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New to me xs650, and the first question of many.

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by 650Burger, Dec 1, 2019.

  1. 650Burger

    650Burger XS650 Enthusiast

    Hi everyone here at xs650,
    I'm super happy I found this community. I recently bought a xs650 that is in good shape but needs some love, and have big plans for her. She's a 1980 xs650 Spacial II.
    Namely, I hear the clinging calling for a cam chain guide + chain replacement coming soon. There's smoke on startup indicating we might have a piston ring problem, corroborated with my compression test results (I can post if you're curious). I also want to add a big bore kit while I'm in there and refresh some engine gaskets and such. Once the heart is good, I hope to get a good coat of paint on the tank and other cosmetic goodies. I don't really want to tranform her into a Cafe or something else for now, I want to get back to close to original and then see.

    Things that were done by PO (knowlegable guy, I'm sure he browses though here so hello!) before I got her:
    1. New VAPE (formerly powedynamo) ignition and PMA
    2. flushed and rebuilt front brake master cylinder
    3. stainless brake line. It's a little too long so might need replaced
    4. Forks have been rebuilt with new seals so those should be good for a while.
    5. new 520 chain and sprockets
    6. new spark plugs
    7. new standard flooded battery
    8. Added brake light modulator
    9. Replaced airbox cover latches with billet aluminum lathes
    10. Airbox was already removed when I got it and replace with pod filters which I've had no problems with.
    11. Carbs have been rejetted for pods and the aftermarket exhaust and have a new needle jet with clips so they are now adjustable. The jetting is but it is slightly richer
    12. All (4) valve seals are new.
    13. Fuel tank is passivated.
    14. Added charge indicating light. Removed all other lights from center console for simplicity when it was rewired.
    For now though, one of my headaches is the center stand. PO removed it since apparently it rusted off, and I am looking to fit a new one. However, I can't seem to find any assembly guides telling me what else I need besides the stand (the Clymer manual just skips talking about both stands and the Haynes doesn't really talk about how it's mounted).
    Can anyone tell me what I need to get? Having a centerstand will really help maintenance of the bike.

    Excited for what's soon to come! Kind of scared of rebuilding my top end, but we'll see.

    Attached Files:

  2. fredintoon

    fredintoon Fred Hill, S'toon. Top Contributor

    Hi 'Burger and welcome,
    besides a replacement centre stand you'll need the two pivot pins, their nuts and a return spring.
    Because the XS650 centre stand return spring is VERY stiff the stand is a right swine to install.
    Here's how I do it:-
    First, connect the return spring to the lug an the frame and the lug on the stand.
    You'll notice that the pivot pin holes don't line up.
    Reef on the stand until you can align one set of pivot holes with a DIY sturdy tapered pin.
    (unless you own a welder's chipping hammer, the head's pointy side works for that job.)
    With the tapered pin holding one set of pivot holes in alignment, reef on the stand to bring
    the second set of holes in line to install the pivot pin and nut .
    Then pull the DIY pin, reef on the stand to bring the second set of holes into line and install
    the second pin and nut.
    gggGary, nj1639, Paul Sutton and 2 others like this.
  3. motormike

    motormike XS650 Junkie XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Sometimes center stands won't clear the 2 n 1 exhaust systems. The stand may require some cut-weld to fit. The bolts needed to mount the stand won't be found at the local hardware store. Source your parts on this forum.. or ck boneyards.. ebay...sites on line. A simple bracket can be fab'd for the center stand stop.. a stop bumper can be found at your local h/ware store.
    Bike looks very nice.. painted fork legs ? If it's a keeper.. perhaps.. address the suspension… swing arm bearings, steering head tapered bearings. Being a Special they handle differently then the standards. I like to change the sprocket ratio on Specials because of the 16 inch rear wheel.... it helps lower engine rpms at freeway speeds. Our local brake warehouse makes steel brake lines.. or shorten them.
    gggGary, lakeview and 650Burger like this.
  4. Superjet

    Superjet XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    I usually install fender washers in the slots of the spring to lengthen it. Makes for an easier job when installing it once stand is bolted up. Welcome to the site and take a look at the tech section there are plenty of good and informative threads there. JC
    lakeview, nj1639, Paul Sutton and 3 others like this.
  5. fredintoon

    fredintoon Fred Hill, S'toon. Top Contributor

    Hi 'Burger,
    if the list's classifieds don't find the centre stand parts, MikesXS has them all, including the stand itself.
    MikesXS version of the pivot pin is an upgrade from the stock item, it's stainless steel and has a grease nipple.
    gggGary likes this.
  6. ThatXS650Guy

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

    That front disc does not look stock.
  7. 650Burger

    650Burger XS650 Enthusiast

    Thank you! I will try to source all of this and install them. I will use your trick of using a tapered pin, thanks for the advice. Sounds like you went though this yourself!
    gggGary likes this.
  8. 650Burger

