Tech Tips by Randy Pozzi

Service Procedures
Service Manuals
Tech Tips By Randy Pozzi
CH250 - Helix Interchange
Readers Rides
For sale

Parts Diagrams

#1 Breather Separator
#2 Drive Belt & Pulley Weight Rollers
#3 Startability & Driveability Problems
#4 CH250 Performance Upgrades
#5 CH250 Valve Adjustment
#6 Decals
#7 Pilot Screw Adjustment & Fix
#8 CH250 Driven Pulley/Clutch Repair
#9 Final Drive Oil Change
#10 Storing Your CH250 in Winter
#11 Hondaline Kenwood AM/FM Stereo
#12 Front Bumper Protector & Lower Cover Repair
#13 How To Buy A Good 1985-88 CH250
#14 Tires For The Honda CH 250
#15 CH250 Keihin Carb Float Valve Repair
#16 The Honda CH250: An Overview
#17 Honda CH250 Color Crossovers
#18 Honda CH250 Clock
#19 Keihin CV Carburetor Tuning
#20 Honda CH250 Oil Change
#21 Backfiring On Deceleration
#22 Parts Bin--What To Hoard For Your CH250
#23 Honda CH250 Maintenance
#24 So Your Honda Scooter Won't Start?
#25 How To Buy A Battery For Your CH250
#26 Honda CB350 Shocks To The Honda CH250
#27 1985-88 Honda CH250 Speedo Maintenance
#28 Honda CH-250 Antifreeze/Coolant Service
#29 CH250 Charging System Checks
#30  Final Reduction and Wheel Bearing Maintenance

#13 How To Buy A Good 1985-88 CH250
Hello Group,

Much has been written about how to buy a good used car or motorcycle. Surfing the net will give you lots of tips and sites for that. A few basic things to remember---Shop around for the scooter you want and don't buy the first one you see. The best time to buy a scooter is in the fall or early winter. Always inspect your perspective scooter in the day time-never at night. Check to be sure the mileage matches the condition of the scooter.
Always test ride before buying if possible. Check prices for what good clean low mileage scoots go for and keep within your budget. Specifications for the Honda CH250 vary little between 1985-1988. Buying a vintage Honda CH250 is not all that different than buying any other vehicle but there are some key differences unique to these special years and models to consider.

The Condition of the Plastic:

For appearance, the condition of the exterior plastic fairings is crucial. The moulds to make this style are long gone. There is a limited supply of N.O.S. OEM replacement Honda parts available at a steep cost. Once gone, they're gone. Unless you're the Honda Helix with its schizophrenic "Now-I'm-here, No-I'm-not, Now-I'm-back" history, I don't see the CH250s re-appearing. Examine all fairings closely for fit and finish. Look for broken tabs and fasteners. Stress fractures will show up unknown to the naked eye. Today's plastic bonding repair can fix most cracks but the integrity of the piece has been compromised. Check the front bumper fastener screws in the radiator air flow area. A broken or cracked bumper may indicate a front end collision. Be wary of repainted scoots without the factory pin striping or emblems. If repainted--ask why. Plenty of bikes get scuffed or knocked over, but this doesn't mean they are ready to be thrown away.  Fairings, levers and mirror scuffs are OK and likely to help you get the price down. More serious damage may indicate a crash. Check for non-cosmetic damage like cracks and damage to mechanical or structural parts.

The Condition of the Drive Train:

Place the scooter on its center stand and spin the rear wheel with your hand. Excessive noise may indicate a wheel bearing, clutch bearing or final drive bearing problem. In general, the Honda CH250 engine takes .8/U.S. Qt. of oil. There is no oil filter.
Regular oil changes is a must on these scoots. Oils in themid-80s needed frequent changing. Today's synthetic oils provide much more protection and longer change intervals but that doesn't help you for past neglected service. The transmission final drive takes about $.25 of oil and its oil drain plug is behind the left side engine cover. As a result, it almost is never serviced. Contrary to the Honda service manual, consider
changing the engine oil every 1000 miles and final drive oil every 5000 miles. Buying a scooter with a documented service history is a good idea especially if its been serviced regularly at a Honda dealer.

Arrange a Viewing:

Always arrange to see the scooter at the seller's home, and don't agree to meet in a parking lot, as you'll have no idea if the seller is genuine. Before the viewing, ask about mileage, number of owners, any damage, rust, service history and who performed it
as this may save you a wasted journey. Upon first inspection, does the scooter appear to be well taken cared of? What is the condition of the plastic/seat/tires/battery? Ask the owner what the  proper tire inflation pressure should be to see if he knows. It gives you some idea if the owner is knowledgeable about his scooter. Check the engine oil. Is it clean/dirty? Is the oil level proper?

The Visual Inspection Check for:

Handlebars: These are easy to bend and can be costly to replace.  Are both bars even and straight? Make sure the dash cluster points straight when the bike is ridden straight ahead.

Bent Fork & Fork Play: Look up the front plastic fairing and check the fork for any bends which may have been caused by a collision. Hold the front wheel between your feet and twist the handlebars - Is there any play?

Levers and pedals: Check all the levers and pedals to ensure that they are all firmly attached.  Look for excessive wear which may indicate high mileage (compare with recorded mileage).

Steering Race: Lift the front wheel by getting someone to push down on the seat (on center stand) gently turn the bars from the left to right and back.  If it feels notchy when it passes center, then the headrace needs replacing.  If it's stiff it may just need adjusting.

Exhaust & Mountings: On a CH250, the entire engine is supported by a hanger and the rear shocks. There is no alignment of the rear wheel. In a crash the exhaust and entire
engine can sometimes get pushed left or right. Check that the rear wheel is straightly aligned with the front wheel and not "dog tracking."

Wheels & Brakes: Lift the front wheel and make sure it spins freely.  Apply the front brake, release and re-check the brakes (a few times).  Do the same to the rear.  Do the wheels bind?  If so you could be looking at replacement pads or wheel bearings. Also Look for dents in the rim which may have been caused from curbing at speed.

Starting and Idling: Take off the gas cap and check the inside of the tank for rust. Always start a cold engine. The electric choke should assist starting. The scooter should idle at approximately 2100 rpm then idle itself down to 1100 rpm within a minute or two. Blue smoke coming from the exhaust at start-up indicates worn piston rings. Listen for excessive noise coming from the engine. Also check for fluid leaks like anti-freeze.

Shocks and Suspension: Push down while holding the front handlebars to check the resiliency of the front shocks. Do the same with the rear shocks by pushing down on the rear carrier. Look for a rebound that's quick and comes to a firm rest position.

Electrics & Unusual Wiring: Check all the lights and switches work properly, don't forget to give them a tap with your hand to check there are no loose wires.  Extra switches or fans, can sometime point to electrical or cooling problems.  As a minimum check the reason behind any unusual switches or wiring.

Frame Rust: If the bike's been outside exposed to the elements, then rust is a possibility. Get on your back and look underneath the front and rear fairings for rust. Some surface rust is OK, but serious structural rust is something different. If it can be rubbed off with a wet finger then a good cleaner should remove most of it. If it crumbles when you poke it - walk away.

Test Ride: Start the scooter and listen carefully for any abnormal noises. Take it for a spin to check out the brakes/clutch operation/operation of all electrical components. From a stop, a twist of the throttle hand grip should smoothly accelerate you without hesitation or jerkiness. Briefly remove your hands from the handlebars as you ride. Does the scooter go in a straight line? If not, something (frame/fork/wheel) is bent.

Randy Pozzi (12/03) (Jack Stanley also contributed to this piece)

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