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Old 09-07-2010, 08:26 AM   #1
Tom2
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Default '82 Virago 750. Good bikes? Problems to look for?

Just bought one for $650. Needs a front tire and solenoid. Otherwise is pretty much ready to go. I'll also paint it. I really like the fact that it is a simple air cooled, 2 cylinder, shaft drive bike.

Having it brought home this evening and can get pictures then.

Didn't ride it much, because I didn't want to wreck on a test drive...But man, it shifted like silk. Felt very very very smooth. The transmission in my Goldwing was super clunky and was lurchy on take off. This is totally different.

Can't wait to get it home, give it some TLC, and hopefully still get some decent riding in this year.

These bikes don't seem to be worth a bunch.. Wish I had played hardball and got it for a little cheaper..but oh well.. In good, cleaned up condition it should be worth about double in the spring time.
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Old 09-07-2010, 09:00 AM   #2
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Default Re: '82 Virago 750. Good bikes? Problems to look for?

They are good bikes, I owned one for years. the only problem I had with mine and I understand that most of them do this, is the TCI box? (Ignition control box) goes out. I had to send mine to a place in TENN to have it rebuilt, but after that I was fine. If it begins running off one cylinder and or backfiring, that is most likely the probem. Good price thou, enjoy
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Old 09-07-2010, 09:14 AM   #3
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Default Re: '82 Virago 750. Good bikes? Problems to look for?

In a previous life (back in the 80's) I was the service manager at a Yamaha dealership. We sold tons of those and they (like most of the Yamaha line) were pretty trouble free. At it's current age I'd think that fork seals, steering head bearings and front brake caliper seals would be due for replacement but otherwise I wouldn't expect any problems.
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Old 09-07-2010, 09:25 AM   #4
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Default Re: '82 Virago 750. Good bikes? Problems to look for?

Yea, I'll give a close inspection to the brakes. Maybe freshen the fluid, bleed them at least. If I keep the bike over the winter maybe I'll do new caliper seals, master cylinder, and brake line.

The fork seals look like they seal fine. No oily residue..but, the dust seals do have some hair line cracks.. So it's probably best to do them while I have the front wheel off anyways.

Since riding time is pretty limited this year, I'm probably gonna keep things simple and not try to do too much right away. It's easy to dump a fortune in these old bikes (like I've learned on the Goldwings).
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Old 09-07-2010, 09:27 AM   #5
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Default Re: '82 Virago 750. Good bikes? Problems to look for?

I did my license exam on a Virago. Nice looking bike, but not one I could get comfortable on.
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Old 09-07-2010, 09:50 AM   #6
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Default Re: '82 Virago 750. Good bikes? Problems to look for?

I just had one of those here a few weeks ago, it had lot's of problems, most of them stemming from age and spending a fair amount of it's life outside.

A short list:
1. The starting system on these is a major cluster. The mechanicals of it are a nightmare. However from what I can see and from the research I did, many of the problems start out as electrical, which then trash the mechanicals. You absolutely MUST have a good battery, then the handlebar switch MUST be good, then the solenoid MUST be good. Any one of these being questionable will lessen the chance of getting good power to the starter motor which will then destroy the starter drive.

2. The fuel system is next. problems #1 is the vacuum petcocks in the tank. At minimum get rebuild kits and rebuild them, or replace them with fully mechanical versions. A vacuum leak in a petcock will cause you to lose alot of hair while trying to make the carbs work.

3. carb kits are available, however the main vacuum diaphragms are apparently close to unobtainable. They are available aftermarket but are expensive.

Help is out there however. Simply Google "Virago xxxx" and you will find a ton of info that will help you fix most of the issues quickly.
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Old 09-07-2010, 11:10 AM   #7
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Default Re: '82 Virago 750. Good bikes? Problems to look for?

My Father in law started out on a 750 Virago of that vintage.

He ''upgraded'' to a bigger newer bike this spring... but he has yet to sell his old bike, he likes it to much. I think that for 650$, if it's in good shape, you didnt get screwed.

Here's a pic of the 'ol bike and the new one.

