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Mailman’s XS2 a full on restoration

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Mailman, Mar 1, 2018.

  1. Mailman

    Mailman Hardly a Guru Top Contributor

    Edit: please note that this build has now been completed and I have added a reference at the bottom of the first post to help find specific parts of the build.

    Hello my friends,
    I’m sure many of you now know I am the proud new owner of a 1971 XS2. I have long admired the classic red and white XS2, in fact it was the first Yamaha 650 I ever recall seeing. A friend of mine in high school had a Suzuki dual sport 185, he traded it in and one day he pulls into the high school parking lot on a shiny new red and white XS2, I absolutely loved the way that bike looked and sounded. It’s totally different from my ‘77.
    So without further ado, here is the background story of my new bike.
    I constantly search Craigslist for interesting old bikes, especially XS650’s . A couple of weeks ago, not one but two XS2’s show up for sale near me. The one I bought was located at a business, an auto wrecker / junk yard to be precise. The owner/ proprietor of the wrecking yard had only owned it a few months, he’s not a bike guy, could care less in fact. He had no emotional attachment to it, he bought it at an auction. He said he thought it came from an estate sale. We walked out back to an open air shed to go see it. Here you are seeing it for the first time with me.

    I told him to shut it off. This bike sat for 32 years. After winning the bike at auction he had to go pick the bike up in the town of Yarnell, a small sleepy little town about 70 miles from Phoenix. He said it was crammed into a back corner of a garage and so covered with dirt he couldn’t even tell what color it was!
    He wanted to have it start and run so he could sell it, so he took the carbs apart , cleaned them, replaced the gaskets, replaced the petcocks. Flushed the gas tank ( more in that later!) and added a couple of fuel filters. He did none of the rituals that a caring owner would do when trying to awaken a sleeping beauty. He did it quick and dirty, I’m truly impressed it would run at all, but I was concerned he might do more harm than good so I told him shut it down.
    The bike is going to be a lot of work, but it looked worth saving, so we struck a deal.
    Two hours later it was being picked up by a motorcycle towing service, by 4:00 pm it was in my garage.
    4472D6CA-9027-42AD-BD95-3DFADA3DF65C.jpeg E44AE82B-765B-4693-A23D-F13F5E3A5C2B.jpeg AFB5A5F1-0F47-4A1A-A309-94577E30DFE1.jpeg 01C8B538-BBA5-40D2-9123-53947059F414.jpeg 1942BD32-6452-46FD-89F3-72E94102D732.jpeg D6E8E502-FFF7-4BB5-B448-CAEA5417FB71.jpeg CFD130AD-6C4E-46EF-86BA-93F8FE46B2F3.jpeg A51B8249-B46F-4A0B-84CA-29575083EC67.jpeg

    Manufactured in November of 1971, I had just turned fifteen. It still has the 46 year old sticker from the dealership that sold it.

    So, I am super stoked to begin this project, what I have in mind, primarily , is preserving this old girl. It has lived in the desert it’s whole life, zero corrosion, but every peice of rubber and plastic is dry rotted and cracked.
    I want to make it mechanically sound and rideable and really clean and polish her up,
    but I’d really like to save the original paint if possible. It photographs better than it looks in person up close, but one thing I have plenty of is time and elbow grease.
    So there you are, you know as much as I do at this point, I hope you’ll join me and God knows I need to be pointed in the right direction now and again. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.
    Until next time
    Next up: An inititial inspection ( photo intensive!)

    Reference index below, click on the underlined H, in the word Here ( links don’t always land on the right post, but will be the right page)

    Initial inspection and comments from forum members. Pages 1 thru 6
    Efforts to save the gas tank. Here
    Speedometer and tachometer disassembled for dial face restore Here ( all the way to #207 )
    Gauges are rebuilt Here
    Stripped Carburetor butterfly screw removal Here
    Swing arm bronze bushing install Part 1 Here Part 2 Here
    Carburetor helicoil repair Here
    Carburetor work Here , Here
    Master cylinder and front caliper Here
    Front disc and speedo drive Here
    Wheel bearing mistakes Here and fix Here
    Work on forks Here, Here, Here,
    Polishing : forks Here,
    Seat reupholstered Here
    Pulling the motor Here
    Engine teardown Here
    Finished bike on page 140 Here
    Everything after that is maintenance , service work and cross talk.
    Last edited: May 23, 2020
    DogBunny, Johnnny13, peanut and 18 others like this.
  2. Signal

    Signal XS650 Junkie Top Contributor

    No wonder that you are grinning like a Cheshire cat.
  3. Jim

    Jim Beyond the edge is the unknown. Here be Dragons XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    And so it begins...
    I'm really looking forward to this one Bob.:)
    peanut, gggGary and Mailman like this.
  4. Mailman

    Mailman Hardly a Guru Top Contributor

    Haha! Signal you're right, I can't seem to wipe that grin off my face!

