1. Having trouble logging in? Try closing your browser and re-opening it. If that doesn't work, try a different browser or device. The site will be updated soon to resolve these browser issues.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Dismiss Notice
  3. Want an XS400.com t-shirt? Go to the store to order. Limited sizes and quantities available.
    Dismiss Notice

Introduction and Cafe build log

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by RevrdMark, Mar 3, 2012.

  1. RevrdMark

    RevrdMark XS400 Addict

    Hi there, just signed up for the forum and figured I'd say hi, introduce myself and start a log of the new cafe' project i'm starting.

    So... Hi.. I'm Mark i live in Vancouver, WA and just picked up a '78 xs400 with about 3000 miles on it that has been sitting in a shed for about 25 years. The last time it was registered was 1982. Anyway, everything seems to be in pretty good shape other than some rust (I live in the Pacific Northwest everything has rust!) and some old dried out gaskets etc.

    My son is 14 and I'm including him in the project as much as possible to teach him some basic engine and mechanical principles. The 2 cylinder Yamaha is a great platform for him to learn some basics about internal combustion engines, and simple brakes and carburetor principles.

    At this point I'm planning on switching out the tank from my "tear drop" shape to the more square XS400e (??? i guess that's the species... still learning the ins and outs of this model) I think I may have to do a little fabricating to make it fit since i think the lengths of the 2 tanks are different. I'm also going to try my hand at making my own seat pan with fiberglass. It will be the first time I've done anything with fiberglass so well see how that goes.

    Here is what it looked like when I brought it home... or should say it was delivered.

    Here is some early stages of the tear down.

    Here it is after my son and I got done spending a couple hours in the garage together with it.



    I'll post more as the project progresses.

    I assume I'll be looking on here for more help with suspension issues. I'm about 6' tall and 220lbs and those tiny little forks are gonna have their work cut out for them. I may try upgrading springs after trying some thicker oil. I have done springs on a couple SV's that I take to the track on occasion, but I'm not sure what my options are for these little guys.

    I'm looking forward to combing through the threads here!

  2. bcware

    bcware Well-read Top Contributor

    If you've worked on modern inverted forks you'll find these old ones to be a breeze. I didn't need any special tools. I'm not sure I've seen aftermarket springs, but I have heard some talk about inserting a spacer to increase the pre-load.

    I also have a '78, but it's a 2e and has the square tank. I thought the tear drop style started in '79? I could be wrong.

    I'll be posting updates very soon if you want to take a look at what I've done. I have taken the bike down to the last nut and bolt save for the bottom end of the engine.

    I also have a Suzuki; 1996 gsx-r 750 SRAD.
  3. Pork Chop

    Pork Chop XS400 Junkie

    Welcome. A father & son build is a great thing to do. :thumbsup: I can't believe it has only done 3,000miles. Good luck with the build & keep the pics coming.

    Posted via Mobile
  4. RevrdMark

    RevrdMark XS400 Addict

    Well bcware, the title is coming in the mail so i'll be interested to see the year on it. The paperwork I have for the bike says "1978" but the frame sticker says manufactured in "December of 1977" we'll see... i love surprises!

    PorkChop there are alot of older bikes with low miles around here. I live just north of Portland Oregon, and the rainy season starts in October and ends in April-ish so lots of people (Like me) only ride 4-5 months a year, and we just sit in the garage with a beer and look at our bikes the rest of the year :laugh:

    But, this bike has been sitting in various places for most of its life. It will be fun to give her some life again. My son never really showed much interest in cars or bikes until we got a new PS3 game system for Christmas a couple years ago and it came with Gran Tourismo 5, and now he is a car guy! He's already planning his first car, but he has to learn how to work on them first, thus this project as a starting point.:D
  5. xschris

    xschris XS400 Guru Top Contributor

    The 78 was made in 77:)
  6. Welcome. I had a similar story with my shed find. 2680-ish miles on it ,parked since '83. The great thing is everything is there just dirty or rusty.Enjoy
  7. drewpy

    drewpy Excess twin Top Contributor

    welcome, you'll endless fun with your son getting it fixed.
  8. OleDoc

    OleDoc FREEBIRDS MC Central NY

    welcome.great find.i wish mine had only 3000 miles:thumbsup:good luck with the build
  9. RevrdMark

    RevrdMark XS400 Addict

    I have a friend that told me how to use electrolysis to de-rust parts and fuel tanks. Anyway I have someone to buy the old tear drop tank, but figured I would try this out before I mailed it off to him. (if it didn't work i am only out $1.15 for a piece of 5/8 threaded rod for an anode.) Anyway it works freakin' awesome! I cleaned out a tank on an old '83 Suz GS650 i had about 7-8 years ago and then again on a 93' zx6r ninja I had that kept clogging the carbs with rust. I used acid both times and it was a PAIN IN THE ASS, not to mention I wrecked a pair of jeans both times and a layer of skin! This system you just set it up, plug it in, and walk away, and even if you spill it it's just baking soda and water!

