Help me save this old XR600

I purchased a 1997 XR600R that was in pieces. To make long story short the head was off and missing all the valves and springs, so a purchased all the components cleaned the carb, installed new plug, new gas, new gaskets checked the timing and valve clearance 3 time and it wont start. Has fuel to the float bowl


Has compression

Has spark

Disconnected the kill button

Adjusted valves and checked timing three times

rebuilt carb

Has fuel to the float bowl


When I pull the plug it has very little fuel on it, seems like the engine wont pull the fuel in from the carb?


I'll start,,See parts 8 and 9 in the above..did you install those parts in the head when you put it together,,I once put my current bike together with the auto decompression mechanism on the cam and negleted to install them..Thing wouldn't start at all,,then I realized,,"whoops didn't notice I had to install those bits"..I didn't have them anyway (bits and pieces motor) so I just removed the entire mechanism from the cam so as to kill two birds with one stone..I haven't the capacity for measuring all those auto mechanism bits and wasn't going to pull the thing to bits again if it failed to start so thought I'd just get rid of it entirely..that's the two birds one stone business..


I now start the bike using the hand operated decomp lever on the handlebars..totally happy with that method.


Wouldn't worry too much about the lack of fuel look on the plug yet..they don't really get drenched in the stuff..

Edited by Horri

horri, this is all I see. when your link is clicked.

By the way, Fighterjet, Welcome to the site!


Umm,,Yeah that's what I see,,A picture of the Cam with parts 8 and 9 in it..They aren't in the head picture,, ;)


Ok,,Hang on, some sort of foul up ,,I see what you mean..will see if I can sort it out.. :smashpc:,,Thanks for that bork,,dunno what happened there..

Edited by Horri

I don't remember seeing those parts when I installed everything and purchased all the parts? Do they go in the head or the cover with all the rocker shafts?

The cam does have parts 4, 5, 6, 11, 31 and 39. Kind of reminds me of a sprag bearing that will spin one direction and not the other.

The bike does have the cable that works the decompression system from the handle bar but the hand lever is missing so I took the cable off when I was adjusting the valves and left it off. Man my leg tells me about it after kicking so much :banghead: .

I will pull the valve cover and look for parts 8 and 9, so if I don't have them can I remove those parts on the cam without causing problems? 

This is my 3rd XR, had one 500 and one other 600 and they were the best bikes out of the 10 or so I have had. I changed the oil and adjusted the valves twice a year and never had to dive into the engine on one. Thanks for your help!!!

Yeah,, they go inside the head cover and sort of under the Cam from memory..Sounds to me like you've forgotten to put them in if the bikes hell hard to kick over..Actually I'm not sure whether it's easy to kick through if they were missing or hell hard to be honest..Anyway if you don't remember installing them the thing won't start, I know that for sure//,Them and that auto mechanism on the cam are supposed to make the bike easy to kick over..If you took the mechanism off the Cam you'd need to reinstall the hand operated job,,No way to start an XR with that much compression without one or the other..


It's fairly easy to get the mechanism off the cam if you want to remove it..You need a smallish gear type puller..Stick the cam in a vice between some wood then heat the part the camchain sprocket bolts to up a bit then pull it off with the gear puller..once it's out of the way the rest just basically falls off from memory..something like that anyway ,,kinda forgotten but it's not a hard job//. To stick the sprocket holder back on just heat it a bit and tap it back on..A hole that's left on the cam where the mechanism comes from needs plugging..I whacked a bit of a copper nail into it and said,,it's done..

Edited by Horri

The autodecompressor on the cam will not operate without the plunger (8) and spring (9). The "decomp" was actually designed as an anti-kickback device, but also makes for easy starting. You can remove the entire autodecomp mechanism and just use the manual decompressor for starting.

Shoot some starting fluid in air box & see if she starts. If starts momentarily, then its  probably a fuel issue. (remember! no throttle, so kickback doesn't put you in orbit)


Removed the auto decomp from the cam and after a couple of bone jarring kicks (dont have the lever for the manual decomp yet) it started and sounded good.

I did try to start it again after it was warm but it wasn't having it and my leg wasn't having it either so Ill do some final adjustments tomorrow and hunt down a new lever for the the manual decopm. Did I say you guys are Awesome!!


Only two more main projects on the thing before a take a long ride in woods, rebuilding the forks and and getting rid of that crazy flapper valve on the choke plate, the spring that use to be on it is gone and that's why I suspect I found the bike in pieces with the head off and all the valves and hardware missing? 


My boy thanks you all as well, I will stop riding his XR200R (this little bike is fun) and go with him on the XR600R.

Cheers :thumbsup:

pictures please !!

I will post some pictures tomorrow as soon as I can take them and figure out how to place them on TT.

For sure install the manual decomp, it is necessary for easy starting and particularly for restarting after a stall or drop.  In the meantime, when you start the beast, bring the kickstarter against compression and slowly push the kicker about 1/2 way through the stroke, return the kicker to the top and boot it.

Glad you had success..Please please before riding it to far check that you have good oil flow to the head by cracking either the top or bottom bolts on the oil line that runs to the head from the bottom right hand crank case..I don't know how far of a teardown you did on the thing but if those aren't checked after an initial start and oils not flowing through the pipe to the top end a seizure will result quick smart..It's not mentioned in the manual but is a vital check after any sort of bottom end work or filter and oil change on any XR/XL/XRL..Any trouble working out the kick start method with the hand decomp only drop back in and someone will send you in the right direction so as to make it easy..It's a technique which is simple to master with a bit of practice..No real mussel is needed,,technique is. Once you have it you won't have any more sore legs..

Edited by Horri

(remember! no throttle, so kickback doesn't put you in orbit)

i nearly fell off my chair when i read that oh fun times

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