XS650 Enthusiast
Reaction score
So I'm starting this thread because I hi-jacked van islander's tx quest for a daily rider thread. Just want to give a shout out to everyone on that thread that gave me good advice on how to sync the carbs using the butterfly flap method and shining a bright light through them. Hoping I won't have to fiddle too much with them once I get the bike started.
I'm going to pick up my journey from a real late stage in the game because unfortunately I didn't really find this forum until I was halfway into the project and didn't take many pictures. To the well seasoned and experienced members I don't think my post will offer much but I think to the green builders like I was before starting this project it will be a good resource for avoiding headaches that a lot of experienced people just take for granted. This leads me to today's headache......
When you are reinstalling your carburetors do not put the manifolds on first! Slide the two attached carburetors in between the post of the frame and the engine. Tilt them back Then install your manifolds. Old 1980 manifolds should be labeled with a left and a right stamped on the rubber. Once you have the manifolds on you going to want to play something pretty heavy in front of the bike or chock the wheel somehow because pushing two metal carburetors into 40-year-old rubber is a challenge. I don't know if it's recommended but I sprayed the tiniest bit of white lithium grease on a rag and rubbed the boots/manifolds just to give a little bit of lubrication and not rip the rubber. After kicking and screaming for about 30 minutes and trying a couple different methods the job was complete.
I know this is basic basic basic but there has to be idiots like myself who pull their hair out over this stuff. Throughout my build so far I found that these are actually the problems that beat me down the most and combined all together, eat up a lot of time.
So just to re-iterate this thread will be more of a "green" builder trying to get smart sort of thread. I'm going to try and explain/diagram small puzzles encountered that may perplex new builders and potentially save you hours on your build. I'm also going to try to rate and review aftermarket parts purchased for my build. There also may be some shotty metal fabrication tutorials for non-essential components. Any question, comment, concern encouraged. No such thing as a stupid question/post. Good luck to everyone out there building!


  • IMG_20230221_092026237.jpg
    332.6 KB · Views: 72
  • IMG_20230221_092118674.jpg
    436.8 KB · Views: 72
When installing the carbs into the boots/manifolds, I always apply a good dose of WD40 to everything to help things along. Also, removing the big acorn nut on the timing chain adjuster gives you just enough room to maneuver the carbs into place, even with the carb boots/manifolds in place on the head.
First... welcome to the madhouse!! I loves me a build thread to follow. :heart:
Hint... ain't no such thing as 'too many' pics... :wink2:
'nother hint... those boots are 40+ yrs old. They seen better days. When you replace 'em, look for ARS branded boots. They'll cost a fair bit more'n the Chinese knockoffs but its well worth it for ease of install.

My method.... install the left boot on the head. Install the right boot on the carb. Remove the cap for the cam chain adjuster and the top plate on the carbs... the one that goes on top of the diaphragm covers.... work the carbs in from the right side. Still takes a hefty push to seat the left carb, but overall it's the easiest way I've found on my '80SG with the -34 carbs..
When you replace 'em, look for ARS branded boots. They'll cost a fair bit more'n the Chinese knockoffs but its well worth it for ease of install.
+1 on that. The problem I had with cheapos is the vacuum tubes are just kinda pushed in to a hole molded in the boot, and the first time I went to pull off the vacuum line to the petcock, the tube came out of the boot with the hose. I super-glued them in place, but when I buy new boots for my other restorations, I'm buying quality.
I also remove the throttle cable bracket from the left carb.
Hey Guys so I'm at the point of wiring up the bike and was wondering what everyone out there does for hiding electronics? It's a battery-less system and I'm thinking of making some sort of fake oil tank/battery box to store things in. Will it be detrimental if I put the regulator rectifier, capacitor and fuse box into an enclosed unit?
fuse box is ok. I would not enclose the capacitor and definitely not the rectifier/reg - it needs air cooling
Agee with JP... electrics need air flow.

Just a suggestion... but it's much easier to sort out a new build using a battery instead of the cap. Once ignition and carburation are sorted, then switch to the cap. Many's the time someone was here in the forum looking for help.... not knowing if it's a power problem or iggy/carbs...valves etc. Starting out with a known good power source makes life easier.