Cafe Racer Newfoundland Style

xjbikes 83 SECA 650 Cafe ProjectMost of my posts are about me and what I have been doing. While they are typically motorcycle and XJ650 related sometimes they are more of a rant to keep me out of the clock tower with the bottle of Southern Comfort and the high powered Italian assault rifle.

I go through pretty much every motorcycle website that has anything to do with Yamaha Maxims and Secas. Recently, I checked out a build page titled "83 SECA 650 Cafe Project". I have seen some nice rebuilds and some crappy ones but never one that deserved to be praised publicly, until now. When I clicked on the link the first picture I saw was this (the before shot):

Elvis' Cafe Racer

xjbikes 81 XJ650 Maxim Cafe Racer on Sibenik Castle CroatiaThis has got to be one of my favorite motorcycles. Mainly because it's mine. But also because I know that no detail was overlooked in the building of this custom Yamaha XJ650 Maxim Cafe Racer. This bike was built for a 'round the world trip starting in Europe. The entire bike was stripped down to the frame and built up from scratch.

Reliability was the number one priority when this project began. The exhaust has been ceramic coated, the carbs fully disassembled and balanced, and the engine rebuild from the crank up. To conserve the charging system the OEM tail light and turn signals were replaced with LED lights.

Silver Surfer

xj650 blog 1983 Silver Special XJ650 Maxim frontThis is a 1983 XJ650 Maxim Special. This bike is pretty close to stock with the exception of the silver upholstery on the seat. This motorcycle was exported from the United States to England back in 1989.

Rhymes with Orange

I spend far to much time searching the Internet for anything to do with Yamaha XJ650 motorcycles. My love for this motorcycle is obsessive. I come across pictures of these beautiful bikes all the time and I've seen a lot of custom builds. Some good, some bad, and some ugly.

Here's a rebuild that really caught my eye. The builder's attention to detail really stands out on this motorcycle. Notice the custom battery cover and license plate holder. The frame and rims are painted to match and rear fender has been modified to accept a custom rear brake light and turn signals.

This is one awesome ride.

xj650 blog Custom Orange 1981 XJ650 Maxim Front View

xj650 blog Custom Orange 1981 XJ650 Maxim Front View

xj650 blog Custom Orange 1981 XJ650 Maxim Front View

I never thought I could like orange this much but it really stands out on this 1981 XJ650 Maxim

HOW TO: Install an aftermarket fuse box

This is a How-To on replacing the oem fuse box with a more reliable aftermarket ATO-style fuse box. Before we get started, we'll need to collect a few pieces. We'll need a fuse box. I picked mine up from the CARQUEST store where I work. It's a reboxed Littelfuse brand going by the part number 350417BP

xj650 blog Littlefuse 5 gang fuse box

In addition, you'll need a couple of mounting screws (8x1"), electrical tape, a couple zip-ties, a box of female insulated spade terminals, and fuses (ATO10 amp x 3 & ATO20 amp x 1).

Tools? Phillips Screwdriver and Wire Cutters/Crimpers/Strippers.

Okay... Ready? Here we go. Let's meet the patient:

xj650 blog My wife's '82 XJ650J Maxim

My wife's '82 XJ650J Maxim.

Here are the steps...
1. Remove Seat.
2. Remove Right-Hand Access Cover exposing battery.
3. Disconnect battery.
4. Unscrew old fuse block.

xj650 blog Yamaha XJ650 OEM Fusebox

5. Note fuse sizes and wire colors.

xj650 blog Yamaha XJ650 OEM Fusebox Diagram

6. Pry open metal wire retainer ring at the base of oe fuse box.

xj650 blog Yamaha fuse box wire retainer

7. Place zip-ties around left- and right-hand wire bundles and unwrap tape.
8. Cut wires at crimp joints.
9. Take new fuse box and position it for mounting, making sure all the wires will reach their respective terminals.
10. Strip wires and install female insulated spade terminals.

xj650 blog Yamaha fuse box wires prepared

11. Tape wires bundles and attach terminals to fuse box.
12. Using the two #8x1" screws, mount the fuse box.

xj650 blog Yamaha fuse box with wires and fuses installed

13. Install fuses and dust cap.

xj650 blog Yamaha fuse box complete

14. Reconnect the battery.
15. Install side cover and seat.

That's it. You're done!

(Editor's Note) It occurs to me that if you have a tool caddy you'll want to make sure you allow room for it

xj650 blog Yamaha fuse box complete next to tool caddy

Notice how I've bent the spades a little to make the connections a little more convenient. I still need to label the fuses. From left to right, they're 10A IGNITION, 10A SIGNAL, 10A HEAD L., and 20A MAIN.

(Written by Don Bangert Author of several How-To's and the blog, The Path Less Traveled.)

