First Bike, Random Build Log

Chase Korth

XS400 Member
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I've had the bike for about a year, got it in pretty rough shape. Ran like garbage, bald tires, non-existent brakes, slipping clutch, obnoxious exhaust, no right turn signal, and the electric start was wired to a toggle under the seat. BUT! It had a neat feel to it and I rode the living daylights out of it. This winter I've actually given it the attention it needs and will try and continue to.

Anyway, here's some pics:

The bike at the end of last season:
New clutch and a few misc. gaskets/seals

New exhaust wrap and mufflers from a Sportster 1200. Not my favorite but they were local and cheap. I'll be looking for something I like more over the summer.

New tires, chain, and sprockets. +1 tooth up front

New brakes. Rotor, rebuilt caliper, braided line, and pads front/rear. And some cheap eBay shocks since I bent a stock one.

License plate mount I made up to get it off the seat.
(The wet floor is from the snow... in April...)

I definitely should've welded the nuts to the back and painted them as well. Version two I want to attempt a curved one.

The bike came with an LED strip that I wanted to reposition but couldn't find a better place for it so I just doubled down with a newer brighter one.

Still need to figure out what to do with the seat. I love the pattern and the look, but the upholstery looks like an overstuffed couch cushion.
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Curious why you would gear the bike taller with that front sprocket. Did the prior owner put a smaller one on before? Mine has the stock gearing and it seems pretty optimal for everything but long freeway droning. If you're commuting on it that would probably make sense.

That seat needs loving reshaping like chopping that hump down flat with the rest of the seat. Upholstery is simple but time consuming, if you did remove that hump and warm the covering, it might stretch smooth enough to eliminate those gash folds in the back...
motoTrooper: the goal is to commute with it. I just rode back roads last year which is fine but took absolutely forever. I think I'm going to make a new seat but buy the same fabric. It's actually a cut down stock seat off of a different bike.
Been playing with the bike a bit more. Below about 2500rpm the right cylinder doesn't really run. Fires maybe every third or fourth rotation. After that it comes right alive. I've torn the carbs apart multiple times and can't find much. Swapped the coils left to right and it was the same. Any chance it could be the distributor? Carbs seem ifenticid left to right, I might try a new set of low end jets. Anyway here's a couple pics:

Here's a trick I use to keep the fuel in the line when the tank is off, just a vacuum line plug put in backwards.

Also: is this just how these clutch cables are, or did someone put one in that's too long? It doesn't seem to route anywhere without some sharp bends.
My clutch is not that long. Guessing it was a swap. Can you reroute to take up some more slack?

Weird regarding the firing considering same behavior when swapped. What year? Checked valve clearances and timing?
To be clear I did swap the coils from one side to the other, not just the boots. My next plan of attack is going to be new mikuni low end jets as mine are decently marred up, then timing and valve clearance. It seems to smooth out right aorund 2500 rpm, but the jets timing and clearances should be done anyway.

Timing and clearances affect carb sync, so I would do that and then try syncing them and then change Jets if needed.

Not that I always practice what I preach :)
Did you plug both of your carb boot sync ports into the same hose? If so don't do that. They need to have separate plugs over them. Otherwise the bike will not run correctly. Your ignition has a left and right side. They can't be switched or your firing will be 180* off.
The sync nipples need to be separate? I'll change that right now. As far as ignition I get the firing order. I swapped the coils completely from one side to the other.

Edit: threw plugs on the carb boots instead of the loop. Seems to actually idle correctly. It's too late to rev it out or go for a cruise but it definitely helped. Thanks for the heads up!
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Alright I'm close! The throttle shaft seals are bad. The problem is that I can't find them anywhere. Dealership can't get em, Mike's no longer carries em, I tried a set from eBay that were more like an x-ring than a lip seal.

Are these seals available anywhere? My next option is to break the caliper out and track down some industrial lip seals with the right dimensions.
If i remember correctly, the seals do have a “cup” design that will press in.

What are the ones you tried from EBay? Thats where I picked up mine from and they were fine.
Yeah the cup design is what I'm after. I can't find any on eBay except a few in Germany for $16 a piece before shipping.