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Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Raymondo, Jun 13, 2019.

  1. Raymondo

    Raymondo XS650 owner, fettler, setting out on a journey

    Well, the asking was £40. So I bid £80 and decided I didn't really want to go higher than that for a tank which will probably need work anyway. Time will tell . . .

    Heiden Tuning has confirmed my new replica tank should arrive next week. If that is as it should be, I don't need a s/h one. If not, it goes back and I start ebay/looking for s/h item again.

    I would love a good XS1 or XS2 tank but haven't seen one on the world wide web.

    Meanwhile, I have had so much fun and learned so much from reading about Bob's restoration - or perhaps re-awakening? - of a 1972 XS2. The approach, the issues raised, the erudite contributions from many others on this forum have made it a really useful textbook on bike restoration and our 650s in particular. And I'm only part-way in.

    As a result, have just ordered solid state reg/rec for my still nameless bike. From discussion of the pros & cons it was a no-brainer at £18.66.

    Although, perhaps just as well I sent my tank away for unsuccessful restoration attempt before I read that thread. It appears my tank was too far gone. But what I mess I could have made with vinegar, molasses, nuts, bolts and sharp screws. In a tumble drier even . . .
    TwoManyXS1Bs, MaxPete and Mailman like this.
  2. 650Skull

    650Skull Dinosaur Lives Top Contributor

    Caution on those cheap SS Combined Reg/Rect..............They are cheap for a reason and have been known to have problems........This can cause rotor burn out.........Better to get an automotive Regulator and 2 single or a 3 phase rectifier...........

    You need a B Type Automotive Regulator


    Read Retiredgentlemans and 5Twins posts
    Raymondo and MaxPete like this.
  3. Raymondo

    Raymondo XS650 owner, fettler, setting out on a journey

    Thank you for the heads up. I'm pretty ignorant when it comes to electrical components but will consult with an associate who is more knowledgeable about possible alternatives from motorcycle, automotive or general electrical suppliers.

    From the discussions you highlight, it seems the problem would arise if there were bad diodes failing so at the very least worth keeping an eye on the charging system output?

    But still my main problem/priority is to get a fuel tank on the bike and get her running.
  4. 650Skull

    650Skull Dinosaur Lives Top Contributor

    Do a search, this has been done and is recognized on this site as the best way to ensure there is no charging issue problems due to these cheap Reg/Rect failing, and this seems to be a regular problem these days.......I'll say no more
  5. Raymondo

    Raymondo XS650 owner, fettler, setting out on a journey

    Today, went exploring.

    Had already identified the old-style regulator under the l/h side panel but not too sure where the rectifier is. And, as I've ordered a replacement, thought it might just be a god idea to find it. The Haynes manual seems a bit vague (probably just me) because there's a chapter dealing with the electrical system for XS1, XS2 and early XS650s plus another chapter which tries to summarise the changes affecting 1977-on bikes. Which have much more complicated electrics with different components in different locations.

    Pulled the air filter boxes off again to see if it was in the original location under the battery box. What I found is certainly a rectifier but a) definitely not the original 1978 and b) shiny and new-looking, with aluminium cooling fins. Didn't take a photo - awkward location. But while I was there, took the opportunity to pop the 5-wire (three cream, one red, one black) connector block apart, clean the spades with brass brush and squirt some WD40. Probably better to have put a dab of dielectric grease but I don't have any. On the list . . .

    So now question to self, is this a rectifier or is it a combined rec/reg? And how do I check? If it is, then the new one I've bought will be a 'spare' and the old regulator will be redundant.

    Actually, there must be a lot of potentially redundant electrics. There's another metal box similar to the regulator on the r/h side - I think it might be a 'safety relay' to prevent starting the bike in gear or summat? Must be a great deal of scope for going over the bike and simplifying things, but that can wait.

    Also took the opportunity to fit better fuel pipes with wire-ring clips to the carbs. Still waiting for a petrol tank - should be here Tuesday.
  6. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    What you found in the original rectifier location is a rectifier, not a combined regulator/rectifier. If it was a combined unit, it would have more wires going into it. As it is, the 5 wires it has are just enough (and the right colors) for a rectifier. The 3 white or cream colored wires feed AC current from the alternator into the rectifier. The red feeds the converted DC current out to the battery to keep it charged and the black is, of course, a ground.

    Yes, the metal box on the right side is a safety relay, actually 2 relays. One is for the starter, cutting power to it once the bike starts. This stops it from running on and also from engaging should you accidentally hit the starter button while the motor is running. The other relay is for the headlight. It automatically turns it on once it senses voltage output from the alternator. Yes, you have a headlight on-off switch on the handlebar, but it will be rendered useless once the relay is tripped. Pretty silly feature in my mind. If you think so too and want to eliminate it, it's very simple .....

    Gator xs2, Raymondo and MaxPete like this.
  7. Raymondo

    Raymondo XS650 owner, fettler, setting out on a journey

    5twins, thank you for a very helpful reply.

