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XJ550 (re)build

Discussion in 'XJ Modifications' started by Lodewijk, Apr 20, 2019.

  1. Lodewijk

    Lodewijk Member

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    The old saying goes "be careful what you wish for, it might come true" ... Well, I wished for an oldtimer to wrench on. :D

    So, I bought an XJ550, basically on a impulse, because it was old and looked really cool (yeah, I'm stupid like that). Bike started right up so no worries, right?

    [​IMG]

    Well, apparently the PO was more interested in a quick turnaround than doing things properly. "A fool and his money ..." is another saying. :oops: I'll try and document my (re)build here for your amusement and education.
     
  2. Lodewijk

    Lodewijk Member

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    Problem #1: The bike doesn't always start, and stalls or stops when idling or downshifting.

    I outsourced this problem to a local mechanic that works on old bikes. He did a complete carb rebuild and fixed some other minor stuff. The stalling/stopping issue seemed solved, but the bike still didn't want to start when cold or standing for a couple of day. In the meantime, I found these forums and learned that my battery is probably the issue. I checked and it started fine on a fresh charge, but wouldn't when standing for a couple of days. Measuring with a multimeter confirmed that the starting charge was weak. So, a new battery was in order! Which led to ...

    Problem #2: The wiring seems to be an incredible mess!

    I finally managed to remove my saddle to get the old battery out and was greeted with a rats nest of wires. I know I'm new at this stuff but this doesn't look like a solid wiring job at all!

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    And why leave (not) well enough alone? Let's put a Motogadget m.unit blue in there (with m.button and m.switches mini), and the starter solenoid and inverter/rectifier from Revival Cycles. Yeah, that makes total sense.

    I was starting to doubt the PO's skills at this point, so maybe I needed to looking into some some other stuff. Like the engine!

    Problem #3: check the valves!

    When researching the forums, valve clearances are mentioned often. I better check those, then. The tutorials seems straightforward enough, so I should be able to do that - I hope. So, let's get that tank off so I can reach the wiring and engine. Oh-oh ...

    Problem #4: the tank is in a sorry condition.

    Since some of the paint on the tank started getting bubbly, I knew there were some issues with it. After draining it and taking it off, I got a better look. The inside is splotchy and rusty. I'll need to treat it and see if it can be fixed or if it has to be replaced.

    Buy a bike, they said. It'll be fun, they said. ;)
     
  3. Lodewijk

    Lodewijk Member

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    I started stripping the wiring from the bike, today. The idea was to start taking stuff off (lights, turn signals, ignition ...) and see if I could make any sense of the madness that is the current wiring. Here's some of the stuff I found:

    duct tape is apparently a substitute if you run out of electrical tape:

    [​IMG]

    I'm not an electrician but this seems a shoddy job to me:

    [​IMG]

    Are wires supposed to be stripped over the complete lenght?

    [​IMG]

    I also found any number of wires not connected to anything, a gazillion different kind of connectors and about 20 kgs of tape. So, I stripped everything. Much better now!

    [​IMG]

    In the coming days I'll try and lay out the main components from the old harness again to make more sense of them, and start a rough POC of the new one on a table with the m.unit. If I manage that, I'll be happy.
     
  4. XJ550H

    XJ550H Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    very wise to replace that harness.
     
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  5. Lodewijk

    Lodewijk Member

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    I gutted some mystery components from the wiring harness. Maybe someone can help me identify them?

    I think this is the starter relay/solonoid, yes?

    [​IMG]

    No idea what this is.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Or this.

    [​IMG]

    Or this?

    [​IMG]

    Or this little plastic square?

    [​IMG]

    Any help would be tremendously appreciated. :)
     
  6. k-moe

    k-moe Pie, Bacon, Bourbon. Moderator Premium Member

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    See my replies in red within your quoted post.
     
  7. Lodewijk

    Lodewijk Member

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    Thank you! I'm replacing the starter solenoid with a new one (https://shop.revivalcycles.com/universal-starter-solenoid-with-main-fuse/), the turn signals will be managed by the the m.unit. Looks like I don't have to worry about those, then. :)

    I was looking at the factory wiring diagram a lit bit earlier AAMOF and was wondering about the diode block. Being a complete noob, I threw "What does the diode block do bike" query in google and lo and behold, this forum was in the top results! https://xjbikes.com/forums/threads/whats-this-wire-and-what-does-the-diode-block-do.113629/ I'm not planning on restoring the factory wiring (m.unit) and it's not mentioned on the minimal wiring diagram for an XJ. Does this mean I can do without? I also remember another discussion on this forums on how to adjust the minimal wiring diagram to integrate the side stand safety without using diodes (also for an m.unit integration), I'll have to look that one up, then.

