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.