    I think it must be good news that PO has fitted a rectifier. Presumably a modern upgrade to what was there before. If in the future there are problems with the charging circuit, I will probably only need to find & fit a replacement regulator.

    As for safety relays? I once had a Buell with a safety cutout in the clutch circuit so you couldn't start the engine unless the clutch was disengaged. In case you tried to start the engine with the bike in gear. Which could lead to a dangerous situation. I've had bikes wired to prevent engaging a gear with the sidestand down. Which could lead to a dangerous situation. New bikes will soon use GPS technology to trigger a safety relay to prevent riding off a cliff.

    Not that I ever start the engine with the bike in gear and the clutch engaged. Or ride off with the sidestand down. Or ride right off a cliff.

    So you have solved a minor mystery for me - there's this blue/black wire under the r/h side cover that's been disconnected . . .


    Further evidence there is a good bike in there - PO appears to have done many sensible things.
    MaxPete likes this.
  8. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    Yes, your headlight relay has been disconnected already. It's still there and still being operated by voltage from the alternator, it just has no where to send it's signal now. The 1978 model is the only one you can (or need to) do this little mod to. It was the last year they installed a headlight on-off switch on the handlebar and the 1st year they installed that auto-on headlight relay. Overlapping circuits or systems it seems. On the later models, that auto-on relay is the only control for the headlight. You can still disconnect it but you would need to put an on-off switch back on to control the headlight operation. I plan to attempt that on my '83. I will swap on an older throttle side switch assembly with the headlight on-off switch in it.
    Raymondo and MaxPete like this.
  9. Raymondo

    Raymondo XS650 owner, fettler, setting out on a journey

    Today, been exploring again.

    I set out to address the question you chaps have raised about stretched camchain. But instead ended up worrying myself that the spark timing has been set wrong. Or appears wrong because of a stretched chain.

    Withe the alternator cover removed, very soon confirmed what you told me, that the engine does not want to 'settle' at TDC. It will settle a little way before the F retarded ignition mark OR way past TDC. Here is the former:


    BTW, some PO has put the white paint on the timing marks - helpful and looks clearer in reality than photos. Took a look under the r/h camshaft cover to see pin orientation. Except, there is no pin. With Boyer Bransden ignition, this is what you get:


    with nothing much to see, turned to the ignition timing under l/h camshaft cover and found this:


    Not easy to see, but in the hole just below the upper pick-up winding, white spot on the rotor magnet is just visible. But according to the BB instructions, the spot should be just coming into view when the engine is at the fully advanced mark. So I turned the engine to fully advanced:


    and took another peek at the BB timing plate, where the rotor magnet has not yet reached the viewing hole:


    Being bear of small brain, get easily confused about direction of rotation and which way is advanced or retarded (please don't be cruel) but it seems that the spark timing has been set considerably retarded.

    My first impulse was to move the BB timing plate - advance it clockwise (?) so that the white spot is visible in the viewing hole.

    Then I thought, maybe the timing has been set allowing for a stretched chain. By which I mean, if the engine was running, would a strobe show the spark occurring at the F mark at tick-over and advancing to the l/h mark as revs go up? Even though it looks wrong on a static check.

    But in the end caution won the day and I left the timing as is. To be strobed when the bike eventually runs . . .
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2019
    MaxPete likes this.
  10. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    Yes, with the advance unit removed, there will be no locating pin to look for, but the hole it was stuck in should still be there and visible .....

  11. Raymondo

    Raymondo XS650 owner, fettler, setting out on a journey

    5T, I owe you an apology!

    I looked for the hole this morning but couldn't find it - BB provide a stepped spacer screwed into end of camshaft and I thought the hole was either covered up or on a part that had been removed. But it was there all along, at the lower side, went out after your post with a torch and me specs and located it.

    With engine rotated one full turn and bodged to a stop at TDC or PDC, this is the orientation of the pin hole:


    So the camshaft is running perhaps 10-15° retarded in relation to the crank. If I have understood the discussion, that is consistent with a stretched camchain?

    And perhaps it could account for the spark timing being set a similar amount retarded. Actually, this is the point where my head explodes trying to think about direction of rotation of the r/h and l/h ends of the camshaft and the crank. I think the timing would end up retarded if it had been set correct before the timing chain was adjusted/stretched. Bwwhhhhffflubbber. Too much.

    On a happier note, the new petrol tank arrived a day earlier than expected:


    That's one shiny new tank in black paint, two petcocks, a locking fuel cap and various fixing hardware. Should have noticed the dust and wiped off the tank before I took the photo . . .
    MaxPete and Mailman like this.
  12. fredintoon

    fredintoon Fred Hill, S'toon. Top Contributor

    View attachment 144823
    Hi Ray,
    almost any ol' tank will get a bike running
    like the moped tank that runs my XS11 to give carb adjustment access.
    Or like any ol' fuel bag on an IV stand so long as you don't want to go riding.
    Raymondo likes this.
  13. Raymondo

    Raymondo XS650 owner, fettler, setting out on a journey

    Hi Fred, I used a friend's rig of a medical drip bottle, plastic tap and tubing, hung from a rafter, to get the bike running shortly after acquisition. Well, the bike arrived in my garage 29th May but would not start. To cut a long story short, tank sent away for rust removal, new battery fitted, carbs dismantled, cleaned and rebuilt with some new parts, I finally got her running on June 12th using the drip bottle. But just ran the engine 5-10 minutes, then drained the oil and started on other jobs.

