Getting the XS650 Ready, 2021 Edition

I still don’t have my XS650 ready for the new year, but today I got closer. See, last week I finally got around to changing the oil. When I originally changed the oil in this bike, I pulled the sump filter for inspection, and of course it was damaged. So I set out to fix it with JB Weld and denim, of all things, as documented on this blog previously.

I was told at the time (in replies to this post on the XS650 Forum)  that this was a bad idea, that the denim would shed fibers into the oil and destroy everything. But all seemed to be well, and a couple thousand miles later I did an oil change but didn’t drop the sump plate that time. So last week I drained the oil and dropped the plate for inspection, and this is what I found:


As you can see, it looks almost exactly like it did when I put it in. The denim is undamaged, the coating of JB Weld is more brown than it was but also basically undamaged.

So I set out to reinstall the sump plate, and I almost immediately broke off one of the screws. They all felt wrong, to be honest, and I should have known not to tighten them down when I felt them, well, not getting tight. I removed the screws I could get at, and they were all visibly compromised. I had torqued them to 7 ft.-lbs. as specified in the shop manual, and I don’t think there’s a problem with my torque wrench, but who knows?

Took some looking to determine that they are supposed to be M6-1 x 25mm, property type 8.8. I hit the hardware store today and got a bag full of them, and after lying down in the garage for a while managed to work the broken bit out of the hole. Fortunately there was just enough metal sticking out to get a grip with pliers and twist it free.


This time I torqued them by “feel” using a small quarter-inch ratchet. To be honest, I’m not sure I didn’t compromise the replacements, but I tried to be careful. The ones I took out had held the plate oil-tight for 4000 miles, so I’m going to give these a try as is. I’ve been warned in the past not to use stronger machine screws than called for by the manufacturer, but I have to wonder if I should have tried 10.9 screws instead.

Still have to adjust the cam chain tension and swap out the front tire before she’s ready to ride.


So, story time.

I pulled the CB650 out to run some errands, and while I was out I filled up with gas. It’s about 3 miles from the FS station where I filled up to my home, and I came home without incident and parked the bike for about an hour. I was planning to ride it about 25 miles to see a customer, and so about an hour later I started it up and took off.

I went about another 3 miles or so, and the bike died like it ran out of fuel. I rolled into a driveway and tried to restart it, and while the bike was cranking good and hard it wouldn’t go. It really did sound like it was out of gas, so I flipped the petcock to reserve, and it started up after a very little bit of cranking.

I turned it back from reserve to “run” or whatever you call it, and rode back home and parked it without difficulty.

I’m guessing something plugged the upper end of the petcock tube, and flipping it to reserve and then back must have cleared it.