1. Dismiss Notice
  2. Hey Facebook people... We've created a group for XS650.com members to connect. Check it out!
    Dismiss Notice

On the road again at 40.............the bike that is

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by robinc, May 16, 2017.

  1. robinc

    robinc Member of the 'yellow meter gang' Top Contributor

    Today was the first time back on the road in 9 yrs. for my 77D. Not very excited!!!!

    Only had time for a few trips around the block, had to go to a meeting. Don't you hate when work gets in the way of play?



    IMG_20170516_155644.jpg IMG_20170516_160033.jpg

    A little history: I am the second registered owner since 1990 of this 77D. Was basically a barn find when I got it then. PO had dropped it 3 or 4 times, and I think he was afraid he'd eventually kill himself so he gave it to my neighbour. One day I was telling that neighbour I was looking for a bike, and unbeknownst to me he said he had one that had been out under his deck for awhile. It needed work, but I could have it if I wanted to fix it up, get it running and put it back on the road. Did that and rode it until 2008 when life got in the way and I put it in storage.

    Fast forward to last summer. Was asked if I would sell it. Got it back into 'Papa’s shop’, started cleaning it up, changed the oil and filters, woke it up and it ran really well, considering.

    After petting it for a couple weeks, I couldn't bring myself to sell it, and then by Providence came across this forum. Now I'm deep down the rabbit hole!

    Spent last summer adjusting, tuning, fixin’, waiting for parts, polishing, polishing, polishing. Won't go through the whole shopping list, but all the stuff needed to get a bike that’s been sitting for 9 years to run, roll and stop safely again. This was more of a refresh project and certainly not the level of redo/restoration that so many talented people have shown here. Tank and tins need to be repainted. PO dented fenders need to be replaced. Mufflers need to be replaced due to the typical right pipe blow out. (Although I do love the sound of those stock pipes even with an extra hole or two).
    But, my goal for now was to just clean it up, get it safe, and get some bugs in my teeth again.

    Parroting Mailman's thread “My 60th birthday present” I’ll be riding this 77D later this year on my 60th!

    Would like to give a HUGE shout out to everyone on this forum who helped directly by answering my questions and indirectly by answering the questions of those who came before, that in turn answered mine. I certainly know this old girl a whole lot better now and never could have done it without this amazing resource.

    I am repeatedly amazed at the depth of knowledge contained within this forum and humbled by the generosity of you all who are so willing to share your wisdom and experience.


    And now………..….for the rest of the story……..

    Now that I have come to my senses I realize you cannot own just one of these ol’ twins. I had so much fun wrenching last summer that there is no way I could be without a 'project’.

    Came across another barn find. A 78E that had been sitting for 12 years.


    19,529 kms, 12,134 miles. Didn’t know if it was seized or what I might have but after a couple hours discussing matters with PO, I left $500 lighter with a trailer 467 lbs. heavier. Hey, it even has the OEM toolkit. Saw a Yamaha toolkit on eBay once listed for more than that so worse comes to worse, I could break even. Lol.

    Could say “bought Yamaha toolkit for $500, bike was thrown in” :laugh:

    Did the careful wake up drill, changed the oil and filters, compression strong, 150 each side, dumped the old gas, didn't bother pulling the carbs just yet, hooked up the trolling motor battery and after a few kicks she fired up and settled down pretty quick, starter motor works too.

    Not running great, yet, but running pretty good for not running for 12 years!

    Chrome is pretty badly pitted from years of sitting, so can't do too much about that, but it will 'shine’ again.

    Plan is, get it fixed and tuned which should be easier now with my new 'Yellow Meter’. Lol.
    Do some basic upgrades keeping it stock.
    Make it stop again.
    Clean it up, repaint the tank and tins (As close as I can get mixed up to the original Star Black) with new 78E decals (tank is pretty corroded and dented, need to pull and/or fill the dents) and get er back on the road as another survivor.

    My apologies for this lengthy epistle….lol, but I thought it would be cool to tell the whole story in one post.

