One Year Later

It’s now most of one year later, and I’ve not been idle even though I haven’t been posting either.  Here’s what’s happened with my XS650 since last time:

I ordered a couple of items to fix up the squishy front brake:

Brake line:
Banjo bolt with bleeder:

On September 19 of last year I got the new brake line installed; it’s a single line, and thus bypasses the connector on the steering head.  Here’s how it looks installed:

Works a lot better now. It’s not as positive as my Honda CB650, but the CB650 has the 14mm master cylinder. But it’s not squishy anymore, and I didn’t even have to bleed the upper fitting to get it solid.

Also hollowed out the ends of the bars for bar end weights, but the throttle tube sticks out far enough that I’m going to need a longer screw and a spacer to put a bar end weight there. Though I was going to have to go to Fastenal, but I managed to work out a spacer arrangement by digging around in my junk bins.

On October 1st I rode the XS to work; went somewhere over a hundred miles total. Don’t know for sure, because the speedo went nuts, bouncing like crazy, then broke off the needle. The trip odometer also started malfunctioning; the 100’s place would advance randomly, so that the last leg of my trip appears to have covered 560+ miles (couldn’t be much over 60, in reality).

The next time I rode it, a few days later, the speedo started getting… dark.  I realized that something inside was rubbing on something else and making smoke, which was discoloring the inside of the lens.  Gah.  Stopped at my wife’s workplace and dropped off the speedo cable in her van so I wouldn’t have to turn around and go home.

In early April of this year, I installed a new speedo, tach, and idiot light cover provided by forum member bwthor (thanks, man!).  Here’s the only “before” picture I have, of the original speedo when I got the bike home:

And here’s where I started out with the new speedo on April 8th:


The original picture above does not show how much sun damage the tach had. I’m about 100% certain the instruments on the bike when I got it weren’t all original, leading me to wonder just exactly how many miles the bike actually has on it. Things look much better now. Thanks again, bwthor!

Here’s the whole bike from the morning of April 8th:

… and then, another problem. I was about 20 miles out on my 160 mile ride on April 8th when I noticed the headlamp indicator was illuminated. I thought I might have loosened a wire while installing those replacement instruments, but I also suspected it might be the sealed beam.  But I couldn’t figure it out, even with the able assistance of many on the XS forum.  It wasn’t until I decided to remove the Reserve Lighting Unit that I figured out the issue.  See, if you remove the RLU, you have to jumper over a connector to keep the headlamp on.  If you are removing the RLU, you can make one more connection and convert the “headlamp” indicator into a “charging” indicator.  Instructions are here:

My thanks to forum member 5twins for pointing that out.

So when I dug into the bike to remove the RLU, I was surprised to find that extra connection for the charging indicator had been made, but with resistors so that either a bad headlamp or a charging problem could light the indicator.  Evidently one of the prior owners of the bike wanted it all.  Gah, again.

Here’s the crazy bit of wiring done by that prior owner:

The red wire which is wrapped in so much tape is tagged on to the green wire of the RLU, which (I checked) connects to the green wire in the harness. That wire runs directly to the headlamp indicator, as I understand it. But look close:

The resistor was connected in series with the indicator lamp, and the red jumper wire as well. The jumper went here:

So anyway… I went ahead and cut the plug off of my RLU, given that it had been adulterated already, and made a quick headlight jumper out of it; so far, so good, headlight works fine. The original jumper wire put together by some previous owner turned out to have a second resistor in it, near the plug, and I cut it off; I went ahead with the charging indicator mod using that wire since the ends seem to have been put on pretty well.  Rather than dig out my soldering iron, I just crimped bullet connectors to the wires on the RLU plug, made a bullet-connector jumper to connect them, and put a bullet on the previous guy’s lead wire so I could use it. The mod is now as 5twins described, and now I had a charging indicator.

And it indicated I wasn’t charging.

As I say, my best guess about the previous mod is that the light would come on either if the headlamp failed OR if the bike stopped charging. How you would then decide the nature of the problem, I don’t know. But I now knew my headlamp was fine.

Advice on the forum confirmed what I suspected, namely that I needed to replace the brushes.  I was surprised and pleased at how easy this was to do, and the bike is running fine as of now.

BUT that’s not all.  On practically my very next ride, the left-hand mirror started swinging freely around.  Back when I first got the bike, I noted: “Took off the mirrors, and put the left one back on… because the left mirror was attached to the right side of the handlebar on a clamp, and the right mirror was crossthreaded into the mount on the left side. You all know that Yamaha bikes have left-handed right mirrors, but apparently the previous owner didn’t. Gah. The collar nut is missing from the right-hand mirror, so I couldn’t remount it, but after running a bolt through the left-hand mount from the bottom to straighten the threads, that mirror went on fine.”  Later I got new mirrors; in fact, I bought new mirrors twice, as the ones I got in July of 18 were kind of crappy, actually.  Vibration from the XS made them entirely useless, and they would not stay adjusted.  But I had retained the original clutch perch, as the damaged threads didn’t seem to be a problem at first.  Now they were.  Over the next several rides, the mirror would repeated jump a thread and get loose, requiring gentle, judicious retightening.  Something had to change.

I went on ebay and found this: So I ordered one, and when it came I pulled the bad one and laid them side-by-side.  Sorry I didn’t take a pic, but trust me, the replica is almost exactly the same.  The metal is just the least bit thinner where the lever mounts to the perch, but that’s it, and it’s not thin enough to worry me.

Managed to save the left grip, too, so I didn’t have to replace it; I call that a win.

Here’s the cockpit of my XS650 now:

Emgo bars, the cheapest (and yet, in my opinion, nicest) grips on ebay, plus bar end weights, mirrors, master cylinder, and clutch perch all from ebay.  Gauges and indicator cover are used, with thanks to bwthor, and a used clutch lever stolen from my TW200.  I’d already put shorties on that bike, and when I got the master cylinder with a shiny metal lever, I felt like I needed a shiny metal lever on the clutch as well.  The only thing original there are the switches, and the plastic tiedowns for the wiring that I managed to save when I took off the stock bars.