1989 Yamaha XT350

Purchased Yamaha

3/30/17: Been having truck problems lately (adding to a lot of stresses), and with the weather outside warming up I decided to purchase a motorcycle.


It is a 1989 Yamaha XT350 with 2727 miles on it.  Bought it for $1450. Off the line it got 50 miles per gallon and has a tank of 3.17 gallons (2.5 regular and .5 reserved). The original owner was a truck driver who used it to get around town when stopping. The second owner bought it for his son but it was too big. I’m the third owner since 1989 (same age as my brother Sam).


3/31/17:  I went to the DOT Friday morning and passed my motorcycle knowledge test; getting my permit.  While at the DOT I also got my title transfered over to me, new license plate, and registration. Then I went over to AAA and got insured (doing this within an hour, as I used my lunch time hour. It was a pretty quick process unlike California DMV wait times).


4/1/17:  Saturday I went to 5 different motorcycle shops in Mandan on Memorial looking for a good helmet and riding jacket. I found my ideal helmet at the Indian Dealership. I really didn’t want one of those pop up jaws and wanted it to be fixed. This one also has the flip down shade and vents in jaw & dome.


The motorcycle jacket is a Victory brand with built in shoulder and elbow pads. It also had an inner liner that works as a regular jacket when taken out. I took mine out because it was already too warm outside.


I took it for a couple rides between General Conference sessions to get use to it. I’ve noticed if I open the throttle it seems to be losing power around 55-60 mph in 5 & 6th gear (5-7k rpms also in the lower gears). Not super familiar with bikes yet, so opinions are welcome.


I thought the sputtering was caused by lack of fuel and after setting it to reserve I rode home grabbed my wallet (was riding with just my permit, registration, and insurance) and went to the gas station. I had to replace the headlight bulb because only the highbeam was working. Pulled out the bulb and it was the original from 1989 and couldn’t find the same one anywhere. Finally ended up with a similar wattage bulb and modified it slightly with the metal tabs to work.


I’ve ridden about 70 miles since I bought it Thursday night. My goal is to ride it to work this week starting on Monday. I’ve registered for ABATE course the weekend of May 19th. I’ve been on the freeway twice now and as you can see from the picture rode up to Harmon Lake and back.


4/2/17: This thing is ancient (which would mean I am calling myself ancient as I was born in 87), have fun trying to find a replacement. Ended up with a similar wattage bulb and had to modify it with the tabs to keep it in the light.


4/6/17: Quite the morning ride to work, below freezing. Frost on everything.


4/15/17: Learning about my motorcycle by removing the seat to see where everything is.  Corroded battery terminals.  Cleaned them up and but protective red coating around the terminals to prevent future corrosion.

The Yamaha had its first bath.



4/22/17: The sun is coming up earlier.


5/20/17: ABATE Motorcycle training; May 19-21st.


This is the motorcycle (Suzuki 250) I rode for my ABATE course. After completing the course I went down to the DOT and got my motorcycle license.


5/22/17: Prepping the gas tank for paint, by covering the existing decals. Thought about new ones, but they were like $60 on eBay.


What the motorcycle looks like with out the seat or gas tank.

Painted black. I might get some black reflective tape to add to the motorcycle to be more visible at night. White is easier to see, but black looks cooler.


5/23/17: Got an oil filter today, now I can change the oil.


5/25/17: Got a new clutch lever from when I laid down the bike on Saturday. Forgot to take the key out of the gas tank cap after filling up and put in the ignition. Also didn’t pull in the clutch when kick starting it, so it lunged forward and I lost balance falling over with the bike. Only lost a little fuel from the carb overflow and the tip of my clutch lever.


Time to do an oil change.  Looks like it hadn’t been replaced since it came off the production line.  Doesn’t look like the oil filter has been changed since it came off the line in 1989.


Everything back together and oil filter installed. I also fixed the tension on my rear brake.


5/26/17: I was having a wiring problem the other day when my left turn signal stopped working. I stripped down the bike and found the switch had a bad connection and the next day my lights started having problems.


Light removed for better access to the wiring harness.  Pretty simple wiring, minus the fact there are like 6 brown wires that are exactly the same for different pieces.


Traced a lot of the wires back to find other problems and found out why my brake light didn’t come on when I used my front brake lever. The wire was cut clean in two, so I reconnected it and now my brake light works.


I found that when my wheel is turned right my left turn signal will work, so I’ll work with it again tomorrow, but now the lights work again with the new switch.

Painted, oil changed, lights fixed, decals on, and ready to enjoy the Memorial Day weekend.


5/27/17: Restoring a 1973 Honda CL350 with Jimmy Blackburn.


I have now driven my motorcycle exactly 1,000 miles since I bought it on 3/30/17.


6/5/17: Getting ready to remove carburetor for cleaning.  Carburetor (dual, but connected not separate).  Carburetor removed.

Carburetor cleaned and ready to go back in.

6/7/17: Old & New (orange) flasher/turn signal relay.

New standard 40w bulb to replace temporary 60w bulb.  I finally found one of these ‘ancient’ light bulbs.


Fiddling with the wiring and now my left turn signal works again. It would work when I turned my handlebars to the right, but not the left (very inconvenient I must say).


Also got a replacement air filter.


6/10/17: Old petcock ready for replacement.  Old and new. Old one wasn’t terrible and still worked, but was getting hard to shut on/off.  New petcock installed and now I can go fill my tank.


7/10/17: Did another oil change and filter replace.

9/30/17: Took it to the gas station and filled it up.  Came straight home and parked it.  Clutch cable snapped while I was running the fuel out of the carb with the petcock switched off.  I’ll have to get a new one in the spring next year.  Mileage on it is currently 5007 miles.  2,200 miles since I bought it and now under my belt for riding experience.


