I've seen these up close and I like them. Years ago there was something like this available from JC Whitney for our CB750's and I would have a hard time going without one with a vintage air-cooled engine, especially here in austin.
I have begun shipping ThermoDipSticks. Currently, they are custom-made. The dipstick threads that are factory-cut into the cast aluminum engine casing are different on every XS650. I have a method of positioning the gauge which allows for easy reading when the rider is seated on the motorcycle. More information, pictures, and ordering instructions are here: www.handspiral.com/ThermoDipStick.htm
I am very proud of these units. I have learned how to make the castings as perfect as is possible. The thermometers I am using are very high-quality, and because they are a custom-length, they are not cheap. There is really no reason for me to continue offering ThermoDipSticks at the introductory price, and within the next 24 hours I intend to raise the price, so now would be a good time to order one if you are so inclined.
The gaskets were the final part of the puzzle for me. After much research, I discovered a gasket cutter that holds two hollow-core punches at the same time, enabling me to make a circle gasket in a single operation. This is a pretty cool tool that came in a kit with 25 punches ranging from 1/8" to 2". I doubt that I will ever buy a pre-cut gasket again.
Dog that sledge is frightening next to those delicate instruments.
tonyc2me, that hammer is meant to convey a sense of how rugged the ThermoDipStick is.
Actually, that photo was staged. After pounding out a few gaskets, I discovered that it's easier on me and the mandrel to put the gasket-cutting tool into a press. I layer the gasket material and press out three gaskets at a time.
Last Edit: Aug 25, 2011 23:07:53 GMT -5 by dogbunny
Now that you know what the oil temp is, how hot is too hot? What temp does it normally run?
Grinder, that is an excellent question. I am really hoping to get some kind of comparison dialogue going once more people have been using the ThermoDipStick for a while.
I am absolutely not an expert regarding what is an acceptable temperature for an XS650. This is a really complicated issue. The following really simplistic answer says that motor oil begins breaking down at temperatures above 260 F: www.answerbag.com/q_view/281441 On the other hand, Wikipedia says that in petrol gasoline engines, the top piston ring can expose the motor oil to temperatures of 320 °F: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motor_oil
I pored through a lot of articles on the various XS650 forums, and I found where someone said optimum running temperature is 200 F, but that is certainly not a maximum, and it also implies that below 200 F is too cool for a number of reasons. For example, fuel does not burn as efficiently when you are below an engine’s optimum temp.
Then there is the issue of where you measure temperature. This picture was made by the late xsjohn.
Another issue is modifications. Some say running straight pipes and pods, even if properly jetted, will make an engine run hotter. I have no idea if this is true.
So, what numbers am I getting? For the past two months since I have been running my ThermoDipStick, I have been riding in 100 degree heat almost every day. I have properly jetted carbs, pods, straight pipes with baffles, and the bike is in “perfect” tune. The maximum temperature I observed was while riding at a sustained speed of 70 MPH, when I reached a temperature of 250 F. It took a good 45 minutes at 70 MPH to reach that temperature. Riding aggressively on city streets where I rarely get above 50 MPH, my maximum is around 225. Running short errands, where I ride a few miles, get off, shop, and get back on, repeatedly, I run around 175 F.
What I find particularly interesting, is that my temperature tends to drop when I am idling.
I am very tempted to drop my main jet two sizes, and then try riding at a sustained 70 MPH in 100 degree heat to compare my reading to the 250 F max I just mentioned. Then, I would like to increase my main needle two sizes over what I believe is correct, and try it again. I think the temperature gauge might be really useful for helping determine main jet sizing, or at least for helping avoid a too lean main jet.
More than anything, I would like to hear what numbers others get. I am also very interested to know how the sump temperature compares to the head temperature. If there are any forum members who have installed temperature sensors in their heads, I would be willing to give 2 or 3 of them a ThermoDipStick for half-off, or maybe even for free if they promised to report back on how head temps compare to the sump.
