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First XS650 Build, What to Look For

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by SlowMaintenance, Oct 5, 2015.

  1. SlowMaintenance

    SlowMaintenance '76 XS650 Chopper

    Hey guys, first time poster from the MA area here on XS650.com. Super pumped to be a part of the forums and to dive into a new build. Being that this is my first build, I'm not as well versed as I was with my last Ironhead. I've included a few pics of the bike which is available for $400 OBO. Was going to offer $300 and go from there.

    It's a 1976 XS650. Anything I ought to be aware of with that year or look out for? The plan is to hardtail so the missing parts are likely not a huge concern based on the research I've done to this point. I do love the old school drum rear though, so I'd like to keep that. I'll be ditching the front brake altogether so no worries about that. All the instruments on the dash will go as well. So again not a problem if they're not working.

    Was thinking I would go over there w/ a compression gauge, test both cylinders w/ the kicker and see if it's at least got compression. Also will need to know about title situation only to insure its not stolen. Where my license is (Connecticut) you don't need a title for motorcycles older than 20 years. Just bill of sale and a VIN check. Can you guess why I've not yet moved my license over lol?

    Thanks guys!

  2. TwoManyXS1Bs

    TwoManyXS1Bs BBQ Hunter Top Contributor

  3. jtfield

    jtfield JTF Customs

    What a great find you have there, I've come to the fact that any XS650 under $750 in my area regardless of year or condition I'd jump all over! In Nebraska buying one without of title is a pain in the but to get a title, i've been there and would prefer a title next time lol. As far as forum wise, the XS650.com forum is the best one period. Everyone is an excellent resource and there is a massive following with youtube how to's galore and company's like Mikesxs.net; tcbroschoppers.com; lowbrowcustoms.com; just to name a few. The Mikesxs website has pretty much zero customer service but there parts are fine to buy (from my experience with them). Good Luck and welcome. Check out my build i completed this year. http://www.xs650.com/forum/showthread.php?t=38568&highlight=omaha
  4. fredintoon

    fredintoon Fred Hill, S'toon. Top Contributor

    Hi SlowMaintenance and welcome,
    well, that's a severe case of PO Vandalization you are looking to purchase there.
    I'd say it's too far gone for a restoration so anything that gets it back on the road will be OK.
    But a hardtail? It'll look good and your chiropractor needs the business.
    Me, I'd go for a Bratstyle conversion instead.
    And no front brake?
    See you in the obits column after you become a smear of forensic evidence, eh?
  5. SlowMaintenance

    SlowMaintenance '76 XS650 Chopper

    toomanyxs1b's: Thank you! I took a look through all of those and found some great info. Definitely helps me to be able to go into this sale with some knowledge.

    jtfield: Agreed, I feel like provided it has proper compression and all engine components I would feel ok spending $300 on it. The rest is either going to be scrapped or sold. That being said, I don't want a million engine problems down the road so it's hard to say outside of compression whether or not an engine will experience that. This doesn't look like something I'm going to be able to fire up when I get there. I do have a brand new battery that I could bring if that was the issue but I doubt it.

    fredintoon: Vandalization indeed, hoping he hasn't been in the engine. Given how quickly he gave up with the hardtail chop, I'm hoping his laziness knew no bounds and he never took her apart beyond cosmetics. As for the other options, this is a repeat of everything I see everywhere lol. I've already had a hardtail with no front brake. I still get shit from my friends about that setup to this day. I appreciate the advice though, and I'll keep you updated as it comes along assuming the PO sells it to me for the right price.
  6. SlowMaintenance

    SlowMaintenance '76 XS650 Chopper

    Made the arrangements and the seller is willing to take $250 cash for everything. Is this a decent deal without knowing the condition of the engine? I'm assuming it's pretty messed up, but who knows how badly. I figured at $250 I could part out and get back most of that in the event that things go badly, but who knows.

    But given that the bike is 3 hours away and I need to rent a trailer, driving all the way there and not taking it home is pretty much not an option. If I go, I need to leave with it. 6 hours and a trailer rental is too much to throw away.

    Please chime in with your thoughts, thanks!
  7. jtfield

    jtfield JTF Customs

    I'd do it in a second without even asking the wife lol
  8. SlowMaintenance

    SlowMaintenance '76 XS650 Chopper

    Haha fair enough. Should be an interesting endeavor. I'll get her home, and follow the procedure outlined in the new buyers guide. Change oil, change plugs, check compression, fresh gas and try to kick it over and see what the situation is. Hoping the compression is decent, really don't wanna dive straight into a top end rebuild like I did with my Ironhead, but for $250 I feel like that's going to be exactly where this goes lol.
  9. jtfield

    jtfield JTF Customs

    Yea I always like to ground out the plugs to to visually inspect for a spark as well.
  10. SlowMaintenance

    SlowMaintenance '76 XS650 Chopper

    Good call will do that as well. Btw JT I just finished reading through your build thread. That's pretty damn impressive! Will definitely be coming to you with questions as it seems our starting places are quite similar. Speaking of which, I saw you immediately tore into your engine after purchase, did you run the above listed diagnostics and determine that was necessary? Anything unusual you found on your way through the engine?
  11. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    Pretty much all these motors need the topend gone through. The front cam chain guides are failing (or failed), mostly due to age. You can probably run it for a season or so though. Just know that a topend refurb is in your future. Tearing into one of these is pretty easy, the parts are readily available, and if you do the work yourself, the job shouldn't run more than a few hundred dollars.
  12. SlowMaintenance

