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. 🙂


1973 Honda CL350

Work and repair of a barn find 1973 Honda CL350.  I was originally offered this bike for free, but figured as I already had one that I would give it to my friend Jimmy Blackburn.



5/13/17:  Pulled the bike out of a corner in Don Eck’s shop. It is the pretty blue colour of the 1973 Honda motorcycles.  We loaded it up in the back of my truck to take over to Jimmy’s garage.  We also rinsed it off before putting it in the truck. Can’t wait to hear what this think sounds like with its dual pipes.  Jimmy pushing his new project into his garage. See the size comparison, just right for him.

IMG_20170527_112603Tank Off

5/27/17:  Popped the seat up and removed the gas tank.  Gas tank removed and getting ready to remove all the rust build up inside it.  Shaking the tank around with a chain in it to break lose the rust.  Dumping out the rust in a bucket.


Petcock removed. This will need to be replaced. $23 on eBay.  Some of the rust that broke lost inside the gas tank.

The guys at ABATE when I took my motorcycle course recommended using BBs instead of a chain because they could cover more surface era and come out of the petcock hole.  Shaking the tank with all the BB’s in it.  Adding some muriatic acid to the tank, as recommended online for rusty gas tanks. Very potent stuff this acid is. We used our PPE minus safety glasses.


While Jimmy worked on the gas tank I started pulling off the air filters and cleaning those to before getting to the carbs.  Second air filter removed. This thing has dual carbs.  Carb #1 (left side when on bike).


Choke linkage between the two carbs.  Removing the throttle cable from Carb #1.


Carb #1 removed.  Carb #1 put back in after a carb clean and Carb #2 pulled out.  Both carb cleans started with muriatic acid to clean all the old gas build up. Then rinsed with water to neutralize the chemical. Then gasoline was run through the carburetor to clean everything on the inside.


Popped it back in and check the linkage between the two carburetors. Carb #2 had a slow reaction time to closing the throttle.


We pulled it back off and messed with the spring for quite awhile. Finally we cut the spring and made it tighter. Then put it back together.


Put back together until we can get a new petcock. Clean the tank a little more (when we dumped it the fluid came out the same colour as when we put it in). It also needs a battery, as the old one was removed.


6/3/17:  Got a new petcock to replace the old one.  New vs. Old petcocks.  We used pipe tape on both threaded parts of the petcock and put it is on the gas tank.

Jimmy filling the gas tank.  Connecting hoses to the new petcock.  Can’t wait to fire this thing up after we get a new battery.


New battery, had to add the acid and put it on a charger before we could put it in. 12A-A battery size.  Hours later, battery is now in.  Went and picked up some oil for the motorcycle. The previous owner converted it to full synthetic.  It started with a few kicks within a couple of minutes, pretty good for sitting in a barn 25 years.


We did a run of sea foam and cheaper oil in the engine to the gas station, a test run through the neighborhoods, and back before changing the oil, cleaning the filter, and replacing it with full synthetic oil.


I was behind Jimmy in his car, following with the motorcycle (he still needs a permit).  Filling the gas tank.


It ran pretty bad, so we checked the spark plugs. Pretty sure they need replacing (especially the one on the left).  New spark plugs (NGK B8ES). Had to remove the tips to fit on this older motorcycle.  Gap set between .028 and .032 for both cylinders.


Fuel filters replaced.  Cleaned out the oil “filter” area and replaced the screws that were stripped.  Jimmy drilled a hole into the striped screw and then pounded a square hex bit into the whole to ratchet out the striped one.  Adding the oil (the synthetic oil) after cleaning out the “oil filter” with brake cleaner.


Makeshift oil funnel.  Jimmy found out that the choke is off when “open”. Runs so much better now and really has some power behind it. I also adjusted the idle because it was revving too high and rich. Super sweet bike.  This thing flies, so much fun. I got it up to 60 mph no problem after we changed the spark plugs.