Last Edit: Aug 25, 2011 23:11:01 GMT -5 by dogbunny
First off, congratulations. Your new oil temp dipstick looks like a first rate quality product. I've been running one in my 650's sump for about thirty years or so. My 650 is a '78 currently with VM36 carbs , K&N pods, Mac 2 into 2 pipes and taper tip mufflers. Also an oil cooler plumbed into the the front oil delivery pipe like XSJohns was, so cooled oil is going to the head first. As you say, 260F has for years been the apparent benchmark for the beginnings of thermal breakdown of most engine oils, depending on brands, formulation, use etc., don't know what it might be with todays oils. The temp readings you've been getting in your cycle sound pretty normal for a 650 without an oil cooler with the temps you've been riding in and the speeds you've been going. Once warmed up mine with a cooler have been running 190- 210F consistently, in the sump, depending on whether cruising along at 55 or a long hard run on the interstate at 75. Also richer jetting does tend to lower the average temp ever so slightly, vise versa for leaner. I would also be interested in what the oil temp is at the head as opposed to the sump. Cheers ......Rick
Post by ShakerNorm on Sept 1, 2011 22:44:37 GMT -5
WOOHOO! Just got mine today! Had the box ripped open and installed it before I left the Post Office parking lot!
Mine dialed in at about the 8 o'clock position, so just about perfect. I like the sand-blasted area to mark the oil level, and the casting is beautiful. I may even get crafty and put green/yellow/red arc on the face (the same as we do in planes so pilots can figure out when somethings wrong) to make it even easier to read when I'm on the road.
Thanks a million, Dogbunny!
Last Edit: Sept 1, 2011 22:45:11 GMT -5 by ShakerNorm
Definition of an Expert-
An Ex is just a Has-Been, and a Spurt is just some poor drip under a lot of pressure.........
baric, thanks for your numbers, they are very helpful.
Here are my latest numbers. First, I think the best way to compare numbers is by using engine RPMs, as opposed to MPH, and of course the ambient air temperature.
A week ago, I did a highway test in full sun, in 110 degree weather. That is not a typo, the air temperature was 110 degrees. I maintained 4,000 RPM on level ground with no wind, which gave me a speed of about 65 MPH. My temperature peaked at 250 degrees. I then did some stop-and-go riding. All was fine. I then got back on the highway, and this time I maintained 4,500 RPM, which gave me a speed of about 70 MPH. My temperature peaked at 260 degrees. I then did some more stop-and-go riding, and the engine seemed a little loose and clackety. My current belief is that these engines are fine up to a sump temp of 250 degrees, but above that is pushing things.
Here are some numbers from another Forum member: 80 degree air temp, 5,000 RPM, 75 MPH, oil sump temperature was 245 degrees. I believe the big difference here was the 30 degree cooler air temperature.
Those of you who do a lot of highway riding, I really think your engines would benefit if you kept your sump temperatures below 250 degrees, and you'll never know without a thermometer. I would really like to encourage more dialogue on this, so, for now, I am still keeping the cost under $45. I now have an on-line PayPal check-out: www.handspiral.com/ThermoDipStick.htm
I have been riding mine for about a week. Love it.
The quality is very good, and I am looking forward to testing the durability. This is not an I-built-this-in-my-shed-with-some-JB-Weld job. It's nice.
A cool running temperature (it's been mid 80s here in MD) is 175, stuck in traffic temperature is somewhere around 220. That's about where I start to get some clutch drag. I've gotten used to glancing down for a temp check.
It'll be interesting to create a mental database of running temps in different conditions, before/after oil changes, jetting changes, etc.
Nice job, dogbunny. You've earned some good karma.
That's all the motorcycle is, a system of concepts worked out in steel. ~Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Dear all: These new products, work and perform great, no issues. I have these, on both bikes... one with 20-50 wt oil, and the other with 10-40 oil. some data, finding the same on each bike: Sunny day, about 80 to 83'degree temps. Easy rides,, 35-45 MPH gauge 180'-195 ' Moderate ride 50-65 MPH gauge 220- 225' Hard ride, 75 MPH, 5,000 RPM, 250' plus or minus a few degrees. after it has been at 250' then riding 10-15 minutes, at 50 MPH, it comes back down to 225' range. Keep your eyes on the road,, remember the adage, your bike goes, where your eyes go. Best to you Dog Bunny, and thanks for this new product, born right here on this fourm. Preston
r80rt: :)This is a splendid write up, THANK YOU!!!!
