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Few small problems with my Virago 125


squigmig
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I recently bought a fairly cheap '97/98 XV 125cc Virago, and of course there are a few little problems around the bike.

There was quite a bad rust problem, the majority of which I've rectified with several applications of Bilt-hamber deox gel and a lot of elbow grease. The rust on the underneath of the bike concerns me though. I think the bottom exhaust has been replaced at some point(there is a receipt for a new one in the paperwork I got) and where it's been welded on, whoever did it didn't care to protect it from rusting at ALL. It's reached the 'bubbling' stage down there, I've taken a lot of rust cream to it but I'm afraid if I keep going at it I might end up wearing a hole in the pipes? Might sound silly, but is that concern justified at all?

Here's a picture I took of the bike before I did anything to it at all, the rust on the rear exhaust is quite visible even from this angle. Most of that is gone now though :D

IMAG0109.jpg

There are two other problems I need to tackle on the bike before getting starting on the niggling little things. The choke cable is knackered - I don't know how to explain so I went out and took a picture: IMAG0133.jpg

Anyway I've bought a replacement cable, but I'm not sure where the other end goes. As it is now, it sits just above the right air filter and I pull on the plasting 'thingmebob' to close the choke. Not really too sure HOW to fit the new cable either. But the repacement is a good deal longer (around 3ft) so I'm guessing the choke control shoul be somewhere near the handlebars.. but I find no evidence of anything of the sort. Any help there would be GREATLY appreciated.

Lastly, and really quite annoyingly, the front wheel squeaks. I don't want to accidentally lube up my brake disc, so what do I oil to fix this?

Haha and sorry about the huge post. But as a complete novice I suppose I'm full of questions a few of which are bound to be quite stupid. But I would nbe so very grateful if anyone could take the time to help me, particularly with the choke cable issue.

Cheers!

-Miguel.

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Heya Miguel,

Jeezy, THAT is your choke??!!

Is that just a block connector?

I don't know your bike that well, but there are manuals available here on the forum. I'd suggest looking through those to find where the engine end goes/how it affixes etc.

As for the user end, I suspect it sits on the left side of the bike on a bracket near the base of the tank. Again, you should see pics in the manual, though you may have to make one yourself.

Rust - I'm no expert in this either, but they could probably do with some Hammerite Kurust treatment and sealing. Or, this could be an opportunity to fit new pipes....

How does the front wheel squeak? All the time, or just when you're braking?

If it's all the time, take the spindle out and lube it with some decent grease. That should fix it.

If it's while braking, take the pads out, scrub the glazing off them (or replace if they're just knackered) and clean the caliper.

If you have ANY doubts over doing this work yourself, it's always best to get a mechanic to help.

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Jeezy, THAT is your choke??!!

Hahah, at least it works I suppose. But you can see why I'm anxious to replace it :P

So after some scrutinisation of pictures such as this - http://www.rinderer.kennelbach.net/virago_xv125/img0176.jpg and a very helpful youtube video, it appears the choke control belongs just under and to the right of the left handlebar grip. Now of course my bike has no such bloody thing fitted and the choke cable didn't come with one. Any idea where I can find one? Checked wemoto, where I got all my other parts, but no luck.

Thanks again,

Miguel

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But if you check this page:

Click Me

You'll see the "pull-knob end" for the choke seems mounted between the engine cylinders. Based on the pic you posted, I'd hazard a guess that it's on the left side of the engine.

Here's another:

Click Me Too!

The Owners Manual concurs:

Click Me to open the PDF manual

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hi squigmig and welcome to the forum! i hope you will become part of the comunity :D and not just get ur answers and go... :angry::unsure::(

rust on the exhaust is a normal problem for this bike. watch out for the "box" connected to the mufflers, that tends to be where it starts 1st then on the front pipe. i ended up buying a new exhaust and painting it straight out of the box with some high temp exhaust paint....but there isnt owt you can do to cure it fully im afraid. <_<

as to the choke it goes from the lever/knob to the carb. its hard to identify for a novice but if you follow the cable to the engine you will see it disappear into a nut, you might have to take the carb off to access it but the manual will tell you how to do that B)

all ur gonna need to replace it is a couple of 13mm spanners (or a 13mm spanner and some small pliers) its a bit fiddely but you use the spanner to turn the nut then grab it with the pliers to keep it in position so you can take the spanner off to put it on again to turn it. if you dont grab it with something then every time you take the spanner off it will thread itself back in! once its undone gently pull it out (with the cable attached) then you will see a spring connected to a cylinder with a point and a rubber ring on it. take the cylinder off (dont loose the spring), pull the old cable out of the nut, put new cable in, connect to cylinder, then put back together!.... done!

