1982 xs400 starting issue


XS400 New Member
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Québec Canada
Hello everyone,

I’m new to the xs400 world, well, to the motorcycle world even, only been 2 years… and my xs400 is my first bike. I bought it and it was already modified as a cafe racer, but I soon realized that it was poorly modified when the chain jumped of the rear sprocket on the highway. This is after having it inspected by a local "professional" bike shop (not going there anymore).

So I’ve done a lot of work on it since and had a reliable motorcycle mechanic friend help me out. Changed the battery, plugs, fuse box, clutch, wheel bearings, head stem bearing, chain, rear sprocket, cleaned, serviced and bench tested the carbs, changed the jets to stock, custom seat, cut the rear hoop shorter, custom rear fender, etc. the list is long but what I did on the bike I know was done right.

The issue I am having now is starting the bike. By removing the plugs and ensuring they are touching a good ground, I notice only spark when releasing the starter button. So even by pushing and holding the button for 10 seconds, I only see spark when releasing the button for maybe half a second. No wonder it’s hard to start!!!

When the bike is running is does idle smooth (once warmed up) and runs good. Although I did my first ride a few days ago and it did want to stall sometimes approaching stop signs with the cutch in… had to give it a bit of throttle to keep it alive.

My friend back home recommended changing the points, but the part is no longer available.

Someone recommended I change the TCI unit… do I even have a TCI unit, or do I have a CDI unit?

Would switching to electronic ignition solve anything?

Are the coils good?

Is the starter button at fault?

Any ideas, recommendations or any information would be useful.

Thank you,