The Honda Dream has had multiple models over the years. One of the most sought after vintage motorcycles is the Honda Dream 305, a redesigned version of the world’s first motorcycle. If you are a motorcycle lover and you are interested in this particular model of the Dream, it is important that you are aware of the common failures of the Honda Dream 350.
But don’t all old bikes have problems? Keep reading this post and discover the most common problems with the Honda Dream 305.
Common failures of the Honda Dream 350
The Honda Dream 305 was made between 1960 and 1969; it was considered by many motorcycle enthusiasts to be a fundamental rung on the ladder that leads to the modern classic genre.
The Dream was ahead of its time, with its wet sump engine design and electric start powered by a 12v electrical system. However, this marvel is not perfect and we will present the flaws it has had below.
1. The swing arm bearings need to be replaced.
Dream 305 riders talk a lot about its stiff chassis and how obnoxious speed wobbles are. What is not mentioned enough is the culprit. Now this may not be the case in all situations, a fork issue that can also cause wobble, particularly at the front end.
That being said, more than a few Honda Dreamers we found on the forums were able to improve ride quality by locating the wobble to worn swing arm bearings.
If your Honda Dream is showing a wobble, especially if you feel it’s getting worse, inspecting the swingarm bearing is a logical first step.
- You will need a center stand or a lift to keep the rear wheel off the ground. Note: Use a lift or stand that will not support the swingarm.
- Grab the ends of the swingarm on your Dream 305 and rock it up and down and back and forth.
- As you shake the swingarm, feel the distinct feeling of resistance from the bearings.
- Now bounce the rear of the bike up and down to see if the swingarm moves without resistance.
- If you suspect the swingarm bearings are worn, you will need to remove the wheel and shock to feel the swingarm move.
Now, to be clear, this isn’t necessarily indicative of any flaws in the Dream’s design; swingarm bearings don’t last forever on any bike, and we’re talking about a series of bikes that came out in 1969, after all.
That being said, owner maintenance and riding habits significantly affect the life of parts like swingarm bearings. Even new bearings wouldn’t last a year if the previous owner stored the bike in the rain for months.
In short, it’s not enough to just replace the swingarm bearings and hope that the Dream’s wobble will go away. You have to perform routine maintenance according to Honda’s recommended service intervals, which includes greasing and inspecting your Dream’s swingarm bearings.
Chances are it’s been a while since they were replaced. The main cause of swingarm bearing damage is water corrosion; keep those bearings greased and your Dream clean and protected from the weather, and your new bearings could last until the bike is a hundred years old, who knows!
2. The front fork gets stuck
As previously mentioned, the front fork issue is another cause of wobble reported by Dream riders, particularly at the front end.
The Honda Dream 305 has a unique fork design; It’s one of the first things you notice when looking at the bike. Unfortunately, thanks to the corrosion of the aluminum tubes, the tubes on the Honda Dream 305 tend to get stuck in the lower fork clamps.
How to free a stuck front fork on a Honda Dream?
- Coat the lower yoke and triple yoke clamp with penetrating oil or high-strength lubricant.
- Insert a flat head screwdriver, or something similar to a crowbar, into the space where the fork tube is bolted to the clamp. If you have to use a bit of force to drive the wedge in, do it carefully, at an easy pace.
- Remove the top aluminum for the bridge.
- Remove the clamp and oil plug from the fork and bolts. Slide a long 10mm bolt into the tube and hit the head of the bolt with a rubber mallet to push the steerer tube down and out of the clamp; use a tool if you need extra grip to get through the tube. That said, don’t put too much force on the tube, and don’t use any gripping tools where the fork tube slides, as you risk causing warping.
- Knowing this, a Dream home mechanic reiterates that a clamp or channel lock just below where the triple wishbone clamp joins the fork tube can be effective.
- Once you’ve freed it, clean the tube of all rust and corrosion and polish any spurs on both the tube and fork before reinstalling the fork tube.
- Reinstall the fork using the specified bolt lengths, especially in the weep hole, to prevent damage to the fork slider.
- The lower bracket of the fork axle is attached with 2 bolts each, with a lock and a flat washer. You want the top to be facing forward. Tighten the front bolt on each side of the fork first, then tighten the short end until snug. The shaft should now be fully locked in place.
You cleaned up all that corrosion for a reason – that’s the culprit for your stuck fork problem on your Honda Dream. Fork oil has come a long way since the ’60s; once you’ve unclogged and cleaned the fork, use a high-quality fork oil, suggested by Honda, to keep the fork slippery and rust-free.
