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September 9, 2015

Getting the Bikes Running Again

So Jonathan has been helping me to get the 2007 XR650L running again. I was convinced that the bike was missing a carburetor, and the starter. But for some reason, Jonathan wouldn't take "No" for an answer.

I was like..."see...the bike is missing the carburetor...I'm not sure what happened to it..."

Jonathan looks across the bike to find the carb hanging precariously on the other side of the bike. After that, every time we found something missing, I just rummaged around until we found it. And we found everything. Every single missing piece, including the starter, the carburetor, the bracket and the bolts for the starter, the carburetor, all of the hoses, the starter relay, all of the little pieces that go into the battery compartment, everything.

We had two starters. Tested them both, and they both worked fine. So, we picked one, put it on the bike, and then reinstalled the carburetor.

Essentially, Jonathan reinstalled the starter, the carb, the starter relay, etc., while I basically put the plates back on it.

Once we got it all put back together, we drained the old fuel out, put fresh gas in it, put oil in the crank case, oiled the chain, added some brake fluid, and decided to try and start it.

But all it did when we pressed the start button was make a clicking sound. Slowly, it all came back to me.

The problem was with the starter relay. For some reason, I knew what a starter relay was...how it worked....I must have had trouble with this before. That must be the problem.

We left it for the night, and I researched the issue online.

Basically, the shop manual said to hook the hot wire directly to the starter. If the starter turns over, then there's a problem with the starter relay. If the starter doesn't turn over, then there's a problem with the starter.

The starter turned over once in this test, and then refused to function. Slowly, I began to recall that I did have a problem with the starter.

Now, I have recollections of trying to start the bike. I got very good at push-starting the bike and roll-starting the bike. What I recall was that, I'd be going down Telegraph Hill on the bike, then I'd pop the clutch, open the throttle, hit the starter, and hang on. When the starter caught, the bike would stand up on one wheel, and go racing down the hill at breakneck speed.

Very scary.

So, the starter was the problem. We tested the other starter. The other starter worked fine. So, today, we decided to pull the carb, pull the starter, replace the starter, reconnect the carburetor, and see how that worked.

Now, we're like professionals. We can pull the carb and starter and replace them in like 20 minutes or so. Get the starter removed, reinstall the good one, test it, and it works like a champ.

Reinstall the carb, and now we're close to being ready to roll.

Replace the broken clutch handle on the other XL650R. Oil the chains on both bikes. Put some air in the air shocks on my bike, as the forks are a little low. The bike fires right up now. The starter problem is solved. We label the old starter as bad.

The bike fires right up and runs like a scalded dog. Now, we're out riding on the 2 XL650R's. It feels funny to me...it's much lighter than the KTM, and has less power, and vibrates more as it's a single cylinder thumper.

But, it feels fun and light and easy to ride. Jonathan and I ride until dusk, meet Jen at the lake to shoot some Senior pictures, as a herd of elk comes down to Evergreen Lake. Three bulls calling like mad signals the start of the rut.

Beers at Willow Creek, then home in the dark on two XL650R's. Now, if we can just get Mark to go with us...

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 9, 2015 at 9:54 PM


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