HOW TO---Bring a sitting bike back to life!
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Thread: HOW TO---Bring a sitting bike back to life!

  1. #1
    Senior Member GaryL's Avatar
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    HOW TO---Bring a sitting bike back to life!

    HOW TO---Bring a sitting bike back to life!

    This is by no means the end all do all of resurrecting a TW that was left stored for months or years but it should get things up and running if you follow a few steps of this process.

    How long the bike was in storage and how it was stored to begin with has everything to do with how much work you must do and how careful you will want to be.

    I will try to describe a common barn find TW that will take a lot of work to bring back to life because it got parked with a half tank of ethanol fuel and just shoved over in a corner to sit and rot.

    Step Number 1 and don't even try to start it! The battery is dead or gone and kicking the kicker before you remove the plug and squirt in some much needed oil will only cause further damage that should be avoided. Ask if the bike was running before it got stored and hope the seller is telling you the truth.

    When you get it home and to your shop the very first thing is to remove the tank and carb and put them aside for inspection and cleaning. Remove the spark plug and squirt the cylinder with a lubricant such as Marvel Mystery oil or some other dino based oil and allow it to sit. Dump out the oil in the crank case and remove the filter and inspect the oil that comes out for rust, water and metal particles. If it looks clean and not milky then you are ahead of the game. Get fresh oil and filters for a couple of changes to begin with.

    Remove the chain and inspect the sprockets. If there is rust or wear then replace them rather than try to bring them back.

    Open the tank and inspect it for rust after you dump the nasty fuel and remove the petcock for cleaning. OH, BTW, there will be rust and plenty of gunk in this tank so be prepared. There are many DIY threads here on cleaning up a rusty tank depending upon how bad it really is. I have brought back a very nasty tank to usable condition but it is no easy or inexpensive process so a good used tank or after market replacement might be a better option. Clean or replace the petcock.

    The carburetor is probably trash but some can be brought back. A new one is around $250 or some here have had good results completely disassembling the entire carb and soaking it in fluid or cooking it in an ultrasonic cleaner and making sure that all passages are clear by running thin wires through them. Buy a rebuild kit that has all new parts for that particular carb. Yamaha does not make an actual rebuild kit but sells all the parts piece by piece and very costly. After market sellers have put together rebuild kits and I have heard results ranging from good to horrible so buyer be ware. Keyster comes to mind and I threw it all out and went to all OEM parts. New carbs are a simple bolt on and go.

    Back to the engine and cylinder walls. Now that the oil you sprayed in has loosened up any rust that might have formed you can slowly use the kicker to get the piston moving. You could also remove the inspection plug on the left side case and turn the 17MM bolt counter clockwise for a few full revolutions. If the piston won't move you are screwed and the engine is seized. That is another much deeper issue.

    After the tank is all cleaned up or replaced and the petcock is the same and the new lines are attached to the new or rebuilt clean carb you might want to have an in line fuel filter to catch any remaining crud before it gets to the carb.

    Before you install the tank and carb you will want to remove the air filter and clean and oil it. Check the entire air box for mouse houses they love to build in there. Check the air box to carb boot to make sure it is not cracked or shrunk as they usually are. Any air leaking around the two boots will cause bad running so make sure they are good to reuse.

    Get a fresh battery and check to make sure the main fuse in the electrical side cover compartment is not burnt. It might be a good idea to spray some graphite lock lubricant in to the key switch and work the key in and out to lube up the tumblers and pins. Same for the fuel cap and helmet lock. Once you are ready with the battery installed check all the lights and safety switches. The front brake lever and clutch lever have switches as does the kick stand, rear brake and the neutral light. Make sure they all work and the headlight, blinkers and the idiot light panel all have life. There is a rats nest of wires beneath the headlight and this is a common spot to find disconnected or corroded connectors if you have lights or switches not working.

    If all goes well it is now time to install the tank, carb, fresh oil and filter and pray she roars to life. You can expect lots of smoking at first while the oil you sprayed in the cylinder that ended up in the exhaust burns off. You can expect to need the choke out for a while while it warms up and I would not expect a new or rebuilt carb to be correctly adjusted out of the box. Lots of carb threads here to tackle those issues. You got it running and one step closer to a ride.

    Check and lubricate all the cables for clutch, brakes, speedo and throttle. Adjust the brakes so you are sure they work and don't need replacing. Install new chain and sprockets and most important toss the old and hard rubber and get new tires you can trust. Any tire older than 6-8 years is subject to hard rubber and failure and could be deadly.

    I am sure there are things I missed so feel free to add what you think needs to be here.

