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Old 07-12-2014, 09:34 PM   #2071
redprimo
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finally getting back to work on my XL500s. Paint is ordered and on the way so I thought I'd tackle recovering the seat this weekend.

I picked up some foam and some vinyl last week and have enough on hand for a couple mistakes while I figure it all out. I stripped the plastic pan and thought I'd throw it on the bike to see how much bigger I can make the new foam to compensate for the old stuff shrinking with age. Not sure if I have the correct pan or if I'm missing a piece of hardware. The metal bracket at the front of the pan seems like it should fit over something and on mine it barely touches the lip on the cross member with the rear tank mount. The only actual mounting points on my pan are the two side brackets. Is this correct? My pan measures 22 3/4" front to back on the top with the foam removed.


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Old 07-13-2014, 02:03 AM   #2072
jjxtrider
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tugboat56 View Post
It's in this thread somewhere, but for those who don't know:

Earlier this year I participated in an event to run a $500, less-than-400cc bike for 24 hours. Ours didn't even make it out of the gate, even though everything except the motor had been gone through and updated with new parts. (The whole saga can be found here: http://forums.sohc4.net/index.php?topic=132256.0)

1976 is a one-year-only XL250, with a different frame, head & exhaust design than the earlier or later ones. The head on our motor needs replacing and the cylinder needs to be bored-out. Heads can be hard to come by, and frankly I just want this thing out of my way. All bearings, brake pads & cables have been replaced; new street tires front & back, fork seals, battery, points, etc...

Anyway, is there anyone here who would need this stuff - and/or want the whole thing? Bike would come with a top-end gasket kit and carb rebuild kit.

If you'd be closer to C-Wisconsin I'd be interested in that project.
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Old 07-15-2014, 06:46 PM   #2073
vagabondmatt
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Successful Electrical Repairs on the Ol' '79

I'm very proud of myself. Since purchasing my '79 XL250S vintage dual sport, I have since discovered that the 6V electrical systems on these old bikes are notoriously fussy and problematic, especially when it comes to the lights and turn signals. Even with a new, fully charged battery and good connections, it seems like these systems are a bit wonky and unpredictable.


I discovered three main electrical problems with my bike. With the help of an online wiring diagram, and also drawing out my own simplified diagram focusing only on the parts that needed attention, I was able to zero in on the problems. Here are the diagrams:






First, the front brake light switch was broken. This is the switch that works off of the handlebar brake lever, and operates by a little spring loaded switch that closes the circuit when you pull the handle to apply the front brake, and opens the circuit when you let it go. Problem was the tiny little plastic stem that allows this to happen was broke off, so the brake light just stayed on all the time (switch constantly closed). I found a replacement on eBay, and it now works as it should. Here's a pic showing the small plastic stem that operates the spring loaded switch:


Second problem was that the previous owner had installed new but incredibly tiny rear turn signals that were really just useless. The signals used tiny bulbs like the kind you would use for instrument panel indicator lights. Add to that the fact that this system is a bit dim anyway, and you could hardly see them at night, and not really at all during the daytime. So I put on a new set of the flexible Baja Designs dual sport turn signals, and they seem to blend in nicely with the rest of the bike and are a similar style to the original front turn signals. Here they are on the bike now:





The main issue I had with installation was that the original holes in the metal plate under the plastic fender were not perfectly round, and were therefore not allowing the larger threaded stem of the new signals to slip through. Here's a shot of the oblong, irregular hole:



I ended up drilling it out a bit with a metal drill bit and filing the edges down just enough to let the new stems pass through. I dismantled the metal fender underframe from the rest of the fender before doing this so that I would not ruin any of the other parts or surfaces. Here's me testing new stem fit into the drilled hole...


These signals came with the usual 12V bulbs, so I simply replaced them with 6V bulbs from my local auto part store.


