New Member From Kentucky - Star Motorcycle Forums: Star Raider, V-Max, V-Star, Road-Star Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-19-2018, 11:54 PM Thread Starter
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New Member From Kentucky

Turned 55 this year and decided I wanted to learn to ride so I purchased a 2004 V Star 650 in great cosmetic condition but didn't run. One Clymer Manual and a few Youtube videos later and now I think I'm a mechanic

My wife just shakes her head.

https://imgur.com/a/xE6NmUs
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Since I got a bike, I feel much better.

Last edited by tbzg; 10-20-2018 at 12:10 AM. Reason: adding photo
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-20-2018, 04:03 AM
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Welcome, I hope you enjoy the 650, it's an awesome bike.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-20-2018, 05:46 AM
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if you got an older bike and it sat for a while in someone's garage un-used, odds are the fuel went bad and turned into jello in the carbs, or they left the tank empty and it rusted up inside, and now there is rust in the fuel filter, or it made its way into the carbs.

Do you have the bike running now?

When I was 55 and decided I wanted to learn to ride I purchased a 2005 V Star 650 in great condition from the original owner, with only 9k miles on it. 32 k added miles and 6 years later I still have it

<- photos in garage

and I got a second 1300 V4 royal star just last month for longer road trips.

Best advice I can give: take the MSF beginners course to get your license. The $250 cost will pay for itself the first time you dont wreck your bike and your self.
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Last edited by KCW; 10-20-2018 at 06:00 AM.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-20-2018, 06:08 AM Thread Starter
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Yes thanks, I drained the tank, cleaned the carburetors,changed plugs, replaced intake boots and added seafoam. First time I've ever tried mechanic work, took me about 5 hours each time to tear down (did it twice) get it all apart and back together. Has aftermarket Cobra Slash cut pipes. I ran into a problem with backfiring, so I took apart the carburetor for the third time and found the aftermarket Jet kit was set up for non baffled exhaust. Previous owner had given me the kit (with leftover parts) he had used, so i changed the pins from slot 4 to slot 2 and the jets from the 90 to the 86's per the instructions. Started it again and ran better, but still backfired on rear cylinder. So I adjusted the balance screw to put more fuel in the rear carb, and the backfiring has stopped. I've ordered a couple of gauges to balance the carbs, going to do that next.

I've been riding in the parking lot of a warehouse I have, it just so happens to be where they give the test- so the lines are painted. Figure 8's are difficult. I can hit the turns about 50% of the time. LOL got a long way to go...
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-20-2018, 06:31 AM
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Nice work on the repairs.

Im curious about the intake boots - are you talking about the black plastic looking manifolds between the carbs and the cylinder heads? If so, did they look ok on the insides when you took them off? They appear to be made with two layers, the outer black plastic/rubber looking material gets all cracked and scary looking, but I think the inside wall that maintains the vacuum on the intake does not normally degrade.

If you can take a good look at yours then your input on this on this would be valuable information. Some people see the cracks on the outside and replace them, but they are not really leaking.

I had an off road bike for most of my life and decided to get a street bike when I was 55. I did not have a MC so taking the 3 day course was the easy way to get my license, then I could go shop for a MC with license and course certificate in my wallet.

I thought I knew how to ride a motorcycle, and right from the start: how to get on your bike and get back off without dropping it, I started to realize how much I did not know, and how many things I had been doing wrong my whole life on my off road bike.

For doing the 8s and slow turns: the first rule of riding is to always look where you want the bike to go - dont look at the ground, dont look in front of the front wheel. For doing U turns and figure 8s twist your shoulders and head all the way around and look behind you to the left or right where you want the bike to end up as you are making the turn. Keep your head turned all the way as you are riding thru the turns, till the end where you straighten out your head and the bike.

It seems odd, but it works. The first rule applies all the time when riding. You cannot site-see while riding down the road, looking off to the side at the landscape or the pretty inhabitants, you will drift right off the road. If there is a car in your way and you look at the car, you will ride right into it - look to the left or right where you want the bike to go.

the other thing for riding slow: motorcycles have a wet clutch that is designed to be slipped without heating up and burning up. When you want the bike to go slower than its idle speed with the clutch out (clutch speed) you slip the clutch to go slower and creep the bike below...say 3mph.

When you are doing U turns and 8s, that is how you control the speed, not with the throttle or brakes, slip the clutch in the friction zone to apply power to the wheels. Again: this seems and feels wrong, but that is how its done. That is what the inspector will be looking at when you take your road test - whether you are controlling the slow speed of the bike with the clutch, or with the brakes.
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Last edited by KCW; 10-20-2018 at 06:34 AM.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-20-2018, 07:09 AM Thread Starter
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Your correct on the boots. I had the backfiring going on, so I thought it was leaking air somewhere. In hindsight, I should have tried to troubleshoot with a torch (unlit) or WD40. I saw the cracks, and just went ahead and ordered some new ones. Found them on Amazon for about $30, and I didn't want to get it torn down again and have to wait on a part. When I took them off the insides looked ok just surface cracks.


