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  • Boredom bought the bike

    Good evening fine gentlemen of the forum! I have recently come into possession of an '81 Midnight Special, known affectionately as "The Midnight Turd" by my colleagues and I, as I decided I was bored and needed something to fill my time with. After finding a couple of threads very informative I've made an account so that I can properly join in on the fun. Attached is a picture of her in all her glory, though partially disassembled. 7k on the clock and what appears to be original tires.
    Last edited by Str8Legs; 11-09-2021, 05:11 PM.
    Professional Crayon Eater

    81 XS1100 Midnight Special
    20 R3

    -Tom

  • #2
    Nice find,,, I think she has great potential! Please keep us posted.
    .
    Bob

    LG, Military theme.
    LH, With XJ maxim tank.
    SF, Current Project.
    1999 Ford Ranger, deceased.

    Links to my past and current projects:
    My Bike Projects (soon to be published) https://projectxs11.wordpress.com/bike-photos/
    My Book Project (now published) https://rucksackgrunt.com/

    ...

    Comment


    • #3
      I think "turd" is too harsh- it's a good looking bike with nice cosmetics.

      Congratulations and welcome!
      -Mike
      _________
      '79 XS1100SF 20k miles
      '80 XS1100SG 42k miles
      '81 XS1100H Venturer 35k miles
      '79 XS750SF 20k miles
      '85 Honda V65 Magna ~7k miles
      '84 Honda V65 Magna 48k miles (parts bike)
      '86 Yamaha VMAX 7k miles

      Previous: '68 Motoguzzi 600cc + '79 XS750SF 22k miles +'84 Honda V65

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Str8Legs View Post
        Good evening fine gentlemen of the forum! I have recently come into possession of an '81 Midnight Special, known affectionately as "The Midnight Turd" by my colleagues and I, as I decided I was bored and needed something to fill my time with. After finding a couple of threads very informative I've made an account so that I can properly join in on the fun. Attached is a picture of her in all her glory, though partially disassembled. 7k on the clock and what appears to be original tires.
        Nice Bike. It should be fairly easy to bring it back. Common sense tells you, hopefully, to make sure everything is mechanically sound before spending on cosmetics. With only 7000 on the clock, if the speedometer is the original is no miles at all. Will be a great bike once you get it done. By the way those tires are the originals. Ranger and I have restored several and I am ready to help you and I would think so is Bob. Keep us posted on your progress and remember one thing about this forum. There is no such thing as a stupid question.
        2 - 80 LGs bought one new
        81 LH
        02 FXSTB Nighttrain
        Jim

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by cajun31 View Post
          Nice Bike. It should be fairly easy to bring it back. Common sense tells you, hopefully, to make sure everything is mechanically sound before spending on cosmetics. With only 7000 on the clock, if the speedometer is the original is no miles at all. Will be a great bike once you get it done. By the way those tires are the originals. Ranger and I have restored several and I am ready to help you and I would think so is Bob. Keep us posted on your progress and remember one thing about this forum. There is no such thing as a stupid question.
          YEP... always willing to help when I can!
          .
          Bob

          LG, Military theme.
          LH, With XJ maxim tank.
          SF, Current Project.
          1999 Ford Ranger, deceased.

          Links to my past and current projects:
          My Bike Projects (soon to be published) https://projectxs11.wordpress.com/bike-photos/
          My Book Project (now published) https://rucksackgrunt.com/

          ...

          Comment


          • #6
            The bike is in generally good condition, I bought it from a guy who's son bought it at an auto auction and then realized they had no idea what to do with motorcycles. Scooped it up for $600 with a numbers matching clean PA title, things were rough around the edges cosmetically but everything mechanical seemed to be ok. Love marks include a scrape on the left hand side of the tank, scrapes on one side of the exhaust (can't remember which, probably left side), scraped up crank cover (it's clearly seen the ground at least once), bent up brake lever, one mirror missing (also left hand side), and a slightly messed up rear taillight and turn signal housing. All in all not as bad as it seems, it does have a set of crash bars in front of the the headers and I'm guessing they were put on after then first minor incident it may have had. The engine turned, had some oil in it, had compression, and it did go into and out of all the gears so I've covered my bases as best I could there.

