xl350 build : part 1

My Name is Trevor and I am a friend of Andy. I watched Andy prepare for and complete this ride last year and decided it looked too fun not to do myself. I'm not a "motorcycle guy", I've never owned a road going motorcycle, and I don't have a motorcycle license. But it looks like I still have several months.

So, I bought a combo deal about a month and a half ago- one 82 XR500 and two XL350s, all for $950. I sold the XR500 for $400 and some drywall work after it ate my favorite shorts. The leftover XL pile was torn down and the best parts chosen. I went with the '74 model as it was kind of a runner and had a title. Biggest problems were the incorrect head causing the need for the extra long fitting collage of an intake and the totally fried valve train that probably was a result of a completely clogged oil screen. Strange, somebody had just built this engine, I mean it was squeaky clean inside with new gaskets, seals, and piston,
but whatever. K, so I swapped around the rear shocks and springs to get the height and damping I could get from the pile-o-parts, put new seals and oil in the forks, added a chinese socket to each fork for spacing to eradicate some of the plushness, swapped the front wheel for one with good bearings, swapped for '76 brakes, and went through my speedo and tach (they were stuck on 0 with old stiff grease). That was the first weekend. I had much help from friends. So, at my next opportunity I tore the top and sides of the engine down to swap my center port head for the correct side port head. My donor head was pretty rough, having spent some time in someones yard growing moss. A friend bead-blasted and hot-tanked it and after grinding the seats it was good to go. Next step- a quiet evening cleaning up the bowls and ports. Came out good. Installed head, went through engine looking for trouble, stripped, painted reassembled, found a bad advancer (dunno what its called- you know the weights and springs doohicky) anyways it was all stuck together as it happens so I disassembled, soaked in chem-dip and greased and put back together. Fired up last weekend- broke in cam, adjusted cam chain tension, rode twelve miles, smiled like monkey, rode wheelies 1st and 2nd, puked oil out breather doing that, froze cause I forgot jacket, and liked doing all of that. So I still have some moneys left and parts to sell so doing OK, but have wiring issues and paint and body yet to deal with. We'll see. It's a scary POS, but getting better fast. Thanks for putting together such a COOL idea. I'll get back to you.


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