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1978 Yamaha 400 Electric Start

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by brittanym17, Aug 1, 2020.

  1. brittanym17

    brittanym17 XS400 New Member

    BCE7B507-CC22-4BDF-881A-C2EF29BC0BC6.jpeg Hello! I’m new to this page but had some questions.

    I recently got a 1978 Yamaha 400. I believe it’s an XS however, the title doesn’t say and from my knowledge it was custom build found at an estate sale.

    It’s extremely hard for me to kick over so I’m looking at my options of converting into an electric start. I love worked on bikes before but this is something I would probably get done by a shop, however, to cut some costs I was looking into getting all the parts I need to do this ahead of time. My problem is that I don’t know all the components I need to do this. I’ve looked all over online but haven’t had much luck so if anyone can give me any pointers on the parts/components I may need that would be super helpful!! Or if you have any suggestions on how to make it slightly easier to kick over. I know someone mentioned a compression release kit for it but I don’t think it’s compatible with my bike but I could be wrong.

    Added some photos for reference because I’m obsessed with her!

    Thanks in advance!

    330FEE18-F3EC-4368-AF9B-77B10692A7BC.jpeg
     
  2. motoTrooper

    motoTrooper XS400 Addict

    Kicking these bikes over shouldn't be overly difficult, put it in neutral, pull the choke but DON'T pull the clutch lever. That said, these came standard with electric start also. That chromed cover underneath the carburetors is where it sits. Some "racer" idiots remove the starter for weight savings instead of exercising and eating right. I have a spare starter if it's missing, if you need.
     
  3. xschris

    xschris a lifestyle not a trend Top Contributor

    The 78 2-E was a factory delete e-start bike. All parts and wiring related to it where removed. So you will need everything to make it have an e-start. This can be expensive and hard to find all the stuff.
     
  4. amc49

    amc49 XS400 Enthusiast

    Not really clear what battery used there either, if somebody did the racer thing to shrink the battery then it may not pull a starter being too small.

    I wonder if they factory delete the starter if that means cases are not machined in the right places too, that could mean entire new engine almost.
     
  5. xschris

    xschris a lifestyle not a trend Top Contributor

    All sohc xs 400 cases will work for e start setups. They just have removed all parts associated with it.
     
  6. amc49

    amc49 XS400 Enthusiast

    There you go, answered that question. Used to seeing Honda not even machining say case covers when they do a delete, they take the word to a whole new level.
     
  7. brittanym17

    brittanym17 XS400 New Member

    Priced out installing an electric start and I'm way too broke and busy to invest into it right now. So other options that I've read about helping with the kick start is to either get a longer kick start lever for leverage (which I'll probably do) and another idea was compression release spark plugs. However, can't seem to find any information if I can use these on a 78 Yamaha XS or not. I've read they're usually used on dirt bikes but can be used on some street bikes.

    Any ideas if this is something I could try on this bike or no?
     
  8. Specdog

    Specdog XS400 Addict

    I can't see any 400cc twin being too tough to kick start. Before spending any money, you should work on your technique. If you have a centre stand, use that to help give you leverage when kicking. Stand on the left footpeg, and with your right leg on the kick starter, raise up your body, then on the downstroke kick hard shifting your body weight to your right leg as an advantage. The same technique works with your left leg on the ground. Make sure you kick completely through the arc.
     
  9. amc49

    amc49 XS400 Enthusiast

    Centerstand looks to be gone on that one.

    One thing that can really help is to put the engine in razor sharp tune, that can help them start while still pushing down on the lever. Been through a couple bikes that were VERY hard to start that got much better when they were tuned up. If not electronic ignition it counts double.

    I have never heard of a compression release spark plug, but likely somebody confusing things there. The dirt bikes commonly had two spark plug holes machined in the heads so you had a plug in one and the compression release in the other. Two separate installs, you will have no room on that head to do it. I installed a couple of them.
     
    brittanym17 likes this.

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