3. Carburetor Problems: Adjustment or Rebuild Required
Another unfortunate byproduct of riding an older bike is carburetor issues, even if it’s a Honda Dream. The simple fact is that carburetor maintenance is a given of ownership for oldies-but-goldies as one of the first race bikes around. So, without further ado, let’s go to what really matters.
How to adjust the carburetor of a Honda Dream 305?
- The air/fuel ratio in your Dream is regulated by three components: the air jet screw, the jet needle (and its relative position), and the carburetor’s main jet. First of all, these main jets need to be changed at higher altitudes, which means that if you’re going to drive a Honda Dream across the country, you’re going to need to carry a few spare jets.
- #135 is the standard jet used on the Honda Dream 305
- Use jet #130 between 2,500 and 4,000 feet above sea level.
- Use #125 once you’re above 5,000 feet, depending on elevation.
- Some riders carry spare jets with jets already installed while riding carbureted bikes like the Dream, in order to change jets more efficiently on the side of the road.
- If changing the jets doesn’t improve your bike’s standby performance, read on for another solution to the problem.
- While the main jet in your Dream regulates the overall fuel mixture throughout the RPM band, the jet needle and screw affect the ratio in the low to mid ranges of engine performance.
- If your Dream is running noticeably in the low and mid range, you can “tip” it by lowering the needle further down on the throttle valve and unscrewing the jet air screw. Note: Note the original position of the throttle valve and lower the needle one notch at a time.
If the engine still runs fine, you need to replace that main jet or clean your carb. Or, you have an air leak somewhere.
Another possible carburetor-related cause of the Honda Dream’s engine’s performance lapses could be the jet needles; they could be out of sync.
Synchronizing the jet needles on a Honda Dream is as simple a process as any.
- Empty the float buckets.
- Release the cuvettes and remove the jet needle holder on the base.
- You will see the needles protrude from the bottom of the jet support; you want them to move synchronously, that is, move up and down in the same plane as you inspect them through the base. Adjust them accordingly.
- Use the air jet screw to adjust the timing of the jet needle.
Note: All carburetor adjustments should be done by capable mechanics with the proper tools and adaptations as it drastically alters engine performance. Carrying out adjustments to the bike without the proper knowledge or understanding of the fuel/air ratio and the process can cause more significant problems down the road.
Another adjustment that could optimize the performance of your Honda Dream is the timing of the carburetor floats. This is a complicated process done by calibrating the float engagement point, the distance between where the float touches the base of the float valve and the bottom of the carburetor body.
Honda makes a unique tool to adjust the float level of the Dream’s carburetor; once again, there’s no shame in taking your collector’s item to a skilled Vintage-Honda mechanic to make sure the carburetor is cleaned and adjusted as it should. They can also teach you how to change jets on the fly while traveling at higher altitudes.
General advantages and disadvantages of the Honda Dream
Here are some good and bad things to keep in mind about the Honda Dream:
- fun to drive
- collector’s item
- It can be repaired and sold at a high price in the collector motorcycle market.
- Historic construction and influential engineering
- Durable if well cared for
- It staggers; swing arm bearings need to be replaced
- The front fork gets stuck
- Problems with the carburettor: It must be adjusted and rebuilt
A little history of the Honda Dream
The same engine, increased to 305cc, was introduced to North America in the CA76 Dream in 1959. In fact, several different versions of the 247cc and 305cc Dream were imported that year, but none in large numbers.
The dry sump CA76 lasted a single year, being replaced in 1960 by the CA77 Dream Tourer. Honda updated the CA77 with a wet sump engine and also offered a 247cc CA72. Both the 247cc and 305cc Dreams used a 360-degree crankshaft, meaning the twin pistons move up and down simultaneously, but fire alternately. Fuel and air were mixed in a single 22mm Keihin carb, and exhaust exited the stout cylinder head through double-walled header pipes before exiting through mufflers fitted with removable baffles. The 305 cc twin was rated at 24 bhp at 8,000 rpm.
Dreams produced from 1960 to 1963 are called “early” models, while machines built from 1963 to 1969 are called “late” models. The differences between the former and the latter are few. Visually, the shape of the fuel tank changed, but the rectangular upper covers of the rear shock absorbers and the square nacelle of the headlights, with their speedometer, were maintained. Throughout its production, the Dream’s specifications remained largely unchanged.
Honda built a surprising number of derivative models based on the Dream, including the CSA77 Dream Sport; a 305cc Dream fitted with a high-end exhaust system to distinguish it from the Tourer.