First Attempt at a Build

johne67

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I just picked up a 1980 XS. I have a bit of experience with working on bikes but nothing of this magnitude. It doesn't seem to be a good candidate for a restoration so the plan is to hardtail it. My thoughts are a TC Bros hardtail, springer front end, and complete engine rebuild. I've been a lurker on this forum for a while now and finally decided to give it a go. This isn't something I'm planning on finishing in the coming months or even in the next year. Now that I have the bike I'm not sure where to even start. I figured the only way to go is to get the hardtail on, then worry about the rear wheel, then everything else after that. Since I'm going to chop this, I'll be getting rid of whatever I can to help try to offset the costs of the build as much as possible. So, if theres any interest in any of the parts in the pictures (handlebars, fenders, side covers, shocks, etc.), let me know.
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650Skull

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Welcome John.

I would work on the motor before doing anything else. sorting out any issues and resolving them first will save a lot of problems later and you will also know what needs to be done and what direction to go in. Ignition, charging system, oil leaks, carb set up...........

Before drinking the cool aid on some common misconceptions ask on here before changing anything or buying parts. We can direct you to some suppliers that have better quality products and maybe there is a member who does a job better than it can be bought for............and cheaper.

If the rear wheel is a drum brake mag you may find the bike is a different year than 80. The vin no is the only way to be sure. A few parts on the bike are off either an 82/83
 

johne67

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I haven't thought to work on the engine first, actually thought to do that last. I was actually planning on having a professional rebuild it for me since I plan on keeping it forever and would like to have it done right and not have to worry about it for a couple years. So, if anyone knows of someone on the East Coast, preferably near Pennsylvania, to do an engine rebuild, let me know.

The front wheel is spoked with a disc brake and the rear is a mag with a disc brake. I know (or think) the front spoke wheel is not stock. I did check the vin (2F0-20XXXX) and at least according to that it is a 1980.
 

WideAWAKE

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I would get a very solid game plan and vision for what your desired outcome is.

Write it out, draw it, do whatever to make a vision.

Doesn’t have to be exact, but a close vision.

Then figure out a budget, then double it and you will probably be close to the cost.

Then I’d figure out how you will pay for it. (The busted up ratty ol parts on that bike won’t off set the cost of much)

If you have no plan on what the end will look like, or a plan on how to pay for it, most like end up as a pile of parts that never sees the light of day and you’ll never recoup the loss on.

- If it were mine and I wanted to build a chopper starting with that - I’d pull the motor apart regardless for piece of mind, and at a minimum, chain, guide, hone, valves but inspect it all while in there.

I would pull the bike down to the frame (label and sort all your parts)

Then I would build it back up into a complete bike, do all the fab work to the frame, make it a rough roller, get everything fab wise sorted, do all your mock ups.

Rebuilt the forks and wheels, new rubber

Prep for paint.

Paint

Then start to build it all back up into a finished bike, minus motor.

Then rebuild the motor

Put motor in and ride.

A huge amount of small details missed there but that’s my general guideline.

Projects can be overwhelming if you think of them as a whole (at least they are for me) so I focus on one task at a time and just keep knocking em down.

Good luck.

As skull said, ask questions. People will answer.
 

jpdevol

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Nice look'in CB350 over yonder....'72?

Good solid advice above by two experts. Everyone has their own methods; if the motor rolls-over, I'll typically fog it and check compression, then rebuild the carbs and get it running first, check driveline - then tear it down for rebuild. That way you have a better idea of what is needed. My parts bill is usually over $1K on the motor. If I were to hire the rebuild - only one guy: Daniel @ Pandemonium in Defiance, OH. It's not a bike until it has a good motor.

On a custom build, as contemplated, I'd expect to completely fab, fit and assemble everything at least once; then completely disassemble before any final welding and finishing; nothing worse than to have something painted or powder-coated and then discover a problem. Even if you're only doing a hardtail and a springer, just tack weld stuff (seat mounts, foot-controls, fender mounts, etc.) until everything is fitted and aligned, then take it all back apart to finish weld.

Good luck and post back often!
 

xjwmx

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Restoring to former pulchritudinous glory is the current trope. Hardtailing is passe in 2022, I believe. Don't be caught out.
 

johne67

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Restoring to former pulchritudinous glory is the current trope. Hardtailing is passe in 2022, I believe. Don't be caught out.
JP, The CB is a 71.

And xjwmx, that’s a rather grandiose vocabulary you got there. As for the contemporaneous trend relative to hardtailing versus restoration, your reasoning is rather specious. I would assert that the modern hardtail with a springer is the paradigm example of the anachronistic motorcycle which I am endeavoring to build. (The thesaurus I got when I was 13 finally got used! Lol)
 

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I would do the minimum to get it running and ridable. After a few hundred miles, you should know the issues that need adressing, before starting the rebuild.
 

johne67

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I finally got to dig into this bike to try to get it running. My first instinct was to pull the carbs and give them a quick cleaning. It came with Mikuni carbs, but they seem like they're both for the left side. I'm not familiar with these, but is there even such a thing as a left and right?

