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Goneballistic's total beginner refresh of a 1987 XR600R

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I am a brand new owner of an XR600R project bike from 1987.  we had a Honda CT110 that was a hoot to ride around the neighborhood but it got stolen, so we we're looking for a new bike to run around the neighborhood, take camping and ride the trails around here.

 

We found an 87 XR600R that the seller described as clicking.  I passed on it but he texted me back and said he was negotiable. I went and talked to him and we started it. The "clicking" sounded like someone poured gravel in the top of the engine. totally horrible.

 

figuring the bike was a complete loss, I offered him enough for the frame and parts which seemed good, and figured I'd replace the whole motor with something else.

 

This is the first time I've ever worked on a bike, I'm learning as I go along and will need a lot of help from the experts. I've been reading TT for hours a day since I got it, and it's *fascinating* to me how much you guys know about these.

 

I picked a 600 becuase I wanted a bike as simple, and as durable as possible.  I need a lot of power, as I'm huge,  6'5" and 330lbs. I was an offensive tackle in the nfl in another lifetime and have stayed offensive tackle size since.  Me on a 600/650 looks like a 250 on most people.  So the size/weight of the bikes don't bother me a bit. They feel like a normal size bike. The high seat height is a huge bonus for me as well. I do need to figure out how to set up the shocks for a fat guy.  I expect I'll need a heavy spring back and maybe in the front forks as well.  I have ridden other 600's and they seemed fine but I want the bike to sit normally with me on it vs sag a lot.

 

 

This will be mostly a budget bike to learn and make my mistakes on. I'd like to get it running as well as possible but don't want to dump endless money in it. Reliability is my first concern. I often ride ATV's by myself and go far and wide and if bikes die on me, It's usually LONG hikes back. which sucks when it happens.

 

here's the original picture from the add. Unfortunately I got excited and didn't take any new ones when I got it before I started dismantling it....

 

1571512-1378776610-384175.jpg

 

 

I have been watching the youtube videos on rebuilding an XR600R and they are very helpful, but the youtube bike is a single carb, these are dual. Getting the carbs out was %##@@#$.  The airbox also SUCKED.  I didn't need to take it out, but by the time I got it loose enough to get the #$%@#$# carbs out, I just pulled it to clean it out.

 

6U3J7266.jpg6U3J7267.jpg

 

 

Under the seat, there is a little electrical box of some kind. I am not sure what it is. the band on the bottom of it is broke,  I am tempted to just put a bunch of JB Weld on the bottom and glue it back together, but dont know if that'll cause heat or other issues on this thing.

 

What is it? and should I just replace it?

 

6U3J7270.jpg

 

broken strap

 

6U3J7271.jpg

 

I drained the oil and was expecting chunks and flakes. the oil looked normal, with MAYBE a little bit of metal in it. the oil is smooth but when I shined a bright light on it, there was maybe just a *hint* of gold color but it was so faint I might have been imagining it.  it felt smooth in my fingers, and there were no chunks or flakes in the pan.  it looked like if there was anything is was very very fine shavings.

 

he said when it started making noise, he rode it about half a mile, maybe a mile, and shut it off and put it in the chase truck and drove it home. It hadn't been started since then till i started it.

 

the valves look good and there is compression. It felt a little lower than some others I kicked over but not much.

 

6U3J7274.jpg

 

The project manager who will need some passenger pegs, so far baja designs looks like the best one but that's cause I'm not aware of any others. There are some crappy clamp on ones on there now I'm going to take off. they are on the swingarm. I want them off the frame somewhere.

 

6U3J7284.jpg

 

 

I got the engine unhooked except for the bottom motor mounts, I was going to pull the head in the frame but I can't get to the cover bolt right in the middle of the cover, so I'm going to pull it tomorrow and see what's going on. I'm super nervous, but excited.

 

best case scenario, piston rings are torched, hopefully the jug is OK. I hope the cam is ok but I sorta doubt it.  I know someone with another cam but I'm not sure if I can put another bike's cam into this head. I would guess they need to wear in together.  but there don't appear to be cam bearings. it looks like the cam sits right against the head and cover.  which is weird.

