FINALLY got an XS650!

Hi stillgo
your XS650's ignition is a "wasted spark" system. The single two-wire coil sparks both plugs each engine revolution.
I dimly remember that the spark voltage goes down one wire, through the plug, through the head, through t'other plug and back to the coil.
Compression test should be on the list. Look for a minimum difference between the two cylinders, don't worry yet about the overall psi.......since the carbs are off you won't have to lift the carb slides to do the test, otherwise......
I got spark. Clipped what was left of the old plug wire and had an NGK cap laying around. Have spark on both sides. PO had some screwy wiring so I fixed that and am doing new battery terminals now. Starter sounds pissed but not 100% sure what's up yet. Turns good and then sounds like my old 81 Virago, box of rocks. Also I'm not getting spark from kickstart, maybe a safety feature not too worried yet but also felt like after a couple kicks it'd just kick free and not turn motor. More work to do for sure including compression test but making huge strides! Keep the feedback coming!
I probably put 22 hours into the bike in the past 2 days and I know alot of you guys could probably build a bike from scratch in that amount of time but IT IS ALIVE. It's spittin and smokin and poppin but from being seized and all 3 days ago I couldn't be happier. Cleaned carbs, the outside of em were partially painted with a spray can and I got em looking new! Cleaned main, gaskets looked great, the floats were both at 22mm and I'm not sure what spec is but the tang was parralel to the gasket surface so I left em. I couldn't get the tops off without possibly stripping the heads so I didn't get in there. What am I missing in there? The slides slide well and fall back at a nice rate now. Cleaned tank and could use another flush but my petcock isn't great either. Flows hard on prime, constant trickle on reserve and prime. I tried both the 1 line to the T and 1 to vaccum port on boot and just the T with the port capped. Didn't seem to prefer one or the other and only liked choke, smokin but not terrible, poppin. Had to fix a bunch of wiring and I redid a pushbutton to replace the missing button. Starter sucks. Engages sometimes, rarely and grinds plenty. Fine with using the kicker if I can get it dialed. Huge spark on both cylinders. Have B8ES plugs in now cuz that's what I had. Cyl 1 was at 110 and 2 at 115 give it take BEFORE it even ran with carbs off. I am super stoked. My headlight came on, hi & low, horn working, put factory air boxes on (no filters) and side covers. Buddy is gonna weld the stock rear hoop back on for me. I think I'd rather go non-vacuum to T and cap the barbs. Thoughts? Already started stripping all that damn spray paint. Thanks if you read all this novel :)
Well, it sounds like the carbs need more work (only running with choke on is a HUGE hint) but that's solid progress!

Compression is pretty low, but that may be due to the rings being stuck in the grooves. Might come up with some more run time.

When you get that far down the punch list, there are some fixes for the starter, check the tech section.
The smoke is probably the diesel you shoved in there - should stop once that burns off. And as the rings bed in, as Downeaster says.

But there is life - no wonder you are so stoked!
Re: the petcocks.
One of the first things that I change out are the vacuum petcocks for the old school style....on/off/reserve
The manifold barbs can be capped but secure them well. I prefer a length of vacuum line or such, about a foot long and link the barbs together, again secured well. I like to think that linking them adds a little magic or input
What are you guys thoughts on my exhaust? I've read up on various options but for now I'm just going for better sound while keeping it running decent. Pic attached of what they look like now...
I don't know what style muffler you would prefer but for temporary you could saw those "Special" mufflers off and adapt a cheap set of Harley sportster mufflers to use. They are found very easily and for cheap.
A Better full exhaust system in the future would be a good plan.
That's what I'm leaning towards, the chop job. I'll follow what's already in the tech section & go from there. Probably gonna pull the exhaust for a cleaner cut, check gaskets and proper torque.
What are you guys thoughts on my exhaust? I've read up on various options but for now I'm just going for better sound while keeping it running decent. Pic attached of what they look like now...
View attachment 171166
Hi stillgo,
my '84 ended up with a set of '80 stock pipes.
What worked to improve the sound on those was to shove a long pointy steel bar into each exhaust outlet pipe and beat on it
with a BFH (Big F*cking Hammer) to break the tack-welds on it's front baffle plate so it hinged open.
If your mufflers' conical outer shells still look OK that'll work on yours too. You'll also have to weld in replacement end covers.
Got the bike running well. Finished cleaning the carbs so it runs off choke now, 1 kick. The pipes are actually already punched out so I'm just gonna clean up the crusty caps and decide whether I wanna chop after I see how it runs. Down to a throttle cable and should be able to ride it for the first time. Very very happy with where the bike has come and QUICKLY!
Hightower I got lucky. Have the rear hoop and my buddy is gonna weld it back up for me. Just installed the factory airboxes and side covers last night. Seat on the way, tailight wiring is still intact and have a sweet bullet style tailight off a Buick I'm gonna fashion up. In the process of stripping the fenders back to original. Read up on the forum and have been using goof off graffiti remover for now with good luck so far. Gonna try to fix up throttle and rear brake (stuck) and have a first ride today!
Made a ton of progress in the XS. Way too much to list but I could use a hand on my front brake. It's never worked, the master cyl is bone dry and when I put fluid in it it doesn't go anywhere. I'm honestly used to drums, all my other bikes are drum but I did look up the bleed process and some related threads but am not finding a solid walk through of what to do.