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I have an opportunity to buy a '83 yamaha XT 550. I was wondering what I was in for, buying such an old bike? Any problems specific to this bike I should know about?

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how many miles? good bike and you can still get most parts new ($$$ though) bunch of used parts on e-bay.

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I had a ´82 XT550 years ago, rode it a lot, very reliable. I bought a ’83 a few weeks ago, and plan to rebuild it. The XT550 has a fat, old-school feel… personally I love it….

The CDI boxes on the xt550 are known to fail, that’s about it, along with the “fifth gear problem”. The CDI box on my ’83 is shot, some guys say it is not a question of “if” but “when” they fail. That said I rode my old ’82 for years without any problems whatsoever… just normal maintenance.

But as on any dirtbike this old you might have a rusted gastank, rusted exhaust, blown regulator/rectifier, etc. And the rear shock is not rebuildable. I have not ordered any parts yet, but I´m told some parts are available and some are not.

Plastic gas tanks are supposed to be available, same size as stock…

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Thanks for the reply's. It sold for more than I wanted to pay. I am looking for something a little newer.

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There seems to be pretty much everything you need on ebay. Clutch and CDI units are known weak points.

I'm in the midst of rebuilding mine and updating the suspension to YZ forks/shock that will bump it up to 11"+ of travel from about 8".

The only thing I've come across that looks like it's a bear to find is swingarm bearings. Luckily after disassembling and greasing mine turned out to be OK. Thought I was going to have to make up custom bronze bushings for a while there.

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“fifth gear problem”.

Plastic gas tanks are supposed to be available, same size as stock…

What is the 5th gear problem. The fuel tanks are avalible through clark tanks [i installed one].

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Do you have a pic of the bike with the new tank?

The “fifth gear problem” is when the gears in a (usually higher mileage) thumper get pitted. It is not a specific Yamaha problem, as far as I know it can happen in all big thumpers. Usually it is the fifth gear, as most dualsport/travel bikes spend the most time there.

I am no great expert, but the theory is that the constant pounding from a big single does this. To prevent this problem some say you should avoid low-rpm riding (no riding for long periods at low rpm’s in fifth gear)

This pic is from a guy on the HUBB:

jim_gear_02.jpg

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Do you have a pic of the bike with the new tank?

Sorry no It is the same shape I got black because it was in stock [We were leaving on a riding trip] the orange/red color is availible also clear it looks fine I have never put stickers on it [i'm not a poser] It has been on for about a year with no problems.

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