Well... First post. Nice place. Lots of info.
Ok, I am going to ask a ton of questions, some stupid easy, some, not so much.
But let me start by saying that I have indeed read alot of the already existing threads and spent hours sifting through google trying to find direct and simple answers to my questions.
My problem is information overload because of all the different models, versions, etc... and I am left with the feeling of "yeah, but does that apply to me?"
So I apologize if I have ask a question that has been asked and answered a million times, while I am looking for the answer, true, I am also looking for the "Here is the answer, and here is the part that is specific to what you have and what you want to do"...
My name is Dave.
Yes. Hello to you to.
Last summer, I saw on ad on Kijiji (a classified site if you don't know) and this guy here in my city was selling a XB-500 for $500. I thought that it would be a good idea considering how expensive gas was, so I took a look at it. It was in really good condition. At the time, there didn't seem to be anything wrong with it... and a year later, I am still not sure if it's something that is broke, or just "not on my model". So, I bought it and drove it that entire summer with no complaints.
I have read lots of reviews and experiences that people have had and they all match up with what I have. So I wasn't too concerned. I put the bike away for winter as I don't think it's snow safe for Eastern Canada. (heh)
And this week the temperature was nice enough in the morning finally for me to start biking again. \o/
But alas, it's long winter slumber has damaged the batteries because I failed to keep it plugged in. As a result, There is a noticeable drop in "power", and having a bit of experience with electronics and the like, I know the batteries just don't have the juice. While it's nothing that is really too bad, the range is cut down by alot plus going up higher grade hills is almost not going to happen.
So, I need to replace the batteries... no big deal... except... with what?
Also, if I am going to do that, I may as well take the whole damn thing apart on a nice day and do all the cleaning, repairs, replacements, upgrades, and mods all at once. But now I just need the information on what I can and can't do, and what is normal and not normal...
In the end, I would like to have a working XB500 that can go a "little" faster - I am not looking to win any races - last maybe a little longer, and take hills a hell of a lot better. That is my "ideal" goal... but just to have it up to more or less "stock new" would be a minimum goal.
Cost is a HUGE factor here... so it's not like I can go out and buy a bunch of stuff to turn into a super XB500... it also means, that if I can't do anything to make alot of the existing bits better, then it's a matter of how to clean, repair, and maintain them.
Yes, I have one.
Here they are. The questions. (Note: Everything on or in the bike is stock)
- If I was to replace the batteries with exact matching ones, when I walk into my battery store what do I ask for specifically short of disconnecting one of the batteries and taking it with me and going "You got any of these"? Is there a wide range of batteries that I need to be careful of, what is it I should try to get and what should I avoid? (I have a pretty good guess as to the batteries, but I am more looking for confirmation and details)
- I was told and read that I could add additional batteries. Wiring them up is no problem, but I am worried about side effects. What would happen if I hooked up some additional batteries in series or parallel or both (other than the obvious of providing more voltage and longer life) - I know the benefits, I am worried about the negatives like burning out components and destroying stuff. That's bad.
- If I do add more batteries in series or parallel, how will that affect charging other than obviously taking longer to charge. I am worried that the stock charger will not full charge the batteries due to incorrect power readings, or worse, damage the batteries or not charge them at all...
- I was reading about this "coat hanger mod" aka "Shunt Mod". Alot of people have written that it makes hills a lot easier at the expect of range as the batteries are draining faster. This is not so much a problem, especially if I add more batteries... but is it safe? I mean, will it hurt the motor or melt wires or anything? Think it would be possible and relatively simple to install a switch to have it on off (NOTE: I haven't actually gone through the mod guides yet, gonna do that tonight when I have more time)
- Let's say I wanted to add some "additional" and optional components to the bike, like, say for instance... maybe a small am/fm radio. Now, I have several in my "junk" and "spare part" pile that I could very very easily rig and setup into the dash for a headphone jack, tuning and volume, and maybe a small speaker - What I am thinking though is that I do NOT want to have to rely on AA batteries and I would like to wire the radio power directly into the bikes power. While the soldering and installation and such I understand, I am a little weak on the actual electrical engineering. I know that a little piece of crap, dollar store radio that takes 2 AA batteries will last about as long as a virgin in a whore house if I directly connected it up to the main battery line.... so the question is, what would I need to do to make it work, where would I connect the radio power leads and what would I need for a converter/resistor/regulator/insert correct term here (if any). My thinking is, if the bike and run some dinky little lights in the dash which don't take many volts and amps, a tiny radio should be fairly easy to incorporate, right?
- My shocks squeak alot. How can I make them not squeak (I don't know anything about shocks so I do not know the proper maintenance or repair for the kind on my bike) If I need to replace, where can I go to get replacements (I would prefer to go to a store in the city vs ordering online if I can) - I mean, would the local Canadian Tire or auto part stores have them, or do I need go someplace more specific.... if so, should I get direct exact replacements, or are there better and/or not as expensive alternatives? What should I be looking for and what should I try to avoid?
