Okay, so I got the XJ late last year. This meant that I only had about a month of riding before winter and cold weather set in. It's now spring and I have had my first ride again. Overall the bike functioned and looked okay when I bought it, besides a very spongy front brake (which has now been fixed by simply bleeding the brakes) and some other issues. The paint on the plastics looks quite faded though – I think I will start trying to polish it and see how much that helps.
The engine makes a rattling/clattering sound, but only when running low revs, so I haven't been too concerned about it. I'm not sure what is causing it. I only hear it when the engine is idling. Giving it a little throttle or a small pull in the enricher nob and it disappears (the engine sounds smooth once again). It kind of sounds like in this video (not mine) - try not to listen to the exhaust, but the underlying rattling. Perhaps it's difficult to hear if you don't know what you should listen for . Could it be a loose cam chain? I don't think it's the famous clutch rattle, but I'm really not sure what's the cause. Anyway, perhaps I should try and record a video of it, so you guys can have a listen. Besides this sound, the engine seems to be running great, there lots of power and I'm pretty impressed by the 22 km/l (52 mpg) I'm getting. Didn't think it would do so well!
A little hard to start
It's a little hard to start when it has been standing still for a few days. I then have to use the starter for several seconds and if it has been standing for just a few hours i always have to pull out the enricher nob to start it. Actually I almost always have to use the enricher knob (unless just stopping and starting the engine for a short while). I don't know if this is normal, but I think it's a little slower and harder to start than it should be. I am thinking of replacing spark plugs and cleaning carburetors in hope that it will help. Will that make sense or is there other areas I should focus on? But again, once started and warmed up, it runs great!
Oh... and it is leaking a bit of oil. I think it's mainly from the cylinder head gasket and possible also somewhere in the carburetor heating system (european engine oil heated). From when I noticed the first bit of oil on the fins of the motor I guess I have ridden a little over 1000 km (~620 miles). Some oil have disappeared, but I have not had to fill up with extra oil yet. Anyway, I'll be having a mechanic take a look at it. I guess he can take a listen at the engine clatting sound at the same time. And obviously check the valve clearances if he replaces the head gasket.
I won't be having a mechanic do all the things I want to fix. But since I don't have an garage myself and I'm just at motorcycle novice, I'm a little limited in that way. Instead I'll do smaller isolated tasks. My first successful repair was replacing the rear brake light switch. Hardly difficult, but very time consuming, as I couldn't reach the connector without removing the side panel, tail panel and luggage rack with indicators . Some of the next tasks it will take a look at will probably be:
- Rebuild forks with new seals and wipers
- Reupholster seat
- Replace spark plugs
- Replace air filter
- Replace intake manifold seals (all hard and cracked)
- Mount another/bigger luggage rack (will be taking the bike for a 7 day trip in the summer with a friend, so will need to be able to carry extra stuff)
- Build/connect a relay so I can wire up different electricals
- Possibly try do something about the oxidized paint on the front fairing and side covers
- Clean carburettors and synchronize them (but yikes it's a lot of small parts)
- Replace fuel, vacuum and oil (for the heated carburettors) lines (they are a little stiff)
- Fix steering lock, which isn't working at all