    So now………..ride the blue on the nice days, wrench the black on the bad.

    Gonna be a good summer!
  2. angus67

    angus67 Welder's penetrate deeper!!

    Great find. On your list of wake up, did you check the valves? Obviously they are close, or you'd know it right away.
  3. robinc

    robinc Member of the 'yellow meter gang' Top Contributor

    Yes angus67, thanks for mentioning that though. Before start up I checked cam chain tensioner and valves and couldn't believe they were basically right on. Some times you get lucky I guess. :shrug:
  4. Mailman

    Mailman Hardly a Guru Top Contributor

    Dang Robin! Look at you! You got yourself two nice bikes there! $500? What a steal!
    I know , the more you work on these old bikes the more addicting they become. I have a late model bike that will run circles around my old Yamaha, but I feel so invested in this old girl that I can't get enough of it.
    Well keep the updates and photos coming, I'll enjoy watching.
  5. robinc

    robinc Member of the 'yellow meter gang' Top Contributor

    Thanks Mailman, IIRC I read in a thread that gggGary said he would pay $500 sight unseen for one so I figured it was worth $500 seen? LOL.
    You're so right, they are a treat, frustrating for sure, but there's just something about preserving this bit of history. These old girls deserve to be looked after and I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to care for a couple.......so far. :rolleyes:
    And as well I will continue to enjoy watching your exploits.

    Be well.
  6. Holy Moly robinc ! You've been quite "stealthy" about your projects ! Very Nice bikes.. That Blue 77 is absolutely beautiful ! You have really blown me away today ! Now you better get more pics posted !! Thank you ! -RT
  7. robinc

    robinc Member of the 'yellow meter gang' Top Contributor

    Wow, thanks TM, I truly appreciate your kind words have enjoyed viewing the quality work you do and your gorgeous machines. I started working on ol' Blue May 23,2016 so almost a year to the date she's a roller again.

    I was so far along and there were so many great threads running that I stepped alongside like Mailman's and Daniel Blacks that I didn't worry about posting my progress.

    Didn't break any new ground. The search button became my constant companion and lead me to countless fantastic, informative threads by the forum guru's that walked me through the things I needed to do. I have Haynes, Clymer and Yamaha factory manuals that I use but more often than not things are explained better on here and found with a little industrious searching.

    Once again gentlemen, my heartfelt thanks for all you have done and still do for the benefit of the rest of us.

    I did however photo document the process so will post some more pics of before and afters.

    I finished work a little early today so going to spend some time in the saddle, not on the forum....lol.
    I need to get reaquainted with her.

    Last night my wife said "boy you are sure wound up." Once I told her I had the bike out for it's first run in 9 years, she got it! :)
    gggGary likes this.
  8. azman857

    azman857 '80 XS 650SG Rider XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Congrats on you latest build. These bikes have heart, don't they? Now ride the wheels of 'em!
  9. robinc

    robinc Member of the 'yellow meter gang' Top Contributor

    Thanks azman857, ya just something about these bikes gets ya. Got out for about an hour and and a half today, Yeehaw, (with a couple stops at buddy's to cool off, or truth be told, show her off...lol)
    I can't believe I waited 8 years to do this. Oh well, life had got in the way then, and had the time now, so I guess all's good!
  10. robinc

    robinc Member of the 'yellow meter gang' Top Contributor

    OK TM, more pics, but now you're asking me to really show her warts and scars. Will do, in the nature of full disclosure.......lol.
    Then will note my observations after some time in the saddle today.

    As I mentioned in my original post I need to repaint the tank and tins. The left side cover is for sure the worst. On one of PO's trips down it appears he cracked the battery and battery acid corroded part of the frame, the left side cover and I suspect the original carbs which is why I had frankencarbs.
    I was always tuning the carbs to specs for a 76/77 - BS38 584 /1E1 carb set and could never seem to get them right. After finding the Finnish BS38 carb identification guide: http://www.xs650.fi/pohja_files/fi/XS650carbs.htm
    and with 5twins help it turns out I actually had 74/75 BS38 447's where someone swapped in a single throttle/ butterfly shaft. (probably from the battery acid cooked 584's). More on the carbs to follow.

