Virago's "Box-O-Rocks"

Discussion in 'VBoost Room' started by Edward, Jun 12, 2019.

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  1. Jun 12, 2019 #1

    Edward

    Edward

    Edward

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    These posts bring a warm feeling to my heart. Fire-medic is correct. The best way to fix the GEN I 920 Virago starter is to upgrade to the GENII system that uses a solenoid to pull the starter gears into the flywheel gears. It is NOT necessary to purchase a stator and space it out IF you use ONLY a side cover from a 1984 or 1985 1000, 920 or 750 engine. The spacers are required when using a side cover from later years.

    This is the ultimate fix and I don't even think about the "box-o-rocks" sound when I start her "Baby" up.

    "Box-o-rocks" Ha, Ha. I have always felt that would be a GREAT name for a rock band!


    You can't really see the GENII starter setup (it's on the other side.) If you look closely it's possible to make out the starter solenoid above the starter itself.
    P1010012.JPG
    No wait.. Here's one.

    P1010027.JPG
    The side cover is from a 1984 XV1000L as I recall.

    Now... let me tell you all about "Baby," my beloved XV920K... No, No! Don't get me started!
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
  2. Jun 12, 2019 #2

    Pighuntingpuppy

    Pighuntingpuppy

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    Looks like you have the same Jardine slash cuts as me. You are right....that is the ultimate fix. But like I said, when I priced it out, it was about $1000 10 years ago. Havent ridden much since then after the Virago hit 100K. She needs a new carb to run perfect again. Ive dealt with the noise for years so it never really bothered me much.

    And go on ahead, do tell, LOL. I wont mind.

    Mine, quick history, bought with 7000 miles on it. Originally a 750. Riding it out to NM from NY, I toasted that engine. Dunno what went wrong. Had either piston slap or wrist pin slap. Those are my best guesses since a valve adjust did nothing to quiet it.

    I converted to a single carb and manifold, a Seca front fork system with anti-dive, Seca 18" rear wheel to drop RPM. Custom prisma shift paint and custom upholstered seat. Best MPG was 55 averaging 40-45. 2 up was in the 30s. Bike went down once hitting a huge transmission slick. Basically did everything 2 times over on that bike and once I get a new carb, will re-do the bike for bike show rides and what not.
     

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  3. Jun 13, 2019 #3

    Edward

    Edward

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    You are correct. They are Jardine slash cuts. Is yours an '82?

    I had a problem with the fuel petcock and this allowed oil into the crankcase. The engine smoked like crazy. Maybe the same cause for "toasting" your original engine. The valves do make noise. This complaint is second only to the starter design.

    It looks like you have replaced the original mirrors with VMAX issue. I did mine to get rid of the clunky square black OEMs. I have a high pressure Works Performance gas shock in the rear. Nikko horns 110 dB. Heavy oil in the forks to control the dive. Gapless rings. The carbs are original and the last time I cleaned them I was able to clear all of the passages. The air tube on my model is not removable.

    I am running the OEM 16" rear wheel and I get about 125 miles to a tank. 115 MPH @ 6000RPM max. I wish there were some way to get a fifth gear because these bikes were designed when the max speed was 55MPH. I like the acceleration around town and this bike is my "sports car" It handles like a sport bike but not nearly as fast off the line as "Vivian" the VMAX.

    I had some guy pull up next to me at a light when I was on the MAX and he took off as the light changed and ran right through the next light (it was red.) He was so determined to shut down a MAX. Our bikes do have a reputation.

    Say did your ever discover that these bikes (GEN I Viragoes) have a reserve, reserve. If you have only one fuel petcock and you run out of gas on the highway, you can stop the bike, lay it over and splash some fuel from the side without the petcock to get to a gas station. I had to do this once.

    The most difficult work I have done on this bike (other than R&R of the carbs) was replacement of the swing arm rod and bearings.

    I love my "Baby."
     
  4. Jun 13, 2019 #4

    Pighuntingpuppy

    Pighuntingpuppy

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    Yup. Originally a 1982 XV750 now XV920 Midnight engine. You are right, they are very punchy off the light. Nothing there to keep it top speed though. My personal best was coming down a hill, pegged her out at 120ish.

    I am confused....did you mean a 6th gear? Cause my Virago has always been 5 speed.

    My original tank had dual petcocks that I made 2 into 1 for the carb. The new tank is a 920 tank with 1 petcock but its low enough that when I am out....I am out. I never had that dribble from side to side.