    It was working so well I set up a second tub to de-rust some misc. parts like the chain adjusters and engine mount brackets.
    If i can get the rear shocks apart I will do the springs also (although I have heard that the electrolysis can cause micro fractures so springs might not be a good candidate for it, have to do some more reading on it)
  10. Nice clean little bike there i look forward to following this one, welcome to the forum btw :-D
  11. phanowel

    phanowel XS400 Enthusiast

    Welcome. I'm doing a father/son build too.
  12. OleDoc

    OleDoc FREEBIRDS MC Central NY

    met a mechanic at a shop yesterday while replacing rear tire on my vulcan.said he has an 81 xs400 with 3500 miles that he is bobbing,so those finds are still out there.i dirrected him to this site and he said he has heard of it but he has never posted
  13. RevrdMark

    RevrdMark XS400 Addict

    Still making progress here and there. Ground all the rust off and got it primed for a nice shiny coat of gloss black. The swing arm had a lot of rust and pitting so hopefully got that all taken care of!


    Just as a bonus I de-rusted the old tank before i sent it off to the new owner this is the anode (5/8 threaded rod) that i used in the electrolysis. pretty amazing the amount of rust it collects.

  14. njcafe84

    njcafe84 XS400 Addict

    Love the work on the tank...thanks for doing that for me!!
  15. RevrdMark

    RevrdMark XS400 Addict

    Frame is painted and swapped out a triple tree and forks that were in better shape than the originals, and it has wheels again :D


    The rear shocks work ok but they are UGLY (Big rust and lots of pitting), think those will be on the "to purchase" list soon.
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2012
  16. 226dark

    226dark 78 2E

    SW MN
    Looking nice shiny new. Nice work. How did you go about the paint process exactly? Lookin good! And don't you have some writing to do for your work day? Remember you lose an hour tonight reverand!
    Don't know if you found a tank yet. Also don't know if this guy would still have one but prob not convenient to Portland area. http://bend.craigslist.org/mcy/2847036671.html
  17. FUBAR

    FUBAR XS400 Addict

    i have 2 rear shocks in good condition, its not as damp up here so the rust isnt an issue for us. pm me if your interested
  18. Cool work man looking really good, coming together pretty quick.
  19. RevrdMark

    RevrdMark XS400 Addict

    Lol, well, hopefully I'm not writing on Saturday night for Sunday morning (Although i must admit that I have come close a few time in 15 years of this pastor gig)

    As far as the "process" of painting... Some of the smaller parts like engine mount brackets battery box and stuff like that and used the electrolysis process to get rid of the rust and gunk off of them. For stuff that was too big for me to do the process on i just used a rotary wire brush and a power drill to strip the paint off the frame and get rid of the rust. Wiped everything down with a rag and some orange cleaner to get it clean. Hit it with some rust-o-leum primer. I have used that brand in the past with pretty good luck. Not sure if it is true or just marketing hype, but supposedly it actually bonds with rust and forms a protective coat... who knows?? Then I used a rattle can of rust-o-leum black gloss engine paint for the final coat. Again, I've had good luck with it in the past on other uses. Its good against heat and resistant to a lot of chemicals.

    Its not as nice as having things powder coated but I'm building this on the cheap, and it looks pretty ok. It will pick up a few chips here and there over the years, but then again I can touch it up for with a new can of paint for $4.99.

    Today after church, I started putting the wire harness back on. That is a fairly maddening process! So far I have done a good job of marking all my plugs and clips so everything is going back ok ::::crossing my fingers:::
  20. RevrdMark

    RevrdMark XS400 Addict

    The mufflers are pretty rotted out, and i'm not a big fan of the megaphone look anyway, so i've been looking for replacements. I don't need a performance exhaust, or need to boost HP or anything, ( I have my SV1k for my speed fix) This is going to be a daily rider. So anyway, I'm leaning towards these: EMGO CHROME PLATED REPLACEMENT MUFFLERS Anyone have any experience to share?


Share This Page