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2013 250R Replace Rings only or Rings and Piston

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New to world of the 250R bike maintenance after buying my son a Honda 2013 CRF 250R for Christmas last year.  He started on a Honda 50 and has worked his way up through all of Honda's line of bikes.  I ride a Honda CRF230F.   Have loved Honda over the years because of the minimal maintenance.  This 250R seems to be a different story.  My son doesn't race the bike just trail rides in in WV.  He has put around 75-80  hours on the bike since January.  Bike runs great has started getting a little harder to start but not bad.  We have changed the oil and cleaned the air filter after every 10-15 hours of riding.  Bike has started using some oil.  Last weekend after 5 hours of riding the oil dropped from full to three quarter on the dip stick.  I have not checked the valve clearances.  Just reading that I need to do that.  I ordered a set of OEM Rings but then have been reading that most people that race the bike replace the piston with the rings.  Since he just trail rides, do I need to replace the piston, what about piston pin and piston pin clip.  Will I need a top end gasket set.  Seems like a lot stuff for just 75-80 hours of riding.  Thanks for your help.

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better to replace both as the rings when they run in seat in the piston by making their own little groves so its unlikly to get new rings to seat in an old piston

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New to world of the 250R bike maintenance after buying my son a Honda 2013 CRF 250R for Christmas last year. He started on a Honda 50 and has worked his way up through all of Honda's line of bikes. I ride a Honda CRF230F. Have loved Honda over the years because of the minimal maintenance. This 250R seems to be a different story. My son doesn't race the bike just trail rides in in WV. He has put around 75-80 hours on the bike since January. Bike runs great has started getting a little harder to start but not bad. We have changed the oil and cleaned the air filter after every 10-15 hours of riding. Bike has started using some oil. Last weekend after 5 hours of riding the oil dropped from full to three quarter on the dip stick. I have not checked the valve clearances. Just reading that I need to do that. I ordered a set of OEM Rings but then have been reading that most people that race the bike replace the piston with the rings. Since he just trail rides, do I need to replace the piston, what about piston pin and piston pin clip. Will I need a top end gasket set. Seems like a lot stuff for just 75-80 hours of riding. Thanks for your help.

well buddy, all I gotta say is welcome to the high performance industry. Get used to changing out a top end every 40 to 60 hrs.. when changing your top end, make sure you have a seasoned mechanic look at cylinder jug. Make sure cyclinder wall don't need boring or honing..

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I wouldn't trust the dipstick too much, I measure the oil I put in, and then measure the oil which comes out. When you first fill up the engine it will read high, and settle lower once you run the bike since some of it gets sucked into the oil filter area

It's normal for the 250 to burn a little bit of oil if you trail ride for hours on end, especially if you use a thinner oil, it isn't designed for long oil change intervals. I check my oil level every time I fill gas. I also overfill slightly, I use 850cc. Try running Rotella 15-40 non synthetic, it might fix your oil burning if you are burning oil.

If you really do need to do a top end, OEM parts are best, ebay has the best deals. Top ends don't usually blow on the 250, so unless you are losing a lot of oil, or down on performance, or racing, perhaps better to wait until you need valves or a crank.

OEM top end kit $130 including gaskets.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/GENUINE-OEM-HONDA-TOP-END-KIT-CRF250R-2010-2013-/221243637337?pt=Motorcycles_Parts_Accessories&hash=item338325fe59&vxp=mtr

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Thanks for the replies.  I will try the rotella 15-40 oil for an upcoming weekend riding trip before we tackle the top end.  We have been running Honda GN4 10-40 change the oil after every weekend of riding.  Usually ride around 10-12 hours a weekend. 

 

How often do you guys change spark plugs?

 

Was talking to a colleague this morning, he has a 2005 450R.  Says he has never changed rings or pistons.  Raced it for a year after he first bought it, then 20-30 hours of trail riding each year since then.  Do the newer bikes just not last as long.

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Thanks for the replies.  I will try the rotella 15-40 oil for an upcoming weekend riding trip before we tackle the top end.  We have been running Honda GN4 10-40 change the oil after every weekend of riding.  Usually ride around 10-12 hours a weekend. 

 

How often do you guys change spark plugs?

 

Was talking to a colleague this morning, he has a 2005 450R.  Says he has never changed rings or pistons.  Raced it for a year after he first bought it, then 20-30 hours of trail riding each year since then.  Do the newer bikes just not last as long.

 

How do you log 10-12 hours of riding in a single weekend?

Is this the time you leave the door till you return? Are you measuring on an hour meter?

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How do you log 10-12 hours of riding in a single weekend?

Is this the time you leave the door till you return? Are you measuring on an hour meter?

