Friday, November 9, 2012

Winter Projects: XS650 Edition

Although this weekend is supposed to be in the 60's and sunny, our riding season here in upstate New York has basically come to a close.  This means one thing:  Winter Projects.  I spent all summer compiling a wish list of items I would like to change / improve on my 1975 Yamaha XS650.  Some items are easily achievable while others will become budget issues.  Just like most people money is tight so I have set a tentative budget of $500.00 to complete my list; we'll see what happens.

My main goal for the first portion of my projects was to basically tear the bike down to the core, leaving the motor in the frame.  The previous owner (a friend) had a fresh top end put in it just before I bought it, it didn't even have 500 miles on it.  The rebuild was done by the local dealership; the engine in this bike is a real strong runner, it starts 1st kick without choke every time even when cold.  I think I'm going to leave it alone.  I have put over 2,000 miles on it since the build was completed in the summer of 2011 not one problem.
It took two nights after work in the garage to get the bike essentially torn down to where I could establish a baseline and inventory what needed to be done.
I've had trouble with oil leaking from the output side of the engine since I bought it.  I have been changing seals as leaks have come up, but what do you expect from a 40 year old engine.  I have changed the clutch push rod bushing and seal and the output shaft seal, I believe the latest leak culprit is the shift shaft seal.  Oil gets on the chain and then every time I ride it, whatever I'm wearing gets painted with little dots of oil.  Kind of like war paint so I don't mind THAT much.
I have been having trouble with the electric starter engaging and disengaging when in use, it makes a foul grinding noise. Since I am in the mode, I decided to do some investigation.  I anticipated seeing rounded gears and just a mess of debris when I opened the side, but what I found was pristine.  So I am at somewhat of a loss.  I guess kick starting it isn't that bad,  so I won't worry too much.
I have been spending a lot of time browsing forums, keeping an eye out for easily obtainable improvements and will be polishing all the aluminum as the weather becomes more and more dismal.  Just sit in front of the television and scrub on some motorcycle parts.  Sounds like the epitome of a good time to me.

Stay tuned for Winter Projects:  XS650 Edition Part II.  I will be diligently progressing this project, my goal to be finished and ready for the road is late February / early March; hopefully I can catch a couple of those unseasonably warm pre-spring days, but at the rate I'm going I'll probably be done before Christmas.  

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