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Old 07-05-2016, 03:35 PM
JMilliken JMilliken is offline
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Thumbs up My 79 XS11SF Cafe Build Thread

So, I'm going to introduce myself. I'm an IT professional who likes restoring and building motorcycles, records, beer, blogging, gardening, and spending time with my girlfriend and 2 kids. I have previously rebuilt a 1986 XJ700 airhead, 1982 XJ650 Seca, and a 1980 Honda CM200T. I have always regretted not doing a build thread/blog for each of my builds. So, this is going to be it.

Now that I've got that out of the way, I recently obtained a Carmine Red 79 XS11 Special with a King seat for $100. I pulled it out of my friend's woods where it sat for over 10 years. So, i figured at the worst, i had a good title and scrap. I'm pleasantly surprised that the motor turns over freely, and i have electric. I can't check for compression yet as I'm missing the kickstart, and the starter isn't turning (which i'm gonna look at tonight).

So where I'm at is that i have some basic questions on where to start. I don't want to like do something stupid like paint a rare color or do whatever boneheaded thing i shouldn't do.

I'm planning on doing a not necessarily budget minded build. I'd really like a show quality result. I want to do it the way i really want to do it. Pods, custom body work, but i still want to keep that XS feel to it too. I also want to keep it period-correct. I want it to be like someone bought it in '79 and Cafe'd it before putting a mile on it.

What parts do i need for the carbs? I have found full rebuild kits that include jets etc. but I don't see if there is any internal gaskets, o-rings, throttle shaft seals etc that should be replaced at the same time. I don't really want to sit and wait and keep ordering parts. I need to get the carbs done so i can check out the engine and hopefully burn off the rear tire before tearing it all down for paint. Also, how do i check the fuel level on these carbs, there is just a drain at the bottom...

What's up with the "octopus" I get the whole principal of what is going on there, but i also see mods to get rid of it. Yes or no?

I'll get some pictures up as soon as i figure out how.
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  #2  
Old 07-08-2016, 11:54 AM
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DiverRay DiverRay is offline
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Pictures need to be from a host site, Photobucket, etc, and linked to this site using the img tag.
The Special wasn't really the bike people cafe'd in the day, but I can understand going with what you got.
DO NOT BUY CARB KITS!! They are all K&L, and DO NOT WORK PROPERLY. Usually all you need are new needle/seats, and in your case probably jets and you want it ALL to be Mikuni, nothing else! Read through the threads on carb rebuilds and it will help.
The Octy CAN be removed, you just need to turn the fuel "OFF" every time you park. The reason for the octy was to use vacuum to turn fuel off and on so you didn't have to turn off the taps, and yeah, it's called an octy for a reason!
You will probably find broken wires at the pickup coils, under the left crank cover. My guess is that was the reason for parking the bike. The brakes MAY get by without kits for the calipers, but their not that much and worth replacing the "O" ring seal. Do not forget to CLEAN and SCRAPE the caliper inside the seal grove! Sticking brakes are usually from the aluminum oxidizing and pushing against the "O" ring.
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  #3  
Old 07-08-2016, 03:19 PM
motoman motoman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DiverRay View Post
Pictures need to be from a host site, Photobucket, etc, and linked to this site using the img tag.
The Special wasn't really the bike people cafe'd in the day, but I can understand going with what you got.
DO NOT BUY CARB KITS!! They are all K&L, and DO NOT WORK PROPERLY. Usually all you need are new needle/seats, and in your case probably jets and you want it ALL to be Mikuni, nothing else! Read through the threads on carb rebuilds and it will help.
The Octy CAN be removed, you just need to turn the fuel "OFF" every time you park. The reason for the octy was to use vacuum to turn fuel off and on so you didn't have to turn off the taps, and yeah, it's called an octy for a reason!
You will probably find broken wires at the pickup coils, under the left crank cover. My guess is that was the reason for parking the bike. The brakes MAY get by without kits for the calipers, but their not that much and worth replacing the "O" ring seal. Do not forget to CLEAN and SCRAPE the caliper inside the seal grove! Sticking brakes are usually from the aluminum oxidizing and pushing against the "O" ring.
As Ray stated,'broken wires at the pickup coils', means broken wire is under its insulation. Using two hands, try to pul each wire apart. If the insulation stretches in an area, you found the internal wire break. Since the advance assembly has movement with rotation, the connecting wires get fatigued over time and use......common issue with the XS11's.
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Old 07-09-2016, 04:37 AM
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HalfCentury HalfCentury is offline
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Welcome. You came to the right place. This site is incredible.

My first wrenching bike was an XJ650 which I did carbs, valve clearances, tuning, brake master cylinder, etc. We share the smaller XJ bike experince.

