Top End Shot Looking for advice

Hello All.  Long time lurker first time poster.

 

I've got a 2000 XR650L <8000 miles with a bad top end.  Started making a clicking noise, took to a mechanic and he told me it was good to ride.  Probably a timing chain.  The problem got worse so I took it to another mechanic and the bottom line is my Cylinder Head is shot.  He said it melted where the camshaft rubs on the head.  I'm not a moron mechanically but I've never taken apart the inner workings of an engine.  

 

The quote I got was $1243 for parts and $375 for labor.  This includes a new camshaft, 4 rockers, a new cylinder head ($704) and gaskets.  That is a total of $1600.  I bought the bike 3 months ago for $2400 so you can imagine my frustration.  I'm supposed to be on a cross country trip on the bike as I type but that didn't happen obviously.

 

My question is this:  What options do I have and which makes the most sense?  Here is what I came up with.

 

1:  Pay $1600 and have the shop fix the bike

2:  Try to buy a used head and have the shop fix the bike for a few hundred dollars cheaper (I've found heads for $550ish new and $300 Used)

3:  Buy the parts myself and attempt to fix it on my porch

4:  Sell the bike as is, it will run although clicks like a MFer and buy another one

5:  Try to part it out and buy another one

 

I found a 2002 for $2300 with 10k miles that looks decent.

 

Any help would be appreciated, I'll try to upload some pics in case I did a bad job of explaining what is wrong.

Well I won't be telling you to get a mechanic to fix it..Question..How does the second mechanic know that the head is shot..Did he have the head cover off or have the bike in parts in some way to check his belief???..If he took nothing apart his diagnosis is just a semi educated guess.

 

If you've had the head off a motor mower or the head or gearbox off a car you could do this..It isn't hard,,all just methodical type stuff.

 

Do you have a decent socket set and selection of spanners screwdrivers etc..??That's all you need and the time to rip into it..

 

Couple of hours to get the engine out..another half to get where you want to be to study the facts..

 

Follow that up with some decent photos of the inner workings of the head cover and someone will advise on what you need to fix it..

 

8000 miles on an RFVC engine is absolutely nothing,,Correct maintenance should see them last to 60000ks or 40000mls before they need touching..In saying that obviously hammering the hell out of them will cut that time down a bit..Clicking sound huh..wonder what that is,,??

Edited by Horri

Clicking...decomp...? Easiest least expensive guess. I doubt melting happened or it wouldnt run. Drain your oil and look for metal flakes. If the cams digging at the journals itll probably kick up some metal. I bet you take the cover off, an expert will point out the problem if you post pics.

I have had many XR heads/head covers on the bench that had the center cam journal galled/burnt/damaged. If it is not too bad, just use a bearing scraper and/or 150 grit aluminum oxide sandpaper to clean the journal(s) up, reassemble and don't worry about it.....that is providing that the cam contact surfaces and rocker arms are not damaged.

My 600 had a bad random click, (not a constant tick tick noisy valve train) and it turned out to be the stock cams auto decompressor. I swapped to a hotcams cam and the noise wend away :)

 

Like already mentioned, 8000 miles shouldnt be an issue unless its been heavily neglected or the top end was oil starved, did the mechanic show you this on your head or make a guess?

 

I have a very nice XR600 head that has less than 1k miles if you are interested. I can send you pics...

 

 

Not sure what parts are included in that quote but I had my head rebuilt, with new valve guides, reground seats and valves, new hotcams cam, bought a new  JE piston, had the cylinder bored and honed  and all the parts and machine labor were under 700 dollars. Then I assembled the motor myself.

 

Just food for thought. Best of luck with the bike :)

Edited by noah240t

Do it yourself............get a manual,ask advise here,post pics,drink beer,save money,get er done........ :thumbsup:

 

I`m going to say something,,it`s gonna piss some people off,,,,,,,,,i don`t care,,it`s the thruth that hurts :lol:

 

Here it is:

 

"I personally think a person has no business owning a dirtbike or a muscle car..if they cannot fix the machine themselves..."

 

 

There,,i said it.......

 

Seriously though,,think about it...the only way you know the job was done right,,,and you are safe to ride on it or in it,,is if YOU did repaired the vehicle yoyrself.....don`t think for a second bthat every mechanic knows how to repair something properly,,,takes the time to do it right...and ensures your safety.......

