1981 XS650 Special - Build Thread

5twins

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The market is flooded with cheap Chinese carb boots. As Jim said, find ARS brand boots if you can. They were the original supplier to Yamaha.

Intakes are normally set at .003", .002" is a little tight and won't let as much oil in to keep the rocker pad lubed.

Not sure what's up with that splicing. Do you have a stock alternator? I ask because the wires showing in it's harness look yellow. They're usually cloth covered and white. The three whites are the AC charging output from the stator and run to the rectifier. The rectifier converts that AC current to DC that the bike can use. The cloth covered green wire is the regulated ground signal run to the outer brush from the regulator. There should also be a cloth covered brown wire. That is switched power (with the key) run to the inner brush. The light green (or blue) plastic covered wire runs to the neutral switch on top of the motor.
 

ssjody

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Not sure what's up with that splicing. Do you have a stock alternator?
That's a good question. I haven't tore into the alternator yet but looking at the wiring diagram I don't see a group of yellow wires like what's shown in the picture, so it seems likely that maybe someone has replaced some parts. I'll dive into that soon.
 

gggGary

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Fairly common for the plastic 6 wire connectors to rot, looks like someone just did a poor job of "eliminating" the connector.
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You seem to know your way around:thumbsup: but since you didn't mention it, the float bowl orifice;
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ssjody

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Day 13
Still waiting on one of the OEM carburetor boots I ordered, but everything else has arrived. I figured I wouldn't waste a good Saturday so I dove into some electrical issues to see what kind of gremlins were lurking. Well, they're there for sure.

My plan from the start has been to get the bike running good, then take it apart. In it's current state, I've got compression and I'm getting spark and fuel and I think my safe route right now is to just leave the electrical mess alone and hold off going any deeper. Once I've got the bike torn down I'll start from scratch with the electrical after I have the harness out. I see on mikesxs.net that they have a harness for 60 bucks so I ordered one. Seems like a good deal to me and I figure no matter if I stick with the original harness and rob parts from the new one, or maybe just put the new one in and figure out what was bad when someone got the idea to start chopping on the old one. I'll sort that out later..

I was able to pull the rotor and stator off and bench test those with the multimeter. Someone has replaced the stator at some point but everything I tested including the Regulator/Rectifier all seemed good. It's not charging but I know there are wiring issues. I'll sort all that out at a later point.
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ssjody

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Day 15
I had a free day today and the rest of my parts came for putting the carburetors back on and dialing them in. I installed the new OEM carb boots and gaskets, got my vacuum gauges hooked up and fired her up. Synced the carbs, tweaked the idle jets and she was running great! It had been drizzling all morning but I couldn't resist taking a spin up the street and the bike ran great!

Next, I thought while luck was on my side I'd dive into some of those electrical issues. I had already tested the charging parts, stator, rotor, rectifier/regulator and they all tested good but that hacked up wiring was worrying me. I got my meter out and started tracing things down and basically even though the wiring was hacked up, it all seemed to all be there and just needed wired back up to stock. I got out my soldering iron, shrink wrap, and heat gun and got after it. Got it all wired back up the way it was originally, turned on the key, slap tested it and all was looking good. Fired up the bike, put my meter on the battery, and by golly she was charging! Dang! Days not even half over and I'm two for two!

Thought I now start figuring out what parts I'm going to need to start sourcing for the restoration. I started at the front and started working my way to the back. Anything that was filthy dirty I'd clean in order to see what would come back to life, and to my surprise this bike is in really good shape. I mean the chrome was cleaning up nice, The wheels are darn near perfect, everything that I start scrubbing on started looking very nice. Now I'm starting to wonder if tearing the bike apart and rebuilding is the right thing to do. I've always been one to bring these kind of projects back to better than new condition but in the past few years the "patina" look has really took off and I have to admit, it's kind of grown on me too. I'm also wondering if maybe there's more value in the bike as a really nice survivor over making it pristine. What are your thoughts on Survivor vs Pristine?

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jetmechmarty

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What are your thoughts on Survivor vs Pristine?
When you tire of if, I doubt you get a lot more money for pristine. When was the last time someone on here acquired a bike with fresh fork oil, fresh grease in the steering bearings, etc. Needs nothing all serviced. Anybody? It’s easier to find one with the original air in the tires.

I put two bikes in the Vicksburg show on November 4. I rode them down. They collected bugs. Gave ‘em a spit bath. I received no trophies. The bikes did receive a great deal of attention and I enjoyed plenty of conversations over them. There’s nothing wrong with some patina on a running machine.
 

Jim

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Now I'm starting to wonder if tearing the bike apart and rebuilding is the right thing to do. I've always been one to bring these kind of projects back to better than new condition but in the past few years the "patina" look has really took off and I have to admit, it's kind of grown on me too. I'm also wondering if maybe there's more value in the bike as a really nice survivor over making it pristine. What are your thoughts on Survivor vs Pristine?


I did a full restoration on my '80 SG. That was over 4yrs ago... and now it looks more like a survivor... 'cause it's ridden.
I don't regret the resto... I enjoyed doing it.
Having said that, I wouldn't do it again. Too much upkeep involved it keeping it that way.

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Vincenthdfan

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I prefer "Survivors". You can tell how they've been cared for and loved.

I also enjoy resurrecting them when they've sat so long they no longer run as well. Something about getting a bike going again after its been dormant a decade or so, lot of satisfaction in that, for me anyway. Then just polish them up as you go. :thumbsup:
 

5twins

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I like to do the "ride and wrench" thing to mine. I get the bike up and running, then over the next few years, I refine it (mods) and get it looking better. I've never done a full resto, probably never will, lol. Here's my '83 shortly after I got it up and running. The only major change was the European handlebars and tapered steering bearings .....

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And now a few years later, lots of changes. These include a complete new exhaust, '80 seat (smaller hump), better rear shocks, polished and Minton modded forks, a fork brace and gaiters .....

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The front wheel is new as well, and the rear will get laced to a new alloy rim with stainless spokes once I wear the tire out .....

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Future plans include adding hard bags and trying to bend the ends of the headpipes up a little so the mufflers upsweep more and clear the rear axle. As it sits now, I have to remove a muffler to get the axle out.
 

ssjody

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Day 16
Thanks for all the opinions and replies! I am for sure going to keep the bike as survivor instead of a restore. I've started sourcing missing parts and have been buying mostly used stuff with the exception of some of the rubber that I found NOS. I got the new wiring harness yesterday and started putting it in.
 

ssjody

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Day 17
Today I finished the wiring harness and all went well. Bike fired right up and it was nice to see good bright lights. Everything worked as it should.

I found me a set of side covers that match the bikes "Frost Silver" color on eBay and ordered them. They appear to be in the same condition as the rest of the bike so I think they'll be a good fit. I already had a decent right side but a piece of junk for the left side. The right side cover of the set I bought has a crack but my right side is good. Finding these are just what I needed.
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Also found a right side emblem that has the right patina.
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ssjody

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Day 18
Thought I'd do a little cleaning today so I worked on the Headlight bucket and Turn Signals. The HL bucket is darn near perfect but the Turn Signals have a slight bit of pitting. Found a really nice used set of front Turn Signals. Here's a before and after of the Headlight area I cleaned up.
Before
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After
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