Normally ride Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Hatfield McCoy and Outlaw Trails in Southern WV.  Hundreds of miles of trails.  Typically ride 75 to 100 miles a day.  At 20 mph average 200 miles equal 10 hours of riding.  Installed an hour meeting a month or so ago.  Road 2 weekends and have 23 hours on it.

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Do a leak down test. That will tell you if there is a worn part issue (rings or valves)

If it comes back rings, pull the barrel and inspect. Only then would you possible know if you need rings/piston and/or replate. Otherwise, it is pure speculation.

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William1:  Thanks for the lead down test recommendation.  I ordered a lead down tester will do that test when it arrives. 

 

 

Mudguy:  On the Rotella recommendation the only Rotella oil I could find was for diesel engines.  Is that what you were recommending.

 

I did see Honda has a 20W-50 motorcycle oil.  What would be the pro-con of running 20W-50 oil.  Would the 20W-50 be better to use in the bike since we do day long trail rides vs short moto runs. 

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Honda recommends 10w-40. And that is what's probably best for that motor.

I'd shorten your oil change intervals though. Less than 5hrs is most recommended. Longevity will suffer if you go longer.

 

Rotella is not a save all. It's just another ok oil that a lot of folks like because its reasonably priced. Thats important when you change it frequently. I bought a gallon once in a pinch and will never use it again. The Honda oil you've been using is much better than Rotella. 

 

Re rings vs piston and rings. At the hours you have on the bike I'd forget about the test tools and just go ahead and do both.

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William1:  Thanks for the lead down test recommendation.  I ordered a lead down tester will do that test when it arrives. 

 

 

Mudguy:  On the Rotella recommendation the only Rotella oil I could find was for diesel engines.  Is that what you were recommending.

 

I did see Honda has a 20W-50 motorcycle oil.  What would be the pro-con of running 20W-50 oil.  Would the 20W-50 be better to use in the bike since we do day long trail rides vs short moto runs.

It is labelled diesel oil, but is also "Jaso MA" rated, which is motorcycle grade. Rotella T is non synthetic, Rotella T6 is called a synthetic but made via a different process.

Honda 20w-50 would also be good. 5 hour oil changes are unnecessary for trail riding. I change mine every other weekend of riding, the oil still comes out clear, and with good viscosity.

I only really mentioned Rotella T since is is one of the thicker oils, it won't work past the rings as easily

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Thank everyone.  These forums are awesome.  Such a great way to learn about these bikes.  Part of the experience of riding with my Son is working on the bikes so he can learn which end of a screwdriver to hold.  So many kids these days have no clue about mechanical stuff.  Probably less than 1% of the kids have ever seen a piston or a ring.  Ordered the Leak down tester in part for the learning experience and I also have a Polaris RZR that is buring a little oil.  Thought I would use it on that as well before I tear into that one.

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Thank everyone.  These forums are awesome.  Such a great way to learn about these bikes.  Part of the experience of riding with my Son is working on the bikes so he can learn which end of a screwdriver to hold.  So many kids these days have no clue about mechanical stuff.  Probably less than 1% of the kids have ever seen a piston or a ring.  Ordered the Leak down tester in part for the learning experience and I also have a Polaris RZR that is buring a little oil.  Thought I would use it on that as well before I tear into that one.

 

Check the airbox in the RZR, the early model air filters didn't seal well, and the dust would slowly cook the motor. 

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I would just re ring it and go another 40-50 hours. Its light trail riding the oem piston is fine. Ive seen guys beat the hell out of crf250s racing them for well over 100 hours on the stock piston and rings without a problem.

 

The oem piston design uses one compression ring and one oil ring, for minimal drag, the piston rings wear out faster on a crf250 compared to most other brands of 4 strokes that use 2 compression rings and one oil ring. Also even when new, the crf250 goes through more oil than other brand due to the rings. 

 

Just replace the rings on the oem piston, once you log another 50 hours rebuild the topend. OEM IS NOT BEST. the piston design on the crf250 leaves room for improvement, I would go to 13.5:1 compression ratio forged piston. It will outlast oem. and the forged unit will have a better ring design (more rings).

 

valve seals, gaskets etc I like oem. But I dont know why people treat oem parts like a religion. There are often times better choices than oem.

Edited by adam8781

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I can't fathom an mx-raced CRF250R piston going more than 50hrs without needing to be changed. That's a lot of "up and down" for that little thing...

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I can't fathom an mx-raced CRF250R piston going more than 50hrs without needing to be changed. That's a lot of "up and down" for that little thing...

True but if the oil system is working optimally the piston never touches the walls, it rides on a film of oil.

The wrist pin and rings take all the abuse.

I ran about a hundred trail hours on my first piston and had a tiny bit of scuffing on the skirt, so Honda could probably do a little better on the lubrication, but all in all not too bad for such a short piston.

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