 

i`ve worked in at least 8 shops since i was 16....and can count on 1 hand.. how many out of the 100`s of mechanics i`ve worked with..i would let repair anything i owned...it`s rather scary actually...

 

The amount of maintence on a dirtbike or muscle car...is nuts...a dirtbike is worse of course..you cannot run one of these and not be able to service it completely and be safe..

 

If you can spin a wrench,,,,and able to read and ask questions........you can repair these bikes yourself,,and love doing it..

 

B

I have had many XR heads/head covers on the bench that had the center cam journal galled/burnt/damaged. If it is not too bad, just use a bearing scraper and/or 150 grit aluminum oxide sandpaper to clean the journal(s) up, reassemble and don't worry about it.....that is providing that the cam contact surfaces and rocker arms are not damaged.

I hate that stupid center camshaft journal... :angry:

Do it yourself............get a manual,ask advise here,post pics,drink beer,save money,get er done........ :thumbsup:

I`m going to say something,,it`s gonna piss some people off,,,,,,,,,i don`t care,,it`s the thruth that hurts :lol:

Here it is:

"I personally think a person has no business owning a dirtbike or a muscle car..if they cannot fix the machine themselves..."

There,,i said it.......

Seriously though,,think about it...the only way you know the job was done right,,,and you are safe to ride on it or in it,,is if YOU did repaired the vehicle yoyrself.....don`t think for a second bthat every mechanic knows how to repair something properly,,,takes the time to do it right...and ensures your safety.......

i`ve worked in at least 8 shops since i was 16....and can count on 1 hand.. how many out of the 100`s of mechanics i`ve worked with..i would let repair anything i owned...it`s rather scary actually...

The amount of maintence on a dirtbike or muscle car...is nuts...a dirtbike is worse of course..you cannot run one of these and not be able to service it completely and be safe..

If you can spin a wrench,,,,and able to read and ask questions........you can repair these bikes yourself,,and love doing it..

B

I agree taking it apart and (looking at/fixing) it yourself is the way to go. Unless you know the person's "work quality" they could just be guessing and not really know what's wrong until they get too deep into it. Buying used parts is not a bad idea but you got make sure its not too messed up. And yeah you don't wanna screw something up, but its better that you know what you did wrong instead of not knowing another persons mistake.

As already posted,, just drain the oil and run a magnet through the drain tray. If theres heaps stuck to the magnet it aint good.

If the magnets cleanish but theres still flakes in the oil, then thats aluminium, probably from the head which aint so bad.

  The rocker cover and head/cylinder can be removed without removing the engine (at least on an XR600).

Grab a manual and pull it apart yourself, you mightenjoy it!

Whats the worst that could happen?? You may find nothing major, fix it yourself and feel good!

I appreciate all the quick replies.

 

Sorry I wasn't clear in my first post.  The second mechanic did have the head cover off and showed me the damage.  The U shaped groove in the head where the camshaft rides (journal?) is worn down.  It kind of looks like melted plastic near the top.  I'd post a pic but I lost my phone and am using my jenky old flip phone right now. 

I have had many XR heads/head covers on the bench that had the center cam journal galled/burnt/damaged. If it is not too bad, just use a bearing scraper and/or 150 grit aluminum oxide sandpaper to clean the journal(s) up, reassemble and don't worry about it.....that is providing that the cam contact surfaces and rocker arms are not damaged.

 

I asked about this and he said no way, it can't be ground down.  

My 600 had a bad random click, (not a constant tick tick noisy valve train) and it turned out to be the stock cams auto decompressor. I swapped to a hotcams cam and the noise wend away :)

 

Like already mentioned, 8000 miles shouldnt be an issue unless its been heavily neglected or the top end was oil starved, did the mechanic show you this on your head or make a guess?

 

I have a very nice XR600 head that has less than 1k miles if you are interested. I can send you pics...

 

 

Not sure what parts are included in that quote but I had my head rebuilt, with new valve guides, reground seats and valves, new hotcams cam, bought a new  JE piston, had the cylinder bored and honed  and all the parts and machine labor were under 700 dollars. Then I assembled the motor myself.

