An XS400 that ran until I fixed it...


XS400 New Member
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Newport News
I've been lingering here for awhile and there really is some great information on the site. Thanks everyone for that. I just made my first post and realized I didn't do an introduction so here it is:

My wife bought herself a 79 XS400 about five years ago in Arizona. It ran when we bought it and so naturally we started to fix what wasn't broken and make cosmetic changes. The first change was a set of clubman bars. No biggie. At the time we didn't have a garage so the bike was parked in the street. So I go to start it after putting the bars on and the kicker isn't engaging. It was kick only because, for some reason or another, the previous owner removed the starter chain. Anyhow I assume some lovely drunk person decided they were going to kickstart the bike one night and broke something in the kicker. So I pull the side cover off to check it out and can't find anything wrong with the setup but did find some nice sized chunks of metal floating around. Great. I stuck the kicker set-up back together and still couldn't get anything. It took awhile to figure out what was wrong and I'm not too proud to say that the new bars made the clutch cable taught, engaging it. Simple adjustment fixed that. After that we had one hell of a time getting it started consistently.

It sat and then we moved to Virginia where it sat longer as I couldn't work on it in the parking lot of our apartment complex. We finally got a house with a garage and so it was time to start working on it again. After wearing out both legs trying to start the thing I decided to try to figure out what in the world was wrong with the starter. I pulled the cover and low and behold, more metal! A lot more. What I found was a mangled starter clutch. Turns out someone forgot to put the starter sprocket guide tab thingy back on and it torqued the starter clutch on the shaft. A new starter clutch, chain, and GUIDE fixed that. So now that my leg can relax I hit the starter button and it coughs and kicks but is consistently backfiring through one of the carbs. huh. After thinking about it for awhile the answer hit me like someone slapped me in the face. Someone probably should have as the coils were switched.

So it starts and runs consistently now. We're in the home stretch now that I swallowed my pride and we finally outsourced some help. A local Newport News Muffler Shop (Kevin at Muffler King) is building the seat/cowl from a donor RD350 tank and Cycle Specialist cleaned up the carbs in their ultrasonic tank. All that's left is to clean up some wiring, mount a battery, and sort the brakes. Needless to say, my wife and I are ready to get this thing on the road!
Welcome!! Nice to here you where able to take care of all the normal problems most people have on your own:thumbsup:
welcome speedtrip.

these bikes are a love hate relationship, bit like marriage I suppose! just got to keep working at it and enjoy the fruits of your labour at the end of it :)
Thanks Drewpy and thanks for all of your contributions on the forum. I've been finding myself checking out your blog and tech articles quite often.