Old one (that's me on it)


New one
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Old 09-07-2010, 11:16 AM   #8
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Default Re: '82 Virago 750. Good bikes? Problems to look for?

join the virago forum good info i've had a 81 couple of 82 and just sold a 85 and 86
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Old 09-07-2010, 11:43 AM   #9
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Default Re: '82 Virago 750. Good bikes? Problems to look for?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tdkkart View Post
I just had one of those here a few weeks ago, it had lot's of problems, most of them stemming from age and spending a fair amount of it's life outside.

A short list:
1. The starting system on these is a major cluster. The mechanicals of it are a nightmare. However from what I can see and from the research I did, many of the problems start out as electrical, which then trash the mechanicals. You absolutely MUST have a good battery, then the handlebar switch MUST be good, then the solenoid MUST be good. Any one of these being questionable will lessen the chance of getting good power to the starter motor which will then destroy the starter drive.

2. The fuel system is next. problems #1 is the vacuum petcocks in the tank. At minimum get rebuild kits and rebuild them, or replace them with fully mechanical versions. A vacuum leak in a petcock will cause you to lose alot of hair while trying to make the carbs work.

3. carb kits are available, however the main vacuum diaphragms are apparently close to unobtainable. They are available aftermarket but are expensive.

Help is out there however. Simply Google "Virago xxxx" and you will find a ton of info that will help you fix most of the issues quickly.
Hmm..Well..Maybe it has a problem then.. He put a new solenoid on it, and it quickly died. He assumed it was just because it was of cheap aftermarket quality.

He also said you have to have the kick stand up to be able to start the bike. I've had a bike with a safety switch in the kickstand before - but you just had to be in neutral in order to start it - the kick stand being down wouldn't kill the motor until you put it in gear.
So that's something else I've had in the back of my mind as well.


He also said they rebuilt one of the petcocks.. I'll check all of that out with the vacuum lines as soon as I get the bike. I'll be pulling the tank to paint it anyways. Hopefully they didn't goof anything up too badly along those lines..

Too bad they didn't put kickstarters on these.. That's one thing this bike is missing that I'd like to have.
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Old 09-07-2010, 12:05 PM   #10
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Default Re: '82 Virago 750. Good bikes? Problems to look for?

Friend had one, went through 2 cranks & 4 cams in the first 10K miles. He lost count of the amount of starter solenoids it destroyed, but it was at least a dozen to my knowledge.
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Old 09-07-2010, 12:44 PM   #11
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Default Re: '82 Virago 750. Good bikes? Problems to look for?

Well that sucks.. Can't imagine what would cause them to fry? Other than a loose or rubbing connection somewhere in the starter system..
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Old 09-07-2010, 12:52 PM   #12
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Default Re: '82 Virago 750. Good bikes? Problems to look for?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom2 View Post
Well that sucks.. Can't imagine what would cause them to fry? Other than a loose or rubbing connection somewhere in the starter system..
Design fault. Virago starter systems are renowned for being suspect at the best of times.
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Old 09-07-2010, 12:54 PM   #13
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Default Re: '82 Virago 750. Good bikes? Problems to look for?

Quote:
Friend had one, went through 2 cranks & 4 cams in the first 10K miles. He lost count of the amount of starter solenoids it destroyed, but it was at least a dozen to my knowledge.
Somebody missed the root cause of the problem on that sucker. I'm sure I've never seen a bad crank on one of those and I'm pretty sure I've never replaced a cam on one.

Quote:
He also said you have to have the kick stand up to be able to start the bike. I've had a bike with a safety switch in the kickstand before - but you just had to be in neutral in order to start it - the kick stand being down wouldn't kill the motor until you put it in gear.
So that's something else I've had in the back of my mind as well.
You are correct. If the bike is in neutral it shouldn't matter if the kick stand is up or down.

Quote:
He also said they rebuilt one of the petcocks.. I'll check all of that out with the vacuum lines as soon as I get the bike. I'll be pulling the tank to paint it anyways. Hopefully they didn't goof anything up too badly along those lines..
Quote:
2. The fuel system is next. problems #1 is the vacuum petcocks in the tank. At minimum get rebuild kits and rebuild them, or replace them with fully mechanical versions. A vacuum leak in a petcock will cause you to lose alot of hair while trying to make the carbs work.
If the tank is clean and the petcocks are correctly assembled they should work just fine for years and years.
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Old 09-07-2010, 12:56 PM   #14
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Default Re: '82 Virago 750. Good bikes? Problems to look for?

