11th Feb 2010, 10:39

I'm a proud owner of a 1983 XV500 Virago! I found a guy who wanted to sell it for $700... He said "make it safe, and I will subtract what you spend from what I want from the bike" Keep in mind this IS my FIRST BIKE!

After replacing the forks, starter, starter solenoid, side covers, and paying a buddy of mine $380 to work on it while I helped, the damage was about $1,000!!! So, needless to say, I made a deal with the guy and built him a web-site for the bike. Problem is, the idle screw is all the way undone and it idles at 2,100rpms! Yamaha mechanic's run as soon as I pull up! LOL!

So, I am really needing some help... my air filter is a automotive crumpled piece of garbage crammed in the air box, motor sounds strong, but exhaust put put putt's. So back to the carb situation... should I even ATTEMPT to pull them off and clean them? Or am I making a huge, and costly mistake?

My "mechanic buddy" balanced the carbs, but the idle still is bad, and seems like bad air/fuel mix.

By the way, I have to run the bike on PRIME... then when I stop, and shut off, I put the petcock to the ON setting. Starts OK, has 1,400 miles. So do I have a long, EXPENSIVE road ahead, or can this work? Help Please!!!

Taylor Jackson THANX!

7th Mar 2010, 17:13

Yeah, I might have the same problem as you. My XV500 (1984) has an idle problem, not like yours, but when I got it, it was around 1500, and now it's slightly over 1000, but sometimes it stalls at idle. I think my front cylinder is screwed or something. Sometimes if I ride for a while, it'll cut out (or at least I think it does). I'll have no power or torque, and have to keep the revs high so it doesn't stall (that means coasting through stop signs LOL). I don't know what's wrong with it at all, this is a peculiar bike. My mechanic told me the carb design is really messed up. Does anyone know anything about these bikes?

31st Mar 2010, 17:22

To all 500 Virago owners. Lots of parts on ebay, and one place is vamcsalvage.

18th Apr 2010, 20:32

I too have a 83 XV500 Virago. I have had it for about 6 years, and had no problems with anything other than the carbs.

I had two backyard mechanics take them apart and charge for rebuilds, and I still have problems.

Finally took the bike into a real bike shop last year for carb problems once again. Was told that the carbs had never been rebuilt, only cleaned out (maybe).

When this bike is running it is a bad ass little bike, but the carbs have finally gotten the best of me, and after reading all these other dudes having carb problems, it looks like there is no hope.

DOES any one know where to get replacement carbs at least?

28th Apr 2010, 11:18

Hey, I also have the 500, and when I got it, it was a little beast. Spitting a little, but once it warmed up, it was great.

Now I'm having the carbs done and syncing everything up, and I had to get my tank lined, cos it rotted out, but I love the bike and can't wait to put it on the road.

I'm givin it a custom paint job too. Metallic orange haha.

If someone know how to take out the baffles, let me know Wknapp89@hotmail.com thx.

9th May 2010, 09:54

I've have an 83 (the only year they were made!) Virago XV500. The bike has served me well. It got me back on 2-wheels after a long lay off and I now have my "M" back on my drivers license.

For me, it's been a learning curve to keep it running, but when it runs it's been very smooth. That being said, it's not a keeper. Not enough parts - too old, too many small things keep wearing out and making it unreliable. It's also too small for my size.

I'm not putting another dime into it. I have a ground problem, which I'll fix this week and then it goes on the block. I'll be looking for a 95-2005 Japanese bike that can handle my size comfortably (6', 200 lbs) starts and runs dependably and can handle a long cruise.

I recommend a Virago XV500 that's in good running condition for beginners, commuters and for people who enjoy spending at least part of their weekends wrenching an old bike.

9th May 2010, 10:02

I just purchased a 83 Virago 500 and was told that it ran last year when the previous owner parked it, it won't start this year, and when I attempted to start it, it backfires and hasn't gotten better, it rolls over OK, has tons of compression, fires at the sparks but back fires and no start.

What am I missing???

Please help, I would like to put this little gem on the road for my wife...

Thanks for your time.

Jesse E-Mail: jessy@lvweb.org.

23rd May 2010, 15:23

Hey all, I've got the Virago 500 as well. I ran across this site for parts:


They don't have everything, but it's a start when eBay doesn't have anything up.

17th Jul 2010, 00:01

Just to clarify the confusion about when the Yamaha Virago 500 was made. It was sold in Canada in 1983 and 1984. I should know, I purchased a new `84 Virago in Regina for $2800 and sold it 3 years later as my girlfriend was pregnant. I needed the money. Sold it for $1500. The bike was mint as I use to clean it with a toothbrush. I miss that bike, and you don`t see any on the road anymore.

6th Sep 2010, 02:00

Just bought a 1983 XV500 ($CAD750) in Nanaimo Canada. The only thing that seems to be wrong with it is the previous owner says the starter sometimes sticks... is there a standard fix for the starter problems reported by other owners, which is probably the same thing on this bike? It starts and runs fine, and is all-original with no rust and new tires.

8th Oct 2010, 00:46

Further to my last post re the 500 Virago bought in Nanaimo, Canada... it's actually a 1984 500 Virago, not a 1983. The local Yamaha dealer says their data calls it a "Canadian" model, which was sold only in Canada in 1984 - and not in the US.

I took the carbs off and cleaned them, and made sure the float levels on each one was set correctly, put them back on and balanced them so the linkage opens them together, and still had a hard starting and rough idle problem.

By squeezing each carburetor vacuum line with a pair of needle-nose pliers while the bike was running at idle, I found a vacuum leak at the fuel tank petcock, and when I plugged the vacuum line to the petcock from the front cylinder intake manifold (and then set the petcock to "Prime" when the engine was running), the idle cleaned up and the bike started and ran much better.

I also found the bike wouldn't start or even fire when starting cold when the richening lever (choke) was set all the way open... it starts best cold when the richening lever is half open with the throttle fully closed (and starts best hot with the throttle closed, and no richening lever; not open at all).