    Thanks Jim! I'm pumped! And a little nervous, these early models are quite different, I'm learning all over again!
    gggGary, Wulfbyte, Boog and 1 other person like this.
  5. Jim

    Jim Beyond the edge is the unknown. Here be Dragons XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    No worries... there's tons of talent here.
    gggGary and Mailman like this.
  6. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    You have a great starting platform there. The no rust factor is huge. The tip that Gary gave me about using Blue Magic on weathered paint is a very good one. It truly does work magic on it. As far as rubber bits go, I'm sure you already know factory stuff is best, the repro stuff generally sucks. If you don't already have it, get yourself some red rubber grease, even if you have to send all the way to England for it like I did, lol. Wonderful stuff for use on rubber.
    gggGary, Boog and Jim like this.
  7. Mailman

    Mailman Hardly a Guru Top Contributor

    Thanks 5Twins! I was frankly amazed at the total lack of corrosion , I didn't realize the wheels were going to be chrome steel rims, I thought they all were aluminum. But there was no rust on them, I think they'll shine right up.
    gggGary, Boog and Jim like this.
  8. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    Yes, chrome steel rims '70-'73, alloy '74-'79, back to chrome steel in '80. Don't be afraid to grease or oil any part that moves. Many of the little moving parts on bikes are sadly neglected, things like the seat hinges and control levers, kick start lever pivot too. Even though I tried to keep my kicker well oiled, it seemed every time I went to fold it out, it was binding up again. Well, I fixed that finally, lol .....

    Wulfbyte, xschris, Boog and 4 others like this.
  9. jussumguy

    jussumguy XS650 Addict

    Holy cow mailman that's a beauty! You'll have to get a new hat! I like that motorcycle delivery truck too. Low miles?
    Wulfbyte, Boog, MaxPete and 3 others like this.
  10. geedubya

    geedubya geedubya Top Contributor

    G'day Bob,

    Go you good thing!!!
    MaxPete and Mailman like this.
  11. jonesey

    jonesey Dyed in the wool 650 nut

    I'm So pleased for you Bob. That Gem could not go to a better place. In 73 i bought my first New bike it was an XS2 in the Orange and black colours like the Japanese home market. Loved that bike, still remember the Reg. number OAW 23 M. They don't handle too well. I used to screw down the steering damper and wind it on. Was young and foolish in them days now i'm just old and foolish.
    Another one saved from the crusher, so glad. Enjoy Bob.
    peanut, Mailman and gggGary like this.
  12. Downeaster

    Downeaster Everything in XS Top Contributor

    Congrats, that's a beauty!
    peanut and Mailman like this.
  13. Well done Bob, that's a ripper, will be following this thread with interest.
    peanut and Mailman like this.
  14. Scripto VU

    Scripto VU Dukes Speed and Custom

    definitely cheesen, you might even say it goes to the the next level-- coprophagous smirk, yea that's it .

    (the reason I got my 650 was my brother bought the identical bike when he was 17. Same color everything, Nothing better !)
  15. gggGary

    gggGary When a whole one is just too much. XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

  16. motormike

    motormike XS650 Junkie XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Great score... The Xs2 is the best look'n of the XS series.
    MaxPete and Mailman like this.
  17. willis

    willis xsive compulsive disorder XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    I really enjoyed your journey on you 60th birthday thread and am looking forward to following this journey as well. As I’ve said before, your posts are always well thought out and easy to read. They could easily be published as magazine articles... no joke. Congratulations MM !!! :cheers:
  18. queenslegs

    queenslegs XS650 Addict

    Jesus MM, could you smile just a little bigger?! Well done.
    MaxPete and Mailman like this.
  19. Mailman

    Mailman Hardly a Guru Top Contributor

    Thank you all for the high fives! I will have another post up very soon with an initial inspection.
    I really do need a Yamaha hat! Haha!
    Boog likes this.
  20. robinc

    robinc Member of the 'yellow meter gang' Top Contributor

    Wow, she's a beauty Bob. I don't imagine you would ever come across another one as good a starting point.

    THIS is the retirement project you need! Will enjoying following along. Have fun with it buddy!
    peanut and Mailman like this.

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