    Left side with battery acid corroded side cover.


    The right side cover and tank have minor scratches and a small dent which I can shrug off to patina but the corrosion on this left side cover has always made me want to repaint the tank and tins. I have heard that even with the damage there is value to having the original paint and quite frankly I don't really know, but when Blackie is done I may get at repainting these with new decals.

    Another scar: once when working with a floor lamp trouble light I had to answer the phone and when I got back to the bike the wind had blown the lamp over burning the seat that I had just had recovered by Mike at Mikes Custom Cycle Seats in London, so I've lived with it. He just did Maxpete's Lucille's seat. For now, it's not cracked, stays dry and is something to sit on but will get Mike to reupholster it some day. I think he will do an XS650 seat for $125 - $150 and will match the OEM stitching pattern. You can also see PO's dented rear fender. Oh well, I don't see it when I'm riding. Someday.


    Got to get around to making a black aluminum plate to cover that 'nice' carpet on the back of the back rest. Gotta check with schlakeandbake and see if he has any decals left. One of his decals on a black plate would look good I think. I know that carrier/rest is not the most attractive aftermarket accessory but it does have sentimental value. Years ago I coached both of my boys competitive baseball teams and we'd bungee our equipment bags to the carrier, hop on and off to the game. The back rest gave me comfort knowing that they'd ride OK. Hey, it doesn't get much better than going to a ball game on a nice summer night with one of your boys on dad's bike. Nowadays it will give me something to strap a small cooler or tool bag to for the days when the truck full of tools is already on the site.

    Here is my take on gggGary's older voltmeter install. Came across that thread and info about a year ago so went out and picked up a 2" voltmeter. Just like the look of an old school gauge versus digital, but might go digital with usb charging support on the black.
    Of course in my usual just jump in and run with it manner didn't think about how I would mount it. Wouldn't clear the crown nut.....huh, then IIRC, discovered gggGary swapped in Virago 535? handlebar mounts which raised his bars enough to clear. Couldn't find any of those so had to figure something out. Used motocross bar mounts and built a mounting plate and weatherproof enclosure. Can post more pics and info on how I did that if anyone is interested.



    Nuff for this post me thinks before I hit a wrong key and erase a bunch of stuff. Will add more info to new posts.

    Oh, one more thing. Looks like I have to invest in a vanity plate. Lost my original and the Ontario Ministry of Transport gave (sold) me this replacement. Now what kind of licence plate number is 3HOW5, man how lame is that. Looks like a conspiracy to me.
    Last edited: May 17, 2017
    TwoManyXS1Bs and Mailman like this.
  11. :thumbsup: @work but still lookin at that purdy blue ! all I see is Blu&Gold, Very nice aluminum ! Shiny wheels, shiny chrome, on a well running XS ! A lucky rider you are.. cheers
    robinc likes this.
  12. robinc

    robinc Member of the 'yellow meter gang' Top Contributor

    Thanks TM, I appreciate it. I hope work goes well for you tonight. Still some minor bugs to iron out will outline in a new post.

    Take care
  13. robinc

    robinc Member of the 'yellow meter gang' Top Contributor

    So after my ride today....first response......yeehaw!!!! LOL, Hey 9 years without riding, man what was I thinking :doh:


    1) A little exhaust valve tappet noise noticeable when idling with helmet off. Need to recheck valve settings. Cam chain tensioner is OK so I think it's valves and not that.

    2) Need to fine tune clutch adjustment. A little fidgety/wonky when starting up from a full stop to get to engage smoothly. Or maybe I'm just a little fidgety/wonky after not riding for 9 years?