Well, as usual - I'm getting into a bigger project than I expected! lol

Apparently the big issue is a grinding sound when the motor cranks..I didn't notice that though - but I only heard him start it twice, and it fired pretty much instantly. Looks like theres shim kits to help stop the grinding issue - if it does exist on this model.

I'll go over all the connections, clean everything super good before putting on the new solenoid.. Then we'll see how long it lasts.
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Old 09-07-2010, 12:58 PM   #15
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Default Re: '82 Virago 750. Good bikes? Problems to look for?

Quote:
Originally Posted by APEowner View Post

You are correct. If the bike is in neutral it shouldn't matter if the kick stand is up or down.



Ok...maybe that's the overall issue in this starter system that's goofed up. I'll just have to start chasing wires and connections and see what happens.

Heck, maybe he has to jump the solenoid just for the fact that the kickstand/neutral switch isn't working right??
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Old 09-07-2010, 10:14 PM   #16
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Default Re: '82 Virago 750. Good bikes? Problems to look for?

I had a '82 750 Virago and still wish I had it. Once in a while the starter would grind and clunk, but it always worked. I replaced the fork seals and the rear tire, and changed the oil and filter when it needed it--all told a very reliable and trouble-free bike.

You could start the bike with the kick stand up or down--you just had to be in neutral. If you put the bike in gear with the kickstand down, it would kill the engine.
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Old 09-07-2010, 10:20 PM   #17
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Default Re: '82 Virago 750. Good bikes? Problems to look for?

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Somebody missed the root cause of the problem on that sucker. I'm sure I've never seen a bad crank on one of those and I'm pretty sure I've never replaced a cam on one.
Line boring in the engine for the main bearings was on the piss so the engine was *kinda twisted*.
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Old 09-07-2010, 10:33 PM   #18
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Default Re: '82 Virago 750. Good bikes? Problems to look for?

Had two. The ignition control module as mentioned was a major issue. I had trouble with the wiring harness at the transition from the frame to the forks. Kept breaking wires. Also the charging circuit had some issues. The only other thing was the tank venting had problems and it would stall unexpectedly. Opening the gas cap cured the immediate problem so the bike could be started but the root cause never was found.
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Old 09-08-2010, 10:01 AM   #19
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Default Re: '82 Virago 750. Good bikes? Problems to look for?

another problem was the starter has a planetary gear set that the outer gear was held in place by interference fit which was inadequate. the solution was to tack weld the ring gear to prevent is this often miss diagnosed as a solenoid problem clank wirr clank clank
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Old 09-08-2010, 10:08 AM   #20
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Default Re: '82 Virago 750. Good bikes? Problems to look for?

Quote:
I had trouble with the wiring harness at the transition from the frame to the forks. Kept breaking wires.
This usually is a result of the original dealer not routing the wires correctly.

Quote:
The only other thing was the tank venting had problems and it would stall unexpectedly. Opening the gas cap cured the immediate problem so the bike could be started but the root cause never was found.
My recollection is that the cap itself was vented so replacing the cap should have cured this.

The starter drive on these guys was a little marginal and the best solution is to keep the bike in tune so it fires right up.
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Old 09-08-2010, 01:17 PM   #21
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Default Re: '82 Virago 750. Good bikes? Problems to look for?

Yea, and you could always drill a small hole in the cap. That's super common on old Goldwings.

Finally got the bike home. Just had AAA tow it. Took them forever to show up, and the driver had no idea what he was doing. Luckily I had straps with me. He then got stuck in a ditch close to my house.. Had to be pulled out. Definitely buying a trailer before another motorcycle.












Definitely have a little bit of regret buying the bike for $650. I should have played hardball and not have went over $500.

Won't get a chance to look it over much for a couple days.

