1983 Virago XV 500, a project bike

I had seen this bike sitting in a friend’s yard for the several years I had know her and until the last winter prior to buying it, the bike did have a cover over it but a windstorm ruined the covered so it was exposed to the harsh elements of Alaska for one winter; the biggest effect on this exposure was the destruction of the seat cover. I talked my friend into selling me the bike last summer on the condition that she would help me get it running since I’ve been wanting to learn a bit about motorcycle repair and maintenance.

Anyway, it was running when she parked it last and thought the only issue was something with the fuel / carburetor. After some analysis and talking to lots of folks in her racing circle (she races during the summer on a different bike) we decided that we just needed to rebuild the carbs. The original user manual had us drop the engine, which we did, then we found some videos of a fellow with some very colorful language (user dawino6260 on youtube: he’s quite entertaining to listen to but NSFW!) that showed us how to pull the carbs without removing the engine, so we put it back, cleaned the carbs and replaced all the gaskets. We did this over the period of several weeks (working on it once a week makes the work go slowly) and it still would not turn over. So we got a Haynes manual and started trouble shooting, which is where are right now.

I’m going to try to remember everything we did:

  • Rebuild carbs
  • Rebuild fuel pump since gaskets were leaking
  • Use a temporary gas bladder to adjust carb floats & test fuel pump
  • New spark plugs
  • New starter
  • Remove stator, find the chain guard was out of its track, fixed and created new gaskets for stator and clutch (three days of drafting, testing and then printing on gasket material only to have them fail so I bought new ones)
  • Valve adjustment
  • Mechanical Timing (still working on this and what we need help on)
  • General cleaning and examination.
June 15, 2015

Betty is all loaded up for transport to the shop so we can fix her up.

June 22, 2015

Dropped the engine. We did this!

June 22, 2015

It’s amazing how much easier it is to pick her up with things like wheels, seat, and a motor!

Jan 5, 2016

Stator pulling mishap recovery. Finally got the virago off her side and back upright. Next up, oil and try to start her. Maybe another day though…..

Feb 16, 2016

Got my lift from Amazon and got my project bike up on it tonight. Super happy with this item

Feb 16, 2016

New motorcycle lift makes all the things easier.

Feb 16, 2016

New lift.

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