    SlowMaintenance '76 XS650 Chopper

    Hearing this after working on an old Ironhead is probably the most exciting part of this thread so far haha
  13. jtfield

    jtfield JTF Customs

    It was cold as hell when i bought it, got it home, the battery was shot so just hooked it up to the car battery turned it over had compression checked for spark and that was all I needed in my head. Then completely tore down the motor, just wanted to get a complete knowledge of the motor inside and out. Cam chain guides were shot so replace them, then took it all the way down did the lower-end and cleaned it well and used Yamabond to seal it all up nice again. Lets see also honed the cylinders, and lapped the valves. Used Mikesxs.net for more of the parts. I think i spent 350 or something like that in parts for the rebuild. But yes it is a very easy motor to work on (coming from an accountant, lol) I've rebuilt a 94 Harley Evolution motor before prior, i'd say about as easy. So right away you'll want the Yamabond, Complete Gasket Kit, Complete seal kit, new copper washers, you'll need a cam-chain link to put it back together since you have to remove a link to get it off. I recommend replacing any Phillips screws/bolts with hex-head or allen-heads (button). You'll definitely want a bolt extractor kit. I got a bolt thread count tool from menards to assist with finding the correct bolts needed. Good Luck with the build, post lots of pictures, along the way!
  14. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    You don't want just a cam chain link, you want a whole new chain. If the bike has anywhere near 20K on it, you will want to replace the chain.
  15. SlowMaintenance

    SlowMaintenance '76 XS650 Chopper

    Going to lay out the items below so I can find them quickly as I order.

    Complete Gasket Kit: https://www.mikesxs.net/parts/yamaha-xs650-athena-premium-overhaul-gasket-set

    Complete Seal Kit: https://www.mikesxs.net/parts/yamaha-xs650-engine-oil-seal-kit-10-pc-oem-japan-oem-91216-729-921

    Top/Bottom End copper washer kits: https://www.mikesxs.net/parts/yamah...033-90430-06014-90210-10004-00-90201-10131-00 and https://www.mikesxs.net/parts/yamah...-00-90430-11034-90420-08143-00-92990-08200-00

    Cam Chain: https://www.mikesxs.net/parts/yamaha-xs650-tsubaki-bf05m-x-106-oem-94590-02101-00

    Not mentioned but will probably also need one of these

    Rotor Puller: https://www.mikesxs.net/parts/yamaha-xs650-puller-alternator-rotor

    And the Yamabond as well, which I'm sure I could find on amazon or at a dealer near me. Before the lube it's in the 190 ballpark. Would put me at $440 total investment thus far. Obviously before PMA, Pamco and Hardtail (no choice at this point since it appears owner already chopped the frame) so that number will rise quickly I would imagine. This is a great starting place though, thank you for pointing me in the right direction guys.
  16. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    About the only thing I can recommend on your list from Mike's is that rotor puller. The copper washer set really isn't needed. I've always just re-used the originals and never had a problem. All the other items can be sourced cheaper elsewhere. This eBay seller has the gasket and seal sets cheaper, and combines shipping. Even though he's in Germany, the stuff gets here just as fast as ordering from venders here .....


    One of the best deals on a cam chain is right from Yamaha .....


    Most of us have started using the genuine Yamaha front guide even though it costs more. The rubber on the knock-off from Mike's is soft and probably won't hold up long. In fact, it's best to avoid all Mike's rubber parts. Most are junk.
  17. SkavenDC

    SkavenDC Just Some Guy With a Bike

    That's a great recommendation 5twins. I am starting to put together the items for an engine rebuild as well. I have noticed that kit on eBay but was leery of the Germany thing but it's nice to hear others have ordered with no issues.
  18. SlowMaintenance

    SlowMaintenance '76 XS650 Chopper

    Quick update, took her home and tested for compression. Can't get a reading at all, doesn't feel like there is compression in the kicker either. Slight resistance but not much, I'm committed to the project so where from here? Disassembly? Anything else I could do to check?

    I took out both spark plugs, plugged in compressor, wide open throttle with clutch in in neutral. Am I doing this test correctly? There are also no pipes on the bike, could that be the problem? Checked with finger over plug hole as well, no compression to speak of. Fairly certain I'll be tearing into this motor, but on my last project I tore in too soon and could have run more tests before disassembly. Don't want to make the same mistake so I put the tools down and put this post up.

    EDIT: Took off right side header cover, advance unit is NOT spinning when the kicker strokes. Not sure how to remedy this but I found it was an important distinction in another post with a similar problem.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2015
  19. TwoManyXS1Bs

    TwoManyXS1Bs BBQ Hunter Top Contributor

    The kickstart functions thru the clutch. If the clutch is disengaged, the kickstart won't turn-over the engine...
  20. SlowMaintenance

    SlowMaintenance '76 XS650 Chopper

    Got it, well in this case, I'm unable to move the lever at all without pulling the clutch in. Engine seized?

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