I just cleaned my XJ1100 carbs which are the same as your carbs. I replaced nothing. Every piece was in great condition and just needed a thorough inspection. I used 12-string guitar strings to probe all of the jet openings. Different guitar strings for the different size openings.

I bought xj1100 bowl gaskets just in case I needed them.

My XJ650 needed bowl gaskets but needed nothing inside the carbs. I ran the XJ650 for 4 years after the carb cleaning and tuning and the bike always started and ran beautifully in every kind of weather down to 10 degrees F.

Do the valve clearances while you have the carbs off.

I recommend also taking the tank off and replacing all of the old rubber brake lines with new stainless brake lines.

Your master cylinders should be disassembled and thoroughly cleaned and replace the soft parts as needed. The calipers should also all be disassembled, cleaned and replace soft parts as needed.

I also bought new intake manifold boots and will have those fitted before the carbs go back on the bike.

Cheers!
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  #5  
Old 07-09-2016, 05:28 AM
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kboehringer kboehringer is offline
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A strong suggestion.... ONE STEP AT A TIME!

Quote:
Originally Posted by JMilliken View Post
but i still want to keep that XS feel to it too. I also want to keep it period-correct. I want it to be like someone bought it in '79 and Cafe'd it before putting a mile on it.
JMilliken,
I would like to make some strong suggestions for your "Cafe Build".
  1. Make a list of the features you would like on this machine BEFORE you start.
  2. DRAW your vision of this machine when done. Use crayons if you must but photoshop is a great placed to start.
  3. Decide if you want to drive this bike only close to home for a few miles here and there or if you expect to drive further. Some of the Cafe bikes I have seen would be both uncomfortable and unsafe for anything more than a ride around the block.
  4. REVIEW every bike design/photo you can to see what looks good to you and what you don't like too. Don't worry about copying another guy's idea. He should be flattered!
  5. Start in ONE location not ten. Get that mod done, then move to location #2. Most of the "Parts Bikes" we see on Craigslist are guys that went NUTS making their "Cafe" bike and turned the machine into a pile of crap. Think of how a mod will effect other systems.... My cool shorty from fender allowed water to be slung up under the tank fritzing the coils. I didn't see that coming! I've now made another deflector (can't be seen in photo) to avoid this in the future.
  6. Measure and check your plan SEVERAL times BEFORE you cut anything.
  7. SAVE EVERY PART you remove until you are 100% done and the bike is drivable on a daily basis. Don't trash, trade, sell or dispose of ANYTHING! You might realize you need something that you didn't realize you needed!
Here's a pic of mine. It's probably not the TYPICAL "Cafe". I like to think of it more as a "Modified XS11". I think it retains most of the FLAVOR of the XS11. I proceeded like I suggested above ONE-STEP-AT-A-TIME. This weekend I will hopefully finish a custom tank which is the next SINGLE STEP in my process. This bike is completely reliable, comfortable, and period correct as you desire. I am about to drive it over to work 35 miles away.



Hopefully that helps....

KURT
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1970 - CT70K0 - Mini-Trail
1979 - XS1100SF - Pensacola
1980 - XS1100SG - The Duck
1980 - XS1100SG - Mayberry Duck
1981 - XS1100SH - DEAD Duck Café
1981 - XJ550 Maxim - Nancy's Mini-Max
1982 - XJ650 SECA - Hurricane
1992 - FZR1000 - Genesis
2016 - FJR1300A - Montgomery
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  #6  
Old 07-09-2016, 03:40 PM
JMilliken JMilliken is offline
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I got a plan...

Well, I kind of have to build it the way I want to, I can't really take it one step at a time. Front forks are pitted, rear shocks are questionable, brakes are seized, the throttle doesn't even turn. What I do know is that I got a good frame, carbs, motor and electrics... Everything else is shot. It's a perfect candidate for a build, and I don't have to worry about trashing a restoration candidate.

I'm digesting the carb reading, and it's not too bad. I have a couple random questions

Are 79 standard and special tanks interchangable?

Are 79 standard and special seats interchangable?

Does anyone have any recommended jetting changes to start with pods?
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  #7  
Old 07-09-2016, 07:52 PM
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jetmechmarty jetmechmarty is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMilliken View Post
Are 79 standard and special tanks interchangable?
Yes.....and no. The standard tank fits on the Special frame. It won't fit with the Special seat and yes, I know you don't care. The petcocks don't interchange. The standard has vacuum petcocks. Bolt spacing is the same as similar vintage XS650, so aftermarket manual units are available. Also, the standard has a float fuel level transmitter and the Special has a thermistor.

