Newly Acquired '78 XT500

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by BradyD, Nov 21, 2012.

  1. BradyD

    BradyD n00b

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2012
    Oddometer:
    7
    Location:
    Maryland
    Hi all -

    New member here. Just scored a pair of '78 XT500s that have been sitting in my uncle's basement since 1993 (one is a running parts bike, the other is really nice). Neither has run in 19 years, but were stored properly (drained gas, etc), so I'm hoping the nice one will fire up without much of a hassle. Still need to learn and master the old "big thumper" starting procedure. Looking forward to being a member!

    Brady

    Pic:

    [​IMG]
    #1
  2. Sic Semper Tyrannis

    Sic Semper Tyrannis Plays with Banjos, Boats and Bikes...

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Oddometer:
    852
    Location:
    RVa
    VERY NICE!!!

    Enjoy it. Very fun bike to ride.

    The starting dance is worth learning.
    #2
  3. SixGunz

    SixGunz Proud ADV Papa

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1
    Location:
    Albuquerque, NM
    #3
  4. Dubl-A

    Dubl-A SuckerDucker

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,859
    Location:
    505
    Starting is not bad at all...

    Pull the compression lever in, kick starter down half way, let compression lever go and kick stater go back to normal position, then FULL kick down. Try it a few times, you'll get it.

    We had a 77' and a 78' kick ass bikes!!!

    Check out this scene they used the XT in Haha
    <iframe width="640" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/JofYQRbl1YY?feature=player_detailpage" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
    #4
  5. BradyD

    BradyD n00b

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2012
    Oddometer:
    7
    Location:
    Maryland
    Thanks. I tired starting it for about 20 minutes last weekend with no luck, but all I did was throw gas in it. No battery either, but that shouldn't affect the bike's ability to run (since it's a mag bike). I'm going to put the new points, condenser, and spark plug in and see how it goes this afternoon.
    #5
  6. Dubl-A

    Dubl-A SuckerDucker

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,859
    Location:
    505
    No problem, they are screamers! Good luck :thumb
    #6
  7. Sic Semper Tyrannis

    Sic Semper Tyrannis Plays with Banjos, Boats and Bikes...

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Oddometer:
    852
    Location:
    RVa
    Wish it were that easy.

    my method.

    Normal temps:

    Compression release (CR) in. Kick it through a few times to prime it. CR released and kick slow until you get a FIRM kickstarter, CR in and push maybe an inch. CR out and let lever come all the way up and snap it through all the way to the bottom. NO gas, don't hesitate.

    If cool you can use the enrichner during the prime part but turn it off when you go to start it.

    If it is really being a bitch I will crank the idle up a turn or two.

    New plug makes a HUGE difference.
    #7
  8. Av8rPaul

    Av8rPaul Have bike will travel

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2008
    Oddometer:
    661
    Location:
    Ruhenstroth, NV
    THIS IS THE ONLY CORRECT WAY TO START YOUR XT500!!:D

    From an SR500 owner....

    Push the kickstarter through until it's on compression. Pull the compression release and look into the viewing window on the right side of the cylinder head and then push the kickstarter until the silver dot appears in the window. Choke and crack throttle as necessary and give it a boot. Easy start every time.
    #8
  9. stevemd

    stevemd Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2012
    Oddometer:
    89
    Location:
    Mid-Maryland
    That's how my '76 and '78 started. Never had any issue starting either. Of course that was back when I was in my late '20's.

    #9
  10. Dubl-A

    Dubl-A SuckerDucker

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,859
    Location:
    505
    I guess its hit or miss on procedure. We've started both bikes for years in high (colder) desert elevation with absolutely no problems using the method I mentioned. Bikes were used from 77/78 all the way up to 06 before finally replacing.

    OP, use the easiest method that works
    #10
  11. Sic Semper Tyrannis

    Sic Semper Tyrannis Plays with Banjos, Boats and Bikes...

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Oddometer:
    852
    Location:
    RVa
    SR 500 has accelerator pump. XT's don't....different beast to start.

    Go ahead crack that throttle open...then you can learn about kick backs.
    #11
  12. McB

    McB Joe 40 ouncer

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2005
    Oddometer:
    15,473
    Location:
    North Slope of the Flint Hills
    I read that once in a manual or something. Never looked at the window, though. Guess I always started my SR the incorrect way. Now you tell me.
    #12
  13. RED CAT

    RED CAT Bumpy Backroader

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2005
    Oddometer:
    3,444
    Location:
    Western Canada
    You need the battery to start it. Had a 76 and a 78 TT500 back in the day.
    #13
  14. DESERT SCORPION

    DESERT SCORPION SINGLE TRACK

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    147
    Location:
    SINGLE TRACK IN THE WOODS
    I had a 77 TT500. It didn't even have a battery, but it started up pretty well with the drills described above. I'm pretty sure my XT500 used the same ignition, but it had a puny battery to run the street legal auxilliary equipment. It is important to do the ignition off priming kicks, then the compression bleed off before the actual start. Because the ignition is magneto fired, the faster you execute the starting kick, the better spark you will have. I do remember some spectacular kickbacks if you deviate from this ritual.

    THE SCORPION
    #14
  15. plugeye

    plugeye unforgiven

    Joined:
    May 11, 2007
    Oddometer:
    4,884
    Location:
    Garland, Texas
    the stock XT500 carb, mikuni VM32SS DOES have an acc pump
    #15
  16. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2006
    Oddometer:
    13,850
    Location:
    chico,just below rag dump(nor-cal)
    I had a 76 TT back in the day,starting was kind of a bitch. I had a guy time it to stock specs,points were buffed up and checked and then it was an easy starter. That little silver dot comes up in the kickstarting window on valve cover,then ease it past compression,let the lever come back up and give it a firm kick.
    The TT handled like a really big and heavy DT1,forks were bangers and clankers,front end slid at will,I broke the swingarm in half just from riding. But that's how things were back then.
    #16
  17. Sic Semper Tyrannis

    Sic Semper Tyrannis Plays with Banjos, Boats and Bikes...

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Oddometer:
    852
    Location:
    RVa
    I think we are both right. Research shows early bikes had none. Later bikes had a pump.

    I learn something new every day!
    #17
  18. MZRider

    MZRider Neo-Luddite

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2007
    Oddometer:
    790
    Location:
    Western MD
    FWIW, my '77 XT500 has no accelerator pump.

    My starting procedure(YMMV):
    - turn on petcock
    - (when engine is "cold") push down on choke (enricher) lever
    - turn on key
    - pull and hold the compression release lever
    - kick engine over until the shiny bit appears in the window, or if you can't see it because it's dark out and/or there's schmutz covering the window, you should be able to feel a little "nudge" through the compression release lever (if your cable is adjusted correctly).
    - bring the kickstart lever back to the top and kick it through steadily. Don't poke at it or do it half-heartedly - follow through man! :D

    Usually 1 or 2 kicks is all it takes, though it does sometimes punish me for riding other bikes by making me kick 3 or 4 times.
    #18
  19. plugeye

    plugeye unforgiven

    Joined:
    May 11, 2007
    Oddometer:
    4,884
    Location:
    Garland, Texas
    your right, looks like 78 and later have the pump
    #19
  20. yzmaico

    yzmaico Slacker

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2010
    Oddometer:
    320
    Location:
    Seminole, Fla
    I had a '79 500, I always grabbed the top of the front brake master cylinder when starting, so I didn't touch the throttle when kicking starting.
    #20