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What to look for on a neglected XS1100 Print E-mail

Last updated: Tuesday, 19-Mar-2002 11:36:36 MST

What to look for on a neglected XS1100

by Gary Granger, updated by T.C.

This is an answer to one of the most frequently asked questions from new and potential owners of XS1100 bikes.

Repair Manual

  • It is a great place to start and the best $ you could spend. You will be able sell it through the XS11.com For Sale Forums if you decide not to keep the bike. The Clymer manual is still in print. Haynes, Clymer, and Yamaha manuals can all be found on eBay. Ask the previous owner if he has one.
    Price: $20 - $40.


  • New batteries usually only last 3-4 years in service with proper care. Any battery left sitting for a year or more will be questionable if not charged on a regular basis.
  • Did they leave the old one in? If so, look for corrosion damage to wiring and connectors. If cables are badly corroded get new ones.
    Price: About $50


  • For sure. According to Dunlop, if they are 6 years old or more they should be replaced. Check for dry rot and cracks. DO NOT buy replacements until you get the bike to run and idle OK. They are too expensive to buy if you can't get the bike run right.
    Price: $200 at least, more if a shop does it.
  • Of course change all fluids (engine/trans oil, middle and rear gear lube).


  • Also check to make sure engine is not seized up. Usually at least one cylinder will be left open to the air (valve open). I bought one stored for only 6 years and the engine was rusted solid. Buy new spark plugs. Take out the old ones and check for rust at the ends. If one or more is seriously rusted, you may be in trouble. Dump some penetrating oil in the cylinders and let it soak before you try to spin the crank (BY HAND). Please check the manual for direction because this motor spins the reverse of its predecessors. When you have the new battery and oil in, pull the plugs and spin the motor with the starter to distribute fresh oil around the engine. (I usually take the valve cover off and dump oil on the cams, but the whole idea is to get some oil to the top of the engine) for a minute or two. (If you don't mind overheating the starter and recharging your battery, do it until the oil light goes off).
    Price: About $25 for new oil, filter and plugs

Air filter

  • You will need a new air filter. Check the old one for mice before you even think about turning this engine over!
    Price: $30


  • Also a place mice like to hang out. Check for rusted out portions on bottom and back because they rust from the inside out when left sitting.
  • Also check for cracks, or patches that are hiding cracks. Cracks are very hard to fix and usually mean the exhaust will have to be replaced.
    Price: $200 - 400


  • If gas was left in it, there will be a nasty mess. But easier to clean than if they left no gas in it and it rusty up badly. Also clean the petcocks out. Same for fuel lines.
    Price: $?


  • If the gas was drained you are all set. If not, you are in for another mess. They will need to be disassembled and cleaned thoroughly before even thinking about running this bike. 10 year old gas in the carbs will not be pretty. Search the XS11.COM Tech Tips for cleaning tips. We have gone over them in detail. I run inline filters on mine, but that is not necessary to get it running. Check fuel lines for cracks and replace if needed.
    Price: $?

Fuse box

  • This is a known trouble spot and years of sitting just make it worse. Check clips for tightness and corrosion, replace if needed with some after market one (lots of ideas in the XS11.COM Tech Tips).$07 -$40


  • 1st and second gear problems are common but nothing to worry about till it is running, I would say 10% have problems (just a guess). Fixes are well established and laid out in the XS11.COM Tech Tips section.
    Price: $?


  • Fluid will be turned to sludge after 10 years, I would recommend changing it right now, but plan on rebuilding them if you have problems or plan on keeping the bike after you get it running.
    Price: $5 for fluid, $200 for a complete rebuild with caliper and MC rebuild kits and new pads. There are several sources for stainless steel brake lines for XS/XJ1100s.
This is just a start...you will find more stuff that needs attention. We have been through it all. Join XS11.com, be sure to read through the XS11.COM Tech Tips section, do some searches in the Forums, and then ask for advice if you can't find what you need.  

I am not trying to scare you with this list. It is just some real world advice from somebody who has resurrected more than one of these great bikes after a long slumber. Most bikes will not have all these problems but some have all these and more! Good Luck with yours!

Gary Granger


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