Archive for 1982 Yamaha xj550

Reconditioned Boots for the XJ550

The XJ550 was coming along nicely, until I thought I was done and it wouldn’t run right. First of all, it would only run with the choke on. Second, after tuning it to run without the choke, I noticed it would hang in the higher RPM’s and not drop. This was a little scary as it would sometimes stick or even climb up to 5 and 6,000 RPM’s!

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After some inquiry, it sounded like my problem was a vacuum leak at the intake manifold. To test this, I would get the bike to idle at a consistent RPM. Then I would spray WD-40 all over my intake boots. When my RPM’s climbed, I knew that the boots were cracked and the WD-40 was being sucked into the manifolds. This meant my boots were old and cracked, and wouldn’t work.

New boots were like $240 for a new set of OEM parts!! Aftermarket boots were better priced at $119, but still way too much. At first I was devastated because it was going to take me a long time to be able to fix this problem. Then I cam across a reconditioning tip that would seal up the boots, and I was so excited. At first it was just to put Black RTV Silicone all over the boots. This would seal them up from possible vacuum leaks. This seemed a little lame and potentially very messy… forever. I did more research and I learned that you can also put a cut up bicycle tube over the boot. Then I learned you can do both, glue the inner tube on using the RTV silicone. The tube was $6, and the silicone I had from a previous project… much better priced!

Here’s my process. You can see in this first picture all the surface cracks covering the boot. Most cracks you can’t see unless you flex the rubber from the inside.

1982 Yamaha XJ550 Intake Manifold Boot Repair

After a thorough cleaning of the boots, I slathered each one up in the silicone. I had to flex the rubber to make sure the silicone would penetrate all the cracks. My first go around with the inner tube was that I was going to cut them long, then trim them up once they were seated on the boot. This was a mistake because the boot has a tapering cone shape and the tube just kept slipping off making a huge mess. I had to cut each tube to size before I put it on with the silicone. They were each about one inch long with a little notch cut out for the vacuum port.

1982 Yamaha XJ550 Intake Manifold Boot Repair

1982 Yamaha XJ550 Intake Manifold Boot Repair

1982 Yamaha XJ550 Intake Manifold Boot Repair

Here’s all four boots repaired. I ended up putting one more coating of silicone at the edges of the inner tube, just to make sure it was sealed up nice. I am very happy with how these turned out.

1982 Yamaha XJ550 Intake Manifold Boot Repair

1982 Yamaha XJ550 Intake Manifold Boot Repair

After getting the carbs installed again, I fired up the bike! What an immediate difference this repair made! The bike revved up beautifully and fell back down to the idle RPM’s upon release of the throttle. I drove it around the block, and it’s running beautifully. Success!

XJ550 Petcock Rebuild

The first time I tried to crank this bike over, I put the petcock valve on prime, and I had gas gushing out of some of the bottom gasket! I ordered a new one. When it got here, I also pulled the petcock apart and cleaned the parts in my carb chem dip. They came out much cleaner.

1982 Yamaha Maxim XJ550 Petcock Valve

The gasket that was leaking was this paper gasket. The gas heaved out in almost a stream.

1982 Yamaha Maxim XJ550 Petcock Valve

1982 Yamaha Maxim XJ550 Petcock Valve

I failed to take pictures of the parts after the cleaning. But after the rebuild, and putting them back on the bike, the gas flowed without any leakage. Success!

Finished the XJ550 Carburetors

Today I got the final parts for the XJ550 carburetors, pilot jets and needle valve seat o-rings. So, I was able to finish the assembly of the bottom ends.

1982 Yamaha Maxim XJ550 Carburetors

1982 Yamaha Maxim XJ550 Carburetors

1982 Yamaha Maxim XJ550 Carburetors

I got the carburetors installed back in the bike, and air boxes and boots are no fun. But I got it all installed alright. After hooking up the cables and gas line with the new filter, and installing the new battery, I fired it up! This was the first time I got to hear this bike run, which was exciting… however, it would only run with the choke on. So I’ll have more to troubleshoot.

XJ550 Carburetors!!

So, the other night I hooked up the XJ550 to a battery I had laying around with jumper cables (I’m still waiting for my battery to get here). Since I had the starter installed, new oil filled, compression checked, and spark checked… I thought I should give it a whirl and see if she would start up. It cranked just fine, but wouldn’t start even after everything I tried.

After a couple more cranks this battery was wearing out, and I noticed a big pile of gas below the engine, and it was getting bigger! Where was this gas coming from?! After further inspection, it seemed to be leaking from the back of the transmission. To be honest I was very discouraged thinking this engine was broken and it was going to be a much bigger problem. I removed the chain cover on the left side and discovered that there was a drain tube from the air box, and the gas was dripping from that! Relieved. I removed the air filter to try and trace this gas problem. I found carburetor #2 spewing gas back into the air box, which then leaked back down the drain tube.

