15th Sep 2009, 20:47

I got a 1982 Maxim 650 that won't start. I bought it recently from someone who said it had been sitting around for a long time. It ran fine for a few weeks then died when I was idling at a stop.

Now when I try to start it, the starter rotates but it doesn't turn over. I've charged the battery, checked for current across the starter switch, and I've removed the starter and can see that it spins fine. Is this likely a problem with internal components, and should I be looking at taking apart? How likely is this to be the starter clutch?


Rob in Ottawa.

21st Sep 2009, 17:01

Hi, Rob in Ottawa.

Your story sounds identical to mine (only it ran when I bought it). My suggestion, from a noobs point of view, is to clean, clean, clean the carbs. My husband and I took it off and just wiped it out the first time, not knowing how many little places there are for crud to hide. And after 27 years, there's a lot of crud there.

Our second time around, we used carb cleaner on every little thing we could find.

Get a manual if you don't have one.

And last but not least, go to xjbikes.com for some invaluable help from XJ owners everywhere.

Hope you're up and running soon.


24th Sep 2009, 22:11

I love this bike! Got it for 50 bucks, dumped 100 in carb repairs, 35 in a battery and 40 in misc. Runs like a champ.

Word of advice; if you find rubber intake boots at your dealership, buy them. They will dry up and crack, and when they're gone, they're gone!

2nd Nov 2009, 11:38

Original reviewer here - I still own this Maxim, it is absolutely a fantastic bike.

5th Nov 2009, 01:19

Hey, I just bought the 82 Maxim 650 today for 300 dollars. This is my first bike! It won't start yet though, I gotta clean the carbs. I have a question though, when I try to crank it, oil starts to spit out into the air filter holder. Anyone know why this is happening?

13th Nov 2009, 19:59

In regards to 5th Nov. oil in the air filter, if you have not yet resolved this, my best guess would be that there is too much oil in the engine and it is being pumped into the air filter compartment via the crankcase breather tube. Try draining the oil and refilling with the correct amount, for the XJ650 I think it's just over 2.5 quarts.

15th Nov 2009, 16:55

Hello, I just acquired a 83 Yamaha Maxim XJ650, and the bike will not stop revving up as soon as you start it. Over the period of about 1 to 2 min, it reaches about 5000 rpm. I am new to working on motorcycles, but have been working older cars for several years. So I an a bit lost as to what's going on.

This is what I have done so far:

Tried adjusting the idle causes the rpms to start lower, but they still increased as before.

Removed to carbs and cleaned them, slight amount of gum removed.

Disconnected the throttle and tried to run by adjusting throttle by hand. This had same effect as adjusting the idle.

23rd Nov 2009, 14:26

@ 15th Nov. high rpm... Just wondering if you are adjusting the choke as your machine warms up to keep the rpm down? Or have you checked the choke connection? If the choke is all the way closed, the rpm can run high like that.

1st Dec 2009, 21:07

Greetings all, about a week ago I came across this site and read every entry on the Yamaha 650 Maxim. I have a 1984 that I bought from a friend over twenty years ago, and at that time it had about 4000 miles on it. I had a few bikes before I bought the Maxim, but had not rode for about ten years. Every time I got on it, I worried about getting into a serious accident and lost interest in it. I parked it in a shed and that is where it has sat for the last twenty plus years. This site has renewed my interest in it, and I will be hauling it home in the morning.

5th Dec 2009, 22:01

Hey cool site, just got a 1980 XJ650 from a buddy that wanted to move up to a bigger bike.

The bike sat for a while because he knows nothing about bikes, which means it needs a good go'in through.

The bike had a battery in it, but was dead, the headlight was broken, turn signals won't work, nor does the brake light.

The bike does start with a good battery, but will be stone dead the next day even with everything turned off. Help.

20th Dec 2009, 20:07

So I got my 82' XJ650 started after buying new carbs for it, but I let it sit a month or so and now it won't start, and if it does, it idles so high that I have to shut it off because I'm afraid it's going to blow. I've gone through the carbs to make sure everything moves smoothly, I just didn't do the detailed cleaning on them. It was warm the first time, and now it's cold?

24th Jan 2010, 20:31

I have a 1984 650 Maxim with a leaking valve cover gasket. I'm just wondering are the bolts prone to breaking off, or should I just live with the leak?

25th Jan 2010, 09:08

Frozen bolts can be a problem depending on when's the last time they were turned. Some bolts are directly under the frame, so it's extra hard to drill them out if they snap. Local Yamaha shops won't even touch my 81 for that reason they say. Extractions can get expensive, so weigh the leakage amount against the potential cost of repair. If you do go for it, get the valves done too while it's open. Wish you luck :)

26th Jan 2010, 15:10

Thanks for the come back, & that is exactly what I am afraid of, cause don't think the bolts have ever been turned. It is running very well, I guess why mess with a good thing eh?

27th Jan 2010, 19:31

Live with the leak unless it's dripping heavy I suggest. I had a 'forever' leak on a XS400 long ago, and my XJ650 gets slight ooze on one side too. As long as it ain't flying out on your leg, I'd just clean it after every ride and run with it. Enjoy the ride! :)

14th Feb 2010, 23:59

These bikes are awesome! I've had 3 motorcycles before; and by far, the XJ650 is my favorite. Great all-around bike. Go to XJbikes.com, great resource and info.



20th Feb 2010, 11:41

I'm thinking about getting an 81 XJ650. Price is 750 at a dealer. This would be my first bike. One question I have is that I'm 6' tall and 285#'s. Would this be a good bike for me to learn on? After I get some riding time in, I would like to ride my bike to work, which would be 10 miles on the highway. What do you all think? Thanks Mike.

21st Feb 2010, 14:26

I've got an 84 650 Maxim, I am 6'3" & 225 lbs, the bike works great even with another adult on the back. Buy the bike, & got on and ride.

15th Mar 2010, 19:23

My 81 XJ650 suddenly started flooding the #3 cylinder after 5 miles or so. Got good spark at the plug. I suspect the carb. I never had one fall out of sync before and was wondering if that would make such a quick and dramatic change? It just happened while riding one day. Bike runs great until fuel wet plug lugs it down.

Also, any other suggestions or hints on carb disassembly? I got the book, but have not done a breakdown before. Thanx in advance.