    Fake edit: the m.unit blue has a built-in kickstand and clutch switch. So, I won't need the diode, apparently.
     
  8. XJ550H

    XJ550H Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    diode block controls oil level sender and oil light test when starter button is pressed this feture is important
    . oilcolor.jpg


    another is the headlight relay diode
    side stand relay uses a diode for grounding through clutch switch and neutral switch .
    the factory service manual for the 550 shows the diodes in the wiring circuits as individual diodes not to be confused with the internal diodes in the headlight and starter safety relay.
     
  9. Lodewijk

    Lodewijk Member

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    Thank you for that information, XJ550H, you're a lifesaver! Good thing I saved it from the harness, then.
     
  10. Lodewijk

    Lodewijk Member

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    So, as per advice of this forum, I measured the resistance of my charging system - albeit belatedly. I measured resistance between each of the three wires coming from the stator, and no resistance between each of the wires. According to YT, this is as it should be.

    I also removed my exhausts, since I noticed on a vid of my bike running that I appeared to have an exhaust leak. As with everything on the bike, it wasn't hard to unbolt them. I hardly even needed tools! Two of the bolts probably broke off, as they have been replaced with tapped holes and bolts (in a different size than the other bolts, because why not). After comparing my exhaust rings to the ones in the DIY thread, the cause for my exhaust leak isn't hard to find. So, I definitely need to get some new ones!

    [​IMG]

    I think I can see where the leak is based on the soot on the pipe.

    [​IMG]

    The ports could use a little TLC, too.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    While I'm waiting for stuff to arrive - so much stuff - I started mucking around with the m.unit. I made a little CAD (cardboard aided design) to see where and how I can fit everything on the bike. Luckily I have some guys at work that can help me fabricate it in steel. The battery (strapped down) and m.unit would sit in a tray, the starter solenoid is mounted on a bracket above and the inverter/rectifier is would sit on the outside of the tray. That leaves with some free mounting space for fuses, a couple of battery charging pins and other stuff. I also plan to mount some hinges for the saddle so I have easy access.

    [​IMG]

    Those metal strips are used to bolt down the custom sidecovers, but they're completely booger-welded and the more I see that, the more I hate it! They need to go asap, but not completely clear yet on how to best go about that. Tough place to get a grinder in.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Somewhat finalized design. Please tell me if I forgot something or if I'm just being stupid.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. k-moe

    k-moe Pie, Bacon, Bourbon. Moderator Premium Member

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    You really ought to figure a way to incorporate an airbox of a similar volume to the stock airbox. The mid-RPM bog that comes from running pods can't really be gotten rid of (it can be made almost nonexistent with a good amount of time and money though).
     
  12. Lodewijk

    Lodewijk Member

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    The open pods were on the bike when I bought it, and it's only after reading this forum that I learned the XJ's don't like that setup. I'll have to see where I can get one, though that'll be a worry for when I finish up all the other things I have going on this bike.
     
  13. XJ550H

    XJ550H Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    may want to consider some thread repair for the bolts in the header pipes. for the gaskets the copper oem style seem to work better than the aluminium ones. had to keep retightening the nuts several times to get the full seat of the headers when I used the aluminim ones. copper just 1 retorque.

    could just be me or the style of exhaust I used mac 4 to 1 was the one with problems the hold downs is welded to the pipes unlike oem exhaust.

    check this link out page 9 for battery location
    https://www.xjbikes.com/forums/threads/stebers-81-xj550-bobber.98704/page-11#post-612876
     
  14. Lodewijk

    Lodewijk Member

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    Thanks! I hadn't considered that approach; it would give me a lot more real estate to work with. Back to the drawing board. :)
     
  15. spacetiger110

    spacetiger110 Member

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    Man, electrical work is terrifying.
     
  16. XJ550H

    XJ550H Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    think like a plumber.
     
  17. XJ550H

    XJ550H Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    the builds not over until you sell the bike:)
    there is another thread on a build where the member made a battery box and components holder where the air box once was
     
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  18. MattiThundrrr

    MattiThundrrr Not a guru

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    Man, plumbing is terrifying!
     
  19. XJ550H

    XJ550H Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    yup that's why I stick to electrical work
     
  20. k-moe

    k-moe Pie, Bacon, Bourbon. Moderator Premium Member

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    I get that you ddn't do the work to remove the airbox. There are a few threads here where members built airboxes that fit into the same space that the pods do, but work nearly as well (or even as well) as the factory airbox.

    custom airbox site:xjbikes.com

    Bensalf's is particularly interesting, and may be a good fit for your situation.
    #64

    This M Unit thread might be useful to you as well.
    relays-or-not-to-relay.72383
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2019
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