    I also have the same spring in the back of mine as well. Red spring. I never had an issue with sticking floats or fuel getting into the engine. I do know that these engine always made noise. But this noise was competing with the exhaust. And since you and I have the same exhaust, you know that its a rumbly exhaust. This noise was on par with the exhaust. Like I said, I never got into the 750 to tell you what failed. At that time, I lived in an apartment complex and the engine was boosted out of the bed of my truck. My best guess was wrist pin or piston slap.

    About 9 years ago, I had a timing chain guide break on the front cylinder(seems to be the problem one with me), and the timing had jumped. I bent the intake valve. A few years ago, I broke down and replaced the head. The bike started and ran, but ran poorly. Carb diaphragm is toast among 100K miles on the carb. I rather replace it with a flat side or something. The bike will never be a daily rider again. Just a take to the show and back type bike.

    People can say whatever they want about that old XV...but 100K miles and a Bunburner 1500 under it makes it a worthy contender for what it is.
     
  5. Jun 13, 2019 #5

    jedi-

    jedi-

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    I have had a couple of these and currently have an XV1000 TR1 to be either restored or converted to a Cafe Racer. The TR1 has a chain drive unlike the others with an enclosed case around it to keep it clean. There's probably not a lot of the TR1's kicking around now.[​IMG]
     
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  6. Jun 14, 2019 #6

    Edward

    Edward

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    Of course, you are correct. The Virago is a 5 speed.

    The way the 1983 920 tank wraps over the frame and with a single petcock on the left makes it impossible for the right side of the tank to completely drain once the fuel drops below the level of the frame.

    The Jardines are indeed loud. A bit much so for my taste but I like the look.

    The Works Performance spring I have on mine is blue. It has a remote nitrogen gas reservoir held in place on the right side seat rail. You can see it in the pic. It is precharged to 225 psi. It controls damping and rebound and controls drive shaft effect very well.

    We need to preserve these beautiful GEN I Viragoes. So many are being parted out or sold as a basis for "bobber" builds.

    Why would it run poorly after head replacement? I'm sure, based on your knowledge, that you checked but that sounds like mistiming of the valves or poor valve sealing. Maybe the chain is stretched.
     
  7. Jun 14, 2019 #7

    Edward

    Edward

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    If you did this build... you TRULY ARE a JEDI!
     
  8. Jun 15, 2019 #8

    VMAXXIMUM

    VMAXXIMUM

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    If that isn't an absolute blast to ride, nothing is. That is one good looking bike. These mega horsepower bikes that can't be ridden without a full suite to electronic aids to keep one upright must be great for someone. I'll take that XV over all of them and have more fun.
     
  9. Jul 1, 2019 #9

    bbqb4racin

    bbqb4racin

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    I built a 920 for my son a while back. The starter is definately a "Box of Rocks". I never sourced the parts to change it however I have it so it starts very easily. Barely a crank and she's running. Not going to worry about it unless it becomes a problem.

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. Jul 2, 2019 #10

    Edward

    Edward

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    Gorgeous!
     
  11. Jul 2, 2019 #11

    texas-ss-tornado

    texas-ss-tornado

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    I've been around 70's and 80's bike all my life, and 9 out of 10 people had a bad perception of the Viragos, most notably for the known starter issues. I never liked them either, so many better bikes made of that vintage, they really don't do anything spectacularly, just an everyday, average motorcycle, not fast, not particularly nimble, not collectible in any way, shape or form. So many better "platforms" available to build customs out of also. I wouldn't have one if it were given to me. I can honestly say that red 920 in the last post is the nicest Virago I've ever seen.
     
  12. Jul 2, 2019 #12

    Pighuntingpuppy

    Pighuntingpuppy

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    The Virago may have not been anything special, you are right. They, like the Vmax did develop a cult following despite the faults they had. But I like the fact that the Virago specifically scared Harley Davidson so bad that they had to run to the government and imposed gas guzzler tariffs on any motorcycle imported over 700cc. For a ho-hum bike....It sure did ruffle the feathers of the establishment.

    The first Japanese V twin on American shores. The legacy of the Virago.
     
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  13. Jul 2, 2019 #13

    texas-ss-tornado

    texas-ss-tornado

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    What makes you think it was the Virago that caused the Tariff, and not the OTHER big Japanese makers 750's? Honda most notibly had some GREAT 750's in that era, the 750 Magna, 750 Shadow and the 750 Nighthawk for example, all later released as 700 cc models to get under the tariff. The Suzuki GS750E turned into a GS700E and the KZ750 turned into the KZ700 also and I'm sure there were others. All better bikes than the Virago IMHO.
     
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  14. Jul 3, 2019 #14

    Edward

    Edward

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    But not very many with the mono-shock rear of the GEN I.

    If someone offers you one, give me a call.
     