 

I think an OEM cam would be best but they are hard to find. if I have to get an aftermarket one, I just want a normal OEM Profile one that will last a long long time.

 

 

1571512-1378776595-94888.jpg

Edited by goneballistic

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Little box is the voltage regulator,,(stops bulbs blowing),,It doesn't need to be mounted anywhere in particular,,10mm bolt onto any spare/available hole will do..It doesn't need to be grounded or anything..you can even screw it onto something plastic..eg,,top of the airbox..

 

You shoulda read my carb removal tutorial,,all that airbox pulling isn't needed...still you got them out..

 

Is this the one you got for 350 or something,,looks like a bargain to me,,you should have got that other engine as well.

 

XL600 cams work in the XR,,but yes getting a bit rare..Cam runs on bearings,,one either end and it runs metal to metal in the center journal..

 

Better off taking the motor out of the frame,,more room to move,,less bending over when you have the thing on a bench,,should take about an hour if you have no seized bolts anywhere..front oil pipes need disconnecting from the frame.

(watch out for oil flowing everywhere). Use the easiest method,,few ways of doing it,,eyeball it and you'll figure things out,,front of the engine..

Edited by Horri

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I'd disassemble the top end of the engine before ordering any parts or making any plans.  If the engine is toast, this may not be a financially sensible project.  Or the engine may be in fine condition and you got a great deal.

 

The valve cover can be removed with the engine in the frame, at least on the single carb bikes.  It's fiddly, and some of the bolts can't be pulled all the way out until the valve cover is slid/tilted rearward.

 

Obviously, you want the engine exterior and frame to be spotlessly clean before disassembly.  You'be be sliding parts past each other, which is very likely to dislodge gunk into the interior of the engine.

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Horri how do I find your tutorial? Might help new get em back in...I fear that step

Follow the below,,I've done over a hundred removals using the method,,it works and won't break anything..

 

(1) Tank/seat/Sidecovers need to come off..

(2) All the crappy anti smog stuff needs to be removed from near or around

the carbs,,ie the plastic carbon thingamejig and any associated hoses including the crank breather hoses

(3) Undo and remove both airbox hose clamps

(4) Loosen off the carb to intake manifold hose clamps.

(5) Walk around to the right hand side of the bike

(6) Grab the front carb side of the plastic/rubber nozzle that runs to the aircleaner

in your hand.

Pull it back towards you or the rear of the bike and rest it's front part against the frame

downtube just back from it a bit.

(7) Walk round to the left hand side..do the same with that airbox nozzle resting it

behind the other frame downtube just back a bit from the carbs.

(8) Pull the carbs out of the front intake manifold.

(9) Remove carbs to the right,,cables can stay on on twin carb bikes..singles they need to come off..choke cable may also need to come off on the twins.

It will take a bit of manipulation to get them out that side..I cannot explain that..like a rubics cube it is,,Persist and they'll come out,,Too hard,,Remove the cables at the carb connection and go out to the left..

Don't leave those airbox hoses behind the frame downtubes for to long or they become a bit deformed.

Once the carbs are out pull them from behind the downtubes and allow them to rest as normal till the carbs are ready to go back on.

Pull them back again to get the carbs back on..

Adjust the above to suit either the dual or single carb bikes.

While removing the head to carb manifold is maybe the stipulated method in the manual it can be a real pain to get off if you don't have the correct spanner,,You can spend more time dicking around with those bolts than the above way takes . My advice is if you need to do the job a bit and want to use the head to carb manifold removal way ,,replace the bolts with allen heads,,easier to get at..Whatever way you go the Seat/Tank/Sidecovers need to come off,,no getting away from that..The above gets away from you needing to use the spanner method on the manifold,,that is all....

Jets in the left carb are Main and Pilot..Right carb only has a main in it..

 

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So basically seeing as you have that airbox all disconnected when you go to shove the carbs back on just rebolt the actual box to the frame then pull those nozzles back behind the two frame downtubes which are just back from the rear of the carb..They'll just sort of fold in half,,no damage will be done to them..There's one frame downtube on each side,,use one for each nozzle..Go in with the carbs from the right..It'll be fiddly to get them in even with the nozzles pulled back,,take your time and you'll get it..Be even easier with the front exhaust headers out of the way so stick the carbs back in before you stick the header back on the engine..

