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New 81 Frost Silver XS650

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Orion61, May 23, 2020.

  1. Orion61

    Orion61 XS650 Addict

    My Brother-In-Law bought an old 650 a number of years ago and brought it home, stuck it in his storage shed. And YEP you got it, he didn't drain the tank or carbs, didn't fog the cyls etc, left the battery in it to corrode to kingdom come.
    He found out I was looking for a project bike, something with a motor and title to chop up. He called me and explained the condition as pretty ratty, dirty, seat ripped up and just hanging off of it, and probably just junk. he said the tank was beat up, chrome was rusty the headlight was all bent from a wreck....
    I didn't know what I was getting myself into. I knew it was an 81 Special, so I wasn't expecting much. When we rode to his shed and he opened the door and un covered it I couldn't believe it! It was complete and ALL original, NOTHING missing At all! it had fallen over and dimpled the tank, small olive sized dings. Flashers were a bit bent at the headlight but nothing bad at all! I put a battery into it and pulled the air filters. I primed both cyls and It popped right off, carbs are dirty, and it only ran for a few seconds but it was enough to hear a nice tight motor with no smoke! I wiped off the layer of grime from the odometer and was stunned to see the numbers that staggered me! It had just turned over to 9000 original miles!!
    She is a really nice looking (but dirty) Frost Silver 81 Special. Tight as a drum and a compression check showed identical compression at the "new Bike" spec. range! The tires even look new but are probably hard and dangerous to ride on.
    He called it ratty because it was dirty and there were a couple small torn spots at the stitching in the seat, I did a tension test and it is simply the thread.easily fixed. I will make you guys a promise... This Survivor will never get chopped up, I will own it until I pass it to my Son, He is like me and doesn't believe they vibrate but PURR, he also loves the sound. I did have a question tho. I have never had a newer than a 1975 XS650, and is it normal for the tail light and flashers to work, but headlight not work when not running? I didn't check if it came on after it fired up for a few seconds? I couldn't spend much time there because my Bro in Law was heading out of town, I will post pix as soon as I can get it home. It really is a very clean bike, Even has a nice set of leather Saddle Bags on it, only a few surface rust spots on the chrome, heck the fork seals are soft no cracks and don't eve leak! So do you think I got a good deal at $600.00? I don't know what they are selling for now? It has honestly been 25+ years since I have seen another 650 in this good and complete of unrestored condition, This has had one registered Adult owner . My Brother in law said he has known the guy for over 30 years, and the guy's wife nagged him into not driving it after a couple times of having a few too many and having it fall over on him (dented tank reason explained haha. Mike said he had put a blanket over it, after he rolled it in a corner of his heated and cooled 2 car garage, so it has been virtually been in an inside environment. I did notice the cylinders show some external oil baked on them under the head.
    Would that mean it needs the head bolts loosened and re-torqued? Could it be something else like seal on the Cam chain Tension cap? One more question, I didn't see an Idle air mixture screw? Is it under a cap, or on the inside of the carbs? I told you I have never worked on a post 75 XS. I was disappointed to see the side covers made of Plastic!!!
    Thanks,
    Larry B
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2020
    JAX71224, cra-z1, MrBultaco and 3 others like this.
  2. Stickysteve44

    Stickysteve44 XS650 Enthusiast

    That's an absolute steal. There is a safety relay so the headlights will not come on until you turn the bike over. Torquing the heads seems to be a regular maintenance thing. So definitely wouldn't hurt. The mixture screws are on top of the carbs under caps. You need to drill them out to get to them.

    Edit: I'm also very new to these bikes so I'm sure someone will chime in with some more useful information. I just got my '82 a few weeks ago.
     
