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On the road again at 40.............the bike that is

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by robinc, May 16, 2017.

  1. Jim

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

    Yes, oil on the points will cause them to burn. However.... leading cause of burnt points is a bad condenser... in my experience. Just because you replaced 'em... don't discount that possibility.
    Noise is always hard to diagnose from a video. To be honest, I didn't hear anything unusual. Try disconnecting the tach cable and see if that changes anything.
    gggGary, MaxPete and robinc like this.
  2. robinc

    robinc Member of the 'yellow meter gang' Top Contributor

    OK, thanks Jim. I may have another new condenser if not I do have the old one that was likely OK. I'll order another.

    I'll disconnect the tach cable and see if there's any change. I guess I'm just paranoid about every noise now. :laugh2:
    gggGary, MaxPete and Jim like this.
  3. robinc

    robinc Member of the 'yellow meter gang' Top Contributor

    Na, doesn't seem to make much difference Jim.
    I'll swap in another condenser, do an oil change and another head re-torque.

    Thanks Jim.
    MaxPete and Jim like this.
  4. Jim

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

    Quick story.... years ago... had to change a part on a Huey helicopter main rotor transmission. As soon as I was done, we had to fly it about 75-100 miles out into the Gulf of Mexico. I honestly coulda swore that transmission was whining louder than usual. Don't discount the possibility you're overly sensitive to noise 'cause this is your first engine.... ;)
  5. robinc

    robinc Member of the 'yellow meter gang' Top Contributor

    HAHA, thanks Jim. I guess I'm in good company. There is no doubt I'm overly sensitive to every little thing.

    Thanks for the reassurance teach! ;)
    gggGary, MaxPete and Jim like this.
  6. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    Did you happen to observe the points while the bike was sitting there idling, and were one set or the other (or both) sparking a lot? An occasional spark is normal but constant big sparks is an indication that the condenser on the sparking points set is bad.
    Jim, gggGary, MaxPete and 2 others like this.
  7. robinc

    robinc Member of the 'yellow meter gang' Top Contributor

    Hmm, yes I did in fact notice that the right points were sparking a lot 5twins. Didn't see any spark on the left. I guess that confirms that this condenser is bad. Thank you for that info. I remembered reading about this but couldn't remember what all that spark might mean.

    Thanks again.
    Jim, MaxPete and Mailman like this.
  8. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    What you're calling your condenser is actually a condenser "pack", 2 condensers mounted on one bracket, one for each set of points. They are mounted bottom to bottom, the wire coming out of each end is from a separate condenser.
    Jim, gggGary, MaxPete and 2 others like this.
  9. Mailman

    Mailman Hardly a Guru Top Contributor

    That old bike sure has been making you work for your fun. I hope the new seals change your luck with that leak. That has to be very frustrating. It sounds like you’re on track to get your ignition sorted out.
    Regarding that noise, I know I was the same way when I changed my clutch on my other bike. I put so many new parts in there, I was just sure it was making too much noise after getting it running. I think your ears are on high alert. I’m sure I’ll go through the same thing once I get my bike running again.
    Btw, nice you got old B.B. out for a spin ( you rascal ). ;)
  10. robinc

    robinc Member of the 'yellow meter gang' Top Contributor

    Ya Bob, she keeps fighting me for sure. Ah well, as frustrating as it is I'm always learning, and I guess have learned enough more now to have been able to track this points problem down which is good. Should have just spent more time with the points right off, but now I know all these other things check out OK. So was it time wasted or well spent?
    I figured it was oil burnt points but with Jim's and 5twin's help I guess my new condensers are bad. More knowledge added. Never trust Mikes parts?

    Thanks again guys!

    Yes, hoping these new seals will do the trick. They are currently out of stock, but I'll get an order in.


    Nice if I had actually done that Bob. ;)
    peanut, Jim and Mailman like this.
  11. Jim

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

  12. robinc

    robinc Member of the 'yellow meter gang' Top Contributor

    Done, thanks Jim. Again, my secret shopper. Hadn't had a chance to get to Ebay yet.

    Damn shipping!

    Thanks again for the help brother. You're too much man!
    Mailman and Jim like this.
  13. TwoManyXS1Bs

    TwoManyXS1Bs BBQ Hunter Top Contributor

    Rob, you can swap the condenser leads to confirm it's a problem. See if points arcing switches points.

    5twins has posted much about using 1-way crankcase ventilation valves, which reduce case pressures, and reduce potential seal leaks. Try a forum search on "brake valve" posted by member "5twins".

    Your right engine noise is something to monitor. Can you hear it while riding? If so, does it change with rpms, during acceleration, during engine braking, clutch engaged/disengaged?

    Davem222's epic thread(s), concerning right side engine sounds:



    Jim, Mailman and robinc like this.
  14. robinc

    robinc Member of the 'yellow meter gang' Top Contributor

    Ya, I forgot I could swap the leads, I'll do that to test before I swap another in.

    Will do some searching on 5twins ideas. I can use all the help I can get with this issue.