            Things I've done since having the bike:
            • Revived the battery on a charger, shockingly not entirely dead. All lights come on and work (including neutral light), starter works after replacing blown fuse. Headlight does not work, but I haven't bench tested the bulb or put a meter to the wires to check continuity
            • Tank is off and in the process of cleaning, was filled with rust and quite a bit of ENTIRELY varnished fuel, unfortunately the gentlemen before me had the thing turning and sucked some of that through the petcocks and octy, all parts have been disassembled, cleaned, and reconditioned with new seals (still debating on whether or not to keep the octy), all fuel lines will be replaced
            • Carbs have come off and all been cleaned individually, new mains, new idles (old ones needed to be drilled out), new float needles and seats, new air mixture screws, and new float gaskets. Throttles were all gummed up but have been cleaned and now move freely. Diaphragms all hold vacuum. Only almost lost the ball detents for the choke rod multiple times....
            • Oil has been drained and changed, had a coworker 3d print me a few new dipsticks for the middle and rear oils but haven't changed them yet
            • Front MC has been rebuilt and bled but the caliper may be a little sticky, will reevaluate once the bike is moving under it's own power (very slowly at first). Rear MC has been rebuilt using a hodgepodge of parts and I think it's close enough, still in the process of bleeding those lines and having just as fun a time as others on here have had with that system
            • Put air in the tires, they've been holding so it's enough to get the bike rolling to make sure everything works. Will be getting new rubber once I know the thing runs, not currently worth the investment
            Really just waiting on finishing the tank and putting the fuel system back together at this point, once I have it running I'll put the rest of the work in. I do intend on keeping this bike and putting many miles on it, I'm stationed in DC and go home to NJ on most weekends so some long highway miles would be in its future. In the meantime I do have a 2020 Yamaha R3 that I toodle around on so I'm just taking my time on the bike and working as my schedule allows.
            Last edited by Str8Legs; 11-10-2021, 07:32 AM.
            Professional Crayon Eater

            81 XS1100 Midnight Special
            20 R3

            -Tom

            Comment


            • #7
              The headlight is on a circuit that keeps it turned off until the engine is running.

              Bike looks pretty good, nice progress.
              1979 XS1100 Special
              1980 XS1100 Std parts bucket
              1987 ZL1000 Eliminator
              1976 XS750D Project in waiting

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by 2WheelFun View Post
                The headlight is on a circuit that keeps it turned off until the engine is running.

                Bike looks pretty good, nice progress.
                I figured it was something along the lines of that as the bulb filament was intact, thank you for confirming
                Professional Crayon Eater

                81 XS1100 Midnight Special
                20 R3

                -Tom

                Comment


                • #9
                  On the carb jets, be sure to use ONLY Mikuni jets!! There have been a lot of problems from the K&L jets that come in the kits. I've found that most jets can be cleaned and re-used. I only change jets when I need to go a bigger or smaller size to get it running correctly.
                  Ray Matteis
                  KE6NHG
                  XS1100 E '78 (winter project)
                  XS1100 SF Bob Jones worked on it!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Str8Legs View Post
                    The bike is in generally good condition, I bought it from a guy who's son bought it at an auto auction and then realized they had no idea what to do with motorcycles. Scooped it up for $600 with a numbers matching clean PA title, things were rough around the edges cosmetically but everything mechanical seemed to be ok. Love marks include a scrape on the left hand side of the tank, scrapes on one side of the exhaust (can't remember which, probably left side), scraped up crank cover (it's clearly seen the ground at least once), bent up brake lever, one mirror missing (also left hand side), and a slightly messed up rear taillight and turn signal housing. All in all not as bad as it seems, it does have a set of crash bars in front of the the headers and I'm guessing they were put on after then first minor incident it may have had. The engine turned, had some oil in it, had compression, and it did go into and out of all the gears so I've covered my bases as best I could there.