Edited by Horri

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Well I may be screwed. I got the engine out. Easy but I kept missing bolts here and there, it would be still stuck in there and I'd find another bolt.

The cam cover came off easy enough, the cam has some scratching on it but not horrible. The center journals look ok. The rockers however are bizarre. They have this sort of banding on them. Like little flat spots between ridges. I'll upload pictures in a bit.

Now the bad news. I first started to loosen the head by trying to loosen the silver cam tensioner bolt. I was using a 5mm Allen wrench. It was tight so I was trying to be very gentle. I must have done something wrong, canted the wrench or something cause it slipped out, now it's rounded.no clue how I'm going to get it out. Slowing down to think about it

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"""Now the bad news. I first started to loosen the head by trying to loosen the silver cam tensioner bolt. I was using a 5mm Allen wrench. It was tight so I was trying to be very gentle. I must have done something wrong, canted the wrench or something cause it slipped out, now it's rounded.no clue how I'm going to get it out. Slowing down to think about it """"

 

 

 

Not sure what you're talking about here..There's two parts to removing the auto tensioner..Inside the head cover there will be either a pin or a bolt holding the thing in the head the pin needs to come up and out using some pliers or the bolt needs undoing and removing before you can remove the mechanism from the outside.. Once the pin or bolt is out you use some pliers on the sort of raised screw driver ridge on the external part of the tensioner..Wobbling back and forth and pulling at the same time makes it come out..

 

Think I have it now,,the bolt that holds it in the heads rounded..Use a plumbers pipe wrench on it or some vice grips with a bit of heat applied around it..Anytime your removing bolts on engines it pays to give the tops a couple of firm raps with a hammer and dolly to break the crap..think that one may have loctite on it so heat it a bit and try the small/large pipe wrench..

Edited by Horri

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Good quality allen keys are essential,, a lot of cheap weak crap out in the market now,,goes for sockets as well..buy quality..The medium sized plumbers pipe wrench is a winner for jammed bolts if you can get the jaws to the bolts head or shank ..shank is better..

 

Have 3 pipe wrenches myself..large..medium,,small..covers most eventualities..

Edited by Horri

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GOT IT.that little bugger. It was the bolt in the head holding the cam tensioner in place. It's an Allen key bolt. I was using twenty year old craftsman U.S.  made Allen wrench. I may need a snap on set or matco.

I cut a slot in it with a dremel, then used an impact screw driver and it popped right out.
Any reason not to reuse this bolt now that it has a very helpful and professional looking a slot in the top of it?

Edited by goneballistic

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OK,  well that was a LOT harder than the youtube videos would have indicated,  but the top end is off, and I don't know what to make of it.

 

First the symptoms: when it started, it smoked really bad and made an unHOLY clattering sound out of the engine.  I mean bad. I wish I would have recorded it but it was just really really loud metallic clattering. 

 

 

After dismantling, the cam appears to be OK, but the center journal had metal built up under it, the rockers have this really weird look where there are three sort of "flat spots" on each rocker shoe.  very odd. 

 

I can't tell if the cam could be saved or not, the end bearings look ok, but the center journal looks kind of scratched up.

 

the cylinder looks Ok, there are some light scratches but nothing I can see that would explain the noise I was hearing. I think I will probably either have it drilled out 1mm over or maybe resleeved, whatever is cheaper.  the front of the cylinder wall was OK but the back was scuffed pretty bad.    I have to get a new piston anyway so having it bored out would probably be cheaper.

 

the piston itself was fine on the front, but the back is pretty galled and scuffed up.

 

the most troubling thing was when i set the engine to TDC,  the timing marks on the cam gear don't line up correctly.  the "right" one is higher than the left (rear of engine) one.  From what I have read those marks should be dead level. they are very clearly not.

 

I wonder if the cam chain is off one tooth and the valves are/were clattering against the piston or something.   I am not sure.

 

 

 

 

here's pictures of the damage:

 

Motor's out! that wasn't as easy as the youtube videos. 

