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Old 11-21-2012, 08:17 AM   #1
BradyD OP
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Newly Acquired '78 XT500

Hi all -

New member here. Just scored a pair of '78 XT500s that have been sitting in my uncle's basement since 1993 (one is a running parts bike, the other is really nice). Neither has run in 19 years, but were stored properly (drained gas, etc), so I'm hoping the nice one will fire up without much of a hassle. Still need to learn and master the old "big thumper" starting procedure. Looking forward to being a member!

Brady

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Old 11-21-2012, 09:49 AM   #2
Sic Semper Tyrannis
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VERY NICE!!!

Enjoy it. Very fun bike to ride.

The starting dance is worth learning.
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Old 11-21-2012, 09:57 AM   #3
SixGunz
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Pull the compression lever in, kick starter down half way, let compression lever go and kick stater go back to normal position, then FULL kick down. Try it a few times, you'll get it.

We had a 77' and a 78' kick ass bikes!!!

Check out this scene they used the XT in Haha
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...YQRbl1YY#t=63s
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Old 11-21-2012, 09:58 AM   #4
Dubl-A
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Starting is not bad at all...

Pull the compression lever in, kick starter down half way, let compression lever go and kick stater go back to normal position, then FULL kick down. Try it a few times, you'll get it.

We had a 77' and a 78' kick ass bikes!!!

Check out this scene they used the XT in Haha
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Old 11-21-2012, 10:01 AM   #5
BradyD OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dubl-A View Post
Starting is not bad at all...

Pull the compression lever in, kick starter down half way, let compression lever go and kick stater go back to normal position, then FULL kick down. Try it a few times, you'll get it.

We had a 77' and a 78' kick ass bikes!!!

Check out this scene they used the XT in Haha
Thanks. I tired starting it for about 20 minutes last weekend with no luck, but all I did was throw gas in it. No battery either, but that shouldn't affect the bike's ability to run (since it's a mag bike). I'm going to put the new points, condenser, and spark plug in and see how it goes this afternoon.
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Old 11-21-2012, 10:08 AM   #6
Dubl-A
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BradyD View Post
Thanks. I tired starting it for about 20 minutes last weekend with no luck, but all I did was throw gas in it. No battery either, but that shouldn't affect the bike's ability to run (since it's a mag bike). I'm going to put the new points, condenser, and spark plug in and see how it goes this afternoon.
No problem, they are screamers! Good luck
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Old 11-21-2012, 10:52 AM   #7
Sic Semper Tyrannis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dubl-A View Post
Starting is not bad at all...

Pull the compression lever in, kick starter down half way, let compression lever go and kick stater go back to normal position, then FULL kick down. Try it a few times, you'll get it.
Wish it were that easy.

my method.

Normal temps:

Compression release (CR) in. Kick it through a few times to prime it. CR released and kick slow until you get a FIRM kickstarter, CR in and push maybe an inch. CR out and let lever come all the way up and snap it through all the way to the bottom. NO gas, don't hesitate.

If cool you can use the enrichner during the prime part but turn it off when you go to start it.

If it is really being a bitch I will crank the idle up a turn or two.

New plug makes a HUGE difference.
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Old 11-21-2012, 12:07 PM   #8
Av8rPaul
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THIS IS THE ONLY CORRECT WAY TO START YOUR XT500!!

From an SR500 owner....

Push the kickstarter through until it's on compression. Pull the compression release and look into the viewing window on the right side of the cylinder head and then push the kickstarter until the silver dot appears in the window. Choke and crack throttle as necessary and give it a boot. Easy start every time.
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Old 11-21-2012, 12:12 PM   #9
stevemd
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That's how my '76 and '78 started. Never had any issue starting either. Of course that was back when I was in my late '20's.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sic Semper Tyrannis View Post
Wish it were that easy.

my method.

Normal temps:

Compression release (CR) in. Kick it through a few times to prime it. CR released and kick slow until you get a FIRM kickstarter, CR in and push maybe an inch. CR out and let lever come all the way up and snap it through all the way to the bottom. NO gas, don't hesitate.

If cool you can use the enrichner during the prime part but turn it off when you go to start it.

If it is really being a bitch I will crank the idle up a turn or two.

New plug makes a HUGE difference.
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Old 11-21-2012, 12:44 PM   #10
Dubl-A
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sic Semper Tyrannis View Post
Wish it were that easy.
I guess its hit or miss on procedure. We've started both bikes for years in high (colder) desert elevation with absolutely no problems using the method I mentioned. Bikes were used from 77/78 all the way up to 06 before finally replacing.

OP, use the easiest method that works
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Old 11-21-2012, 12:54 PM   #11
Sic Semper Tyrannis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Av8rPaul View Post
THIS IS THE ONLY CORRECT WAY TO START YOUR XT500!!

From an SR500 owner....

Push the kickstarter through until it's on compression. Pull the compression release and look into the viewing window on the right side of the cylinder head and then push the kickstarter until the silver dot appears in the window. Choke and crack throttle as necessary and give it a boot. Easy start every time.
SR 500 has accelerator pump. XT's don't....different beast to start.

Go ahead crack that throttle open...then you can learn about kick backs.
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Old 11-21-2012, 07:03 PM   #12
McB
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Av8rPaul View Post
THIS IS THE ONLY CORRECT WAY TO START YOUR XT500!!

From an SR500 owner....

Push the kickstarter through until it's on compression. Pull the compression release and look into the viewing window on the right side of the cylinder head and then push the kickstarter until the silver dot appears in the window. Choke and crack throttle as necessary and give it a boot. Easy start every time.
I read that once in a manual or something. Never looked at the window, though. Guess I always started my SR the incorrect way. Now you tell me.
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Old 11-21-2012, 08:48 PM   #13
RED CAT
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Think!

You need the battery to start it. Had a 76 and a 78 TT500 back in the day.
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Old 11-22-2012, 03:52 AM   #14
DESERT SCORPION
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Battery? What battery?

I had a 77 TT500. It didn't even have a battery, but it started up pretty well with the drills described above. I'm pretty sure my XT500 used the same ignition, but it had a puny battery to run the street legal auxilliary equipment. It is important to do the ignition off priming kicks, then the compression bleed off before the actual start. Because the ignition is magneto fired, the faster you execute the starting kick, the better spark you will have. I do remember some spectacular kickbacks if you deviate from this ritual.

THE SCORPION
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Old 11-22-2012, 04:49 AM   #15
plugeye
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sic Semper Tyrannis View Post
SR 500 has accelerator pump. XT's don't....different beast to start.

Go ahead crack that throttle open...then you can learn about kick backs.
the stock XT500 carb, mikuni VM32SS DOES have an acc pump
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