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Honda S90 - Restoration

April 16, 2012 - Bike is For Sale!

It's been a long, long time since I've had the time or motivation to work on my languishing Honda S90 restoration project. I've revived this project, with the intent to sell the bike, since I don't really have much interest in keeping or riding it.

Recently, I've recovered the seat (the old one was pretty beat with some tears), charged the 6v battery and started on rewiring everything with the new wiring harness.

If someone wants to buy it before it's fully back together again (engine and all systems work fine!), with many spare/new/original parts, manuals, ownership, etc.then I'll let it go for $1500 CDN for the whole kit and kaboodle.
Once it's back together again, the asking price will go up to around $2500 CDN for everything.

You can reach me at if you are interested.....

July 24, 2005

Finally had some time and inclination to resume the work on the S90 yesterday afternoon. I replaced all the cables with new grey ones (throttle, clutch, front brake and speedo) and installed the NOS handlebar grips instead of the aftermarket ones the bike came with. The throttle grip took a bit of elbow grease, but I finally managed to get the old one off with some persuasion using a rubber mallet. When it doesn't work, get a BFH! ;-) Reassembled the petcock with some newer parts, so hopefully that will cure the final gas leaking issues that keep plaguing me.

Dropped the engine (again) and pulled out the old hacked wiring and replaced it with the new harness that had arrived courtesy of some eBay'ing. Had to pull the pins and replace the connector housings with the older ones, since the new ones were a bit too tight, but that was an easy task. Fished the front harness connectors to the front of the frame with a handy straightened coathanger wire. Took a bit of fishing of wires, but finally reinstalled the battery. For fun, I installed the horn (another eBay find), turned on the ignition key and hit the horn button. Lo and behold, the horn sounded! Kind of whimpy, but cute and appropriate for a 6V, 40 year old bike. Very cool.

Next step will be to start connecting all the other switches/lights on the handlebars and running some wires for the taillight, then re-install the engine to test to see if it still runs with the new harness. All the wire colours matched so I don't expect any issues with running the engine, but one never knows! Then again, I might decide to test the engine first, before getting too deep into the auxiliary wiring issues. That would probably be a smart thing to do.

Still searching for a flasher (winker) relay and some rear indicator lights to complete the restoration me if you have any leads or know where to find any of these items!

April 13, 2005

Pulled the gas tank off to make it easier to augment the wiring harness to include cables for the headlight, horn and turn signals.
Bit of rust on the frame under the tank, but that can easily be fixed with a touchup with some glossy black rust paint. Might as well, while
the seat is off.

While I was at it, disassembled the petcock, to see what is causing it to have a slow leak. Looks like there is a small hole in the bottom resevoir,
which I can probably fix with JB Weld or some such. Popped on the newly arrived mirrors, which look really sharp!

The first pair of turn signals (winkers for the Pommies tracking this blog) have arrived. I'm waiting for the new headlight bucket/speedo, brake cable
and horn, so the wiring will probably wait till those parts arrive. Still need to find a 2nd pair of turn signals though, and will need a blinker relay of some
sorts to make the winkers wink. ;-)

April 4, 2005

As promised last week, I've posted pictures of some of the used S90 parts that I have for sale here as a result of me replacing items
during my restoration.


Today was "thread the wires through the bars" day. Wasn't too bad, but then doing all internal wiring on my '96 Wide Glide
a few years back helped with the tricks of how to do this. I figured it would be tough getting by the throttle cable on the right side, but
that wasn't too bad as it turns out. So now the new switch housings with full wiring are installed on the bars.

Here's what the new housings look like...very nice!

Next up will be wiring them all in, but that has to wait till the new headlight bucket and turn signals arrive in the mail. Not much point futzing with
wiring till all the parts are here.

Front view of the triple tree with the new wiring exiting the bars.

Still no leaks from the carb float bowl! Yay! Just for fun, I also installed the new kick starter and footpeg rubbers. Gotta practice
safe riding and have good rubbers on, ya know!?!?

Closeup of the non-leaking carb!

But now I've noticed that there is no side stand on this bike, so I'll have to keep an eye out for one on eBay. As you can see from the above photo,
I also need a carb cover....the one that attaches to the air filter box with two bolts.

March 30, 2005

Carb float bowl was still leaking slowly, so I fabricated a new gasket out of thicker cork/rubber material.
Took a bit of trimming and fiddling to get it to fit just right, but now the leak is totally gone! 'Bout time if you ask me.

