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First step to getting the Rebel running was a carb rebuild.

The gas tank had so much sludge in it that we had to pull the tank and uncover the air box to try to start her.

The replacement tank, seat, and battery box were set aside. However, this rebuild did not work, so we finally saved up enough to send the Rebel into the local shop and have the carbs rebuilt. They rebuilt the carbs, but the engine still did not run well. Eventually, the rust and sludge clogged the petcock filter. We decided to get a new tank.

Rebel 450 tanks are hard to come by. The only tanks that will fit are for the Rebel 250 with extra mounting brackets. In desperation, we purchased one of those, but it's shape is slightly different.

By July 2018, with the new tank, new petcock, and carb rebuild, we tried again, only to run into the next major problem. The starter clutches gave out due to many attempts to start the engine. And guess what is no longer available for the Rebel 450 - the starter gear. Kurt ordered the clutches with the hope that the gear was fine. And we started thinking about Plan B.

A bit more rust and tarnish has taken over due to age and sitting. I still don't like the looks of the new tank. It looks squished.

To replace the starter clutches, we had to remove the engine and open it as they are at the bottom, at the crankshaft. Since we were going that far, we decided on a full "off-body" restoration.

A small pile of my original parts.

The main pile of my original parts. The plan was to clean and restore as many as possible, since parts for this bike are hard to come by.

The original 250 Rebel luggage rack. We cleaned it up as good as we could before reinstalling it. This winter, the goal is to send it to a good chroming shop.

The replacement tank was pulled and set aside. Since we were going to this much trouble, the Rebel would get her original tank back. However, due to the scarcity of parts, we will keep this one around.

Her original tank was pulled down from the wall and a tank cleaning kit was used on it to remove the remaining rust and debris. Then the inside was sealed with a special gasoline resistant paint.

The original engine was removed at ~38,000 miles.

It's hard to ride a bike when the engine isn't in the frame. Time for that "off-body" restoration.

A better picture of the Rebel, sans engine.

A closeup of the engine. Note the tarnish. Unfortunately, that wasn't the only issue, nor was the starter clutches. When Kurt started to remove the head bolts, the bolt twisted a half turn, then sprang back. There was a high probablity that the steel bolts had become one with the aluminum heads and would snap if we continued. Time for that Plan B.

Plan B - compliments of EBay. Kurt located a Rebel 450 that was being parted out in Chicago that only had 3,400 miles on it. Seems the owner had passed on and the widow did not want to look for the title due to too many memories. Evidently, it is hard to get a replacement title in IL, so the purchaser gave in and parted it down after trying for 3 years. Once we started talking to him, we took a road trip to Chicago and bought every part he had left. We netted the lightly used engine, exhaust, rear shocks, front forks, 3 turn signals, master cylinder, front and rear brakes, and rims.

Almost completely disassembled.

The final stage of the disassembly. Surprisingly, there were only a few stuck bolts, mostly where steel bolts went into aluminum housings. I don't think we need the rotisserie for this one.

The original exhaust is in pretty rusty shape.


Original Condition
Original Condition