1. Dismiss Notice
  2. Hey Facebook people... We've created a group for XS400.com members to connect. Check it out!
    Dismiss Notice
  3. Want an XS400.com t-shirt? Go to the store to order. Limited sizes and quantities available.
    Dismiss Notice

Burnt down XS, café rebuild

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Narratis, Dec 8, 2014.

  1. Narratis

    Narratis XS400 Enthusiast

  2. Narratis

    Narratis XS400 Enthusiast

    Updates at last!

    Some weeks ago I started work on making my fancy forktubes operational. This proved harder than expected, and pressed by time and weather, I decided to ditch them all together, for now at least. I quickly attached my spare stock frontend.

    I have cleaned off the birdshit since then ;)

    Then I spent some time rebuilding the brake caliper and such... Wrecked some rubbers but at least it works! Probably needs some new brakepads though, these are worn diagonally and continuously drag against the disk. Any tips?

    Along with the front wheel, I decided the rear wheel should be stock as well, no point in having one cast and one spoked wheel, does it? Also a huge timesaver as the sprockets didn't line up, whereas it now requires hardly any effort. Fixed the stuck brake in the process of installation.
    Since the weather was great, I decided to work outside (even though the garage now offers actual workspace :p ) The tank got really hot in the sun which apparently made it very easy to peel off the old striping.... So I got rid of that and did some striping of my own. Added a neat little fire extinguisher for shits 'n giggles, and it paid off! Look at that sweet line!


    Since this tank is so damn long, I am going to need a set of rear-controls... Any tips for a neat set, or a cool how-to for DIY?

    Feel free to comment, ask or tell!

  3. Robsteeler66

    Robsteeler66 XS400 Addict

    Of course it's only my opinion, but I think you should chop that tank a little. The proportions seem a bit off, but that's just me. :shrug:
  4. Narratis

    Narratis XS400 Enthusiast

    I can see what you're getting at, but I kinda like the classic racer feel it has to it. It might just look entirely different when it drops down a bit (the seat is blocking that) and I get the upholstery made. If anything, I think the seat itself is a bit too long.

    Anyways, I'm not about to cut into a good fibreglass tank, it either stays or goes, but I appreciate your input!

    (I think the style and proportions work out pretty well for the original Suzuki bikes though)

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: May 11, 2015
  5. levdir

    levdir Rounded bolt brigade

    For what it's worth, I love the long race-bike lines of it. The paint looks good too.
  6. Narratis

    Narratis XS400 Enthusiast

    That is curious, I haven't done any painting yet, and the striping is just cheap electrical tape haha :laugh:
    Although I must agree that the stripe adds a lot of aesthetic value.

    Many thanks nonetheless
  7. I think the tank looks cool, but the ergonomics of your body is going to be way off, and it looks like your ass will be planted farther back from the upper shock mounts. Don't know what kind of affect this will have on the handling. What I do know is, your body is going to hate you :)

    Also wanted to add my 2 cents on the rims. I think you'd be happier with the 18" rear if you are going with a 'cafe' build. The 16" rear is more of a cruiser rim and your tire options pretty much stink. I'd stick with the spokes. Check ebay, you can randomly grab an 18" front disc spoke for dirt cheap when they pop up. Sometimes they are expensive though, you just have to hold out for the right one. There have been some for sale on here as well.
    Last edited: May 11, 2015
  8. Narratis

    Narratis XS400 Enthusiast

    My body already hates me, and I hate it. Hurt and be hurt is the way we roll :wink2:
    You could be right about the shocks though, so maybe it helps if I mount them further to the back?
    The thing with the rims is, I want this bike on the road ASAP, so these are temporary and will eventually be replaced. Since I have a spare frontend and swingarm, I should be able to work on that without taking the bike out of operation for long.
    Just in case though, do you know what type of rim is an easy fit? Otherwise I'd be repeating the same problem.
    I heard yamaha XT usually fits, and I have some of that...(although a 21" front might be overkill)

  9. XS250, 360, and 400 rims all swap nicely. (minus the maxim/dohc models).

    Some RD models swap as well. I'm almost positive the tx500 disc front hub is the same as well, but don't quote me on that.

