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1982 Heritage Special Introduction

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by JARichmond, Oct 3, 2011.

  1. JARichmond

    JARichmond XSively Addicted

    Hey guys. I`ve been a part of xs400.com for a little over a month now, and I`ve been enjoying all the projects and progress other members have been doing. Mid-August I got my grubby little hands on a new-to-me 1982 Heritage Special. Bought the thing for $750 which I think is a pretty good deal for what I got. If I`ve done this correctly, there should be a few pictures right about here:




    Whaddya guys think?
  2. drewpy

    drewpy Excess twin

    that, is one clean bike sir! hope it drives as good as it looks
  3. JARichmond

    JARichmond XSively Addicted

    That's something I wanted to bring up. I'm looking for a bit of guidance with respect to getting it to drive as well as it looks.
    Some issues I picked up on since I bought it were that:
    1. It has difficulty starting (I guess it needs a new battery or some time on a charger)
    2. I can't seem to get it to drive. It starts and runs fine, but as soon as I kick it into gear and let off the clutch, it doesn't matter how high I rev it, the bike dies as soon as some load is put on the engine. I'm assuming that's a carb problem, most likely that it's running lean.
    3. The turn signals don't work properly. When I got it home I checked the signals and found that they don't flash, just turn on. I'm assuming that's a turn signal relay that needs replacing (easy $15 part).
    4. When I talked to the seller the first time he explained to me that he removed the electric start button and later relocated it to under the seat (that's the button in pictures 1 and 2 with the green and yellow wires). I don't plan to use the electric start but I'm hesitant to take out the motor. Will there be any damage if I just cap the leads that go to the motor and don't remove it? Or will I cause some damage to anything over time?
    5. Finally, because the battery isn't working properly I can't bring it to operating temperature to drain the oil for winter, nor can I drain the gas out of the carbs. Any suggestions from someone on what I can do (other than charge/replace the battery)?
  4. Welcome. That is a nice looking example you have there. Regarding your issues, here are a couple of comments to start you on your way with little to no ca$h outlay;

    1. Is the difficulty in actually starting the engine or is it in turning the engine over? If the problem is in turning it over it could be the battery as you suggested but also check the connections and ground. Very common for a poor ground or connection to cause a sluggish starter motor effect.

    2. I will leave this one to the others on this board more qualified than me to comment.

    3. Did you check that all the bulbs were lit? Also, if you have a low or weak battery and it is just idling there may not be enough juice there to make them flash. Try revving it up a bit. If they flash then you do not likely have a turn signal problem.

    4. Can't see where you would have any problem in the future so long as you are careful to ensure that you have isolated it electrically. Disconnect the main lead at the solenoid.

    5. Just idling it or revving it for a few minutes should get it warm enough to drain the oil. I assume you are changing the oil before winter storage and not just draining it to leave it empty which is a no-no. Don't forget the filter while you are at it. As for the carbs, they are not your only gas issue for the winter. What I do is add gas stabilizer to the tank then run it long enough to get that gas into the carbs. I also make sure tha gas tank is full all winter to avoid condensation which causes rust. Not knowing what area you are in or where you plan to store I don't want to comment beyond that but I suggest you check out a few of the other posts here about storage.

    These are fun and reasonably reliable little bikes that won't break the bank on most parts. There is also a lot of expertise and experience you can call upon here. Just take your time with it and enjoy.
  5. JARichmond

    JARichmond XSively Addicted

    I've given the battery a charge, and I'm going to pick it up from my friend's place tonight so I'll have a chance to test it out for tomorrow.
    I can now have a better look at my starting problem and see if the battery was my problem, and not something more serious. I'll give it a go and hope for the best.
    With respect to the flashers, the turn signals will light up with no problem. The problem is that they won't flash. That's why I think it's the relay. Also it may be a stupid question but I plan to ask anyway, will the signals have to flash for it to pass safety, or can they just turn on like in my situation?
    I'm in London ON, so not too far away from you, 63-coupe.

