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79 xs650s starting issues

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by schragster, Jan 31, 2016.

  1. schragster

    schragster XS650 New Member

    Hey guys, I'm new to this forum, and honestly to motorcycle maintenance in general. I recently bought a 79 xs650s, and I couldn't be happier except that it won't start currently. I know it started kind of recently and the owner before me said it had a slight oil leak. I checked the spark plugs and they're covered in oil. One has a blue spark now that I cleaned them and the other has a white spark. The best I can figure is that I may need to replace the piston rings. Help a newbie out? It sometimes fires a couple times but immediately dies out again.
  2. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    I would start with a complete tune-up. These are old bikes and require a pretty extensive tune-up from time to time. This includes valve adjustments, setting ignition points and timing, a cam chain adjustment, and some carb settings. If everything is set correctly and to spec, these are usually easy starting and good running bikes.

    That weaker spark on one side may indicate a little more amiss than just tune-up stuff. You may have a coil going bad or bad plug cap or plug wire on that side. If one is brought to me with original plug caps and plug wires, I pretty much always talk the owner into letting me replace them. It can be done for less than $20.
  3. schragster

    schragster XS650 New Member

    Alright, thanks! I'll definitely start with a tune-up.
  4. XSLeo

    XSLeo XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    There is a specific order to the steps of a tune up.
    #1 Cam chain adjustment.
    #2 Valve adjustment.
    #3 Points gap.
    #4 Points timing.
    These get all the mechanical thing shape.
    Once you get these done Then start with carbs.
    www.amckayltd.com/carbguide.pdf will help get the carbs right.
    Doing them in this order will prevent redoing things.
    The cam chain adjustment gets the cam in the right place. Everything else runs off the cam.

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