    Don't move the rear shock mounts. The position they are in is the best you can get from an engineering standpoint. The forces from the shock, swingarm, and rear frame tube are all triangulated. If you move it, you will open up a future can of worms
  10. Narratis

    Narratis XS400 Enthusiast

    Put in quite a bit of time in the past few weeks. Fitted my clutchcable, oiled up the chain and laid it on, had myself a short ride in the yard!
    Here's the latest build pics:
    Cleaned out the carbs again as I had some fuelsupply issues and painted the parts that started rusting again. Later I tinkered with the timing and have been struggling ever since.

    Started smoothing out the seatpan & painted it when fed up with the engine not running... had some slip-ups where I sanded through the entire thing, but fixed that with filler. Not satisfied with it yet as it has some unfilled bubbles, rough edges, and unsmooth patches.

    Fitted the glassfibre tank and cut a fuelline and vacuum tube to size. The tank seems to have some sweaty/leaky spots that may need fixing. The same goes for the petcock. I'm thinking some sort of epoxycoating for the tank, but have no clue if there is a standard easy fix. Also flipped the handlebars...
    (Background: Mom's BMW R60/5 - My ride since she hasn't ridden it after seeing me and dad crashing)

    Main problems for now:
    Can't keep the engine running. Fuel is good, spark is decent I am fairly sure (as it has run before). I suspect the contact breakers are worn, or the ignition timing is off, but somehow it is always off even after I meticulously reset it. Most noticeable symptom: Only runs on full choke and dies instantly with the slightest of throttle movements. Dies away within 10-20 seconds without throttle. At a loss here for now, so I went on to: Wiring!

    I started carefully tearing up my spare cable-tree, rearranging the cables to fit the altered part positions.
    The big question I ran into: Can I omit the Flasher Canceler Unit, with or without removing the wiring? I've been doing some research on flasher relays, and the only problem I can think of is that the flash timing will be off.... I assumed, since I never had a working one, that the thing was a fancy moderny thing for lazy people who forget to turn of their blinkers, but I'm seriously starting to doubt that notion. Someone, Please help me out :confused:

    So far, I have 2 wires in the internal blinker-switch setup of which I the purpose is not entirely clear to me. They form the switch that makes contact when the blinker is switched on in either direction, it possibly closes the circuit that powers the electro-magnets in the flasher relay.

    I expect to be doing some more work this weekend, as I'm running out of things to do for Uni, but the city is awash with festivities, which might prove distracting.

    Thanks for reading.
  11. Narratis

    Narratis XS400 Enthusiast

    More Picturetime!

    Last weekend, I started on modifying the frame, got some tubes & bars et voila. Meticulously measured and cut my pieces and rigged it up. A shame my welding guy (AKA Dad) went and "straightened things out" before welding without informing me, as I intentionally cut a 5 degree inward angle to my tubes so it fit my seat...:doh:
    A few forcefull corrections seemed to have done the trick, untill I looked over my bike yesterday and noticed my five degrees of f*ck up. It's a good thing all that is out of sight. :(

    I was also bothered by the tire getting so close to my ass, so I went and picked up a few brand new shocks from the attic. Supposedly they were meant for a light Honda... I think it'll do fine :) All I had to do was swap the rubbers.

    Here she is, pround and tall on her new heels:

    Back to the more recent past:
    Yesterday I tried starting for the first time since I took apart my wiring harness and scavenged the ignition bits. It's all looking reliable now :laugh:
    Before I set to work I figured, since I am done having crappy wiring, I should have a better power supply setup too, so I went ahead and strapped a battery into my frame and added a sturdy switch to toggle ignition on & off :thumbsup:
    I also gave my carbs another quick clean and installed an in-line fuel filter off my other bike, just to be sure.

