An Adventure in Firsts: '83 XS650 Heritage Special Build/Rebuild

jetmechmarty

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Yes, I'm familiar with Virago carbs. The choke cable attaches to the side of the left carb with a similar clamp set-up like the 650 uses. What with the lower buckhorn bars and the fact that the cable doesn't make a 90° turn and run across the carbs, I'm hoping it will be shorter. 3 or 4 inches shorter would be great.
If it works, I’m going to need one as well.
 

5twins

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The original on my '83 is starting to fray at the handlebar end, so I know I need a replacement, probably sooner than later. Since the original is N.L.A., we need a suitable substitute. I'm hoping this Virago cable will be it. I'll let you guys know how and if it works out.
 

bosco659

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Back in my younger days one used to be able to buy bulk cable and fittings so you could re/re a damaged inner cable. Not sure if such bits are still available? I’ll Google it later.
 

KennyD77

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As I remember, Barnett will custom make cables. At a shop I once worked at had a customer with a mid 60's Harley XLH. The tach drive came off the top of the points housing and the tach was a Smith's. Called Barnett, sent a sample , and got two cables (one for a spare) and the cost wasn't that bad.
 

bosco659

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As I remember, Barnett will custom make cables. At a shop I once worked at had a customer with a mid 60's Harley XLH. The tach drive came off the top of the points housing and the tach was a Smith's. Called Barnett, sent a sample , and got two cables (one for a spare) and the cost wasn't that bad.
Checked on line and they do sell DYI kits snd parts to make your own cable. A good option if the outer cable casing is still good.
 

5twins

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OK, got the Virago cable and it's good news - bad news, lol. Good news is the ends match and it's shorter, by quite a bit, like a good 10 inches .....

MgH7S65.jpg


XlQ0wft.jpg


It's not too short though. With lower bars, it's just perfect. The issue, however, is with the inner cable length. The Virago inner cable is a good 1/2" shorter .....

xuMc857.jpg


That means when clamped down at the carb, it's not clamped on the ferrule as it should be but rather back on the black vinyl cable itself .....

fZPGm72.jpg


The diameter there is less than the ferrule so it doesn't get clamped tight enough. When you apply the choke, the cable just pulls through instead of opening the chokes .....

sgFNTU2.jpg


I'm sure you could fix this by wrapping something around the cable or maybe bending the clamp tighter, but I didn't want to fool with it just now, so I put the original back on. One of my beefs with the original was, due to it's long length, I couldn't get a decent routing that didn't have it bulging way out up by the bars .....

UZVfaOZ.jpg


kX0hQGv.jpg


But, I took another crack at it when putting it back on, and I "fixed" it, lol .....

wpSuJX3.jpg


T1IuITG.jpg


So, I'm happy with an original now. If it comes to the point where I have to replace it and need to use a Virago one, I'll work out the clamping issue then.
 

MarieKaramazov

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One more thing - if searching for an original on eBay, this cable was also used on the Venture Royal touring model. Search that bike and you'll get more hits .....

https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=m570.l1313&_nkw=venture+royal+choke+cable&_sacat=0
Awesome, thank you!!! I got this guy since it's new (it'll be here by end of month)
After I did more exploring when swapping out the bars, I discovered the cable was completely shot; looks like it'd been getting pinched. I'll definitely be making sure routing on new one doesn't put me in the same boat.
IMG_3830.jpeg

In other news, when I swapped out the bars and was all revved up and ready to do a test ride to see if I got that cough again, I discovered that the perch / clamp for the clutch lever was stripped inside so the screw won't tighten it down.
You can see some of the hole debris on the bolt on here:
IMG_3831.jpeg


So. Good news is (1) I swapped out the bars and (2) I have another perch, thanks to when @Jim sent me a new lever when my last clutch lever was busted by the other hit and run. Snag is that this perch doesn't have a connection point for the clutch/starter cutout switch.
183023-c4395007c67eed2f5ed5ff6a0ff8db7f.jpg
Jim mentioned that I could just disable that. I'm not sure what this switch does, but if I don't need it, let's kill it. Any tips or links on getting rid of this?

Also, I'm pretty sure the steering adjustment I made was too tight, so I need to loosen it. Any input on deciphering when you have it at the right tightness? I know Raymond mentioned that when it's right the front end will turn easily under its own weight...meaning that if I put bike on the center stand and then put weight on the back end, I have it right when the front wheel will turn one way or the other on its own without me turning bars?

Also--saw this on the chain the other day... not sure if it's rust or what yet... Chain also looks like it's sagging more than it should even though it was just adjusted a little over a month or 2 ago...
IMG_3840.jpeg
 

thuban

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Two months. Yeah, if it's not an O-ring chain and you put 400 miles on it, chances are it needs adjusted again. Exactly how mine is.
 

Jim

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Also, I'm pretty sure the steering adjustment I made...
Out of curiosity, did you clean and grease the head bearings? If not, it'll be pretty crusty in there with the remains of dried up grease. That would make it pretty hard to get the proper adjustment.
5twins is the clutch switch guru, so he'll correct me if I'm wrong, but I think all you have to do is jumper the two switch wires (bike harness side) together inside the headlight bucket.
 