  3. Orion61

    Orion61 XS650 Addict

    Thanks Steve, I got my first 650 in 1983, It was a rather poorly cared for '73TX. It had never seen a garage and had those dang 6" over front forks, and instead of putting a longer break line in front he just removed the whole thing. Seat ripped up, It was this bike I learned what a difference a tender touch to timing and carb settings can mean in performance. I sold that and bought a 73 TX750 in 1980, I don't believe anybody else liked them but me. I learned right away how to properly adjust the counter balance chain, also I mixed some heavy NON detergent oil with the regular oil to prevent foaming, So many died from Spun Main Bearings on that right side. I had great luck and in 2 years put 28,000 miles on it, I lived in Northern Iowa, I rode than until snow stopped me, It never ever failed to start!. It only had 10,000 when I got it and had blown up within a month of the owner driving it home from the dealer. It had the recall extra deep oil pan put on it. It was heavy but had a lot of low end power and ate up the hills. It rode very smoothly, and to this day I miss it's purr and that swishing sound of the CB 3 weight system. The only thing that was a minor problem is if I really got on it in low gear at about 6k it would KICK out of gear, It was fine and never kicked out under that. I sold it to my cousin who beat the heck out of it, put another 7000 miles on it but he over tightened the cam chain adjuster and the chain ate it up, plugged up the cam lube ports, and froze it up on him the highway doing 70!!! I pulled it down and found the rest of the motor was fine, I put a new head on it cam chain and adjuster, new Rings, and sold it. The guy I sold it to was still happy last time I saw him at 60,000 miles on it.. From what I have heard it may be a record for them.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2020
    lakeview, gggGary and Stickysteve44 like this.
  4. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    19,240
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    The later 650s are nice bikes, more refined, but also have more safety mandates. I don't think the '81 had the sidestand relay but I think you will find a clutch/starter one. Easy enough to do away with though. You also no longer have a headlight on-off switch. But again, something you can "undo". I just added one to my '83.
     
    gggGary, Superjet and Stickysteve44 like this.
  5. Raymondo

    Raymondo XS650 rider, fettler, setting out on a journey XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Larry, you are so Jammy, this is the stuff of dreams.
     
    gggGary likes this.
  6. gggGary

    gggGary Stop that! XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Hey Larry sounds like a nice bike for the price.
    Yes headlight relay, It's a poor man's charging system check, it will only light if the alternator is working. Normally one kick or spin of the starter should close and latch the safety relay
    Idle mix screws under these plugs.
    HS choke detail.jpg
    Jet needle washer mod, long as you are going to have those carbs apart anyways.
    Yes a head stud retorque is a "must do" it usually stops head leaks.
    Bout 100 hours, tires, battery and few misc parts should have it back on the road.
    81 the only year with a rear drum mag in the USA!
    Can't wait to see, follow as you bring it back to life!
     
    Raymondo and GLJ like this.
  7. Orion61

    Orion61 XS650 Addict

    I have to go into the Hospital on Tuesday for some major Back surgery, I wish That I had found it earlier this Spring! I mean I knew he had it, but didn't realize he would sell it. What is the best way to clean these carbs? I have some chem Dip bit it is about 4 years old. I don't know if it goes bad or not? Or is there something else I can use? I won't do the Pine Sol thing because it discolors the carbs. Also when you soak them, do you do it with the throttle closed or open?
     
  8. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

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    It's not a good idea to soak them, not unless you remove every bit of rubber, like the butterfly shaft seals in particular. But there's really no need to soak them. You can scrub the outsides clean with brushes and cleaner, clean out the internal passageways by blowing cleaner through them with compressed air. You'd have to blow through all the passageways anyway if you soaked them. Soaking alone usually isn't enough to clear them.
     
    Raymondo and gggGary like this.
  9. thuban

    thuban Horse Scratcher XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    IF you have a little ultra sonic cleaner ( Cheep at harbor freight) you'll use it for more than carbs!) what a great find. Your a lucky puppy! :rock:
    Gotta give us some pix, Orion!
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2020
    Bewarethemoon, Raymondo and gggGary like this.
  10. XsJosh

    XsJosh XS650 Enthusiast

    I figured you'd have pics up by now, we want to see it!
     
