'87 Radian project

scott s

Over 1,000 Posts
I've always had a soft spot for these funky, parts bin bikes. Don't really know why. My girl has an FJ600, so I know the motor is a screamer.
I missed out on a nice runner last year from a friend of mine, and when I tried to buy it last month the price had gone up by $600! No thanks...

I found this one on Craigslist. Not running because of "carb problems" but with a title. She was asking $700.

She told me it was running until about 9 months ago when she parked it because it started having an intermittent problem with just cutting off. She paid a local shop to go through the carbs and replace the side stand safety switch. It has new Yamaha manifolds and I have new Yamaha airbox boots in a box. The ones one the bike were fine and the shop didn't replace them (though they are missing the band clamps).
It was a little rougher in person than in the pics. I was still working on my friend about his '89, so I passed. I told her I'd have to really low ball her.

After a couple of weeks, I asked if there was any movement on it and she told me "No", and to make any offer as she was moving. I offered $250 and she agreed. Picked it up today and she had found the key, but lost it again! She said she'd take $200, but I told her a key isn't worth $50 and gave her $225.
Another reason she stopped riding is because of some memory issues she's having. She's looking for the key, but I found the numbers and will have one cut.
In the van...

...and her new home.
I found some of the things she told me about the cutting-off issue odd.

I asked how it would die....would it cough and sputter and bog like it ran out of gas? Or was it like someone hot the kill switch and turned off the key?
She said it was like the latter. Just cruising down the road and it would die.

I asked if it would restart and she said "Yes, but I'd have to rev the piss out of it for a while". I asked how soon it would start and she said, just long enough to make me frustrated, sitting by the road!

Now, all of these things point to something electrical, to me. Carb issues don't usually just STOP the bike. I was guessing kill switch or ignition switch...and then I found this when I got it home.

I knew the choke cable was stiff and was showing it to my buddy with the van, when I saw the choke plunger not moving.
Choke on, plunger lifted.

Choke off, plunger still lifted!

I can reach in and push the plunger back down with the tip of my pliers. Now I'm wondering if she wasn't riding around with the choke on and fouling the plugs? That would explain the "revving the piss out of it", to get the fouled plugs clean again.

It's late, and I'll investigate further tomorrow. I don't know if I can access the choke plunger to remove it without pulling the carbs. I'll also pull a couple of spark plugs and see what they look like.
I sure would like for it to be something simple like this instead of chasing electrical gremlins.
The bike only has 15K miles on it, but it needs some cosmetics...

One of the mufflers is dented, but I have some shorty reverse cones.

There's a dent in the tank, but it's shallow and not creased. I have a friend in the bodywork business and his "Dent Doctor" guys can pop that right out.

She said the tach works, but it's got the common broken-post problem for the cover. Other than that, the gauges are nice. I may swap them out for a low profile digital dash.
The side covers that are missing in the pics are in a box of spares that also included a manual, a battery charger and the original tool kit.
I topped off the battery tonight and will see if it holds a charge.
Well, I didn't mean to get this deep into it right now...

Last night, I topped off the battery and placed it on the charger. Went out this morning to see if it was taking a charge (it is) and the next thing I know, I'm out there in my bathrobe disassembling the front end.

All to get to this:

Dang! I think they grabbed an airbox and an ignition switch and built a bike around the darns things!

Eh, I was planning on doing something with the gauges and headlight anyway...
The locksmith can make me a key, but he needed key blank YH-50. He had YH-46, 47, 48, 49 and 51!
He's gonna order me a blank and have it ready in a couple of days.
Cleaned carbs, my ass.
I knew I was in trouble when this came out of the drain screws.

Pretty nasty.

I have the slides polished and clunking, the jets and float bowls are soaking, the choke circuit has been cleaned and doesn't stick now.

Then I ran into some issues.
Two of the screws for the needle set are stuck and buggered up...

All four of the slow jets are buggered up and stuck. One of the mixture screws is stuck and they messed up the head when they drilled out the plugs. The other three came out, but the slots on the heads of them are iffy.

I will get new bowl gaskets and needle jets. There's a carb guy down the street from me, so I'll see if he can help me out with the stuck stuff and maybe have some replacement parts.
I did get the bike cleaned up, engine degreased (it was really pretty clean, just getting it ready for a respray), and cleaned up the wheels a little.

Also removed the fender extender.
It's amazing what a difference some Super Bike bars make. I was thinking about installing a smaller master cylinder, but this one just disappears with these bars. And it's brand new and genuine Yamaha, too!

Yanked off the exhaust today. Removed the mufflers in preparation for some shorty reverse-cones. Scrubbed the chrome with 0000 steel wool and Windex, then chrome polish. Treated the underside of the collector with rust converter (it's solid, just preventing possible future issues).

Taped it up for a little detailing...

...which included this finned alternator cover from an FZ600.

And that little cover may have been a blessing in disguise. The rotor was FILTHY. The brushes look brand new, but the rotor face showed little to no evidence of contact. I checked it and couldn't even get an ohm reading.
Cleaned the rotor surface with 600 grit steel wool and electrical contact cleaner (sprayed on a shop cloth) and rechecked and it ohm'ed out OK.
Think it's possible that a charging problem could have contributed to the cutting-out issue? The battery was dry as a bone, the rotor was filthy...it could have been struggling to stay charged, causing the TCI and other electronics to starve for voltage.
Cleaned up pretty good. I got one run I'm not happy about, but I'll fix that later.

Give me your tail light opinions.

Option 1: Stock tail light (I'll fab up a license plate mount)

Option 2: Stock light but "frenched in".

Option 3: Aftermarket. Dual round lights. License plate lights and holder are already there. I'll probably black out the background.
Here are the turn signals I'll be using:

The headlight and ears came in today. Mock up on those will begin soon, as well as modification of the rear inner fender.
Yes,dual light option 3. Nice progress already,and the bars made a huge positive difference.
The stock light installed flush looks the cleanest, I think. The dual lamps look like you forgot about them until the end and then stuck something in.
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