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I am about to buy my first (xs750 1977 Yamaha) this Saturday. I've seen the bike run but the seller says it needs a battery and a tune up. I just talked to a buddy and realized I don't want to pay a few hundred for a tune up if I don't have too. What all would a shop do to this bike and how much could I do without killing myself or destroying the bike? What would I need to do to this 40 year old bike that has a few thousand miles on it and has been in storage for several years and would I be able to do it?
 

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Put in a new battery, check the oil level, fire it up to see if it runs. If it does run okay, change the oil and filter. Get a manual.
Now I need to know how many cylinders it has and what is the cam configuration. And the final drive.
If it is an OHC, then find out how to adjust the cam chain. Not much to do if it is electronic ignition. Checking the valve clearance will require the manual.
If it runs fine on the road I would leave the carbs alone. Maybe later remove and clean, and check the floats.
Check the wheel bearings, the steering head and swing arm bearings, and the brakes and tyres.
Peek in the fuel tank and look for rust, and check for leaks. The wyring looms may or may not be in good order, will depend on where the bike has been living.
Fork seals might need replacing. Also check the chain and sprockets if it has them. If shaft, check the oil level in the middle drive and rear end. Then drain and change.
Make sure you open the throttle and check that it is closing before you fire. Oil the clutch cable, maybe buy a new one as they get sticky inside.

That should get you started.

Unkle Krusty
 
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