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New guy building XS400 Softail Bobbers

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Buddha, Jul 4, 2021.

  1. Buddha

    Buddha XS400 Addict Top Contributor

    So I checked with Fort 9 and they have only 1 6" Uni Filter that would fit the H pipe, BUT they do have 5" Uni Filters (I will need 4 of them).
    I know if you ask wifey if an inch makes a difference she'll just roll her eyes, what do you guys think? Would 5" Uni's work instead of 6"?
  2. xschris

    xschris XS400 Guru Top Contributor

    Foam is better than pleated pods any day. Make sure they are the dense black foam type. The reason for the longest ones you can get is it give you more stable air volume. Vacuum carbs need this. With the stock boxes you get the most of it. The boxes also strap to the bike keeping the carbs from sagging in the intake boots.
  3. Buddha

    Buddha XS400 Addict Top Contributor

    I've welded pieces on each horizontal tube to be able to 'hang' the filters on where they attach to the H tube to help support the carbs, will post pics when final assembled.
    xschris likes this.
  4. Buddha

    Buddha XS400 Addict Top Contributor

    Today I finished assembly of the tach, speedo, and pilot box after everything was apart for cleaning, paint and polishing. Installed on bike along with freshly lubed tach and speedo cable. Frabricated a speedo cable stay that will mount where the front fender attach points are on the LH fork. Awaiting hangers for the mufflers, these will clamp on the 7/8" angled tubes and allow me to set the muffler/exhaust pipe stance.

    I've come to the point in this first bike build that I find most relaxing, the wiring system. Whether it's building harnesses for an airplane, car, or bike I find this the most enjoyable.


    On these 2 builds I'm installing new aftermarket LH and RH switch assemblies, the OEM ones are not in the best shape. Also new aftermarket headlight, signal lights, and brake/tail light. The aftermarket LH switch signal light switch does not have internals for the self cancelling feature so I will be deleting that system. I am also using LED signal lights therefore the OEM signal light flasher will not have enough load on it to operate, so a LED flasher unit is being installed. Started to wring out the wiring system, changing up wire color codes from old ancillaries to new, making notes, and proving new devices.
    Like I say, this is the best part of the build.

    Kat Majdali likes this.
  5. Buddha

    Buddha XS400 Addict Top Contributor

    Spaghetti anyone?:laughing:


    Kat Majdali likes this.
  6. Buddha

    Buddha XS400 Addict Top Contributor

    Received the hangar clamps so I worked on the exhaust system today. They are LED light bar clamps, very robust.

    Fabbed up a couple of hangars that put the mufflers where I wanted them. Wrapped the exhaust pipes and fit everything up. Some pics.
    Kat Majdali and Scotty4 like this.
  7. Buddha

    Buddha XS400 Addict Top Contributor

    Been a while since the last update.
    Over the weekend I finished up the wiring harness. I used the plugs from the LH and RH OEM switches and grafted them to the new aftermarket switches. The harness is mostly OEM except for the fuse box wiring ends, they are now female spade connectors. I removed all the old vinyl tape and as per my car builds the harness is now wrapped in cloth tape (good ol' hockey tape). I then commissioned the horn, LED turn signals, engine crank, headlight on/off switch, headlight lo/hi switch, and engine kill switch. With the kill switch 'off' I have spark at the plugs when cranking. I have a tail light, I have a brake light using front or rear brakes. I have 3 indicator lights, neutral, oil, and signal working. Installed new battery. Some pics.

    I received my carb kits yesterday, oh boy!, oh boy!, oh boy!, oh boy! I joyfully took the carbs apart, put various pieces in my 20L pail of carb cleaner to soak and then opened up my carb kits. :( now I'm sad..... these kits are nowhere looking like the kits I need, not even close. So I check my order, yes I ordered the right kit numbers, but alas they sent me the wrong kit numbers. Turns out they sent me carb kits for a Honda. Sent off an email and the correct carb kits are on FedEx as I type this post. I'm still excited, can't wait to start on bike #2:cheers:
    Kat Majdali likes this.
  8. xschris

    xschris XS400 Guru Top Contributor

    Make sure to remove your needle jets for cleaning also. Are you going to replace the butterfly shaft seals?
  9. Buddha

    Buddha XS400 Addict Top Contributor

    As a side note, I've been reading up on this site about preserving the carb diaphragms. I've decided to treat my carb diaphrams with Parker Lube. We used it on engines that put on 40,000 hrs between overhauls and the rubber components that were coated in Parker Lube looked like the day we installed them after 40,000 hrs. I applied it to my diaphrams, so far so good.
    Kat Majdali likes this.
  10. Buddha

