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Westy's little tracker

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by mwesty, May 17, 2015.

  1. mwesty

    mwesty XS400 Member

    been lurking for a little while and have found the forum to be a massive bank of knowledge. thanks everyone.

    This is my little XS250, UK variant. unsure of the year, but am working on trying to identify it. I think 78 or 79. My Yamaha dealer cant help me.

    my plans for it aren't too huge, as this is my first old bike, but I will be tidying it up to get it running and registered, then will tear it down and blast and paint, and rebuild it up to hopefully be a reliable street tracker, for my weekend coffee runs.

    when I picked it up the brakes were off it, the lights did not work and it leaked oil. these things have been fixed, but to get it registered I will need to sort out the "lights not working at idle" issue, new pads and discs and new fork seals and new tyres.

    most of my contributions will be questions, but I will include as many pics as I can. Please excuse my garage at the moment, got shit everywhere.

    thanks in advance for helping where you can.





    Last edited: May 17, 2015
  2. mwesty

    mwesty XS400 Member

    my first questions,
    chassis number starts with 2U3, what year would that make it?
    are the XS400 and 250 gearboxes the same? so will the clutch and starter clutch be the same?
    I think my lights are dim at idle because my voltage reg might be cactus. at idle all lights are dim, with the headlight on, the indicators wont work unless its got >3000 RPM. when the indicators flash, the headlamp and tail light go dim. I am away from the bike for a few weeks at the moment but will test the circuit when I get back. has anyone else diagnosed this before? the bike has the 2 part regulator/rectifier.
  3. volcomskater77

    volcomskater77 XS400 Chopophile Top Contributor

    Downlad the service manual off the site. It helps a lot, and I believe it will go over your vin questions. It will also show weather or not the 250 and 300 have the same gearing. They share the same case, if that's what your asking.
  4. mwesty

    mwesty XS400 Member

    thanks mate, I have a workshop manual waiting at home but was hoping to get a good start. some of my questions have been answered in the manual.
    Trying to find parts for the 250 is proving difficult. but I have found quite a bit for the 400, so I should be fine to purchase those.
  5. volcomskater77

    volcomskater77 XS400 Chopophile Top Contributor

    Depending on what it is, yes. To my knowledge; carbs, pistons, jugs, and maybe camshafts are diff.
  6. Pork Chop

    Pork Chop XS400 Junkie

    G'day Westy,

    That looks a pretty clean 250 - in much better condition than mine when i bought it. I have got parts from wemoto in the uk, gaskets and chain from Japan and bits and bobs from ebay Australia and USA.

    Good luck with the build and keep us updated on the progress.


  7. mwesty

    mwesty XS400 Member

    PC, yes it is pretty clean, a benefit of being stored for the Last 15 years, which didn't do brake master cylinders any favours, I think they are dead.

    the chrome is in great condition, however a couple of cracks in the fenders from vibration, so would need to be re done.

    also thinking that My elecrtical problems could be attributed to 30yr old componants. I think I will do a full re-wire.
  8. bigdog

    bigdog XS400 Enthusiast

    I agree with you on the rewire. My 400 had similar issues. As I dismantled the electrical system it became obvious it was never intended to last 35 years. Previous owners had also made interesting contributions. Are you brave enough to have a go yourself? If you haven't already found it, check out Drewpy's loom rebuild on this site. I haven't got the skill or patience, so when the rest of the bike is sorted (currently delayed due to a recent mishap on my RVF400) it'll be trucked to an expert to do the elecktrickery. Modern components, lithium battery, LEDs seems the way to go. Good luck.
  9. mwesty

    mwesty XS400 Member

    yeh I am somewhat skilled in the re-wire department. previous job was heavy machinery electrical fitter.

    I am in two minds about LEDs, will they detract from the "retro-ness" of the bike, or do they look pretty sharp? i dunno. i am starting to like the warmth of these globes. wonder if you can get a soft start LED?

    but considering my electrical system is probably maxed out in original form as it is, every amp less drawing on the system the better. electronic ignition is on the shopping list also.

    thanks for the heads up bigdog, will search for drewpys post.
  10. bigdog

    bigdog XS400 Enthusiast

    If you're going for the retro look I'd stick with the original lights or at least avoid LED's, they can look too modern. Having said that, I was at a custom bike show in London at the weekend (check out thebikeshed.cc, a great site for new wave bike builds of all styles) and quite a lot featured LED's. Check out a few for inspiration. You probably know Deus Ex Machina in Oz..some great builds. My garage wall is plastered with pics which help when I feel like giving up.
  11. mwesty

    mwesty XS400 Member

    been tinkering this week, new pads and rotors on. Forks rebuilt and tacho pulled apart, lubed and straightened the needle. for what its worth, those needles after 30 years are horribly fragile, avoid touching them at all if possible.


    this is the voltage I am getting accross the battery, is this what you would expect?

    lights on

    lights off

    lights off 4000rpm (13.71v)

    off to consult the manual...

    EDIT: so turns out I have an output issue. will dive into this tomorrow.
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2015
  12. mwesty

    mwesty XS400 Member

    i cant believe this is the factory standard. about twice as much wire here than there needs to be.
  13. Wolfe_11B

    Wolfe_11B XS400 Guru Top Contributor

    As the wire and connectors get older the resistance they add to the circuit increases, so its not out of the ordinary. I also noticed on my bike that when checking the voltage with the bike stationary, I would get numbers similar to yours. When I rode the bike and watched the meter, I got higher numbers. Seems like having a load on the motor increases the generator output.
  14. mwesty

    mwesty XS400 Member

    turns out that my output issue seemed to be due to dirty connectors. I am getting +14 volts at idle now. have seen up to 14.8 when it revs, is that likely to do damage if it was sustained?

    now just need new tyres and its good to go for registration!

    also chucked my old MX bars on, i kinda like it!
  15. mwesty

    mwesty XS400 Member

    my drain plug is leaking, but the previous owner has rounded off the head. so I will have to destroy it to get it out, does anyone know the thread and pitch so i can have one on standby when I get this one out? will be the same as the 400 i'm sure.
  16. Wolfe_11B

    Wolfe_11B XS400 Guru Top Contributor

    14.8 is OK. If the regulator/field coil is working properly, it will cut out the charging when needed.
  17. mwesty

    mwesty XS400 Member


    my electrical gremlins seem to have taken care of themselves. the battery seems to be holding all the magic smoke they way it should. corrosion on the connectors seemed to be the issue, creating a lot of resistance. My trick for cleaning them was something my grandfather told me many moons ago. to clean copper connectors soak it in fresh lemon juice. works like magic.

    I picked up some new Muffs, tyres and painted the tank. also fixed some oil leaks and it got a new clutch and springs.

    FYI the sump plug is Metric 14x1.5. easy enough to find one from an auto parts shop

    I now need to find some badges and fab up a front fender, as the new tyres don't fit under the original one.

    if anyone has a source for badges that wont cost me $120AUD please let me know!

    eventually the air boxes will come out and the battery relocated. on my next break from work I will get a new low profile flatter seat. I have some LED direction indicator lights that will go on after it passes the registration test.

  18. bcware

    bcware Well-read Top Contributor

    Good work, where did you get those mirrors? I was thinking about going back to a bar-mounted setup. The bar end mirrors make the bike look super wide.
  19. mwesty

    mwesty XS400 Member

    they are the STD yamaha ones. heaps of aftermarket ones available that look the same.
  20. mwesty

    mwesty XS400 Member

    I want to remove the airbox and relocate the battery, does anyone have any tips? just fishing for advise at this stage, dont worry, will search!

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