The work list is definitely growing:

Fork seals
Front tire
Change oil/filter
Final drive fluid
Air filter
Spark plugs
Fuel lines / clamps
Remove sissy bar and windshield
May need new blinkers and brackets (bent)
Figure out the wiring/ kickstand/solenoid issue
Paint/emblems
Adjust brake light/brake pedal
Clean/polish the motor

Obviously theres some gas residue on the carbs. I think part of it is because of the joke of the fuel lines (and the petcock issue they fixed), but I'd feel better with new carb kits. Also, the intake boots are cracked. Doubt they're sucking air since the motor runs fine..but maybe I should change them too.

The PO was gone when I picked up the bike, but I asked his buddy about the starting issue on these bikes and he said that he never had a problem with it, but every once in a while he thought it rattled/sounded funny when he'd go to start it. But the owner never thought anything of it.

Last edited by Tom2; 09-08-2010 at 01:20 PM.
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Old 09-08-2010, 01:28 PM   #22
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Default Re: '82 Virago 750. Good bikes? Problems to look for?

That poor girl's not been treated well.
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Old 09-08-2010, 02:05 PM   #23
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Default Re: '82 Virago 750. Good bikes? Problems to look for?

Yea...I'm always buying crap that previous owners tore up.

Heres was my Goldwing a few days after I got it:




And a few months later:
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Old 09-08-2010, 03:15 PM   #24
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Default Re: '82 Virago 750. Good bikes? Problems to look for?

hey that virago doesn't look that bad at all the clear coat issues make it look worse than it is I don't got that bad of a deal at all
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Old 09-08-2010, 09:52 PM   #25
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Yea..A few days worth of work, and hopefully it won't be recognizable.
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Old 09-09-2010, 08:26 AM   #26
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Default Re: '82 Virago 750. Good bikes? Problems to look for?

I'd replace the steering head bearings while you've got the front forks out.
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Old 09-09-2010, 05:13 PM   #27
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Default Re: '82 Virago 750. Good bikes? Problems to look for?

Probably a good idea..

Wondering about the solenoid... When I turn the key on and press the starter button - it clicks, but nothing happens (no power to starter). I'm guessing that means the solenoid is dead?
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Old 09-17-2010, 03:22 PM   #28
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Default Re: '82 Virago 750. Good bikes? Problems to look for?

Looks a little nicer now:







Sodablasted the motor, stripped the clear coat off the aluminum covers and polshed them. New turn signals, front tire, solenoid, paint, emblems, oil, air filter, etc..

Still need the chrome cover for the toolbox (below the side cover). I also have to rebuild the petcocks.. Both were leaking some vacuum, and one didn't turn off correctly. Kit should be in tomorrow. Would have just ordered new OEM ones, but would have taken longer to arrive. Some say the rebuild kits fit well, others say they don't.. Hope they work out.
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Old 09-17-2010, 03:25 PM   #29
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Default Re: '82 Virago 750. Good bikes? Problems to look for?

Nice work. Goes to show how far a little TLC goes.
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Old 09-17-2010, 03:32 PM   #30
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Default Re: '82 Virago 750. Good bikes? Problems to look for?

Looks great, this one went a lot faster that the Wing did. I only have two questionns for you.

1) How exactly did you sodablast? I have no experience with that and would like to know if it's safe to just blast away at anything or did you tape off manifolds etc.

2) Did you get a deal on white paint?
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Old 09-17-2010, 03:42 PM   #31
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Looks great, this one went a lot faster that the Wing did. I only have two questionns for you.

1) How exactly did you sodablast? I have no experience with that and would like to know if it's safe to just blast away at anything or did you tape off manifolds etc.

2) Did you get a deal on white paint?
Yea.. I might be going a little overboard with white. It turned out so nice on the Wing, figured I'd go with it again. White is so forgiving and goes well with the black frame.

I just used a cheap HF media blaster gun. Loaded it with baking soda and sprayed away. It works awesome at cleaning up gas residue, but wasn't strong enough to take the paint off the motor.

I stuffed a rag in the air filter port - and plugged the fuel lines. When I was finished I spent a good chunk of time spraying compressed air on everything to make sure all the baking soda was removed.



Have still yet to run the bike (stupid petcocks..), so I really hope theres no major surprises when I go to run it.