    But I feel the end is in sight now. Will have a chat with my painter - a lucky find as there aren't many in the Scottish Borders! - about what he can do with the rear mudguard, side panels and new tank. And how much it's gonna cost. Plan B will probably involve masking tape and rattle cans if the quote is too high.

    I hope to get the bike running, get out and about, and then assess how she feels and what needs done.

    And please, it's Raymond not Ray.
    MaxPete and Jim like this.
  14. peanut

    peanut XS650 enthusiast & inveterate tinkerer Top Contributor XS650.com Supporter

    :D I often leave it to 7-8 seconds but you need a quick computer and connection . I've bought some incredible bargains over the years .
    You have to watch out for the shill bidding and the idjits that continually bid in small increments until they are the top bidder. They often pay more for a used item than the new market price:rolleyes:
  15. fredintoon

    fredintoon Fred Hill, S'toon. Top Contributor

    No problemo Raymondo,
    last time anyone called me Frederick was when I got married.
    If you go with plan B best use eye protection and a high quality breathing mask that uses disposable solvent-absorbing canisters.
    Paint solvents are REALLY bad for your health.
    If you don't have an air compressor you can do better than a normal rattle-can by using Eastwood 2-part spray cans
    which mix'n'spray epoxy paint
    Raymondo likes this.
  16. Raymondo

    Raymondo XS650 owner, fettler, setting out on a journey

    Fred, thank you for helpful advice on painting.

    Truth is, would prefer to get it done professionally. For a number of reasons - need a good finish, on the tank especially or the bike will look rubbish, no experience makes it unlikely that I will achieve that good finish, also an experienced painter will make a better choice of medium. But also the health thing - as well as proper airbrush, he will have a ventilated paint booth and breathing equipment.

    But if too expensive or whatever, will follow your advice and buy a good face mask. Cheers, Raymond
  17. Raymondo

    Raymondo XS650 owner, fettler, setting out on a journey

    Still thinking about how far off the camshaft timing is compared to crank.

    Not satisfied with my guesstimate of 10-15°, printed the photo at #111 above and measured the angle:


    Approximately 24° That's measured with a plastic protractor, once I was reasonably happy with the centre line.

    Which is a bit worrying. The engine is at TDC or Pretty Damn Close so for the cam - or matchstick - to move to vertical, the crank will need to move 48°

    That means spark and valve timing are well out. Can this be due to camchain stretch?

    Is it even a good idea to run the engine like this? Hmmmm . . .

    Wiser heads?
    Jim likes this.
  18. MaxPete

    MaxPete Life with Lucille...I suggest, she decides. Top Contributor XS650.com Supporter

    One thing about that starter safety relay Raymond: it is a typical little on-off unit with a tiny set of contactor points. Those points can become corroded and gummed up with stuff and if that happens, your bike will not respond to the starter button.

    The fix is easy - just remove the VERY tiny screws that secure the cover, clean-up the points and replace the cover. Just watch though - those screws are incredibly small and easy to loose (don’t ask me how I know this).

    On your timing chain....my view is that if it really is that far out of spec, it should be replaced - along with the front timing chain guide.

    madmax-im, Raymondo and Jim like this.
  19. TwoManyXS1Bs

    TwoManyXS1Bs BBQ Hunter Top Contributor

    If your crankshaft is indeed at TDC, that amount of camshaft retardation is very disturbing.

    Try this.

    (To confirm rotor alignment with TDC)
    Both plugs out.
    Using a toothpick or such, probe down thru the sparkplug hole, feel piston movement, get it as high as possible, as close to piston TDC as you can.
    Now check the rotor mark, see if it's close to aligning with the "T" mark.

    If not, then, make a pencil mark or something on the rotor, that aligns with the "T" mark.

    To be more precise, do the "piston stop" method to mark TDC.


    (To find camshaft timing alignment)
    Using a stick in the camshaft's index pin hole, rotate the engine to get that stick to point straight up, right at the center of the upper screw. (This is the cam's TDC)

    Take and post a pic of the rotor/timing marks.

    This will reveal the true camshaft timing.

    Up to 10° of retardation at the crank/rotor is tolerable.
    Beyond that to 15°, strongly suggest camchain replacement.
    Beyond that, strongly suggest don't run it...
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2019
  20. MaxPete

    MaxPete Life with Lucille...I suggest, she decides. Top Contributor XS650.com Supporter

    Agreed - I’d be concerned about a piston-valve collision with the cam timing that far out.
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2019
    JAX71224, madmax-im, Jim and 2 others like this.

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