Okay, this is manageable, I can clean another set of carbs. I assumed that dirty carbs was the reason… but why was the overflow back into the air box? Was it for an emissions purpose? Another problem this presents is that the crankcase filter hose ends up right below the intake for carb #2.

So, the next day I decided to pull the carbs. I was hoping to slip them out without pushing the air box boots into the air box… but it just wasn’t enough room.

1982 Yamaha Maxim XJ550 Carburetors

1982 Yamaha Maxim XJ550 Carburetors

Having the boots pushed in allowed me to pull them out quite easily… I hope it’s as simple when I put them back in (fingers crossed).

1982 Yamaha Maxim XJ550 Carburetors

Look how nasty the gas was inside the bowls! Eww!

1982 Yamaha Maxim XJ550 Carburetors

The carbs were filthy in their own way. I hadn’t ever seen carbs dirty in this way. The stains were goopy and sticky, and there was green slime in lots of weird places.

1982 Yamaha Maxim XJ550 Carburetors

Each of the main jets were completely plugged up. The float pins were sticky and the floats couldn’t move hardly at all. It was easy to see why the bike wouldn’t fire up! Time for total disassembly and a good cleaning!

1982 Yamaha Maxim XJ550 Carburetors

1982 Yamaha Maxim XJ550 Carburetors

1982 Yamaha Maxim XJ550 Carburetors

I only have a little gallon bucket of chem dip cleaner, so it was a long process to get all the parts cleaned. Each body got about 16 hours in the dip, and they cleaned up real nice! Like new almost.

1982 Yamaha Maxim XJ550 Carburetors

1982 Yamaha Maxim XJ550 Carburetors

After about four days of cleaning, patiently dipping, washing, and carefully cleaning each part, they all turned out beautifully! When I was breaking the carbs apart, I found that I would need to order new pilot jets (the current heads had been stripped badly), and some new o-rings for the needle valve seats. I am still waiting on those parts, so this is as far as I can go until I get that package in the mail. Hopefully it won’t be too long and this bike will fire up!

1982 Yamaha Maxim XJ550 Carburetors

 

XJ550 Master Cylinder Sight Glass

The other day when I was trying to fill up the master cylinder on the 1982 Yamaha XJ550 I had brake fluid leaking all over the place. Luckily I always put a rag around the master cylinder when I’m bleeding brakes, otherwise it would have dumped on the tank. The existing sight window had cracked open. So, I ordered some new sight glass.

I got some black gasket adhesive, which I tested with some brake fluid to make sure the brake fluid wouldn’t disintegrate it. I left it for a few days, and it checked out. So, when my new sight glass came in, I cleaned up the master cylinder real good, then coated the edges of the glass with the silicone. I pressed it in, then coated it again with a new coat to make sure it was really sealed up.

1982 Yamaha Maxim XJ550 Master Cylinder

Anyway, after I let it cure for a day or so, I bled the brakes and I have stopping power again. Plus, now I can actually see the fluid level!

Got a lot done with the XJ550 today!

Today my nephew came to help me work on my motorcycles. It was fun to have him come and help, and answer all the question he had about how motorcycles work. I had gotten a bunch of parts so we first started with putting new brake pads in the front calipers. We started filling the master cylinder with brake fluid and when they were bled, I looked at the paper towel that was wrapped around the master cylinder and it was soaked! WHAT? Upon further inspection I found that the level window was old, worn, and cracked and brake fluid was leaking through. So, I’ll have to come back to front brakes later.

Next my nephew drained the engine oil and installed a new oil filter. We put the bike up on my stand and while it was level he added oil to the engine.

While the bike was up on its stand we removed the rear wheel to install the new brake pads. They went in without any problems. We also removed the chain, laid it out in a plastic lid and sprayed it with lube and scrubbed it beautifully clean. The previous owner used a wax lube, and it was all over. We also cleaned the sprocket and it’s all much cleaner. We cleaned and greased the axel, then reinstalled the wheel.

Another package I got today was the starter brush kit. The other day I had cleaned the starter up, so it was ready to assemble with the new brushes. Once it was together, I greased it up a little bit and bolted it back up. It installed nicely to the engine. I also put the chain cover back on, and the foot pegs and controls. And finally, I reinstalled my petcock valve. This bike is on its way!

1982 Yamaha XJ550 Maxim

1982 Yamaha XJ550 Maxim Starter

1982 Yamaha XJ550 Maxim