They weren't bad at all so after a quick cleaning and putting them back on, I started to kick, and kick, and kick to no avail. Decided to take a look at the points and there were no points, no electronic ignition, nothing. And, of course, there was no advance on the other side.

Can anyone suggest a decent place to get these? A couple guys on here got some from Mike's XS but wasn't happy with them.
 

jpdevol

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The carbs appear to be Mikuni VM's, perhaps 34, the both look left is normal.

You should have electronic crankshaft driven ignition - TCI - nothing under the cam covers - normal. With a good battery, perhaps it will get a spark to a plug inserted into the plug-cap and grounded to the head?
 

johne67

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Im still not able to get this bike to run. After messing with it for a while I did a compression test and, although done with a cold engine, the compression is well below spec. I didn't check the valves, but I'm not too bummed as I was planning on a complete rebuild anyway.

I'm going to move onto getting the hardtail welded on before I send the motor out. My understanding is that its best to keep the motor in the frame while cutting and mocking up the hardtail.

I currently have a rear mag wheel with a disc brake, but would like to swap that out for a spoke wheel with a drum brake. The reason being that 1) I prefer to have two spoke wheels whereas now I have one spoke (front) and one mag (rear) and 2) I envision it being much easier to to set up a drum brake in the rear rather than a disc. Would it be prudent to get my hands on a spoke with with a drum brake to verify sprocket alignment and such prior to welding the hardtail? Or is what wheel I have irrelevant, where my only concerns should be alignment and squareness of the hardtail itself?

Following advice I received earlier, I was going to do what I can to try to get the engine running. But, it seems like that won't be happening with the lack of compression it has. I planned all along to get the engine completely rebuilt by a professional so I'm not too worried about this. Rather than put everything on hold until the engine comes back, would it be reasonable to get the hardtail on while I still have the engine? I figured I could continue mocking everything up while the engine is gone such as fenders, brakes, and anything else I can do without the engine. Then hopefully once the engine comes back it will just be a matter of a final mock up, disassemble, paint, then reassemble in time for next year?
 

jpdevol

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Yep, you want the motor installed to tack on the hardtail. The eventual rear wheel will have to conform to the tail section regarding spacing and alignment rather than vice versa.

String, straight-edge and a plumb-bob should be among your toolkit....
 

gggGary

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Would it be prudent to get my hands on a spoke with with a drum brake to verify sprocket alignment and such prior to welding the hardtail? Or is what wheel I have irrelevant, where my only concerns should be alignment and squareness of the hardtail itself?
mag and spoke wheels (All rear wheels 74 up) align EXACTLY the same
 

jpdevol

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Alignment and squareness.... The space between the axle plates on the hardtail will likely be different than the stock swingarm, so custom spacers will be needed for any wheel.

A plug for our host: https://www.chopsource.com/ :D
 

650Skull

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Im still not able to get this bike to run. After messing with it for a while I did a compression test and, although done with a cold engine, the compression is well below spec. I didn't check the valves, but I'm not too bummed as I was planning on a complete rebuild anyway.

Following advice I received earlier, I was going to do what I can to try to get the engine running. But, it seems like that won't be happening with the lack of compression it has

Just as a FYI. These engines will run with 100psi. often bikes that have been sitting may only have around 120/130, its when the bike has been run a bit the compression will increase and some will come up to spec.
 

johne67

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Well, I got the frame stripped down to just the forks/wheel and engine. I cleaned up most of the nasty oil/dirt that was caked onto the frame and engine, and I'm ready to cut the frame. I want to run my plan by you guys and see if it sounds good.

I'm going leave the engine in the frame and follow the instructions from TC Bros with regard to where to make the cuts. Then, clean up the cuts and set the hardtail in the frame. I don't have a jig, so I was planning on using a bunch of ratchet straps and some creativity to pull/hold everything in place once I think I have it all squared up. I will also have a pipe between the axel plates with the axel running through it to prevent the plates from moving inward or outward. Then, my guy will weld what he can reach. Then, remove the engine so we can move the frame around to finish the welds. Does that sound about right?

Also, the guy who will be doing the welding, in my second hand conversations with him, has expressed concern about the frame "losing its temper" and said it may need some kind of treatment after welding? I'm not sure what exactly that means or if its something to even be concerned about as I haven't seen any mention on here about doing some kind of treatment after welding on a hardtail. He said he has zero experience with welding motorcycle frames so he isn't sure if that's concerning either. He was a union welder so he can weld, he just never did a motorcycle frame before. Any input here would be helpful too.
 
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