    Hope this information has given you a little insight to my situation.
  6. Here is an excerpt from the MTO's website on the Safety Certificate for motorcycles to answer your turn signal question, see 6e;


    6. (1) Prescribed lamps and reflectors shall be inspected and tested and,

    (a) each circuit shall light the filaments of all lamps on the circuit when the appropriate switch is in the “ON” position, and each indicator lamp shall indicate correctly;

    (b) the operation of any lighting circuit shall not interfere with the operation of any other circuit;

    (c) each lens and reflex reflector shall be correctly installed and shall not be discoloured or missing in whole or in part;

    (d) each lamp and reflector shall be securely mounted on the vehicle and none shall be missing;

    (e) the turn signal lamps and the flasher unit shall operate properly;

    (f) the brake light shall operate when the appropriate control is actuated;

    If you are really bored and can't sleep here is the link to the entire docuement;


    As for your starter issue try jumping it directly from the battery to the starter side of the solenoid. If that is good then you probably have a bad solenoid or connection between the solenoid and the battery. You could also try boosting it from a known good battery to see what happens. The circuit from the starter button to the solenoid to the starter itself is actually quite simple.

    In case you are not aware, one unique thing with these bikes is that they need battery power to start, even when you are kick starting them. They won't fire initially without it.

    It must be killing you not to have it on the road this long weekend with the weather we are having here.
  7. JARichmond

    JARichmond XSively Addicted

    Thanks! That clears up a lot of my questions and issues with getting the darn thing to run recently.
    Not being able to get it on the road has been a real teaser for the weather, but I took the car out today for a while to enjoy the roads.
  8. JARichmond

    JARichmond XSively Addicted

    Well, here's a little twist of fate. Appears the PO didn't take as good care of the bike as he said he did. Tried to get her going this morning with a freshly charged battery, new gas, and a positive attidute. Needless to say, I couldn't start her as hard as I tried so that I could drain the oil and put in some fresh stuff for winter.
    Trying a systematic approach I went to check for spark, fuel, and compression. Pulled the plugs, and lo-and-behold the plugs came out far too easily. Didn't even need a socket. When I had a look at them they were pitch black and greasy. One didn't even have a gap! As it turns out the bike's been running rich, on one cylinder (halfass at that), and the only reason it had started at all when I bought it is because the plugs were fresh.
    It would also explain why the bike would die when load was put on it: not enough power to compress the dead cylinder AND move the bike at once. So needless to say I had to skip bringing it up to operating temp to drain the old black gold.
    Guess the xs400 gods weren't smiling on me today. The filter bolt stripped off because I was using a really old ratchet set (the ratchet was made using stainless and bakelite (BAKELITE! That stuff's 40 years old at least!) so the 12mm socket cracked, and the PO torqued the bolt on way past the 1.5kgm that was suggested so it rusted right onto the filter cover. Soon as I get back home I'll have to drill it out and replace it with a filter bolt from a scrapped xs.
    Who knew such a clean looking bike could cause so many problems...
  9. Buy, beg, borrow, or steal a good vice grip for that oil filter bolt. You have nothing to lose at this point. I had the same situation on a parts bike that I had earlier this year and that was my resolution as the head was pretty much rounded off anyway. Also, if I remember correctly the oil filter housing is cast aluminum.
  10. drewpy

    drewpy Excess twin

    xj series used the same bolt, so there are plenty of NOS around.

    Noteably, the heads are larger.

    I had the weld on large nuts before now to get a purchase on it. ( drewps loves his stick welder)
  11. XSLeo

    XSLeo XS400 Junkie

    Up in the TECH section you will find a list of things. There is a section on a new to you bike and what to expect. A good read.
  12. JARichmond

    JARichmond XSively Addicted

    Thanks guys!
    Unfortunately I won't likely have a chance to go home to work on my bike for some time. I'm a student with a 40hr/week job living away from home and I have the baby stored at my parents' place in the garage. It's been winterized minus the oil so I'm not too worried about it for the time being. If all else fails I'll give the engine a good flushing in the early spring.
    I have a question about one of the oily and sooted sparkplugs I pulled. Its gap had been crushed closed for some reason. I'm wondering if there's an underlying problem I should be looking for before replacing the sparkplugs and progessing? Or maybe the PO had just installed them improperly? Afterall, I don't think he threaded them in at all...
  13. From the sound of its condition when you got the bike my guess is, and for your sake I hope, that he most likely dropped the plug on the floor before he put it back into the engine. Bin there, dun that! :doh: Anything else I can think of to cause a crushed tip would only be speculation and will just make you worry about it all winter.