Quote:
Are 79 standard and special seats interchangable?
No, not really. They're made to fit with their respective tanks, side covers, and ecu positioning.
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  #8  
Old 07-13-2016, 12:27 PM
JMilliken JMilliken is offline
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Can I swap the fuel sender and gauges to get fuel level, or is there more needed?
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Old 07-13-2016, 12:52 PM
JMilliken JMilliken is offline
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Ok, so I figured out I'm going to do an old school vintage cafe style build. This is #4 I'm working on, and I'm quite sick of doing everything mostly factory. It's boring actually. I want something daily rider and show quality. I don't really care how long it takes either, I want to do it all exactly how I want it.

I found a place that can do new cafe style seats to fit most any bike, and I think I'm going to try that.

Before all that, I need to do the carbs to just confirm 100% that everything is good. And by confirm 100% that everything is good, I mean go out in the driveway and nuke the rear tire.
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Old 07-17-2016, 01:59 PM
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madmax-im madmax-im is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMilliken View Post
Well, I kind of have to build it the way I want to, I can't really take it one step at a time. Front forks are pitted, rear shocks are questionable, brakes are seized, the throttle doesn't even turn. What I do know is that I got a good frame, carbs, motor and electrics... Everything else is shot. It's a perfect candidate for a build, and I don't have to worry about trashing a restoration candidate.

I'm digesting the carb reading, and it's not too bad. I have a couple random questions

Are 79 standard and special tanks interchangable?

Are 79 standard and special seats interchangable?

Does anyone have any recommended jetting changes to start with pods?
Good luck with that...............
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Old 07-17-2016, 03:09 PM
motoman motoman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HalfCentury View Post
Welcome. You came to the right place. This site is incredible.

My first wrenching bike was an XJ650 which I did carbs, valve clearances, tuning, brake master cylinder, etc. We share the smaller XJ bike experince.

I just cleaned my XJ1100 carbs which are the same as your carbs. I replaced nothing. Every piece was in great condition and just needed a thorough inspection. I used 12-string guitar strings to probe all of the jet openings. Different guitar strings for the different size openings.

I bought xj1100 bowl gaskets just in case I needed them.

My XJ650 needed bowl gaskets but needed nothing inside the carbs. I ran the XJ650 for 4 years after the carb cleaning and tuning and the bike always started and ran beautifully in every kind of weather down to 10 degrees F.

Do the valve clearances while you have the carbs off.

I recommend also taking the tank off and replacing all of the old rubber brake lines with new stainless brake lines.

Your master cylinders should be disassembled and thoroughly cleaned and replace the soft parts as needed. The calipers should also all be disassembled, cleaned and replace soft parts as needed.

I also bought new intake manifold boots and will have those fitted before the carbs go back on the bike.

Cheers!
The carbs are NOT the same......same in looks to a certian degree. idle mixture screws(78-79 not recessed, 80-XJ recessed, different configured metering rods and numbered/lettered differently, 78-79 has cross-over tunnel,80-XJ don't, main jets sizing is different on 80-81(XJ mains/metering rods different yet), floats different(78-79 brass,80-XJ fiber floats......that's just a start of differences.
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  #12  
Old 07-22-2016, 05:53 PM
JMilliken JMilliken is offline
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I opened up the carbs and found that one float pillar is broken and held on with what looks like jb weld or something similar. The PO (a good friend) never had the carbs off, let alone apart.... So I guess Im just going to leave it.

I swapped out the bars with a spare set of XJ700 bars (they worked perfectly), and mocked up where I want the rearsets to go. It fits nicely, looks good, and actually seems to be more comfortable to me than the stock setup. (i got long legs)

I got a whole list of parts I want... Progressive springs (front + rear) dyna coils, ballistic evo2 battery, now all I need is money....
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Old 07-22-2016, 08:18 PM
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jetmechmarty jetmechmarty is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMilliken View Post
I opened up the carbs and found that one float pillar is broken and held on with what looks like jb weld or something similar. The PO (a good friend) never had the carbs off, let alone apart.... So I guess Im just going to leave it.

That might be a bad idea. If it is, in fact, JB Weld, the repair is going to fail. It happened to me and led to a fire. It happened at home and my daughter, quick with a fire extinguisher, saved the bike. I had the post welded. Do that or replace the carburetor body. Don't leave it.
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Old 07-22-2016, 08:34 PM
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TopCatGr58 TopCatGr58 is offline
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DITTO,

JB Weld is not designed for continuous emersion in FUEL, and it dissolves...happened to me as well! Do a search for repair broken float post, you'll find several techniques, from just drilling some holes in the body and post and securing it with SS wire, to drilling into the post, tapping it, and threading a substitute post into the body, etc.!

T.C.
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Old 07-23-2016, 04:45 PM
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You might just find that a single post will work OK with that carb. They usually break at one of the pivot pins and they are a very tight fit.
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