if you want to see if its working properly then take the "round" cover off the carb (will be 4 screws), gently pull the rubber out, and just below the big hole where the plastic bit (with the needle on the end) comes out of is a smaller hole with somethin in it... that is the choke cylinder!

just pull the lever for the choke and it should slide the cylinder.

oh and one more thing check ur oil every 6 months!!!! if your not sure how old it is replace it! ... i cant stress that point enough! if you dont then you could be looking at the crank shaft going pop ........and that means buy buy engine!

hope this helps u out B) and soz for the legnthy post ......

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Haha, lengthy posts are good!

Ttaskmaster, thankyou sincerely for your help, but all those pictures and the service manual are for the Virago 535. I'm convinced the choke control is mounted under the housing for the light/indicator controls on the 125 model, since every picture I find and even a youtube video (go to around 2:17 on the video, it'll pause and even label it) seem to confirm this for the XV125.

My main concern is finding a replacement as they don't seem to exist! D: The alternative would be to use something else but I'm at a loss as to what to do there. And until I can figure out a way to mount the user-end of the choke cable there's not much I can do. Might try to contact the previous owner, to see what the history behind the choke is, whether it was in that state when they bought it. I know they changed the handlebars (the current ones are straighter than the originals, which to me makes sense as it's more comfortable) The current arrangement works alright, so it's not incredibly urgent and I can be quite patient, but I'm not having that choke control like that forever!

Thanks for the tips Paul! Unfortunately I can't go about doing it yet as explained above. My dad is an old-timer so I should be fine doing some simple jobs like that with some supervision :P no worries there. And yes, I do hope to stick around, I'm a regular around some other online boards and I've modded for a few anyway so I'm like a duck in water.

thanks again!

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if your not too fussed about the user end of the cable id recomend a honda cbr 125 cable....

its a simple knob that srews to some form of "hook" its got a sort of bolt with nut attachment....all you would need to do is either find a "hook" on the frame or you could use tie wraps to mount it. and its a simple pull and push.

the only thing you might need to "mod" would be the cable sleve to make the cable slightly shorter but that can be fixed with small washers .

here is a link to one click me

oh and kelum put a post in the customs section (virago service manual) with a xv 125 manual not so long ago.

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You could ring round motorcycle breakers yards to see if theyve got the handlebar choke bracket. It does fit on the left hand side as you say.

I could be wrong, but I always thought the brake disc was on the off side of the bike :huh:

and Im wrong, off side on the XVS, nearside on the XV :rolleyes:

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Haha no worries neversaydie, good to know my brake disc is on the right side I suppose?

I think buying a cable with the knob attached seems to be most logical thing to do.. It's bloody annoying though since I already spent a tenner on a replacement cable from wemoto. And I don't think they accept returns unless the error is on their part. Suppose that's not too much but this months expenditure keeps rising.. new battery, insurance and now all this sillyness. Wait 'til you guys see the sorry state of the cheap foam handlebar grips! Hah...

It seems the service manual for the XV125 is a pain in the a$$ to find as well... if this is the thread you're referring to, the manuals go from the 535 up to the 1100. I've had a few looks around the internet for hard copies but no bloody luck there either. But then I don't really know where to look other than google, tried amazon but I think that's the same manual kelum scanned in on the above thread.

Is the shape of the carburetor end of the choke cable overly important? The reason I ask is that the honda cable/knob paul posted (thanks by the way) seems to have a different end compared to this yammy one. Really don't want to have to order a third cable! :P

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ahh dont worry about the end :P if it dont fit then file it down ;) its only made from soft metal. think mine snapped so i just tied a knot in the end of the wire....dont do that by the way as its a pain in the backside! just file down the end till it fits :D

either that or you could see if you can swap the virago cable with the honda cable..(not the push pull knob...just the cable) but personally i wouldnt bother ....too much fartin aboot.

oh and check these out B)click me

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I like those grips actually :D Had trouble finding decent ones on ebay that combined rubber/chrome without looking horribly tacky.

