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Let’s hear it run

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by TJZ662, Aug 20, 2020.

  1. TJZ662

    TJZ662 XS650 Member

    Just got my first bike.. it’s a 78 special non running. Only 8k miles and looks to be in overall not too terrible of shape. The previous owner inherited it after a passing in the family and the only info I could get was it doesn’t stay charged and won’t start... not really much to go off. Can anyone recommend where do I even begin? I plan on draining the gas( inside of the tank is very clean) a quick oil change, new battery and see what happens. Any tips would be appreciated.
     

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  2. Jim

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

    Welcome to the funny farm. :D
    Have a read here. Good a place as any to start.
    What's your plans for the bike? Ditchin' the seat would be a good start. I think Gary's lookin for one. :rolleyes:
     
    figure8, Raymond, halfmile and 3 others like this.
  3. Machine

    Machine Race the wind Top Contributor

    :laughing:
     
  4. TJZ662

    TJZ662 XS650 Member

    Jim,
    For sure the seat is not staying. I guess short term plan would be get it going and rand enjoy the warm weather while it’s here. Long term goal would be build a street track and just learn as I go.
     
    Raymond, halfmile, Mailman and 2 others like this.
  5. Jim

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

    Suggestion. Use this thread to document your progress and ask questions. Some new guys throw out new question threads like a scatter gun. Just keep it all here in one place. It'll make it much easier to keep track of where you're at.
     
    Raymond, halfmile, Mailman and 2 others like this.
  6. TJZ662

    TJZ662 XS650 Member

    Thanks ..already finding that link helpful. I’ll keep posting
     
  7. halfmile

    halfmile XS Builder XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

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    Street tracker is a good choice for a build. Lots of parts and options. This site has a lot of good tracker build threads too. Good luck with your XS650 endeavours.
     
    buzzword, Raymond and Jim like this.
  8. Raymond

    Raymond XS650 rider & fettler XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Looks like a nice XS which has not suffered too much.

    If the seat is going, you'll probably want new bars as well? I'd recommend the low euro style. But each to his or her own. Your plan of get it going and enjoy the warm weather sounds good - once you have a little bit more time with the bike, your plans for changes will evolve naturally. (Or maybe intelligent design will happen?)
     
    lakeview and Jim like this.
  9. TJZ662

    TJZ662 XS650 Member

    If “intelligent design“ means some weld/fab stuff and really diving into it then yup I’d like to venture off in that direction. Basically, my buddy at work races flat track and got me hooked on these bikes. Today I’ll be buying a new battery, borrowing a compression tester, and just cleaning it up.
     
    Jim and Raymond like this.
  10. Raymond

    Raymond XS650 rider & fettler XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Actually, TJZ, intelligent design was a joke . . .

    But definitely looking forward to what you decide to do with your bike and how that goes. Cheers, Raymond
     
    Jim likes this.
  11. Great first bike. Agreed the seat and bars need to go but as far as getting it running it should be fairly simple. Fresh gas and a fresh battery may be all it takes, check to see that you have good spark. If it does start you will still want to give the carbs a thorough ccleaning. As the bike has been sitting jets and passages can gum up so even if it runs it can run very lean/ hot, no good. Lots of good videos out there on the subject. As for charging, thes bikes are notorious for weak charging systems .if the alternator is bad , a fully charged battery will keep it running for couple of hours but it will eventually die and not restart. A good multimeter will be helpfull here. Lots of good info on this forum about charging issues and just about everything else for that matter. Good luck and have fun
     
    Jim and Raymond like this.
  12. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

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    I must caution you about trying to start or run the bike before looking into the carbs. If they're all gummed up, starting will suck that crap up into them and plug things up worse than they already may be. Take a float bowl off and examine it inside. That will quickly show you how bad the carbs are.

    Yes, unfortunately, charging issues are pretty common. But they are usually pretty easy to diagnose and fix, although not always cheap, lol.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2020
    Raymond and YamadudeXS650C like this.
  13. TJZ662

    TJZ662 XS650 Member

    Thanks everyone for the helpful tips. Don’t have time today to rips the carbs off and still waiting for a battery. Just decided to do a little cleaning while I wait. It looks as if when it was running there was a leak coming from the head gasket.
     

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  14. TJZ662

    TJZ662 XS650 Member

    I guess first things first get it running, but I suppose checking the torque on the head bolts couldn’t hurt
     

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  15. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

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    Yes, another common issue. Yes, re-torque the head bolts and that will often cure the leaking. The four outside studs drain oil back down into the crankcase from the rocker area. The nuts on top of those studs need to be sealed. Yamaha used a rubber/metal washer on them and while good for sealing, it's too soft to hold the nuts tight. I can tell you with near 100% confidence that you will find those outer four head nuts loose. Most of us change those washers out for copper or brass ones. These are soft enough to seal but hard enough to keep the nuts tight .....

    [​IMG]
     
    Raymond likes this.
  16. ThatXS650Guy

    ThatXS650Guy More Sparky than Speed Racer XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

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    Welcome. That '78 looks to be in better shape than the '79 I started with but it's about as Fugly :D
    Get it running, grow a porn 'stache, tie a bandanna around your noggin, and ride it as is. I actually took mine to Bike Night as it was. It was surprisingly fun...
    092314131925_zps22a53e69.JPG
     
  17. YamadudeXS650C

    YamadudeXS650C Central New York XS650 XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    I agree with XS650Guy.
    Keep the seat !
    Be one of the very few (the Only one ?) Special owners who doesn't toss the King and Queen into the dumpster.
    Make it work, somehow.
    Following the crowd isn't always the ticket to fame.

    [​IMG]
     
    jetmechmarty and ThatXS650Guy like this.
  18. TJZ662

    TJZ662 XS650 Member

    You know I thought of keeping it in case my wife or kids ever decide they want to go for a ride. But even still it might just find it’s way into the trash.
     
    YamadudeXS650C likes this.
  19. ThatXS650Guy

    ThatXS650Guy More Sparky than Speed Racer XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

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    LOL. Mine didn't last very long. I performed surgery on the "queen" part of it and had it recovered. Much better but I eventually went full cafe'.
     

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  20. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

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    I'm sure many will agree that one of the best courses of action would be to get the bike running mostly as is so you can ride it a bit, get a feel for it, and sort it's issues. Yes, I would recommend changing the bars. As mentioned, the Euro bar bend is a very good choice. Besides being very comfortable, the way they droop down on the ends will allow your stock Special angled MC to mount almost level .....

    [​IMG]

    The lower more normal height bars will literally transform the look and feel of the bike.
     
    figure8 and Raymond like this.

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