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Where do I start?

Discussion in 'XJ Technical Chat' started by Josephclinton, Jul 25, 2020.

  1. Josephclinton

    Josephclinton New Member

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    I've got this neighbor who moving out of our little ghetto into the woods a few hours north of the twin cities. I was helping him and noticed a motorcycle in his garage, dusty and forlorn. I asked about it, as I never heard him on a bike. Well, he used to ride quite a bit until end of 2017 when he got hurt at work and couldn't ride any more. The bike has sat in his garage since then. Along the way, some hoodlum broke in and tried to chisel the ignition cylinder off to hot wire it. I knew he didnt want it, and asked a price.

    Hundred bucks, I'll even help you roll it to your garage.

    Now, I havent been on a bike in 20 years and that was just f***ing around on dirtbikes as a kid. I'm reasonably mechanical, but sadly my dad hated cars and my subburban school district got rid of autoshop the year before I got there. I do basic work at home, and have probably f***ed up as much as I've succeeded.

    I've gotten as far as reading about the VIN numbers and identifying the bike, its a 1982 Yahama XJ650 Maxim made in November of '81. I know the battery is trash, as are the tires. Ignition cylinder shouldn't be too hard.

    So, I guess, where do I start? Its my first bike, it needs some love, where would you start with such an endeavor? I'm aware its a project and wont be free, but it should be fun.
     

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  2. StahlMaster

    StahlMaster Member

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    What you have is a low mileage, original, nice bike. What you DON'T want to do is start taking things apart. You just may have a good running bike that needs a few parts. If it ran in 2017 it will run in 2020 or 2021 with little work. I had a XJ650J sit in my garage for 7 years and all I had to do is flush the tank and drain the carbs, put in new fuel with "seafoam" and I'm still riding this bike. To be fair the bike was stored with a full tank of gas so there was no rust in the tank and it had a heavy "seafoam" treatment prior to storage.
    You will need to make sure the engine is not seized. If it is not your in good shape. Get a new ignition switch and put it in.
     
  3. XJ4Keeps

    XJ4Keeps Member

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    Start by deciding what you want from the bike and how much time and money you're willing to spend. Understand that it will probably take more of both than you think. If you're on a limited budget, think safety and function first, cosmetics last. You said the tires were shot, so that's first on the list. A thorough brake inspection should be next (rear brake shoes should definitely be replaced immediately). Wheel bearings should also be checked before you go anywhere, as should your throttle and clutch cables. Carbs will probably need attention if the bike hasn't been ridden for three years, but there's a slight chance you might get lucky there, depending on how and where it was stored. Same with the fuel tank and petcock. If you're not used to working on bikes, probably the best initial investment you can make is to take it to a reputable shop in your area and have a talk with a pro. Once you get started, you'll find plenty of good advice (and probably every part you'll need) right here on this site. Good luck, and enjoy the journey.
     
  4. XJ4Keeps

    XJ4Keeps Member

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    Good advice from StahlMaster. Since your battery and ignition switch are lunched, the very first thing you should do is turn the crank by hand to make sure the engine isn't seized.
     
  5. Josephclinton

    Josephclinton New Member

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    How would I do that?
     
  6. XJ4Keeps

    XJ4Keeps Member

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    The easiest way is to pull the spark plugs, spray some Mystery Oil or similar lubricant in the plug holes and let it sit for a few minutes, raise the rear wheel off the ground, put the bike in gear and bump the rear wheel forward. If it turns relatively easily, you're in business.
     
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  7. XJ4Keeps

    XJ4Keeps Member

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    If it doesn't turn at all, you've got issues.
     
  8. Josephclinton

    Josephclinton New Member

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    Easy enough. Thanks!
     
  9. Minimutly

    Minimutly Active Member

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    I would NOT take it to a pro bike shop - they will likely rubbish it, put you off and try to sell you a new "learner" bike - unless you know of an old time enthusiast run outfit?
    Engine first - check it turns over (oil down the bores, let it sit overnight at least), new or jumped battery from car battery to crank it over after you've done the turning it over by hand thing.
    Get a manual and learn how to follow the wiring diagram.
    Get or make a fuel bottle - you'll need one later anyway to set the carbs.
    I would take the carbs off to clean the bowls out and the richener oriffices at least, idle jet if it looks gummed, also main jet.
    If it has oil in it and the "rebuilt" carbs don't leak fuel start it!
    By this point you will hopefully have learnt enough to take it further - you have really only scratched the surface - tyres, bearings, brakes, cables, tank, proper carb rebuild, paint? It will take you months to do it all right, but will be well worth it.
     