Also, which type of engine oil should I be using? I've ordered a new oil filter. Now I know I'll be needing 10W40 4-stroke oil, but I've read aroud online and have come across the advice that 'older engines' (whatever they mean by that.. 'classic' engines or just engines older than 10 years?) don't do well with synthetic oils. Went into my local garage and asked them.. I rejected the synthetic motorcycle oil they had so the bloke there tried to sell me a mineral car oil. It was obvious he wasn't much of a motorbike man, so I was aprehensive when he told me 'it's the same stuff.. they just slap 'motorcycle' on the bottle and charge you more'. :unsure:

My Virago is a 97/98 model (R reg), so would a mineral-based or maybe a semi-synthetic oil be a safer bet?

Cheers again,

Miguel

EDIT: was thinking something like this http://www.wemoto.com/parts/picture/RH-CASTROL-ACTEVOGP-1LTR/ ?

EDIT, again.. so I found and downloaded the user manual for the xvs125 dragstar on the yamaha website (perfectly legal :) ) It says you'll need 1.6l of oil if you plan to change both the oil and filter.. which I do. In fact, I was planning to change the oil at first, run it for a week or so to flush the [email protected] out and then change it again along with the filter. Read through some old topics on here where that was recommended.. is it necessary? since it will get a bit expensive to buy 3l of oil and I really don't have the money to be chucking at the thing all the time. But if doing that does make a significant difference to the engine I'll quite happily do it.

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well im not up to scratch with my oils but ur bike isnt an "old" engine so to say....its only classed as old if its like 1970 which would need mineral oil. :D

as to your xv 125 it has practically the same engine as the XVS 125 so id go with neversaydie's choice of oil ;)

and last but not least id recommend flushing the engine with some cheepo 10w40 (cheeper the better)but only flush it for a day or two (using the old oil filter) then drain it and put the good stuff in with the fresh oil filter. if you let it drain overnight then you know its all out :D

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Right, oil is on its way, already got the filter. Next issue then. :P

The engine seems confused while idling. What I mean by that is that it will idle for a few seconds at one speed, then suddenly speed up a little for a second or two and then drop back down to the original speed. I'm guessing its probably a fault with the sparkplugs, which are cheap enough to replace.

Other than that, its just the front brake that needs looking at. The lever seems a lot more stiff than it should and I suspect the brake might be rubbing a tiny bit. Possible cause for the wheel squeak, though I still need to grease up the spindle. Will chain lube work alright for that?

The choke and grips can wait until I get paid again since they're purely cosmetic, and I've since invested in some leathers as well.

Also, for the future, how would I be able to figure out if my bike's electrical system would support heated grips? The charging system puts out 23 amps at 5000rpm, these grips normaly consume around 3 amps/36 watts. The battery is brand new and the current electrical system consumes around 120 watts. Would the strain be a bit too much? Just an idea right now.

Thank you all for the help, it really is well received and appreciated.

-Miguel

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Right, oil is on its way, already got the filter. Next issue then. :P

The engine seems confused while idling. What I mean by that is that it will idle for a few seconds at one speed, then suddenly speed up a little for a second or two and then drop back down to the original speed. I'm guessing its probably a fault with the sparkplugs, which are cheap enough to replace.

Other than that, its just the front brake that needs looking at. The lever seems a lot more stiff than it should and I suspect the brake might be rubbing a tiny bit. Possible cause for the wheel squeak, though I still need to grease up the spindle. Will chain lube work alright for that?

The choke and grips can wait until I get paid again since they're purely cosmetic, and I've since invested in some leathers as well.

Also, for the future, how would I be able to figure out if my bike's electrical system would support heated grips? The charging system puts out 23 amps at 5000rpm, these grips normaly consume around 3 amps/36 watts. The battery is brand new and the current electrical system consumes around 120 watts. Would the strain be a bit too much? Just an idea right now.

Thank you all for the help, it really is well received and appreciated.

-Miguel

Cant help with the electrics, but I have seen similar threads here in the past, you could try the search function for "heated grips". Heated grips? darn sarf? spend the cash on some decent winter gloves :D

When you change the filter, make sure that the bolts go back in the same holes that they came from, its possible they may be different lengths. ;)

Not sure the idling speed variation would be caused by plugs, that would be only one cylinder firing, are both cylinders firing when its slow idling?

