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1972 xs650 first time build

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Texas10, May 11, 2016.

  1. Texas10

    Texas10 XS650 Member

    Hey yall, I got this 1972 xs650 from my dad, which was his first motorcycle. Ive never messed with motorcycles a whole lot but have rebuilt atv's. Im wanting to tear it down and rebuild it to its original form. It hasnt ran in about 25 yrs. The motor is in decent shape. My main question is where should i start when tearing it down? I already have the gas tank off but thats it. Ill post some pics of it soon and thanks in advance.
  2. fredintoon

    fredintoon Fred Hill, S'toon. Top Contributor

    Hi Texas10 and welcome,
    I'd advise that the first things to do would be to get hold of a Clymer's or similar XS650 handbook and read it cover to cover in parallel with checking out photos of original bikes to see what's been changed on your dads.
    That and post photos.
  3. Texas10

    Texas10 XS650 Member

    Thanks Fredintoon. I ordered the manual and plan on reading through it. Here's a pic of the bike as to where I stand with it right now.

    Attached Files:

  4. cycleranger

    cycleranger Generally Ok.

    Good on you for restoring your Dad's bike.
    You can get the shop manual and the parts list here:
    I usually get the bike on a stand and work from the wheels in toward the engine.
    Although you can get the pipes off first to get the out of your way.
    Make sure you bag and label everything and take lots and lots of photos before you take something off.
  5. 650Skull

    650Skull SSSSSSSSSlither Top Contributor

    Welcome, read, learn, learn, learn, read, learn

    Do not strip it down just yet. One of the biggest mistakes that occurs is the "ill stip it and fix it up" before understanding anything about the bike or the best process for the situation. meaning if the engine turns over and the wiring is in good condition then working on it as is and fixing things in an orderly fashion will help you work out what needs to be done. Often things are done and money spent unnecessarily.

    Seems to be more surface rust than anything. The bike could be gone over and engine started, (unless seized), with the necessary oil change and carb clean before hand.

    If the wiring is intact then i would suggest starting with that and go over every connection, (especially earth/grounds), and coupling and bullet connector and dissemble and check for damage, clean and reconnect.

    Get a Muti-meter, reasonable quality, learn to use it and do a continuity check on the wires as you go, this will help to isolate any problems.

    Electrical links, a must read;






    A lot of that chrome will restore to a reasonable level with a muric acid bath, Vinigar or molassis, will remove the rust and a polish will bring it up so it is acceptable for an everyday rider and can be upgraded as time/money permits. These early 70-73 model parts are getting harder to find in good nick and expensive, so if your chrome parts are not dented and clean up ok then they can be chromed or whatever later ondown the track

    Bit of a rant but again i state dont strip it down yet. Learn and do as much work on it as it is.

    Remember cosmetics do not make a bike run well it is the unseen work.
  6. Texas10

    Texas10 XS650 Member

    Cycleranger- thanks for the manual link and bagging/labeling/photos is a good idea. I'll be sure to do that.

    650skull- the engine doesn't seem to be seized up, so like you said I'll probably rebuild the carbs and see if I can get it to turn over first. Thanks for the electrical links, I'll be sure to read them so I have an idea of what's going on exactly.

    Any other advice/suggestion would be much appreciated. This site has been very informative so far! Thanks
  7. 650Skull

    650Skull SSSSSSSSSlither Top Contributor

  8. fredintoon

    fredintoon Fred Hill, S'toon. Top Contributor

    Hi Texas10,
    what they all said.
    About the bike's condition as I see it from the photo.
    You do have the tank and seat?
    Once you have done the dead bike resurrection tricks you'll find on this list it can be ridden "as is" except the rusty fork tubes will destroy the fork seals and the somewhat flexy forks will need a stock fender to keep them somewhat less flexy and I'd advise adding a fork brace too.
    Once the bike is rideable I'd say ride it for a while and then think about the cosmetics.
  9. Texas10

    Texas10 XS650 Member

    Fredintoon- thanks for the advice, I've seen that mikesxs has a lot of the parts to rebuild the bike and front forks. I do have the tank, seat, side covers and the front fender.
  10. Texas10