    Buddha XS400 Addict Top Contributor

    LOL, the needle jets are behind the carb diaphrams in the pic. The clip is on the center groove of 5 grooves.
    I have not considered replacing the shaft seals. Where are they sourced?
    Kat Majdali likes this.
  11. Buddha

    Buddha XS400 Addict Top Contributor

    Just ordered 9 carb shaft seals.
  12. xschris

    xschris XS400 Guru Top Contributor

    The needle jets are in the carb bodies that the slide needles go into and main jets screw into. They push out so you can clean them.
  13. xschris

    xschris XS400 Guru Top Contributor

  14. AmbientMoto

    AmbientMoto XS400 Addict

    Amazing build/skills/shop/etc. I'm interested to see the finals.
  15. Buddha

    Buddha XS400 Addict Top Contributor

    Thanks for the heads up Chris, jets are removed and cleaned. Should get my carb kits Mon or Tues. Shaft seals a bit longer.....

    On another note, picked up a 1979 XS650 barn find for $250, only thing I see missing is the RR signal light assembly. Have the side covers and tank badges.

    Thanks for the kudos Ambient! Much appreciated:cheers:
    Kat Majdali and Scotty4 like this.
  16. JPaganel

    JPaganel XS400 Addict

    Original 650s are getting harder to find. Lots of them wound up with skateboards for seats and up in the classifieds as "needs TLC".
  17. CaptChrome

    CaptChrome XS400 Addict Top Contributor

    Oh my. Two 400s weren't enough! With the third bike, this officially becomes a trend and not an anomaly. I think that spacious shop is going to be full of bikes in a year or two.

    Congratulations and I think it is a nice addition BTW. What are you plans with the 650?
  18. Buddha

    Buddha XS400 Addict Top Contributor

    Hey JP and CaptChrome.
    Apparently this 650 was a barn find, fellow I got it from couldn't get it to crank. Turns out the kill switch is pooched, I jumped it and it cranks and has spark. Did a quick compression test and L=75 and R=100, low. Bike is mostly there, missing RR signal light assembly and rear hinge missing from seat with broken bolts in seat pan, vinyl is rough on seat as is the paint. Side covers are there and tank badges also.
    For now I put it in the shed, need to concentrate on the two 400's.

    Couple days ago I treated both XS400 tanks with metal prep, after drying for 2 days today I treated them with POR 15 gas tank sealer. The tanks did not previously leak, this is just future insurance.
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2021
    Kat Majdali and JPaganel like this.
  19. Buddha

    Buddha XS400 Addict Top Contributor

    Received my carb kits, very basic, needle and seat, dried up bowl gasket, and a main jet copper gasket. Had to soak the bowl gasket to make it pliable enough to install properly. Both carbs are assembled but I am waiting for shaft seals before final assembly.

    So I decided to install BA9 LED bulbs in the gauges and the pilot box. All with well until I replaced the incandescent turn signal indicator bulb. It indicates one way but not the other way. Hmmm, then the light went off in my brain, lol, LED bulbs can be voltage path sensitive, they will light up +ve to -ve one way but not -ve to +ve the other way. The fix was putting a incandescent bulb back in.

    Son's shop is busy so I decided to paint the fender and tank myself. Today I laid down the base coat on the rear fender. Once kicked/cured will sand with 2000 grit then clear coat, then sand, rub, and polish for final finish. For the fender I'm using 1K clear coat, for the tank I'll be using 2K clear coat which is fuel proof.

    Kat Majdali likes this.
  20. CaptChrome

    CaptChrome XS400 Addict Top Contributor

    Yeah, when I saw that back-feed grounding setup for the turn signal pilot light I had to scratch my head a few times as I couldn't figure out how the bulb was grounded for a while. I have not worked on bikes before, so maybe this is a common way of wiring the indicator pilot on Japanese bikes of this vintage, but I have never seen this on any other vehicle before. It does eliminate a ground wire and connector which holds down costs and eliminates a potential open ground point.

    Even though wiring the pilot up this way is quite cleaver, it does mean we now have to add in the ground wire, connectors and some diodes if we want an LED turning pilot light and make it like every other vehicle I know of. I know you have worked on a lot of different stuff, have you ever seen this before in your travels?

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