Dec 26, 2015 16:54:05 GMT -5
mashermoto: What the what is this shoutbox for? Or should I shout, WHAT THE WHAT IS THIS SHOUTBOX FOR!
May 12, 2016 22:22:21 GMT -5
motormike: Good Day ...just a FYI.. Wild Cat is this Labor Day weekend. Still go'n on. A few 650's still make the scene. Various rides at different skill levels each day.. awards dinner sunday eve. BS in the park'n lot after dinner.
Aug 23, 2016 7:57:01 GMT -5
lsettle: First post in over 6 years!
Aug 28, 2016 19:45:17 GMT -5
kardon: Wow quiet here, where did they all go.
Oct 7, 2016 2:18:13 GMT -5
gggGary: XS650.com LOL
Feb 16, 2017 20:49:02 GMT -5
buell88: Anybody have any idea who built the xs650 tracker used in the Draggin Jeans Ad on Pipeburn?
May 16, 2017 16:24:09 GMT -5
joshua: The regulator/rectifier unit I got from Mikes PMA has closer hole spacing than original. Are we supposed to mill the holes to fit?
Jun 7, 2017 19:25:58 GMT -5
joshua: My bad. I found the bracket they supplied to mount the rectifier/regulator... Uh oh. How is this meant to work? Which way is it meant to mount? Looks like I have to use some spacers or something. Good instructions would be nice.
Jun 7, 2017 22:09:52 GMT -5
craig8johnson: Not sure if this is the right spot or not but oh well...
Jul 11, 2017 18:04:15 GMT -5
craig8johnson: I'm checking the charging system. I'm afraid I might have fried the last battery. With the solid state regulator (after market) what should it be charging at. The book says, I think, 15 volts. I'm hitting 17 when revved. Is that too high?
Jul 11, 2017 18:06:19 GMT -5
gggGary: Yes 17 volts is too high, about 14 volts is max, sounds like you don't have the right regulator or it's wired wrong.
Jul 13, 2017 6:54:33 GMT -5
dean: Just saying Hello, new member who is going to fix up a 79 XS650 that has seen its better days. I will definitely have lots of questions coming up.
Jun 23, 2018 16:45:32 GMT -5
tt650: Trying to breathe life into a 1980 that's been stored (indoors) for 25 yrs. Air filters are dry rotted. Have cleaned carbs but she only runs briefly on choke then stops. Need jet setting info and other ideas that might help her idle and rev.
Jul 3, 2018 19:15:19 GMT -5
trix13: Hey everyone! New to the forum and am fighting those gremlins!! New charging system, ignition switch, coil and fuse box. Resistance is higher than normal on the ignition pick up so I'm trying to find one. No such luck yet.
Aug 16, 2018 8:50:48 GMT -5
trix13: Also, even though all of my connections are clean, I cannot seem to find out why , when at higher rpms, I hit the signals and the rpms pulse with the signals...hahah. same with the brake light. I appreciate all input!!
Aug 16, 2018 8:55:08 GMT -5
bob99: how do I post a question. I am new to the forum
Jun 6, 2019 10:52:10 GMT -5
adlpc: Hello all! Been enjoying your edifying posts and discussions - and as a fan of the XS650 since my early teenage years happy that I now own a 1980 Special which I plan to turn into a vintage half faired racer. Thank you all for being here!
Oct 1, 2019 0:58:56 GMT -5
jimothyj: Hello everyone, I just joined & wish would have known about this site in 2014 when I brought my 1974 TX650A back from the grave. I have spent a good deal of $$ and alot of time on it. Just painted it and working on electrical, I will post pics soon,
Apr 10, 2021 2:14:13 GMT -5
louisvan: trix13 - I had a problem with my 1975 SX650. When I got to highway speeds, the engine lost power. The problem was in the connectors. At a certain vibration and the wind pushing on the wiring loom, the connector lost continuity. A bad crimp to the wire.
May 20, 2021 1:19:09 GMT -5