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Ryengoth

1982 XJ550 Maxim Rebirth

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I just picked this bike up locally for cheap and am in the process of making it road-worthy again with as many OE parts as possible. Born May 1981, appears to be all original excluding tank cap. No ignition switch. Tank key does not match helmet lock. Tank has a lot of dents so debating swapping tanks. #1 exhaust cam cap is galled beyond repair so another head is on the way. The others are fine, go figure! Pistons and cylinders look great and cleaned up nicely! Original paint was metallic ruby. Not sure on paint yet, have a looong way to go. More to come!

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Brilliant, we're simple folks on here and like posts with pictures 

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That's brilliant, a really nice bike when you get it all back together, I had the XJ750 version great little workhorse. Also had the Maxim midnight 750 which I think is the big brother to yours? Nice to see old bikes being looked after and appreciated. As Jimmy said keep the photos coming.

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The XJ650 is the "big brother" of the 550.  The 750 was the big daddy of the XJ series. I might do a swap in the future, if I keep it. I like flipping things for the experience. The 550 is kinda small. 😁  I still have to learn what the "model" branding differences are in the XJ series. BTW, I will be keeping YICS and trying to restore the original carbs even though it's a pain to tune. Who knows, I may trade-up for a larger 80's model if I find one around here. Lots of parts incoming Fri and Sat so more pics coming including valve-train work and -possibly- engine removal for upcoming naked frame work. 

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If your going to keep the YICS then I suggest you make your own YICS system tool, they are outrageously expensive if you try and buy one, even if you can find one that is, I used  a YICS system eliminator to tune the carbs, easy to use and much cheaper, there is one for sale on EBAY in Oregon I spotted a while ago. https://www.ebay.com/itm/The-YICS-Eliminator-Its-the-Ultimate-Tuning-Tool-for-Yamaha-XJ-motorcycles-/303014887105 

Wish you luck cos my XJ was a right bastard to tune. There are loads of diagrams of YICS tools on the net so you can make your own with a few bit's of pipe and a bunch of rubber grommets.

Here's a site I used to look up the dimensions for the "make your own tool" unfortunately it's in metric so your going to have to convert it to imperial if you go down this road. https://xjbikes.com/forums/threads/home-made-yics-tool-diagrams.72713/

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Thanks! I may just buy a tool depending on what's required to fab it and how problematic YICS is. I'll check out the diagram as well as the eliminator. I prefer metric for engineering and solid design. I do solid modelling of prototypes and 3D printing so I might could 3D print one if the torsional stability for PLA suffices for the tool.

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Valve cover and retaining bolt buffing. The buffed cast aluminum is growing on me, but the black paint fill is OEM. Half done, but you get the idea.

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She is gonna clean up nicely. I have a lot of brushing and polishing to do. Waiting on another head to start on head and valve work. Almost new cams (1000miles) are on the way to WPC for micro-peening. $40 a cam is pennies considering the cams will outlast the cylinders. More pics to come as I focus on each core area. Rear wheel refresh coming up.

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 After a LOT of degreaser, a messy driveway cleaning and a few shop rags the chain lube grime goo and road splatter are gone. New chain in-hand. Might try to polish the shock springs once I disassemble the rear sway arm setup. It's all getting sanded, rust treatment and then a coat of gloss black frame paint. I used some of the frame and roll cage paint recently on some auto subframe braces and it survived some "adjustment" hammering surprisingly so it should last a long time on the bike frame. The chrome is in surprisingly good condition. The undersides of the chain guard and rear fender support need some attention while off the bike. The signal stems are also in-hand and waiting for the frame to be painted. Everyone uses black vinyl tape don't they? :D 

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Front and rear wheels look in good shape. Rear needs a bit of brushing and buffing before paint. New sprocket in-hand. Will see how bearings are. They feel fine pushing the bike around but need to make sure they aren't worn too much.

 

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 Something always refuses to get clean! 

 

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  Well the stem bearing has no cover, so who knows what the races are like. Guess I'll be pulling the head apart. I hope the bearings aren't bad because that's quite a bit of cash. If it's packed full of old gooey grease it should just need a clean and repack, with new covers. 

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The used head is almost done with cleaning. The combustion domes and exhaust ports had a good .5mm of solid carbon. Some CRC GDi intake cleaner, a cordless drill and some small wire brushes did the trick. The valves cleaned up just fine and I've just lapped in cyl 1 and 2.

 

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looks great, I had mine vapour blasted, much easier :)

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This is before I removed the gaskets and cleaned the exhaust ports. I'll post another pic tonight after the other 4 valves are lapped. I would have preferred to get it walnut media blasted but I'm also on a budget. I have a soda gun but it wastes more than it cleans on stuff with this many pockets and deep grooves. I want to spend as little as possible where I can without sacrificing the longevity and safety. $120 for the cam treating versus $120 for a media blasting, I'll do the cams. :) Yes, it was time consuming to clean the head this way but also satisfying to see it come clean. New exhaust studs, exhaust gaskets and head o-rings are on order. The blasting would have ruined the stem seals as well, but after lapping the first 4 valves only one gave any kind of resistance. So, they're all getting replaced anyway. Better safe than sorry for a cheap rubber part eh?

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Head cleaning and valve lapping is done. Valve cover is curing after hammer and gloss treatment. Some more sanding and final clear coating is next. The fuel tank had a blowout with the mig trying to weld screws to pop dents. I chased it with the TIG for over an hour and gave up. Too much rust inside, too thin of a wall. I'm looking for a donor tank now that has a few dents to strip and repaint. I'll get back to this tank one day and put a huge weld wart over the holes, preferably after my patience returns. I have a stud gun now to avoid this in the future.

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Valves are in with new Viton seals and ready for the camshafts. WPC shipped the cam and I should have it early next week to finish the head work.FUDWmgY.jpgt4FUXDN.jpg6uYaLVD.jpgJlueKUE.jpg

Well, the frame is almost ready. The plan is to replace the harness since someone chopped it up. I'm going to get a replacement headstock sticker since all of the stamps match on the bike. I think for the time savings and durability I will get the local powder coater to handle the frame. I need to pull the head apart anyway and check all of the bearings. I'll eventually get around to the forks and front wheel assembly but I want to get the engine done and rear wheel done first.

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looks very similar to my fz600 head

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Frame is ready for some sanding and rust treatment. I'm going to try to get a replacement headstock sticker since the frame and engine #s match. What's odd is that the frame and engine only has the model # and last several VIN digits, not the whole USA VIN like I've seen on other XJs. 

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Valve cover is done. ndX5cjy.jpg

 

Then I found this fun stuff in the carbs.

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Since this is a May production in 1981 it has the short VIN on the head stock not the full, even though the date code says 1982. They must have changed it in June 1981 for the rest of the production runs.

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Frame has been treated and had the first coat of poly frame spray put on. #1 to 3 carbs have been stripped and painted. I need to find a body for #4 since someone broke the idle tube off. Carbs will be rebuilt with new parts as needed including new butterfly shaft seals. The clutch pack looks original and still has life. No signs of case cracks so far. I also attached a WPC treatment comparison of a polished versus WPC cam lobe and journal.aHMpzzu.jpgZp27U0o.jpgWAFWU1c.jpgccz9cMS.jpgrDgLO4Z.jpgQDVhA26.jpg

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looks great, love new stuff. bike porn :)

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