  10. XJ550H

    XJ550H Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    once you confirm motor turns (which is no big deal if it doesnot turn) start with the basic maintance list listed in the factory service manual or aHaynes manual.
    clean electrical connections.

    my first 2 items because the do not cost anything to do.

    Clean and lube the ignition switch

    Your Gas Cap and You

    motor turns then
    Bigfitz's AIRHEAD VALVE ADJUSTMENT with Pics - parts I & II.

    when you have the gas cap off.
    look at inside of fuel tank for rust. siphon out the fuel get it all out
    clean tank if needed, replace fuel

    read this it has links and info on everything you need to do

    The Information Overload Hour

    this link lists specs for ignition system and charging system, ohm them both out to see if they are in spec

    The Ultimate Relay, Switch, Sensor, and Diodes Guide

    your bike is a collection of systems that work together, go through each system.

    you have started to do this with the cleaning of the fuel cap and ignition system. minimum work on fuel cap would be cleaning it and replacing o rings.

    glass fuses? consider replacing with a new fues box blade style or inling blade fuse holders. both will cost the same to do.



    your goal should be to get bike running before doing any of the secondary repairs.
    then you can spend money on brake system rebuild front and rear checking wheel bearings.


     
  11. Minimutly

    Minimutly Active Member

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    Turning? Cranking? Running? These are important terms.
    I would say turning is mechanically turning, by removing the plugs, selecting 4th and pushing it - or putting a spanner on the crank.
    Cranking is using the battery, solenoid and pushing the button. This is a brit thing - in the States what would you call it?
    Running is simply firing the fuel, noise and smoke coming out - degrees of this vary obviously.

    So, turn it over,
    Get it cranking,
    Get it running
    All before doing any work on clutch, brakes, lights, shocks etc. Just don't be tempted to go joyriding.
     
  12. XJ550H

    XJ550H Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    same on this side of the pond
    turn by hand methods
    crank by starter
    running any motor turning and burning fuel and can roll along under its own power.

    though I still dont know what a tyre is;)
     
  13. Minimutly

    Minimutly Active Member

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    Don't let it get to you - the English language is a mess - it mostly sounds Ok, easy to use and understand, but when you look at different sounds of letters, words etc, it shows it's roots. My first language is Welsh, nice and easy phonetic language, yes has maybe a lot of harsh sound ing "ll"s, ch"s and so on, but that's not unique. No guessing anyway.
     
  14. Franz

    Franz Well-Known Member

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    Sook, squeeze, bang, blaw, induction, compression, power, exhaust the four stroke cycle. That's an old one.
     
  15. kosel

    kosel Active Member Premium Member

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    Second Monday of every month at Diamond's Coffee Shop in NE Minneapolis is the Antique Japanese Motorcycle Club. Great group of people with tons of experience. I'm usually there on my 650 Seca.
     
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  16. Minimutly

    Minimutly Active Member

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    IMG_1254.JPG Very nice looking seca there in your avatar Kosel, I have one myself, bought as a frame with an engine and seat. Similar in many ways to the op of this thread, si I did the "oil down the bores, turn it over, strip the carbs, crank it start it" thing. You should have seen the amount of dead wildlife that came out of the vance &hines exhaust!
    Now it has a front wheel, tank, most controls, ignition switch. The smoke that it came with has gone, it runs as sweet as, but Still loads of work to do before I ride it. It will get done, but these things can't be rushed.
     

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  17. Josephclinton

    Josephclinton New Member

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    Awesome. Thats the joint right by Tattersall, right?

    I'm a brewer at Fair State and would happily trade beer for technical help as I get digging into this thing.
     
  18. kosel

    kosel Active Member Premium Member

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    Yes, same building. You'll see the bikes out front, weather permitting. If you're brave enough, it's also the starting point of the Icycle Derby, held every January 1st.
     
  19. Josephclinton

    Josephclinton New Member

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    Very cool. Heres hoping I have it up and running by January
     

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