6U3J7297.jpg6U3J7296.jpg

 

 

Countershaft splines.  they each have a little tooth on the end, but each spine has them so I think this is oK.

 

6U3J7292.jpg

 

 

Here's the cam center journal.  it's scuffed but no major gouges.

6U3J7302.jpg6U3J7306.jpg

 

 

here's the Rocker Feet. These are weird, they have these three flats on each one with ridges on them. I need to replace these. Can you put new rockers against an old cam? Don't they wear out fast that way? or do I need new cam and new rockers at the same time?

 

6U3J7307.jpg6U3J7310.jpg6U3J7316.jpg

 

 

here's the Cam Tensioner bolt that rounded out, I had to cut a groove and take it out with an impact screwdriver. Scared the crap out of me. Can I reuse the bolt after I reassemble?

 

6U3J7327.jpg6U3J7326.jpg

 

I dremeled a slot in it and used an impact screwdriver on it.  came right out.

 

 

here's the cam gear with the timing marks seeming misalinged.  Aren't these things supposed to be level when the T is aligned with the timing notch in the sight window?

 

6U3J7330.jpg6U3J7321.jpg

 

 

Piston Top

6U3J7333.jpg

 

 

Jug walls, front of cylinder, the horizontal line half way up is oil line from moving the cylinder around. the scratches are at the top, and very light and vertical, there aren't horizontal lines.

 

 

 

6U3J7336.jpg

 

small vertical scratches near the bottom. I can't feel them with my finger though.

6U3J7341.jpg

 

 

will post again in new post, the uploads are failing....

 

Edited by goneballistic

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engine teardown part II

 

here's the back of the piston, it's really scuffed up. 

 

6U3J7342.jpg

6U3J7343.jpg

 

 

rings actually look ok to me. 

6U3J7346.jpg

 

 

the crankshaft has shiny sort of flat spots on it, but a lot of the pictures I have seen show these. I think these are normal.

6U3J7348.jpg

 

 

Wrist pin looks good,  and piston moves very smoothly on the pin

6U3J7355.jpg

 

 

Front of piston, looks fine.

6U3J7356.jpg

 

back of cylinder is very scuffed up. needs new sleeve or bored out.

6U3J7359.jpg

 

 

 

so the questions are:

 

1: What needs replaced? So far planning on new cam, new rockers, new piston, rings and something with the cylinder,  either new sleeve, or bored 1 over.  whatever is most cost effective. 

2: what machine work do I need? I plan on getting a shop to recut my valve seats probably. I didn't look too close at the valves, maybe just lap them in.

3; how do I validate the bottom end? It turns smoothly.  seems OK but not sure what to check.

 

I never rode this bike so don't know if the gears are good. the seller said the gears were fine, and I trust him. he rode it a couple hours just prior to breakdown and he would have noticed gear issues. I asked and he was honest about everything else so think they are oK.

 

there is dirt and oil around the countershaft,  I assume that seal is toast. do I have to pull the entire bottom end apart to replace that seal?

 

4: the gear selector is also kind of loose, but it looks like it's the bolt on the shifter and not the shaft. I'll look closer tomorrow.

 

 

so what parts do I need? and how to I evaluate the bottom end?

 

 

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I wouldn't worry about the center journal in the head being a bit honed out,,kinda normal,,I suppose if the rockers are gone the cam will be as well..Needs a rebore to next oversize and a new piston and rings,,don't risk using dodgy rings..I'd replace both the Cam bearings,,Cam chain..auto tensioner spring ..maybe the tensioner mechanism..Bottom cam chain sprocket needs checking,,it's under the right sidecover..Big end,,dig out the mics or get an expert to check it,,wrist pin the same..Think you can just put a new seal in from the outside on that countershaft.,,shaft itself looks ok..Splines on the shifter,,if they are had it it's a split the bottom case job to fix it properly..

 

Doesn't appear to be anything radically wrong apart from a slight top end and piston/bore melt down..Do it properly though,,No shortcuts,,they just come back and get you in the end..All depends what you want to spend really,,Some here would say replace the head becuse of that center journal wear,,I'm not that fussy with it..Wait for further perspectives on things..

 

Timing marks look pretty close..replace the chain and stuff anyway,,take no chances with those parts...