    Now here's the thing: I got about 3 strokes to fire at the start of my day... That's it... To my knowledge there is no reason why it shouldn't be working :confused:
    - I have spark, decent spark as far as I can tell.
    - The ignitiontiming is calibrated to the static ignition lines pretty much immaculately
    - The ignition advance has been de-rusted, fixed and polished. It now works properly.
    - There's gas going to the cilinders
    - Carb boot rubbers are still good on the inside, so no leaks
    To me that sounds like a running engine... but it made not a single puff.
    That said, all my previous experience is with single cylinder 2-stroke's and super basic carbs, the biggest problem I encountered a dead 60 year old ignitioncoil... none of that here :(

    There's about 3 things I can think of that might cause my problems...
    1 The sparks are not powerful enough, due to broken condensators, coil troubles or low battery power, but I doubt all these
    2 The carbs are set up so badly that ignition is out of the question
    3 I have angered the gods of speed by putting my other bike up for sale

    Except for the battery, I can check none of these issues myself, so I'm completely at a loss here. :shrug:
    I've been trying for so long, and only seem to be getting further away from success, it's a damn shame...

    Thanks for reading!
  12. motoTrooper

    motoTrooper XS400 Addict

    Hmmm, switch the leads to the coils? Also it doesn't seem like these like having low battery power levels...:shrug:

    I like your progress and the stance of the bike now!:thumbsup:
  13. xschris

    xschris a lifestyle not a trend

    Are you running those "light up" spark plug caps? If so ditch them. They cause a of lot of ignition issues.
  14. Narratis

    Narratis XS400 Enthusiast

    Hey guys,
    Thanks for thinking with me, I really appreciate it! But now I feel like such an idiot :doh: i found the culprit within about half an from posting that. Checked timing & points, then measured the battery power.... Only 7 damn volts :banghead:
    Hooked it up to a car battery and there it was: MUSIC!!! Only the Left cylinder is not runnig along superbly... Gas issue. Took the carbs apart again and tookcare of some parts I missed earlier & gave the brass a nice polish (watched some helpfull videos from the forum!). Will reset the idle mixture screws tomorrow and maybe look into carb functioning some more to be sure.

    On a sidenote, lightup plugs sound coopl, though a bit tacky maybe.
    I also like the stance better, but it's making me like my seat less... Too long & too much space. But I'll stick with it untill the lights and fenders are on.

    See you later, alligators! Party hard, ride harder :thumbsup: :bike:
  15. Narratis

    Narratis XS400 Enthusiast

    Another update, Folks!

    I strapped in a better battery, which works, so now the bike is mobile again.
    However, I can't get the damn thing to idle...
    Dad thinks the left cylinder isn't running propperly, I think it's right :shrug:
    The left exhaust doesn't get as hot as the right, but when I take off the left plug-cap it dies instantly, and with the right plug off it will run reasonably well.

    I tried swapping the coils, but the results were inconclusive. If anything, I think now both sides were troublesome. Also, the sparkplug cables were a bit short so I'll try mounting the coils the other way around soon, and see if that helps.

    I also tried to reset the idle mixture screws, but one is stuck and I almost ruined the head entirely :( Any tips on getting that out? blowtorch or boiling? I don't feel like taking the carbs apart AGAIN, but I fear I'll have to do it sometime soon anyway to get it right... I keep missing bits and pieces every attempt, and think I ought to get me some of that "carb-cleaner" stuff to clean all passages propperly...

  16. Narratis

    Narratis XS400 Enthusiast

    It's been far too long since my last update, but I have not sat by idly all that time, although I has been A while since I pulled the bike out of the shed.

    Main updates are new footpegs, which required me to cut off the stock frame loops to the exhaust mount. A rear set for the transmission has been built, but I'm having trouble figuring out a brake. I have thought about fabricating a cable operated brake, but was just now inspired to do it slightly differently. Will have to see what works out best.
    As a result of the new footpegs I have to re-route the exhausts, which will be going straight down under the frame and angle back sideways just behind the pegs. That should leave enough room for the tire to fit :boxing:
    If anyone has any ideas or inspiration for inventive rear brake adaptations, I'd be happy to hear it :)

    Finally, I have concluded that my fibreglass gas tank is leaking. Any ideas on how to repair that stuff?

  17. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool Aide"

    I agree, though I went with a little more expensive option of building my own from new rims.

    First time I did it and it came out well, for about $250 in new rims and spokes. The front spokes are reusable, but the rears need to be the correct size.

  18. Narratis

    Narratis XS400 Enthusiast

    Heads up everybody, I'm doing away with this project.
    Get your parts now, it's listed in the classifieds!!

Share This Page