1973 Super Rustbucket Resurrection

DogBunny

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Here's the new project. (And yes, I am still very slowly working on my "XS1B Texas Resurrection" project.)
Looks pretty good in this pic, doesn't it?

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But maybe not so much when you get a little closer...

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So, here's the story: The bike came up on Craigslist a few days ago, and a guy I know immediately jumped on it. He traveled 50 miles to pick it up. When he got there, he saw that it was in way worse condition then he thought it was. But he was already there, he had told the seller he would buy it, and it was only $460, so he said what the heck, and he bought it.

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After bringing it home, he developed buyer's remorse, so he texted me a pic and asked if I wanted for $400 (a loss of $60 for him). I immediately jumped on it. I traveled 35 miles to pick it up. When I got there, I saw that it was in way worse condition then I thought it was. But I was already there, I had told the guy I would buy it, and it was only $400, so I said what the heck, and I bought it.

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$400 might seem outrageous for this bike to many of you, but in Austin it's really not a bad deal, especially for a 1973, and especially for an engine that has good compression. The original seller claims the bike ran a few years ago, and I totally believe it. I have complete confidence that after the usual drill this bike will run.
I've said before that Austin is the XS650 capital of the world. I truly believe that we have more XS650s per capita than any other city. In Austin, you can get $300 easy for an XS650 motor with good compression. Get that motor running, and you can get $500 for it, easy -- that's a bare engine, no carbs, intake, exhaust...
In fact, just a few weeks ago, I sold a bare 1974 engine for $500. Here's a 4-minute video that I made of it to help sell it:

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This rust bucket is pretty much 100% complete and correct. The one thing it's missing is the title. I have the original owner's info, and there's a chance I can persuade him to file for a lost title. Otherwise, I'll be doing a bonded title, which in Texas adds about $125 to the cost of registration.

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My plan for the bike is to get it running, make it street legal, and license and insure it. And otherwise do absolute zero aesthetic-wise. Keep the patina exactly as is. Have fun with the comments I get riding the rustiest bike in Austin around town. Then, next summer, I'll put it in some shows, COVID-allowing. At the big ROT rally, there is a "Rat Bike" category -- this bike is way rattier than many previous-years winners I have seen there. The local East Side Classic show also has a Rat Bike category. And, in October, there is the big Harvest Classic show in Luckenbach. I think it would be pretty funny to line up this rustbucket alongside all of the flawless restorations there.

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Interestingly, except for the dumb pin-striping, all of the tins are in surprisingly good condition. This tank is completely dent-free, and has pretty good paint. Use rubbing compound to take the pin-stripes off, and clear-coat it, and you'd have a pretty valuable original paint tank.
Somehow, those gauges in the previous picture are also pretty nice. The chrome gauge holders are a wreck, but the gauge faces and mechanisms aren't bad. Not sure how that happens...
 
Wow! That tank is worth 399 of the 400 you paid. That thing is awesome!!! So much of its story and it’s still in such great shape. Do what you will but my vote is keep em. Haha like we get a vote right?? Haha.

still freakin awesome!
 
it was only $400, so I said what the heck, and I bought it.
I like the way you think.
Only problem I see is getting the fork seals to keep oil in the lowers. Rebuild the brakes, new wheel bearings and whatever else needed to make it mechanically safe to ride.
If mission creep sets in you just never know how it will turn out.
If buyer remorse sets in let me know. I'll give you $359 for it.:rolleyes: Look at it this way you'll have lost less than the last guy.
 
Wow! That tank is worth 399 of the 400 you paid. That thing is awesome!!! So much of its story and it’s still in such great shape. Do what you will but my vote is keep em. Haha like we get a vote right?? Haha.

still freakin awesome!
Yep, keeping everything exactly as is. Except for whatever it takes to pass inspection.
 
I like the way you think.
Only problem I see is getting the fork seals to keep oil in the lowers. Rebuild the brakes, new wheel bearings and whatever else needed to make it mechanically safe to ride.
If mission creep sets in you just never know how it will turn out.
If buyer remorse sets in let me know. I'll give you $359 for it.:rolleyes: Look at it this way you'll have lost less than the last guy.
Yeah, I've given a bit of consideration to the forks. For one thing, I want to keep the old, cracked fork seal dust covers. If they shred when I remove them, I might try gluing them back together with rubber cement and glass cloth on the inside.
As for the rusty chrome fork tubes -- standard procedure is to hit them with oiled 600 grit wet-dry sandpaper. That will smooth the surface to where they won't tear up the new seals, at least not too bad. But, I'd hate removing that patina... I guess there's no real choice...
Sorry, not for sale until after next year's bike shows. I really want to ride this thing around.
 