  15. Jul 3, 2019 #15

    Edward

    Edward

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    It was only "ho-hum" because the U.S. gummint forced manufacturers to gear it for the idiotic 55MPH limit. And it IS geared for that speed.
     
  16. Jul 3, 2019 #16

    Pighuntingpuppy

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    The Virago competed directly with Harley Davidson over the Vtwin design. Harley was feeling the pressure from the Big 4 years before the Virago, but the Virago pushed them over the top.

    From an article about the tariffs,https://www.revzilla.com/common-tread/motorcycle-tariffs-and-harley-davidson
    Between 1973 and 1980, Harley’s North American market share of heavyweight motorcycles slid from 75 percent to 25 percent, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. A recession brewed in the late 1970s. Unemployment ran to almost 8 percent for much of this time. In an effort to combat inflation, the Federal Reserve raised the federal funds rate. Interest rates hit 20 percent so borrowing money was expensive. Motorcycles, being a luxury good in the United States, were not moving from sales floors. In 1980, H-D posted its first operating loss in half a century — and things were rapidly getting worse. In 1982, a group of 13 Harley employees bought the company back from AMF. However, to do so, they were highly leveraged. To say the company was cash-strapped would be a grave understatement. Given the huge sales slide they had suffered, the ITC’s “no injury” claim seemed spurious. Harley again requested federal assistance in 1982, this time citing Article XIX of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade of 1974, better known as “the escape clause.” Effectively, Article XIX permits a nation to temporarily take emergency action against rapid increases in imports if they’re injuring an industry domestically. This is a nearly universally controversial clause due to the different interpretations of the clause, in part due to confusion over definitions.

    From another article, https://www.motorcyclecruiser.com/motorcycle-history-lesson/
    The problem was that these bikes, with the exception of the H-D line, were often perceived as little more than gussied-up standard models, modified with bolt-on pieces. That would change when Yamaha introduced the first designed-from-scratch factory custom, the 1981 XV750 Virago. The Virago line, which in its time encompassed a range of bikes from 250 to 1100cc, was important for several reasons, but mainly because Yamaha, by then the leading producer of metric customs, was the first Japanese factory with the audacity to build a traditional American-styled V-twin custom.

    Building a V-twin wasn’t something anyone, especially Yamaha’s Japanese cohorts, took lightly. The rest of the Big Four didn’t want to be seen as Harley-Davidson imitators, a charge leveled at Yamaha, and they weren’t sure how their traditional customers would react to an Asian interpretation of the time-honored American V-twin design. Because they weren’t sure what to build, the Japanese hedged their bets and built a little bit of everything. In 1981, you could buy an import factory custom (the term “cruiser” still hadn’t caught on) equipped with a V-twin, a parallel twin, a transverse V-twin or a single-cylinder powerplant as well as a UJM (Universal Japanese Motorcycle) transverse four. It was a confusing time for the industry, and things were about to get worse.

    I was gonna stop the article here, but I had to follow up a couple more paragraphs to this article....

    The problem was that the motorcycle business was about to enter an economic tailspin, one that would take a tariff court and several long, lean years to recover from. Until things sorted themselves out, neither the motorcycle business nor the motorcycles themselves offered much in the way of excitement.

    One of the few bright spots occurred in 1985, when Yamaha introduced what was arguably the first real “power cruiser,” the 1200cc V-Max. Certainly there had been big, fast cruisers in the past, the seminal LTD 900 and the Honda V-65 Magna, to name two. But neither was as exhilarating to ride, as righteous looking or as mind blowing as Mad-Max. Two decades later, he’s still a force to be reckoned with.

    Final article.....https://www.jsonline.com/story/mone...an-protected-company-foreign-bikes/742273002/
    In 1983, the company was reeling from an onslaught of Japanese motorcycles cruising down American roadways.

    Reagan’s action was considered unusual for an administration committed to free trade, according to articles at the time from The Milwaukee Journal.

    Harley had spent months pressing Washington for help, saying it lost money in 1981 and 1982, the first losses in the company’s 80-year history. Harley laid off 1,600 workers — 40 percent of its workforce — in 1982.

    Now, like I said, Harley was reeling LONG before the Virago from the Jap bikes. 1981, the Virago hit American shores and Harley just lost it. VTwin cruiser territory was a direct threat to them. While I can no longer find the article that says it directly, I hope I pointed you in the right direction with as accurate(as I can find at the moment) information regarding your question.
     
  17. Jul 4, 2019 #17

    texas-ss-tornado

    texas-ss-tornado

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    The Virago's and Harley V-Twins are just way too under-powered for any kind of riding that I enjoy doing. But that's funny Harley felt threatened by a Virago, think of what the VMAX's must have done to their psyches? LMAO!
     
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