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1981 Yamaha XS650S - Project Bike #5

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by rbirkey, Aug 3, 2019.

  1. Mailman

    Mailman Hardly a Guru Top Contributor

    Lookin good, you’re choppin away at it. You’ll be on the road in no time! :thumbsup:
    gggGary and rbirkey like this.
  2. rbirkey

    rbirkey TriumphBonneville.org

    It's been a while since I have posted in this thread. My carbs are back together and ready to be mounted. I am still wrestling with what do do about a seat and whether to chop the frame a bit to allow for a more traditional, flatter seat position.

    The biggest issue has been the exhaust system. I had decided to try the MAC Performance TT Exhaust system, which is sold by Niche Cycles. However, in early August, their site showed it being out of stock. So, I searched and found the MAC Performance website and they showed that it was IN STOCK for the same price. I ordered it and received the invoice for the order via email. Then..... NOTHING! No status updates, no shipping details, etc. After 3 weeks I started emailing, calling, leaving voice mails, etc., they have NEVER contacted me. (SO, BUYER BEWARE!)

    I decided to go back to Niche Cycles and ask them if they have had a bad experience with MAC, or if they had a contact person/number I could call to get an actual person. In that process, I discovered that the TT System was now IN STOCK on their site. So, I canceled the MAC order (via email) and ordered the system from Niche.


    The kit arrived in good time, but upon opening the package it had blemishes in the chrome finish from the factory (under the protective packaging). Niche was willing to give me a "blem discount". However, when I started to actually mount the system, the welded on muffler mounting brackets do not line up with any possible mounting point on my frame. I am in the process of returning the entire kit as I do not believe it was designed for this year/model.

    So, I am in need of recommendations for an exhaust system! I am looking for an "open flow", 2-into-2 system with reverse cone style mufflers (short or long) for a more traditional cafe racer look. I prefer a slight upsweep for the mufflers similar to the photo below. I would also prefer a more raw stainless look over bright shiny chrome... but I can go either way... maybe even black ceramic coated. I don't mind them being "louder" than stock... I'm looking more for the performance boost.

    Also, I do like the sound of the headers and Yamaha Performance mufflers on the 1977 YamahaXS650D project that I did previous to this one (see thread below)


    I was hoping to get a similar sound/performance but with an upswept look.

    Any recommendations, ideas, sources would be much appreciated!



    Last edited: Sep 16, 2019
    Paul Sutton and Jim like this.
  3. Mailman

    Mailman Hardly a Guru Top Contributor

    That surprised me that you had so much trouble with the Mac exhaust. They’ve been around a long time and I thought they enjoyed a good reputation. Not cheap either! I do know that a lot of aftermarket exhausts require some creative muffler hangers , since they tend to be a universal fit. You said the head pipes were also loose where they mounted to the head, did you install new compression gaskets in there?
    Your bike is looking nice, I’m happy to see you’re still plugging away on it. How is your friend liking the bike you did for him?
    gggGary, MaxPete and Jim like this.
  4. rbirkey

    rbirkey TriumphBonneville.org

    Yeah Bob, I was really surprised at the unexpected poor customer service I received. I still can't believe that MAC Performance can remain in business treating customers this way. Hopefully, it was just a fluke.

    Just to clarify, the headers fit OK at the head flange. However, even with them loose, I could not find an angle or arrangement that would work on the bike. The issue seems to be with the mufflers, the welded brackets and maybe the angle of the final bend in the headers. They just don
    t seem to point in the correct direction to line everything up.

    My friend Scott, who I did the 1977 Yamaha XS650D project for, is just beside himself with joy at how everything turned out. He absolutely LOVES it! So, you guys in this forum deserve a LOT of the praise! I learned so much from you all! Thanks again!

    Looks like maybe one of these systems might be the way to go...



    gggGary likes this.
  5. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    I had problems getting my MAC headpipes to seal at the head. The sealing lip was very narrow and wanted to keep slipping off the exhaust gasket as you tightened them down. My MAC headpipes are several years old but looking at the pics in the links you posted, it doesn't look like they've improved upon that narrow sealing lip. It still looks very small. They also seem to be making the pipes a larger diameter now, 1.75" O.D. according to the links. That may be a bit too large for best flow unless AR inserts are added. Mine are 1.5" O.D.

    But, you may be able to do as I did and make your own inserts from the ends of old stock headpipes. This would solve both those issues with the new pipes, seal them and reduce their I.D. for the 1st couple of inches of pipe .....


  6. Superjet

    Superjet XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    Would the exhaust studs be long enough to bolt right up with the insert? JC
    gggGary likes this.
  7. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    They were with my particular headpipes because as you can see in the pics, the headpipe flange is just made from flat plate. The thicker stock type with the cooling fins may not fit. Some modding may be required either to the flange (thin it down where the studs go through) or the insert. If I had access to a lathe, I would thin the sealing flange on the insert. Taking material off the inner side would allow the insert to stick into the head more and fill that step that's machined into it. As it stands on mine now, I made a pipe ring to do that. It's that silver part on the left in my last pic. And here it is by itself stuck into the head .....

    gggGary likes this.
  8. rbirkey

    rbirkey TriumphBonneville.org

    MAC may have changed flange and attachment design a bit. Here is how this TT kit looks at the head. It all seems to fit fine on this end Its the muffler end that doesn't fit.