You need to get the front wheel of the deck to check to see if the front brake is dragging on the disc. If the bikes not been used for some time, the brake pistons can become seized in the caliper. If they are, then its usually a strip out job. If the disc is free to spin, then check that the lever is free in its slot. Take the bolt out that goes secures it to the mounting (watch out for the spring) clean out any crud, grease it up, then slip it back in.

Good luck :)

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Not sure the idling speed variation would be caused by plugs, that would be only one cylinder firing, are both cylinders firing when its slow idling?

check the plugs! what colour are they? (think neversaydie is tryin to scare you lol) if when idling it revs up and down on its own, its cause the mixture is a little lean.

warm the bike up , turn the throttle stop up so the revs increase (on idle!), you want it to sound like you have the choke on. (just follow the throttle cable to the carb and ul see a screw that will make contact with the round bit...that screw is the throttle stop)

there will be a small screw on the side of the carb (on the left i think :unsure: ) that is your mixture screw.

you want to turn it in till the revs drop (but dont let it stall) then slowly turn the screw out, you will hear the revs increase, then you will hit a "point" where the revs drop again. (after each full turn just blip the throttle) you need to then turn the screw "in" very slowly (about 1/8th a turn at a time) as soon as the revs increase again stop. you need to set it bang on the pivot point between high and low revs (but you want it on high revs).

once thats done turn down the throttle stop....it should be spot on!

i managed to lower the revs on mine to the point where you would think it was going to cut out lol but it sounded goooooooood.

and ur electrics should be ok for heated grips :D just dont do alot of riding in the dark with them on full blast lol

for the brake check the pads if there new then they will squeak, but it could just be the piston in the caliper is covered in grime, i can go through that one, when you get to it lol think the idle mixture will keep u occupied for now ;)B)

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Sorry for the belated reply! Busy times working/fishing etc. :P

The heated grips are more for longer winter commutes, which I will probably end up doing. I have a pair of thin thermals and a warm, thick and waterproof pair of leather gloves but I'm a long-limbed chap and my circulation makes for cold extremities, quickly. Especially over longer rides.

The plugs were a blackish colour, looked a little burnt out so I replaced them... kept the old ones as spares since they work fine, but new ones can't hurt.

That bloody mixture screw! It is horribly rusted. The first time I tried to unscrew it, half the screwhead just.. disintegrated. It had the consistency of very soft wood. I'm afraid to force it anymore as I could wear the screw almost copletely smooth.. and then I'd be up some sort of creek without any form of propulsion at all. I'm wondering what on earth to do with it. I adjusted the throttle stop screw so that the engine doesn't stall when it's warm and idling, without revving too much either.

Ironically, my parcel of oil and lube arrived while I was typing this post. I'll get right on to replacing that, but I'm stressing about the mixture screw. How the buggery do I tackle that?

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ooo thats not good if ur mixture screw is buggerd......suppose its a case of try and get the screw out then replace with a new one :( im not sure how you would go about it though.

but anyway it could just be a bit of dirt in ur pilot jet causing it to run rough....... plus the plugs shouldnt be black :blink: these engines are set purposely to run lean which makes me wonder if ur mixture is set properly.....if you do decide to clean the carb the needle should be set in the middle (its what there set at when they come out of the factory) if you cant get the mixture screw out then i might be able to help iv got a spare carb body...but it literally is just the cast bit ....no jets, covers, or owt .

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Ahhh wait, hang on there. I may have been trying the wrong screw, since I decided to have a good hard look at a blown-up diagram of a similar carburetor (the XV 250 one). here. The screw is doubly hidden, behind the fuel pump and then behind a little cap, the purpose of which I'm not sure about. (they're numbers 10 and 11 on the diagram)

Would it be safe to remove the fuel pump, (not disconnect it, just dismount it from infront of the cylinders) then idle the engine so as to adjust the mixture screw? I've read around some places and apparently the way to get to the screw is to drill (gently and slowly) through the cap. Does that sound right to you?

I'm also wondering what other effects the rough idling has on the engine, other than the unpleasant running sound. I'm guessing if it runs like this for too long it's likely to cause engine damage?

Thanks for that offer Paul, that is really kind of you. :) Hopefully it won't come to replacing the carb body, and I wouldn't want to take that off you unless I really bluddy need it. Cannot wait to get to the root of this problem and solve it! Cheers again, Miguel.

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