I guess there's no real choice...
Actually there is. Leave as is. Just flush out whatever is in there. I realize without oil they are going to just be springs. If you are not going to ride it a lot or very fast could be the way to keep it as is. Think of it as a Japanese Springer.
 
Gadzooks.. where did they park this bike.... a swamp.... barn stall... bring'n this back to ... restored .... mega $$$$$..
 
I like the way you think.
Only problem I see is getting the fork seals to keep oil in the lowers. Rebuild the brakes, new wheel bearings and whatever else needed to make it mechanically safe to ride.
If mission creep sets in you just never know how it will turn out.
If buyer remorse sets in let me know. I'll give you $359 for it.:rolleyes: Look at it this way you'll have lost less than the last guy.
And I'll buy it from you GLJ! :cool:
It"ll be kinda like Hugh's 1b "crusty"
 
And I'll buy it from you GLJ! :cool:
It"ll be kinda like Hugh's 1b "crusty"
Convince him to sell it to me and we'll talk.:devil:

I like the idea of a crusty mechanically competent bike. Looks like low budget fun!
I've seen all the pics of your bikes. You couldn't do it.:poke:

Jus' waitin' for y'all to get down to 59 bucks.... :smoke:
Hold your breath. I double dog dare you.:)

restored .... mega $$$$$..
Aren't they all!
 
$400 might seem outrageous for this bike to many of you,
Box it up and send to down under or Europe.
We are lucky here in the States bikes are so cheap.
Been watching this one. Butt ugly Special, 8000 miles and no title. Just too far away.
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Actually there is. Leave as is. Just flush out whatever is in there. I realize without oil they are going to just be springs. If you are not going to ride it a lot or very fast could be the way to keep it as is. Think of it as a Japanese Springer.
Okay, I'm considering this too, just didn't want to mention it -- was afraid of the push-back that I'd get from the safety patrol...
Gadzooks.. where did they park this bike.... a swamp.... barn stall... bring'n this back to ... restored .... mega $$$$$..
Way, WAAAY back, when I was just starting out with XS650s... I traveled to a little Texas town on the Louisiana border where I bought eight XS650s in one fell swoop. That was pine forest, red dirt, swampy land. The seller used to have a motorcycle shop, and was a welder, and had been collecting the bikes to turn into bobbers. When he retired, he put the bikes in his old vintage commercial chicken coop. This was a big, long, wood building with a dirt floor. The chickens were long gone, but that place just stunk of chicken shit. So, there was an acidic, pine forest, red dirt floor in the coop, with caustic chicken shit hanging in the air, and all of it on a swamp with near 100% humidity -- I swear it was practically raining inside that coop -- and the result was a bunch of rust bucket bikes. Three of the eight engines were seized -- the seller couldn't believe it, they all had compression when he put them in the coop.
Jus' waitin' for y'all to get down to 59 bucks.... :smoke:
And then I'll re-buy it from you. Let's see, $59 minus 60 bucks... you'll have to pay me a dollar.
What kind of mileage is it showing?
15,500 miles.
 
was afraid of the push-back that I'd get from the safety patrol...
If you understand the limitations and consequences of it not a problem. People ride with no front brakes and rear suspension. I admit I prefer dampening in my forks. Then again XS2 forks are not much better than just springs. I know what I got and try to ride accordingly.
 
I like the pin-striping. ;)
I think I figured out why Jim likes the pin-striping.

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This is one of the infamous "leaker" 1973 tanks with the raised emblems, as gggGary has counseled us on many occasions. Someone already brazed the back seam. They also put a Kreem liner in it, which has failed (of course), and there is rust inside. I just ordered a Caswell Tank Sealer kit for it, and I have prepped the tank. It's been a few years since I used a Caswell kit, and their literature has changed. I'm pretty sure that they used to say to apply the sealer right on top of the old liner. Which I have done, with great success -- as far as I know, at least -- I have to confess that I don't what the long-term result was, since those repaired tanks quickly passed out of my hands.
Now, the new literature says to remove the old Kreem liner using a paint remover containing Methylene Chloride. Methylene Chloride was removed from consumer paint removers a few years ago -- I considered stocking up on it when I had the chance, but I never did, which I regret. Caswell will sell you Methylene Chloride paint remover, but you have to jump through some hoops for them, and it is expensive. Anyways, there is no way in the world that I am removing the Kreem liner. I'll apply the Caswell on top of it, as I have always done.
They also offer some new colors now. I chose Battleship Grey.
 
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