                    Things I've done since having the bike:
                    • Revived the battery on a charger, shockingly not entirely dead. All lights come on and work (including neutral light), starter works after replacing blown fuse. Headlight does not work, but I haven't bench tested the bulb or put a meter to the wires to check continuity
                    • Tank is off and in the process of cleaning, was filled with rust and quite a bit of ENTIRELY varnished fuel, unfortunately the gentlemen before me had the thing turning and sucked some of that through the petcocks and octy, all parts have been disassembled, cleaned, and reconditioned with new seals (still debating on whether or not to keep the octy), all fuel lines will be replaced
                    • Carbs have come off and all been cleaned individually, new mains, new idles (old ones needed to be drilled out), new float needles and seats, new air mixture screws, and new float gaskets. Throttles were all gummed up but have been cleaned and now move freely. Diaphragms all hold vacuum. Only almost lost the ball detents for the choke rod multiple times....
                    • Oil has been drained and changed, had a coworker 3d print me a few new dipsticks for the middle and rear oils but haven't changed them yet
                    • Front MC has been rebuilt and bled but the caliper may be a little sticky, will reevaluate once the bike is moving under it's own power (very slowly at first). Rear MC has been rebuilt using a hodgepodge of parts and I think it's close enough, still in the process of bleeding those lines and having just as fun a time as others on here have had with that system
                    • Put air in the tires, they've been holding so it's enough to get the bike rolling to make sure everything works. Will be getting new rubber once I know the thing runs, not currently worth the investment
                    Really just waiting on finishing the tank and putting the fuel system back together at this point, once I have it running I'll put the rest of the work in. I do intend on keeping this bike and putting many miles on it, I'm stationed in DC and go home to NJ on most weekends so some long highway miles would be in its future. In the meantime I do have a 2020 Yamaha R3 that I toodle around on so I'm just taking my time on the bike and working as my schedule allows.
                    Ditto on what Ray said about original Mikuni jets. Will save you a lot of headaches tuning the carbs. On the rear MC for that particular bike you can contact Len at XJ4EVER.COM for a rebuild kit. The kit does not include the metal plungers, but then generally they are not components that can't be cleaned and reused. The kits do replace all the seals and springs etc... Just an option if you are not satisfied with what you have now.
                    It's a midnight so I vote you keep the Octy.
                    What are you using to clean the tank? If you haven't ever tried it ... plug it up and fill the tank to the top with apple cider vinegar and let it sit for a few days. The vinegar is acidic enough to do the job but not too aggressive to eat metal. I have done all mine that way. You can even strain the vinegar when you get done and reuse it later on if you need too. I always take a water hose and run water through the tank until I know all traces of the vinegar is gone followed by my heat gun on low until it is thoroughly dried. I then pour a cup of marvel mystery oil in and slosh it around to keep it from flash rusting.
                    The battery will probably still not be sufficient. Depends on how long it sat and how bad the plates sulphated. Sometimes the battery will seem like it is fully charged but as soon as you put load on it you find out it has no cranking power. Better to replace it with a new one. It will keep you from chasing your tail trying to troubleshoot things that could have been resolved with a fresh battery.
                    Don't cut corners on the brakes. The MC's are a good start but I strongly advise a thorough cleaning a possible rebuilds of all the calipers. Another ... what I deem a required upgrade is to replace the brake lines with stainless. Sticker shock might get you but Len and XJ4EVER has all the stainless brake hoses for your bike. You probably already realize you have a linked brake system on that bike. the rear caliper and front left caliper are controlled from the rear and the front right caliper is attached to the front MC. There is a very long metal pipe that runs along the frame under the tank that unifies the front let to the rear. Len actually provides all the stainless hoses as well as all the metal piping and fittings to completely replace everything. Like I said not cheap but then, you only have to do the job once. Night and day difference in how the brakes feel and respond.
                    2 - 80 LGs bought one new
                    81 LH
                    02 FXSTB Nighttrain
                    Jim