Next issue was that the brake light was still misbehaving, even after replacing the front switch and checking all the connections. A little investigation revealed that the ground wire going to the break light housing was loose where it connected to the base of the bulb casing. I ended up soldering it to the outside of the bulb sleeve and routing the ground wire back through the plastic base. Reconnected everything, and that did the trick!



The last problem was that the turn signals would not blink at all, they just stayed on steady. I made sure that the battery was fully charged with my new 6V trickle charger, but that did not make a difference. I have also read that sometimes the signals will not work unless the engine is revving, but that didn't seem to help, either. I removed the stock turn signal relay and took it apart to inspect it. Here is the relay before I took the cover off:



It was rusty, and so I sanded it down a bit and sprayed it with some electrical contact cleaner. Here's a shot of the inside of the relay:



My understanding is that there are two kinds of metals here: the bigger flat plate, and the strip of metal that runs across the back and folds around the corners. The general idea, if I understand correctly, it is that when voltage runs through this switch, these two metals react by bending, essentially working as one big contact switch that opens and closes against a contact point just underneath this plate. I suspect that the low and irregular 6V current, along with the aged and corroded state of these metals, kept the switch from operating the way that it should. I replaced it with a new, round modern style 6V relay, and all turn signals work great so far.


So, all electrical problems seem to be sorted! We'll see how long that lasts. Here's a shot at the end of the day, sitting pretty in the sunset, right around beer-thirty.




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Old 07-16-2014, 07:30 AM   #2074
brucifer
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Matt, I believe you have the turn signal mounted upside-down. That little slot should point down.



Pretty clean little bike you have there.
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Old 07-16-2014, 07:52 AM   #2075
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Nice writeup Matt. I'm in need of new rear signals, they look like a good option. Thanks for posting.
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Old 07-16-2014, 08:55 AM   #2076
vagabondmatt
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Ha! Brucifer - I'll check'em when I get home from work today, but I suspect that you are probably right about that. Nice attention to detail....thanks, man.
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vagabondmatt screwed with this post 07-16-2014 at 09:06 AM
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Old 07-16-2014, 12:08 PM   #2077
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Vintage vs. Modern Dual Sports When Wet

Hey folks, I am wondering what your thoughts and experiences are when it comes to vintage vs. more modern dual sports getting wet, either from water crossing or being in rain. Specifically I am wondering about the electrics - spark plugs, lights/signals, etc. Are these things prone to stall/stop working when wet way more than on a more modern dual sport? If so, are there things you folks to to keep your old XLs going when the going gets wet?
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Old 07-16-2014, 07:49 PM   #2078
jjxtrider
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I ride my old bikes to work and everywhere else every day , pretty much rain or shine. They sit outside in the rain while at work. No issues yet. Just have to make sure the gas cap has good seal , the stator cover is sealed for those with the points, a bit of drying silicone spray to repel any moisture inside and around electricals.

Make sure original airbox is more or less unmodded that can allow water to get sucked in. Keep drain open and functioning.


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Old 07-19-2014, 08:01 AM   #2079
XL500R
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I posted this in another thread but maybe this one is more appropriate.

I finally got my 1982 XL500R on the road. Got her on craigslist for $400 and put a few hundred into the bike.

Before:



After:



Still need a few cosmetic things like a new seat cover and number plate backing decals.

