1978 XS650 Special Project

Where and which one should I get the
Cam Chain
Front Cam chain guide.
gasket for heat
I won't be putting high miles on this bike, its going to be a local riding bike as I have other bikes I ride more.
I'll be putting probably 1-2K a year on it at best.

Any other nick nacks? I plan to do this over the Xmas break.
For the cam chain, I prefer the Tsubaki brand as opposed to the D.I.D. It's said that it's a bit better (stronger) and as an added bonus, is usually cheaper as well. I used to get them directly from Yamaha but their price has gone up. Best deal now seems to be from YamahaXS650.com ......


It's supposed to include a master link but the one I got recently from them didn't. But they quickly and cheerfully made this right when I contacted them, sending me a link for free.

I'm not sure about a front guide. The guy we used to get them from, Gary Hoos, has retired, and the ones from Mike's had issues (wrong angle on mounting holes) and I'm not sure if they have addressed that yet.

For gaskets, I won't use the Athena head gasket anymore. I've seen no fewer than 3 fail after about 10 years of service. Seems to be an age thing, they just start leaking when they get old. The other "minus" check mark against them is they're thicker than an original and that reduces compression and power a little. I'd recommend this SCM set from eBay, you certainly can't beat the price, and the head gasket matches the thickness of an original .....

OK I ended up grabbing that longer plunger and a nut too. My ‘76 has a D type and although I’ve had no issues with it I feel compelled to ad to the list of things I need to do to my bikes. I’m betting the washer size is in tech.
I have parts on order to replace the front guide bar and Timing chain.
This weekend I replaced the clutch pushrod with an all aluminum one purchased from a forum member.
Since I had a 2 piece w/ BB rod, I had to pull the oil and remove clutch plate.
In the process I measured the clutch pads and the outer one was below 3.1mm in several spots. Looks like I'll replace the friction plates when I pull the engine.
I also put in the new Clutch cable and routed the cable better.
I did an 8 mile run today w/ the replaced clutch pushrod and it went well. Although it was only 46F outside so I'll have to check it again on a warmer day.
At end of the ride, I did not notice the loosening up of the clutch like I have felt on the previous rides.
So, Now I'm starting the process to pull the engine and replace the front cam guide and cam chain.
Most of the parts are in.

I"ve pulled off a bunch of things that I've taken off before, easy peasy.
I took a break after starting the exhaust.
The cross over pipe clamp seems to be not so easy to pull apart. (rubber mallet to the exhaust?)
I shot some penetrating oil into the gap before I started to take a break (maybe for the night)
Also, wondering once I get those apart, how hard the exhaust pipe will be to pull out of the engine and if there is some special way to do that.

Also, after draining oil, pulled the sump filter and YUP, just like I"ve seen many people post, the weak corner was blown in.




Is the headpipe assembly 1 piece with a crossover under the frame and secured with an Allen head bolt? @Ben1
Ben and I traded texts and phone calls when he was doing exhaust work.
There is a left and a right, joined by a cross over underneith. Stock config.
The cross over with allen bolt (loosened) is in a the 3rd photo above from post 211.
Removing exhausts can be, uhm, exhausting. Lots of heat, lots of water and muck off the front wheel, they get pretty well stuck. Oil in the joints and letting it soak is definitely a big help. Resorting to a rubber mallet is normal. Should just pull out from the head but once rear of the header is detached from silencer and frame, can wiggle about to break it free.

Most bikes with a link pipe I tend to replace with separate pipes if I can - various Triumphs and Nortons I've had and the Kawasaki W800.

Taking the original W800 system off was bloody awkward - Big K had fitted a one-piece welded-up system so both headers, both silencers and the link pipe all had to be removed as one big ugly assembly. Heavy too. As I was attempting that, system swung down and forward and the lambda sensor on the link jammed itself into a gap between frame cross member and rear of engine. Had to resort to a hacksaw to get that one off.

Was able to buy a Motad stainless system with separate headers and silencers - much lighter, won't rust and easy peasy to remove.
I read in another thread or at least interpreted what was said to make the below item.
I already had the pipe which is the same pipe I was planning to use to lift the motor (using my 2 boys one on each end)
So, just cut 2 small pieces off the pipe, then purchased the threaded rod and nuts (needed a big diameter rod to handle the force)
Put some oil on the thread. It was pretty tight until it snapped free, then was able to push it out a few turns from that. Then reverted back to the sledge hammer and 1x2 I was using.
Popped out.
Trick is to put the pipe over the nuts on the bracket so it won't slip. Then 2 adjustable wrenches or open wrenches to fit the nuts and turn one while holding the other (rather awkward).





I'm not sure about a front guide. The guy we used to get them from, Gary Hoos, has retired, and the ones from Mike's had issues (wrong angle on mounting holes) and I'm not sure if they have addressed that yet.

This is the reply I got from MikesXS when relaying your concerns. I did order one and its in my hands already.
I now have all the known parts I need. Of course if there are any unknown unknowns, then I may not :)


Thank you for reaching out.
I am not sure how old the posts you are reading but we sell roughly 2 to 3 hundred of these a year and no complaints. I do not believe there were ever an alignment issue but it may have been way back.

Thank you,
Yeah, theres no known issues with Mikes XS clutch actuator worms either.

I suspect thats because suckers like myself are so disgusted with the non-fit and finish of them, they just chuck them in the trash like I did without trying to gain re-imbursement. Just sayin...