5/7/18: Sold it with half a quart of oil, a new battery, and a broken clutch cable (with possible other clutch problems) for a grand total of $1000.


It was sad to watch it leave, but now I have more of a down-payment for my house and one less motorcycle to move.  It also means more room in my house when it is built for a new dual sport. 🙂


1988 Toyota Corolla

10/8/10:  Had a small incident on our private road with another vehicle on a blind corner.  We ended up fixing our own cars without involving insurance.  The car I was driving at the time was a 1988 Toyota Corolla.  My front right fender hit the other driver’s front left end as they were coming up and I was going down the road on a corner.


The damage wasn’t super bad and I was able to make a makeshift lens cover unit I found a replacement.


At Steelhead junkyard in Santa Barbara, California I found a similar year Corolla undamaged in the front right area.  I was able to score it for $150 with the lens included.  It was an easy swap and you can barely tell the color difference.


8/12/12:  Another time when I had come back from college we found that the brake light was stuck on and you had to tap the brake several times to get it to shut off.  We found that a really small rubber stopper was needed on the actually brake light switch under the dashboard/above the brake pedal.


1987 Chrysler Lebaron

4/9/11:  The stories you hear about meeting the future in-laws had come when I drove my girlfriend home from college to meet her parents and to ask for her dad to be able to marry his daughter.


It actually went pretty smoothly for me and even Misty their dog didn’t growl at me when I came. When her dad, Chuck found out I liked to work on cars he had a project he needed help with when I came over to meet the family.


He had been working for months on removing the top end of his 1987 Chrysler Lebaron without success.  I was able to figure out why it wasn’t lifting free and got it lose.  Then I asked him and it went really smooth.  Chuck knew I would be a good match for his daughter.


7/9/11:  When I visited next before I got married, Chuck was ready to pop out the lower end (engine block) for some machining work on it.


About an hour or two later it was removed from the LeBaron and Chuck could now take it to a machine shop for some work.


1985 Honda ATC 200S

6/4/12:  I took a compact equipment course at BYU-Idaho for a fun elective credits and to learn more about motorcycles and other compact equipment.  I found this 1985 Honda ATC 200S on Craigslist for $90.


It was in pretty rough shape, but a good project for my class to work on.  The guy I bought it from was actually Eddy Ours (former co-worker from Parts Service and who also helped me work on a 1980s Nissan Forklift).


Probably the most expensive component to replace on this would be the missing pull start assembly.


6/6/12:  I bought a headlight ($9) and a tail-light ($5) from Wal-Mart.

Mounted the headlight to frame and duct taped the seat with yellow duct tape.


6/8/12:  I washed the air filter that was located under the seat in the air box.


After cleaning the air filter element, I proceeded to work on cleaning out the carburetor.


Carb clean

After cleaning both the carburetor and the air filter I was able to push start it.  It is Alive!  My brother and I had a lot of fun riding it around the yard we had out in Burton, Idaho.

It runs.

6/11/12:  I changed the oil today.  ATC takes 1 quart of 10W40. ($3)  The filter itself was cleaned with brake cleaner to remove any metal shavings or sludge build up.

6/13/12:  I removed the rear right wheel to replace the brake shoes in the drum brake.

6/15/12:  I heated up the brake drum with a torch and pounded it off with a hammer.  After knocking it loose I removed the brake shoes, which were worn down to the metal.  I also removed the brake cam and greased it up, before installing the new brake shoes.

The front wheel was also removed and the brakes checked/adjusted.  Surprisingly the front brakes were fine and only the back needed replacing.

Drum removal

6/16&18/12: I adjusted the brakes today and then rode the 3-wheeler around with my brother, Sam.

6/20/12:  I fixed the headlight and tail-light today after finding an open circuit on the wiring harness.  I also got a used pull-start assembly for ($80) off eBay and mounted that one the 3-wheeler.  Whole lot easier then push starting it every time.


6/22/12:  I got the seat upholstered and new foam ($30), a whole lot better than duct tape.  I also took pictures of the working headlight and tail-light.

New Seat


For some reason the funniest thing my brother and I liked doing with this 3-wheeler was pop wheelies.  When the engine was vertical it would not get fuel to the carburetor and would shut off most of the time.  Seen below is one of the times I flew off backwards into the grass (not a fun experience with a sunburned back).


7/2/12:  I got a new muffler ($40) for a 100cc-300cc engine and installed it to replace the straight-pipe.


7/6/12:  I had the muffler welded (Arc Welder) on a little bit better after it fell off from a broken weld on the 4th of July.  I don’t have pictures but I welded (MIG wire feed Welder) it on even better on the 13th of July.


Typical day in the shop (my classroom for the compact equipment course), with Mark and Christian working on their own projects.


I got a flat tire on the 4th of July and fixed it in class today, using the tool below after fix-a-flat.


7/13/12:  I sold the 3-wheeler and printed ATC200S 84-86 Manual for $300.  I put a total of $312 into it which includes the manual and the front brake shoes which I did not use.  It was a really fun project for the class and taught me a lot about motorcycles for my future.




1980s Nissan 15 Forklift


12/14/11:  While working at a auto parts warehouse called Parts Service, Inc. in Rexburg, Idaho I had an opportunity to replace a starter on a 1980s Nissan 15 Forklift.  My co-worker, Eddy Ours and I opened the engine compartment to figure out where the starter was located.


While at it we also cleaned the battery terminals and replaced the cable clamps.  Fun fact about this forklift was it ran off of propane instead of gasoline.


We located it and luckily enough we had the starter in stock, so we pulled it from inventory and replaced it.


It was a slightly messy job, but it made it work and we could continue being productive.  It is hard to unload a truck without the forklift, especially in the winter time.