The biggest issue I had was the headlight "problem". Put the blinkers on - The headlight wouldn't work. I went nuts tearing into the wiring trying to figure it out.

Turns out the headlight is only on when the motor is running for this particular model To complete the relay circuit - there is a wire from the stator, to the diode, then to the relay to turn the headlight on.
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Old 09-18-2010, 11:58 AM   #32
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Shes now running. Maybe a touch of backfire here and there..but otherwise doing pretty good. Maybe if I keep the bike long I'll rebuild the carbs over the winter. I should also probably sync the carbs.

Pretty fast for the size.. Way faster than the Goldwing.

The oil level light kept coming on from time to time while running. Mostly at higher RPMs. I guess the oil level float is just sticky. Will double check oil level.

Starts up instantly, so I've yet to hear the starter sound all that bad.. I am noticing a bit of rattling from the front of the motor occasionally. I'm guessing it's associated with the starter issues these bikes have.

Throttle is a little jerky, or maybe the clutch at times when giving it gas at lower speeds. But I'm sure most of that is just me getting used to the bike.
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Old 09-19-2010, 12:00 AM   #33
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Default Re: '82 Virago 750. Good bikes? Problems to look for?

Looks damn good, nice work now take it out and enjoy you earned it

PS I like those wheels, had the same on my RD350LC back in 81 I miss that bike it was so light and simple to work on.

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Old 09-19-2010, 12:09 AM   #34
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Default Re: '82 Virago 750. Good bikes? Problems to look for?

Had an 82 that I drove cross country to CA in 1985 to see and old Army buddy from "Nam.
Damn good bike, never a bit of problems. Sold it in 1988.
Wish I would have kept it.
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Old 09-19-2010, 08:58 AM   #35
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Thanks..Heres a couple better photos of it:







I love the wheels as well. Way better than the Comstar wheels Honda put on everything in the early 80s.. Those things were ugly and hard to clean IMO.


After rechecking the oil after running the motor - Had to add about a half quart to get it back to the top of the sight glass. Oil light stayed off.

The starter is also really bad. Sometimes doesn't catch, sometimes grind badly. Ordering the shim kit today..

Put probably 50+ miles on it today. Just a joy to ride. Can't wait to take it for some long Fall rides.

One small issue - the bike jerks sometimes at slower speeds (under 40). Doesn't seem to matter what gear I'm in, or the RPM. Holding the throttle perfectly steady - The motor loses all power for a split second, then comes back. Feels more drivetrain (clutch probably) related - than motor related. If it were the motor, I imagine it'd happen at any speed. Maybe I need to add a little more play to the clutch cable.. Feels right though.
Doesn't seem to matter which gear..And goes away if you accelerat hard - so I hope the tranny is fine.
Maybe somehow related to the starter issue? i.e. Flywheel rubbing to the starter at slow speeds maybe?
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Old 09-19-2010, 10:05 AM   #36
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Default Re: '82 Virago 750. Good bikes? Problems to look for?

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One small issue - the bike jerks sometimes at slower speeds (under 40). Doesn't seem to matter what gear I'm in, or the RPM. Holding the throttle perfectly steady - The motor loses all power for a split second, then comes back. Feels more drivetrain (clutch probably) related - than motor related. If it were the motor, I imagine it'd happen at any speed. Maybe I need to add a little more play to the clutch cable.. Feels right though.
Doesn't seem to matter which gear..And goes away if you accelerat hard - so I hope the tranny is fine.
Maybe somehow related to the starter issue? i.e. Flywheel rubbing to the starter at slow speeds maybe?

If you haven't fixed the petcocks and they're still hooked up it's probably a lean stumble caused by the vacuum leak. Have you taken the plugs out over the idle mixture screws?? If not,please do so, there's a bunch of improvement available there.

The starter system mechanicals are a clusterf**k, but the electrical is a mess too. Just for kicks, grab a car battery and jumper cables. Try spinning the starter by connecting the cables from the battery direct to the teminal on the starter.
Does it get better?? Will the starter spin the engine for a sustained period this way?? If it gets better and will spin the engine easily your problem is electrical and the shims and other fixes won't fix it.
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Old 09-19-2010, 10:23 AM   #37
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Default Re: '82 Virago 750. Good bikes? Problems to look for?