Took off the old switch housings and put on the new levers. What that means is that I have a set of older ones available. The
housings are in good shape, but could use some polishing to spiff 'em up. They have markings for the turn signals on the right side and
headlight/horn on the left, same as my (the new ones I got are thereverse). There are no switches on the headlight/horn side. There is a
switch on the turn signal side, but the leads have been cut off really short. I figure I'll sell 'em on eBay .

Got a new headlight housing coming with a four bulb speedo unit, so I'll be selling the existing 3-light housing/speedo as well.

The brake cable seems a bit too tight and the end connector doesn't quite fit the levers right, so I've ordered a NOS one
from eBay (where else?). Figured that while I was at it, I would remove the bar clamps, getting ready to route the
wires from the new switch housings through the bars.

March 27, 2005

Today was mainly spent scraping ice on the driveway with the blade on the ATV, in the hopes that it will melt faster and that I can get
a bike out for a ride by mid-week, now that the weather is finally turned warmer.

Dana came down for a beer to the garagemahal, and wanted to hear the S90 running, so I dropped the lift, and kicked her over (the bike...not Dana).
Didn't want to start. Tried start. Pulled the plug, but the spark looked fine, so obviously a gas problem. Very embarassing, when
the wife wants to see the results of all the wrenching and there aren't any!

Pulled the float bowl...bone dry! Guess that is the problem. Turns out the new gasket I fabricated was holding back the float, so
it would never open and let the gas flow. Trimmed the gasket a bit and that solved the problem. Bike started with one kick.
I tested it a few times, before I called Dana back for the "demonstration". 2nd time the S90 started just fine. The sound, minus
the exhaust made Dana laugh.

But now I have a very slow gas leak out of the carb again. Might need a second layer of gasket material, but wasn't inspired to
work on the Honda today, so instead did a bit of welding (fixed a snow shovel and some hunting tree-stand steps), then spent some
time cleaning the grime off my '96 Wide Glide which had been there since Thanksgiving in November when we trailered
the two Dynas down to Florida for US Turkey Day with Dana's family. The new headlight was all shiney and the rest
deadly dull, so some judicious cleaning fixed that up and got the WG sparkling again. While I was on a roll, even
cleaned and treated all the leather bits, including the lower console, saddle and saddle bags. So the WG is ready
to ride as soon as the driveway is clear of the white stuff!

Needed a fix, so I topped up the oil and gas, then took the dirt bike across the ice flows and down the shoulder to a nearby dirt road.
The Yammie s tarted on thefirst kick, and rides a lot nicer without the wonky back wheel. Still too
much snow in the yard...I tried it, but kept spinning the back wheel in the deep, mushy stuff.

It was great to be in the wind again for the first time after a long, cold winter, and has me wanting to take one of the Hawg's out
for a ride. Mid week with any luck!

Felt guilty, not really giving the S90 much attention, so I tried a technique recommended by a member of the
Yahoo Honda S90 group for straightening handlebars. Took a 5' length of heavy aluminum pipe (1/4" wall thickness, part of a
barefoot boom), and slipped it over the left side grip. The heavy pipe and extra leverage let me straighten that side of the bars
so that they match the right side! Love it. Now I don't need to buy new bars.

March 26, 2005

Carburator has been leaking badly for some reason, so tonight's task was to try and figure out what the problem was and fix it.

I had put some RTV gasket maker on the float bowl, but that seemed to make things worse. I picked up some rubber gasket material sheets
today, and used the float bowl and old gasket, which was quite tattered and brittle, to cut a new float bowl gasket. That seemed to do the
trick, with no drips or leaks evident, even with the petcock turned full on. Looks like I solved that one.

The rest of the time was spent setting up the MIG welder (finally....after way too long). Love the electronic helmet.
You can see what you're doing when you start and it goes dark instantly when you crack the arc.
First few beads were pretty rough, till I figured out the distance and speed at which to move the head, and later ones were starting to look good.
Never done any welding before, so that was a lot of fun, finally setting up the toy that had sat in the garage for ages.

Snow is melting fast in the driveway, so rather than install the new switch housings and do lots of wiring work, I think I'll reinstall the
exhaust and muffler so that the S90 will be ready for a test ride later this week, once the ice is gone.

March 24, 2005

Spent some time playing with the S90 in the garage tonight. Rerouted the
wiring and rectifier inside the frame (where it belongs) and checked spark. Yup. Got spark still.

Reinstalled the engine, hooked up the carb, added gas to the tank and
dropped the lift. Turned everything on, and tried kicking it over.

Lift the bike, pull the plug, check for spark. No spark. Hmmmm...that
might be a problem, ya think?

