still normal and the oil was clean. At 27 January 2014 at 5760 km (714 km riding) the oil level is much lower and the oil is black.

28 January 2014, last time oil level check with cold engine
This shows that between 16 January 2014 and 28 January 2014 I have been riding 1181 km and the oil level went from full 100% to low 25%. That oil has NOT been leaking, that oil has been consumed by the engine (probably pressed out via the exhaust, destroying also the Catalytic Converter).

11 February 2014, The solution
I do not know what others find normal or acceptable, but for me a brand new motorbike that did cost 205.00 Thai baht (6700 us$) should not consume engine oil in the way this motorbike is doing. I do not trust this motorbike anymore, and I would not trust any motorbike from the new Honda CB500-models.

So the first the solution would be "New motorbike"
Refused by Honda Big Wing Udon Thani (Thailand) with the suggestion "Then you will come back again and again". Why? Are all motorbikes with this engine consuming oil?

Second solution would be "New engine"
Refused by Honda Big Wing Udon Thani (Thailand). Probably due to the same reason as the refusal of the first option.

Third solution would be "Send motorbike back to factory for testing"
Refused by myself as by now I had more & more information indicating that all engines of the CB500-models are consuming engine oil. That means that there probably is a design flaw and that cannot be just fixed . So I would end-up with a always having problems engine anyway.

Last option "Buying back my motorbike"
Honda Big Wing Udon Thani (Thailand) will buy back my motorbike. Also this option was at first refused by Honda Big Wing Udon Thani (Thailand). But later a insulting offer of 140.000 Thai baht was made. And a bit later a more or less acceptable offer was made. Only acceptable for me as I really do want to get rid & forget this all unpleasant episode and start enjoy riding motorbike again. I still think I should be refunded 95% of the new price of the motorbike plus the other costs that I made and lost now.

So I sold my motorbike back to Honda Big Wing Udon Thani (Thailand) after riding only 5760 km with it. And I lost a considerable amount of money with that, not only in the price of the motorbike itself but also in some after-market parts that I bought with a total value of 11.900 Thai baht (384 us$).

Last photo of my Honda CB500F
P.s. All oil level checks have been performed like instructed in the manual in the same conditions at a straight level. Checks have been done with both warm & cold engine.