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Nice bike. If it's sound, the exhaust is worth more than that. Lot's of good advice on here. looking forward to seeing more pics
                      "If A equals success, then the formula is: A = X + Y + Z. X is work. Y is play. Z is keep your mouth shut." - Albert Einstein

                      "Illegitimi non carborundum"-Joseph W. "Vinegar Joe" Stilwell



                      1980 LG
                      1981 LH

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Small update here as I took some pictures while walking past the bike in the parking garage this evening, pictured is the scrape on the right side of the exhaust and the scraped case on the right side as well
                        Attached Files
                        Professional Crayon Eater

                        81 XS1100 Midnight Special
                        20 R3

                        -Tom

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Str8Legs View Post
                          Small update here as I took some pictures while walking past the bike in the parking garage this evening, pictured is the scrape on the right side of the exhaust and the scraped case on the right side as well
                          Those crankcase side covers are not the right ones for the 81 to begin with. Don't get me wrong they fit and work ... just not what was on the bike originally. Here is a picture of what came on the bike. Notice the grooves in gold along the edge. Kind of hard to tell from my photo but they do have grooves. On the 80 models there was a decal. I suspect that is what you have only they are just missing the decals. You will probably end up having to braze that muffler and cover that with some high heat paint. Looking at your first picture it looks like the headers are pitted too. Might want to consider having the pipes cerakoted like I did a couple of mine. Fortunately the mufflers don't get near as hot as the headers.
                          Last edited by cajun31; 11-16-2021, 01:09 AM.
                          2 - 80 LGs bought one new
                          81 LH
                          02 FXSTB Nighttrain
                          Jim

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by cajun31 View Post

                            Those crankcase side covers are not the right ones for the 81 to begin with. Don't get me wrong they fit and work ... just not what was on the bike originally. Here is a picture of what came on the bike. Notice the grooves in gold along the edge. Kind of hard to tell from my photo but they do have grooves. On the 80 models there was a decal. I suspect that is what you have only they are just missing the decals. You will probably end up having to braze that muffler and cover that with some high heat paint. Looking at your first picture it looks like the headers are pitted too. Might want to consider having the pipes cerakoted like I did a couple of mine. Fortunately the mufflers don't get near as hot as the headers.
                            Nice side covers Cajun! I'm looking for those for my current dueling project. If you or anyone have any for sale, please PM me. Thanks!
                            PS (of course str8legs gets first dibs...it's his thread!)
                            Last edited by Ranger_xs1100; 11-16-2021, 06:51 AM.
                            .
                            Bob

                            LG, Military theme.
                            LH, With XJ maxim tank.
                            SF, Current Project.
                            1999 Ford Ranger, deceased.

                            Links to my past and current projects:
                            My Bike Projects (soon to be published) https://projectxs11.wordpress.com/bike-photos/
                            My Book Project (now published) https://rucksackgrunt.com/

                            ...

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by cajun31 View Post

                              Those crankcase side covers are not the right ones for the 81 to begin with. Don't get me wrong they fit and work ... just not what was on the bike originally. Here is a picture of what came on the bike. Notice the grooves in gold along the edge. Kind of hard to tell from my photo but they do have grooves. On the 80 models there was a decal. I suspect that is what you have only they are just missing the decals. You will probably end up having to braze that muffler and cover that with some high heat paint. Looking at your first picture it looks like the headers are pitted too. Might want to consider having the pipes cerakoted like I did a couple of mine. Fortunately the mufflers don't get near as hot as the headers.
                              The covers aren't currently leaking and that's close enough for the girls I go out with. I double checked the left hand side one and it matches, no groove on either of them. Double checked the title too and it does read 1981. Would there be a chance that they are original to this bike and that the year of sale or date of production would be affecting that? I.E. it was made at the very end of the run of 80's but there were still parts laying around at the factory when the year ticked over or maybe 81 is when the paperwork/import went through?
                              Professional Crayon Eater

                              81 XS1100 Midnight Special
                              20 R3

                              -Tom

                              Comment

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