Checked for battery power....nothing from the fused lead. Turns out the
10amp fuse was fried. No spares to be found anywhere. Oh well....get a
screw the right size in a pinch, right?

Drop the lift, kick the bike. Nothing! Damn. Oh yeah...turn the
ignition switch on. Kick the bike. Nothing again. Double damn.

Lift the bike, and pull the plug. Check for spark. Got spark, but it
looks a bit flakey and not very consistent. Put in a new spark plug.
That looks much better! Reinstall the new plug and drop the bike.

Turn on ignition and gas, twist the throttle and kick the bike, and DAMNED
if she doesn't fire up and run! Bit of black smoke for the first few
seconds, probably cause it hasn't been started in quite some time, then
runs clean...and that's without a muffler.

Shut it off. Kick it again....she starts like a charm and runs fine.
Twist the wick and scare Guinness (the dog). ;-)

Didn't test the tranny, since I still have the sprocket and chain off, but
the engine seems to run fine. No oil or gas leaks yet, but I'll check
tomorrow once it's sat for a while with fluids topped up.

Gotta love the internet! 10 years ago I don't think I could have proceeded with getting the
S90 restored. Amazing the manuals/advice/parts you can get on the net and
through eBay. The world is definitely a smaller place.

Special thanks to Fred in the Netherlands for scanning/posting/emailing the S90 Service and Parts manuals,
to help folks like me with their restoration projects.
Also thanks to the members of the Yahoo Honda S90 group for their advice,
and all the vendors on eBay that have supplied parts for this project!

Yeeehaaa! It lives, Igor! ;-)

Up on the lift and engine out, getting wiring straightened out.


Closeup with the engine out and wiring hanging out while testing for spark.


Engine reinstalled and wiring rerouted through frame. She started after this!

Closeup with the engine back in, just before being started for the first time.

March 18, 2005

Back in the garage this evening working on the Honda S90

Took the new battery (yet another eBay acquisition) to a local battery
shop to get some electrolyte. They filled it up for me at no charge. Now
that is good service! You know where I'll be going for battery service
from now on! Didn't take too long on the charger to get it up to full

Installed the coil and condenser (eBay parts yet again). The coil threw
me for a bit of a loop since it had black and yellow leads, whereas the
Service Manual (thanks Fred!) said they should be black 'n blue. Matched
the male/female connectors instead of the colours, and hooked everything

Spent some time digesting the wiring diagram, and hooked up the battery
and such to the harness. Had to jury rig a few connections and fix a few
splices, but nothing too major. The rectifier also threw me for a loop,
since there were only 3 connections, the green wire missing, but figured
that was a ground so no biggie.

Speaking of which, where does the rectifier usually get mounted? Mine is
bolted to the frame, in front of the rear wheel, but behind the main frame
member to which the engine attaches. That doesn't seem right from the
diagrams I've seen, but it can stay there for the moment.

Grounded the key housing and the spark plug, since the engine is out of
the frame at the moment. Kicked it over...and got a regular spark!

YeeeHaaa! That is a good thing!

Now I have to reinstall the engine in the frame and hook up the carb.
Fingers crossed that she'll fire up once I get that done.

Pretty good progress tonight, with some serious steps towards making the
S90 live again.

March 7, 2005

Finally spent a bit of time in the garage this afternoon. Cleaned up some
stuff (mainly vacuuming) and finally got the rear wheel and front brake
leverls installed on the yammie dirt bike.

So the Honda S90 is now on the lift. I dropped the engine, and
it looks like installing the new coil/condenser shouldn't be a big deal.
Fingers crossed that it'll start after that.

I would say that was pretty good progress for an afternoon. ;-)

Now I'm cruising eBay for some of the little parts I need to do a good job
of the restoration.

Summer 2004

We had initially gone to a friends to get some "free" plants from her garden. Saw the Yamaha RT180 and the Honda S90 for sale on the side of the road on our way there. Still there on the way back, so had to stop and check things out. That was a mistake! So I picked up some new toys. Always wanted a dirt bike for playing around but not enough to spend the moola to buy a new one. The cute Honda S90 was bundled in the deal and cost me $200, so I couldn't pass it up. Damned good shape for the price, I think. The owner said the prior owner had it running fine, but had pulled the coil and condenser for some other use, so these parts are missing.

The Honda S90. It's a '64 or '65 I think. The 45 degree/2-piece exhaust pipe means it's an earlier 60's model.


Pretty clean, but doesn't yet run. Working on that!


Waiting for time on the lift.

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