5twins

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You can just remove the switch completely. The only issue it will cause is the bike will only electric start in neutral. If you want to be able to electric start it in gear with the clutch pulled in then you'll have to remove the relay that the clutch switch connects to, and put one little jumper wire in it's place. Details are here, see post #55 .....

http://www.xs650.com/threads/200-special.51454/page-3
 

5twins

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Oh, I "fixed" that Virago choke cable by making a little sheet metal "shim" that wraps around the vinyl cable .....

PkXtWrP.jpg


I haven't installed it but I'm sure this will make it work.
 

Raymond

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Also, I'm pretty sure the steering adjustment I made was too tight, so I need to loosen it. Any input on deciphering when you have it at the right tightness? I know Raymond mentioned that when it's right the front end will turn easily under its own weight...meaning that if I put bike on the center stand and then put weight on the back end, I have it right when the front wheel will turn one way or the other on its own without me turning bars?

Yes, that's about right. Like so many things, it's all about feel, which is easy to show somebody but hard to put into words. When the adjustment is right, bike with front wheel off the ground, the bars should turn with minimal effort and feel smooth. If you take the forks and pull to and fro, there should be no discernible play or the bearings are too loose. But if turning the bars needs a bit of effort, too tight.

What makes you think the adjustment is too tight? You could of course loosen it a smidgeon - tech term. But Jim's suggestion that the bearings might want cleaning and fresh grease is probably correct. More work! But you're probably getting used to that. And once it's done, its done.

Your chain looks very dusty - you can clean it using a rag with some kerosene. Then once it's clean, remember to lube it again. On the chain adjustment, better too loose than too tight. If you decide it does need to be adjusted, turn the adjuster screws in the same amount on both sides. Looking at the hex ends of the adjusters, you can move the screw exactly 1/6 of a turn and the angles of the hex will look the same as before. Then move the other side 1/6 of a turn. Then check if that is enough, and if not then another 1/6 turn both sides. Again, too loose is better than too tight. And remember to tighten the lock nuts and the axle nut . . .
 

fredintoon

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- - - I'm pretty sure the steering adjustment I made was too tight, so I need to loosen it. Any input on deciphering when you have it at the right tightness? I know Raymond mentioned that when it's right the front end will turn easily under its own weight...meaning that if I put bike on the center stand and then put weight on the back end, I have it right when the front wheel will turn one way or the other on its own without me turning bars? - - -

Hi Marie,
yup, the headraces are adjusted just right when there's zero movement when youpush'n'pull on the fork tues and the bars stay straight ahead unless you give 'em a little nudge and then the steering falls onto full lock.
It's also good to re-pack the head races as part of adjusting their setting.
Be REAL careful to not let a headrace ball drop down between the fork stem and the frame tube.
They are the perfect size to jam up in there and are a right swine to remove.
 

Jan_P

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No hurry .this has only been going on for a year take your time ..
At times old things give resistance , needing some effort and work
Its the same with old wooden boats and cars. And " High maintenance " demanding other hings. People.
You have had some bad luck .a lot of it ...And it can help to take a break . And then on it again.
Come spring and better weather people usually start moving again.
A little less ambition and getting it to run and then moving forward step by step with time. I belive can be rational.
 

MarieKaramazov

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Hey guys. I'm so sorry for the absence. I've just been very busy and overwhelmed; I'm at work or on writing projects 6 days/week. I'm still here and so is the bike! I kept waiting to post till I had more info to give and then kept waiting around for the best time and until I delved into the next thing, but as many of us know rationally, there is no such thing as the best or perfect time. So, real quick before I have to go to work: valves are done, cam chain is adjusted, new choke cabe in (and working), pushrod seal leak fixed (again), gasket on side oil cover swapped; bearings are okay.
That's a good amount of things and I'd love to take credit for all of it, but alas, I can't. I'm bummed to say it, but I had to pay someone to do the above because on top of the weird cut out it gave me, I didn't have time to do and keep up with it all and I only have the street to work on now etc etc.
That said, pushrod seal or something else may be leaking again becuase, while it was fine for a bit, oil is running down the side stand again. Also seeing oil run down oil filter cover on side case again so maybe that gasket wasn't swapped--or wasn't done well. I want to take another look at the bearings too cuz I felt something the other day. Oh and oil drain plug washers swapped.

I'm out of time right now, but the next step is to see if I need to change my tires considering the roads out here. I want to see if the wobble I got on the highway out here was the loose bearings plus the tire tread, or just the tire tread. Now that bearings are okay I'm gonna risk another shot. After that, it's back to making sure those leaks are actually solved.

As for the life of this thread: while I am absolutely not giving up on this bike, there will be long pauses because I just don't have time to work on this every week and I'm currently wrestling with the fact that I may have to hire someone to do some of the modifications I want becuase otherwise they may not happen--if I could even afford it. So, if the pauses mean you guys would rather me wrap up or delete this thread and just start a new one when I have an issue, let me know and I'll do it. Otherwise, I'd love to keep it alive so I can pop in when I can. I just don't want to oversell my availability. (Clearly I was hoping I could magically do this all before certain life demands came back but didn't quite make it)

Wrote this out fast as hell but hopefully it makes sense
 
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