 

Just food for thought. Best of luck with the bike :)

Would the XR600 head work on this bike?

 

Also, to Brian, I agree 100%, however I am in the service and work close to 70 hours a week.  I don't have a lot of time to do this kind of stuff and I want my damn biked fixed now :p  

 

The mechanic had new rocker arms on the parts list and guessed that it was starved for oil at some point, I will try to get some pics of the head and the rockers up here soon.

A shredded top end tends to shower metal shards down into the engine lower end.  All that metal that's missing from your center cam journal, camshaft, and rockers had to go somewhere.

 

Even if you replace the top end parts, there's no way to quantify any damage done to the bottom end.  It's usually not a problem if you're just commuting to work or riding an enduro, but I'm not sure I'd ever trust it for a long cross country trip.  It's probably fine, but what if it leaves to stranded in the desert?  Even just the cost alone of that scenario makes starting with a known good engine a better option.  Sell the current bottom end to defray the cost, or keep it as a spare second engine and slowly rebuilt it over time.

Edited by heart_of_darkness

A mechanics answer to everything is if it's slightly worn or out of spec, replace it.. That's the way they are as they want to cover their butts. If you haven't the time to do it get them to fix it.

 

Yes an XR600 head fits a 650L,,unsure if there's any difference in bolt sizes with them..Cams the same in both,,head cover same apart from maybe the manual decomp lever,,Can't recall if a 650 has one of them..

 

What Creeky was saying about the center Cam journal is maybe not explained ..If it's a bit shagged just clean it up and forget it..You don't need to do any grinding or filling on it..Just clear it using a fine file and forget it..A mechanic won't do that,,he'll see it and go.."we need a new head"..Anyway,,No time,,pay someone else to do it..

 

Let's hope they check for oil flow to the head when they are done,,Small tricks with these bikes,,Just because they are mechanics doesn't mean they know them..You take a lot of older bikes to them these days and they have no idea how to fix them,,I'll change that to they probably do know how to fix them but can't be bothered getting there hands dirty on older gear..Too young and in some sort of "This is a downer trip messing with old crap".,."gimme something with bling to mess with"..They'd be happy working on Brians bike as it's covered in bling.. :lol:

Edited by Horri

Is putting an XR600R head in a 650L going to be a headache?  Looking online, the 600r Head is significantly cheaper (between $100-$200).  Everything I find says the only difference is the auto decompressor is not on the 600r version.  I was planning on getting the HotCams Cam anyway which says "Does not use auto-decompression mechanism"  Is this going to be a huge headache?  

 

Will I have to find a decompression lever and jerry rig this thing?  I'm still debating on whether I am going to do this myself or take it to a mechanic due to time constraints.  Does anyone have any experience with this issue?

If you were going to use a Hotcam then afaik the auto decompressor mechanism on the cam does not go back on the Hotcam.

 

What you'd be needing with the Hotcam is the manual operated decompression mechanism which doesnt come on 650L head covers..See below..Part 2 in the diagram of the 600..

 

http://www.servicehondapsn.com/fiche_section_detail.asp?section=2714364&category=Motorcycles&make=Honda&year=1997&fveh=135309

 

As you can see in the 650L diagram below it doesn't have one..

 

http://www.servicehondapsn.com/fiche_section_detail.asp?section=2551463&category=Motorcycles&make=Honda&year=2006&fveh=132659

 

All the XR600s after 1988 come with the Auto mechanism on the actual cam..exactly the same as the 650L one it is..

 

So if you were going to buy a used head from a 600 to go on your bike you'd get something after 88 and also the after 88 600 head cover and rockers,..The cams are the same as well..the only difference is that lever for the manual decomp on the head which I posted up top..

 

You'd maybe also need some sort of hardened rockers to use with a Hotcam,,One of the speed experts can fill you in on that if need be..

 

Below is a shot of the actual automatic decompressor mechanism which is on all the 600s after 88 and all the 650Ls.

 

All those bits get removed from the Cam if you run a Hotcam,,plus a couple more which I didn't post,,

 

 

http://www.servicehondapsn.com/fiche_section_detail.asp?section=2551477&category=Motorcycles&make=Honda&year=2004&fveh=132657

 

Parts 5,3,38,10.9,30..

Edited by Horri

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