    Once you get the bike running, carb adjusted and take a maiden voyage with all systems functioning I would go around 100 miles and change the oil and filter a second time. I am rather anal but oil is cheep and engines are real expensive. Use only oil that specifically states for use in motorcycles with wet clutches. I would also have adjusted the valves and cam chain tension and replaced the front fork oil and seals if they were leaking.

    The TW is a rather simple bike but they don't do well when neglected or are not properly adjusted in every way. If you followed these steps you now have an intimate relationship with your new to you TW and should be able to tackle just about any issues short of major internal engine repairs. You did just spend a boat load of money if you did things right and rebuilt and replaced all that I mentioned. Happy trails!

    My 1988 was this exact bike with 1901 miles on the clock and in horrible neglected condition. It is now as good as new with all new and rebuilt parts and I am totally confident it lives to ride another ten years or much more with some basic maintenance. I just received the Vermont registration and plates because the PO screwed up and signed the existing title in the wrong place. NY DMV told me to go pound salt while Vermont does not require or issue titles for bikes over 15 years old or under 300 CC.

    GaryL
    Last edited by GaryL; 01-02-2015 at 07:18 PM.
    Be Decisive! Right or Wrong just make a decision. ​ The road of life is paved with flat squirrels that couldn't make a decision.

    Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
    If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.

    1987 Yamaha BW350 Big Wheel
    2017 Snowdog Track sled tow motor for ice fishing
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Borneo's Avatar
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    Nice work GaryL.
    Twelve rules will get you through life with style.
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    Senior Member ssgtrillium's Avatar
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    That sir is exatly what I am doing and almost finished with.The only thing I would add is to check/lube and or replace the steering head bearing and grease the swing arm.I wish I had read this a month ago.

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    Senior Member jbfla's Avatar
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    Glad you had to time to do this!



    jb
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    Senior Member joeband's Avatar
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    thanks for the informative piece, this will help save many a future neglected tdub. the pics of your '89 show just what can be done.
    1994 TW226- 6spd. 10w-40 synthetic, XTHidden Content , XT225 stainless header, +2" Joemama swingarm, lizrd cooler, +20% fork springs, +25% rear spring, 2001 speedo w/ trip odo, pro taper atv bars, bark busters, shinko 241 front tire, front fender w/ mr bracket bracket, Hidden Content , o-ring chain, ricochet skid plate, Hidden Content , XT225 rear brake cam lever, folding-tip shifter, cycle rack, kolpin 1.5 aux tank & 1450 pelican case. Hidden Content or Hidden Content

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    Senior Member fishguy's Avatar
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    He is right. Especially on:

    A new carb is only $250.00. If you want to ride, rather than rebuild a carb. Buy one. Sell the old one here ($100.00?).

    Old Tires Kill -- especially the originally crappy OEM front tire. Get new ones.

    Add an in-line fuel filter. It seems like such a small thing but the screens in the tank are fragile and WILL break someday. A clear in-line filter will catch the crud and, at the same time, indicate when a failure occurs.

    In my opinion, these bikes are almost as much fun to work on as to ride. My 1995 reminds me of the old days when the Model A Fords, VW Bugs, '57 Chevy's, and Hodakas HAD to be tweeked and maintained, constantly. I like the new low maintenance trucks, cars, and bikes but I honor the Zen required to keep ridin' old school.
    Mel and wolfy like this.

  8. #7
    Junior Member Archoo's Avatar
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    I'm slowly making mine streetable after seven years of dis-use.

    So far, in order:
    Oil change
    New spark plug
    New gas tank(Clarke)
    Petcock
    Carb
    Front brake
    Front brake cable
    ALL new exhaust(DG with 225 stainless header, wrapped)

    It will not idle without the choke on. Carb needs tuning(suggestions appreciated)
    Haven't touched the rear brake yet and I'm going to be ordering a no-ring chain with sprockets soon.
    I also have new fork seals and oil but that can wait till I get it running right.

    Fun project.

  9. #8
    Senior Member GaryL's Avatar
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    Just a bump back up for a few new members with stored bikes who are just getting started.

    GaryL
    Be Decisive! Right or Wrong just make a decision. ​ The road of life is paved with flat squirrels that couldn't make a decision.

    Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
    If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.

    1987 Yamaha BW350 Big Wheel
    2017 Snowdog Track sled tow motor for ice fishing
    Kubota BX2370 Subcompact tractor with snow blower
    Wilderness System Ride 115 fishing Kayaks

  10. #9
    Junior Member tripleoats's Avatar
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    Would love to read your guide GaryL.... I don't know why you took it down, but I would appreciate reading your advice.

  11. #10
    rbm
    rbm is offline
    Senior Member rbm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GaryL View Post
    Sorry all, my contributions are no longer appreciated here.

    GaryL
    Sorry you feel this way, this was a great tutorial.

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