  11. Orion61

    Orion61 XS650 Addict

    As far as pix, I don't have it home yet, and My Brother in Law has gone camping so I haven't had access to it. If he gets home today I will get some pix, otherwise I have back surgery tomorrow and will be down for awhile. But I will get them posted as soon as I can. I ordered a Carb Brush and pick set, and Carb Screwdriver kit. Last time I tried to remove a jet it stripped out and I had to use an ez out on it.
    I thank you very much for all your kind words of help, no wonder this is the premier XS site.. I just saw that BEAUTIFUL mint 1970 on EBAY, If I had the $$ it would be mine.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2020 at 11:53 AM
  12. Orion61

    Orion61 XS650 Addict

    BY THE WAY,
    Does anybody have a diagram of the passages that need cleaned?induced problems!
    Sorry I don't mean to be a mooch here but I do appreciate your sage advice, Asking questions have saved me many hours of self induced repairs. The cases are a bit dull and grey, Can you polish them on the bike? I have a dremmel tool and buffer. Or do you wet sand and then polish, I have emery up to 3000 grit
     
  13. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    19,240
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    Never heard of a carb screwdriver set. It is difficult to find properly fitting screwdrivers probably because the jets are metric. I've taken to grinding down 1/4" insert bits to get perfect fitting ones. This is particularly important for the small pilot jets .....

    [​IMG]

    You can see the bit on the lower left hasn't been ground yet and is a rather loose and sloppy fit. Your main jet is the large round type, easy to get at, and has a large screwdriver slot. You may find an American screwdriver that fits it well. A note on the carb jets - they are soft brass and needn't be installed super tight. Tight yes, but don't go ape shit on them. You may not get them out again, lol. I only use a stubby screwdriver for install as this limits the torque I can apply.

    As far as what passages to clean, clean them all, lol. You'll need to remove all the jets first, and the mix screw too. And all the jets means the needle jets too, often overlooked. There are a couple of air feed jets in the bell mouth you'll need to blow through to ensure they're clear. One is fixed but the other has a removable jet you can take out. These won't get fuel clogged but may get plugged by bugs or spiders or something. Just using WD40 and compressed air should suffice .....

    [​IMG]

    The other important circuit to get clean is the pilot circuit. The pilot jet delivers it's fuel/air mix into the main bore through 4 tiny holes. You'll need to blow cleaner in through the pilot jet hole and make sure it comes out these 4 holes .....

    [​IMG]

    You'll need to cover the mix screw hole with a finger or the cleaner will blow out there too. You can "back flush" the circuit by blowing cleaner through the mix screw hole while covering the 4 little holes in the main bore. Cleaner will then be directed out the pilot jet hole.

    There's more details I probably haven't touched on but once you get into it, you can ask more questions if you have any.
     
    MrBultaco, thuban and Raymondo like this.
  14. thuban

    thuban Horse Scratcher XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    You can do some polishing on the bike but limited. Click on the "TECH" section up there and under Misc, is Polishing Made Easy. Lots of topics under the Tech section. If it ain't there Sears don't have it.
     
  15. Orion61

    Orion61 XS650 Addict

    Our Sears closed last year darn it!! lol, Thanks for the tips. My Brother in Law isn't home until tomorrow, so I won't get pix until after surgery darn it. I am itching to get into it.But the best thing about being single is I am going to be able to bring it into my 4 season room this winter and work at my own pace... No Wife to nag about it!! Wish me luck guys on my operation tomorrow, I will post the outcome as soon as I am out of La La Land. Having Lamination surgery from L2 to L5 both sides, And at least one fusion. You guys are the best friends I've never met!
    Larry Beach
    Sioux City Iowa
    (I-Otta-Went-Around)
     
    GLJ likes this.
  16. GLJ

    GLJ Never go faster than your guardian angle can fly. Top Contributor

    Good luck! Hope things go well!:thumbsdown:
     

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