79 xs400 Doesn't start


XS400 New Member
Reaction score
San Diego
Hello everyone. I was hoping to get some insight into my starting problems on my 79 xs400.
I got the bike for next to nothing and I can tell it has had some PO trauma. The bike refuses to start, I have meticulously cleaned the carbs including a Berryman's soak. Oddly enough I was able to get the bike to start after I had put the emgo pods it came with back on the carbs. It ran fine for about 30 seconds and then died. It would restart briefly and then die again. I perhaps foolishly attempted to adjust the pilot needle, which has resulted in the bike not starting or even popping now. I seem to have good spark and have yet to check the timing. It seems like I have tried everything to avail.
Any help with this is would be greatly appreciated.

Start at the basics:
1. Check for spark on both sides
2. Check compression (finger pressed over the spark plug hole while cranking should forcefully blow air past)
3. Concentrate on the carbs and fuel system (the usual suspect). Start with the pilot mix screws 3 turns out.

After that you go to the next level with valve clearance checks, timing checks and carb tuning.