The starter seems to turn fine, just doesn't grab well. Theres some videos on youtube of the side cover off and show the main issue.

I rebuilt the petcocks. Neither seem to leak vacuum now (blew through the vacuum ports, doesn't seem to leak) - but I don't think the gas shuts off correctly though (can blow air through it still). I haven't touched the carbs.. I'll check the plugs over the mixture screws.. Hadn't heard of that.

When I pulled the spark plugs when I got the bike - it did look a touch lean on both cylinders, one a little leaner than the other. But the one petcock had a bad vacuum leak before I rebuilt them - so I had hoped that would help.
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Old 09-22-2010, 12:21 PM   #38
Tom2
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Default Re: '82 Virago 750. Good bikes? Problems to look for?

Quote:
Originally Posted by knobby View Post
another problem was the starter has a planetary gear set that the outer gear was held in place by interference fit which was inadequate. the solution was to tack weld the ring gear to prevent is this often miss diagnosed as a solenoid problem clank wirr clank clank
I ended up taking this advice:




Bought the starter repair kit off eBay.. Came with a 1mm shim, and O-ring spacer to use on an idler gear, and a G clip.

I took the starter apart.. It was already shimmed 1mm. So that was a little disturbing. Decided to just tack weld the pieces together for good measure - even though the 2 pieces were stuck together pretty good when I pulled them out - so that may not have been the cause of the problem it had. But maybe it still slipped when starting.

The welds are nothing great (another matching weld on the other side), but the shop up the road only charged $5 for it, and it should hold for what it is..
I'll still stick the 1mm shim in place, maybe with another thin one for good measure, less stress on the weld, etc..

There was also another really thin shim on the other end of the ring gear/spacer. Not sure if its supposed to be there or not? Guess I'll just put it back where I found it.

Another trick is to flip the #2 idler gear so a fresh part of the gear will now mesh with the flywheel.

Hope to have the whole mess back together today and can test it.

Has been a bigger PITA starter project than I expected..Pray this fixes it.

Last edited by Tom2; 09-22-2010 at 12:24 PM.
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Old 09-22-2010, 09:14 PM   #39
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Default Re: '82 Virago 750. Good bikes? Problems to look for?

Well, the starter no longer spins by itself..but it still grinds every few tries. Oh well.. Just seems inherint in the design.
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Old 09-22-2010, 09:25 PM   #40
knobby
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Default Re: '82 Virago 750. Good bikes? Problems to look for?

Check the ignition timing make sure that there isn't too much advance
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Old 09-23-2010, 09:48 AM   #41
Tom2
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Default Re: '82 Virago 750. Good bikes? Problems to look for?

I don't think it's adjustable timing on this bike.
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Old 09-23-2010, 02:32 PM   #42
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Default Re: '82 Virago 750. Good bikes? Problems to look for?

Started the bike a few times today. Doing much better. Would die though when I put it in gear.. Guess something in the clutch or kickstand switch got screwed up.

Also, the intake boots are probably leaking a ton of air in. Looking at them while the bike was running..They were shaking like crazy and are torn really bad at the top. I'm thinking this is why it takes forever to get warmed up. With the choke on, was running great...Have to let it get really warmed up to stop using the choke. Signs of a bad vacuum leak.

Replacements look to be about $80

Edit: Found some for around $45..

Last edited by Tom2; 09-23-2010 at 02:44 PM.
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Old 09-24-2010, 01:54 AM   #43
jesse68
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Default Re: '82 Virago 750. Good bikes? Problems to look for?

Clutch plates could be stuck together from sitting. It has happened several times to me on different bikes.
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Old 09-24-2010, 04:55 PM   #44
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Default Re: '82 Virago 750. Good bikes? Problems to look for?

The bike dying when put in gear ended up being the kickstand switch. Tore into the clutch switch first. Everything tested fine. Jumped them, no difference.

Tested the kickstand switch. Dead. Jumped them, works perfect. Soldered them together and called it a day. Not going to bother replacing the switch.. I like having the kickstand switch, but I can live without it. Last bike didn't have it.
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