    3) Carbs still need a little love.
    My old frankencarbs that were on the bike always had some sloppy carb body/float bowl screw holes that would tighten up to just past the almost gonna leak point. I hoped that rebuilding, adding new float bowl gaskets and new stainless allen screws to replace the rusted / gungy non stainless allens that were in it would fix them. No such luck. After grasping at straws and also changing float valves this spring hoping that might help, no luck. The more aggressive threads on the stainless allens then chewed up a couple of the comprimised threads on the carb bodies. When I started to see shavings falling I backed them out before they were fully seated, I knew I was in deep. so, no working carbs what to do.

    Searched the forum and basically found 4 options
    a) try fixing weak threads with JB Weld, hey worth a try. Used JB Weld. well, you knew that wasn't gonna work.
    b) thread in a 8/32 screw which will cut new threads. 2M has used 8/36 screws which are used in gunsmithery? and the threads are closer to the original metric threads. Went to Facca Fasteners (our local specialty Hardware Gurus) and no luck on 8/36. Wasn't too keen on threading in a screw without first tapping.
    c) drill, tap and helicoil
    d) drill and tap out for next size screw

    C & D seem like the hardest and therefore likely the most effective. I have lots of through/taper taps but no bottoming taps so looked around at the usual suspect places and no luck. Been pretty busy these days so finally figured by the time I get around to running around to the industrial supply houses and buying bottoming taps etc. I might as well bail and go to a pro. Took carbs to Terry Wolfe for a little open carb surgery. Terry is a London based vintage bike mechanic, race bike team mechanic, tool and die maker, etc. http://wolfeworx.com/
    Figured I'd tap these carbs as a meatball mechanic he'll do them as a machinist. Easy decision, but it's gonna cost and I still have no carbs.

    So, tracked down a set of 78-79 BS38's 2FO's. Got them rebuilt cleaned up and mounted and she fired right up..



    Cleaned them out, cleaned them up, jets to spec, new o-rings........Even those original JIS screws polished up real nice.



    Got them bench synced, mix screws set to specs, mounted them, hooked up the remote tank and she fired easy. Ran so well that against my better judgement just had to run er for a bit.

    Further observations: Riding today found idle would fluctuate at a stop, sometimes high, sometimes low, needed to keep adjusting idle speed screw. Need to do dead cylinder method set up for the mix screws, build a manometer (have all the stuff just haven't got round 2 it) to fine tune carb sync.

    Maybe also my advance weights are hanging up? Serviced and moly'd advance rod but maybe springs need to be shortened? It's erratic though so don't know if it carbs or mechanical.

    Any and all suggestions welcome..
    Last edited: May 27, 2017
    Mailman and TwoManyXS1Bs like this.
  14. azman857

    azman857 '80 XS 650SG Rider XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Run some seafoam in the gas. It will make a difference. It will get the gunk out cleaner can't get to/out, if there is any.
  15. robinc

    robinc Member of the 'yellow meter gang' Top Contributor

    OK, thanks for the suggestion azman857
  16. TwoManyXS1Bs

    TwoManyXS1Bs BBQ Hunter Top Contributor

    Carry a timing light with you, and when it acts up, .......shoot it...
    Mailman and robinc like this.
  17. Or maybe shoot it with a tazer :wink2:
    robinc likes this.
  18. robinc

    robinc Member of the 'yellow meter gang' Top Contributor

    LOL 2M. Actually one of the mods that is on the 2 do sumday list is your built in LED timing light. I think that one is an amazing idea and a cool "hey let me show this" kinda thing!
    Mailman likes this.
  19. MaxPete

    MaxPete Lucille, Betty, Demi & Gretel: I ask, THEY decide. XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    HOLY COW Robin - you've got two snazz bikes there! I am blown away - and so happy for you.

    Well done my friend - we should go through my stock of parts to see what I have that you could use. Plus - I know a couple of good bike wrecking yards which may have some of the items you need.

    Its going to be a great summer!

  20. robinc

    robinc Member of the 'yellow meter gang' Top Contributor

    Thanks Pete, appreciate it! A trip to Zedenos is on the gotta get round 2it list.
    MaxPete likes this.

Share This Page