    Did you ever get a chance to do a compression test on the engine?
  14. JARichmond

    JARichmond XSively Addicted

    I sure hope you're right about him dropping it...
    I didn't have an opportunity to do a compression test, but I guess it'll be wise to do so at the soonest possible convenience. I'll stop by my friends shop when I go ba0k home and borrow his.
    I guess the only way to truly find out if it was the PO's fault is to buy a new set of plugs and check it out myself in the spring...
    Thank you :)
  15. JARichmond

    JARichmond XSively Addicted

    Update time!
    Finally had a chance to pull it out from my parents garage. Earlier today I swung by Canadian Tire to finally pick up tools (including a good vice grip) and new spark plugs. Soon as I got home I pulled the spark plugs and gave 'er a couple of kicks over. Almost immediately it kicked over and came to life.
    Soon as I got the engine and transmission warm I clamped down on the stripped bolt with a really good vice grip. It took me a couple of kicks but it finally loosened up and found it had legitimately no oil left in it. It's a wonder it ran at all. Anyhow, now it's got a fresh half-gallon of oil, full gas tank, and the battery's been moved inside.
    Problem solved and just in time for winter :)
  16. Congratulations on getting it started and getting that oil filter bolt out. :thumbsup: Now you can spend the winter planning on what you need and want to do with it in spring rather than worrying about whether or not you will be able to get it started. Mine goes into the back of the garage this week until late January, then it goes into the back of the F-250 for when we head to Florida for February.

    Just a head's up on the spark plugs. The book calls for NGK BP7ES or equivalent. Don't know what you got at your Canadian Tire but the one here not only did not have those plugs but the computer system did not even show any plugs they could cross reference to that number. My local Parts Source store had them in stock however which is strange as I understand they are owned by Canadian Tire.

    Now about the oil, there have been many threads about which oil to use in these bikes. If you used just straight motor oil plan on changing it in the spring to a diesel or motorcycle oil to avoid clutch problems but I don't think there are any issues of just letting a regular motor oil sit in it for the winter since you will not be running it. Someone else please jump in here if I am wrong about that.
  17. JARichmond

    JARichmond XSively Addicted

    Thanks. I checked the Canadian Tire nearest to me and they had a couple in stock that the computer had spit out at them. I have the boxes sitting around back in London (of course, I just got off the bus back to Hamilton). I don't think they are NGK plugs but I'd have to double check and plan my action from there.
    I read a thread about what oil to put in not too long ago, but I figure I'll change it once before I ride and will have a lot left over for next winter if need be. I'll do a bit of digging in the next short while so I can be better prepared on what to expect.
    As for my next step, I'm always open to suggestions.
  18. JARichmond

    JARichmond XSively Addicted

    Long time since I've posted, so I've had some time to think about what direction this is going in. I'm looking at keeping the original shape but updating some of the older hardware such as the HUD and lights. I've contacted someone about getting an HID headlight and LED/smaller turn signals. I've been looking at doing some red accents on the bike with red exhaust wrap, red handle foam, pegs, pods, rims, red wires/cables, and perhaps do the YAMAHA symbols too.
    I have a couple of questions before I get started on everything:
    I have designed a custom heads-up display exoskeleton that will integrate the speedo, tach, and all 4 lights (neutral, oil, turn, high-beam). Anyone have measurements for the bolts that hold the original plate on? How big are they, how far apart are they, how far are they from the handlebars? I can post a screenshot of it if anyone is curious to how I made it. has anyone tried this and have advice to share?
    I can only run/start the bike with the choke on full. Obviously its running lean. I haven't taken the carbs off yet, but can I just use seafoam to clean it out and expect good results? Or will I have to clean them manually and is there a complete idiots guide to doing it available?
  19. XSLeo

    XSLeo XS400 Junkie

    Carbs, www.amckayltd.com/carbguide.pdf tells you what you need.
    The Seafoam is more for after you get the carbs clean, to help keep them clean. It won't hurt to put some in and let it soak in. Just be aware it will clean some of the crud in the tank enough so it gets into the carb and can plug stuff up. In line fuel filters is necessary.
  20. JARichmond

    JARichmond XSively Addicted

    Looks like I found my old thread and wanted to ask a few questions.
    So I started up my bike today and was in for a surprise. There was a great deal of backfiring/popping from the right-side exhaust, which was barely even warm to the touch. When I pulled the spark plug from that side, I was greeted by a wet and oily plug. As well, when running, I can hear distinctive chattering coming from around the cylinder heads and occasionally the back firing will push out the carbs momentarily before the boots pull them back in.
    I know that my timing is fine because I had it running perfectly 2 weeks ago. Nothing has changed on the bike since I last rode it other than removing, cleaning, and re-installing the air filters.
    Is it possible that my valves have come out of adjustment suddenly? Could a poorly adjusted intake or exhaust valve cause backfiring, oily plugs, cold exhaust, and valve chatter?
    Also, will I have to remove the engine from the frame to reach the valves or can the adjustments be made while still in place. What is the procedure?

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