Return of the Cafe Racers - $5k Cafe Racer – Engine back together

$5k Cafe Racer – Engine back together

It's been a while since I posted anything about the $5k Cafe Racer project so here's a quick update. I stripped the engine all the way down and gave everything a thorough clean using shitloads of degreser, wire brushes, gasket goo remover and a whole heap of elbow grease. My hands were…


It’s been a while since I posted anything about the $5k Cafe Racer project so here’s a quick update.

I stripped the engine all the way down and gave everything a thorough clean using shitloads of degreser, wire brushes, gasket goo remover and a whole heap of elbow grease. My hands were fucked so I now have a box of disposable gloves that are worth their weight in gold. I decided to leave the clutch and gearbox alone as who ever opened the engine up before seems to have done a pretty good job (fingers crossed). This time round it’s just a clean up job. The one thing I did do was lapped the valves so they sit beautiful and snug in their seats. It’s very easy to do and can make all the difference to the bikes performance.

For anyone working on a Yamaha XS650 here are a few links I found really useful:
Full guide to stripping down and rebuilding a Yamaha XS650 engine
Mikes XS: For all your replacement parts, seals, tools, etc
XS650 tips and tricks guide
A guide to setting the valves on a Yamaha XS650

Once I had everything clean I gave the exterior a couple of coats of heat proof satin black. I opted with paint over bead blasting to minimise cost (plus I love black). I then set about fitting all the new gaskets I got from Mikes XS together with some non-hardening gasket cement and fitted all my new top end fasteners….mmmmm chrome. I will be touching up the areas where the gaskets can be seen for that all-over black look.


Now that I have the bulk of the engine together I am getting quotes on copper plating the engine side covers and the valve inspection covers. I will also be looking at plating the top triple clamp and anything else I think will look slick. Here’s a pic I mocked up to give you an idea of what I hoping for…



I also now have the new carbs which I will be fitting on the bike. The original ones were just way too tired looking and not worth rebuilding.

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