    650Burger XS650 Enthusiast

    It isn't, I think the PO got a bunch of brake upgrades which I'm very grateful for. If I win the lottery I may attempt a rear disk conversion too, but more realistically I may try to find a better fitting brake line for the front.
  9. 650Burger

    650Burger XS650 Enthusiast

    I believe the PO put a smaller sprocket on the back wheel so I'm happy that was done.
    I need to read more into suspension upgrades, kind of waiting until I tackle the engine and engine issues before I do that though.
  10. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    Just be aware that these bikes used two different centerstands. The early ones had a different spacing between the mounts and won't fit your later model. You need the stand from a '74 or later bike.

    Braided stainless brake lines are dirt cheap on eBay now. You can pick one up for less than $10. The 90cm length works perfect with lower bars like yours. You may want to consider changing your MC or your bars. Your flat style bars have that stock angled MC sitting at a pretty extreme angle. Euro bars droop down on the ends slightly and that allows an angled Special MC like yours sit almost level ......


    Changing the original MC to something slightly smaller is something many of us are doing. The original is a little too big and doesn't give good braking "feel".
    650Burger and gggGary like this.
  11. lakeview

    lakeview XS650 Guru XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Get to know your bike well before you bring out the money gun. From its appearance, it looks like it was well-loved; maybe an adjustment of the cam chain and then checking valve clearance may quiet the motor. If it has not been run much in the time prior to your ownership, rings may have gotten a bit sticky; regular use may clear that up and improve your compression numbers.
    Let us know your cylinder pressures so we have a bit more to go on. - More pictures too, please.
  12. Brassneck

    Brassneck XS650 Guru

    Welcome to the group and nice looking Special II. Looks like the upgrades were done with consideration, and that's pretty rare, so good find--and good on the PO for doing things the better way. :)

    The front rotor looks like the XS performance rotor, which is a great set up (in my opinion). And the SS brake line doesn't actually look all that long from the pic you posted--I'd run with it as is.
    650Burger, Machine and gggGary like this.
  13. 650Burger

    650Burger XS650 Enthusiast

    They are not that bad! Per my notes:

    Left dry: 65
    Right dry: 70

    Warm engine

    Left dry: 125
    Right dry: 140

    Left wet: 140
    Right wet: 150

    Compression was tested both plugs out, using the kick starter and kicking left side first. For wet tests, a little bit of oil was added through the spark plug holes.

    Pictures are coming! I'm waiting for a nice day to take some better shots of her.
    Jim, Mailman and gggGary like this.
  14. lakeview

    lakeview XS650 Guru XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Superjet, that sounds like it would give just enough slack to get those bolts in without breaking a sweat! What a great shop tip!
    Superjet, Mailman and 650Burger like this.
  15. GLJ

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

    quarters work well also
    lakeview, timbeck, Superjet and 2 others like this.
  16. fredintoon

    fredintoon Fred Hill, S'toon. Top Contributor

    Hi GLJ,
    if I'd known about the ol' washers between the coils trick before I last fought the centre stand onto my bike, eh?
    Too late now, the frame's centre stand mounts are currently re-purposed to attach the sidecar's sub-frame.
    As the Ukranians say:- "So soon old, so late smart."
    Mailman, Team Junk, GLJ and 2 others like this.
  17. 650Burger

    650Burger XS650 Enthusiast

    Adding some pictures as requested.
    When I bought the bike I got an extra engine, I am disassembling it and taking notes before diving into my new engine. The plan is to refresh all the top end gaskets with new ones, add in a new timing chain+guide+tensionner and add a big bore kit. Fun!



    I will also need to clean this engine as I disassemble it because that flaking black paint is terrible.


    Put some fuel stabilizer in it and rode it for the last time before storing, I want to finish modding it before running it again. Tires need changed too... Not too experienced with tubed tires.
    Superjet, Mailman, Jim and 1 other person like this.
  18. Superjet

    Superjet XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    I like the hand guards! Not sure I ever saw one with them. Pretty cool. JC
    650Burger and lakeview like this.
  19. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    Have you compared the engine serial number to the frame number to see if they match? I ask because your pics show an earlier cam chain tensioner assembly installed. That could mean several things - the tensioner was swapped, or the cylinder block was swapped, or the entire engine was swapped. The tensioner on there is from a '75 or older engine .....


    ..... and as you can see in your 2nd pic, your later linked carb set barely fits above it. In fact, the angle bracket connecting the carbs may be resting right on the adjuster cover nut. For linked carb set clearance, the later tensioners used a smaller, shorter cover nut and were angled down slightly.
    650Burger and lakeview like this.

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