I plan on taking the MSF course. I actually wasn't going to purchase a bike until my last kid finished High School (2019). But I saw this bike on a Facebook post: 2004 Vstar 650 Classic, 9300 miles for only $1000. Two tone Blue, body near perfect- I couldn't resist. So I jumped in my truck and drove 180 miles to get it. I've never rode, I don't even have a permit yet.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-20-2018, 07:47 AM
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It looks like we have the same bike, except mine is "raspberry and liquid silver". They really did a great job on the factory paint on these bikes. From about 100 yards away on a sunny day the red on mine literally glows in the sunlight.

$1000 is a great price for a bike that will last another 90,000 miles. I would not be surprised if the bike still has its original front tire.

I have been putting the Bridgestone OEM tires on mine. I get about 12 to 14k miles on the back tire, and twice as far on the front. I put the OEM Dunlop tires on it once, they are lighter and make the bike feel less stable (I could not ride with my hands off the grips with the OEM Dunlop tires, the 404s). Dunlop does make better tires, the Elite 3 and 4 tires are heavier and last longer.

You took a chance on a non running bike and it looks like it worked out well for you. When I got my royal star last month it was running very rough. I had never rode a V4 before, so I didnt know how it was suppose to run. I put a whole pint of Seafoam thru it 5 ounces at a time with each tank of new fuel (drained the old brown gas out like you did). I replaced the original air filter, which was grey, and when I went to replace the spark plugs they were only finger tight, all four of them.

The previous owner bought the bike 10 years ago with 22k on the odo, an he only put 2k miles on it over the ten years he had it. I got the royal star for $2500 and Im happy with the deal. After putting 1000 miles on it in the last month I have it running like new, and its just pure joy to ride. Sometimes you gotta take a chance on a used bike that is not 100%, in both our cases we did good.

Not sure if you are aware of this: consumer reports started rating used motorcycles a few years back, and the top rated MC for reliability went to Yamaha Vstar cruiser bikes, with the mid-sized bikes (650 to 1100) getting the best rating. These motorcycles are very well designed, the engineers really knew what they were doing. The 2nd from the bottom of the list was Harley Davidson, and the most unreliable bikes were BMW, mostly because they put so much new technology and features on the bike that something is always breaking.

There are no design issues with the 650 bikes. Change the oil every 4000 miles, filter every 8000. Check your drive shaft splines for proper 60% moly paste when you change your rear tire, and replace the final drive SAE80 lube oil, and you can expect to put gas in the bike, push the starter button every morning, and ride it till the odo reaches at least 100,000 miles. In my case it could last the rest of my life.

The other normal maintenance will keep the bike running like new: plugs, air filter, lubing the cables and linkage points on the shift and rear brake. Flush your front brake out with a new bottle of Dot 4 every 3 or 4 years.

when you decide to put the bike up for the winter, get a tank full of ethanol free gas if you can and put 4 ounces of seafoam in the tank to stabilize the fuel (esp if there is any ethanol gas still in the tank). The seafoam will also stablilze 10% ethanol fuel if thats all you can get. Run the bike a couple miles to flush the seafoam thru the carbs and fuel pump.

The only cases I have seen of these engines being destroyed are from either having an oil leak (after adjusting the valves and not replacing the o ring on the cover or example) and letting the bike run out of oil and continuing to ride it, or mechanically red-lining the engine by down shifting into 2nd or 3rd by mistake at hi rpms and slamming the engine over the red line with the clutch.

Take care of it and it will last for decades.

BTW, did that motorcycle stand come with the bike?

to insert your photos

[ img ] paste the webpage URL here [ / img ] <= and leave out the spaces
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Last edited by KCW; 10-20-2018 at 08:07 AM.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-20-2018, 08:17 AM Thread Starter
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No the stand was the previous owners. But after working on this one with a block under the kickstand, I sure need one.

Previous owner was a really good guy, 71 yr old, had purchased a trike a few years back and said he had let a nephew take the bike (I'm guessing that's when the cobra pipes and jetting was done) but somehow the bike ended back up with him. Had the airbox off when I went to look at it and sprayed starting fluid to show me it would turn over. Gave me the original seats (has a custom seat with a fabric on it that doesn't get to hot now)

I was really surprised at what old gas looked like. Thought someone had put Mountain Dew in there. I spilled some on my warehouse floor when draining, and it was sticky just like soda pop.

So far I've cleaned carbs, swapped jets/needles, replaced boots (needlessly), changed plugs, oil and filter, air filter, rear gear oil, air in tires and a battery.
Tires are original, I think I'll be ok until spring. I may try to check/adjust the valves. I know I'm going to synch carbs. Only issue now is how to set idle speed without a tachometer. Trying to find a cheap inductive tach.

Everything I had seen listed on these bikes was in the 2k-3k range for my year/model. I wasn't sure if I could get it running myself, but I thought I could afford to take it to a shop at the price listed if I had too.

Having a lot of fun getting this thing running, next up is permit, and MSF course and then hit the road.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-20-2018, 08:39 AM
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Welcome to the forum from East Tennessee.
Nice introduction and you included a pic, impressive! Looks and sounds like a great bike, my old 650 ran like a charm. You got some great suggestions and the MSF course will make you more confident. We’re glad you joined us!


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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-20-2018, 09:31 AM
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Welcome from Sacramento, Ca.

Riding is not just what I do but who I am.

Cherry 2007 650 Classic
The Strat 2010 Stratoliner Deluxe
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