 

Check the valve seats,,bit of overheating may have loosened them up..suppose do a normal grind and stuff if they are ok..

 

Do the liquid leak test on the valves to see if they are leaking..I'm not sure on the exact method,,someone else may fill you in on it..Minimum,,replace the seals anyway..

Edited by Horri

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based on your statement I assume I DON"T need to split the case to check out the bottom Cam Chain Sprocket?  I was assuming since it was in the bottom, I'd have to split the cases to check it. I have a micrometer for reloading but if I can't get a good reading I'll take it to the shop I use to bore the jug out.

 

should I rebore or get a new sleeve? I don't care either way as they are probably not to different in price.  I have never ordered parts for rebores before, I assume I get a piston and take that to the shop and have them bore to that size. I don't know what stock size is on these bikes.

 

I'll replace piston and rings for sure. I think I have a line on a stock cam and gear. not sure about the bearings. these bearings look/feel great but I can get the used bearings with the cam.

 

I will look for heads on ebay but a lot of them are as bad as this one on the center bearing. I wish they would have used a bearing or shell on the center journal so they were fixable.....

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Yep,,totally agree about that center journal,,must be hundreds of dead heads around just because of that..I've said it before someone needs to machine them out and fit shells as they did in the old days here on the old XL250/350.

 

I'd just get a rebore,,take it into a decent machine shop and get them to sort out the oversizes etc and to mic that big end and wrist pin..A decent shop knows all this stuff,,well ones we have here do anyway as they do a lot of XR/XL stuff and the owners are normally into boring out XR etc for all sorts of people..

 

No you don't need to split the center cases to check the bottom camchain sprocket..clutch cover needs to come off and maybe some other bits in there so you can eyeball it properly..Maybe pay to check the clutch housing/basket for the sort of denting that occurs with them over time..Just filed all the ridges out of mine the other day as it was slipping or has been slipping for ages,,good as gold now..pretty easy job..I did it in situ as I didn't have a breaker bar big enough to crack that big clutch nut,,that mother is tight as..People here normally use an air hammer type thing to break it loose,,I didn't have one and wasn't totally prepared for the job so in situ had to do..I have no real workshop anymore and my tools are all over the show so my organization was a bit awry..

 

Seems like you're pretty onto it anyway..All this stuff should be easy enough for yourself to tackle..Just get the machine shop to check the mic stuff and do the rebore etc..

Edited by Horri

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Thanks for the info Horri,  if it's not apparent already, I have no idea what I'm doing.   I just noticed you are in New Zealand.  Now I'm just straight jealous.  one of my favorite favorite places on the planet.  I spent about a month down there in '89 with an American Football team  doing a series of American Football exhibitions all over the country.  I have dreamed of living there ever since. 

 

I am calling a machine shop today,  you said I should get the big end mic the big end. What is the big end?  I will just ask them to mic it as if I know what I'm talking about but if asked, I will be exposed as an idiot pretty fast.

 

 

I will pull the side cover and look at the clutch basket and stuff. I also really want to replace that countershaft seal. hopefully that can happen from the outside like you said.

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Thanks for the info Horri,  if it's not apparent already, I have no idea what I'm doing.   I just noticed you are in New Zealand.  Now I'm just straight jealous.  one of my favorite favorite places on the planet.  I spent about a month down there in '89 with an American Football team  doing a series of American Football exhibitions all over the country.  I have dreamed of living there ever since. 

 

I am calling a machine shop today,  you said I should get the big end mic the big end. What is the big end?  I will just ask them to mic it as if I know what I'm talking about but if asked, I will be exposed as an idiot pretty fast. 

 

He is referring to the connecting rod where it connects to the crankshaft.  I would also check the small end (where it connects to the piston).  In order to mic it the case will have to be split.  The crankshaft is a pressed together. 

 

 

I will pull the side cover and look at the clutch basket and stuff. I also really want to replace that countershaft seal. hopefully that can happen from the outside like you said.

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This is similar to what you will find behind the right cover.

 

Be very careful not to loose the small tube in the yellow circle.  It is a very critical part.

 

2011-10-17 (13)a.jpg

 

ME

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