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Johnny3D's Restoration/Roadworthy teardown/build

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Johnny3D, Nov 23, 2015.

  1. Johnny3D

    Johnny3D XS400 Enthusiast

    I've finally gotten my XS400GS in my work room and up off the ground. I also built myself a work table for me to use during the restoration and effort to make it roadworthy. Here are a couple pictures of the room (which is heated so I can continue to work on it over the winter without freezing).


    I'll be using this thread as my ongoing restoration/rebuild thread so I don't clutter up the forum with all the questions that I'm sure to have along the way. I don't have much experience with working on motorcycles, but I've worked on cars and scooters in the past. So I'm sure this will be a big learning experience for me and hopefully I don't totally screw it up along the way.

    As you can see in the pictures, I have a tank up on the table that I'm in the process of restoring. The plan there is to get all the rust off the outside and inside of the tank, bondo over the name plate brackets and fix the couple of extremely minor dings on it. Then I'll paint the tank and replace the dented up one that is currently on the bike.

    I'm also planning on doing a tear down on most if not all of the bike so I can fix clean up the rust on the frame as well as any other parts as I go along. I also have to replace the tires because the front one has a number of fairly serious cracks in the rubber even though it is still holding air very well.

    When I was looking through my Yamaha repair manual for it and looked up the rear wheel removal, it said that I would need to "cut" the chain to remove it. I'm wondering if that is absolutely necessary or if I could possibly remove the rear wheel without cutting the chain (not something I'm particularly keen on doing)?

    Feel free to give me any other pointers or tips you might have along the way. I'm certain that I could use all the knowledge you folks care to share with me.
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2015
  2. Sesty

    Sesty H.E. Pennypacker

    you can easily remove the rear tire with out cutting the chain.. you can just loosen the adjusters enough to allow the chain to slide off the sprocket... but it may be a good time to replace the chain and sprockets anyway.
  3. Johnny3D

    Johnny3D XS400 Enthusiast

    Already got the front wheel off. Figured I would take care of that end first since it's a bit less complicated to take off and work on. A previous owner painted the bottoms of the front fork... So I'm currently taking the paint off, sanding, and polishing up the bottoms of the front forks.
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2015
  4. Johnny3D

    Johnny3D XS400 Enthusiast

    Well... got one of them done to my liking. I'm not going for perfection, just trying to get it to a point where I think it's in good shape and looks nice. Here's the two front forks for comparison:


    That was a lot of sanding! I went 220-320-400-600-800-1500. Seems to have done the trick well enough. Now I'll just have to spend some hours doing the other one!
  5. Johnny3D

    Johnny3D XS400 Enthusiast

    A friend of mine asked for a pic looking at the gauge cluster because he wanted to see what it looked like as if sitting on the bike... and I noticed something while lining up the shot...


    The handlebars are bent... :doh: Not a ton... but enough that the throttle sits about 2 inches lower at the end of the grip than the clutch grip. Also the break lever is bent as well.

    Any idea where I might pick up a stock (or very close to stock) handlebar for not too expensive? I looked around on the web and the only place I saw selling a stock handlebar (or very similar to stock) was MikesXS, but they're out of stock on it.
  6. Sesty

    Sesty H.E. Pennypacker

    have you checked the classifieds on this site? Many people opt for aftermarket bars and have the OEM ones laying around... Ive seen some on ebay before as well but some of the OEM ones are very expensive.

    as far as aftermarket there are a ton of options on ebay, amazon and other part stores like revzilla, parts and more, JP Cycles etc...
  7. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool Aide"

    Looks great, are you going to clearcoat them?

    I did mine today, but painted black.
  8. Johnny3D

    Johnny3D XS400 Enthusiast

    Wasn't planning on it. I figured I would just leave them as raw metal and if/when they tarnish up too bad in the future, I'll just shine them back up. :)
  9. 16VGTIDave

    16VGTIDave XS400 Guru Top Contributor

    Most certainly when. Probably before spring. At a minimum, wax them. Clear coat would be a better idea, for the next 10 years anyways...
  10. BBS360

    BBS360 XS400 Guru Top Contributor

    Are you sure it's the bars that are bent? Even the lowest part that's clamped directly to the triple tree looks like it's at an angle.
  11. Johnny3D

    Johnny3D XS400 Enthusiast

    Yeah, I'm pretty sure they're bent. You are correct that the lowest part is at a slight angle as well. The rubber steering holder dampner on the left side is warped. I have replacements for those, but haven't put them in yet. Considering the clutch grip is higher than the throttle and it's leaning down on the clutch side, I'm pretty sure they're bent. From a side angle it's actually easier to tell since they don't have the same angle, but it certainly seems like they are. The brake lever on the right hand side is bent pretty badly too.