  9. rbirkey

    rbirkey TriumphBonneville.org

    Well, I ended up having to send the MAC Performance TT exhaust system back because I could not make it fit my bike and frame. There were no instructions, diagrams or any help from the manufacturer. Niche Cycles was good enough to give me a full order refund but I lost about $50 on shipping. Bad Experience!

    So, I looked further and finally decided on trying the Delkevic 2-into-1 stainless exhaust system, which I purchased from Dime City Cycles. I've just finished pre-fitting it to my frame and it looks like it is going to work!

    Now maybe I can start making progress on this build and get it running!


    madmax-im, GLJ, Jim and 6 others like this.
  10. Paul Sutton

    Paul Sutton Still Looking Good Top Contributor

    Now that looks a very very nice match for an XS Special.
    Jim and rbirkey like this.
  11. rbirkey

    rbirkey TriumphBonneville.org

    So, I found these exhaust rings sort of stuck in my heads... removed them and cleaned them up. They look pretty good to me... but what do I know? Should I go with just the new copper exhaust seals, or the old ones... or both? What do y'all recommend based on your vast experience??



  12. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    I don't think the copper rings are exhaust seals, they look more like drain plug washers. The exhaust seals are like you found in there, quite thick and wide, and with several "V" grooves on the sides that allow them to compress. If not too badly flattened out, you could reuse them. I guess all you can do is try them out and see if they seal. I reuse them quite a bit but I have new ones on hand to compare them to and see if they are too flattened out.
    Paul Sutton likes this.
  13. Jim

    Jim Beyond the edge is the unknown. Here be Dragons XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Yeah... the copper rings are too skinny. They wouldn't center in the ports. Like 5T says, you can have pretty good luck reusing the old ones, but in your case I don't think so. You'd be trying to seal old gaskets, "set" to the old exhaust. Odds on the new header matching are pretty slim.
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2019
    TwoManyXS1Bs and Paul Sutton like this.
  14. TwoManyXS1Bs

    TwoManyXS1Bs BBQ Hunter Top Contributor

    Just for reference,

    From the Sudco catalog.

    Exhaust gasket dimensions in ID, OD, Thickness

    39.10 x 49.00 x 4.8mm

    The Yamaha XS650 exhaust gasket is 256-14613-00, 90430-38054, Vesrah #VE-2005
    Jim likes this.
  15. fredintoon

    fredintoon Fred Hill, S'toon. Top Contributor

    Hi rbirkey,
    the flat composite washers are for the exhaust. They can be re-used if they are in good enough shape.
    The copper rings in the photo are the oil drain plug crush seals. They only have a circular cross-section when they are new.
    First time I bought new ones I told the counterhand they weren't the right seals because mine were flat.
    "So will these be, after they're installed, Sir." BTW the old flattened ones can be re-used too, if you anneal them.
    lakeview likes this.
  16. Machine

    Machine Race the wind Top Contributor

    Maybe an older version of drain seals ?
    What I’ve bought at the local Yamaha shop are these -

    Attached Files:

  17. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    What you got are originals, sort of an accordion style all copper ring. We're used to seeing the others, the circular cross-section type, because that's what MikesXS has been selling for years. And for many of us, it's all we've ever used.
    lakeview likes this.
  18. rbirkey

    rbirkey TriumphBonneville.org

    OK, thanks. I've placed my order from Partzilla and hopefully, they will be the right ones!
    Anybody have a suggestion on where I can find a brake hose bracket for the left side front fork/fender, now that I'm adding the European left front brake assembly?
    Jim likes this.
  19. Machine

    Machine Race the wind Top Contributor

    Left side brake hose bracket is a mirror image of the right of course and can be sourced from other XS models such as XS750/850 1100 Standard. Likely other models too.
    I source used parts locally at shops and ads but EBay should do.
    Jim likes this.
  20. rbirkey

    rbirkey TriumphBonneville.org

    Hello Everyone,

    I hope you are all doing well during these weird times. I am doing fine, but have been busy on some other projects. But, I am back working on this project and hoping to get the 81 Yamaha XS650S running in the next week or so as I have a buyer for it!

    I am currently working on wiring everything back up and integrating some flexible aftermarket LED turn signals and taillight unit that I purchased from Dime City Cycles. I have integrated them on a 2004 Bonneville, but not yet on the Yamaha. I have the lights (including the necessary resistors) working (they go on) but they do not yet flash on and off.

    I bought a new flasher unit from MikesXS, but it has only 2 prongs. My original flasher is a sealed unit with 6 leads - see photo. The Black and Brown leads I recognize being in the turn signal wiring but I don't understand the others.

    Any thoughts on either integrating the 2-pole flasher, or where to get the appropriate replacement?

    I'm also installing the extra brake line and connectors for the "European" front disc brake setup.




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