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1981 XS400...First bike , first project, first post

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by skylerrsmith, Apr 15, 2019 at 5:56 PM.

  1. skylerrsmith

    skylerrsmith XS400 New Member

    I couldn't say no to the challenge when a craigslist add popped up (XS400 $250.) The project started with the gas tank. I've cleaned and sealed the gas tank then cleaned the carbs. I bought a brand spanking new battery. I also changed out the wiring with a salvage set off eBay. (Someone went wild with the scissors on the original one.) IMG_0469.JPG IMG_0457.JPG IMG_0459-1.jpeg On further examination of my new wiring harness, I noticed that I was missing a relay. I ordered another relay for the bike a few days ago. Does anyone know if this missing relay is a reason why I'm not getting any response when I hit the start button? I'm too anxious to wait for the relay to come in too figure it out for myself. I also wanted to make an introduction here on this beautiful forum.

    Oh one more thing, I just put in some fresh oil and tried to kick start it. I only got one good kick out of it and then it wouldn't catch again. Is this normal or do I need to drain the oil and go into the case. If anyone can lend me a helping hand that would be awesome. Let me know !

    In the meantime here's where it started and here is where I am at with it.
    buztabuzt likes this.
  2. Good bike, great price! Looks in very good shape considering.

    First off, are all those bikes in the background yours? If so you'll have a jealous forum!

    Regarding electronic start, it grounds from the button through The handlebar to the left controls to the bike chassis... So you have to make sure you have a clean connection where the handlebar control makes contact with the bar (no paint). I found a good test workaround was running a alligator lead from the engine block touched to the starter button to force jump it
    skylerrsmith likes this.
  3. skylerrsmith

    skylerrsmith XS400 New Member

    Oh man! Thank you! ! I'll go get me some clamps at the shop and give that a try in the morning. :bow:

    About the other bikes. It's a giant parking garage for people to store their bikes during the winter. apparently, a guy moved out of the city and gave the bike to the owner of the garage. The garage owner was cool enough to let me buy it for the price of the seat he put on it!
    buztabuzt likes this.
  4. handsonaudio

    handsonaudio XS400 Member

    Congrats. That's a fine looking bike for the price. Hopefully you won't have to put too much into it (time and money).

    As I'm sure you know, there's a wealth of information on this forum. Take advantage of it, learn from it, employ it. Welcome.
    skylerrsmith likes this.
  5. skylerrsmith

    skylerrsmith XS400 New Member

    Turns out someone wired the starter switch backwards. 2 cables are swapped around. Red cable is plugging into a blue cable and the blue cable is plugging into a red cable...
    buztabuzt likes this.
  6. NewHavenMike

    NewHavenMike 1976 XS360C Top Contributor

    Welcome. The wiring diagrams are easily available here, I prefer having hard copies in the work space though.

    The battery positive side should connect right into the solenoid if you have an electric start. Negative goes to the engine mount ground. Its possible that the starter was removed and the wiring was altered. The only relay off the top of my head would be the turn signal. Im not sure if there was additional relays for model year 81. The original fuse boxes are also not so good. Those flimsy clips and the fuses can be deceiving.

    Its a good idea to turn the RUN switch to the OFF position when the bike isnt running or you arent about to start it. Leaving the switch powered will stress the electricals and the coils.

    What kind of oil did you use? Motorcycle oil is an absolute. I guess you can use diesel oil too but I never looked into that.
    skylerrsmith likes this.
  7. skylerrsmith

    skylerrsmith XS400 New Member

    Hey thanks mike. Im running a 20w-50 oil in it. I just received my relay replacement, but no luck with the starter even after swapping wires. I tried the gator clips on the ground touching the starter button on the handle bars like BuztaButz suggested and no response. I think Im going for the fuse box next to make sure my ignition fuse is working. If there's anything I'm missing here throw it down. until next time team
  8. xschris

    xschris a lifestyle not a trend Top Contributor

    Make sure you oil is rated for wet clutch bikes.

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