HOW TO: Install a fuel filter

For those who've requested a "How-To" on installing a fuel filter, here you go. This one's actually pretty easy. I had mine installed in about ten minutes. That includes the time it took to take pictures and notes. The fuel filter we'll be installing is a Primeline part number 7-02357.

xj650 blog Fuel Filter
You should be able to pick one up at any CARQUEST or NAPA auto parts store (Note: NAPA sells it under the Balkamp# 740-1158). You may even be able to find one in you local hardware store. Look in their small engine department (think: lawnmower). You'll also need a couple of clamps, a pair of cutters, a flat-headed screwdriver (for prying), and a 12mm wrench.

We'll be working on my 1981 Yamaha XJ650 Maxim...

xj650 blog 1981 Yamaha XJ650 Maxim
Here are the steps...

1. Remove the Seat.
2. Loosen and remove the Retaining Bolt at the rear of the Fuel Tank using a 12mm wrench.

xj650 blog loosen fuel tank retaining bolt
3. Turn Fuel Selector Valve to "On".
4. Remove the Fuel and Vacuum Hoses from the Fuel Petcock.

xj650 blog petcock fuel and vacuum lines
5. Remove and set aside the Fuel Tank.
6. Cut the Fuel Hose in an appropriate location for your new Fuel Filter.

xj650 blog cut fuel lines
7. Install the Fuel Filter with two new clamps.
8. Re-install the Fuel Tank but don't install the Retaining Bolt.
9. Lift up on the rear of the Fuel Tank and carefully re-install the Fuel and Vacuum Hoses.

xj650 blog cut fuel filter installed
10. Re-install the Retaining Bolt and Seat.

That's it. You're done!

(Yes, I know... I forgot to get hose clamps. I'll put 'em on later.)

(Written by Don Bangert Author of several How-To's and the blog, The Path Less Traveled.)

HOW TO: Clean the Enrichment Circuit Well

Do you have a bike that won't start when cold no matter how much choke you give it? Does it take a bit of starting fluid to get it to spring to life? Does it then start right up after it has warmed up? It sounds to me like you've got a plugged Enrichment Circuit Well and it needs to be cleaned.

Where are we going to find the Enrichment Circuit Well? Unfortunately, it's located in the fuel bowl which means--yes, you guessed it--the carbs have to come off to clean them. So, pick a nice rainy day when you wouldn't have gone riding anyway and let's get to it. Besides, the first time you hit that starter button after the cleaning has been done and the bike starts right up, you'll be glad you did it.

You're going to need a couple of tools to complete this task. There are people who sell extra long drill bit for reaching down and clearing out the Starter Jet at the bottom of the well. I personally used the smallest rod from a cutting torch tip cleaning set. I laid it against a grinding wheel to make a long tapered tip. (If you do this, be very careful with it. It's like a very long needle.) Aerosol carb cleaner is a must, too. Something with the little plastic nozzle on the can, too. I'd recommend filling the well with the carb cleaner and letting it sit to soak for an hour or so before you get after it.

Now to the Enrichment Circuit. After you remove the carbs and their fuel bowls, you'll notice a brass tube sticking up (down) from the bottom of the carb body. This tube extends down into a well. This is what we are after. When you apply choke, a valve up above opens and pulls fuel up from this well to enrich the fuel/air mixture entering the engine. This enriched state is what helps get the bike started when it is cold. If the passage way into the well becomes plugged, fuel won't fill the well and you won't be able to start the bike with out adding some fuel from an external source (starter fluid).

That said, here is an overhead shot of what a typical Hitachi fuel bowl looks like and where we'll be concentrating our cleaning efforts:
xjbikes blog Enrichment Circuit Well
The upper port bisects the well at about a 45° angle. Fuel from the bowls flows into the lower portion of the well from the fuel bowl. Due to this downward angle, sediment and crud tends to collect at the bottom of this drilled boss. Here's another sectional view to help you better "see" how these two holes intersect. (Note: this picture depicts what I "imagine" they look like. I've not cut one in two to find out for sure.)
xjbikes blog Fuel Bowl Cross Sectional View
With your tool, you'll want to carefully probe and remove any obstructions in these two passages. You can use the carb spray to help flush debris out of the hole, too. The acid test to know if you've got it properly cleaned is to place the straw from the carb cleaner can up tight against the passage leading into the well and spray fluid into the hole.

xjbikes blog Use Eye ProtectionIf you've done a good job cleaning, carb cleaner will literally spray out the well in a stream about ten feet. It has to be in a stream--like from a squirt gun--to be considered cleaned.
Oh, and remember while doing this...

(Editor's Note: Always wear eye protection when doing any kind of mechanical work. Follow safe shop practices and keep your work area clean. When working with solvents always make sure your room is well ventilated and you wear proper respiratory protection.)

xjbikes blog Use Eye Protection
Here's a picture I showing a properly cleaned well using a bright pen light.

But, remember, the Enrichment Circuit Well is only half the Enrichment Circuit. While you're at it, you might as well finish the job by making sure the tube that drops into the well is also clear. Once you're satisfied you've done a good job, put her back together and be amazed at how easily your bike will start.


(Written by Don Bangert Author of several How-To's and the blog, The Path Less Traveled.)