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Hi all, I need help 1977 not starting

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Niro, Nov 3, 2019.

  1. Niro

    Niro XS400 Member

    So I've done the gas in the spark plug hole test, on the second kick it ran for half a second or at least tried. I used less than a soda cup per cylinder, about 1ml per cylinder (half a cup) if it makes any difference.

    I've checked on ebay and looks like there's a lot of cheap NOS breaker points, ill get a set.
  2. NewHavenMike

    NewHavenMike 1976 XS360C Top Contributor

    Points can be reconditioned. Their performance will degrade no matter what but they wont just outright fail like electronic ignitions, in most cases.

    The timing needs to be verified at this point. Theres no point in continuing if this simple task cant be eliminated from potential cause.

    Its very difficult to give a diagnosis on the internet lol... Its just that theres no way for any of us to see the work youre doing.

    How was the previous owner able to kick start the bike right in front of you, but you werent able to?
  3. Niro

    Niro XS400 Member

    I will check the timing on the weekend.

    How was the previous owner able to kick start the bike right in front of you, but you werent able to?
    That’s what I can’t understand too
  4. Niro

    Niro XS400 Member

    So I've started working on the timing, i made a light bulb tester, which turned on on both sides when I began the test, although it was slightly off. When i tried to adjust, i noticed all the screws are completely stripped, so i had to take the plate out and replace some of the screws, which means i know MUST do the timing. I adjusted the gap after reading a watching a ton, the manual doesn't tell much about reinstalling the plate, its mostly adjusting. I now can't get the light bulb to turn on when connected to the left side, (but turns on on the right side) plus I get a little spark from the right side when turning the engine.

    What am i missing here or doing wrong ? I

    Should the gap be measured when they are most open regardless of the piston position?
    When the right one is open, the left one opens too, is the ok?

    Also, the gasket broke when i opened the crankcase/generator cover, so waiting for a new one to arrive, but would like to resolve the gap/timing issue before :)

  5. Niro

    Niro XS400 Member

    Any idea what can cause that or where should I look?
  6. NewHavenMike

    NewHavenMike 1976 XS360C Top Contributor

    Get photos so we can see what youre doing. If you remove the bolt the holds the timing cam on, you will see small notches on it. That indicates the high point of the cam. You need to turn the engine in the correct direction and line up the timing cam notches with the point (the dark brown arm that rides on the timing cam surface) you want to check and adjust.

    Then you will need to set the static timing. Get the timing plate assembly snug in place, but loose enough to be able to turn it still.

    I remove the valve caps for this part so I can just look at the rocker arm to know when the left cylinder is on the intake stroke... Turn the crankshaft in the correct direction until the intake valve closes, continue turning until you line up the LF mark with the notch just above the crankshaft bolt.

    When you have the LEFT side set, you can tighten the timing plate to secure it. Now you can set the left side point gap. Turn the engine a couple times to make sure that your test light illuminates when you come to the LF mark on the crankshaft.

    The right side can be set only after the left side has been set and the timing plate locked in place. The right side has an additional adjustment for advancing/retarding. The right side is set to open when the crankshaft is on the RF mark.

    Double check everything and that will be good enough to start the bike and take an easy ride. You will have to use a timing light to get the timing more precise.

    Also, the engine has a tendency to turn over when you are at the timing marks. Dont turn the crank backwards to line it back up again. You must turn the crank again and start over.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2019 at 4:55 PM
  7. Niro

    Niro XS400 Member

    here are some photos of the points, first one is how it was, 2nd is after I reinstalled. I also replaced the left point, the one that now dose not turn the bulb on, I might replace back with old one to test.

    Attached Files:

  8. Niro

    Niro XS400 Member

    For some reason, it only loaded the first sentence of your reply, "Get photos so we can see what youre doing" so i wasn't sure what and so i shared what i had. I got home and then i saw the complete message.

    When you say the bolt that holds the timing cam you mean the one i marked in the photo?

    Attached Files:

  9. NewHavenMike

    NewHavenMike 1976 XS360C Top Contributor

    Yes the bolt you marked. Once that bolt is loose, if you pull on the cam it will pull off of the timing weight assembly behind the points plate. This cam also installs 180 degrees off so make note of which way its installed.

    Ive installed new points that didnt work out of the box before. The cloth wrapped wires will easily ground themselves to the block or the points cover too, preventing a spark. The Left/right side wires are color coded to the wiring harness.

    Its a good idea while youre in there, to remove the timing advance unit and make sure that the cam turns easily and the weights move freely. You may have to disassemble it and clean/ lube it a little so it operates smoothly. This is located by a fixed pin on the camshaft so it only installs one way.

    That felt pad should be lightly lubed and riding on the cam. Theres a special lube you should use, Ive used a very small amount of the grease packet that comes with new points. I think thats what its for but I could be wrong. Put it on the leading edge on the felt pad. Too much and it will spit everywhere.
  10. Niro

    Niro XS400 Member

    I didnt get to disassemble the cam, but i did replace the new point with the old one and the bulb turned on. I still get a spark from the right point when turning the engine. is this normal? I tried to catch a video of it, but its impossible to stay focused while holding the phone in one hand and turning the engine with the other :)

    I removed the bolt and saw the 3 notches, i then turned the engine until the 3 notches were aligned with the left point arm. Should they be aligned regardless of the piston position? Is this where i want to set the gap? if yes, do i need to use the cam marks again in this process or should i close back the bolt at this point?

    Attached Files:

  11. NewHavenMike

    NewHavenMike 1976 XS360C Top Contributor

    When you set the gap for the points, all that matters is that the notches are lined up to the point youre trying to set. Thats all the notches are for, to mark the highest point of the cam.

    You use the LF/RF on the flywheel to set the static timing. Basically set the crankshaft to LF. Then you use a flathead screwdriver to turn the points plate until your test light turns on. The test light turning on signifies the point opening and the spark plug firing. You use the screwdriver with the little notches on the bottom of the points plate

    Spark emitting from the points is somewhat normal, it does occur but should not be constant.

    If you points spark a lot then you need a new condenser. Sparks emitting from the points means that the condenser is not absorbing the extra energy from the points, which causes the arcing. This will destroy points rapidly. Even still, you will see a small spark every now and again.
    xschris likes this.
  12. Niro

    Niro XS400 Member

    is it normal that when approaching the LF mark on the flywheel it will just want to spin more (pulling) or that means im not at the right piston position. Right when i reach the F from the LF mark it pulls and spin, not letting me hold it on the mark. i tried with a ratchet and with a breaker bar (no movement both directions) and it just skip the mark (feels like it is being pulled by the weight of it).

    This is the only spot where i have the light off, it seems to turn on right when it spins out of my control and passing the mark on the flywheel

    Seemed so easy and simple when i was reading about it before, learning the hard why i suppose :)

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