    I'll dig into Davem222's threads and will keep a close ear on it and see if I can notice any changes. Can't recall really noticing it or any changes while riding, but I'll be paying more attention to it.

    Thanks for all the tips and info 2M!
    Jim, Mailman and TwoManyXS1Bs like this.
  15. MaxPete

    MaxPete Lucille, Betty & Demi - I suggest but THEY decide. XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Hi All: I'm not much of an electrical hand - but would ANY other condensor work for our XS650s?

    I mean, all cars with points and all bikes with points have condensors don't they?

    peanut, mrtwowheel, Jim and 1 other person like this.
  16. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    Yes, we could probably use car condensers if we wanted. Condensers should be matched to the ignition system and are rated in microfarads. The 650 calls for one rated at .22 microfarad and most cars call for the same. But, looking some car ones up, best prices seem to be in the $4 to $8 range for one. We would need 2, have to install bullet connectors on the wires, and build a mount. Not much saving there considering all the work required.

    Common practice has always been to change points AND condensers when doing a tune-up. Years ago when a condenser was only a couple bucks, that was no big deal. Today they cost much more and the thing is, you don't have to change the condenser if it's still good. They can last a long, long time, almost forever sometimes. The other thing to keep in mind is that the condenser should be matched to the system. Ones that aren't are what cause the points to pit. And newly manufactured ones don't always match the .22 microfarad spec like they should. If you have an old one that's working well, giving normal points wear without excess pitting, you should keep using it. There's a good chance the new replacement won't match up as well. Do keep spares on hand because, as Robin has discovered, they occasionally do crap out.
  17. TwoManyXS1Bs

    TwoManyXS1Bs BBQ Hunter Top Contributor

    This DOES sound like a viable project, using alternative auto condensers.
    As 5twins noted, they need to be 0.22mfd, very common, and easy to determine.
    The difficult part is the weather and heat tolerance, and dialectic strength.
    More common Honda 2-cyl condensers, like from CB350/CB450 would likely be more suited for this interchange. Dunno about costs, tho'.

    Edit: Best I could find, $12.

    Last edited: Sep 4, 2018
  18. robinc

    robinc Member of the 'yellow meter gang' Top Contributor


    Hmmmmm...maybe eh?

    gggGary, Jim and MaxPete like this.
  19. TwoManyXS1Bs

    TwoManyXS1Bs BBQ Hunter Top Contributor

    That offering is likely questionable aftermarket. Best would be genuine Honda, but those are rather pricey.

    Automotive condensers usually set in the protective distributor, not exposed to extreme heat and the elements. Likely have thinner dialectric, less tolerant to heat. Might could try them if you can enclose and protect them, keep them cool...
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2018
    gggGary, robinc and Jim like this.
  20. robinc

    robinc Member of the 'yellow meter gang' Top Contributor

    Update. Got some stuff done and have been chasing a gremlin.

    Did the 5th oil change since rebuild.
    3940 kms/2450 miles on rebuild
    1609 kms/1000 miles since last oil change

    Some small bits of plastic in sump and side filters picked out with a toothpick. Looks like some old fibrous bits still being washed out and some new small plastic bits, probably from the starter gear.
    Some really fine filings on sump magnets. Oil was nice and clear though so I guess whatever was there has been flushed out.

    New points installed, swapped in my old OEM condenser pack. Dwell set 22.5° - 22.9°, timing good.

    While I had the top mount off to install my other condenser pack I decided to check head bolts torque again. This is the 8th retorque - bolts are still holding, acorns took maybe 5° Probably didn’t need to bother but it was interesting.

    One intake valve had opened up a bit to about .006” from it's .003” setting.

    Took it for a test ride last Sunday and it took a little longer to warm her up at 60°F versus the last 110°F with humidex day. Once warmed up still getting some intermittent stumble / break down at 3500 - 4000.

    I know the first reaction is to suspect a carb issue but I know that's not it and it has to be an ignition gremlin. Also I would think if it was a carb problem it would be consistent and not sporadic, must be an ignition problem.

    Gotta give a HUGE……

    download (6).jpg

    to @YamadudeXS650C

    He said he had experienced the exact same stumble problem on his 75 and it was a weak connection in an ignition connection in his headlight bucket.

    I was in there a week or so ago checking all connections so figured I'd start under the tank first.
    Huh...........just about all the ignition bullet connectors were sloppy. I guess years of unplugging and plugging has opened up the female bullet connectors.
    A couple in the R/W ignition wire came out of the female double bullet connector without any effort whatsoever.
    Crimped all the connectors a little tighter with a small pair of needle nose pliers.

    Only had time for about a 15 minute test ride today, no stumble! Cautiously optimistic, but gonna pull the headlight bucket apart again as well just to make sure.

    I guess the vibes at 3500-4000 rpm we're just right to cause one of these to loosen up enough and cause an intermittent connection.

    Dude, You sir are a genius! I owe ya one buddy, next beer's on me!

    peanut, geedubya, gggGary and 3 others like this.

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