- My brake like doesn't work like a brake light. When the lights are on, it's on, and when they are off, it's off. Squeezing the brakes does not do anything to them. Is this how it's suppose to work, or is it supposed to work more like a car break light? If the latter - what should I look for to repair. Could it be the wrong kind of bulb? if so, what is the kind of bulb I need to get?
- on my dash, there is a switch that looks like it's for "high beam" "low beam" head light.
It's not the on/off (that's a horizontal 3 position switch on the right), this is a vertial 2 position switch on the left and the icons look like (to me) high/low beam indicators. The thing is... this switch does NOTHING. So either it's not hooked up, or my bike doesn't support this switch and the bike was just using a "generic" dash... or maybe the headlight bulbs are wrong? if they are, what should I get for this? If the switch is supposed to do something on the XB500, what is it supposed to do? and how do I diagnose/fix it (meaning, what should I look for?)
- the turning indicator speaker is way WAY WAY too loud for my liking... so much so that I don't use them as I get a lot of vary annoying and strange looks. Is there a way I can lower the volume of that speaker, and/or disable it short of destroying it? I was going to see if I can find it and just clip and heat shrink the wires that supply power, but that's a last resort type of thing. Also, where is it? Is it the same unit as the horn? and will altering the turn indicator beep also alter the horn too?
- The seat as a tendency to (sink?) in the middle after I have been sitting on it while - is this normal for a stock seat? is there a way to sure it up without making it feel like a brick? Can the seats be replaced, and if so, with what and where would be a place to look to get one?
- I am finding the brakes, especially the rear, are really soft. Now, I know that you can "adjust them" but before I do so, what is the "normal" feel for them, I don't want to make them too hard in which they lock up the wheels, and/or cause damage or worse yet, become dangerous to drive. My front wheel is a lot more (griping?) than the rear, is that on purpose and supposed to be that way, or do they just need to be replaced and/or tuned? What is the optimal safe feel I should use?
- I have seen there are some places online to show how to repair or replace a tire, but about the breaks, if I do need to replace the pads, is there a tutorial or guide that I can use to take me through he dis assembly, replacement, and re-installation process. I can most likely figure it out myself, but I am worried about breaking or ruining something, so I would like to be about to read up on it first.
- What is it that is on/covering the rear wheel axle?
Is that the actual motor? If it is, can the cover be removed to cleaning and repairs? what should I do to clean, repair, maintain the motor (if that is what it is) and if it's not, what is it and same questions apply. (also, the front axle seems to be a little thicker than what I would expect, is there something special in that big chunk of middle, or is it just bigger to take more wieght/abuse?)
- My tires are starting to show a little bit of their age. If I was to replace them (just the tires, not the rims) where would be a good place to go to get them. What are the called if I was to start looking on my own... I mean, if I walk into a store called "tire world" and walked up to the experts, what would I ask for? I don't know if I would be able to find them locally, I would probably have to order. Do you know any good places online that would sell and deliver to Canada (and hopefully without charging more than the bike is worth)?
- If I wanted to take the entire bike apart, or the majority of it... like the casing and such, is there a guide or manual or something someplace on line that shows you how to do it properly and in what order, etc. I remember last summer I wanted to try but I was really scared I was going to break something - I didn't know what should be forced because it's a pop in, pop out thing, or what was held in by bolts or screws, or what should be removed in order to remove the other thing, etc.
- There's alot of dirt and/or rust and crud built up on the tire rims... unlike those nice and shiny ones in the pics above, mine look like they have been used. I was wondering what is recommended for cleaning and if there is anything I should avoid due to the bits and parts around the area, or any special procedures I should follow.
- The carpet is free and falls off easily, at the very least, it moves around alot. I have tried several things to keep it on and in place, like Velcro, but it doesn't really work well. I don't really want to use anything permanent like some kind of cement or glue because I am afraid that if I do, I will be unable to get at the battery compartment... anyone have any recommendations as to what to do about the carpet? ways to attach it and keep it firm, or replace it with something better?
- Anyone have any other suggestions or tips that I can use? Simple and inexpensive mods and upgrades? Sites I should bookmark?
Anyway... that's it.
Hopefully you all can answer them. I know most of it is comment sense, and some I even know already or suspect, I just need confirmation or clarification on. Some I am a complete dunce about.
Bottom line is that given enough time and some half ass knowledge from google, I can very very probably figure everything out on my own. My biggest problem is fear though. I really don't want to break anything as I can't really afford to replace anything that I don't have to or want to. I mean, yeah, it would probably be really cool to drop a new controller and a XB600 or 700 motor in it, but the last time I checked, the tree in my back yard has yet to yield any money... not even a couple of hundred bucks.