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Old 07-21-2014, 12:38 AM   #2080
mightyshocks
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Hey all,
just had a quick question for you all since this seems to be THE knowledge spot for old XLs. I just picked up a '75 XL350 locally that's running pretty solid and in decent condition. The only problem I noticed was that there was considerable noise in the top end when accelerating. When I was giving it a fresh tune-up at home I noticed a work order placed under the seat from 2012 where the previous owner brought the bike in for (of course) a noisey top end. The mechanic at the time concluded that the rockers and the cam were worn and needed to be replaced, but that no parts existed. The bike only has 6k miles on it. Is it normal for them to have that much wear after only 6k miles? I also noticed some gasoline in the oil when I changed it. Could that have contributed to that? It runs great other than the noise. Is open-heart surgery in order to check it out? Are there any sources for these parts? Thanks much, excellent thread...
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Old 07-21-2014, 05:40 AM   #2081
HerrDeacon
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Originally Posted by mightyshocks View Post
I also noticed some gasoline in the oil when I changed it. Could that have contributed to that?
Yes, this definitely could have lead to the quick wear of the head. Gas in the oil can quickly trash an engine since its negates the lubricating properties of the oil. Sounds like you may need to strip down the entire engine to see what exactly was damaged.
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Old 07-21-2014, 07:46 AM   #2082
XL500R
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mightyshocks View Post
Hey all,
just had a quick question for you all since this seems to be THE knowledge spot for old XLs. I just picked up a '75 XL350 locally that's running pretty solid and in decent condition. The only problem I noticed was that there was considerable noise in the top end when accelerating. When I was giving it a fresh tune-up at home I noticed a work order placed under the seat from 2012 where the previous owner brought the bike in for (of course) a noisey top end. The mechanic at the time concluded that the rockers and the cam were worn and needed to be replaced, but that no parts existed. The bike only has 6k miles on it. Is it normal for them to have that much wear after only 6k miles? I also noticed some gasoline in the oil when I changed it. Could that have contributed to that? It runs great other than the noise. Is open-heart surgery in order to check it out? Are there any sources for these parts? Thanks much, excellent thread...
You'll be able to find the parts on ebay, but they won't usually be cheap.
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Old 07-22-2014, 09:11 AM   #2083
mightyshocks
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Thanks. Are there any compatible parts from other models/years/bikes that you guys know of? Mainly the rocker arms and camshaft? Will the K2 parts work with the K1 XL350's? Thanks again
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Old 07-22-2014, 02:36 PM   #2084
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mightyshocks View Post
Thanks. Are there any compatible parts from other models/years/bikes that you guys know of? Mainly the rocker arms and camshaft? Will the K2 parts work with the K1 XL350's? Thanks again
'74s (K0, Silver and Blue) and '75s (K1, Red on Black) are essentially the same bike and share 99%+ of their parts and share probably 85% of their parts with '74-75 (K1-K2) XL250s and a little less with '72-73 (K0) XL250s. In the US there is no such thing as a K2 XL350 as they dropped the "K" designation in '76 and bikes became what ever their model year was. The early bikes, it was a way of designating the bikes since "year" was what ever year it was first registered. In '76 DOT changed how bikes were titled and VINs were attached to model years.

I believe the "K" designations lasted longer in Europe, but not in North America, at least not in any "public" sense. That said, '76-78 bikes have similarities to pre '76 bikes, but move the intake ports to the centerline of the bike as opposed to off to the right side. Early bikes are often referred to as side ports, and 2nd gens as center ports. engines are fundimentally the same but are not really interchangable as a unit, and the top end is the reason. Frames are different, tanks are different, seats, etc. The first and 2nd gen bikes still share probably 65-70% of their parts with each other though.

The parts fiche are available online in many places and are particularly easily organized at cmsnl.com, you can use this resource to compare part numbers between years and then use that to widen your search for parts in the used market if that is what you are looking to do. cmsnl and davidsilverspares.co.uk are parts brokers that have bought out a large portion of the worlds dead stock parts inventories, hondarestoration.com is another but more limited source.

Also note that Honda parts are in the format of XXXXX-XXX-XXX where the first XXXXX is the part number, the second XXX is the model designation the part was originally used on (329 is XL250 and 356 is XL350) and the last XXX is the revision. So any part number for these bikes that is *not* 329 or 356 in the middle was either used prior to these bikes or has been replaced by a later part. Probably 25-30% of the parts for these bikes are common to a lot of bikes and are still orderable from Honda dealers so check your local dealer first. At least another 40% or so are still available new from one of the parts brokers mentioned. A lot of these parts are stupidly expensive though.
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Old 07-22-2014, 04:42 PM   #2085
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Wow. Thanks for the history lesson!


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