    There have been a number of parts on the right hand side of the bike that have been bent/damaged that I've had to repair or replace so far. Dents on the right side of the tank too. I'm pretty sure it was dropped or possibly laid down on the right side considering the damage I've found on it. Even rear brake foot pedal is bent a little (I think I might be able to fix that though).
  12. Johnny3D

    Johnny3D XS400 Enthusiast

    I'll consider the clear coat. I don't like the idea of putting another coating on it (since I just spent so much time getting the crappy paint and tarnish off of it, but I'll see what I can find that might do the trick on it. Got a brand of clear coat that you think works particularly well for this kind of application?
  13. 16VGTIDave

    16VGTIDave XS400 Guru Top Contributor

    Sorry, no paint suggestions from me other than to use professional grade products. Consumer grade products are crap - all of them. Some are less crappy than others, but...

    Make friends with the shop foreman at a local bodyshop. He is usually the oldest guy working on the floor, or the one calling someone else incompetent. He will know paint, and how to properly apply it.
  14. BBS360

    BBS360 XS400 Guru Top Contributor

    Apparently Spraymax has a 2k clear coat that will stick to bare metal.

    The other option would be to have a shop do a clear powder coat.
  15. Johnny3D

    Johnny3D XS400 Enthusiast

    I've gotten back to work on the bike recently. I took the rear tire off and got the chain off it so I could clean it up (and check the sprockets). Luckily the chain has a "master link" on it so I was able to remove it without too much issue. Here's a picture of the chain before I did my first cleaning on it:

    And after my first cleaning on it:

    There was an enormous amount of crud on that chain... There is also an enormous amount of crud inside where the front sprocket is too. I got most of it off but it could still use more cleaning if I'm going to keep using this chain, but I did notice that some of the links in the chain were very stiff. So I'm wondering if it would just be a better idea to replace the chain or if you guys think that more cleaning and lube job on the chain would loosen it back up? I don't really want to spend a ton of time cleaning up the chain if those stiff links means I just need to replace it anyway. So... your thoughts?
  16. Wolfe_11B

    Wolfe_11B XS400 Guru Top Contributor

    New sprockets(front and rear) and new chain should be just as important as putting new oil in.... Just my 2 cents. I wouldn't reuse that chain if someone paid me too.
  17. Johnny3D

    Johnny3D XS400 Enthusiast

    Thanks for the advice on the chain. The front and rear sprocket both look to be in really good shape, no visible wear or problems on either one, so I'll likely stick with those, but I'll buy a new chain.

    Any particular brand of chain you recommend?
  18. Johnny3D

    Johnny3D XS400 Enthusiast

    I found a chain on MikesXS that I'm planning on picking up for it. Looks like a good one to me and the price seems good ($63 USD). I also took the rear sprocket off and cleaned it up really well. Looks to me like it's in fine shape and doesn't need replacing.
    No serious wear on the cogs as far as I can see. Though getting that ring off that holds it on was a bit of a pain. I'm sure there is a special tool or a trick to it that I don't know, but I managed without messing it up. :)
  19. xschris

    xschris XS400 Guru Top Contributor

    if you are going to replace the chain then I would do both sprockets. Your new chain will last a lot longer that way. If you old sprockets only had a few hundred miles on them that would be different. But as bad as your old chain looked those old spockets will be worn compared to new ones.
  20. Check out ebay for chains as well. There is nothing special about them, just need a 530 chain in the right length. I got a 530 o-ring on ebay from Caltric for $30 I think it was.

    Also, the tool is called a snap-ring plier. Should be some cheap ones on ebay or the local auto parts store should have them as well.

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