    Texas10 XS650 Member

    Update: so I cleaned the carburetors and ordered new gaskets/air filters from mikesxs. I hooked up a 12v battery and pulled out my multimeter and have been checking wires. I'm going of this diagram (pic) which I color coated. When I turn the key I'm not getting any power from the red wire until the key is in the II position. The lights and tach aren't getting power as well. The red/yellow wire connecting the key switch to the handle switch is not getting power as well, which leads me to believe it could be the key switch. I'm going to back track the wires and see where it leads me. Also, the engine IS seized up, so I got some marvel mystery oil and plan on pouring it in the cylinders through the spark plug hole in hopes to free up the pistons. That's where I stand as of right now. Any comments/advice would be much appreciated. Thanks!

    Attached Files:

  11. Texas10

    Texas10 XS650 Member

    Update: ok guys, this is where I'm at on the rebuild. I pulled the engine and I'm in the process of taking off the head. I got the ignition point unit off and have the advance rod out. When disassembling the ignition advance unit, the manual says to use a punch and hammer to loosen the ring nut, which isn't working. I don't want to hit it too hard. Any advice on how I might loosen it?? Won't let me upload pics at this time.
  12. Texas10

    Texas10 XS650 Member

    Got it loose and back on track to pulling off the head!
  13. Texas10

    Texas10 XS650 Member

    Ok so I'm at the point to where I have the cam chain tensioner out and I'm trying to remove the cam. There isn't any slack in the cam chain to remove the cam and the bearings don't seem to want to budge at all to be removed. Any suggestions on what my next step should be?? Should I try to use a mallet to get the bearings off? Or should I cut one of the links on the chain?
  14. TwoManyXS1Bs

    TwoManyXS1Bs BBQ Hunter Top Contributor

    Hmmm. Fork in the road.

    1- If you grind off the master link plate on the chain, it'll be easier to disassemble,
    But risk getting filings in the engine, and you'll need a new master link.

    2- If you knock the bearings off, allowing you to slide the cam out, you've saved the chain and master link. Assuming you don't ruin the bearings trying to remove them.

    Since you report that the chain is still tight, it may not need to be replaced.
    So, option 2 may be best.

    If you plan to replace most wear items, like the chain, tensioners, bearings, and get into the bottom end, then option 1 is better.
  15. Texas10

    Texas10 XS650 Member

    TwoManyXS1Bs- the thing is that I can't get to the master link due to the fact that the pistons are seized. So I may have to go with option 2 unless there's a better way. Just hope not to mess the bearings up by pounding on them.
  16. TwoManyXS1Bs

    TwoManyXS1Bs BBQ Hunter Top Contributor

    Ok, mod to option 1:
    Grind off the heads of whatever link is easier to access, probably the top one.
    Then punch it out...
  17. 650Skull

    650Skull SSSSSSSSSlither Top Contributor

    Tip on uploading pics. Set your camera or phone on a smaller size or resize your pics.

    300.0 Kb max size or i resize on my program to 1200x900
  18. Texas10

    Texas10 XS650 Member

    TwoManyXS1Bs- used your advice and punched out a link to the chain. Thanks! Now to get the pistons unseized and the jugs removed. Anyone know where I might be able to find some pistons and rings to my 72 xs650?
  19. 650Skull

    650Skull SSSSSSSSSlither Top Contributor

    In the cruzinimage store I couldn't find the early 256 type pistons in the Yamaha piston search, XS650. Found 2 sets with the XS1 search.


    they seem to have a few negative an neutral feedbacks and there are a couple relating to Combined postage.

    In my transaction with them i bought 3 sets of pistons and payed the full postage on each set and within 12 hours they had given me a refund based on combined shipping without me asking. Another is complaining about the carb kits not having the right jets for the model Xs650 he had, cab kits are notorious for this, (doesn't matter who they are bought from the same issue arises), so it is a buyer beware situation.

    I wouldn't hesitate to buy from them again

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